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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Monday, 1 December 2008
SAM traffic counter returns to service
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: independent media

We read Tim Blair in the Saturday Telegraph, or TB as we like to say, sledging gutsy lefty Anthony Lowenstein for having only 200 hits a day on his blog. Which is largely irrelevant as he is also a mainstream freelance journalist as well.

Anyhow we noticed our traffic counter back in business from our US host server, but it looks like we might have lost a good 6 days traffic there at about 500 a day.

Yesterday was a good day:

Postscript 3rd Dec 2008: This image shows we lost 6 days of traffic metrics roughly 19 Nov to 25 Nov:



Posted by editor at 8:00 PM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 3 December 2008 2:29 PM EADT
ALP Govt(s) destroy best forest on mainland Australia at Brown Mtn East Gippsland
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: aust govt

Jill Redwoord writes as follows:

Sent: Saturday, November 29, 2008 7:02 PM
Subject: [chipstop] Brown Mountain - new YouTube clip

Dear all,
please check out this brand new 3 1/2 minute clip on Brown Mt and send it to everyone you can think of. Thanks.

We took a look around this fantastic unprotected forest over the Easter Holidays in 2005 here:

East Gippsland Forest Forever Fest photo gallery March 2005 


Posted by editor at 7:21 PM EADT
Updated: Monday, 1 December 2008 7:37 PM EADT
Sunday, 30 November 2008
Sunday political talkies: COAG learns to love the deficit b*mb
Mood:  chatty
Topic: aust govt



Author's general introductory note

This is not a well packaged story. It's a contemporaneous traverse of the Sunday television free to air political talkies indicating the agenda of Establishment interests: Better to know ones rivals and allies  in Big Politics and Big Media. 

For actual transcripts and/or video feeds go to the programme web sites quoted including Riley Diary on 7. And note transcripts don't really give you the image content value.

Media backgrounders

* 27,000 children die of poverty today (and every other day) according to Princeton Professor of ethics Peter Singer, and 194 people mostly rich westerners, some of them Australian citizens, are murdered in Mumbai by fanatics this last week.

* Turnbull in trouble with the big banks front of AFR last Tuesday suggests Turnbull probably was right about his criticism to implement only a $100K limit - to keep the mortgage backed investment funds liquid. Gillard made hay with the headline in federal parliament - regardless of merits?

* Hartcher reckons it's bad policy not bad capitalist system leading to GFC with followup GEC. But he ignores several things in his smh feature column - millions of US citizens needed public housing regardless so this was done via the capitalist method. It ignores the Afro Americans were carrying the army load of Iraq so that's domestic politics to support the subprime loans. It ignores the cut in social services again resultant of Iraq war cost as per Joseph Stiglitz. In other words Hartcher is trite and not really addressing geo political economy applying to the USA. In other words Hartcher is not the last word.

* More likely last word this evening on web and digital abc2 Fora Naomi Klein and Joseph Stiglitz Sunday at about 6 pm. Important viewing as per Democracy Now post here on SAM Nov 19th.

* Mike Smith in The Oz missed the Mumbai terror by 3 minutes. Amazing record of survival in his high flying banking career.

* Federal Bill IR demise of Work Choices surprising lack of controversy in the last week.

* Dogs are howling for Julie Bishop to stand down from shadow treasurer job, as per Van Onselen article in Sydney Sunday Telegaph

[to be continued]

10 Meet the Press:  8- 8-30 am

Deputy PM Gillard on big health COAG deal federal and state, job generator some 130K new jobs, over 4 years?. Trails economic responsibility in GFC, claims 75K jobs in economic security package of previous weeks. Rhetoric of Premier Barnett WA agrees with a deficit approach where responsible [tag team with The headline is a $15B deal. Turnbull deficit sledge footage, 6 years last time.

JG is highly groomed looks like Tilda Swinton in a Clooney movie - the villain.

Panel Annabel Crabb smh (took haircare freebie from Gillard's defacto wrote it up yesterday to defend his honourary health ambassador role - bad decision AC), Mark Kenny Adelaide Advertiser gets first Q.

Q. on workchoices, exceeded mandate from MK?  Boilerplate.

AC question is hardline, no concessions re double cost promised at the election. [Feeds into Turnbull narrative of long deficit.] Follow up equally brutal almost suggest AC has got the blowback on her friendly column yesterday for Mr Gillard.

Footage of stakeholder group on abc childcare sledging banks as arbiters of 380 centres uncertainty. Receiver to announce more this week.

Kenny asks question regarding partner health role. PB followed up surprised? Says not, also that good for her to be thinking of men's health issues - that resonates a bit positioning her partner as special access for men generally. But it's replete with spin. Is a case for parallel with Rein as spouse of PM honourary roles. Trouble is the question of merit of the choice comparative to high profile celebrities, health experts etc.

2nd guest is Premier Bligh - pushes "architecture" buzz word. It's a Qld re election of ALP policy given Beatty/Dr Death scandal. AC asks whether NSW got the lion share for fiscal incompetence. Bligh left defending NSW. Confidence in process, national approach. MK - political threat resolved?  Help a lot.

PB election? Sept 2009 expected to go full term. [Maybe]

Meet The Press - Watch Political Video Online - Channel TEN.


Riley Diary 7, from 8.30am

Brown ponchos good bad ugly (dwelling on W Bush), does evangelical choir and star wars wardrobe comparison. Cute footage of local visits, donations "viva Kevin Rude"

Sarah Hanson Young image fairly flattering, sprinkler alarm on Rudd presser, funny deficit admission with lightning symbol in question time MPI speech.

