« January 2009 »
1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31
Entries by Topic
All topics  «
about editor
aust govt
big media
contact us
donations to SAM
election nsw 2007
election Oz 2007
free SAM content
human rights
independent media
local news
nsw govt
nuke threats
publish a story
zero waste
Blog Tools
Edit your Blog
Build a Blog
RSS Feed
View Profile
official indymedia
ecology action Australia
ecology action
Advertise on SAM
details for advertisers
You are not logged in. Log in

sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Friday, 9 January 2009
Sydney Daily Telegraph drives booze advertising then feeds off the results at Rosemeadow?
Topic: big media

We've written in the last year several times about the amazing number of pubs around Holt St base of News Corporation in Sydney, publishers of the Sydney Daily Telegraph. They used to be quite cocky about their alcoholic escapades in the past. We even did a photo gallery of the pub circuit getting up to about 12 hotels within one city block, not including brothels or restuarants. This was last year sometime during the big 'binge drinking' controversy before the Rudd federal govt regarding the so called alcopops tax, given those drinks are for recruiting children into a lifelong habit. Good tax that.

We made collages of the full page daily adverts for booze indicating high revenue dependence of Sydney's highest circulation newspaper. And now again above are 3 full pagers from 7th January, 1 from 8th January, and 3 from today close to full page adverts. Drink up boys. It's your 'Australian culture' of binge drinking. Hence the befuddled highly violent internecine arguments at a western suburb? Hence angry people in poverty lashing out at the press and law? How much better if there was no booze in this equation?

Hot weather up to 40 celsius for 3 days is bound to create irritable suburbs, and probably drives excessive beer drinking. Every year in summer there is a set formula 'riot' story with a few variations around say race, or Bondi Beach or whatever. But why the social approval for that excessive lifestyle in the bastion of moral rectitude that is the 4th estate? Could it be it's simply a case of money talks?

Over at the Sydney Morning Herald they have probably been taking the booze adverts too, but less so? And they have been running a series of stories exposing a cynical 'grassroots' campaign by hotels to free up drinking laws again. Keep going, teetotal Police Comissioner Scipione, keep going! We do approve. Like cigarettes and gambling it's a woeful waste of money and opportunity for a better life.

Posted by editor at 8:37 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 14 January 2009 12:21 PM EADT
Tuesday, 6 January 2009
Quest for the perfect gear change on a bicycle rebuild
Topic: culture

Careful what you wish for when it comes to bicycle rebuild projects. Over the break we marshalled a bunch of old bikes and parts - maybe 5 different wrecks - and other spares to make a nice fast safe bike in city traffic.

Most people these days seem to settle for a mountain bike with knobbly tyres. But this weighs alot. We have one of these already which is nice and robust for towing our bike trailer on slow trips. But on scenic or fast trips you want light racer/hybrid wheels, skinny frame and 'slick' treads. And gears that work smooth in the clinch like Samuel L Jackson smooth. Like Denzel Washington. And with explosive power like Daniel Craig. All those fantasies.

We had some rusty hybrid wheels with good aluminium rims potentially savable via wire brush on power drill and oil to protect from new rust. Also suitable chain wheel/ring - drives the chain off the right pedal via 3 front cogs for more gear combos. As long as there is clearance on the axle of the 'bottom bracket' (see BB below) for the modern chain ring.

Then gears. These can be a real beast. Are the front and back derailers worn out or modern enough to take the extra cogs? Mine were both too small and too worn. Damn. Keep looking.

What about the sprockets/cogs on the rear/free wheel. Is it a "cassette" or single piece asked the bloke at the medium trendy shop. Ans: The former for a hybrid. Is the casette worn out so that the chain skips? Yes. There goes the cheap 2nd hand part via The Bower. A new casette cog assembly comes in at a cool $50 which is no longer a cheapie rebuild. New casette means new chain at $25 because the two match by wearing out together. And chain tool. Add two new tyres at $30 and $35 because the real trendy shop only had those sizes when the tyre blew.

We were already at $140 plus for the perfect gear change on the "cheap". We will be going back to our low rent untrendy suburban bike shop for the gentle prices.

Not forgeting to clean/re-grease the wheel and BB bearings and axles: The BB is that mysterious closed mechanism between the pedals. You need a neat tool to painlessly remove pedals and it helps to have customised spanners to get in there. We had the first but only standard spanners/grippers for the latter .... and suffered accordingly.

Then brakes: Mountain bikes have 'off the forks or old style' but neither fit hybrid/racing wheels. But here scavenging paid off, as did the hard core goose neck on the straight handlebars. Many, many instructive hours later, and too many fiddly detours and hand washes with degreaser and vitamin E cream to mention, we have arrived. Complete with new $10 water bottle cage on clips because there are no bolt holes on the old fashioned chrome frame. Sigh.

Then close to the bell (geddit?) of this 16 round bout the gear switch to the rear derailer started slipping out of position. Not only annoying but also dangerous in those acceleration moments at crossings. Maybe we could just hold it in place? Nah, f*ck that for a joke.We took a day's rest in despair. This has delivered solutions at least 3 times already. We took a second day off for good measure. Sure enough we re-assembled the switch lever slightly wrong. All is forgiven. The perfect gear change for a slightly dodgy left hip.

