ASIO raids: Who cares, they’re only after the towelheads
Wednesday June 29th 2005, 4:01 pm

 

 

image: Stopdesign

4:42am – Anytown, Australia – your front door

knock  knock  knock  knock  knock  knock BAM BAM BAM

"mmph. Who is it? Who’s there?"

"ASIO. We’re coming in to search your house, mate."

"What? Have you got a warrant?"

"ASIO doesn’t need a warrant. Open the door- now."

"Now hold on just one minute. I’m calling my lawyer."

"No, mate. Terrorism law says you can’t talk to a lawyer."

"TERRORISM LAW! What the bloody hell are you on about?!"

"We have information you’re planning to blow up the Sydney Harbour Bridge."

"STREWTH, mate! What for? As if peak hour traffic isn’t bloody bad enough! I’m not planning to blow anything up and I don’t know anyone who would, either!"

"That’s what all ya terrorist bastards say. We know what you’re up to. We know all about it and you better tell us everything."

 "Flamin hell! I have no idea who’d blow up the bloody bridge! How can I tell you something I don’t know? Who the hell d’yer think I am, Schapelle Corby?"

"Right, mate, out of the way, we’re coming in."

TROMP  TROMP TROMP TROMP crunch TROMP TROMP rustle TROMP TROMP TROMP tinkle  TROMP TROMP riffle TROMP TROMP TROMP

"Bloody oath, I’m callin’ Channel Seven, I am, mate!"

"Ya do and you’ll be sharing a cell with Milat. Non-cooperation and exposing an ASIO operation will get ya 5 years."

"CRIKEY!!"

"Okay, mate, you’re coming with us."

"Well hang on, let me call me mum to watch the bubs."

"NO PHONE CALLS. You won’t be talking to anyone for a few days."

"Well, come on, kids, get your teddies, we’re going to prison!" 

"DOCS will take your children into care."

"OH NO!!"

clickkkk clickkkkk drag drag drag drag drag scuff drag drag step up the back of the van, willya mate drag scuff scuff mind ya head mate SLAM click

"Bloody Harbour Bridge!! I couldn’t give a stuff…. but I might be persuaded to do something about them bloody tollgates, though…"

******

Just like that- you’re disappeared. No information of just cause to search, no right to have legal counsel present during questioning, no right to contact your family to assure them you’ve not just been Falconio’ed. Under the 2002 terrorism laws, this scenario is entirely legal.

Australia has absolutely no room to criticise China on human rights with laws like this.

At least Australia is a relatively wealthy country compared to PRC. Perhaps ASIO won’t send your family a bill for the bullet used to execute you after a secret trial.

-weez



Dope smokers link UN to terrorism
Monday June 27th 2005, 1:36 pm

image: ocnorml.org

Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has more than likely been smoking a few too many spleeeefs. Costa has made a statement that even casual marijuana smokers are linked to terrorism. Costa’s general knowledge of cannabis use and production is apparently lacking. Further, his and Kofi Annan’s careless characterisations of cannabis as being as harmful as drugs like heroin are straight out of the US drug war songbook.

How Costa manages to link terrorism to casual Melbourne smokers who spark up some buds grown in South Australia or northern NSW is a complete mystery. Costa fails to realise that these days, most cannabis is grown in the country where it is consumed.

In my time in Australia, I’ve met a few people who have grown the odd bud. None of these people appeared to be nor were known in their character to be particularly militant- about anything more than one more cone.. and perhaps then a glass of lemonade and a bag of potato chips.

In actual fact, it is the prohibition of drugs which creates crime. The USA should have come to that realisation roundabout the time of Al Capone. The yanks solved the problem of big organised crime being the supplier of alcohol as well as problems in purity of the alcohol with the 21st Amendment to the US Constitution, which repealed alcohol prohibition. However, organised crime just moved on to other pastures, notably gambling and prostitution.

The ‘War on Drugs’ is of course, self-perpetuating. All the effort expended in enforcing a prohibition does nothing but keep the black market in drugs active and illicit drug prices high. If drugs were legalised, there would no longer be a profit motive. No profit, no profiteers. The crims will move on.

However, simply allowing open slather on all drugs is unwise, particularly with regard to addictive drugs. Some regulation is necessary. Drugs which don’t produce any physiological withdrawal symptoms should be regulated leniently (i.e. alcohol model of control & tax) and those which are addictive should be dispensed through some manner of medical practitioner who can guide the user away from abuse of the substance.

At the end of the day, overuse of drugs is a health problem, not a legal one. Jail does not cure drug abuse or addiction. Drug use is part of normal human behaviour- ask anyone who has had a cup of coffee. Let’s reform the system so we put drug abusers in front of medical doctors instead of doctors of jurisprudence.

