Archive for the ‘media’ Category
Parker Whittle is so real. He shaves. He uses Flickr, where his name is P-Whit (too easy to make something else out of that, hey?). And with a heart of gold, he’s launching himself into a 30-day email and i.m.-a-thon to raise an unknowable amount of money at an undisclosed rate for a handful of mainstream charities.
And the best part? It’s not your money. It’s Microsoft’s money. It’s like you’re reaching into the Man’s pockets and taking cash and handing it to a hungry person, every time you hit “enter.” The i’m Initiative turns you into Robin Hood with a goofy screen name.
Every time Parker, the Parkster, the P Man, or Da P, as his close friends call him, uses Windows Messenger or any other similarly contorted piece of Windows communicationware over the next month, Microsoft – “the Man” – sweats “coin”.
Parker could have just said “money” but he’s so “shtreet” he says “coin”!!
Oh no he di’n't!!
He better talk to the hand…gurrlfren’!!! Read the rest of this entry »
I’m not much for analysing polls, though I certainly admire the astuteness of those who are able to do so in meaningful ways. Citizen lobby group GetUp has just taken this poll looking at Australian attitudes to the ongoing clusterf&%k that is the Gunns would-be pulp mill project in Tasmania’s Tamar Valley.
Conducted by Essential Research between the 10th – 15th June 2008
n=1019 adults 18+
Q: The recent resignation of the Tasmanian Premier Paul Lennon and the decision by the ANZ Bank to withdraw its involvement from Gunns proposed pulp mill in Tasmania’s Tamar Valley has resulted in more debate on this issue. Do you personally support the building of the pulp mill or oppose the building of the pulp mill?
TOTAL 39% 61%
Male 45 55
Female 34 66
ALP voter 35 65
Liberal/National voter 48 52
Green voter 21 79
Other/Independent voter 35 65
18-24 44 56
25-34 38 62
35-49 39 61
50+ 38 62
Interestingly, this survey result shows the opposite of what might be expected based on common assumptions about age and conservatism of attitudes. Namely, rather than 50+ year olds being more conservative in their politics and trusting of corporations than 18-24 year olds the opposite is true. 62% of over 50-year olds across Australia oppose the mill, while only 55% of the should-be more radical and more aware 18-24 crowd reject it.
To me, this says one thing very clearly. Basically, if you were aged from 6 to 12 years old when John Howard came to power, then your experience of Australia, governance, and social values has been retarded by having not been properly exposed to life in a country with a social conscience in your formative years.
State governments – in Tassie and New South Wales at the very least – have done nothing to balance this retardation. Just as there are hundreds of thousands of Australians who buy Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera albums, it seems that we’re also awash in young Liberals who know too little to know any better.
Which explains how turd blossoms like Christopher Pyne were spawned, even if it is impossible to explain why.
Due to be released shortly, a book from CSIRO Publishing promises to put the climate change debate in Australia back on track. Ten Commitments: Reshaping the Lucky Country’s Environment is divided into three categories – ecosystems (desert, marine, etc.), sectors (forestry, fisheries), and cross-sectoral and cross-ecosystem themes.
Leading environmental scientists write within these sections, using each chapter to address the question: “What are the 10 key things that must be urgently addressed to improve Australia’s environment?”.
Appearing on ABC’s Science program in early June, lead editor and author David Lindenmayer added weight to the argument that time is beyond short. He detailed how at even a minimal level of carbon taxation – $19 a tonne – logging operators in the remaining wet forests of Victoria should be paying $80 billion to that state’s government. Which would be well beyond the half billion dollars in logging royalties they currently pay annually.
He also detailed how, globally, destructive species – such as the mountain pine beetle of Canada – are thriving as winters become more mild. Rather than being wiped out or diminished seasonally, these beetles have now destroyed more than eleven million hectares of previously permanent forest, making way for logging operations and farming to move in.
According to Lindenmayer, the latest research, ongoing delays to real action, and these emerging new paradigms point to a future atmospheric carbon mass of 700-750 parts per million, with all the unimaginable consequences that will surely entail.
Atmospheric carbon is currently at 385 parts per million.
And visionless politicians want us to worry about the price of gas.
Why is this speech being covered by British media but neglected by the Australian media? Did I miss something?
From the article in the UK Telegraph, dated June 2:
In an admission that will make uncomfortable reading in London and Washington, the Labour leader dismissed one-by-one the reasons used by his predecessor, John Howard, to join the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq five years ago.
“Have further terrorist attacks been prevented? No, they have not been, as the victims of the Madrid train bombing will attest,” Mr Rudd told parliament.
“Has any evidence of a link between weapons of mass destruction and the former Iraqi regime and terrorists been found? No.