That's our third bike since the break. Cool. Look out clunky knobby wheels ....

Some lessons for the future: The web, like for most other subjects, is amazingly helpful in learning the ropes about various technical aspects and diagnosis - like skipping chain. People are really glad to record their lessons if you google the right keywords and read patiently. Also get to know your local bike shop when they are not too busy serving customers. Vitamin E cream before getting greasy is very wise for an easier washup. Then use again when clean to rescue the hands a bit more. One might even try gloves? Don't force the tools or threads on nuts and bolts etc. It works or fits or it doesn't. And remember riding a well constructed bike is a joy. And a bad one a misery.

And if all else fails stop being so cheap and buy a new one.

And very lastly, at all costs resist 'stealing' parts off the abandoned racer chained to the fence in front of Marrickville railway for 2 weeks with increasingly bigger signs of vandal abuse - buckled back wheel, bent front forks where the steal cap boots jumped on it with violent purpose. It could lead to awkward moments with lads and lasses in blue, at the early morning cafe nearby, spanner in hand with no key in sight. And we did so resist. The day we finished our sleek mongrel bike the object of our temptation had gone - no doubt to the landfill in the sky via the council workers back from holidays. And it had such nice shiny alloy pedals too. So sad.

Posted by editor at 6:52 PM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 14 January 2009 12:14 PM EADT
Monday, 5 January 2009
Rolling Stone reviewer's credibility gap on movie Rendition
Mood:  d'oh
Topic: big media

To be fair we steered clear of this 2007 Hollywood new release because we expected it to be tendentious bleeding heart material. Worthy but boring. Now counter intuitively we gave it a go partly because we have trawled the DVD library forever now.

But no, if you enjoy the West Wing tv series, or Left Wing, as Republican's like to call it, then you will enjoy this 2007 film.

Just like WW the production values are high, as with casting, costume, cinema quality, credible actors, research, plot line. It's all there. We listened to the South African director's commentary. That's over four hours invested in watching the main show and again as commentary - and he would know the subject of torture from his own country's painful past. He reveals sources in general being ex CIA officers who "quit" over torture in rendition, and academics into terrorism regarding the "chilling" martyrdom speech.

Rees Witherspoon is surprising for buying into this cerebral centre lefty content - and she gives a powerful speech 'don't be one of those people who just turn away' to her buddy the senator's aid who buckles under the moral pressure. No wonder Witherspoon she didn't last with ex Ryan Phillipe though he is surprisingly good too in the true story Breach about a 20 year career of treachery by FBI operative Eric O'Neill. That's a centre right wing show - to be sure, to be sure.

Meryl Streep is outstanding as the hard nosed bitch too.

The water boarding scene in Rendition reminds of BBC film's 2004's Red Dust (only released in the USA in 2005) another South African related political drama about torture but so much more, of real merit with Hillary Swank and a Nigerian born british actor Chiwetel Ejiofor. We got teary watching both. Rendition can be bracketed easily with Lions for Lambs and Spy Game, and Catch a Fire and Blood Diamond. Also presumably Cry Freedom we haven't seen. All quality work in our view.

Rendition gets a 3.5 and at times 4 out of 5 from this writer. A worthy addition to a bevvy of thoughtful films leavened with action. It helps if one is nostalgic for Morocco street scenery, and the CIA character reminds of a suitably sceptical uni buddy etc.

So to read the wikipedia entry where some dufous at Rolling Stone said Rendition was the "worst" anti war movie made in 2007 ... well the guy is either cash for comment, an idiot or malicious. You don't have to be a Democrat or Republican, lefty or whatever to enjoy this movie. Assuming you are interested in alternative cultures and politics of torture.

Here is their entry:

"Roger Ebert awarded the film four stars out of four, saying that, "Rendition is valuable and rare. As I wrote from Toronto: 'It is a movie about the theory and practice of two things: torture and personal responsibility. And it is wise about what is right, and what is wrong.'"[2] In contrast, Peter Travers of Rolling Stone applauded the cast, but noted that the film was a "bust as a persuasive drama".[3] Travers declared the film the year's Worst Anti-War Film on his list of the Worst Movies of 2007"

Similarly with Red Dust, we noticed some dope and his very big fat encyclopaedia of films at the ABC Bookshop with a 2.5 stars out of 5 (?) for Red Dust. Or perhaps allowing for cultural variations maybe it was out of 4? 2.5 out of 4 still doesn't do justice to the production values, and legal drama as well as generally instructive content about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission issues. Again like Rendition it's for a fairly selective political audience but if you are in that segment it's top value from the local DVD shop.

Which just leaves the question why are film reviewers so easy to discredit? It reminds of the blarney over Nicole Kidman as the so called "porcelain doll" to suggest one dimensional quality in the latest folktale Australia. Which shows they never saw her perfect French African accent in The Interpreter.

And speaking of South African cultural outreach to Australia - it's obvious how much westernised populations there and here in Australia have in common. Something about the light, the landscapes, the wide open spaces, even for want of a better word, the drawl or ocker. Whether this is a good thing is another question but the echo is there.

