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Thursday, March 31, 2005


Like a frozen pea rolling down a slightly less than horizontal surface, Margo Kingston’s Great Democracy Juggernaut just keeps gathering momentum:

I’m discovering as I edit Webdiary and travel around Australia speaking to people that many Australians have stopped consuming mainstream media completely. They find it depressing to read the bad stuff knowing there’s not a thing they can do about it, and depressing that the big issues either aren’t being addressed or are deliberately being squashed. Yet this response means that those who would destroy our democracy have won without a fight …

My starting point is that those who rule us get their way partly by dividing us, and that the belief in democracy has the potential to unite us in its defence regardless of who we vote for and what else we disagree on. So I’ve started, with the help of volunteers, a new website called Your Democracy to see if this is possible.

It aims to build through citizen journalists a strong alternative media to the mainstream media, which has ceased taking its responsibilities to our democracy seriously and has instead become a mouthpiece for the powerful.

Hmmm. Kingston recently signed a three-year contract with the Sydney Morning Herald to continue writing Webdiary; at $4,000 per month, her contract is worth (before tax) $144,000. Kingston has repaid that investment by denouncing the mainstream media (of which the SMH is a part) and establishing a rival news source – which she promotes via the SMH’s “mouthpiece for the powerful”, where democracy is no longer taken seriously. This is very impressive. Who’d have suspected Margo was a guerrilla capitalist?

In a similar spirit of cashing in on Webdiary’s powerful brand, Bastards Inc. presents a Web Diary World of Merchandise. All 100% anti-gravitational!

Posted by Tim B. on 03/31/2005 at 10:31 PM
(27) CommentsPermalink


Terri Schiavo has died thirteen days after being disconnected from her food supply.

Posted by Tim B. on 03/31/2005 at 10:31 AM
(54) CommentsPermalink


In an event combining the greatest moments of Jimmy Carter’s presidency and John Kerry’s candidacy, a man has stolen a magic hat containing a rabbit.

(Via Chris Wilson)

Posted by Tim B. on 03/31/2005 at 09:27 AM
(9) CommentsPermalink


Sydney Morning Herald transcriber Alan Ramsey defends himself against accusations of laziness and Googlephobia. Hilariously, this ran on Saturday under the headline “Misquote, but message still true”:

Readers will recall the dark acceptance speech to a New York audience last December after Harvard Medical School named Bill Moyers, the eminent American journalist from US public broadcasting, and a former presidential press secretary, its fourth annual Global Environmental Citizen. The speech went unreported in this country’s mass media until I edited its 2500-word text down to 750 words on this page on March 9 under the introduction, “Here is a speech that should terrify you. If not, you deserve everything you get."

Shrill religious and political zealots instantly fell on me. So did one of Sydney’s several blimpish print shrieks. Yet the power of Moyers’s speech, in its confrontation of the religious right in American politics and the Bush Administration’s insidious assault on environmental protection, was undiminished by an apocryphal quote Moyers eventually corrected (10 weeks later) but which remained intact in the Harvard website text. The Herald’s immediate correction of the misquote in my edited text did nothing to quell the shriek’s hysterics about “lazy journalism”.

As Attila the Pun asked on the day Ramsey’s “fake but true” Moyers column appeared: “Does anyone seriously think Ramsey will publish a proper apology?” No, we didn’t – and we’re still waiting for Ramsey to correct the small matter of that plastic Christmas turkey. The prestigious New York Times did so months ago.

Apparently the SMH’s ReaderLink is the service to contact about this.

Posted by Tim B. on 03/31/2005 at 09:19 AM
(11) CommentsPermalink


Sheesh. Germany loses a couple of wars, and all of a sudden they don’t want to play any more:

Adults in France were more likely to think Iran posed a nuclear threat (34 per cent) than in Germany (30 per cent) and Britain (27 per cent.)

Of those adults surveyed who did believe Iran posed a nuclear threat, 59 per cent said diplomacy was the best way to handle the situation.