“Have the actions of rogue states like Iran been moderated? No … Iran’s nuclear ambitions remain a fundamental challenge.
“After five years, has the humanitarian crisis in Iraq been removed? No it has not.”
Mr Rudd, whose campaign for election last November included a pledge to withdraw Australian combat forces from Iraq, said pre-war intelligence had been “abused” by the Howard government.
He said there had been a “failure to disclose to the Australian people the qualified nature of the intelligence – for example, the pre-war warning that an attack on Iraq would increase the terrorist threat, not decrease it”.
heh heh, too good. Apparently this video from Switzerland’s Electric Six was banned in the US and UK – probably at the best of powerful gays not wanting to be associated with either of these dickcheeses. All weird and wonderful video brought dutifully to your attention by the wondrously eclectic and quality-obsessed Homepage Daily… okay, maybe i’m biased, but HPD does always get it done.
Weeze on some Pork & Beans, bitchezes.
Seriously, HPD is a perfect template for future media – has everything except holograms and Interactive Torture Top 40.
(by DJ Lobsterdust)
Woo Hoo!!!!! Paul Lennon has run out of scapegoat deputies and finally resigned as Premier of Tasmania. In what may be one of the only political moves he has ever made in the genuine interest of Tasmania’s populace and future generations, Big Red finally pulled the plug on his untenable losership blaming his 17% popularity rating and the needs of the party, rather than the fact that health claims about the vitamin content of Coco Pops are widely considered more credible than he is.
It will only be to make way for a slightly less oafish brand of corporate lackey douchebaggitora sociopathica, but bugger it – that’s something to get depressed about tomorrow and every day thereafter. For now, it’s time to pop corks and light whatever your preferred flavour of fat one might be.
Lovely bit from Tasmanian Times here – guessing their offices erupted into some sort of Bacchanalian orgy with in seconds of Big Fat Red finally making the announcement that TT had so long been anticipating. As they say,
The disaster of the pulp mill became more about the erosion of democracy and public trust than it was even about the environment. If it was the most glaring example of Paul Lennon’s contempt for proper governance and indifference to democratic process, he was here only following where Bacon had trod. At his ascension Lennon made much of his determination to fulfill Bacon’s vision for Tasmania. How could he know it also portended his own tragedy?
For he lacked Bacon’s charisma. Perhaps his greatest political failure was to be too honest about all that Bacon covered over with his undoubted public charm.
Lennon is now gone.
Even in the moment of final “Good Riddance”, the Mercury – “Tasmania’s leading source of frequently pro-government pap propped up by ad dollars” – has seen fit to run a blancmange of cut-and-pasted infobytes and ministerial quotes which more or less neglects to mention the curry-fart cloud of corruption and big-money-friendly bloody-mindedness hanging over the squinty eyed Big Red One for the last decade or so.
Nevertheless, at least the Mercury has chosen to mention on this fine day that Gunns are having some trouble getting the cash for their toxic planet-raping bog roll enabling Pulp Mill. Seems that ANZ are backing away from the project under the guise of credit concerns, rather than risking future industry dollars by bluntly opposing any project that might make the Exxon Valdez seem like a hiccough.
I don’t share the optimism of pundits who think that the departure of Lennon means a sure end to the pulp mill, nor do I think that ANZ’s unwillingness to fund the bastardry – even if this is officially confirmed in the fullness of time – is a guaranteed end to the world’s biggest, stupidest pulp mill. What is needed for 200 000 hectares of forest to rest easy is for John Gay to announce the project’s demise to the ASX, and for Peter Garrett to rescind any and all outstanding approvals related to the project. Given that Garrett just last week approved the construction of mill worker’s quarters, the gigantic forest-eater may yet have legs… ugly, gnarled, wart-infested, pus-dripping legs.
Following the welcome trend of reversing previous intransigence, the Australian Government has successfully floated a measure intended to heavily reduce, if not eliminate, Japan’s exploitation of “scientific research” as a justification for trying to kill close to one thousand whales annually.
During an international meeting at Heathrow during the first week of March, Australia found “a strong chord of support” for new Australian proposals to eliminate lethal research, according to a spokesperson for Environment Minister, Peter Garrett.
She rejected claims by the UK’s Independent that the meeting had somehow been secret, pointing out that it had received significant media coverage during the last week. She also flatly rejected the central claim of the article – that nations are moving to formalize approval of Japanese whaling – as selective quoting, misrepresentation, and a media beat-up.
Far from some sort of sinister new phase in negotiations, the central substance of the Independent’s claims regarding the nature of the meeting come from mentions made at the recent Heathrow meeting of a paper by the Pew Environmental Consultancy first tabled at a Tokyo meeting of the IWC in January.