Q&A about big COAG agreement [worth some $15B over 5 years]



9 Sunday newshour Laurie Oakes interview 8.40 am

Treasurer Swan on 5 year COAG agreement. Sounding quite calm, less shouting rhetoric.

$10.4 billion strategy, more on infrastructure, some announcements prior to Christmas.

Traverse deficit discussion, rhetoric about Colin Barnett as Premier of WA [seen as career long fiscal conservative?].

Swan is earning his grey hair after bedding down COAG yesterday. Looking and sounding like a monkey off his back this morning. Turning into a fireside chat with LO, mild mannered relaxed, no drama Obama approach is successful.

Optimistic living here in Australia, is depressing seeing the problems overseas, crisis has moved onto the developing world. Optimistic about China still, India suffered security and GFC at same time has consequences.

Tax reform possible in future?



Insiders 2: 9- 10am

Footage of premiers on COAG cooperative federalism of $15B health education over 5 years. Benchmarking for performance incentives. Round up by Paul Kelly for The Australian.

Foreign Minister on Mumbai political murders of rich westerners. Footage of there and Thailand airport protests.

Panel - Brian Toohey (AFR), Dennis Atkin News Corp/Courier Mail/Brisbane, Piers Akerman News Corp/Daily Telegraph/Sydney.

Akerman draws link between Kashmir and David Hicks. Kerry Ann Walsh - Sydney Fairfax SunHerald.

Talent is Andrew Robb, shadow minister. "Mountains of cash out there, no liquidity, all locked up". Says irresponsible to have a deficit in various ways. May not have cut through even if true. Robb asked about Julie Bishop which is cute given he is heir apparent for her treasurer job. Says hands full with job he's got.

Everyperson at Bondi Icebergs 3 crusties generally satisfied with the government.

KAW re "word games" [instituted by The Australian, shameless hypocrisy of journalists with their headlines playing ...."word games"]

Toohey ramps up critique of middle class welfare for self funded superannuants, $1,400 each next week. Akerman wails at "lack of management" re computer and NBN rollout.

Footage of Turnbull attack re ‘ALP deficit lasts for 6 years'.

KAK notes IR demise of Work Choices surprising lack of controversy in the last week.

KAK plea to reform question time in lower house. Toohey calls for fair go for Wayne Swan as treasurer.

Home page is http://www.abc.net.au/insiders/

Inside Business - 2 at 10am

Conroy as Telecommunications minister talks a good game on NBN. Says the open competitive process has been vindicated. Telstra is being treated as a bid. Conroy says it's an arms length process and he hasn't seen the 6 bigs. McGauchie agrees it should be considered by the expert panel.

Refer http://www.abc.net.au/insidebusiness/

Posted by editor at 11:00 AM EADT
Updated: Monday, 1 December 2008 1:08 PM EADT
Thursday, 27 November 2008
Solar evangelists converge on Darling Harbour as Pope installs PV* panels
Mood:  special
Topic: globalWarming

* PV stands for photo voltaic solar energy derived electricity (eg for lights, computers, other appliances at about 15-25% energy efficiency from the sun's rays). This is distinct from another form of solar energy being thermal solar (heat energy up to about 30-40% efficiency) generally used for hot water systems (often the biggest drain on household energy bills). PV and solar thermal are often used in tandem. See an example of both types of panels pictured below.  We are no expert but we understand these levels of efficiency are similar to conventional coal or nuclear sources given network leakages, rules of entropy (to degrade energy) in physics.

Picture: From right, Artur Zawadski of Wizard Power and chairman of convening group Australian New Zealand Solar Energy Society, Monica Oliphant president of convening group International Solar Energy Society (UN affiliated, daughter in law of nuclear physicist Sir Marcus 'Mark' Oliphant), Professor Deo Prasad of UNSW, John Susa of multinational (Chinese) solar company TrinaSola, and Dr Muriel Watt of UNSW

Picture: Slide from Dr Muriel Watt, UNSW on where we are, and where we are not, as in foot dragging (our word) by the current federal government on renewable energy policy. Minister Garrett did give a speech (which we missed) but according to another expert observer he failed to address 'MRET', gross 'FIT', 'RE' and Innovation Funds for renewable energy. These terms are mandatory renewable energy target, feed in tariff, renewable energy.

Yesterday we attended gratis via IMCS conference organisers the 3rd International Solar Energy Conference in combination with the 46th Annual Conference of the Australian & New Zealand Solar Energy Society. The ANZSES were also holding their AGM last night to adopt a new constitution and appoint a new CEO/CEO structure to get in shape for the years ahead.

We are talking literally a sunrise sector that is big money, big energy, big global outreach via UN affiliations, and big names at this conference like Prof David Mills featured in a new movie premier last night called The Future Makers in conjuction with Discovery Channel.

By coincidence we were reading via Crikey.com.au ezine that the Pope has joined the solar photo voltaic evangelists in their quest for "grid parity" over the next 10 years. This term refers to the point at which the cost of solar energy is the same as grid power (not sure if this is only running cost, or includes capital set up cost via loan with interest/amortisation of cost).

Refer the Vatican news here:


  • The Vatican goes green Ruth Brown
  • and more directly here via Reuters complete with photo slide show for the devout tourist:

    Vatican set to go green with huge solar panel roof

    Tue Nov 25, 2008 3:02pm EST

    By Philip Pullella

    VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Vatican was set to go green on Wednesday with the activation of a new solar energy system to power several key buildings and a commitment to use renewable energy for 20 percent of its needs by 2020.

    The massive roof of the Vatican's "Nervi Hall," where popes hold general audiences and concerts are performed, has been covered with 2,400 photovoltaic panels -- but they will not be visible from below, leaving the Vatican skyline unchanged.

