Saturday, November 16, 2002

AUSSIE ENGLISH:

Sool
verb to incite or urge (someone).

Actually, it is usually the dog that gets sooled on someone, often a Jehovah’s Witness.
“Piss off or I’ll sool the dog on you!”

ONCE IS AN OVERSIGHT …..

Censorship is alive and well at The Silly Morning Herald. Fascist Howard and his minions do not need to have articles submitted to the handy-dandy political checking machine, when the Herald’s own sub-editors will do it themselves.

It is an article of faith that the reason for the Bali bombs was a direct result of our status as a loyal ally of the USA. Occasionally you might get a roooot caaauuusses tossed in, but that’s pretty much it. Writer, director and laundry pile Bob Ellis was even moved to inform us publicly that Australians are
paying in blood for John Howard's arse-licking, ignorance and xenophobic bigotry

a position he is yet to resile from. It is also an article of faith, especially among the washed and pure, that our intervention in East Timor was a Good Thing. Indeed, there were many of the Enlightened demanding nothing short of invasion had the Indonesian Government not caved and invited in the UN, led by Australia, to bitch-slap the Jakarta-backed militias. Personally, I feel that one of the chief reasons that this issue has become such a touchstone for the Left is the history of acquiescence the Labor party has had on this issue. But for whatever reason, our achievement in East Timor has become a source of great national pride, and justifiably so.

So it comes as a source of great confusion to those who perpetually seek to explain away evil, that there is actually little to be gained from making common cause with people who hate you and wish you dead, even if they are as fanatical in some of their hatreds as you are. Lie down with dogs, get up with fleas. Justify right-wing religious violence, get a wall pushed on you.



Last week’s release of Osama bin Laden’s latest single (It's got a beat, but you better not dance to it) might have sewn even more confusion, had it not been for the tireless work of the Herald subs. Here’s Binny as reported on Wednesday,
"We had warned Australia about its participation in Afghanistan ... It ignored the warning until it woke up to the sound of explosions in Bali,"

Note the ellipses, giving you a clue that something might have been lifted. No such clues today:
a new tape attributed to Osama bin Laden - and which the Howard Government and US intelligence sources believe - said: "I have warned the Australian people. They were involved in the war against Afghanistan. They ignored my warnings and woke up to the sounds of explosions in Bali."


And here is The Binster, in full voice, as transcribed by Indymedia:
"Why did your governments ally themselves with America to attack us in Afghanistan, and I cite in particular Great Britain, France, Italy, Canada, Germany and Australia. Australia was warned about its participation [in the war] in Afghanistan and its ignoble contribution to the separation of East Timor [from Indonesia]. But it ignored this warning until it was awakened by the echoes of explosions in Bali. Its government subsequently pretended, falsely, that its citizens were not targeted.
(my emphasis)

Here is the most wanted terrorist in the world (assuming the bastard is still alive), proclaiming why Australians were killed, and the supposed paper of record deletes key information that links directly to Australian policy. Not once, but twice. This is censorship of the first order. Suppose Binny had said something along the lines of “because Australia supports the US against Iraq”? Or “because I hate John Howard’s dress sense”? Is there the slightest doubt these comments would have been included.

The cutting of the quotes creates an entirely different slant to the story than reality. In today’s version, the impression is clear that bin Laden is only talking about Afghanistan. That is, the US-sponsored action. Just to be clear, East Timor does get a mention, but not until near the end, and not in current context:
A month after the US-led forces went into Afghanistan, bin Laden singled out Australia in his call to supporters to join a holy war against the West, denouncing its role in supporting East Timor.


Given the Herald’s position, this behaviour is inexcusable. It is designed to deliberately mislead the reader on what is the most important issue facing Australia today. These editors should be sacked, and the issue investigated. It would be too much to hope that this sees the light in , but here’s hoping.

UPDATE: His Royal Blairness thinks the Herald is just running off AAP wire stories, and is not to blame. Tim has seen it happen before , with the Australian running the same line. Alan Anderson was on the original story before me, showing that this was also running in The Australian.

Frankly, I don’t give a toss. I speak as someone with some experience in the media monitoring game when I tell you that there is no way in Hell that this error/plagiarism/conspiracy was not known within Fairfax, and able to be corrected. It took me 30 seconds to find a transcript to compare the Fairfax version against.

Once is carelessness, twice is deliberate.