She characterized the support for Australian proposals, voiced both formally and “at the margins” during the meeting, as a very pleasing result for both the Australian delegation and ongoing efforts to protect whales. Australia’s reforming proposals have now been accepted as formal items on the agenda of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) conference due to take place in Chile in June.
The measures would see concrete recovery plans established under the IWC. Supposedly scientific research would be subject to the IWC as a whole, rather than the standards determined appropriate by individual nations, as is currently the case with Japan’s program, sanctioned under their self-regulated JARPA II regime.
The above picture comes from an excellent animal update by Maxine Firth here in today’s SMH. Amazingly, the RSPCA endorses the conditions in which these thousands upon thousands of birds at the Pace Farm facility in Buchanan, near Newcastle, are kept. More amazingly, their spokesperson, asked about these specific conditions and the ongoing commission-for-approval arrangement between Pace and RSPCA contributed to the following exchange:
Chief executive Heather Neil said: “RSPCA standards for accredited egg production ensure that hens are given the freedom to exhibit natural behaviours.
The program involves a process of stringent and regular inspections every eight to 12 weeks to ensure standards are being met.”
Ms Neil confirmed the RSPCA endorsed beak clipping of birds at the Buchanan facility.
“The RSPCA is aware of behavioural problems with this particular flock at Buchanan, specifically feather picking,” she said.
On the allegation that the birds were too cramped, she said RSPCA standards allowed for seven birds per square metre as opposed to the national code of practice standard of 12.
Animal Liberation said the RSPCA standard gives each bird an amount of space equivalent to a piece of A3 paper.
Ms Neil said the demand for eggs in Australia was about 200 million dozen eggs a year.
“Such a demand necessitates large-scale commercial production,” she said. “The RSPCA would prefer to be in there helping to improve the welfare of birds in commercial egg production rather than not being involved at all.”
Now, I may be wrong, but if birds are forced to live in such squalid and cramped conditions that they have to have their beaks burnt off so that they don’t peck each other to death… is that really a “behavioural problem”? Or is that a “human contempt for animal life problem”? And would the RSPCA have helped improve conditions for horses at race tracks or increase the size of steel pigpens if “large-scale commercial production” as opposed to “animal welfare” or “prevention of cruelty” was meant to be their priority.
Ha!! more like “eggs have the tick because it’s one less reason for you to give a shit about how these fucking trolls cash in on animal torture”
I have been pissed off at the way eggs are packaged, bought and sold for ages. Pace, for example, has a facility with close to a million chickens about 4 hours south west of Sydney, near Wyalong, in the appropriately named Bland Shire (seriously). These bastards have the nerve to produce a line of free range eggs, and people are either so busy or so ignorant that they buy them.
Here’s a simple question: If, for example, I keep a million chickens laying eggs in conditions similar to a concentration camp from the moment of their birth until their premature over-medicated death, but have another hundred thousand that run around in a nice field, should ANY self-respecting consumer be rewarding me with their cash?
Or to put it another way: If I run Auschwitz and I butcher 5 million people, turning them into soap, gold, and ashes, but I supply half a million with false papers and make sure they get across the Channel to England, am I a saint, am I halfway toward redemption, or am I so fucking evil that I should never be allowed to sell eggs again?
Basically – do not EVER buy ANY kind of egg from ANY company that runs ANY battery/cage hen facilities. Fuck PACE FARMS. Fuck INGHAM CHICKENS. FUCK KFC. Etc. LET YOUR SUPERMARKET KNOW –> tell them that you don’t want Pace Free Range eggs, tell them you want any other kind of remotely ethical free range eggs.
Buy organic if you’re really concerned about your own health. Buy free range if you’re concerned about the chicken whose period you’re eating.
And to make you feel all warm and fuzzy, as opposed to henpecked and cemented, here are photos from this page which allegedly details a 2002 investigation-of-sorts by local activists into the Pace facility near Wyalong.
These happy lookin’ fellas down the bottom have been in chook rehab. Not yet 100%, I’m guessing.
An odd choice for a title but possible cause for sustained reflection if you’re punching bowls in pixeltown.
The excellent all-things-planetary-meltdown website Celsias has pumped a wishful article about Coca Cola’s sudden money-down recognition of their ability to play some kind of positive role on the planet. They’ve nicely framed it with some additional links to prankster acts of independent journalism, so although I’m not currently in a posting mode I do encourage you to head over here and check out the prankly goodness.
Oh, by the way – it’s good to sea that Greenpeace haven’t lost their sense of humour, or context, or reality, or self-importance. . .
What the hell – One out of four ain’t bad.
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….