    The new system on the 5,000 square meter roof will provide for all the year-round energy needs of the hall and several surrounding buildings, producing 300 kilowatt hours (MWh) of clean energy a year.

    The system, devised by the German company SolarWorld, will allow the 108-acre city-state to cut its carbon dioxide emissions by about 225,000 kilograms (225 tonnes) and save the equivalent of 80 tonnes of oil each year.

    The Holy See's newspaper said on Tuesday that the Vatican planned to install enough renewable energy sources to provide 20 percent of its needs by 2020, broadly in line with a proposal by the European Union.

    The 1971 Nervi Hall is named after the renowned architect who designed it, Pier Paolo Nervi, and is one of the most modern buildings in the Vatican, where most structures are several centuries old. The hall can hold up to 10,000 people.

    It has a sweeping, wavy roof which made the project feasible and the solar panels virtually invisible from the ground. Church officials have said the Vatican's famous skyline, particularly St Peter's Basilica, would remain untouched.

    An editorial in Tuesday's newspaper appealed for greater use of renewable energy.

    "The gradual exhaustion of the ozone layer and the greenhouse effect have reached critical dimensions," the newspaper said.

    By producing its own energy the Vatican will become more autonomous from Italy, from where it currently buys all its energy. The Vatican is surrounded by Rome.

    Pope Benedict and his predecessor John Paul put the Vatican firmly on an environmentalist footing.

    Benedict has made numerous appeals for the protection of the environment. The Vatican has hosted a scientific conference to discuss the ramifications of global warming and climate change, widely blamed on human use of fossil fuels.

    Environmentalists praised the pope last year after he made a speech saying the human race must listen to "the voice of the earth" or risk destroying the planet.

    (Editing by Tim Pearce)

    Back at Darling Harbour great speakers, nice venue, good people, huge challenges. Lunch served in plastic throw aways which is a bit of a jarring note. Glad we took the solar ride yesterday and thanks to the conference organisers for the complimentary community media access.

    We are still waiting for Minister Garrett's speech to arrive via email via their parliamentary staff (!?). The staffer suggests it may be on the ministers website here - and indeed so it is:

     Speech to the 3rd International Solar Energy Society Conference, Asia - 26 November 2008

    We are advised he didn't take any questions. Here is his $6M solar announcement for Alice Springs via media release of same day. Apparently there was controversy whether he would make it at all:

    13 Nov 08 Garrett snubs energy conference | theage.com.au

    But on that score the Minister did better than shadow minister Greg Hunt, a sharp thinker too, who cancelled next day, and conservative non govt group WWF's Greg Bourne, formerly oil company BP, was also a no show. Bourne according to rumour had been called to Canberra at short notice (?!).

    We later spoke with Gordon Stewart, Sales and Business development manager of Suntech Australia (whose founder Dr Zhengrong Shi  of UNSW is richest man in China reportedly) who noted that the federal govt White Paper on the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (previously Emission Trading Scheme) is thought to be released as soon as next week. A great profile of Suntech's founder involvement with Uni of NSW in Australia is here via old show Sunday on channel 9:

    The richest man in China 7 Oct 2007

    Profound footage there of Dr Shi sounding like the Chinese version of Al Gore, full of passion for the ideals not just the bottom line. Great stuff.

    Picture: Scott Friar, as chief of mulitnational Spanish renewables energy company Abengoa. Scott is a Texan with a style like Sol Trujiho, with dry twist. Made some profound comments about the solar sector having to reprove their technology of 1983 again in 2008.









    Posted by editor at 6:52 AM EADT
    Updated: Friday, 4 May 2012 3:30 PM NZT
    Wednesday, 26 November 2008
    Tony Stewart MP legal issues discussed
    Mood:  chatty
    Topic: legal

    Based on the Herald story today some initial comments, preliminary legal advice even. The Herald story is here:

    26 Nov 2008 Sacked minister could be expelled - National - smh.com.au

    Prof George Williams is on ABC just after 8.30 in a brief Q&A this morning and we think we can add to that also. 

    1. There is some precedent of a SA ALP MP Ralph Clarke who sued over preselection rorting back in 2005

     Labor Seats for Sale, http://sunday.ninemsn.com.au/sunday/cover_stories/transcript_369.asp

     He won but was booted out of the ALP eventually, and lost preselection regardless. (He later also initiated defamation proceedings against that state's ALP AG but that's another chapter in 2005:  The World Today - Former Labor MP tells of SA Govt corruption.)

    The significance of the case was that the general law applies to party rules because they use public funds to sustain themselves, hence the law of judicial review and administrative law applies e.g. natural justice to be heard, relevant and irrelevant factors, bias, improper purpose (and see no.4 below) etc etc

    2. As George notes even if he wins he may still have the reconsidered decision against him anyway in a replay of the decision making process. So this is all about saving face.

    3. Two matters I haven't considered - will taxpayers pay the legal costs? And would expulsion be contempt of court? George stated it would depend on timing and efficacy of that expulsion decision.

    4. But one thing we add building on point 1 above in the Clarke case, the ALP disciplinary rules shouldn't be allowed (and question is this good law) to use their membership contract (incorporating party rules for explusion eg rule not sue another ALP member in the SMH story) to contract out of the general administrative law. It is a general principle of contract law you can't have terms of a contract that break the general law, invalid for illegality. It's a fairly small step from there to say terms of a contract (eg ALP membership) have to be read down so they don't promote breach of the general law: In this case threat of expulsion for seeking the benefit of administrative law. That surely would be an improper purpose again under administrative law picking up George's point at 3 above about efficacy of an explusion.

