Archive for the ‘commentary’ Category
Got to admit that I quite enjoyed Germaine Greer’s overtly pragmatic epitaph for Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin. As a virulent pissing contest engulfed Australian and global semi-celebria, with each successive politician and MTV host proclaiming greater and greater love and admiration for a bloke that many thought of as a bit of a dickhead, albeit a freshly dead one, Greer was the sole voice stating the obvious, namely
What Irwin never seemed to understand was that animals need space. The one lesson any conservationist must labour to drive home is that habitat loss is the principal cause of species loss. There was no habitat, no matter how fragile or finely balanced, that Irwin hesitated to barge into, trumpeting his wonder and amazement to the skies. There was not an animal he was not prepared to manhandle. Every creature he brandished at the camera was in distress.
Which is why it is baffling that she should now display a brilliant lack of intelligence, proclaiming that the highly fatal and destructive bushfires still tormenting Victoria were caused by authorities failing to burn off and a lack of bush clearing.
The simple fact is that the Victorian authority supposedly responsible for forest management, the ironically named Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE), are all about support for unsustainable forest practices. They more or less prostitute their taxpayer-funded services to the woodchip industry, which does nothing but clear bush – old bush, new bush, sick bush, healthy bush.
The DSE are in fact such vigorous fans of the hazard reduction techniques known as back-burning that it is barely eight years since ‘controlled burns’ they were overseeing (supposedly) did what fires do in the face of 30-knot winds, destroying roughly a million hectares of native forest. As a result, logging lobbyists secured a commitment from the Victorian government, enabling them to access massive stands of ancient forest, to make up for the volume of wood no longer able to be cut down for the simple reason that it had been turned to charcoal.
Far from adding what is usually a dissenting and radical voice to this particular discussion, Greer is simply, and ignorantly, piping the same shrill chorus soon to be sung by all the usual idiot lobbyists like Barry Chipman and anybody from Timber Communities Australia, the Institute of Public Affairs, the Liberal and National Parties, etc. Namely – that this tragedy wouldn’t have happened if conservationists hadn’t interfered with sound forest management practices.
Obviously, bushfires wouldn’t happen if humans could fight back by cutting down every bloody tree and killing every bloody native animal – a far cry from Greer’s anti-Irwin argument. Bloody human-hating Greenies f%&$ed us all again, they proclaim.
But the simple fact is that nature and forests can quite perfectly manage themselves, if just left alone long enough to functionally exist. The remaining areas of Victoria’s old growth forest – concentrated in and arounf the Otways and East Gippsland – still retain enough moisture to function not only as massive biodiversity store-houses, but as difficult-to-ignite fire buffers. Less human intervention, through irresponsible land clearing and corporate logging, is the answer, not the problem.
Greer would do better to understand this before firing one off on such a mishandled issue. She has done herself, myriad species, and all natural environments, not to mention the dead and damaged, a massive disservice with this fresh strand of vomit.
Better she had shut her mouth rather than emit it.
It is strange that Fairfax, the publisher of Sydney Morning Herald, puts out a far better paper in Melbourne – The Age – than they do in Sydney. It could perhaps be because the Sydney editor is a nonce. But that doesn’t explain why the hell Fairfax employ a conservative editor in what continually tries to be a progressive society. Perhaps they would rather we resist that impulse.
Or they think we are idiots, which would explain why they keep on their stable of narcissistic pundits-of-no-merit. Like Miranda Devine. Like Gerard Henderson (could somebody pleeeease tell him that John Howard is gone already). Like Michael Duffy.
Duffy is like a tumour that masquerades as a boil. His bio is hilarious – he relaunched his image at the Herald lately by presenting himself as aged cool like a turd with chocolate sprinkles, making special efforts to emphasize that he has been on the dole, AND played in bands. I would bet Madonna’s left nut that they were horrible pieces of shit who largely played or ripped off other people’s songs that sucked way before they even lost all relevance.. Because this feels like the kind of guy that Duffy is, and it’s exactly the way that he manages information. He’s like some second rate Christopher Pyne trying to present as a first rate Shaun Micallef, thereby coming across quite a bit like a skid mark from Peter Costello’s underpants but without the charisma.