Interestingly we notice in the suburban free press South African Jewish community in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney is quite significant running into the 10 or 15,000 mark, with an exhibition on at their cultural museum this month.

The multiracial/cultural South African cricket team is going excessively well here in Australia too. We notice the international solar conference is on in South Africa later this year 2009 also.

Posted by editor at 11:17 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 14 January 2009 12:11 PM EADT
Sunday, 4 January 2009
SAM micro news pageview stats for December 2008 trending back up at 21,858 after GFC dip?
Topic: independent media

This month we made the big decision virtually to take Google Adsense advertising to continue sustainably. Only we are dithering on putting the code onto our site yet. After 2 years we are edging up to a corporate advertising reality. Something is holding us back. And yes we know, stop talking about it one way or the other.

This month we also had a normal pageview statists month unlike November which got hit by a host server maintenance problem. We decided to junk the figures. Still we are down on the 27,000 high of June 2008 but back on an upward trend with some 800 readers per day. That's okay. Yes we can. We lost a real monthly count for November from about 19 to 25 November curiously just about the time we posted the Amy Goodman Naomi Klein interview on Democracy Now about robber baron corporates in the US Treasury as W Bush exits the Presidency.

Other stories of note this last month included:

* visit to Sydney of the Japanese Hibakusha survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombs, via their 63rd voyage of the Peace Boat;

* important activist video of huge trees being destroyed by the ALP governments in East Gippsland Victoria

* follow on coverage of the late November international Solar Conference held in Sydney

* text of speech by local historian and environmentalist Bob Walsh OAM on the 150th anniversary of the Eureka Rebellion on the Victorian gold fields

* A photo essay of the wake, and contribution of environmentalist Bruce Dover who died recently

* Buying into and maybe influencing the Bidgood MP/Aminov Parliamentary protest controversy for taking those photographs like a community media practitioner

* As well as regular Sunday Political Talkies and other small and big topics with our usual alternative flavoursome information.

This month we also revamped the presentation. White easy loading/reading non colour background. Our cute frog symbol. Yellow, orange and green trimmings which are common Australian colours. Our story coverage was

We have also learned that RSS feeds which might be a fair bit of our traffic might not actually go into counting our circulation, and as we understand it those readers don't get the pictures. That sort of ruins the point of the web doesn't it being such a visual medium?

Previous monthly reader pageview figures for 2007, 2008 verified by screen shot (web host provider monthly pageview account details) posted on or about 4th day of the month found in this thread:

  • December 08 - 21,858
  • November 08 - unavailable, host breakdown
  • October 08 - 20,343
  • September 08 - 20,746
  • August 08 - 25,344
  • July 08 - 22,855
  • June 08 - 27,440
  • May 08 - 25,046
  • April 08 - 19,250
  • March 08 - 20,803
  • February 08 - 13,109
  • January 08 - 19, 898
  • December - 11,627
  • November - 10,220
  • October - 9, 100
  • Sept - 8,100 roughly, no screenshot
  • August - 8,845
  • July - 7475
  • June - 9675
  • May - 9, 059
  • April - 12,087
  • March - 6,684
  • February - 5,372
  • January 07 - 2800 3rd Jan - 3rd Feb 07

Posted by editor at 10:25 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 14 January 2009 12:12 PM EADT
Australian Green Party issues statement on Israel war on Gaza, overtaken by ground invasion
Topic: world

We hold to the view as published last Wednesday 31st December that the spooky subtext to the latest Horror in Gaza with the bombing of many innocent children amongst militant nationalists, and now ground invasion, is the nuclear weapons issue/perceived threat. Significantly News Corp's weekend quality broadsheet led page 1 with a variation on the nuclear theme that it is Israel's Dimona nuke plant/weaponry at risk with regional consequences from any Islamist missiles (Hamas or Hezbolah), as if nuke warheads weren't safely stored underground:

A problem with the headline of The Oz story with byline by Abraham Robinovich in Jerusalem is that there is nothing about nukes in the reporter's article. Such is "quality" press. However we still think there is truth in the nuclear dimension to the warmongering in Gaza. And we think it's more likely this: It's Israeli fear and loathing of dirty bombs, suitcase nukes, and/or supply tunnels for same via bogeyman Iran (or Syria) as The Oz asserts 'driving Israel's hard line'.

We bring to our perspective some 6 years up until 2001 working with Friends of the Earth Sydney which held some serious expertise on nuclear weapons and peace related issues.

Is the Israeli open secret for 20 years now of 'covert' nuke weaponry doing things to their leadership's mind? A neurosis out of secrecy? Indeed is Israel projecting it's own nuke arsenal onto it's enemy in woe begotten Gaza, an open air prison? We are well into the Fog of War territory here as per the documentary film about the Vietnam war. What is fantasy and what is real?

Probably the general public will be the last to know. It will take some Robert Macnamara type figure as per the film 25 years after the event as then secretary of defence for the USA during the Vietnam War to find out. For instance that Mac was against use of nukes on the Viet Cong while madman Nixon wanted to go for it. Last Wednesday 31st December 08 we wrote of the donkey cart scenario as per an old fictional tv West Wing episode complete with ex Clinton presser as their content adviser (bold added):

Truly the Palestinian people are cannon fodder and hostage for cynical politicians. Truly the Jewish population in southern Israel of moderate disposition are hostages of a much reduced kind too. Israel desperate to prevent an effective delivery system of military grade weaponry into Gaza. Hamas desperate to break the blockade for humanitarian but surely also less honourable purposes (?).