If you too are a fan of English as a language that evolves, rather than waiting for dictionaries and frustrated language teachers and newspaper editors to determine what is or is not a word which can legitimately be used to convey meaning, you’ll dig these too. Seriously, I wouldn’t give The Washington Post to a puppy to crap on. Actually… that’s probably the one situation where The Washington Post is the paper of choice. Point being, these are pretty good. 8. might just be my favourite, although 13 and 15 are definitely contenders. Anyway…
The Washington Post’s Mensa Invitational asked readers to take any
word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing
one letter, and supply a new definition.
1. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the
subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.
2. Ignoranus: A person who’s both stupid and an asshole.
3. Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.
4. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.
5. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.
6. Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.
7. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.
8. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the
person who doesn’t get it.
9. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.
10. Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.
11. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)
12. Karmageddon: It’s when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, and then the Earth explodes, and it’s a serious bummer.
13. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you
14. Glibido: All talk and no action.
15. Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.
16. Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you’ve accidentally walked through a spider web.
17. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.
This is a particularly important matter in the development of national environmental law in Australia. Having only just got word of this decision handed down 4 days ago (my bad…. grr), here is the press release on Bob Brown’s site.
Forest absurdity – appeal to Rudd, Garrett certain, High Court likely
30th Nov 07
Greens leader Bob Brown has called on the Rudd government and Environment Minister Peter Garrett to read and take action to rectify the absurdity of today’s Federal Appeal Court’s decision on Tasmania’s Wielangta forest and to nullify the Regional Forest Agreement.
While the appeal bench ruled 3-0 that section 38 of the federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act exempts logging from environmental law, it left intact Justice Marshall’s finding that logging had a significant and unacceptable impact on the endangered species.
“It’s a case of the law intends to protect endangered wildlife but if Canberra and Hobart ignore logging which endangers their existence, they can,” Senator Brown said.
“I will ask both Prime Minister Rudd and Peter Garrett to put the Howard years of indifference behind and insist these habitats be protected as the law intends. I have also asked my barristers to weigh up the obvious grounds for an appeal to the High Court – this nation’s natural heritage depends on us taking action,” Senator Brown said.
With all the changing of the government and Kyoto-ing and promises of apologies to the Stolen Generations, this decision slipped straight through and I should think it was also neglected by most major newspapers – which is a huge mistake. The overturning of Justice Marshall’s interpretation of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act in the first Wielangta Case is a significant setback for checks and balances needed to prevent monopolistic forestry departments running amok in the most irreparable manner possible.
More on this in the next few days – definitely.
Silver-tongued Bob Ellis has freshly penned a perfect post mortem for the election we never need have again and for the departure of that little weasel who we’ll never have to vote out again. It starts like this:
And so it goes; and went.
And what did we learn?
Maxine, Mike Kelly, Bob Debus, Malcolm Turnbull, Tony Windsor showed good candidates help, whatever the swing. Mike Bailey, Rodney Cox, Peter Tinley showed good candidates don’t always win if the swing they need is too large. Mal Brough showed even vast talent goes down to defeat when a huge swing is on. Nicole Cornes, George Newhouse, Karen Chijoff, John Howard showed really bad, dead-cat candidates lose, whatever the swing.
And it just gets better from there – definitely worth a read, especially for anyone who feels the glow from Saturday may be fading, and for anyone unsure as to what there is to be pleased about.
On the other side of the world, Tasmania’s proudest export, novelist Richard Flanagan (of Geoffrey Cousins-influencing fame – the environmental activist millionaire, not the snorting hero) has just had a fresh piece published in the highly respected UK Guardian newspaper. Flanagan’s deft bluntness with language, his passion for forest ecosystems, and his disdain for malignant governance are a deadly team and well worth seeing in action. He translates Australian politics for the rest of the planet in the first tree-free piece he has written in some time:
At the end of his concession speech, Howard claimed to have left Australia prouder, stronger and more prosperous. But it didn’t feel that way. It felt like it had been a lost decade. It felt like the country was frightened, unsure of what it now is, unready for the great changes it must make, and ill-fitted for the robust debates it must have.
There was a strange sense that Australia, which had seemed so often to sleepwalk, mesmerised, through the past 11 years, had suddenly woken up. But where it might go and what it might do and be, no one any longer knew.
This week, the new Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, has also promised a full and substantial apology to Aboriginal Australians and particularly the Stolen Generations. He has foreshadowed a period of thorough and broad consultation with indigenous leaders and communities to ensure that the message – which he has affirmed will categorically contain the word ‘Sorry’ – be properly expressed. This is truly fantastic news and promises a radically sounder foundation for future development of Australian culture than the one that has been laid over the last 11 years.