    In conclusion fact is the ALP like all parties are publicly funded and to allow explusion for seeking to enforce administrative law of the land that applies to the ALP and all parties, would be to victimise a theoretical whistleblower. As happened with Ralph Clarke in SA and was a travesty of justice.


    Having said all that - we think Tony Stewart after 13 years as a backbencher has run his race and should withdraw and save the taxpayers the legal fees, even if he were to win (which he well may).

    Posted by editor at 8:39 AM EADT
    Updated: Wednesday, 26 November 2008 9:43 AM EADT
    Tuesday, 25 November 2008
    Donald Friend in Bali, p*dophile diary: ABC Law Report today
    Mood:  don't ask
    Topic: legal

    The ABC Law Report have run a confronting and important story this morning on Radio National Tuesday 25 Nov on the vexed and awful subject of child sexual abuse, with web entry here:

    Monday 24 November 2008| 

    Identifying victims of child sexual assault and abuse

    The Australian news media never publish or broadcast the names of survivors of sexual assault and child abuse unless they have the express permission of the victims. But what about other publications like non-fiction books and diaries?Seems the National Library have published this diary with admissions of leading artist and intellect Donald Friend of child sex.

    Legal issues relate to potential defamation of the now adult victims in Bali, a fairly vague suggestion of deceptive conduct regarding lack of consent for the publication under Trade Practices, and even profits of crime being child prostitution in 1960ies and 70ies.

    Given the Henson furore this programme will only add to the intense moral and emotional debate. Beware of moral panic we say, but then don't censor the real history either.

    We spoke to one expert commentator about this and was told that child protection campaigner, and possibly ALP political aspirant (?) Hetty Johnson has quoted this artist Friend as an example of misplaced tolerance for child abuse. Bali where these criminal acts occurred has strict laws for decades against child prostitution including convictions back to the 1930ies.

    The show also mentioned how Margaret Olle ws given the opportunity to edit publication of her mentions (unrelated issue of excessive drinking) in the diary by the Australian National Library, but the now grown child victims of Friend were not. That sounds rough.

    Anyway we blog on this because the show will archive the transcript in due course and will feed into a serious legal, political and moral debate ongoing, with implications for governance and power relations, which is our constant focus.

    Given the location of the crimes it could even morph into another aggravation between extreme Islam in Indonesia and Australia.

    And watching episode 2 of The Howard Years last night we were struck again by the dynamic of Australia aiding East Timor out of the clutches of power mongering Indonesian colonialism. We recall all that Media Monitors work at that time in late 1999 of ultra murderous violence and even calling the White House and the New York Times wanting to complain about lack of US support. 

    We travelled in Bali as an innocent tourist in July 2002 for 4 days Kuta to Ubud and Lovinna. We hired a bicycle riding into the sprawling Denpassar market place to much amusement and somehow we were reminded of East Timor locals going about their business in the tropics. Months later arguably the political payback for East Timor came with bombing of tourists in Kuta in Sept 2002 - with 200 dead. Some cruel locals, possibly apocraphyl at nearby Lombok were heard to joke "Aussie BBQ" but actually it was mostly Balinese and Indonesian victims. May they rest in peace.

    Now we live in the age of ascension of coloured US president Barak Obama, which hopefully will take alot of pressure off in Indonesian politics and marginalise the extremists.

    Posted by editor at 10:36 AM EADT
    Updated: Tuesday, 25 November 2008 11:13 AM EADT
    Sunday, 23 November 2008
    Sunday political talkies: Rudd's 1st year still running as fast as he can
    Mood:  chatty
    Topic: aust govt


     Picture: Rudd doing his 'Holy Billy' pose in yesterday's Sydney Daily Telegraph  in the Laurie Oakes feature. This was a tag that wild redneck Wilson Tuckey MP used to apply to then Governor General William Deane for his 'transcendant ways'. A characteristic that infuriated at risk Tuckey.


    Author’s general introductory note


    This is not a well packaged story. It’s a contemporaneous traverse of the Sunday television free to air political talkies indicating the agenda of Establishment interests: Better to know ones rivals and allies  in Big Politics and Big Media. 


    For actual transcripts and/or video feeds go to the programme web sites quoted including Riley Diary on 7. And note transcripts don’t really give you the image content value.



    Media backgrounders


    Refer penultimate post Big Media short takes.


    10 Meet the Press:  8- 8-30 am


    No show for Rugby World Cup.


    Meet The Press - Watch Political Video Online - Channel TEN.



    Riley Diary 7, from 8.30am

    Amusing as ever, Rudd waxing lyrical about Kokoda with 7 proprietary footage. Recognised the creek crossing with log, we took in flood, pack unbuckled for drowning risk.

    Also at APEC in Peru with Rudd attending but solutions ‘as rare as a 5 legged llama’. [Sounds like a Tintin story.] Caricature of 500 year old South American culture of pageantry. Careful there Riles, they’ve been around a lot longer than the young country of Australia.


     No cross for Q&A.





    9 Sunday newshour Laurie Oakes interview 8.40 am


    LO has Nicola Roxon as Health Minister [recently scored at 7 or 8 out of 10 in The Australian scorecard of ministers after first year].

    Nice image of her watching Barak Obama’s interview from CBS Sixty Minutes in previous take. Michael Usher also looking inspired. No doubt it’s inspirational talent as per SAM link to YouTube also.

    Missed the start, questioned on sexism in federal politics but plays a dead bat on the issue that she takes it in her stride. No victimhood for sisterhood for Ms Roxon.