Just three per cent said using military force alone was the best course of action. Support for military action was highest in Britain (seven percent) and lowest in Germany (zero percent.)

If nothing else, I guess this disproves the line that a warlike people will only be inflamed by armed response.

Posted by Tim B. on 03/31/2005 at 08:49 AM
(36) CommentsPermalink


Ireland’s Palestinian Solidarity Group didn’t bother with too much research when it selected an Israel team member as the reviled face of its campaign to shun an Ireland-Israel soccer match.

The player turned out to be a Palestinian Arab – and, according to Ireland’s Freedom Institute, “one of the most popular players in Israel.”

Posted by Tim B. on 03/31/2005 at 08:26 AM
(11) CommentsPermalink


The deeply concerned UN chief stooge is in more trouble:

Kofi Annan is facing calls to resign after a report into his son’s links with a company embroiled in the UN’s oil-for-food scandal revealed that documents held in the Secretary-General’s office were ordered destroyed the day after the Security Council approved an official inquiry.

The shredding of documents covering the crucial period from 1997 to 1999—during which the Swiss company that employed Kojo Annan as a consultant was awarded a lucrative UN contract in Iraq—was ordered by Kofi Annan’s former chief of staff Iqbal Riza last April and continued until December 7.

The Sydney Morning Herald’s Mark Coultan seems moved by this epic tragedy:

The United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, has had to confront many difficult issues during the past year, including corruption in the Iraq oil-for-food program, sexual abuse by UN peacekeepers, and his most senior officers sacked or in disgrace. However, none has been harder than the one involving his son …

Mr Annan said he loved his son and had “always expected the highest standards of integrity from him”.

"I am deeply saddened by the evidence to the contrary that has emerged and particularly by the fact that my son had failed to co-operate fully with the inquiry. I have urged him to co-operate and I urge him to reconsider his position and co-operate,” Mr Annan said.

The scandal has capped a bad year for the UN and its leader. Asked if he would resign, the normally urbane diplomat replied: “Hell, no."

And then he scampered away, leaving flunky Mark Malloch Brown to answer questions. He invoked the awesome power of Move On:

"Time to move on, there’s a lot to get done,” Mr Malloch Brown told journalists, referring to the report as a “final slaying of the ghosts”.

Final? Mark may have spoken too soon. Here’s another ghost to slay:

The head of the UN elections unit has been charged with violating staff rules after an internal review said she made unwanted sexual advances toward a male employee and created a sexually charged work environment, UN officials and diplomats said today.

What a rabble. And people wanted these raping, thieving, lying, document-shredding horndogs to oversee the liberation of Iraq …

Posted by Tim B. on 03/31/2005 at 08:09 AM
(7) CommentsPermalink


The single most terrifying website you’ve ever seen. (Unless you’ve seen this, of course. It has folk singers.)


(Via Charley Kron)

Posted by Tim B. on 03/31/2005 at 04:54 AM
(38) CommentsPermalink

Wednesday, March 30, 2005


Shock! Academics trend left:

College faculties, long assumed to be a liberal bastion, lean further to the left than even the most conspiratorial conservatives might have imagined, a new study says.

By their own description, 72 percent of those teaching at American universities and colleges are liberal and 15 percent are conservative, says the study being published this week. The imbalance is almost as striking in partisan terms, with 50 percent of the faculty members surveyed identifying themselves as Democrats and 11 percent as Republicans.

The same imbalance is in evident in Australia; all the more reason to keep our children out of universities. Here’s unstable Australian academic Professor John Quiggin:

As far as terrorism is concerned, there can be few instances more horrible and terrifying than the kidnappings and televised beheadings we’ve seen in Iraq. There are, however, equally awful things going on that are not televised, and that are carried out by the United States government.

The US government is engaged in activities as awful as the kidnapping and beheading of civilians? Quiggin is out of his mind. Tim Dunlop is another Australian academic prone to occasional lapses of reason:

Funny how many of those in Australia who are so purportedly concerned about the fate of the (put simply) brain-dead Terri Schiavo couldn’t give a shit about the fully functioning kids locked in our own detention centres.