In the tradition of ripping off shit that need never have been exuded in the first place, skunkjunk has just run an op ed in the Herald Truly inconvenient truths about climate change being ignored. Wow! Genius! Who would have ever thought to use the title of an increasingly old movie ironically in pursuit of climate change denial? Never. Seen. That. Done. A. Million. Times. Already.
And what a piece of crap it is.
Someone else who’s looked closely at scientific journals (although not specifically those dealing with climate science) is epidemiologist John Ioannidis of the Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. He reached the surprising conclusion that most published research findings are proved false within five years of their publication. (Lest he be dismissed as some eccentric, I note that the Economist recently said Ioannidis has made his case “quite convincingly”.)
So, one of Duffy’s convincing sources reads magazines that aren’t anything to do with climate science, and has found inconsistencies in those non-climate findings which a non-climate magazine has apparently once agreed add up to some kind of non-climate argument, and therefore climate change is bogus? I’m so convinced, I must read further. Read the rest of this entry »
Satan’s very own trouser stain went to Israel and went beyond the usual ‘talking shit’ to get into the talking of ‘holy shit‘. Even though Bush was selling masses of weapons to Israel at the precise moment that Palestinian civilians were being killed in their homes, even though the legitimate election of Hamas resulted in a Western tantrum and further restrictions on food and security for the hungry, this prick now thinks he can clean up his CV with some handshake photo-ops with the weakest leaders of Israel and Palestine respectively in years. Not to mention firing off some crap about fighting the evil doers who hate freedom. Duh George, irony.
Still, at least he won popular appreciation for his typically insightful humour:
“You’ll be happy to know, my whole motorcade of a mere 45 cars was able to make it through without being stopped,” Bush said after being asked about the 30-minute journey from Jerusalem and Ramallah.
“I’m not so exactly sure that’s what happens to the average person.”
The average person gets beaten up by Israeli forces armed, trained, and financed by your government, George, becaue you have money for strategic military aid but none for genuine humanitarian needs… but good gag about the check points. ha. ha.
Arnold Schwarzenegger took lots of steroids and never gave back any trophies. He’s a multimillionaire movie star governor and rightly so, I guess. Marion Jones took steroids, has given back 5 Olympic medals, had race results from 7 years ago cancelled, and been sentenced to 6 months jail, 400 hours community service, and 2 years of good behaviour. Forget all the reasons given and the fluffy explanations of instant analysts. She was successful, she’s still black. That’s why this is being done to her. End of story.
The Guardian came out with its list of the 50 people most likely to help save the planet, and it’s definitely worth reading. Obviously there are mistakes, like the inclusion of Bjorn Lomborg – an overrated statistician who does his best to be mistaken for an objective authority and critical thinker. Obviously the inclusion of Peter Garrett is interesting – because Bob Brown and Christine Milne have been left out, because he is in on the basis of his efforts regarding climate change (which have officially been ’0′), because it may well be an accurate forecast.
Speaking of planetary saviours, Paul Watson’s Sea Shepherd are still trawling the Antarctic waters in search of the Japanese whaling fleet. For all their pre-election noise, the new federal government have been utterly disappointing on the whale hunt front. Although combined US and Australian pressure saw humpbacks taken off the Japanese menu, it could be readily speculated that this was always the Japanese intention. By distracting diplomacy and outrage with their proclaimed intent to kill endangered and high profile humpbacks, the Japanese whalers won both gullible kudos and increased space for harpoon-play by rescinding this particular plan – which may never have actually been any more than a ploy.
Not only are the government doing nothing, they’re doing it actively by withholding information about Japanese whereabouts from the Sea Shephered and Greenpeace ships who could take action. Although Greenpeace finally caught up to the whalers later in the week, their new “hands-on, down-and-dirty” branding still doesn’t extend to sharing info with Sea Shepherd – something they have specifically refused to do in the past. To highlight how similarly limp-wristed the federal ALP’s effort has been, Sea Shepherd appointed former Liberal Environment Minister Ian Campbell to their board this week. He takes up a spot beside Terri Irwin, Sean Penn, and others.
