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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Tuesday, 16 January 2007
Fatal 'ice storms' in USA more evidence of dangerous climate change?
Mood:  blue
Topic: ecology

We reported on these freaky images of inches thick translucent ice on poles and grass here (just click date top right of the screen):

Wednesday, 10 January 2007
Freaky grass ice storm images

Now read more of the lethality of these "ice storms" which I for one have never heard of here in Australia, in a breaking story on the local News Ltd website, and quoted fully for the drama effect with 400,000 people affected by power outages, and an estimated US$500 million in ruined citrus crops: 

Up to 39 dead in US storms

A HUGE winter storm moved across the central US today, killing at least 25 people and prompting President George W. Bush to declare an emergency in the state of Oklahoma.

Since Friday, weather-related accidents have killed 11 people in Oklahoma and eight in Missouri, according to local officials. The Kansas City Star newspaper reported that six people had died in Kansas.

Mr Bush declared an emergency in Oklahoma, where an ice storm has left more than 100,000 people without power yesterday.

Activated by Mr Bush's emergency declaration, the Federal Emergency Management Agency was distributing generators and bottled water to communities impacted by the ice storm, said the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management.

In Missouri, seven people were killed in traffic accidents caused by slick conditions while one died from carbon monoxide poisoning, a common cause of death when those without power use fuel-burning stoves to heat their homes.

More than 300,000 people lost power in Missouri due to downed power lines.

In Kansas, five people were reported killed in weather-related traffic accidents and one person was poisoned by carbon monoxide exposure, said state officials quoted by the Kansas City Star.

In Texas to the south, the governor called out the National Guard after heavy rain caused flash flooding and dramatic high-water rescues.

The storm forced the cancellation of dozens of flights out of Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, according to the airport's website, temperatures reported near freezing.

Flooding was also reported in the states of Arkansas and Louisiana, CNN television said.

Record-breaking cold weather even hit the Pacific Coast state of California, where mild temperatures usually prevail all year.

In central Los Angeles, the thermometer dropped to 2C this morning, a temperature not felt in the city for 75 years.

Farmers in the Central Valley and the southern part of the state worried about freezing temperatures ruining the lucrative citrus crop, the Los Angeles Times and other media reported.

Photographs showed icicles hanging off of tangerine trees in a Central Valley orchard near Fresno, a rare sight in the state.

California oranges, lemons and other produce worth as much as half a billion dollars were probably ruined, the Los Angeles Times said.

The storm in central states was moving eastward, and had already caused ice storms in western parts of New York state, forecasters said.

"Things are improving but it's cold,'' National Weather Service meteorologist Bruce Sullivan said.

Postscript #1 - Very big evangelical church organisations are combining forces with scientific organisations in the USA to demand action on global warming as here:


"Evangelicals, scientists join forces to combat global warming By Rodrique Ngowi, Associated Press Writer  January 14, 2007"

Postscript #2 - it seems even conservative Republicans are getting worried about Alaska melting


which is a disaster for alot of infrastructure suggested on an earlier post here at SAM about our teacher friend on a stint in remote Canada: Seems normally frozen 'winter roads' over swamp lakes and bog are only viable for a month mid January to mid February and this puts remote areas at risk of depopulation for inadequate time to truck in supplies.

Posted by editor at 11:49 AM EADT
Updated: Tuesday, 16 January 2007 2:18 PM EADT
Gerard Henderson's predictable white supremacism in the SMH today?
Mood:  down
Topic: big media

Gerard Henderson, the same fellow sacked from The Age sister newspaper for being so boorish and unpopular, has this today in the Sydney Morning Herald:

Moderates say enough's enough

GERARD HENDERSON | The public statements of Sheik Taj el-Din al Hilaly have focused attention on young Muslims who do not share his extreme positions.

Trouble is Henderson is not "a moderate" himself who is regularly associated with the extremist free market HR Nicholls Society:


Given the Euro white dominated big corporate boards in Australia (and western society generally), that objective observers (ie those not financially dependent) see as puppeteers of governments - not even bothering to sit in Parliaments that they fund with big money politics - it is hardly surprising that Henderson attacks coffee coloured Hilali for defying that allegedly axiomatic culture.

Henderson appears as extreme and hysterical as he accuses Hilali of being with this:

"Granting permanent residence to Hilaly was one of the worst public policy decisions in the history of the Commonwealth of Australia. "

One of the "worst", of course Gerard, up there with

- the Vietnam War,

-  the Iraq War now,

- the White Australia policy,

- woodchipping of old growth forest canopy for decades which are naturally humid and wildfire resistant,

- export of iron to Japan rained back on us as bombs in WW2,

- land clearing, uranium mining/export, and rebuff of Kyoto global warming treaty

- failure to capitalise on our solar energy advantage with industry,

- cotton farms that stuff the Murray Darling river system, 

- stolen wages of slave Black labour, the undeclared warfare against same up to the 1930s by some accounts

- perhaps Hilali is worse than introduction of the cane toad, or pre 1900 the rabbit, the fox, prickly pear, camel and water buffalo?

I mean how flaky can a commentator get?

Who is Henderson fooling besides himself with this covert white supremacism? The future is in fact coffee coloured and, you know, it's OK. It's a little confronting for us Anglos sure but it is actually quite okay, not least the melanoma rates. Half the luck of the coffee coloured amongst us including Hilali himself.

Here is one simple reason straight from biology - hybrid vigour: The product of mixing is stronger than the ingredients. Australia will be greater and better for the mixing based on sound genetics. 