Terri Schiavo is being starved to death. Children in Australian detention centres are fed, clothed, and educated; educated outside of the centres, in most cases. Were they to be denied food and water, Tim’s comparison might make sense. He continues:

No mystery really when you remember a simple fact: for such people, issues are decided on the basis of political affiliation rather than the facts of the matter. Terri Schiavo matters, therefore, because rightwing politicians say she does. Kids in detention don’t because locking them up indefinitely is part of Howard government policy.

Jesse Jackson is a right-wing politician? Ralph Nader? And kids aren’t locked up indefinitely because of Howard government policy; they’re locked up only as long as their parents wish them to be: “Parents and their children are free to leave immigration detention at any time by leaving Australia.”

More on this from J.F. Beck. Also from Iowahawk: Profs Gone Wild: Extreme Ultimate Spring Break Volume 6 – It’s Hot, Tenured, and Out of Control!

UPDATE. US-based Melbourne Age correspondent Michael Gawenda appears to be channelling US-based Dunlop. Here’s Tim on March 22:

Surely, in any given circumstance, we should err on the side of life, but as even George W. Bush--chief citer of said “doctrine"--will tell you, the subject is fraught. How else to explain that then-Governor Bush was the nation’s most execution-happy State leader? Where was the culture of life as he signed each execution warrant? It seems to me that there is a reasonable case that every one of those subjects of Governor Bush’s death warrants had a better claim to the “culture of life” (that is, life)--on a purely physical human level--than a poor woman whose cerebral cortex has liquified.

And here’s Gawenda in today’s Age:

When George Bush talks about “erring on the side of life” if there is any doubt about whether Terri Schiavo is really in a persistent vegetative state, what does it mean then that during his two terms as governor of Texas, 152 people were executed? When George Bush refused to commute all but one of the death sentences of the executed to life in prison, was this evidence of “erring on the side of life”? Forget for a moment the issue of whether supporting capital punishment is consistent with believing that God gives life and only God can decide when a life should end. Improved DNA testing procedures have revealed that innocent people have been convicted and sentenced to death in recent years; some may even have been executed. It is not immediately obvious how this squares with “erring on the side of life”.

What’s Bush’s term as governor of Texas got to do with Terri Schiavo? Oh, right. Politics.

UPDATE II. Quiggin, with whose “equally awful” notion Dunlop disagreed, has amended his remarks: “I shouldn’t have said ‘equally awful.’”

Posted by Tim B. on 03/30/2005 at 12:04 PM
(88) CommentsPermalink


* Not up to speed on the Terri Schiavo case? Then study John Hawkins’ Schiavo FAQ.

* The Dog Hook 5000 will answer all your dog-storage needs.

* Chrenkoff has a whole new batch of Good News from Iraq.

* If the tumor grows, you must decompose.

* Darlene Taylor claims to be an ex-blogger. She’ll be back.

* Gay Patriot has been silenced by a brutal-sounding campaign against gays who are pro-conservative. Talk about the crushing of dissent …

Posted by Tim B. on 03/30/2005 at 11:18 AM
(14) CommentsPermalink


If The Guardian actually believes this end-of-the-world story, they’re surely obliged to close down their resource-consuming newspaper. The planet-raping bitches. On the other hand, according to Professor Paul Kirshen, we may as well all live it up:

There is “nothing really we can do to stop climatic change in the next centuries, even if we stop [greenhouse emissions] now,” Kirshen said.

Kirshen – he’s got lots of happy news – also predicts the destruction of Boston.

Posted by Tim B. on 03/30/2005 at 11:09 AM
(21) CommentsPermalink


Like most news organizations, CBS prepares in advance the obits of significant or newsworthy people. Unlike most news organizations, CBS publishes obits prior to the death of said significant person:

Surrounded by stuffed animals and medical equipment in her small hospice room in Pinellas Park, Fla., Theresa Marie Schindler Schiavo died TK.