I personally hope that from the era of ‘Sorry’ it will be a natural progression to an era of ‘Thankyou’. As much as Australia is this richly diverse melting pot, there is a core of what it is to be Australian that wouldn’t be there if this land actually had been vacant when James Cook declared it to be such. Where’d your nasal twang come from, eh?
And without meaning to harp on the negatives or be hateful to the elevated oil stain now wiped from our windscreens, Phillip Adams at The Australian has written a farewell which stands out from almost all others thanks to the unique perspective of an anecdote starring Nelson Mandela, Malcolm Fraser, and – you guessed it – John ‘Oil Stain’ Howard.
O my lord – how good are the opinion pieces at Harpers? Scott Horton has written a great piece, “The Bush Touch: turning friends into enemies“. Here’s an excerpt tracking the increasing sway held over foreign politicians by the charismatic visionary.
One by one the leaders on the world stage who put their faith in Bush and thoughtlessly did his bidding have fallen in disgrace, usually rejected by their own voters. The first to go were Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi and Spain’s José María Aznar. Then Britain’s Tony Blair was forced to surrender 10 Downing Street to his Chancellor of the Exchequer, to give Labour a fighting chance to hold a majority in the next election. In the last week, Jarosław Kaczyński, a conservative ally in Poland fell, and over the weekend, Bush’s most faithful follower in the entire pack, the veritable boot-licker John Howard of Australia. In each case, the association with George W. Bush was electoral cyanide to voters back home.
Horton has written extensively about the politics and human rights abuses of the Iraq invasion and is one of a number of journalistic voices warning against an attack on Iran, which will be dressed up under the justification ‘preemptive’. He is a lawyer, specializing (I believe) in human rights. He may also be a Jedi.
And although it sort of raises the cartoon bar foreverl out of reach, I had to repost this one by Mr. Fish because it’s just bogglingly good on so many levels.
Stigmata and a machine gun. Swoon. Something else I just realized – since Howard officially lost his seat today, he can now be officially compared to the only other Australian Prime Minister to suffer such ignominy: Stanley Bruce in 1928. 29? Whatever.
Point is, analysts have drawn the parallel that Bruce also pushed for unpopular industrial conditions for workers, with the difference being that his economy was in a shambles, while Howard’s going out with the numbers looking healthy. But check this out – I don’t think that there has ever been an Australian Prime Minister with two first names who hasn’t ended up getting their face stomped by the Australian people.
Stanley. Bruce. John. Howard. Sacked. Bye. Think about it.
Captain Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd has just posted this horrific recounting of a recent tortuous death inflicted by wannabe customary warriors:
(excerpt) The unsuspecting whale had no reason to fear the approach of the boat. After all, the whale had been in these waters for years without threat. People and boats were harmless. So when Parker drove the first harpoon into the whale’s back, the whale screamed in pained surprise and jerked on the line causing Wayne Johnson to drop the .50 caliber gun into the sea. In desperation the shocked amateur whalers sank three more harpoons into the whale and then they opened fire with a .460 Magnum rifle shooting 16 bullets into the whale’s body and failing to hit a vital organ.
It’s a tale that’s as disgusting and disturbing as it is aggravating and clarifying, but definitely worth taking the time to read.
The New Yorker, the prestigious journal known best to some through the fim Capote recently did a deeply dug profile on Watson & Sea Shepherd which you can check out here.
The Shepherds are in Australia at the moment preparing for this summer’s Operation Migaloo. Named after a white humpback whale (Migaloo is one tribe’s word for “white fella”) who seasonally travels the east coast of Australia, this Sea Shepherd operation has particular significance.
Under authority from… well…. from themselves, Japan have not only approved the slaughter of 950 minke and fin whales, but have added for the first time since their hunting was stopped 50 humpbacks. Still an endangered species, humpbacks have perhaps a greater emotional attachment and significance for mainstream Australians than any other whale. Furthermore, Migaloo follows on from last summer’s operation which saw Sea Shepherd prevent the deaths of around 500 whales by the Japanese, but also saw Greenpeace deliberately withold information about the whaling fleet from Sea Shepherd.
The Japanese whaling fleet was inconvenienced by fire and one human death aboard its all-important factory ship, the Nisshin Maru. More importantly, however, the pristine Antarctic ecosystem was threatened by the possibility of a massive industrial toxic spill.
This time around, Greenpeace are tracking the Japanese whalers with updates posted constantly – removing the p.r. need for them to block Sea Shepherd. Furthermore, before election the new Australian government made a commitment to use air and naval vessels to, at best, stop the slaughter. At lamest, they will monitor it.
Here’s hoping for a complete shutdown of the Maru crew this Summer. May their boats rust and their captains, owners and government minister f%&$ing starve.