The UN’s claim that casual users support terrorism is a half-truth. The real terrorists are running the War on Drugs- which is nothing short of a war on humans for acting human.

-weez



Americans in Australia: Get Over Your Cheap Selves
Sunday June 26th 2005, 2:41 am

 

 

 

For as long as I can remember, Americans have been a buncha goofy mothers. Within 18 hours after getting off the plane in Sydney in 1996, I learned it was OK to make such notations aloud. 

Americans, by and large, take themselves really seriously. Fewer than 5% have passports and fewer yet ever spend more than 2 weeks out of the continental USA in one whack. They normally can’t reconcile the childhood indoctrination of ‘Greatest Country on Earth,’ the daily Pledge of Allegiance in school and the singing of the national anthem before ballgames… with what the rest of the world thinks of them.

Aussies can call me a  bastard, a  cunt, a yank, a seppo… all of those being compliments in one form or another. It’s all Strine to me… and it’s all part of the wide brown land I have lived in for approaching 10 years, as much as pissed yobbos, utes and kangaroos on the bullbar. Funnily enough, I like you yobs and sheilas well enough to be one of you- I became a citizen of Australia in 2003. Thanks for having me, ya bastards. We get on fine, thanks.

Now I read of American students in Queensland complaining about being called ‘seps’ or ‘sepos/seppos’ and are so flipped out by this that they are withdrawing from universities and heading home, shocked over ‘abuses.’

Bugger off, I say!

"Sep" or "seppo" is a derivation from English rhyming slang, i.e. yank ‘rhymes’ with septic tank. By rules of rhyming slang, this is shortened to "septic" or "seppo," etc. I figure that anyone who’s going to such lengths to create an inoffensive epithet is fairly harmless.

By contrast, in NY, Chicago or LA, if you’re not being encouraged to commit a compromising act with your maternal parent by noontime, you probably didn’t leave the sofa.

Really, ya buncha sooky seppo bastards, get OVER it… and what the bloke in the pub said about GW Shrub was probably right.

-weez



Stop the LIES about people with disabilities
Thursday June 23rd 2005, 10:41 am

 

image: Bill Leak for news.com.au 

 

I’m disabled as a result of being plowed off my motorcycle by a drink driver some years ago. Some people seem to think that having a disability is a sort of privilege.  I’m MORE than happy to swap lives (and legs) with any of those fools who are willing to volunteer for the exchange!

Somewhere along the line, a ridiculous rumour was started in Australia indicating that recipients of disability support pensions (DSPs) are afflicted with imaginary ‘bad backs’ and thus fraudulently and easily obtain a well-paid ‘free ride on the taxpayers’ backs.’

This sort of ‘downward envy’ is based in mis- or disinformation. Most Aussies don’t really know how much disability pensioners are actually paid, nor what sort of disablity is actually required to qualify for a payment.

Further, a similar baseless belief is common in all nations which provide supports for people with disabilities. I clearly recall the furphy of the ‘welfare Cadillac’ from when I was a kid in the USA in the 1970s. It’s not just an Australian thing.

The HoWARd government has been trying to reduce the numbers of DSP recipients for years. With the Lieberals’ newfound majority in the Senate effective 1 July 2005, HoWARd’s Lieberal Party is poised to jerk the rug out from people with disabilities and attempt to get them back to work.

Let’s hope there’s a miracle worker or two in the HoWARd camp, because telling a disabled person to just ‘get up and go back to work’ will require nothing short of a few miracles!

Okay, let’s start from the start:

  • How much are Australian disability pensioners actually paid?

The maximum disability pension payment a person over age 18 with no children may receive is $476.30 per fortnight. DSP recipients may also receive rent assistance. The maximum rent assistance is $98.00 per fortnight. The sum is $574.30 per fortnight or $287.15 per week. Add up what you pay in rent or mortgage payments- and then tell me how well you would be living on $287 per week. I’ll clue ya, you don’t live ‘high on the hog.’ You mind every cent.

  • What sort of disability must one have to qualify for a DSP?

It requires an awful lot more than just a ‘sore back’ to obtain a DSP. If you only have a problem with your back, you would have to be unable to sit comfortably in a chair long enough to perform most common office workplace tasks. Most DSP recipients (like me) have multiple disabilities which contribute to their inability to work.

  • How many hours per week must one be able to work to qualify for a DSP?

Under current Centrelink DSP regulations, a person with disabilities who cannot work more than 30 hours per week and whose disabilities will persist for more than two years will qualify for the payment. The HoWARd government wants to change that qualification to 15 hours per week. This means that if you can work 16 hours per week, you will no longer qualify for a payment under HoWARd’s proposals. Doubters can get out their calculators again- divide your per-annum pay rate by 1800 (37.5 hours per week x 48 weeks = 1800 hours in a standard Australian working year). You now have your gross hourly wage. Multiply by 16. There’s the PRE-TAX amount you will earn if working only 16 hours per week at your current pay rate.