Is Israel's military violence proportionate or disproportionate? Depends who you ask. Depends what's at stake. An Iranian A bomb on a donkey cart? Or is this a nightmarish fantasy like Saddam's non existent WMD? Who the hell knows? Is the Israeli Right in a neurotic Holocaust loop? We wonder.

We wrote back on 21 May 2008 about Mordechai Vanunu, Israeli Jew who spent time in Sydney and blew the whistle on Israel's nuke weapons, with 20 years gaol to reflect on that, as follows:

Nuke weapons road block to a one state solution for Palestine/Israel?
Mood: sad
Topic: peace

Notice from our earlier SAM story, one of recently released on home detention: Mordechai Vanunu

Image:Mordechai Vanunu.jpg

The green non government groups keep an eye on Mordechai's fate always - as here:

Mordechai Vanunu arrested again | Earth Island Journal |Spring 2005

And secondly this detail from US scientists:

"Israel could potentially have produced a few dozen nuclear warheads in the period 1970-1980, and is thought to have produced sufficient fissile material to build 100 to 200 warheads by the mid-1990s. In 1986 descriptions and photographs of Israeli nuclear warheads were published in the London Sunday Times of a purported underground bomb factory at the Dimona nuclear reactor. The photographs were taken by Mordechai Vanunu, a dismissed Israeli nuclear technician. His information led some experts to conclude that Israel had a stockpile of 100 to 200 nuclear devices at that time.

By the late 1990s the U.S. Intelligence Community estimated that Israel possessed between 75-130 weapons, based on production estimates. The stockpile would certainly include warheads for mobile Jericho-1 and Jericho-2 missiles, as well as bombs for Israeli aircraft, and may include other tactical nuclear weapons of various types. Some published estimates even claimed that Israel might have as many as 400 nuclear weapons by the late 1990s. We believe these numbers are exaggerated, and that Israel's nuclear weapons inventory may include less than 100 nuclear weapons. Stockpiled plutonium could be used to build additional weapons if so decided."



"The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) was founded in 1945 by scientists who had worked on the Manhattan Project to develop the first atomic bombs. These scientists recognized that science had become central to many key public policy questions. They believed that scientists had a unique responsibility to both warn the public and policy leaders of potential dangers from scientific and technical advances and to show how good policy could increase the benefits of new scientific knowledge."


Here belatedly is the Greens Federal Party statement from their leader Senator Bob Brown challenging Acting Prime Minister Julia Gillard (bold added):

Greens call on Gillard for Israel Action

Saturday January 3, 2009

Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown has called on acting Prime Minister Julia Gillard to add Australia's weight to calls on Israel to end the gross and disproportionate violence and bombing of Palestinians in the Gaza strip.

"We call on the acting Prime Minister to speak out against the violent and disproportionate action by Israeli leaders which has lead to the death of 400 Palestinians including many women, children and innocent men," Greens Leader Bob Brown said today.

"Australia's voice should also be raised against the threat of an imminent invasion of Gaza by the Israeli army and instead push for internationally brokered peace talks.

"The Greens have consistently condemned violence from both sides, including the rocket attacks on Israel.

"Australia should be active at the United Nations in condemning the violence and promoting an international peace operation.

"The Rudd Government's record is woeful. It voted down a Greens Senate resolution in December - before this recent violence started - calling for Israel to lift its ban on foreign journalists entering Gaza," Senator Brown said.

Posted by editor at 9:29 AM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 4 January 2009 10:21 AM EADT
Friday, 2 January 2009
Sue Dunlevy, News Corp reptile - here's your penance as requested ....
Mood:  hug me
Topic: big media

Sue Dunlevy is a thinker. She's a real survivor too having written about some serious troubles in her time. She hangs with the Canberra press gallery if memory serves.

So she asks in the last line of her somewhat flippant sledge of environmentalists "Will I still be facing an eternity in environmental purgatory ..." or will camping and giving the modern appliances/energy guzzlers a rest for a week be sufficient penance?:

Cold showers atone for my green sins

Sue Dunlevy - Thursday, January 01, 09 (08:51 pm)

ENVIRONMENTAL puritanism almost killed Christmas in my suburb this year when green crusaders objected to neighbours who wanted to put up a Christmas light display.

I've commented on her blog as follows:

I've accepted your request for penance formula in your last sentence. It's on my micro news blog - you can find it no doubt.

As for front page of sister paper The Australian yesterday with their dubious headline about a cooling planet. It took till the spill out on p3 to concede via Don White of Weatherwatch "If the same temperatures [in 2008] had occurred in the early 1990s it would have been the warmest ever."

Sooo as always it's the trend that counts. Also the dodos above might like to consider all the soot from China and India which just ... went kaput in the GFC. Less particulates, less dimming, more global warming in 09 ... you read it here first.