The New York Times has gone with an epitaph for George Bush’s best white English-as-a-first-language li’l buddy. They more or less say Bye John, Hi Kev. Apparently the main difference between the two is that Rudd wants to pull Aussie combat troops out of Iraq. And of course
Mr. Rudd, 18 years younger than Mr. Howard, has a reputation as a cerebral student of policy, as opposed to the Liberal leader’s image of a hardened and aggressive political animal.
Mr. Rudd’s rather dry image was if anything enhanced by the revelation which emerged shortly before the beginning of the campaign that he had got drunk and visited a strip club when he was on a visit to Scores New York in 2003. Read the rest of this entry »
This won’t be totally comprehensive, but going into the day (just turned noon on the east coast) these are some of the stand-out pieces of coverage and opinion so far:
If you’d rather do the sane thing and skip earnestly fact-checked media, check out the videos and transcripts at the Clarke & Dawe page, especially their excoriation of Howard over the politics of fear. This farewell to Howard is brutal and amazing – one of the funniest things they’ve ever done with their 3-minutes.
And happy to see that another of my sometime-favourites, Mike Carlton, has thrown his hat in the ring with the perfectly titled White tracksuit bottoms flutter over the bunker.
The first group left before dawn, silent figures picking their way through the smoking rubble, casting long shadows in the light of the heaped documents burning in the courtyard.
They would take the northern escape route. Most had only the few possessions they had frantically scraped together as the enormity of the disaster emerged. A bundle of lovingly polished pejoratives, perhaps: chardonnay-sipping, elitist, latte left, Howard haters.
Others clutched an old Quadrant magazine, an invitation to drinks at Kirribilli, a treasured newspaper editorial written long ago in praise of Donald Rumsfeld. These keepsakes from happier days would bring comfort in the grim years ahead.
Away from the seriously hilarious to the hilariously serious. Was I wrong about Alan Ramsey? I think so; here’s a vigorously waved middle finger to the departing Magoo of a Prime Minister.
Yet Howard’s true political “genius”, if you like, is forever talking to what he sees as his base constituency as if they are no more than sheep. In this he might well be right.
It’s a great bit of venom which also points out that 300 recycling bins have just arrived at Parliament House, as if out of nowhere… Somebody might be preparing for a shred-a-thon.
This piece, Desperate Tactics, by Shaun Carney clearly points out the obvious reason why the racism/dirty tactics scandal which burned up about 48 hours of Howard’s oxygen this week probably seemed like a good idea at the time:
In 2001, John Howard, aided by Philip Ruddock, showed that it was good business. Howard’s vital sentence, uttered for the first time during that campaign during the Liberals’ formal launch at the Sydney Recital Hall, was: “We decide who comes into this country and the circumstances in which they come.” I was there and there were two moments during that event when the roof of that beautiful space just about lifted off due to the rapturous applause from Liberal supporters: when Howard made that statement and when Ruddock, the hero of the push against boat people, was introduced to the crowd.
Tracee Hutchison sprays on a bit of drama but with a lyrical flair and 11 years of pent-up anger prays that the past week will indeed be Johnny’s epitaph:
Somehow the word comeuppance came to mind as the 11th-hour race implosion in the federal seat of Lindsay derailed Howard’s re-election momentum. And it screamed poetic justice.
So their slogan was “Go for Growth”, and all of a sudden people could think, “Well, that could mean that interest rates might rise, so that’s a bit of a problem.” So then we saw another banner appear which was red and said, “Don’t risk our economy with Labor.”
And in the last week really, the Prime Minister has borrowed a line from Morris Iemma, which is if we’re heading in the right direction, there’s no need to change. So, there’s been a dog’s breakfast of themes throughout this.
Peter Hartcher has written a comprehensive comparison piece, Taste The Difference, which needs a cup of coffee and some breathing space – but is well worth it. Hartcher’s been almost as outstanding reading as Michelle Grattan, and while it’s a shame that she hasn’t written anything in the last 24 hours it’s a sure bet she’ll write something dazzling within the next 24.
They do converge on a great deal – in the words of the online satirist Hugh Atkin, Rudd proceeds according to the “clever principle of similar difference”.
We could also take a visit to the News Limited stable, but nah. Half of the editors there have decided in the last week that their best marketing outcome lies in supporting the ALP for 4 days, rather than continuing their line of “Howard’s amazing, why is he so misunderstood?”
Instead, there’s the lucky-dip mix at Election Tracker, which I believe is a loose collective of journalism students taking a crack at broadly composed online coverage. My guess is that it will be bereft of jaded cynicism and bitter bias, but that is just a guess.
HOLY CRAP!!! Journo attacks candidate, but in the flesh for a change + yet another COALition flyer scam.