    Insiders 2: 9- 10am

    Big red is the talent, deputy PM Gillard. Bolt predicts Rudd will sashay off as UN General Assembly with JG as PM and Tanner as Treasurer Ahem. Most interesting aspect of the whole show, except perhaps Mike Bowers in the Rudd old street of childhood in Nambour. Revealed as a history swot a bit like Howard was in the making of the man. Also that as a small child say 2 years he spent 12 months in calipers.

    A bit like Kerry Packer with his recovery from polio. Only Rudd was too young to remember perhaps.

    Home page is http://www.abc.net.au/insiders/


    Inside Business – 2 at 10am 

    Refer http://www.abc.net.au/insidebusiness/

    Posted by editor at 1:50 PM EADT
    Updated: Monday, 24 November 2008 8:39 AM EADT
    Big media short takes
    Mood:  chatty
    Topic: big media

    * Our predictions of climate intensified storms travelling south to Brisbane, and the real politik implications of that for the pineapple mafia / Rudd led federal Govt, seem to have been realised this week. Implications include perceptions/reality of climate change, and escalating insurance payouts.

    You couldn't get a view on the tv news without Rudd, Qld premier and BrisVegas mayor all looking earnest on location of storm damage: While having very little practical to offer in real organisational involvement. They might allocate more funding perhaps. It was all about expressing the politics of symbolic empathy. Poor sods.

    We recall a contact telling us how his father, a painter by trade in Rockhampton, was unusual in that he had a metal anchor from the slab of the house up to the roof - to avoid the kind of storm damage all this last week. Quite proud of it too.

    Which all reminds us of the ripples of cyclone Wati on 27 March 2006 on the shores of Sydney, though the storm was actually 1000 km north east of Sydney. People crowded the coastal walk to watch the show.

    * Tragedy of father and two sons death at Tathra results in local fools beating up media doing their job. This echoes what green people on the South Coast have expressed for years - the tendency for violence by the local loggers for instance, itself encouraged by the culture of Howard Govt domestic terrorism on the environment. Several loggers around Cobargo have been convicted of violent assault, as well as reports of cowardly rock throwing. Such cave dwellers deserve no sympathy.

    * A raucous festival (as per ABC audio) of feminists held their Ernies event last week according to radio news. But this year it didn't travel much beyond that. No press or tv news pictures that we could see.

    And we can imagine why - ex MP, now Cr, Meredith Burgmann awarded 'prizes' (actually raspberries) to anyone and everyone it seems but ALP figures like now notorious Matt Brown MP (alleged t*tty f*cking), Tony Stewart MP (alleged leg holding bully) both dismissed from Burgmann's own government cabinet.

    Is that bias undermining the whole point of the event? Ernie apparently was a unionist after all. Instead Liberal Tony Abbott got a 'repeat offender' award. No wonder most news services dropped the story cold.

    * We have our own insights into the cynical tribalism of local ALP politics. Co-author of the Ernies book Yvette Andrews - former staffer of ex MP Meredith Burgmann - still hasn't submitted to a competitive job selection process for the $65K per year manager's job at Addison Rd Community Centre for over 12 months now. This has got to be the most brazen breach of ethical employment policies in any community organisation we have ever heard of.

    Now a source advises that copies of the minutes of the recent AGM for ARC are not available to tenants/members let alone the public 'because they might be leaked to the community media'. ARC is all public land and receives significant public funding one way or another. The governance there is also a fearful secretive nepotistic disgrace.

    All in all this is why the important purpose of the Ernies exposing sexism is failing in it's mission. It's being implemented with biased motives by  ALP cronies under cover of principle. Meanwhile a much drier but arguably more reliable source of advice in the wake of the Ernies is in the press today, namely federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner Ms Elizabeth Broderick, p 9 today's Sunday Telegraph.

    * Uh oh, Lisa Carty has a story about Robert Furolo MP, Iemma's ex electorate staffer and Mayor of Canterbury still in the SunHerald. An important story on cash for access to ministers. 

    Only they've got the wrong photo on page 13. Maybe they should've just gone to the NSW parliament website (actually his pic is not up yet) or maybe Canterbury Council via google as we did. Furulo is pictured in the free inner west suburban press almost every week. Or did they mean to use the wrong picture? That would be sneaky.

    * Same Fairfax stable - Sacha Molitorisz (bloke) back page of Review section p38 of weekend Herald wrings his hands snag like over sexism and the cute and funny Cilmi video "Nothing sweet about me". It's running at about 13 milliion views on YouTube now. That's big. Does Sacha get the punchline wrong regarding revenge fantasies of young women?  

    The guy hung upside down finally cut free as the song closes in a cutaway is possibly like one of those folks in an upturned car after a crash, hanging by their seat belt. On sudden release they suffer potentially broken neck. Happens sometimes apparently. Nothing sweet indeed. It is carefully choreographed - the victim is shown aware of the fall to come and his arms are extended hopefully to take the weight?

    Superb song all the same. But on the more serious point, emotional violence is a spiral. Reverse sexism is just that, best keep that in mind champ. The rest is sophistry.

    * Heather Ridout, of Australia Industry Group and Rudd Govt confidante is revealed as an ex Greiner staffer, which figures given her ideology on energy privatisation.

    * Joe Hildebrand runs a YouTube image with his Saturday column in the Daily Telegraph which looks suspiciously like a SAM format of a recent story about US Govt $700B bailout via big alternative media programme Democracy Now! with Naomi Klein and Amy Goodman. We wonder.