Well Sue, and we know it's taboo to hold a conversation with bloggers (unless of course they are on your corporate blog) being an environmentalist, science graduate in zoology mainly, lawyer, lapsed Catholic and community media practitioner here is my penance for you:

One column about the virtues of gross feed in tariff for photo volatic solar power to jump start an Australian alternative energy industry that can mix it with king coal and actually close those dinosaur power stations down.

If we get gross feed in tariff for PV you can show those Christmas lights to your heart's content. Won't that be fun?

Oh, and part of the penance is to research what "gross feed in tariff" really means. Here's a clue - solar panels have to be big enough to exceed daily usage to feed back into the grid. Here's another clue - Prof Mark Diesendorf of University of New South Wales.

Otherwise champ, you have a happy and safe new year and watch out for the Araneomorphae - they bite their prey with highly effective downward pointing fangs.... including reptiles. There's more around this year apparently known in the trade as funnel web spiders.

Posted by editor at 3:30 PM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 14 January 2009 12:23 PM EADT
Thursday, 1 January 2009
What role web 2 in the Global Financial 'Crisis'?
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: corporates

Is history speeding up via web 2.0? What if sedentary screen time combined with high rate of information flow, and often powerful content, on web 2.0 is radically altering society?

Have you watched James Bond in Goldfinger made in 1964 or so and compared it with the Bourne trilogy made in the noughties, or indeed latest James Bond Quantum of Solace? The point is everything is faster now and public taste looks to be following. Maybe not the quality of plot line say but the overall data is getting very fast. Nor is this an original thought. The calls for strong context and editorial to manage this avalanche are becoming louder and louder in the big press too.

Even alcohol has stopped being very cool in Australia. There isn't much time for hangovers these days if you don't want to miss the next thing, be it job, news story, social opportunity, whatever.

We recently responded to the last Mayne Report ezine as follows with some observations about that publication, the GFC and the subtextual role of web 2.0 in altering society from bricks and mortar economy to cyberspace in many ways:

Sent: Thursday, January 01, 2009 11:00 AM
Subject: bloody good work there Stephen ....
.... "publisher of the Mayne Report". In my judgement you're getting critical mass of cred in your vehicle post crikey.com.au ownership.
* Agree re GFC biggest story and agree Obama was "huge".
Arguably the biggest story never covered was the tens of thousands made homeless by king tides in north of PNG in recent months. Imagine that in Shanghai and Bangladesh. Will make Tampa look like a child's sail boat on a pond in the gardens.


*On sub prime loans I still question where those millions of poor folks were going to live IF cowboy capitalism had not been 'given' the job of housing them, when any number of other domestic political pressures meant G W Bush etc needed to park the urban homeless issue - not least good will for recruiting cannon fodder for Iraq etc.

* Interesting take on Russia big [financial] come down. Haven't read that any where before.

Thanks for that commentary previously about auditors questions under the new provision of the corporations code. The forest folks can use that re Gunns, South East Fibre Exports (in Eden, Japanese owned).


*Great point about inconsistency of the bailouts/blowouts re Bear Stearns (saved) v Lehman (abandoned) - Stiglitz and Naomi Klein make me very nervous about the so called bailout 'plan'. More like rob the US treasury blind on the way out like that Enron exec who got out early. Also makes me nervous that sharp blade Turnbull would praise Hank Poulson so sincerely. We need a useful Opposition not free market ideologues nostalgic for the Wild West.
Coincidentally my US web server's counter crashed when I posted in late November on Klein thesis of Wall St robbing treasury blind, no stats for next 5 days. Mmm. They said it was maintenance. Maybe it was, or Klein/Amy Goodman were better censored like a spark in a haystack.
I still wonder the role of the internet in the GFC - how's this for a wild theory? Bricks and mortar retail outside seasonal fluctuations are going down. My source, a web builder at biggest online retailer here in Australia, says that even so they still trending up modestly post GFC. What if that's the case across social and economic sectors? The overall flight from bricks and mortar? Screen time predating on leisure, retail, government, television and other big media, exercise (obesity), even industry (why drive so much, tele-commute etc).

I'm wondering if the web is part of the cause of the GFC?: Even more information via google and web based news streams means people feel more fearful regardless of objective statistics. There is always a corporate fraud, a mass murder somewhere. A horror, a snake bite, a flood, a fire etc. It bleeds it leads. It's enough to cause emotional and psychological confusion like the seagull predator presented with a million baby turtles rushing to the sea (a real phenomenon in zoology/ethology). Even Dr Google is making people worry more.


To egg the theory a bit more - markets have never been transparent which can provide blissful ignorance. Markets now however have never been more transparent and nuanced contradictions - eg like your point on Lehman v Bear Stearns - are happening all the time. I myself pick apart disjunctions in the quality media too often to be really comfortable about trust.
Interesting to see ex PM Howard back on front page of The Australian today. Truly this guy is an energiser bunny. It's damn 'lucky' he was voted out otherwise we would all be talking Howardish eventually like an Exclusive Brethren sect. And he would be embracing nuke weapons for our own good of course. Which brings me to the international politics. Never forget the nuke weapon shadow.