Let’s work out the figures using the average wage for NSW residents in the financial year 2000-2001, which is $37,191 per annum.  Your pre-tax earnings will be around $330 per week. After tax, you should have around $215 per week. Can you live on $215 per week?

Further, just going to work is expensive. If you have a physical disability, you can forget about using public transport, even if it is available in your area. If you live in Sydney, have a car and drive to and from work daily, you’ll spend at least $50 per week on fuel. You can then add the actual cost of a car including repairs and normal maintenance, insurance and the price of the car. Even driving the least expensive old shitbox you can find will cost you a minimum of around $3500-5000 per year. 

What I’m getting at is that Australian DSP recipients are definitely NOT getting fat and sassy on a DSP payment. We do not drive new cars (Cadillacs or otherwise), we don’t go out to restaurants often, we can’t go to movies every week (or every month!) and we definitely can’t splash out big on alcohol at the pub every Friday.  

Put simply, if you believe that being disabled is a privilege, you have not done the maths! 

And by the way, if I ever find your car parked in a disabled access parking space without a valid permit (and I check every car in in such spaces!), be prepared to confront a $130-220 parking ticket. I’m particularly militant about disabled access parking… I will park you in and I will search up a Parking Ranger and see to it you are cited!

Disabled access parking spaces are NOT ’5 minute parking’ for able bodied people who can’t find a legal parking space, are dropping off kids or returning videos at the video shop. Just because a disabled access space isn’t occupied now doesn’t mean that the space won’t be needed by a disabled person in the next 5 minutes. If you are able bodied, you CAN manage to walk a half a block to drop off your video. I can not!

Being LATE is not a disability! Being LAZY is not a disability!

Get your head wrapped around the idea that disabled people are afforded certain advantages because they could not otherwise live in our communities. That’s the whole nature of having a disability- needing a little help to be able to live in community with others. If you can’t accept that there really are disabled people in your community- you should go bush- and not come back.

-weez 



No More Mr. Not-So-Nice Guy
Monday June 20th 2005, 10:06 pm

image: alicecooper.com

Whilst on Andrew Denton’s Enough Rope program on ABC tonight, in course of discussing his recovery from alcoholism, the formerly Most Evil Rock Star Evah, Alice Cooper, has said that he is now a Christian.

That’s right, Mr Alice "I Love The Dead" Cooper, who is theatrically decapitated in every stage show, mocking religion at every stageborne opportunity… is now born again. Alice’s macabre antics haven’t ever freaked me out before… but now I have visions of him becoming Jeb or George W in his old age. Now THAT’S shock value!

Regardless- it’s worked for him! Cooper has now been clean & sober for yonks.

Don’t miss- Alice Cooper on Tour.

-weez



From Morse to mgk
Saturday June 18th 2005, 5:35 pm

I’ve been a ham (amateur) radio operator since I was truly a kid-kid, living in the USA in the early 1970s. Before I learned Morse code and the radio law and electronics theory needed to pass the test for the ham license, I was an avid shortwave radio listener.

Some kids climbed trees. I climbed trees to string antenna wires.

In the early 1970s, vacuum tube-type radio sets (valve-type, to you Britspeakers) were the established state-of-the-art and had been since the 1920s. I have owned literally hundreds of radio sets over the years. I’ve had Hammarlunds, Heathkits & Hallicrafters as well as Drakes and the odd Collins, the latter being the Rolls Royce of radio sets. Former Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh is also a ham radio operator and owns close to a warehouse full of fine old Collins sets- and may indeed soon own them all. His ‘enthusiastic’ collecting of Collins gear on Ebay is legendary. Ordinary average guy, my white ass! ;) Still, can’t begrudge the guy his good taste, can you?

Radio sets once made their own heat and light with their glowing glass bottles. All tube type radios have their own personalities. None work cold; they must be allowed to warm up in their own sweet time. Drafty rooms can cause valve sets to drift off station; a blanket will usually solve it.

my 1946 Philco AM/SW/Phono radio

To this day, I have old valve sets. This 1946 Philco AM/shortwave radio with a built in record changer lives in my dining room. I brought this particular character with me from the USA when I moved to Australia in 1996, though I’ve owned it since around 1985.