Henderson should be bracketed with the Paul Sheehans of this world for their Old Australia stereotypes and convenient airbrushing of the Iraq War disaster with outrage over Hilali a mere device and scapegoat for federal government incompetence writ large. A face saving parody of Australia's shameful White Australia past. Witness the farmer on 7.30 Report last night, a councillor at Tamworth no less, railing against "a multicultural future for our children".

Talk about backward.

One has to ask is Henderson just another white supremacist old fogey whose analysis has to be read down accordingly?

Note: This post builds on an earlier coverage of this issue, with postscript media monitoring at the end, just click the date top right for:

Friday, 12 January 2007
Egyptian Australian cleric scorns white western supremacist mythology here, courts big talkies
Postscript #1: There is a hilarious article in The Australian rival to the Herald today that seems to get it:
- John Heard: Mufti's madness is true-blue larrikinism
but then there is the existential angst in this probe of the Left for defending Hilali's civil rights, significant for perhaps acknowledging the Left has an arguable case on obnoxious white economic supremacism:
- Tanveer Ahmed: Not bedfellows, but a political attraction
but nevertheless the Establishment Australian defaults to this barely concealed white supremacist position by a government MP here:
- Brett Mason: Nation must get precedence over ethnicity

Posted by editor at 9:34 AM EADT
Updated: Tuesday, 16 January 2007 1:27 PM EADT
Transport congestion will strangle Sydney, Greens agree with Federal Govt report
Mood:  d'oh
Topic: election nsw 2007

 Responding to this report in the Big Media today:


Trucking boom to strangle city roads

Truck AT OR NEAR choke point already, Sydney's roads will be jammed by a trucking boom tipped to outstrip growth in private car use, a federal government study warns.

The word "strangle" in the headline reminds SAM of these images of June 2005 with the city shrouded in Smog (which is the moniker I use for Sydney to country people) taken about 15 km out from the GPO at Arncliffe:

It also remind me of yellow campaign T-shirts by the Botany Bay & Catchment Association, covering south/western half of Sydney, umbrella to 33 community groups opposing Port Botany expansion and if I can get a picture of one I will add it in due course.

The Greens, appropriate to this NSW election season have responded quite realistically here:


16 January 2007

No more motorways, freight on rail solution to Sydney’s congestion crisis

Greens MP and transport spokesperson Lee Rhiannon said today that Sydney can only be saved from growing traffic congestion if plans for major motorway projects are abandoned and replaced with ramped up funding for public transport and moving more freight on rail.  

”The congested future predicted for Sydney in a report by the federal Department of Transport and Regional Services can only be avoided by fast tracking more freight on rail options and stopping motorway construction," Ms Rhiannon said

”The report’s prediction that by 2026 Sydney streets will be clogged with 2.4 million commercial trips and 9.9 million car trips should be a wake up call to the Labor and Liberal parties.

”The Greens challenge the major parties to scrap the motorway plans for Sydney. Any plans to extend the M4, link the F3 and the M2 or even revive the F6 will deliver the ugly congested future.

”The Opposition call for a 50 year transport plan is meaningless if they can’t commit to no more motorways. The evidence is in that motorways increase traffic congestion.

”Truck induced gridlock will hold back the economy, boost greenhouse gas emissions and damage community health. This is the future under current Labor and Liberal transport policies.

”The solution is moving more freight by rail.

”The Greens transport plan for Sydney calls for the fast tracking of the South West and North West Rail Links, an increased number of dedicated bus lanes and the introduction of integrated fares and timetables,” Ms Rhiannon said.


For more on the truck monsters that will eat sydney courtesy of overt ALP State Govt policy (and covert Federal Coalition policy) also see links and information here Botany Bay because its all about centralising inside Sydney supply to a NSW and Eastern Australian market to reduce costs for big shipping companies, and big retailers, which the trucking industry is more than happy to aid and abet. All at the expense of the amenity and health of 3 out of 4 million Sydney siders who will be trapped in the congestion and air pollution.

That's what happens when Big Business buys government with money politics. People die of air pollution. About 600 a year in Sydney apparently.

Posted by editor at 9:18 AM EADT
Updated: Tuesday, 16 January 2007 1:18 PM EADT
Time to take the Epoch Times broadsheet more seriously in Sydney Town?
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: independent media

“Something big is happening next week at the Epoch Times” bugled this weekly freebie thin newspaper about a month ago.


Sure enough it went from Sydney City Hub, or more well known, Daily Telegraph tabloid size to broadsheet Sydney Morning Herald size.


The SMH is going through its own changes too, from CBD location to fringe CBD at Pyrmont in 2007 sometime. One feels a certain corporate security rationale in this age of rocket launcher home grown errorism for the decision to side step the allure of the CBD though to be fair their main competition News Ltd has been on the fringe for decades at Holt St, Surry Hills.


SAM’s editor is paid to deliver the Hub for Alternative Media Group, and noticed the internationally diverse Epoch Times of strong Asian, and anti ‘Communist’ Party of China flavour, at least a year ago. It was difficult to find them via google last time I tried but its all laid out here now:




About a year ago ET was in many of the same 600 odd inner city outlets I visited each month. I have seen it well beyond the inner city now too.


I got worried. With all that blue colour format I wondered is it a Liberal Party front, and said so at one outlet, Balmain public library. But it became clear it was Taiwanese based from the content, anti China government essays, prominent human rights and Falung Gong stories, and indeed some quite good original reporting with solid editorial values over actual news. I get the impression it is challenging the Murdoch in bed with China business relationship, and the spin up to the Bejing Olympics in 2008.


I could deliver a paper like this I thought.