Oh Lordy!!! This is too good. This post is kind of an update – check this earlier post for background. Rupert Murdoch’s red-cordial-nightmare Caroline Overington screamed abuse at Labor Party candidate for Wentworth, George Newhouse just over an hour ago.
With her skill for making a clumsy scene, she made sure to not only do this in front of a lot of people, but at a polling location..
“At first we thought who was this woman yelling at Newhouse, then she slapped him and we realised it was Caroline Overington,” the witness said.
She was obviously just following the Electoral Commission’s guidance – mark one box above the line, all the boxes below the line, or attack the candidate in person just to make sure that everyone knows how highly News Limited prizes quality journalism.
Actually, perhaps it is a News Limited ploy. Let’s face it – that last minute poll they ran which put the Liberals closer to winning than in any other poll this year probably wouldn’t have hurt their sales. And now they can run the Sunday headline “Bugger the election results – read today’s Slappy Bitch Psycho column!! Exclusive!!”
just in –> Not wanting to miss out on the last minute negative publicity, Queensland Liberals have made sure to get caught up in another deceptive how-to-vote flyer scam. Nationally, that’s the third reported for the Liberals this week, proving that they are indeed the party of private enterprise.
Whether you’re local or global, these links will hopefully be both useful and entertaining. If however you don’t understand the Australian sense of humour available at some of these sites, that’s not my fault – you must be some kind of dickhead.
First up is Possum Comitatus – more than just a cute picture, razor-gang wit and an atypical formula fetish, Possum is a natural commentator. Criticism of media, politicians, analytical techniques, and prescient timing flow effortlessly into one another. Possum puts the ‘arts’ in ‘charts’. Disclosure: my blog officially has a crush on his/her blog – politics, maths and anger: awesome!!!!
Pollbludger is a proven performer with the archives to prove it. Ideal for the reader comfortable with longer paragraphs. Of course, if that’s too daunting and you’re voting for Pauline Hanson because she’s going to bring the average reading age of Australia down to 8 years old, you can fuck off now.
For malicious grins, countrywide coverage backed up by masses of well-utilised resources it has to be Antony Green’s election guide at the ABC site. Certain to be one of the leading edge sources of info and news as it breaks on Saturday night.
Experienced journalists looking this happy about John Howard’s chances is such a good thing
Independent webzine New Matilda has a hot little election zone – the aptly titled Polliegraph, featuring a variety of voices and angles, guest writers of juicy goodness, and plenty of good bits to pick through.
The big question, obviously, is not whether John Howard will get lost in a Bible warehouse in Epping but whether The Election Chaser – brought to you by the boys who put APEC and Australia on the world map – will be going live online. Of course, that would be a stupid question. “John Howard’s getting kicked out, think I’ll spend the night blogging”. ??.
Balls to that! Watch Channel 7 if you want to see Joe Hockey cry. Watch Channel 9 if you can stand Ray Martin because at least Charles Firth will be on there and they’re broadcasting without ads. Watch ABC if you’re actually interested in what’s going on and hate tv stations that run racist sexist fucking ignant programming. SBS might be good but despite having Karen Middleton, they also have Stan Grant. He messed with Mary Kostakidis so he can go unwatched and unloved.
Are you feeling it Stan? Are you feeling it?
And now I’m going to use this picture one more time because I think it’s choice.
If you know of particularly excellently worthwhile coverage that hasn’t been mentioned here please let me know (srsly) and I’ll link it. Unless it sucks.
Thanks so much David Obendorf for pointing this out!!
Kerry O’Brien, one of Australia’s most credible and respected television interviewers, conducted this 30-minute long interview with Prime Minister John Howard last night (transcript & streaming video available).
Forget gold! Absolute platinum!!
Howard is no longer content to revise Australia’s cultural history – his version is, of course, that the Aborigines happily handed the entire country to Donald Bradman before catching an unfortunate cold and dying out through no fault of the White Australia Policy.
His new position is that the only economic reforms that have helped the Australian economy have been made by – guess who – John Howard. Deapite common wisdom, he has somehow determined that the economic reforms made under 14 years of Hawke and Keating actually have nothing to do with the health of the Australian economy….. !!
JOHN HOWARD: The reason productivity was rising when we came into office was we were coming off the back of a recession.
KERRY O’BRIEN: But the recession had ended five years before.
JOHN HOWARD: Hang on, the impact on employment of the recession was still there when we came into office. Unemployment was 8.2 per cent and you always get, when you’re coming out of a recession, you always get some lift in productivity because you’re coming off a very high level of unemployment. As unemployment begins to fall you get boosts in productivity – I mean that is actually a mattock. It had nothing to do…
KERRY O’BRIEN: Nothing to do with Labor’s reforms?
