And then the Americans woke up
Wednesday March 29th 2006, 7:35 pm

The tide is turning.

Rhode Islanders - vote Sheeler!

Shrubya’s approval rating has slipped to the 30% neighbourhood.

How low can you go?

Articles of impeachment have been drafted- by a number of folk.

Could the long nightmare soon be over?

Are these the first baby steps to Shrubya, Cheney and Wolfowitz’s new digs in The Hague?


Howard’s war on your ABC
Tuesday March 28th 2006, 11:13 am

As if appointment of longtime ABC-hater Janet Albrechtson to the ABC board wasn’t enough to convince you that the government wants to take political control of your ABC, Communications Minister Helen Coonan has announced that the staff-elected position on the ABC board is to be abolished.

The staff-elected ABC board position has been around since 1983. Elections are already in progress for the appointment of the next staff-elected ABC board member. The government cannot interfere while the election is in process, but plans are in place to abolish the position as soon as the election is completed.

Funding for your ABC has been systematically decimated in every Howard budget since 1996. Why? Because if your ABC isn’t bent in Howard’s direction, he figures it’s bent against him. Howard doesn’t believe in journalistic independence of our national broadcaster.

If Howard gets total control of your ABC, you’ll never know what you don’t know about Howard government abuses of power– and the Howard government has committed plenty of abuses of power which they would prefer they got away with- very quietly.

The most visible result of ABC funding cuts has been in original programming, most notably in production of drama programs.

John Howard wants your ABC to be his party’s mouthpiece.


GetUp Australia is running a petition calling for the government to restore proper funding to your ABC. While online petitions are well meaning, this one deserves some paper letters to MPs, particularly Peter Costello and Nick Minchin.

Dear MP

The Howard Government’s systematic destruction of our national broadcaster is completely unacceptable.

From drastic funding cuts to the abolition of the staff-elected ABC board position, John Howard wants to destroy our ABC and its journalistic independence. If our ABC will not be John Howard’s personal cheerleader, he will see it in ruins.

Few nations have an independent national broadcaster. The ABC is of primary importance in holding our politicians to account when they behave in a self-serving manner. We can not permit the Howard Government to destroy this vital national resource.

Please vote against John Howard’s defunding and attempt at political control of our ABC.


Your Name

It’s time to put a stop to the Howard bastardisation and destruction of your ABC!


Berlusconi loses plot, film at 11
Monday March 27th 2006, 8:24 pm

Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi has today denied stating that communists eat babies, but confirmed that he believes that Maoist communists in China have boiled babies and used them for fertiliser.

I couldn’t make this stuff up.


Neo-nazi deprived of vilifying ‘lefties’
Monday March 27th 2006, 12:23 pm

Ben Weerheym, convicted race-hate criminal and neo-nazi, recently stole a Sydney Grogblogging 2006 image for use on his ‘Leftywatch’ hitlist blog. Weerheym uses the Blogspot facility primarily to facilitate physical attacks and intimidation against his political foes. Weerheym is well known for his association with fugitive racist Australian Nationalist Movement leader Jack Van Tongeren.

Despite Weerheym’s numerous threats of violence against various anti-racists and hundreds of complaints to Google per their Terms Of Service agreement, their Blogger/Blogspot division continues to tolerate Weerheym’s racial vilification and hitlist site, albeit with a warning message attached. Should you complain about TOS violations on Blogger? Yes, you should.

Weerheym believes that by publishing images of his political foes (though never images to which he owns copyright) and adding his own defamatory comments, he will intimidate his critics into submission.

Weerheym denied. Deal with it, Bennie.

Wrong, camel-breath.

Got news for ya Ben, you can vilify people who shine a spotlight on your racial hatreds and attempts at intimidation until the proverbial cows come home, but you won’t be doing it with your victims’ own images.

UPDATE: Weerheym’s characterisation of me as ‘Elmer Fudd’ made me laugh. I decided to check an independent arbiter regarding whom else I might resemble.

Facial recognition software at reckons I

look a bit more like these guys than Elmer Fudd:

Ben, lay off the drugs, k?

UPDATE II: An anonymous mgk reader decided to try Bennie’s photo in the MyHeritage facial recognition system.

The top result?

Poor John Goodman!

Face match result number six for Bennie will make him even less happy!

Tunnel debacle: Ahead of schedule, on budget
Wednesday March 22nd 2006, 10:54 am

empty Cross-City Tunnel (image: smarting from the public fury over the Cross City Tunnel, the NSW Labor government is now having a conniption over the early completion of the Lane Cove Tunnel.

It’s the funnelling, stupid.


Surrounded by morons
Tuesday March 21st 2006, 9:58 pm

Morris Iemma thinks NSW Police need water cannons to contain riots, despite Police Commissioner Moroney thinking that indicates police have lost the plot. Moroney’s half-right. Iemma’s lost the plot. No, Morrie, this isn’t Beirut or Belfast.

Kim Beasley can’t get any mileage out of the AWB scandal (but not for want of trying on really bad media stunts), so instead, he reckons that porno should be filtered by ISPs. Considering the sad state of broadband internet connectivity in Australia (particularly in rural and regional areas), its a rather moot point.