At the local pool recently it was the only reading material to hand (January 3-9, 2007) and I was impressed with the probity of their stories: “Tourists ignore Thai bombings” a view I had heard from various young travellers and friends direct this summer Sydney. Then this ‘amusing’ story about the inscrutable “Chinese espionage difficult to contain” quoting one Mr Appel who “worked as an FBI special agent for 20 years” and how trips to the Wall and duchessing with cakes and food generally is a tactic for cooption of westerners. Also defector Chen Yonglin in the story. That’s of interest.


( I had to laugh at a parallel quote coincidentally read at the pool next day in the Latham Diaries Friday 28th February 2003 on a delegation to China “My 42nd birthday …Zhou Enlai had been good enough to organise a cake”!)


ET ran a solid ‘anti capital punishment for Saddam’ story quoting Kevin Rudd not seen in other press, but echoing mainstream cartoonists savaging the censorship of witness to USA dealings in the 1980s.


Another good tip straight off the AAP about ‘Warren Mundine’s NSW Native Title Services’ with Warren involved in a big Githabul land use agreement in NSW, but also  till recently the tragic Palm Island death in custody case. Could be related as I wondered if Mundine had been mollified over the latter by the former. And so it goes on with serious news mostly unlike so much in News Ltd or even Fairfax. A bit of local Asian business advertising but not much. A bit stern and light on infotainment to really expand circulation but one day maybe.


A story about an incredible “50,000 environmental protests” in China last year in ‘International firms blamed for China’s pollution increase’ expediently labelled “environmental colonialism” by the dictatorship there, while airbrushing the role of numerous major local companies pumping up the industrialisation. This story was echoed on ABC Radio National this morning (13 days later, January 16th) with the solid journo Paul Barry.


Yes, Epoch Times is an impressive small newspaper and should be added to the independent media diversity bracket challenging the monolithic News Ltd and Fairfax here.

Posted by editor at 7:25 AM EADT
Updated: Tuesday, 16 January 2007 7:35 AM EADT
Monday, 15 January 2007
Was Carl Scully honest?
Mood:  happy
Topic: election nsw 2007

Ex NSW Minister Carl Scully has finally followed through with his political suicide pact with his boss Premier Iemma agreed months ago:


Scully quits politics, giving himself a pat on the back


It's been a calmly choreographed final departure for Scully today down the worn track of previous Carr ministers who left a stench of incompetence and worse before Iemma took over. Scully understood the political gravity months back when he quickly offered his resignation from the front bench after multiple lies to Parliament were revealed.


The flushing out of Carl late last week in the press quizzing a political revival may well have come from crafty Iemma himself who needs a clean break from the Carr team to have a decent election show against the contender Peter Debnam, Opposition Leader but really ‘the PM Howard man’.


This clean slate imperative became even more compelling when the Howard federal team announced on the weekend their strong intention to support Debnam with ‘Here comes the cavalry’ metaphors in the Fairfax SunHerald via veteran journo Alex Mitchell. (Is he the only heavy weight there over summer?):




Mitchell also ran this story:


Scully quits politics after cabinet snub


As one wag commented, said to be an ALP source, ‘public office has finished with Carl more than the other way round’ despite face saving ‘future plans in the private sector’. Bracket Scully therefore with unelectable Carr, Knowles, Refshauge in the year long ALP spring clean. It just took longer with Scully.


Stand in Jennifer Byrne on 702 radio canvassed the real reasons for the demise in the "Party Liners" segment with ex ALP federal minister Gary Punch and diplomatic ex Coalition (Nationals) state minister Wendy Machin. (The two in typical duopoly franchise style are on some chummy board together also.)


Byrne asked this great impromptu question about Carl “Was he honest?”. Amazing how three words can pack such a punch. The 'old hack' journo ex Australian 60 Minutes, wifey of Denton and kid(s) has still got it.


This parried Gary Punch’s extraordinary soliloquy for Scully who just ‘wanted to get things done’ (ironically Punch having the record of honourable resignation in protest over the mad 3rd runway infrastructure decision causing massive noise pollution, and vandalism of Botany Bay).


So was Scully honest? It would be defamatory for this writer to answer directly. So I will give an anecdote to answer indirectly.


The editor of SAM met Carl Scully in person with a delegation of senior environment group reps in about 1997 or 8 in the politician’s government offices. It was about the planned Eastern Distributor tollway from memory carving into the public parkland. Scully was most concerned about the usually ALP friendly Jeff Angel of TEC calling the good people at the RTA road dept “corrupt” in a press release. In words to the effect of "That’s not fair Jeff" Carl loudly complained "These are decent family men and women in the public service".


Now this writer and Jeff Angel don’t agree on many things not least his close and comfortable (including financial) dealings with the Carr government, so Scully must have been worried that even Angel was using such harsh language publicly. Neurotic even.


(As for Angel if he wasn't effectively 'duchessed' by the ALP then he has been most of the last 6 years like Peter Garrett today.)


But why would Angel or we generally think the RTA under Scully was “corrupt” and why would Scully be worried it had political resonance? Anything to do with revolving doors between Australian parliament(s) and Macquarie Bank? Or revolving doors between the NSW Labor Council and road construction companies? Anything to do with big donations of the building (labour and corporate) sector to the ALP?


The truth is people in civil society were noticing transport planning outsourced to private vested interests since the M2 in 1994, M4, M5, M5 East, then ED. The public interest as well as air quality and public transport patronage was going south at a fast rate of knots on Scully’s watch and his successors.


So dear reader ask yourself: Was Scully honest? Was anyone in the ALP honest? If he was so good and/or honest why is Premier Iemma so glad to be rid of him? It’s not in this writer’s view for the reason Gary Punch tried to advance on radio this morning, that ‘the RTA was a bureaucracy not up to their job’. Au contraire, the RTA delivered to the ALP and vested interests every time this last 10 years under Carr and Scully when it came to tollway construction and fat fingers in pies.