Friday, November 15, 2002

It’s been a year since I last read Machiavelli, but it looks like time to go back. Meantime John Hawkins has a great selection of quotes from the master of Statecraft:
"And it will always happen that he who is not your friend will request your neutrality and he who is your friend will ask you to declare yourself by taking up arms. And irresolute princes, in order to avoid present dangers, follow the neutral road most of the time, and most of the time they are ruined."

Cop that Eunuchs!

La Kingston is angry. Angry! Dissent is crushed, barbarians are at the gate. Australia has been transported back to the bad days of random beatings, midnight arrests and disappearances. You know, the 70’s.
On Tuesday, the commander of security for the WTO meeting, one Dick Adams, suddenly announced a black ban on march permits from yesterday to Saturday, when the WTO meeting wound up. I spoke to one of Costa's people that day. Yes, he'd heard that Adams had just announced a ban, "but that would be an operational decision taken by the commander - we wouldn't get involved in that".
Yeah, yeah. The Adams action was nothing short of incendiary. It meant that the only way for dissenters to the WTO agenda to make their point to the public - a street march - had been outlawed. He trashed fundamental civil liberties in the state of NSW. Naturally, the WTO protest organisers decided to march anyway.

It would be Bad if the “only way” to make their point was denied to dissenters. Except it wasn’t. A rally permit was given for Sydney’s Hyde Park, and said rally did take place. Marching is not the only way of making your point, but it is the only way of getting yourself into proximity of some fat corporate targets, while safe in the anonymity of a large crowd. It is the only way of testing police limits by a moving blockage.
The protest march took on enormous symbolic importance, heightened emotions on both sides, and probably attracted the attendance of outlaws who mightn't have bothered to turn up if the cameras weren't guaranteed by Costa's actions to be there.

Now this is an interesting admission. Outlaws would not have bothered to turn up had the presence of cameras not been guaranteed by police policy. This is like equating fire with arson. Kingston seems to think that enforcement causes crime. I wonder if she has ever been burgled?

She gets confused:
Then the violence - by the police, not the protesters, from reports so far

contradicted by this:
Pity the police on the street who did nothing to encourage this disgusting spectacle


Civil liberties have never extended to the right to go where you want, when you choose, with who you like, to do what you please. The anti-WTO protests have a proven, unbroken record of violence and destruction. The rights of the businesses in the Sydney City to protection is greater that the right of others to one particular form of free speech, particularly when there are other reasonable avenues available.

Today the WTO delegates meet in a hotel, way to buggery outside of the CBD. There is a thumping big fence around the place, with clearly designated areas to march and demonstrate. There is minimal interference with free speech, and freedom of movement. There will be coverage of protests, probably far in excess of the numbers on hand, or their true legitimacy and coherence.

The truly strange thing is that there will be dozens of “legal observers” in the crowd. They will be providing legal advice to demonstrators on their rights, and the limits of police powers. It’s London to a brick that not one of them will see or report on any illegal act, by any demonstrator, but plenty by police. They are perfectly happy to insist that laws apply to police, but cannot recognise any limitations to their own freedoms. They rightly demand police govern and police themselves, and yet accept no obligations to police themselves, or to allow others to do it.


If it’s this easy, why don’t the ratbags get it?

James Shikwati, director of the Inter-Region economic Network in Nairobi, Kenya, can explains in 700 words why his country wants trade, not aid.
aid gives untrustworthy leaders the resources with which to engage in violent and repressive acts. Mengistu (Ethiopia), Pol Pot (Cambodia) and Idi Amin (Uganda) are among the more infamous recipients of foreign aid.

and this:
In places where poverty is rife, aid becomes the route to riches for the elite. Money is disbursed through contracts, with rulers receiving huge kickbacks for their favours.

More:
Aid also undermines the democratic accountability of government. By offering governments a non-tax source of revenue, it enables them to ignore the wishes of citizens and reduces their incentive to deliver public services efficiently and effectively. It also exacerbates cronyism.

And more and more and more:
As the Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto has shown, economic progress depends mainly on society's institutions. That means formal property rights, free markets and the rule of law. These institutions enable people to own and exchange goods without fear of arbitrary expropriation, either by bandits or by the state. They thereby encourage economic activity, which enables people to escape from poverty. Some even become rich.

Probably exposing themselves to protests as “evil rich dudes”.

Conclusion?
Guilt and goodwill have blinded many to the damage that aid can do. Trade, not aid, is the solution for the poor. At this week's informal WTO ministerial meeting in Sydney, trade ministers should make good on their promise at Doha to create a world trading system that benefits all participants. That means reducing tariff and non-tariff barriers on all goods, as well as reducing agricultural subsidies.