    * Curiously our SAM micro news website has now had 4 days [make that 5 at 24 Nov] running of 'zero pageviews'. Unlikely given we also look at the website, including from another distinct work station. It's a puzzle. Maybe the host server is cutting back on that information tool in difficult financial times. Maybe we wrote something - last hot one was about W Bush alleged looting of the NSW Treasury in his last 2 months. We haven't got a clue. But we don't write for audited circulation. We write because we can and for peace of mind.

    [and now see this graphic, traffic metric stopped at November 19 by the host server based in the USA.]

    [Host server writes 25 Nov to say "Unfortunately, we are currently doing maintenance to our servers which is causing you not to see your reports correctly.

    We hope to have this resolved by the first week of December.

    We do apologize for the inconvenience and we thank you for your patience as we work to get this resolved for you as soon as possible

    * Imre Salusinsky waxes lyrical in the Weekend Australian applying an apocalyptic metaphor with locusts in the regions swarming closer to the Rees Govt in Sydney. Very literary for a literary premier. A shallow device nevertheless Imre.

    * The same newspaper carries ex NSW Treasurer Michael Costa earlier in the week, prominently. Only he writes like a honking goose. Says he shouldn't attack the mini budget, which is laughable after dumping on his Govt at his resignation presser.

    He also badly misconceives the reality of his own ALP-union political milieu: It's not the comparatively low 20% membership of unions these days, but the 50-80% coverage of work places by award conditions that truly measures the role of unions. Just as Telstra complains bitterly about other small telco companies as passengers on their infrastructure and investment. Unions feel the same about non union members getting pay rises that unions fought for. But it's no use complaining, it's a systemic reality.

    Similarly there is a truism we heard at the Future of Media conference called the '1:9:90 rule': Meaning only 1% of society are very active participants in any given agenda, 9 moderately and 90 tend to be passengers. That puts the union 20% membership in a genuine perspective. They are the victims of their own success in achieving such wide economic coverage and that's a good thing.

    * The mean and nasty ultra ideologues, some of whom still hang at News Corp, never liked Nicole Kidman ever since she did The Interpreter as a vehicle for the United Nations. 

    The film also featured lefty Sean Penn - and check the film for the Robert Mugabe character feted at the start, despised at the end. Also funny the trailer above shares suspense soundtrack from the Bourne trilogy.  But we digress. You see the UN went up against W Bush's outrageous Iraq war and was supposed to be marginalised and crushed by the neo cons. Somehow we think this might explain this sniping at A lister Kidman, just like Charlie Chaplin?

    * Sharp thinker Marian Wilkinson as environment editor at the SMH ran a friendly story out of Deputy Premier Tebbutt's office 2 weeks ago. This coincidentally (?) was when the pressure came on the SMH to run in the newsprint not just hidden away on the website about logging of koala habitat on the NSW south coast. Tebbutt being the environment minister now. Senator Bob Brown will be attending the logging protest later this month down at Bermagui. It still hasn't run in the SMH proper 3 weeks later.

    Wilko's colleague James Woodford locally based down there has also failed miserably to report the logging protest either in the Herald or on his real dirt website despite ABC TV news, PM show, JJJ coverage. Tebbutt cunningly gave a feature about how she declined the premiership, crowding out why she declines to protect koala habitat from logging at Bermagui. How shameful.

    Sooo this weekend we have a balancer from Wilkinson edging up to the koala issue with picture on page 7, Sydney Morning Herald. Again Tebbutt is in the story as well as some koala study in Gunnedah, still not south coast logging of koala habitat going on NOW at Bermagui.

    (Gunnedah reminds of our work in the mid 90ies lobbying for Pilliga wilderness area where we helped with a $1M buyout of a willing seller with koala habitat by the NSW NPWS. )

    At least the article mentions "woodchipping" and a quality scientist Dan Lunney. It's a grudging half hearted coverage.

    * Nor has Minister Tebbutt been much help protecting the Blue Mtns world heritage area. Recently SAM's editor played a central role in a reversal by Hawkesbury City Council  cajoled, briefed, flattered and embarrassed into voting 12 to zero against a local sandminer. We have reported the saga here exclusively on SAM. In 2004 HCC wavedt the sandmine through. We got an email from a well intentioned staffer for Minister Tebbutt after the event to say 'Oh that world heritage, thanks for the updates etc etc.' Too late, too late.

    * Michael Duffy SMH yesterday runs a policy call out advert for the NSW Liberal Opposition in his column, last sentence. This was after colleagues in the Big Media ran press tantrums over many days the previous week which got the anti Labor forces in NSW exactly nowhere.

    * Big Barry O'Farrell is to "wield the axe"  on his shadow ministery, says the Sunday Telegraph p15. Seems latest Newspoll has Nathan Rees as preferred Premier still after literally 10 days of fearsome anti ALP tantrums. Wow. And we noticed the tide turning on that attack about 4 days back too. Rees has a certain sense of teflon. Not indestructible but tough all the same. And people warm to strength.

    We called it early here on SAM that the big press tantrum(s) over failure to privatise energy was like being 'thrashed by a wet lettuce' and Rees would make it through if he held fast. And so it seems to be. We also raised the prospect of the next NSW election being the first internet one like Obama leveraged the net all the way to the presidency. 2 years is a long time to be writing off Rees.

    * A much more convincing piece about the woes of political culture in NSW came from (I say grudgingly) Ken Phillips of the Institute of Public Affairs. It was a bit conspiracy theory regarding the NSW IRC gazumping the High Court of Australia (sounds dubious). But his piece rang more true in The Australian than Michael Costa same day 21 November. Refer Yvette Andrews/ARC above for nepotism.

    * Tim Blair despairs at Obama as president elect. Keeps referring to roaring trade in USA gun shops. He really is a nasty piece of work is ole TB. How prescient of TB's parents to choose those initials perhaps alluding to the global campaign to eradicate the persistent disease. (A cheap shot but hey the guy is an avowed gun lover.)