This writer is fond of recalling an ABC Quentin Dempster Stateline tv show years back where an employee dispute hearing at the Industrial Relations Commission was reported. Viewers enjoyed scurrillous evidence by the staffer to then ALP Minister Gabrielle Harrison claiming junior Gabrielle said to her "this ALP government is the most corrupt in the history of NSW". The evidence was presented by south coast unionist turned legal advocate Paul Matters for the erstwhile staffer.


An embarrassing quote to be sure, possibly not helpful to resolution of the IRC case itself, and indeed only hearsay by the aggrieved staffer attributing the quote to her ex ministerial 'employer' (technically the Parliament is employer, but only on advice of the MP). Harrison later denied the quote outside the court, that is not on oath if memory serves. But then she would have to for a quiet life post politics in this ALP town, as a widow, with a young son to raise.


Personally I tend to think still youthful Harrison did say it, she did mean it, the staffer used the truth of the quote to hurt her Minister's career as revenge for the staffer ending up at the IRC, as well as Matters with his own history,  and this was in truth the ALP in government in NSW then and today. That indeed is why reputable Dempster reported it as probitive of something. If Harrison did say it she was talking about Carl Scully. 


The staffer lost her IRC unfair dismissal case. Minister Harrison soon quit both cabinet and politics. That might be a new story entitled "Was Gabrielle Harrison too honest?"

Posted by editor at 11:28 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 19 January 2007 5:44 AM EADT
'Increased policing of young people all about votes not solutions' ...maybe
Mood:  hug me
Topic: election nsw 2007

No one on the left likes to be known as a fascist but this story running no. 2 on the SMH web page index frontpage  today:




runs counter to the sense of the Green Party media release below. It would only be indicative of plenty of social conflicts over the holidays.


Here is an even more scary story, and notice the gang pride theme of immature minds:




But before I read the Herald stories I was reacting from my own extensive observations of the Sydney streets of inner Sydney of flighty immature school age to 20 year old young men wandering around in the silly season Christmas to New Year and since: Keen for action around alcohol and partying and girls and pride games. Looking for action and no supervision. A jumble of identity and physical confusions, and suffering various levels of boredom.


You can call it law and order tub thumping but the heat and season adds resonance to the Iemma political strategy out in voter land.


That's my observation and this worthy notion which I totally agree with about frameworks for teens to enjoy themselves constructively stuck at the bottom of the Greens release looks pretty wimpy compared to the danger stories above:


"Dealing with alcohol fuelled anti-social behaviour is a challenge.

The starting point has to be working with young people. More youth
workers and more late night transport options would help to reduce
unacceptable behaviour," Ms Rhiannon said."


In the last weekend I have seen 2 mounted police horses down in front of Banana Joes 9.30 pm in Marrickville, and along Bondi Beach. It was appreciated because I did feel safer from the symbolism. In the second case a mob of children gathered in curiousity to look at the impressive animals and talk to the horsewomen.


But the Greens are right too. What about those kids when the police move on? They are still left in a state of boredom prone to high risk behaviours. One thing the successful local government Bondi Beach Safety Committee 1996-1998 taught this writer as a member of that committee: Boredom and crowds are a bad mix. And that means social resources for youth.


----- Original Message -----

From: "Lee Rhiannon"


MEDIA RELEASE 12 January 2007

Increased policing of young people all about votes not solutions


Greens MP Lee Rhiannon said the Iemma government's three-month plan to increase police surveillance of young people is a crude election pitch that will not assist young people or make our communities safer  


"The Greens are committed to making communities safer but putting more police on the streets in areas where young people congregate will not achieve this," said Ms Rhiannon


"This plan is clearly political. Premier Morris Iemma cannot pretend this is just an operational matter


"In agreeing to a three month policing plan the Premier has signalled that this will be another law and order election.


"The Premier is trying to stay in front of the opposition in the tough on crime battle between the major parties


"This plan could well backfire. Once again young people will be depicted as a 'criminal group' and that society is under threat from a 'youth crime wave'.


"Police Commissioner Ken Moroney's announcement that the special patrols will include mounted police, dog squads, highway patrol, licensing police and transit police is a serious misjudgement on how to handle young people


"The Greens are concerned that this plan could result in over surveillance of marginalised young people


"Dealing with alcohol fuelled anti-social behaviour is a challenge.


"The starting point has to be working with young people. More youth workers and more late night transport options would help to reduce unacceptable behaviour," Ms Rhiannon said.



Postscript #1: Sure enough this lead story in the Sydney Daily Bugle, err sorry Telegraph today refers to the local government Safety Committee model that succeeded in Bondi Beach in the late1990's. But the underlying solution of that committee was positive frameworks for youthful energy to address boredom and immature psychology, not least in holiday times:


 How we'll stop thugs

 By Joe Hildebrand: THE State Government has unveiled the biggest community policing program in more than 20 years and will launch a range of radical measures to tackle street violence.

Posted by editor at 10:14 AM EADT
Updated: Monday, 15 January 2007 12:11 PM EADT
The Bilal Skaf 55 year sentence for gang rape by Justice Michael Finane
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: peace

 By Tom McLoughlin, solicitor in NSW

When I studied the subject of Jurisprudence in 1989 at Australian National University which I greatly enjoyed, we were taught there is an institutional conspiracy in the administration of justice around the choice of judges.

That is the judges are chosen from a fairly limited group of society, who had a certain socio economic childhood, education, religious training, ethnicity, career as a lawyer and then choice as a judge.

This is the realist theory of the law, as a social contract we all sign up to to live here, where morality is not nearly as significant as maintaining order, because disorder creates confusion and that leads to conflict and social breakdown. So the law is more about keeping the peace than actually doing justice.