Alexander Downer and Mark Vaile were told of the AWB kickbacks to Saddam Hussein in March 2004. They just forgot to tell anyone. Oops.

The Liberals finally have tabled their plan to demolish media diversity through deregulation of cross-media ownership, all while telling us the plan will expand media diversity. Uh-huh.

Gonna go pitch a tent in Bingagundawanngungigai for a while… maybe the stupid will stop by the time I get back.


Black GST and the Stolenwealth Games
Sunday March 19th 2006, 9:55 am

Black GST‘ is an aboriginal rights activism group, calling for Genocide to end, Sovereignty to be acknowledged and a Treaty to be negotiated with Australian Aborigines. Black GST has a protest camp at the Kings Domain Gardens in Melbourne as well as has set up a ‘Stolenwealth Games‘ website.

Black GST representative Robbie Thorpe has delivered a notice for the Queen, who is presently resident at Government House in Melbourne, demanding redress:

“We have exhausted all other legal avenues in this country to get these fundamental legal issues resolved. Despite victory in the Federal Court of Australia to force the Australian Government to pass legislation to make genocide a crime in Australia, these issues are still not being addressed.

“Queen Elizabeth II is the sovereign ruler of this nation and she is ultimately responsible for the running of this country. Unless she instructs the initiation of legal redress within the next 28 days, I will be taking this case further to the International Criminal Court.

“Our people never ceded Sovereignty over these lands; we have never given consent for what is effectively an undeclared war on our lands and against our people. We must have custodial rights over our sacred sites and the recognition of our traditional ceremony and practice entrenched in law.

“Unless The Queen instructs to make progress on these fundamental legal issues, she will be facing the prospect of an International Criminal Court summons.”

Along with the Black GST protest camp, anti-capitalism activists have railed against the Kristallnacht-like cleansing of Melbourne streets of graffiti artists and ‘undesirables,’ similar to the street-sweeping which took place in Sydney before the 2000 Olympic Games. Melbourne city officials have declared a war on graffiti, so the protesters have taken their art to the web

As are all spaces, no?
War = peace?
protesters created a roving graffiti wall…
…which despite its impermanence, is unpopular with police.
Persons reported to be white supremacist vigilantes
have been hanging about the Black GST protest camp,
potentially threatening to attack the activists.

Australian Aborigines have the shortest lifespan of any group of people in OECD nations, fully 20 years shorter than other Australians.

It’s time to stop dumping millions into amusements for the wealthy- and start taking care of our own.


Richard Neville’s PM parody site jerked offline by Government
Friday March 17th 2006, 8:07 pm

Richard Neville (image: Neville has a long history of getting up the noses of governments.

Neville did battle with 1960s and 70s social mores and the established authorities with his editorship of the bitingly satirical and often profane Oz magazine in Sydney and London.

Along with other Oz editors and writers, Neville was twice convicted for obscenity and sentenced to hard labour, once in Sydney in 1964 and again in London in 1971. Both convictions were overturned, but not without long legal wars.

Neville’s latest, a spoof of John Howard, in which the “PM” is purported to suddenly come to the realisation that the Iraq war is an utter, murderous fraud and apologises to his party room, is quite tame by Oz standards. By contrast, the PM parody relies on the facts of the Iraq war, especially the massive numbers of Iraqi civilians and journalists killed.

Neville’s parody

However, the Commonwealth, owner of copyright to the Prime Minister’s website, have taken issue with Neville’s use of artwork from the site in his parody.

On the behest of yet unknown Australian Government parties, registrar Melbourne I/T, whom Neville used to register the domain name, have invalidated JOHNHOWARDPM.ORG. The site itself was hosted on Yahoo facilities in the USA.

You can still see a PDF of the JOHNHOWARDPM.ORG website as it appeared before it was shut down, as hosted on another Neville site.


Fisk lecture attendance
Wednesday March 15th 2006, 12:47 pm

Absent any substance with which to discredit Robert Fisk, lightweight right-wingers who did not attend the lecture have chosen to attack the attendance figure estimate of the recent Robert Fisk lecture at Macquarie University.

While the lecture was free of charge and thus no precise ticket count is available, the lecture was conducted in the Maquarie Theatre and also connected via closed-circuit video to three other halls on campus.

According to sources at Mac U, the Macquarie Theatre itself seats 495 people, the Price Theatre seats 250, W5A Theatre 1 seats 150 and W5A Theatre 2 seats 150. That’s 1045 legal seats. While the organisers made some effort to clear the stairways, Mac U security did not faithfully enforce the one-bum-one-seat rule. Each hall was around 10% overcapacity, giving a reasonable possibility of 1149 or more.

I estimated 1000. Seems I shot low.

Fisk’s main point is that if you treat people like dogs- they will act like them. Rightists should stop attacking the messenger and go after the policy which creates the news Fisk reports.


Fisk & Loewenstein podcasts now available
Sunday March 12th 2006, 5:41 pm

Download it!

Robert Fisk’s lecture from 10 March 2006 at Macquarie University is now available as a podcast. Download it from Fourth Estate Radio.

Antony Loewenstein’s interview with Fisk is also now available on Fourth Estate Radio.

Happy podding!