Yes- "Phil" does work and we often use him to listen to ABC Radio National. Phil has a 12" loudspeaker and has lovely sound quality, especially for spoken programming, like Philip Adams’ Late Night Live. "Phil" warmly fills the whole house with fillips from Adams. :)

Back when I was a kid, late, late at night, when distant signals were strongest, a vast, cryptic, almost underground world of mystic messages and music poured out of my headphones. Incomprehensible languages and odd opinions of the United States in English language news programming crackled from my ‘cans.’ Radio Moscow and Radio Havana Cuba’s skeptical treatment of America made them staples, as did the more ‘America friendly’ Radio Australia and BBC World Service. The contrast of the editorial bent of these programs from distant lands with the news coverage with which I was more familiar from local TV & newspapers became the inadvertent beginning of my desire to be a radio/print news journalist.

When spinning the dial across the shortwave bands, in between the voice broadcasts, I came across the most curious peebling and twobbling sounds. It was surely man made and mechanically sent… but what was it? I soon found out that these were forms of digital communications, mainly radioteletype, abbreviated ‘RTTY.’ The abbreviation has a familiar jargon pronunciation of "ritty." I became fascinated with RTTY.

Eventually, I both sent and received RTTY with a miltary surplus model ‘32ASR‘ paper tape driven mechanical teletype machine which was so LOUD that I could not run it when my sis or parents were within earshot. It sounded like a coffee can full of little nuts & bolts being rattled in a paint-mixer.

You hams will know what Drake ‘twins’ are. I had a T4C & R4C pair which carried the signals for my RTTY outfit. CQ RTTY! I did a lot more ‘listening’ to distant RTTY stations than sending, though. When still living with my parents, we usually lived in apartments, which really cramped the style of a young ham who wanted to build a 100 foot tower. Never could quite get out ‘the big signal.’ Still, I had more than enough antenna to simply receive these signals. I used countless rolls of teletype paper whilst tuning in various military and commercial RTTY stations.

Most communications were either mundane or encrypted, but on occasion, I’d come across news being transmitted by wire services from overseas- and would have the next day’s news before anyone else. Sometime in the mid 1980s, I had a Commodore 128 (yes, 128) connected to an MFJ brand TNC (terminal node controller) which converted the digital signals from the C128 into audio signals which were then transmitted and received with a VHF (~146MHz) transceiver. This means of digital communication was known as ‘packet radio’ because the data was sent in digital chunks called ‘packets.’ The net effect was a form of wireless email. Packet radio is still happening on the ham bands, both in local communications via VHF & UHF frequencies and on the shortwave bands.

I’ve been an ‘online writer’ since I had a Commodore 64 BBS (billboard system, similar to a forum) online circa 1982. Other Commodore users could dial up and connect to my BBS (one at a time) to send and receive messages with other users- a very early form of email which was accessible to the public, long before the military/educational ARPANET (later known as ‘Internet’) became available for public use in the early 1990s.

Once ARPANET became publicly available and thence became called ‘Internet’, I completely stopped frittering around with digital communications via radio. The quality of signal is critical in digital communications sent by radio. When the radio links were replaced with phone lines, suddenly anyone with a mind to put up a website had an equally ‘big signal.’ Internet is THE great ‘information equaliser’- no longer do you need a 1000 foot tower to be heard as well as Rupert Murdoch.

I was one of the very earliest public users of Internet in the USA. I was "online" using Internet in late 1991 or early 1992. I gravitated to IRC (Internet Relay Chat) and struck up chat-mode friendships all over the planet. One friendship from roundabout 1995 became a romance- with an Aussie girl. This romance was the genesis of my move to Australia in 1996 and my marriage to her in 1997. Sadly, the marriage did not last- but the permanent residency visa certainly did. I have remained in Australia ever since and became a naturalised Australian citizen in 2003. I yet maintain my US citizenship and vote in both countries.

Blogging is but my latest use of digital communications modes. Though I’ve only been blogging for a little over a year, I’ve been at the keys ‘talking’ to people all over the planet for more than 30 years.

You guys are finally catching up with me!

-weez



Welcome to mgk
Friday June 17th 2005, 8:20 pm

mg.k

mgk:Machine Gun Keyboard is so named because a journalism prof I once had lefthandedly praised my newswriting by saying that “…if the pen is mightier than the sword, your keyboard is like a machine gun.” Of course, Jim then went on to tell me I was too wordy and used alliterations a bit more than he liked, but I keep his praises quietly in my ‘vest pocket’ whenever I write. Thanks, Dr. Jim.

I’m still gunning, 25 years on.

The official ‘first post’ for mgk is coming soon. Bear with me- I’m only now learning WordPress.

Thanks for following me over from “S’truth? STREWTH! – dangerous ideas from a working brain.” SS-DIFAWB will remain online as an archive, as long as Blogger doesn’t mind it being there.

Time to lock & load.

-weez