Australia for tourists; a spotter’s guide
Friday January 27th 2006, 4:39 pm

When visiting Australia, you should not be surprised to hear that Aussies are enthusiastic about the place. What’s not to love about a sunny spot on the planet with people who are good natured, pragmatic and daggy in a laconic kind of way?

Despite the recent race riots in Cronulla and the attempts of Australia First to capitalise on fear and hatred under the guise of loving good ol’ Australia, it’s still possible to run into ‘real’ Aussies; good people who talk up the place like they love it, because they do- without being racist, xenophobic nutbags.

If you’ve just gotten off the plane, here’s how to spot the difference between an Aussie patriot and a species we know as the ‘yobbo.’ Stick figures should make this understandable in any language.

Please don’t feed the yobbos. Photography merely encourages them. Do not give beer to yobs under any circumstances, unless of course, they are on fire.


Australia First fails to spread race-hate at Cronulla
Friday January 27th 2006, 7:40 am

 race-hate sticker placed at Cronulla Beach, Australia Day 2006
Australia Day 2006 at Cronulla Beach was peaceful despite neo-nazi Jamahl "Jim" Saleam’s ‘Australia First‘ party trying desperately to stir up violence and racial hatred among the locals of Sutherland Shire.

Hilariously, Saleam is working overtime trying to whitewash his own Arabic heritage, up to and including telling ABC Radio News to pronounce his surname ‘SAY-lem’ instead of ‘suh-LEEM.’

The same old pack of Australia First derelicts showed up at Cronulla yesterday, trying to pull the race-hate lever with anyone they could get to listen, including young teens. Parents- do you want your kids groomed to be racists? That’s precisely what the Australia First mugs were doing yesterday.

Pictured in the blue t-shirt, we see "Val" of Australia First handing out stickers with Saleam’s race-hate website address to a group of young teenage girls. The girls were very surprised to find out they had been handed race-hate material.

When the goals of Australia First were explained to the girls and then were asked to rate on a scale of one to ten how much they agreed with Australia First’s policies of racial exclusion and xenophobia, they all replied in unison- "ZERO!"

Major kudos to the NSW Police whose highly professional crowd management kept the peace at the beach, including ejecting Australia First members trying to sell t-shirts and wave flags mounted on standards which could easily have been used as weapons.

Sorry Aus 1st, the Australian people are not buying your hatespews, not even those in the parochial Sutherland Shire. And here’s another big hint- if you want favourable news coverage for your cause, you certainly shouldn’t attack the media as "communist journalists."


I fuck- and I vote
Monday January 23rd 2006, 10:15 am

My greatest objection to anti-choice zealots is that they fail to understand the hardwired humanity of humans. We’re all born with particular pre-programmed behaviours, like eating, sleeping and breathing. One of those bit-banged instincts is the innately human use of sexuality for recreation, completely separate from procreation.

Bible bashers insist that the mess of cells and DNA that comprise us somehow come with a holy instruction book- nay, their holy instruction book- to which they opine all humans are obligated to subscribe, regardless of their choice of religion or choice for absence thereof. They whinge that humans are innately imperfect and require the guidance of self-appointed authority to make humans worthy of so little as food and air.

Look a little closer; bible bashers are not looking merely to control what women do with their pregnancies. They want to control human sexuality– in total. They want to have a say in all the ways humans rub their own ugly bits. If you’re not intent upon making a baby, the Christians insist you’ve got no right to rub your bits at all- and if you do rub your uglies, the religionists want you to feel as bad about it as possible.

I regret to inform the religionists that not everyone is intent upon propagating their genetics. In but one example, I’m child-free quite by choice and have succeeded in being so for nearly 44 years. I further refuse to accept that I am to be absent sexuality because I choose not to be a father. I fuck for fun as well as for building and accentuating other relationships. I’m not terribly exceptional aside from my choice not to raise children. You’d be very hard pressed to find many people in western society who do use sex exclusively for procreation.


mgk nominated for 2006 Best Australian Political blog
Monday January 16th 2006, 9:00 am

mgk:Machine Gun Keyboard has been nominated in the category ‘Best Australian Political Blog‘ in the 2006 Australian Blog Awards.

Thanks much to the roughly 1000 people per week who read and have nominated mgk.