[Notice too the legalistic objective of keeping the peace is only one social good. If law is too strict it stifles creativity, freedom of expression, and innovation. Too much 'legalistic order' can be not only boring, it can be unhealthy to civil liberty and so fascist. As always it's a balancing act for society as a whole.]

Similarly there is a jurisprudential academic view this background influence reflects the approach of judges to court decisions on any particular matter.

In a way this is common sense, and blatantly obvious. A judge is affected by their own background personal experience. But this has to be applied professionally according to the evidence in a case and the actual law. So much for the human condition.

One presumes Judge Michael Finane is such an orthodox judicial officer.

Indeed this writer has met him socially on one occassion at his home long before these controversial cases and some of his family around the topic of permaculture gardening. This puts this writer in a delicate position. One is able properly to comment on legal decisions but not hold judges in contempt by suggesting they take note of anything in their decisions other than the evidence before them. For instance their family background should not be a factor beyond what is known as "judicial facts", that is commonly known things that everyone accepts without evidence - say the sun comes up and sets, the harbour bridge is big etc. They have to be common blatant things beyond controversy. Perhaps. Does it includes a father's concern for the well being of his own?

So from a legal theory point of view I wish to comment on the fairly widespread view amongst some critics of the 55 year very long sentence of Skaf by Finane that discrimination might be involved. No. Simply I don't believe it and here is why:

There is one thing in common between Finane and critic Mufti Hilali - they are both fathers of adult children. My intuitive belief is that subliminally or subconsciously Finane must have been influenced by this reality of his own family. Similarly if any of Hilali's daughters had been violently abused he would probably be quoting the Koran or Old Testament dictum of capital punishment, rather than 55 years.

There might be quite a few women's groups with sympathy for that too, as victims of violent sexual abuse, though the law is properly not in the business of revenge. 

So I don't buy the theory about Finane prejudice against Islam in his harsh punishment. No, I think it's an explanation around evidence and law, training and yes his own family, far closer to Hilali's own life journey perhaps than the Mufti actually realises. Not the evil of discrimination but the positive motive of a family man.

It is regretable to mention a judge's family in analysing his decision but there wouldn't be a good defence lawyer in the whole country who didn't make similar calculations of the presiding judicial officer in a case. What's he like? How many sugars in his coffee and every other personal detail. So it is with Finane and that's the burden too of a judge's family.

I write this in what I believe to be the public interest, and a small risk to my own practising certificate, as there is a gathering momentum behind the 'discrimination against Islam' theory of Skaf's sentence which calls up the need for credible alternative versions of reality of which a father's natural concerns for their own surely plays a part while properly exercising a public duty.

Posted by editor at 8:44 AM EADT
Updated: Tuesday, 16 January 2007 10:33 PM EADT
Sunday, 14 January 2007
Inimitable Michael Moore satirises President Bush Iraq war speech
Mood:  sharp
Topic: peace

Jarrah Keenan doing a stint in South Korea as an English teacher forwards this amusing, disturbing satire of George W Bush  (who I must say closely resembles a 'defeated' presidential candidate Ritchie character in the West Wing tv series (4th Season, #6  "Game On" broadcast October 30 2002).

Hard to make funny of such a terrible situation, but then humour sometimes can be so profound as to the truth of the world. Over to Mr Average American here:

Dear Mr. President: Send Even MORE Troops (and you go, too!) ...from Michael


Dear Mr. President,

Thanks for your address to the nation. It's good to know you still want to
talk to us after how we behaved in November.

Listen, can I be frank? Sending in 20,000 more troops just ain't gonna do
the job. That will only bring the troop level back up to what it was last
year. And we were losing the war last year! We've already had over a million
troops serve some time in Iraq since 2003. Another few thousand is simply
not enough to find those weapons of mass destruction! Er, I mean... bringing
those responsible for 9/11 to justice! Um, scratch that. Try this -- BRING

You've got to show some courage, dude! You've got to win this one! C'mon,
you got Saddam! You hung 'im high! I loved watching the video of that --
just like the old wild west! The bad guy wore black! The hangmen were as
crazy as the hangee! Lynch mobs rule!!!

Look, I have to admit I feel very sorry for the predicament you're in. As
Ricky Bobby said, "If you're not first, you're last." And you being
humiliated in front of the whole world does NONE of us Americans any good.

Sir, listen to me. You have to send in MILLIONS of troops to Iraq, not
thousands! The only way to lick this thing now is to flood Iraq with
millions of us! I know that you're out of combat-ready soldiers -- so you
have to look elsewhere! The only way you are going to beat a nation of 27
million -- Iraq -- is to send in at least 28 million! Here's how it would

The first 27 million Americans go in and kill one Iraqi each. That will
quickly take care of any insurgency. The other one million of us will stay
and rebuild the country. Simple.

Now, I know you're saying, where will I find 28 million Americans to go to
Iraq? Here are some suggestions:

1. More than 62,000,000 Americans voted for you in the last election (the
one that took place a year and half into a war we already knew we were
losing). I am confident that at least a third of them would want to put
their body where there vote was and sign up to volunteer. I know many of
these people and, while we may disagree politically, I know that they don't
believe someone else should have to go and fight their fight for them --
while they hide here in America.

2. Start a "Kill an Iraqi" Meet-Up group in cities across the country. I
know this idea is so early-21st century, but I once went to a Lou Dobbs
Meet-Up and, I swear, some of the best ideas happen after the third mojito.
I'm sure you'll get another five million or so enlistees from this effort.