In other word, aid is not helping. Free trade will increase wealth, reduce poverty, increase freedom, and is better for the environment.

UPDATE: Scott Wickstein has his impressions on Shikwati’s piece.

Thursday, November 14, 2002

MORE WIERDNESS.

Enter the realm of the combover spotter.

Of course, there is no topping the Atomic Combover. All hail the King!

For my money, I have already informed the Good Lady Wife I will not take the genuine combover route, preferring to simply draw on my head with a laundry marker.
UPDATE. Thanks to Rebecca for this.

AUSSIE ENGLISH

earbash
verb 1. to harangue (someone). 2. to talk insistently and for a long time.

Read Sullivan about why he won’t quit under the “Is It Over” headline.
Extending the “chickenhawk” argument to the anti-globo protests, no-one is allowed to protest if they have never been a Third-World poor person.
Finally, someone has found a way to make the game interesting: Triangular cricket.
RICH PICKINGS REPORTED ON OZ BLOGS

Alan Anderson flails the Fairfax press over their biases and concealment.

Gareth Parker’s Drivel Warehouse is on Iraq and the WTO meeting.

Bargarz thinks OBL is dead or powerless.

James Morrow, who gets an unseemly amount of Instapundit attention, is wondering why the Sydney Morning Herald publishes how-to guides for violent protesters.

John Ray talks about the State racism of North Korea, and takes a moment to solve the slavery reparations issue.

Scott Wickstein has revealed an attempted Indonesian hacker attack, and has an excellent take on EU hate speech legislation.


WHAT AN INTERESTING DILEMMA.

Australia soon faces a challenge that, while a first for us and possibly many Western nations, is a sign of things to come. In about six weeks or so, the war on Iraq will begin, and as loyal allies, we will need to contribute forces. The best we’ve got is our SAS troops, currently stationed in Afghanistan. So where’s the conflict?

The Afghanis don’t want us to go.

Assuming there is eventually armed conflict in Iraq, and well-informed sources suggest a 75 per cent likelihood that this will happen, one obvious thing for Canberra to do is pull its 150 SAS soldiers out of Afghanistan and send a similar detachment to Iraq as part of a naval, air and infantry commitment.
But as [Afghanistan Foreign Minister] Abdullah says, the Afghans would dearly love us to stay in Afghanistan, where the Australian SAS enjoys the highest reputation. One possible solution would be for Canberra to send a different military group to Afghanistan, more concerned with infrastructure building and support rather than prosecuting the war on terrorism.

But this makes no sense! Everyone Knows that all we bring to the Middle East is blood, destruction and death from the skies. Our troops murder and pillage, making the land safe for Big Oil and Disneyland. Maybe the Foreign Minister is trying to drive a wedge between lesser partners like Australia, and the Great Satan. He must be trying to undermine the war effort against Iraq. Ah, those devious players of the Great Game!
Abdullah is warmly supportive of the Bush administration over Iraq, which gives the lie to the idea that there is a monolithic Muslim position on this issue. There is no sympathy in Afghanistan for Saddam Hussein, he says: "The [UN] Security Council resolution is the last chance for the Iraqi regime to comply. I hope it will utilise this chance to avoid a war, which everyone wants to avoid. Should Iraq act differently, the international community must make a decision that that kind of game cannot go on forever.
"The important question then is to do something good for the future of the Iraqi people, to prevent the idea that the action is taken against Muslims. We all know the real record of the Iraqi regime against its own people."

Starts to look a little more realistic that the Not In Our Name brigade, doesn’t it. If Abdullah wasn’t as busy as a one-legged man in a bum-kicking contest, he’d probably have time to organise a “Not In MY Name You Witless Liberals” campaign of his own. Because he knows the reality. He’s seen it up close, and he understands what happens when you appease killers:
"Bali looks like al-Qa'ida. Al-Qa'ida's target has been innocent people and [the intent was] to cause massive casualties among innocent people. The use of explosives with a big impact is characteristic. Events like Bali should strengthen the collective resolve of humanity to get rid of this menace."

Who’d a thunk our choice would turn out to be between newly-liberated friends, and people who needed to be liberated? Only those who have read a history book that goes back further than 1960.

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

AUSSIE ENGLISH:

hooley-dooley
interjection an exclamation of amazement, surprise, etc.

Good on Bigwig for catching out the usual suspects who are once again predicting bazillions of civilian deaths.
I wonder what American visitors think when they see long barriers put up by this company.

Do they think it might be a thumping big raid?