Variations of this drive the bombing of Hamas only this last week to prevent 'delivery systems' like the 'high tech' proverbial donkey cart (or paranoia re same) via Hamas. And what Hamas is getting now Israel will contemplate for Iran at any cost to the world, after all what the f*ck did we do for them when it counted in WW2? And if that happens well as Bugs Bunny has said it could well be "That's all, folks": Nuke exchange in the middle east. Chernobyl like clouds drift globally. False positives in nuke weapon systems from Russia to Pakistan to India to USA to France to Britian. If one of them doesn't let fly by mistake it will be a miracle in itself.

W Bush is probably still flirting with Rapture concepts this last month.

Yours from the grassly knoll etc

Posted by editor at 11:05 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 1 January 2009 11:51 AM EADT
Thank God for the garbos ..... because you can't trust fireworks.
Topic: local news

That's $5 million dollars in fireworks pissed up against the wall last night, or over Sydney Harbour and it's denizens to be exact. That's 166% more expensive than New Years Eve 2007/8 at $3 M. Apparently it's also about 5 tonnes up so to speak from 3 tonnes.

Maybe the contracts were drawn up and paid for in part when the Global Financial Crisis was still a glint in Madoff's eye? Maybe the politicians really do think it's worth a morale boosting last fling?

It just reminded us of those victims in Gaza ... and much lesser extent Southern Israel, being killed and or intimidated by explosions.

Anyway these days we tend to live by the sun - sleep when it goes down, rise when it does. We trust the sun. We got a bit too much of it yesterday though, cycling to Bondi Beach (and back) visiting our volunteer Carol, the disabled one, and the Roscoe St market under the motel construction. The back derailer stubbornly refused top gear. We got a flat tyre on the way. The glue in our kit was dried out. But a consumer cathedral nearby had more. We trust capitalism's grip on Australia.

Carol gave us a copy of 'About the House' of federal parliament to read. The cover story was about "franchisees". We shared a cup of herbal tea. We discussed tv and international events. She doesn't eat the Tim Tams I bought especially. We trust excessive chocolate to make us feel sick.

Carol normally telephones once every 2 or 3 days but nothing for 10 days. It was a worry but it turns out everything was fine. She'd got into one of her situations and was lying low. You can trust Carol to be sincere and unreliable.

We trust the ocean's constancy too - not least it's capacity for danger.

So we flopped exhausted before the early fireworks display at 9 only to be woken dully aware it was dark already. Should we try and go in and watch the midnight show with "one and a half million" other Sydney siders? Nah, we don't trust the judgement of Sydney siders. Another frivolous light and haze show essentially the same as last year and the year before. The same big media accolades. People boozing sure they are having a riot of a time. Sometimes they even have the riot.

What about the old telescope and a view from the hill in Marrickville. Nah. Get a nice time lapse photo? Nah sleep is the new sex.

We woke up again to a distant thumping, dully aware it was time. Something else was also ringing in our ears - expert Chris Richardson stating 2008 was still "a good year" but "2009 will be a bad one".

If it was just fireworks in Sydney it wouldn't matter, but as an artefact of the international dateline the world tunes into early reportage of our event. This is because we seem to be the first rich country to get to 2009. Sure the politicians reckon that the $5M spent will make $40M in tourism turnover. But we don't trust their dodgy projections.

Nor do we trust our long life light globe which popped a seal yesterday after 12 months use.

But we do trust the Garbos.

You see this year Christmas and New Year Day both fall on a Thursday. It's bins day on Thursday. Do you think the council workers are working? You betcha. Maybe they have mortgages. Maybe they get double time. Whatever it is they came Christmas morning too, probably an easy run because like most others our 5 general and 3 recycling rolly bins (it should be vice versa) weren't even put out. This morning we got ours out a day early.

Ours were crammed full, festering, evil piles of malevalent smells after too much rich food and hot weather. When the garbos came by on Christmas day it was a revelation.

Mind you the neighbours won't thank me putting them out 24 hours early, proudly the only bins in the long long street. You can't trust neighbours. Did the garbos come through with the social contract? You betcha they did at 5 am 1st January 2009 aka the crack of dawn. (Actually the picture above is a fake because it's from 7th June 2007 because we didn't need to see them do it - we trusted them. You can't really trust bloggers though SAM is more trustworthy by comparision.)

We wanted to publish this paen to the garbos as early as possible but we can't. Possibly due to the GFC our internet server's "remote computer did not respond". Maybe it's maintenance. Or one of those worms. Or cynical shaping of customer usage. This is the company that used to be Telpacific, then Blitz, then Wix and now (and get this) Supernerd, itself a trading name for another entity (generally quite reliable but not today). All in 12 months of debt financing madness. Talk about powerless portability of email address amongst corporates let alone mobile phone numbers. You can't trust the market, business or the web.

But you can trust the sun, the ocean ...... and the garbos.


Sydney Morning Herald rose tinted coverage today - literally

Fireworks extravaganza sees in new year

Photos: Thousands of revellers usher in 2009 at Sydney Harbour.