3. Send over all members of the mainstream media. After all, they were your
collaborators in bringing us this war -- and many of them are already
trained from having been "embedded!" If that doesn't bring the total to 28
million, then draft all viewers of the FOX News channel.

Mr. Bush, do not give up! Now is not the time to pull your punch! Don't be a
weenie by sending in a few over-tired troops. Get your people behind you and
YOU lead them in like a true commander in chief! Leave no conservative
behind! Full speed ahead!

We promise to write. Go get 'em W!


Michael Moore

Posted by editor at 9:05 AM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 14 January 2007 9:17 AM EADT
The 'real story' of unionist, anti war Gallipoli martyr Kirkpatrick aka Simpson and his Donkey
Mood:  cool
Topic: peace

If this version of history is true it appears current federal Defence Minister Brendan Nelson is not quite the "detail man" that PM John Howard would all like us to believe. Read on!


It is interesting talking to diverse folks at Addison Rd Community Centre. I am a humble gardener one day a week there and chat to tenants and neighbours alike. I like to think of myself as honouring alternatively Eddie Mabo gardener in solidarity with Black Radio Skidrow folks, or Che Guevara agricultural worker vis a vis the Casa Latin American Spanish speakers club. But mostly I just do bins gutters and weeding.


This inspiring conversation is well worth recording: A talk with one retired gent Alf Rankin last Friday 12th January neighbour to the ARC (just near the north west composter actually) which still has army buildings from when it was a Vietnam War barracks.


(It’s a bloody good parallel to a radio talk by author Peter Fitzsimons on literary luncheons on ABC radio a day or two before about the revered Rats of Tobruk who stopped Rommel for the first time ever. The talk is a little hard to locate on the web but notice this promo: http://shop.abc.net.au/browse/product.asp?productid=521445 )


There I was weeding in front of YogaTrack and Alf pauses, as he does:


Me: This is the music I like [playing on my van stereo], it’s the soundtrack to the movie Thin Red Line, do you know it? The film’s on the Pope’s top 20 list apparently.

Alf: no can’t say I have.

Me: There are two versions but the recent one is the best. It’s about the very violent campaign in WW2 in Guadalcanal but it’s actually about democracy, how a middle ranking officer defies an order higher up so his men aren’t cannon fodder. Great actors. Nolte, Penn, Clooney, Travolta. They all wanted to be in it. The director only makes one every 15 years so they wanted in. Great stuff.

Alf: funny you should talk about defiance.

Me: Yeah Australian soldiers are said to be casual and rebellious aren’t they.

Alf: Australians like to think they are.

Me: Yeah. Actually we are a very docile submissive lot compared to say the French.

Alf:  I met a Scottish fellow who was in WW1 who came here. Said if he survived this he wanted to live in Australia. But when he got here he didn’t find it.

Me: Reality didn’t live up to the ideal, eh?

Alf: What he saw in the happy go lucky Australians abroad wasn’t what he saw here. I’ll tell you a story about Kirkpatrick. You might know him as Simpson. He was from a village called [Shields End?]. They were seafaring people. So was my grandfather. They were seafaring people when they came out here too. Ships carpenters and various other jobs. They knew Kirkpatrick and he was always visiting their place. They believed in the same things. There was a lot of support at that time for something called the IWW, international [or did he say “industrial”] workers of the world. They were part of that. Seafarers used to carry the message to ports across the world.

Me: Strong mateship eh? What was your grandfather’s name?

Alf: Whalton. W-H-A-L-T-O-N.

Me: That’s an unusual spelling. [I’m thinking ‘John Boy’ in the Waltons tv series.]

Alf: I have his death certificate at home. So anyway Kirkpatrick hated guns, didn’t want anything to do with them. He thought he would join up here and get a trip back to the UK and disappear as Simpson and start living as Kirkpatrick again. But the ship never got that far, it stopped in a place called Gallipoli.

Me: He was the famous Simpson with the donkey? He did that for about a month or two didn’t he?

Alf: Yeah. He wouldn’t fight you see. Refused to work for the Australian army. He got involved with the Indians. They loved him for helping their wounded. It went to an Australian General they reckon who said just let him be.

Me: He probably knew what would happen to him soon enough.

Alf: Maybe. Some say he was killed by the enemy, some even say it was an Australian bullet. No one knows really.

Me: Where would that latter story come from? The Indians?

Alf: Not sure.

Me: You know this is a pretty embarrassing version of history for Defence Minister Nelson. He holds Simpson up as a model of Australian values. He’s put it in an education pack to all Australian schools. Can I quote you on this? I do a bit of web publishing.

Alf: Okay.

Me: What’s your name?

Alf: Alf Rankin.

Me: What a stupid war WW1 was. Such a waste.


Postscript #1: I don’t know how accurate this is or possible to corroborate regarding the history of Simpson’s demise as a martyr on the Gallipoli battle field. Here are some references that provide a comparison




and yes it does look very close to the official Australia War Memorial version of reality, but no mention of Industrial Workers of the World:




Also no mention of the highly inflammatory suggestion he was shot by an Australian bullet seeking revenge for his desertion at Gallipoli.


But the reference to working with the Indian soldiers, and the merchant navy history are all there. Whacko. I think Alf has got a nugget of information for Australian history here.


Postscript #2: This is what Howard's "detail man" said to the media of record ABC PM show [direct quote]:




"Teach Australian values or 'clear off', says Nelson
PM - Wednesday, 24 August , 2005  18:18:00

Reporter: Samantha Hawley


MARK COLVIN: Teach Australian values or "clear off". That's the message to Islamic schools in Australia from the Federal Education Minister, Brendan Nelson.

Dr Nelson gives the World War One story of Simpson and his donkey as an example of the values he means. It's the story of the unarmed soldier with a donkey who rescued wounded men on Gallipoli.