    In his Saturday column he notes Rio Tinto greening up with a photo competition about evidence of global warming for staff. TB is dismayed the concern over climate has spread literally like ... TB.

    Our source tells us it's much worse than that TB, now increasingly relegated to the back of the newspaper. Apparently Rio Tinto were so averse to bad PR on the environment such as via the Gunns pulp mill that if the greenies had lobbied Rio to not sell the land where the proposed pulp mill is sited to Gunns, they would have blocked the sale.

    Only like in cricket, the greenies failed to make the appeal in such a direct fashion to Rio that they felt okay to sell he site Gunns. (In the rules of cricket if the fielding team don't appeal the umpire can't give the batsmen out. We actually saw this once as a colt.) This was in the days before Gunns pulp mill was really ramped up as a national cause celebre, not least ex Premier Lennon exposed allegedly lying about the reasons for cancelling a Planning Assessent Commission (in the press this week).

    Our source is a good one - family friend of a staffer in a section of Rio in Tas that would know.

    * Petrol is down to about US $50 a barrel. That changes politics alot.

    ......and many, many more quirky notables in the Big Media but too numerous to go here. Stay tuned.

    Posted by editor at 8:18 AM EADT
    Updated: Tuesday, 25 November 2008 10:34 AM EADT
    Saturday, 22 November 2008
    SAM website stats hit zero 3 days in a row
    Mood:  not sure
    Topic: independent media

    We first heard about the big case of notorious Gordon Wood being sent down for murder mid morning Friday 21st November. That's the 24 hour news cycle then, we concluded.

    Time enough to get some useful things done free of media monitoring - 2 loads of washing for a start. What about a little weeding to grow tomatoes as spotted in a Marrickville terrace front yard close enough to pick and run. This turned into alot of weeding and a new compost dump and a tan.

    So then we got to thinking about other domestics - like the layout of the micro news SAM website - yes there is a segue in here finally. It is slow and clunky with the host server all the way over there in the USA (safe from then Howard regime business cronies here in Oz at start up Jan 2007 re upcoming federal election Nov 2007).

    Little SAM needed a white background colour in the body to speed up a tad. We also needed to get the news story in the top right corner where the eye defaults. Then after trial and error we liked yellow background for the side panel, green for the main title (SAM name and mission), and blue for the links. Yellow, green, blue. That's weeding under a blue sky! That's the golden wattle. That's Australia. That's our soul.

    As it happens we were already making some inquiries in parallel about how to monetise a blog, as you do, and by serendipidity about Technorati, and Alexa, blog web information sites. So we registered with Technorati for the first time. We're ranked about 3 million of say 150 million blogs in the world. Woohoo. We have an 'authority' of 2 which is just above the lowest of 1. But more of that dubious cred amongst bloggers below.

    Now this is where the zero stats figure for 3 days comes in. Yes there is the second segue folks. We always knew this was a clunky, not very interactive, probably specialist micro news blog website. As such we have come to understand quietly, secretly, that we don't mind if our audited circulation is humble. We care about cred as a specialist service, and real politik effectiveness.

    That's partly why we have lower case in the header. It's not really about us, it's about the message.

    We take heart from the blacklist by the talkback staff on the phones at a certain abc radio breakfast show. We are not Joe Average after all. We do exemplify the 1:9:90 rule of hyper engagement being a 1 in the ratio of activity, 90 being the passengers in the democracy. We are a citizen but obviously that's not enough.

    For instance we notice the logical inconsistency of the ABC ramping up the profile of the Medium Media like the Cumberland press guy, and other Big Media personalities in Fairfax and News Corp while blacklisting the micro guy. We notice too the systemic bias of same ABC show running Lab/Lib-Nat spin doctors and party liners bet never it seems, we repeat never, a rep of the 10% Greens Party. Someone like Ben Oquist for a time (now back in harness) or a retired Green MP or whatever. Even a Democrat like Athur Chesterfield Evans though not Cheryl Kernot please. There was even a whisper from big Deb this might happen but alas.

    So getting back to Technorati - they provide a feedback service on what other blogs are reacting to your blog. Given SAM's editor virtually never reads or comments on other people's blogs we hardly care what they say or write. It's the Big Media stupid!

    Well almost don't care. There's alot of emotional violence to avoid on the net much like dog poo on the street, but you can't help getting a whiff sometimes no matter how innocent. I had about 26 responses, some nice others not. Tim Blair was making an effort to sledge a few times about 10 months back (that's good, the right enemies), and one Monica Tan at ninemsn.

    We responded to Ms Tan as follows just now:

    I noticed you sledging my humble micro news website, only because I 'claimed' my blog on technorati recently. It was an old post about my talk at New Matilda which is by the looks an ALP front operation.

    As reaction perhaps to Crikey as a pseudo wet Liberal free market operation.

    It seems to me your comments to the effect of being "crappy looking political blog" are assuredly right compared to your own high production values. But then shallow looks are indeed superficial.

    You work at ninemsn you say, which is on the slide maybe, maybe not. That suggests you're fairly snobbish and patronising conservative political person. Well that's your right but it's no guarantee.

    Here's where your takeout is misconceived:

    The SAM blog is not about good circulation per se (that means of itself, it's from Latin! ha ha).

    It's about real politik timely strategic analysis. It's not the 20K per month readers. The audience is probably only ever about 1000 political staffers across the Australian parliaments. It's the one influential reader that I'm about. It could be Kevin Rudd. It could be Barak Obama. It could be Laurie Oakes. It could be Tim Blair. It could be an executive producer of 9 Sixty Minutes. It could be a NSW stateline reporter.