Sydney Daily Telegraph coverage

New Year Sydney 2009

IN time honoured tradition Sydney has welcomed in the New Year with a spectacular fireworks centred on the Harbour Bridge. More photos. Photograph: Craig Greenhill More

Posted by editor at 8:17 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 14 January 2009 12:24 PM EADT
Wednesday, 31 December 2008
Redgum forest decision in Victoria: Time for complementary NSW protection by Minister Ian Macdonald
Topic: nsw govt

Victoria has just announced conservation decisions on their side of the border for highly stressed river redgum forests as per coverage in The Australian newspaper today. Below are images we have collected over the last 12 months regarding campaigns for this by for instance The Wilderness Society. The second image is taken in December 2008 in Illawarra Rd Marrickville which is close to the electorate office of Acting Premier Carmel Tebbutt also environment mnister.

The bottom image is a more generic concern from an event just prior to the last federal election in late 2007.

Is it simply a coincidence that an ALP government source in NSW has leaked receipts of arguable expenditure against notorious redneck and industry mate Minister Ian Macdonald in the NSW Government also responsible for redgum forests north of the Murray (Minister for Primary Industries, Minister for Energy, Minister for Mineral Resources, Minister for State Development) ? That story is on page 1 of the Sydney Morning Herald (again) today. If it is related it does sort of echo the modus operandi of the rough play of folks in that NSW ALP tribe.

Or that co-financier of the original Get Up lobby group, Evan Thorley MP from the Victorian ALP, Government, and talented internet businessman, has just announced he is quitting to go back to private enterprise, in apparent dis-satisfaction with the progressive policies of the Brumby Govt?

Perhaps they are all separate ingredients in today's political stew. Who really knows. But here's hoping the NSW Govt do the right thing on their side of the border too.

Posted by editor at 8:51 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 31 December 2008 9:55 AM EADT
Cynical failed Israeli, Arab Right politicians using Palestinians as cannon fodder?
Topic: world

This subject is notoriously hard.

After trying to understand media coverage of the latest mass carnage we have concluded the cynical politicians in the Middle East need this war in Palestine like a neurotic ritual. Hamas and it's Arabic/Islamist supporters must know on some level that a theocratic discriminatory Israel with it's nuclear weapons can never be undone, and therefore it's platform to remove Israel is an extreme nonesense.

That is this side of Armageddon. Our last two posts on the aftermath of Hiroshima and Nagasaki should make that clear.

Now we ask who substantially broke the truce first? We discount the headline below as tendentious, but not the AFP text below via Rupert Murdoch'si?? The Australian.

We discount the marginal militants operating perhaps without official Hamas support sending their nuisance fire crackers over the border. More chance of a shark attack here in Australia than causing injury with those? Similarly we discount the local Jewish organised sophistry drawing the veil of rhetoric back to 2001 and 6000 rockets, always the victim, despite Israel's modern airforce and huge death toll in Palestine. We note the tightening of the ruthless strangling blockade of Gaza by the Israeli Defence Force in November as the nervous ending of the truce period approached.

We note the huge democratic support for Hamas in Gaza.We note Israel presenting more like German guards of a Warsaw Ghetto and wonder if they get the irony of that.

We note, as Fairfax's Paul McGeogh has, the Kadima politician running for election in Israel (Livni) who looks to us more German than Israeli-Jew, and seeks to out hawk political dinosaurs in Likud (Netanyahu). Similarly Defence Minister, has been, Labor political rival (Barak).

We note the Israeli hawks having a brief window to act before the next US presidency replaces ruthless hawk George W Bush, where there is a chance however small of a change in approach.

We note the religious nutters on various sides and especially the provocations of some Israeli squatters who claim a free pass from God to steal Arabic land. And especially of some Arabs who treat women like cattle rather than their equals.

In effect all these are striving for a one state solution - Israel for the land by creeping conquest of squatters and military strike, with ghetto like open air prison for Palestinians. And Hamas by creeping demographic numbers and help of upset neighbours with their own Palestinian domestic sympathisers. The King of Jordan was filmed giving blood yesterday via SBS television. The West including Australia and the USA talk about a two state solution but it's not happening folks. It's a fantasy.

And we have our own domestic symapthisers with Palestine even if Fairfax appear to not have reported the 1000 plus street protest in Sydney's CBD a few days back while News Corp have done so.

Truly the Palestinian people are cannon fodder and hostage for cynical politicians. Truly the Jewish population in southern Israel of moderate disposition are hostages of a much reduced kind too. Israel desperate to prevent an effective delivery system of military grade weaponry into Gaza. Hamas desperate to break the blockade for humanitarian but surely also less honourable purposes (?).

Is Israel's military violence proportionate or disproportionate? Depends who you ask. Depends what's at stake. An Iranian A bomb on a donkey cart? Or is this a nightmarish fantasy like Saddam's non existent WMD? Who the hell knows? Is the Israeli Right in a neurotic Holocaust loop? We wonder.

The cynicism and political/religious blindness, fear and loathing is literally killing innocent and not so innocent people on a daily basis. It really will take someone as brilliant as Barak Obama to solve this, along with lots of other balls to juggle. May God have mercy on them all. And on the world itself given the nuclear dimension. Finally and most importantly may those killed rest in peace in this latest Horror.


Postscript # 1

We made a small edit having conflated Israeli with Jewish in describing politician Livni, the latter term being a religous not nationality/ethnic descriptor as such.