You know that feeling you get when the next step is not there? I can sympathise, after stumbling into the strange and eerie world of Competitive Rock Paper Scissors.

I desperately want to believe this is a parody, and if it is, it’s a doozie. There is a World League, desktop games to play, more games, evolutionary explanations, downloadable phone games, stationery, and, God help us, gender implications.

The World Championships are to be held on November 16th in Toronto, with a first prize purse of $1200. My recommendation? Flee the city ahead of the RPS hooligans.

WELL THAT WAS SHORT LIVED.

After yesterday’s momentary flash of sense, today’s Sydney Morning Herald tries and fails to see the reality of the Middle East.
The great and general relief at the unanimous agreement in the UN Security Council on Iraq may be shortlived. Not only do the multiple triggers in Resolution 1441 make a breach, and so war, more likely than not.

The point of multiple triggers is to close the bloody loopholes. No more arguments, no more hedging. If A, then B.
the United States will "go into Iraq" if it decides Iraq has not complied with the demand to declare its weapons of mass destruction and allow them to be destroyed.

One of the easiest methods to make sure a decision is reached on any subject is to remember two questions: “If not now, when?” and “If not you, who?”. That way decisions don’t slide, and action remains on the table. The UN has refused to answer these two simple questions, and if the USA has finally gotten jack of the run around, who can blame them?
There’s the obvious:
Undoubtedly it is desirable that Iraq be stripped of weapons of mass destruction. And the people of Iraq would be better off under a ruler less oppressive than Saddam Hussein. As well, the UN, which has previously sought to uncover and destroy Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, should not be defied again by Iraqi lies and deception.

If the UN “should not be defied”, but will not stick up for itself, then what? There’s plenty of guff about “enforcing international law”, but a lot of pretending that the “force” part of “enforcing” somehow doesn’t mean breaking things and killing people.
There the usual why Iraq? clause:
That said, there is still no clear answer to the question why Iraq - among all the oppressive regimes in the world; among all those with weapons of mass destruction; and among those which have defied UN resolutions - should be singled out for unique and extreme international ostracism.

Why not? If not them, then who? North Korea HAS THE BOMB. Pakistan is co-operating fully in hunting down the bad guys, and they HAVE THE BOMB. This is a once-only chance to step on a dictator BEFORE HE GETS THE BOMB. Before.

The editorial winds up with historical justification, military miscalculation, and ignorance of recent past. Degree of difficulty: 8.6
Mr Bush is widely praised for his strength and patience in securing a strong UN resolution that applies extreme pressure on Iraq.

The Resolution is there because, and only because Bush made it clear this was the UN’s last chance, as well as Iraq’s.
But this brinkmanship lacks the justification that, for example, President John Kennedy had in the Cuban missile crisis in 1962.

And what would provide the justification? Should we wait until he HAS THE BOMB, so raising the stakes to include the incineration of millions of civilians?
Any satisfaction at seeing Saddam cornered - and given, in effect, the choice between war and peace - must be mixed with deep concern at the now greatly increased prospect of a new and terrible conflict in the Middle East.

Like all those uprisings so confidently predicted before Afghanistan? Like all that instability we had to fear before the First Gulf War? Say it loud, say it proud: IT DIDN’T HAPPEN, and IT AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN THIS TIME EITHER. The only people seriously scared about regime change in Baghdad, apart from Sammy’s boys, are the brutal and bloody rulers of the surrounding states, who can see the writing on the wall.

And why? Because they don’t fool themselves about the nature of their governments. In the privacy of their palaces, they don’t work themselves into a lather about who has the legitimate right to do what, because they don’t fool themselves as to the true nature of their own methods. Dictators understand power, and they have a far clearer acknowledgment of what they personally have had to do to stay in charge. How many thousands of people executed, dissidents imprisoned, families deported, cities gassed, towns flattened, money stolen, palaces built, opponents disappeared. Unlike many in the West, dictators hold no illusions about what constitutes legitimate rule.

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Tex is Angry
about calls to make flag burning illegal.
Odd that these tedious pro-statist conservatives are essentially aping leftist doctrine, ie. that "proper thinking" can be legislated.

And this:
What's the big deal about flag burning anyway? If they paid for it, they can do whatever the hell they want with it as far as I'm concerned. I'll be damned if some self-righteous crusading asshole is going to tell me what I can do with my property.

Though I would take issue with his spelling. The proper word is “arsehole”. But this is spot on:
Let the silly unwashed commie peacenick wankers burn their flags, and let the scum face the scorn and derision of their moral betters.