My nomination for the category went to Suki Lombard of Suki Has An Opinion for her dogged and tireless pursuit of Women’s Issues in Australia, particularly on matters of reproductive freedom. I really think that there should have been an independent Australian Women’s Issues category, but c’est la vie.

Also nominated in the Best Australian Political blog category is the anti-racist FightDemBack group (to which I am a frequent contributor), who really go far beyond mere politics. Racism isn’t a simple political matter- it’s a core human rights issue. The Cronulla race-riots of December 2005, coordinated and fuelled by neo-nazis and white supremacists, put the issue of racism on the front burner in Australia.

FightDemBack scored coup after coup after coup in 2005, exposing racists who hide in the shadowy corners of the Net. No one should be victimised simply for what they are- and FightDemBack gets that message across across- like a full overhead swing of a sixteen pound sledgehammer on a walnut.

FDB conveys the message of tolerance and equality- and not just to mainstream readers. FDB is highly effective in shutting down race-hate propagandists and exposing their hypocrisies. FDB truly came of age in 2005, now working closely with Australian and New Zealand journalists and law enforcement to score several arrests, convictions and jailings of race-hatemongers in Australia and New Zealand.

Nominations for the 2006 Australian Blog Awards have now closed and voting is on until 26 January 2006.


Beware of turning Japanese
Saturday January 14th 2006, 9:28 am

image: Bill Leak for The Australian 

Crikey prematurely ejaculated yesterday with Christian Kerr’s errant analysis of the collision of the Japanese whaling craft Nisshin Maru with the Greenpeace vessel Arctic Sunrise.

The New Zealand Herald reports:

Australian maritime law expert Dr Eric Wilson, of Monash University, Melbourne, said the Arctic Sunrise was set up for the collision by the clever skipper of the Nisshin Maru. "By executing a 360-degree turn at exactly the moment he did, he created a situation where the Greenpeace vessel could not but strike the Japanese vessel.

Japan’s Institute of Cetacean Research director-general Hiroshi Hatanaka said video taken from the Nisshin Maru showed the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise could have avoided the collision on Sunday but instead turned hard to port.

"The skipper turned the boat into the path of the Nisshin Maru and rammed us at our weakest point," he said. "It was a deliberate action to get media coverage."

However, Australian maritime law expert Dr Eric Wilson, of Monash University, Melbourne, said the Arctic Sunrise was set up for the collision by the clever skipper of the Nisshin Maru. "By executing a 360-degree turn at exactly the moment he did, he created a situation where the Greenpeace vessel could not but strike the Japanese vessel.

"But at the same time, it was Greenpeace who rammed the Nisshin Maru and not the Nisshin Maru which rammed the Greenpeace vessel.

"The skipper artificially set up the obstacle so it was the Greenpeace vessel which physically collided with the Nisshin Maru … physically, materially, Greenpeace executed the ramming action."

To which Crikey’s Kerr commented:

Is that really the argument, though? Surely the issue here is whether the initial claim that the Japanese vessel was rammed is correct.

Perhaps Greenpeace have a theory of core and non-core rammings. 

Analysing any vehicular accident is difficult after the fact, but Kerr infers that Arctic Sunrise is at fault, despite a manoevre on the part of the skipper of Nisshin Maru which was deliberately calculated to cause a collision with Arctic Sunrise. This is an oversimplified analysis. There mere fact that the bow of Arctic Sunrise contacted the port side of Nisshin Maru may, in a very technical sense, indicate fault on the part of the Arctic Sunrise skipper, but it was a quite deliberate act of the skipper of Nisshin Maru which caused the collision.

Kerr apparently doesn’t understand that ships are not cars. Since the rudder and propeller are at the rear end of craft like Arctic Sunrise and Nisshin Maru, they steer very much like a heavily loaded shopping trolley with casters on all four corners. When steered sharply and pushed by propeller drive from the stern as they are, the rear end of the craft swings wide, causing a sideways motion.

Nisshin Maru circled around Arctic Sunrise until Maru was directly in the path of Sunrise. When Nisshin Maru was directly in front of Arctic Sunrise, the skipper of Nisshin Maru then turned his rudder hard to port and throttled up, forcing the stern of Nisshin Maru to swing to starboard, toward Arctic Sunrise, causing the collision of the bow of Arctic Sunrise with the starboard side of Nisshin Maru.