Secondly we add this Greens media release dated 31 December but circulated on their list 2nd January 09

Sent: Friday, January 02, 2009 6:37 AM
Subject: [Greens-Media] Israel's Gaza attack condemned – let supplies pass

31 December 2008

Israel's Gaza attack condemned – let supplies pass

Greens MP Lee Rhiannon has added her voice to the call for a cease
fire in the Middle East and for Israel to end its assault on Gaza.

"The bombing of Palestinian people must stop now," Ms Rhiannon said.

"The Sydney rallies in support of the Palestinian people held in
recent days send a clear message to Australian political leaders that
the only appropriate response to Israel's repeated air strikes on Gaza
is forthright condemnation.

"Public opposition to Israel's actions are critical to help ensure the
bombing raids  are not followed with a full scale military invasion.

"It is vital that international pressure is placed on Israel to allow
essential materials particularly medical supplies to be immediately
delivered to Gaza's 1.5 million people.

"There is no excuse for bombing civilian targets like universities, TV
studios, mosques, government buildings and police stations.

"Terrorism is the killing and maiming of civilians, so these Israeli
attacks are clearly acts of terrorism on a massive scale.

"UN General Assembly President, Miguel D'Escoto Brockman has indicated
that Israel has contravened Geneva Conventions by targeting civilian

"Israel's actions are defined as 'war crimes' in legislation governing
the International Criminal Court.

"While killings have occurred on both sides, 360 Palestinian people
have died in three days of Israeli rocket attacks.  The number of
Israeli people killed in Palestinian attacks over the past eight years
has been a fraction of that number.

"Political leaders of all countries have a responsibility to pressure
Israel to stop the killings," Ms Rhiannon said.


Postscript #2

From the office of Ian Cohen MP via a reader

From: Ian Cohen MP
To: Independent Australian Jewish Voices
Sent: Friday, January 02, 2009 7:30 PM
Subject: Re: Gaza Media Statement

to Aust Independent voices
I have read and happy ot support the statement to be produced as a member of
the NSW Parliament and a person of Jewish descent.

Thanks for your humanitarian efforts

Ian Cohen MLC
Parliament of NSW

>>> "Indep Aust Jewish Voices" 01/02/09 3:49 PM >>>

Dear friends,

We have drafted the following letter and are planning to post it on our IAJV
website and also send it to the major newspapers including the Australian
Jewish News. We invite your signature. If you wish to add your name, please
send an email response to us by 10 am Monday morning January 5.

Only individuals who explicitly respond will be identified with the letter
which will not in any way identify IAJV or signatories of earlier

Here are links to a few relevant background articles.

Tom Segev, Haaretz. December 29

Amira Hass, Haaretz, December 28

Gideon Levy, Haaretz, December 31

Richard Falk, The Nation, December 29

Gush Shalom statement, December 30

Peter Slezak and Antony Loewenstein, ABC Unleashed, December 31

Peter Slezak and Antony Loewenstein, Online Opinion, January 2


We are Australian Jews who join thousands in Israel and around the world
condemning ongoing Israeli military attacks on Gaza. Together with Israeli
peace group Gush Shalom, we condemn the current war as "inhuman,
superfluous" and "abominable".

While Israel has the right to protect its citizens and to demand an end to
the crime of Palestinian rockets that target civilians, this cannot be used
as a pretext for the grossly disproportionate military assault on Gaza
because it was Israel that violated the fragile truce on November 4, 2008.
Furthermore, Israel ignored Hamas' diplomatic initiatives to re-establish
the cease-fire since it expired on December 19.

The crude home-made rockets have caused relatively few Israeli casualties.
By contrast, Israeli bombardment has caused around 400 deaths and 2,000
casualties including a large proportion of women and children. The
bombardment has included civilian targets such as a university, television
station, factories, mosques, ministry offices, parliament and refugee camps.
Since Hamas is a legitimate, democratically elected political party that
controls the government, security-related institutions are also civilian
targets including police departments and uniformed officers.

History has demonstrated that military punishment has never broken the
spirit of a people or produced peace. On the contrary, the assault on the
population of Gaza will only inflame hatred of Jews and of the State of
Israel while doing nothing to protect the lives of Israelis. Above all, it
will undermine the prospects of joining with peace-seeking Palestinians to
negotiate a lasting, just solution to the conflict.

The war on the population of Gaza comes after the Israeli blockade that had
already created a severe humanitarian crisis under which the Palestinians
suffered from lack of food, electricity, medicines, hospital equipment and
other basic necessities of life. The blockade was condemned by the UN as a
violation of international law and, like the massive Israeli air-strikes,
constitutes illegal collective punishment prohibited by the Geneva

We call for an immediate end to attacks on civilians by Palestinians and
Israelis. However, since Palestinians have no means of self-defence against
the most powerful military force in the Middle East, we particularly call on
Israel to end its brutal assault on the vulnerable Palestinian people of
Gaza and to reconsider its rejection of the UN Security Council's call for a

Israel has refused to accept Hamas' consistent offer of negotiations since
its election win in 2006. There can be no solution to the conflict without
Israel being a willing partner to dialogue.


Independent Australian Jewish Voices
Peter Slezak
James Levy
Antony Loewenstein
Eran Asoulin

Posted by editor at 5:32 AM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 3 January 2009 10:52 AM EADT

Newer | Latest | Older