Dr Nelson says if we lose sight of what Simpson and his donkey represented, Australia as a nation will lose its direction. ...."


and on and on it goes.


Not Simpson, Kirkpatrick. Not Australian, British. Not a military patriot but a peacenik deserter saintly martyr. Not a righteous soldier but anti war.


And these people are in charge of the blood and life of our citizenry, of vouchsafing the best interest of our allies, and global security.


'Don't take the low road' indeed to quote a soliliquy by the prodigy in West Wing tv series Josh Lyman character. Take the high road.


Seems The Age editorialist has been here before me in any case. They cover most of this shallow 'wrap me in a uniform' prompous right wing fantasy at the time August 2005:




Nelson was seeing Liberal Party blue tinted fairies at the bottom of the garden it seems. Next to the glow of non existent Iraqi WMD I suppose. Meanwhile Libya really did have nuke/nuke technology via AQ Khan working from Pakistan. Incredulous really.

Posted by editor at 8:39 AM EADT
Updated: Monday, 19 May 2008 6:28 PM NZT
Friday, 12 January 2007
Egyptian Australian cleric scorns white western supremacist mythology here, courts big talkies
Mood:  caffeinated
Topic: big media

Stay tuned for the usual foetid hysteria over a talk show interview last night in Egypt by the Mufti of Lakemba Mosque in Sydney while on holidays there, the night of George W Bush's big Iraq war speech.


He is ‘a fool, mad, divisive, intolerant, a bad representative of Muslim Australians, and should be encouraged to stay overseas’. This last one from the Premier of NSW no less who well knows he is a citizen of Australia based in his own electorate of … Lakemba. How's that for so called free speech, constructive deportation.


For the record here is my view after a long slog gardening and just checking the major daily press and ABC tv news/7.30 Report. Speaking of which 7.30 failed miserably in their duty to report the serious news being more fallout on Iraq war speech by George Bush, preferring to go with the Hilali confected outrage.


First Hilali is no fool. He surely knew his talk show interview would play back home in Oz.


Second the docile indeed submissive presentation of Walid Ali  (e.g. on 7.30 Report, a favoured media spokersperson for Muslims based in Melbourne) and similar suggested a proverbial Uncle Tom response to Hilali. Walid Ali having already 'sold out' to the big western corporate law firm down there (speaking as an ex sell out corporate lawyer myself) Walid is at risk of appearing a careerist appeaser of white supremacist status quo in Australia.


Not that I blame this eloquent very bright fellow for cringing at the swingeing comments of Hilali which make life so much more difficult for Islamic loyalists: He’s not here to make your life any more comfortable Mr Walid Ali, of that you can be sure. On the other hand Muslim leaders should also keep in mind that it was in Sydney in February 2003, and not Melbourne for a change, that between 250 and 500K peace marchers confronted Howard's thinly disguised white supremacist foreign (and domestic) policy.


This was the peace and anti war march Howard infamously referred to as "a mob" including this writer at a peace and environment info stall under the banner "The Bush worth saving".


Third there is no doubt Hilali’s uncompromising views will cause trouble for younger generations of more assimilated Muslim Australians who want diplomacy, harmony and cooperation. But that still doesn’t negate what Hilali has to say as awkward as it is.


What we are seeing is a highly political man who rejects USA imperial foreign policy, who is old and doesn’t care about who he offends amongst his enemies, especially as he is getting too tired for his demanding job now.


But what he does care about is growing the Muslim pie here in Australia. He is not going to lose any votes within Islam from the existing believers no matter how troubled they feel about his style, they are rusted on faithful,  but he will get some new fans.


Those getting hysterical don’t give Hilali near enough credit for his PR cunning.


14 days out from Sovereignty Day, err sorry, Australia Day 26th January 2007 roughly 500,000 original Australians, our Indigenous, Aboriginal Australia




will be asking themselves which tradition is worth pursuing? Anglo Saxon Christian dogma, or Muslim Australia?


And Hilali wants to be in that equation. He wants his message to be transmitted, for free if at all possible, to all those coloured folk who are losers in the Western anglo saxon white supremacist culture.


How easy for an Egyptian with thousands of years of history over the British to scorn the convict story as trivial or even embarrassing. It has the added benefit too of appealing to those Aboriginal Aussies whose land was stolen and People slaughtered or sickened.


And then there are those coloured folk whose relatives are hurt by Bush, Blair and Howard’s ‘surge’ in Iraq. The Palestinians as well. They think white western governments and their people are ‘liars’ to some degree. We did re elect John Howard after all in 2004. Is it really any accident Hilali made his interview soon after Bush’s speech when the Mufti has been to Iraq and knows the suffering of those people in depressing detail? The Bush speech alarming and depressing the Middle East and the world generally.


But what is most galling for the dominant Euro Australian culture is that Hilali is fighting stereotypical intolerant fire with fire, as truly divisive as that is. It would be unwise to assume the Mufti's reverse stereotyping of western society does not have some resonance, and some evidence to his case. Take for instance his reported claim 'there is no freedom or democracy for Muslims in Australia'. On one level it looks hopelessly inaccurate and vexatious.


But on another level consider the following evidence exactly on 1. denial of freedom (to Muslim alleged terrorists pending trial), and 2. unequal legal administration as regards sub judice evidence which is a hallmark of democracy:


Today I noticed a paragraph in the Sydney Morning Herald notable for its outrageous breach of legal reporting standards: Where the evidence in a case is sub judice and not for general press reporting when charges have been laid, especially in a case so very very serious. Here it is by the otherwise affable journo Tom Allard. [I met Allard on the media stakeout of Costello Howard leadership Cabinet standoff mid 2006 in Sydney CBD, so he obviously does federal political stories.]. 