JOHN HOWARD: No it didn’t because if you go back to that period you will find the number of non-union agreements that were allowed when negotiated was minuscule and if you have a truly free system you will allow non-union agreements and you will allow individual agreements. We don’t object to union agreements, we’re in favour of them, but we also believe that people should have the choice, if they so desire, to go into individual agreements and to go into non-union collective agreements and you didn’t have many of those in the Keating/Brereton reforms which I remember extremely well. I think it is one of the great furphies of this industrial relations debate that enterprise bargaining was introduced by Mr Keating.
KERRY O’BRIEN: You’re serious about that?
JOHN HOWARD: I am serious about that, yes.
Howard finally got grilled about The Australian’s media bias – but check how he basically ignores the observation.
KERRY O’BRIEN: We’ll move on. The Australian’s political editor Dennis Shanahan has been one of your most consistent supporters within the press gallery for years. Even he today wrote about your campaign “It’s an old fashioned scare campaign and it’s about the only shot in the locker for the Coalition but it’s worked before and that’s what gives them hope.” He’s one of your big fans in the gallery and it does sound rather desperate, doesn’t it?
JOHN HOWARD: I don’t agree with that. Let me say this about the campaign. Let me say this, I think there are some people, and there would be some people watching this program, who have this frame of mind at the moment. They’re saying to themselves, Howard hasn’t done a bad job, don’t agree with everything he’s done but the economy is in very good shape and he’s looked after national security but gee, he’s been there a while and maybe it’s time for a change. I think there are a number of people in that frame of mind and can I just say to them that there’s no such thing as a changeless change of government, if I can explain that. There’s no such thing as changing the government without changing the circumstances of the country. And this idea that you may be able to change just for the sake of change but everything go on exactly the same is not right. There is a risk involved and I would say to people who think that we may have done a good job and their only reason for changing is to sort of experiment with change believe me there is a risk, there is a risk in Mr Rudd, there is a risk in having for the first time in Australia’s history Labor governments at every level. That’s not a scare campaign, that’s a statement of fact. There is cross checking
KERRY O’BRIEN: You do put the scare on it though, don’t you? You put it at its worst possible connotation.
JOHN HOWARD: Well, I’m stating the fact. We’ve never before had that and you do have checks and balances within a federation if you have a different complexion at the national level and we won’t have that.
KERRY O’BRIEN: And you will also have a Senate in which Labor cannot and will not have control.
JOHN HOWARD: Well, if we lose the House, we won’t control the Senate.
KERRY O’BRIEN: No, but there will be a balance. Do you acknowledge that Labor can’t win control of the Senate?
JOHN HOWARD: They don’t need it because they’ve got the Greens. Well I mean look at what happened in the New South Wales upper house, the Greens and Labor combined to suppress the full story as to whether George Newhouse is eligible to run against Malcolm Turnbull.
Nuclear power, government secrecy, government lies, industrial relations and the risk of further reforms, climate change, education, government spending – HUGE interview. This is very much one of the most diligent current affairs hosts in the country taking a sustained last crack at a Prime Minister he thinks will be gone in 4 days. Massive.
KERRY O’BRIEN: Very briefly, the latest figures from your department about how much your Government has spent on advertising over the years of your Government, $1.55 billion, nearly $500 million in the last two financial years, $500 million in two years of advertising, a staggering amount of money. I know you say it’s for things like defence recruiting but it was also for controversial policies like Work Choices – an estimated $120 million at least there. Are you really suggesting none of that was designed to make the Government look good at the taxpayer’s expense?
JOHN HOWARD: But Kerry, you are entitled when you bring in a new policy like taxation, superannuation reform where everybody over the age of 60 no longer pays tax on their superannuation and all sorts of other intended benefits. Surely we are entitled as a government to explain.
KERRY O’BRIEN: $500 million in two years, no precedent for that.
JOHN HOWARD: Well Kerry, we have been in office for a period of 11 and a half years and we’ve also introduced some major reforms. If we had been a lazy reform-less Government then maybe we would have spent less on advertising but the economy wouldn’t be growing at more than 4 per cent and you wouldn’t have a 33 year low in unemployment. I mean judge us by the central things that you judge a government by. I mean the greatest…
KERRY O’BRIEN: One of the things you would judge a government by would ethics, I would have thought.
Pretty much an essential half hour for anybody interested in Australian politics, the nature of the decline in Australian democracy over the last few years, investigative journalism, or verbal sparring. Thankyou Kerry!! My friend suggests that if the current government is returned, the first bill they put through shall be to privatise the ABC. I’m sure I’m not alone in dreading such an outcome.