Of course, environmentally, a huge piece of news this week was that China has moved to ban plastic shopping bags. The mighty nation currently goes through 3 billion bags every day. They have set a legally binding target of June 1 2008 as the date on which this will no longer occur at all. Not to be outdone, the following day Peter Garrett proclaimed that Australia would ban plastic shopping bags by the end of this year. He managed to claim most of the credit for this comparatively lightweight gesture without making any mention of China.
Also ignored by Australian media, CIA papers from 1974 were released detailing how American analysis at the time confirmed that Israel was developing a nuclear weapons capability. Certainly more convincing than anything they’ve come out with about Iran. Or Iraq (where yet another new ‘official’ death toll has come out – 151 000). Or North Korea. Even though N. Korea conducted an atomic test. To better understand why journalists and news media spend far too much time with their heads firmly up each other’s asses, this piece from Politico is exceptionally useful – not to mention a fun read. Oops, I mentioned it. Called “Why reporters get it wrong” the piece tries to grapple with the wake of the Hillary Clinton resurrection one day before she was officially due to be buried.
And the absolutely legendary achievement of the week has to go to James Castrission and Justin Jones. The young Aussie kayaking duo finally expect to hit land later this morning. After 60 days of rowing, covering over 3000 kilometres when they set out aiming to cover 2200, and with their legs and bodies wasting away, the story of these young men fighting horrendous conditions, a massive challenge of endurance, and their own internal processes has been riveting. Catch up on their story via the Crossing the Ditch website.
And although it probably fits in somewhere between religious bullshit and animal torture, a Footscray man ended up in court for buying an 11-year old girl high heeled shoes and asking her to kick him in the genitals. If the shoe fits….
The Howard – Rudd debate on national tv just now revealed a couple of things. There are certainly a number of possible topics for discussion – commentator bias (hi Annabel Crabb), media ethics (hi Channel 9) – but here’s a suddenly crucial revelation which I expect shall be neglected by most political analysts in tomorrow’s papers. The same analysts and outlets as usual shall no doubt continue to lobby poisonously against reality.
Consider this – Howard’s final minute of summary and closure. As he talked about his proposed education revolution, one to overhaul and Gerard-Hendersonise the Aussie school history curriculum, he ever so briefly dropped his daks and waved red, white and blue-spangled genitalia at the national tv audience.
Well, not literally. But he did expose his dirty little reconciliation secret. For all the talk of his new attitude to Aboriginal Australians, his deeper understanding, his hope for real progress – he went straight back to the moment in 1997 when in front of the nation’s indigenous leaders, activists, academics, and citizenry, he categorically stonewalled the Reconciliation movement in this country. In talking tonight in that final moment, he insisted that without knowledge of where they’ve come from and the sacrifices made to make Australia what it is today, kids must know the great Australian story. Fair enough. “It’s not a story without blemish,” said Howard – his only acknowledgment that part of that story is a brutal, prolonged tale of systematic murder, abduction, relocation, separation and theft (more commonly referred to as ‘genocide’).
“Blemish”. Blemish? Blemish!!! A word commonly used to refer to displeasing aberration of the skin. the same word by which he specifically sought to emasculate the issue of Australian genocide in front of distinguished, committed, and affected hosts and guests a decade ago. Within the same hour as he spoke with feigned sincerity of his nation-propelling plan to include lip service within the preamble to the Constitution.
“It’s not a story without blemish”. It’s not a country without displeasing aberrations of the skin. It’s not a Prime Minister given to any kind of sincere respect or appreciation for the First People of this land, even as he proclaims his passive aggressive urge to consider acknowledging their existence if he is re-elected.
Thanks to Ninglun for the tip – check out the commentary on this little slice of history (although it could have been this evening) from 2min 50sec.