Nisshin Maru swung its stern to starboard to force a collision

If you look at video of the collision, particularly that shot by the Japanese whalers aboard Nisshin Maru, you will see that Sunrise had no bow wake immediately before the collision, indicating Sunrise had no forward motion. It’s hard to say that Arctic Sunrise rammed Nisshin Maru if Arctic Sunrise was not moving forward. There is also cavitation and turbulence from Arctic Sunrise’s propeller visible from beneath the stern of the craft, indicating that Sunrise was reversing on full throttle to avoid a collision.

Hatanaka was correct in citing that the collision was deliberately calculated to draw media coverage. However, Hatanaka failed to indicate that it was the Japanese whaling craft’s skipper who was looking for the sympathetic ink. If this was not a coldly calculated media stunt crafted by the whalers, why was there a video cameraman placed optimally on the stern deck of the Maru to catch an image of the Sunrise’s bow contacting the starboard side of Maru just before the crash? Too bad the cameraman didn’t frame the shot a little higher to avoid catching the incriminating lack of bow wake from the Sunrise. The Japanese "Cetacean Research" body can find sympathy between shit and syphilis in the OED

Now, can we get some political will from the Australian Government to dispatch the Navy to protect our fishing areas and the endangered species within them?

Considering John Howard desperately wants free trade agreements with Asian nations and hates environmentalists with a purple passion, adding to the conflict by calling in the Navy is not bloody likely.


Uppity woman counts coup on anti-choice biblethumper
Friday January 13th 2006, 10:46 am


image: Lalo Alcaraz, 

Marcel White just can’t get enough of being wrong.

White commented on one of Suki’s posts about RU486:

…there is a difference between a woman’s body, and her autonomy over it, and the body of the seperate (sic) human being she has inside her. 

Is there, now? Apparently White can’t tell the difference between embryos, zygotes and foetii- all which are attached to the woman’s circulatory system- and babies, which live independently of a mother’s body.

Suki put him straight:


You should provide me with a postal address so that I can collect all my used tampons and post them to you with a microscope.

You might just save a baby that has detached from my uterine wall.

COD ok?

SMACKED with the clue stick.


Not just xenophobia – forced deportation!
Monday January 09th 2006, 3:49 pm


Australia First, an anti-immigration, anti-multiculturalism, extremist political party, was deregistered by the Australian Electoral Commission in 2004 after failing to stand a candidate in 4 years.

Jim Saleam, notorious white separatist and neo-nazi, is the Australia First party secretary for NSW. Saleam has indicated that Australia First intends to find 500 supporters willing to register as party members for the purposes of re-registration of the party with the AEC. Don’t miss this particularly well reasearched and detailed history of Jim Saleam and Australia First by @ndy.

Australia First and affiliates like the Patriotic Youth League were at the Cronulla riots on 11 December 2005, handing out racist pamphlets and beer to the already drunken yobs who were trashing everything in sight, including brown people. Australia First now claims that they are ‘convenient scapegoats‘ as ASIO investigates the riots. nazi skinheads at Kirribilli House (image: FightDemBack/Darp Hau)Meanwhile, Australia First Party President Diane Teasdale sees no nazis in the ranks…

What I’m still trying to work out is why Saleam, who is of Arabic heritage himself, wants non-whites thrown out of Australia. Where on earth would he go? More to the point- who on earth could we possibly get to take him?

Besides, after deporting our very own citizens, DIMIA very likely has a desk waiting for Jimbo…

Jim, shaddap and eat your tabouli.  


Thursday January 05th 2006, 10:08 am

The Sloganizer turns any word or name into a marketing campaign.