    3 of these 6 examples I can verify. Another 1 of 3 is highly likely. 2 of 6 is very unlikely but still conceivable. I do stuff to undermine Big Media like your ninemsn. And it's working. They echo my concepts and angles - with their high production values - so often I've lost count. I call you guys my echo chamber. It's very satisfying too.

    Feel free to disagree, be dismissive, contemptuous or whatever. But I'm getting better at this, and I'm doing it for nothing. While you are losing circulation it seems while relying on the professional cred to make your living. On the other hand being totally financially independent I have the capacity to make and break people's careers .... in politics I mean depending on their performance and my analysis - because I am trustworthy. It's like giving evidence in court from a totally unbiased perspective. One becomes the professional honest broker.

    That's the ngo activist campaigning reality Monica, so now you know a little about why I feel justified condescending to you about my forte.

    Good luck with your media career. As it happens my latest post has zero hits for 3 days running about W Bush regime looting the USA treasury in the last 2 months of the Imperium. Which is a record in reverse. No post can be zero, especially SAM with 20K pageviews per month. It's piqued my interest. Rather than being concerned about it, which I was a little to begin with, now I'm fascinated. I'm going to delve into the meaning of it and like the martial art of Jiu Jitsu enlist the force of the incident to my own purpose. Like I often do.

    Have a good weekend.

    So now we are thinking it could be interesting to ride this zero stats per day thing all the way to the beach. Are people so in denial of W Bush's failure after the Iraq tragedy/fiasco that they can't bear to read or hear Democracy Now! draw back the curtain in our last post? Arguably it is the most important post we have made in the last 23 months. Not one reader?

    Maybe they are just noting the headline in their RSS feed and going direct to YouTube or the Democracy Now website via google. But not every one of them. Some would click through via SAM.

    As they say in the law of evidence (being a lawyer), there is no such thing as absolutes. Zero is an absolute that doesn't happen. Just as perfect never happens. We smell a curious quandary.

    Like the incessantly scratchy phone that regularly rings and tells me I have the wrong number. Do tell. Is this marketing software gone haywire? Another manifestation of Telstra's huge complaints record lately? Or something a bit more dodgy in the land of spookery? A little tutorial run for trainees perhaps at the expense of a blogger? One never knows. So far we've come up with ... zero (!) explanations for the clicks and whirs mid conversation like a Star Wars r2d2. Surely Glen Stevens is not worried about the little SAM spark.

    It reminds us of a little proposed home phone repair work in the old factory, which we hasten to add is illegal under the Federal Communications legislation. Didn't do it, you can't prove we did it, it wasn't us, it wasn't our fault etc etc refer Bart Simpson, our lawyer.


    Postscript 24 Nov 2008: Not really sure but it looks as if we might have broken the traffic counter with our Nov 19 post below on the notion of 'W Bush looting the treasury in the last 2 months'. At the least our traffic metric from our host server stops at Nov 19, 2008 as per this screenprint taken 24 Nov 2008, five days of zero traffic: 




    Posted by editor at 8:41 AM EADT
    Updated: Monday, 24 November 2008 9:00 AM EADT
    Wednesday, 19 November 2008
    W Bush regime 'looting the treasury for illegal bailout': Naomi Klein, Democracy Now
    Mood:  don't ask
    Topic: world

    The first of two video links below - from YouTube - is not pleasant watching. The interview on Democracy Now! suffers from lack of a willing contary view but even if half of author Naomi Klein's concerns are right, the USA and the world and the Obama presidency are in trouble in this last 2 months of the W Bush presidency. God have mercy.

    Here's the link and the interview is long - about 25 minutes or more:

    Klein is not a lone voice by any means either as per this story on our ABC here in Australia on the AM show:

    "Only a week ago [Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke] announced they wanted to use [the $700B bailout fund] to inject billions of dollars into banks instead of buying bad mortgage backed assets, which was their original pitch.

    Democratic members of the House Financial Services Committee are irate about the change of plan.

    FEMALE CONGRESS MEMBER: The fact that you Mr Paulson, took it upon yourself to absolutely ignore the authority and the direction that this Congress had given you just amazes me.

    It seems to me the second largest bait and switch scheme that history has ever seen, second only to the reasons given us to vote for the invasion of Iraq."

    For those who prefer more sunlight and wishful thinking then this is alot more uplifting, finally available on YouTube given the CBS website seemed overloaded for at least a day (apparently they had highest ratings for 9 years). Broadcast last Sunday 17 November USA time:

    Some stand out moments of each item: In the first one Naomi Klein's capacity for a relentless narrative regarding corrupt special interest governance - $250B of good money after bad she argues. Klein makes quite a case for 'colonial style looting of the US Treasury by free market robber barons compared with the strict controls achieved by Gordon Brown in the UK. As we said - it's grim.

    In the second  Youtube is president elect Obama describing the dump of an apartment the he lived in even as a Senator, and the car he drove as younger man complete with a rusty hole in the floor. The experience of that side of life says so much to this writer about the fitness of the man for the challenge of the job ahead. The dismay in Michelle Obama's voice at her man's circumstances was also apparent. But then she didn't have a Phd anthropologist for a mom.


    Postscript 24 Nov 2008: Not really sure but it looks as if we might have broken the traffic counter with this post. At the least our traffic metric from our host server stops at Nov 19, 2008 as per this screenprint taken 24 Nov 2008, five days of zero traffic:



    Posted by editor at 6:14 PM EADT
    Updated: Monday, 24 November 2008 8:58 AM EADT

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