The fact the media breach has not been a subject of controversy in the general media or legal media for compromising a long and expensive trial process including no bail, says a lot about how far our society’s checks and balances regarding non Christian coffee coloured folks has slipped:


“Indeed, when police and ASIO agents swooped on 19 alleged terrorists in Sydney and Melbourne last year, they found an astounding array of violent material on their computers. Their electronic library was as voluminous as it was disturbing, including recipes for homemade explosives, poems in praise of jihad and grisly videos and audio files of beheadings and terrorist attacks.”


In Fighting jihad in cyberspace page 27 Sydney Morning Herald December 2-3 2006:


Full article here at:




The only difference with the web and paper version is that the journalist’s name is missing.


Get it? Allard is spilling the prosecution case in the Big Media to prime the public preconceptions. This is actually blatantly illegal reporting of sub judice evidence.


Sure I’m a rusty junior lawyer here in NSW, but let me take a wild guess and say this prejudices the whole case by the authorities for a fair trial.


Who is Allard’s source for that incriminating evidence? Was it the police prosecution? Was it the Attorney General Ruddock or his officers? Was it ASIO? Can the accused get a fair trial still after all 19 are tarred with this indiscriminate brush? All orthodox questions in exactly same situation for the proverbial ‘white western alleged violent criminal' whose case is compromised by Big Media reportage.


Trials are aborted for this kind of reportage in my memory.


What was that about equal democracy and freedom in Australia Hilali suspects as flaky, indeed what of equality before the law? Allard is no slouch journalist, and this was a big feature story, not some throw away piece. The Herald obviously was happy with it under an image of the Osama Bin Laden bogey man.


Won’t defence barrister Rob Starry be interested to read this article here on independent media. It was Starry who said in a Channel 31 tv programme in Sydney last year that there is a consistent pattern of abuse of legal norms by the authorities regarding prejudicial media choreography of his defendants. That from a lawyer of 25 years experience.


So go ahead and rail against Hilali for prodding sacred cows about desperate convicts stealing, err sorry settling a whole continent from Blackfellas. The trouble is there is a grain of truth, not the whole truth mind you, in what Hilali is saying. But then he is not playing the whole truth game one presumes having long given that away, as neither are Australian institutions of power being completely honest either, as the Fairfax press quite blatantly evidences above. 


Postscript # 1 Sunday am 14th Jan 07:

Uh oh moment for Fairfax? The Saturday edition of Fairfax Sydney Morning Herald does not seem to have run one mention of Hilali in their flagship Saturday/weekend edition 13/14th January 2007.

By contrast The Australian ran a bit on their front page and the egregious Sydney Daily Telegraph ran another ridicule 'news' article, a ridicule comment on the Blair pseudo blog opinion page (mainly targeting gifted cultural interpreter for the Mufti and peace activist Kayser Trad), and again on the editorial (3 items in all).

Hilali was news but not in the Saturday edition of Fairfax. That's quite an interesting back down by the more ethical paper of record. But let's see how the Sunday press goes today too.

Postscript #2: The Sunday press in Sydney has News Ltd's Sunday Telegraph - nil, zero, zilch on Hilali. I think maybe they get it and have shut off the oxygen. Fairfax's Sydney SunHerald have one very friendly anglo son in law, and his anglo parents, story supporting the Mufti. That's what I call a truce complete with exhortations to "free speech", all on page 9: under banner headline "Meet the in-laws" at http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/the-anglos-whose-son-married-the-muftis-daughter/2007/01/13/1168105230363.html

But wait, cynical PM Howard can see the political advantage of a divisive tango with Hilali evaporating and chipped in on the Fairfax website  to keep it going calling Hilali "an embarrassment to Islamic Australians" in a late posted story timed at  11.14 am. http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/sheik-an-embarrassment-pm/2007/01/14/1168709598468.html

The "embarrassing" tag also tried in the press yesterday by Howard on Hilali is actually borrowed surely (and ironically) by Howard from this FHM survey calling him the very same thing, we reported at SAM here as follows: (Saturday, 6 January 2007) 'PM Howard wins 'most embarrassing' Australian in 2006: FHM Magazine'


It's as if both are working hard to confirm the overall thesis that both are indeed 'embarrassing', past it, divisive and desperate for oxygen to keep their profiles alive: Hilali goes tit for tat calling him "a me too" PM for copying W Bush.


Talk about both striving to win a battle between themselves and losing the PR war in the minds of the overall public.


# Postscript #3:


Well the mutual tango for equal and opposite media profile over quite possibly equally intolerant aging white supremacist Howard, and aging multicultural Islamist Hilali so dogmatic on matters of faith, continues apace today Monday. At least its on the fairly clear and valid debate underpinning alot of this argument meaning undeclared white supremacist local and foreign domestic policy of Howard, indeed majority fascist tendencies versus a minority scapegoat.


Here is an example: Sheik now loves Australia


For instance Fred Nile Christian fundamentalist holds many of the same views as Hilali on say disapproving of alternative sexuality but doesn't get nearly the criticism. Nile is anglo and as such glorifies the USA euro dominant Christian traditional role in the world. Hilali being coloured and non anglo does not. So where is the news in this entirely predictable ethno religious geopolitical public friction exactly?


I suppose Hilali is a complex person and as such a loose and inaccurate proxy for very complex and fraught geo political problems in the Middle East that Australia now has as such a loyal ally of dogmatic W Bush USA regime. But then so is PM Howard a quite accurate proxy for W Bush failure as a world leader on the Middle East.

Posted by editor at 10:20 PM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 8 February 2007 8:29 AM EADT

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