Mind you, some words simply shouldn’t be Sloganized…


Pure weezil. Pure Power.
weezil empowers you.
Follow your weezil.
Oh my goddess, it’s a weezil.
3… 2… 1… weezil.
I can’t believe it’s weezil.
Be alive with weezil.
weezil never lies.
There’s lots of fun in weezil.
weezil is forever.
Don’t get in the way of weezil.
weezil is what the world was waiting for.
weezil for everyone.
Feel the magic of weezil.
Go farther with weezil.
weezil is the sound of the future.
Lucky weezil.
The weezil universe.
Good to know weezil.
weezil – play it!
Are you ready for weezil?
Things go better with weezil.
weezil after a long day.
weezil, i want it all.
Made by weezil.
hhmmmmm… weezil.
weezil rocks.
I believe in weezil.
Let’s weezil!
I lost weight with weezil.
Play weezil, start living.
The weezil people.
weezil keeps going, and going, and going…
With a name like weezil, it has to be good.
Everything is simple with weezil.
weezil – be ready.
weezil for president.
Nobody does it like weezil.
My weezil beats everything.
weezil brings out the best.
Are you ready for weezil?
Go far with weezil.
Up, up and away with weezil.
The age of weezil.
weezil. We build smiles.
See the world with weezil.
Start the day with weezil.
weezil, in touch with tomorrow.
weezil – now!
I quit smoking with weezil.
I wish i had a weezil.
weezil, the original.
It’s time to think about weezil.
weezil for you!
weezil – to feel free!
weezil’s got it all!
weezil – your game.
Call a friend, call weezil.
weezil is what the world was waiting for.
weezil – You see this name, you think dirty.

I really should rethink this pen name… 😀


Diebold pulls voting machines from North Carolina
Monday January 02nd 2006, 12:04 pm

Diebold electronic voting machineThe 2000 and 2004 US presidential elections are yet shrouded in doubt due to irregularities in vote tabulation. Diebold, a maker of automatic teller machines and banking equipment as well as computerised voting equipment, is operated by a Bush kool-aid drinker. No conflict of interest here…

When the US state of North Carolina passed law requiring that makers of computerised voting machines submit copies of their source code, Diebold pulled its bid- but offered assistance in changing the law to obviate the requirement to release their source code. The Brad Blog, as usual, is on top of it.

US voters must continue to demand standardised and fully transparently accountable voting systems. Australia has long led the way in recording the will of the people, from secret ballots to compulsory voting. The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) is yet another a brilliant Australian innovation. Votes are recorded by standardised means, by one organisation, not by dozens of individual contractors vying for contracts. Tabulation is done by transparent, statistically sound methods. The AEC conducts all manner of elections, from those for political offices and public referenda to those for union matters.

It’s well past due time for the US to practise what their Constitution preaches.


Damn, it’s hot
Monday January 02nd 2006, 10:52 am

New Year's Day 2006 fires in NSW (image: the hottest day I’ve seen in Australia in my 9+ years here yesterday. My thermometers recorded a 45.3C (113.5F) maximum and we had gusty winds all day. Bushfires have sprung up about 50km (30 miles) north of us. A cool weather front swept across my area at about 10pm which dropped temps to 21C (69.8F), which will help the fireys a bit but the 50-70mph wind gusts from the southerly fanned up bushfires that the fireys had nearly controlled.

At 45C, everything is hot as a cup of coffee to the touch. Even plastic items like my mouse and keyboard were hot. It is actually worse to sit in front of a fan than simply to be in still 45C air. It’s like sitting in front of a hairdryer. Even 2 hours past the cold front moving through, the knotty pine floors and plaster walls were still warm. The concrete of the front porch was still too warm to stand on for long, even at midnight.

The high winds caused power glitches, so in anticipation of a good long outage, I searched up my stash of candles. Unfortunately, a box of 10 emergency candles all melted into one lump of wax with 10 wicks. My study maxed out at 50C (122F). In the peak of the heat, my computer simply refused to run.

I do have one window aircon unit in this house, but when the temps get above 38C (~100F), even though it’s a BIG unit (draws 16 amps at 240V), it can barely cool one room at those temps, though it will normally keep three rooms comfortable. Homes built in the 1960s in Sydney don’t have much (if any) insulation and only single glazed windows. With an average summer daytime temperature in Sydney around 25-27C (77-80F), much more than basics isn’t necessary.

The cool front brought some low cloud with it. The bright orange glow from fires about 50km north on Mt White and around Woy Woy was ominously reflected off the clouds. Fortunately- for us at least- the 80-110km/h (~50-70mph) winds from the cool front were blowing from the south, pushing fires and flying embers away from us. Others near Kariong were not so lucky. Hopefully we’ll get temps back down to usual for the next week. We’ve had a few days of WAY TOO DAMN HOT. Gail over at 12th Harmonic, who is not far from us, tells her tale of escaping the heat at the dreaded shopping malls.

So, the US and Australia won’t sign on to the Kyoto Protocol because it is bad for business, eh? Perhaps the oil companies driving government policy should get into the hurricane and bushfire recovery business.