What’s up with the editorial in today’s Granny? First up is the prediction that Federal Opposition Leader Simon Crean is a dean man walking, filling the shoes until the inevitable defeat clears the way for a challenge.
Labor's shell-shocked demeanour confirms its resilient refusal to believe it lost an election that was there for the taking a year ago. That's a death smell. Mr Crean must show he can change. Otherwise, a strike at his leadership, even from the reluctant next generation, seems inevitable.

There’s even a message about policy direction:
This does not demand a return to the old leftist dogma of economic intervention and manipulation rejected by Labor a quarter of a century ago but which, lamentably, is resurrected by those who think turning back the clock will deliver working class dignity and save the heartland from ravages like the Cunningham by-election.

“Leftist dogma”? It seems that the ALP is not the only organization that has sniffed the wind.

In the second editorial, the Herald has seen the future for China, and it ain’t leftist dogma either:
The pretence that socialism lies at the heart of modern China has finally been swept away with the official welcome of those once-reviled enemies of the proletariat, private entrepreneurs, into the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The President, Jiang Zemin, may claim his nation is in the throes of a "great pioneering enterprise" as it develops a market economy under a socialist system of government. But in truth, communism has been jettisoned in all but name.

More heresy from the voice of the soggy Left:
While economic growth remains strong it may be possible to paper over the cracks. A market economy, however, requires freedom of thought, innovation and individual initiative to flourish and continue to grow beyond low-wage manufacturing industries.

The key question for China is when and how, not if, these tensions will be played out.

It’s like I’m looking is a mirror!

Monday, November 11, 2002

MISSING IN ACTION since the US election: Michael Moore has apparently been interned for his political activism. How else to explain the absence of updates from the man who predicted “Payback Tuesday”?
AUSSIE ENGLISH.

dekko
noun a look or view. Also, dek.
[Hindi dekko look!]
Go cast a vote for the war on Iraq at the Yahoo News site.
Some things are so appalling they don’t need comment. This guy has his own version of the Bali Massacre:
the ever-predictable Blair as speaking of "the appalling depths to which these extremists will sink." One senses that the Bali tragedy primarily will be spun in the Anglo-American media as yet another installment in this endless battle between overzealous Islamists and the forces of reason that nominally govern the western world.


Although he may be an addled old lefty, Phillip Adams can produce good prose, as long as he keeps away from his betters. Over the weekend, this piece on “Ladies Day” in the local court system made for good reading.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT from a letter writer. It’s worth reproducing in full:
Men are the real heroes
People dragged from the burning Sari Club by strangers; a killer wrestled to the ground in a university; people saved from Martin Bryant's rampage by their loved ones lying on top of them and taking the bullets. Firefighters rushing into the burning Twin Towers when others are rushing out, only to die en masse in the subsequent collapse.
The people risking their lives in this fashion usually have one thing in common, the much-maligned Y chromosome.
Yes, women do on occasion sacrifice themselves in heroic acts, but usually only when it involves someone they know - a close family member such as a child.
For many years feminists have taken great delight in listing the unpaid work of women and appending a large dollar value to such work. Well, here is the unpaid job description that every man carries in today's world: unpaid bodyguard.
Call me old-fashioned, but I believe many of the problems between the sexes would disappear if women simply recognised and honoured the heroes in their midst. The fathers, husbands, sons and complete strangers who would die to protect them.
My words will strike many as not particularly politically correct. Perhaps all that reveals is their innate truth.
Michael Glynn, Elderslie, November 9.


Sunday, November 10, 2002

Welcome Icon readers. If this is your first blog experience, remember entries are in reverse time order, oldest at the bottom of the page.

There's plenty to choose from. If you would like to see Phillip Adams thrown into a pit with a Tasmanian Devil nursing a neck wound, Press One.
Sick and tired of the BLOODY VIETNAM QUAGMIRE PROTEST ALL ABOUT OIL BABY BOOMER DINGBATS. Bang your forehead here repeatedly.
If you find the “chickenhawk” argument less than fragrant, Press 4.
Is Nelson Mandela a World Statesman, or a cranky old left-wing coot? Find out.
Ever wonder what will happen if the weapons inspectors actually find something? I have.
Let’s hear it for Western Civilisation!

Enjoy your stay, come back soon, and try the links on the side. They’re the one’s I read pretty much daily so they’re the source, cause, blame or mitigating circumstances for what flops onto the page. If you have questions or suggestions (anatomical or otherwise), email is at the top.

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