This mistakenly ran at the CBS website on Monday (“TK” indicates further information is forthcoming). Just another internet goof, you say? Like that Fox News thing? Not quite; CBS’s obit also predicts the future:

Michael Schiavo, who was at the bedside of his wife Terri when she died …

And in other CBS news … Dan Rather is vindicated! Behold evidence of the ancient typewriter able to produce Microsoft Word documents.

Posted by Tim B. on 03/30/2005 at 10:43 AM
(7) CommentsPermalink


Let’s hope this rally gets the promotion and publicity it deserves:

The Free Muslims Against Terrorism are proud to announce that on May 14th 2005, Muslims and Middle Easterners of all backgrounds will converge on our nation’s Capital for a rally against terrorism and to support freedom and democracy in the Middle East and the Muslim world. This will be the first rally of its kind in Washington DC that is led by Muslims and Middle Easterners.

Join us in sending a message to radical Muslims and supporters of terrorism that we reject them and that we will do all we can to defeat them.

We also want to send a message of hope to the people of the Muslim world and the Middle East who seek freedom, democracy and who reject radical Islam that we are with them and that we will do all we can to support them.

This rally is NOT limited to Muslims and Middle Easterners. We request anyone and everyone who supports our message to join us at the rally. We want to send a message to the extremists and terrorists that American Muslims, Christians, Jews and people of all faiths are united against terrorism and extremism.

Hit the link for further details. Please send the name of your group to Free Muslims Against Terrorism if you are interested in sponsoring the rally. Presumably Nina from Toronto won’t be attending:

"I hate to say this to Iraqis, but I pray for chaos and civil war,” Nina from Toronto emailed the BBC. “It’s the only way to stop Bush’s policies and show that peace can never come through force. If Iraq gets peace, Bush gets credibility. It cannot be allowed to happen."

Nina wants violence instead of peace … because that will prove peace can never come through violence. This gal has taken one too many hockey pucks to the head.

Posted by Tim B. on 03/30/2005 at 09:32 AM
(27) CommentsPermalink


Fight back against the international Zionist media conspiracy by wearing one of these stunning new Margo Kingston t-shirts! Available only in paranoid black, the Margo “t” features a variety of inspirational quotes ("Democracy is dead!”, “Heil Howard!”, “the Iraq project is dead!") and helpful dotted lines for when you decide to remove your arms and/or head.

Actually, we can probably come up with a better design. Get to work, photoshoppers!

UPDATE. Webdiary inhabitant Antony Loewenstein is apparently no longer employed by the Sydney Morning Herald, so has set up his own blog. And it isn’t just any blog, as ambitious Antony explains:

I want this blog to be, soon enough, an essential stop for news and views you won’t find anywhere else, a challenge to the mainstream media’s primary reliance on US sources and a community who believes that people of conscience need to be more active in disseminating dissenting viewpoints.

As part of his “challenge to the mainstream media’s primary reliance on US sources”, Antony offers permalinks to Noam Chomsky, Wonkette, The Atlantic, Justin Raimondo, Seymour Hersh, The New Yorker, Josh Marshall, Katrina vanden Heuvel, Counterpunch, Tikkun, Harpers, Columbia Journalism Review, and The Sopranos.

UPDATE II. Bastards Inc. presents Margo-inspired garments for the discerning moonbat. I’ll have a “Free the Mind/Eat the Brains” in large, please.

UPDATE III. More quality Margolian clothing, coming soon to your nearest Gap outlet!

UPDATE IV. Yet more Margoon shirtiness.

Posted by Tim B. on 03/30/2005 at 12:08 AM
(28) CommentsPermalink

Tuesday, March 29, 2005


Australia’s Press Council says the Melbourne Herald Sun was mean to the Greens. The paper disagrees. Hit the link to read the Herald Sun’s argument—which the Press Council has refused to hear in an appeal against the earlier finding.

Posted by Tim B. on 03/29/2005 at 11:44 PM
(16) CommentsPermalink
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