Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Apologies for lack of posts; much work, very busy, etc. For US charity information following Hurricane Katrina, go here. For news and views on the Baghdad disaster that may have left 1,000 or more dead, try here, here, and here.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
QUOTES OF AUGUST
* Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean:
I think if we had a three-word message right now it’d be, ‘We can do better.’
* Network Nine newsreader Ellen Fanning following Steve Forbes’ observation that Condi Rice would be an “infinitely superior” President to Hillary Clinton:
Believe him and we could have our first black single woman in the White House. That’ll be the day.
* And ALP treasury spokesman Wayne Swan, commenting on leadership tensions between John Howard and Peter Costello:
(We) cannot continue to have this level of instability at the senior level of the Government.
Swan’s party has changed leadership four times in nine years. The Liberal/National party coalition has had the same leader since 1995.
CATTLE BEG FOR LIVES
Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi visits Mother Sheehan:
Crawford, the home of President George W. Bush, is a sun-scorched hole of a backwater Texas town—a single dreary railroad crossing surrounded on all sides by roasted earth the color of dried dog shit. There are scattered clumps of trees and brush, but all the foliage seems bent from the sun’s rays and ready at any moment to burst into flames.
Way to dump on the environment, dude! Taibbi lives in New York, amongst fellow caring liberals. Although his empathy seems to evaporate once he’s in Crawford:
The moaning cattle along the lonely roads sound like they’re begging for their lives. The downtown streets are empty. Just as the earth is home to natural bridges, this place is a natural dead end—the perfect place to drink a bottle of Lysol, wind up in a bad marriage, have your neck ripped out by a vulture.
Nobody has ever consumed Lysol in NYC. No bad marriages, either. Vulture attacks? Well, bring them on, if they’ll stop Taibbi’s Cindy coverage:
Sheehan’s demand was that Bush meet with her and explain to her what, exactly, her son had died for. The demand, and the accompanying solitary vigil, began as a simple, powerful, unequivocal political statement—the unarguably genuine protest of a single grieving individual. It was a quest that began on a moral territory almost beyond argument: How could anyone quibble with a mother who’d lost her son?
We’re back in Maureen Dowd’s world of absolute moral authority.
But Sheehan quickly became more than just the Next Big Media Thing, a successor to Kobe, Laci and Michael.
No, she pretty much remained the Next Big Media Thing. Despite his loathing of the war (“Iraq is an insane blunder committed by a bunch of criminal incompetents”), Taibbi can’t deny the lunacy of Sheehan’s anti-Bush comrades:
The movement likes to think of itself as open and inclusive, but in practice it often comes off like a bunch of nerds whose favored recreation is coming up with clever passwords for their secret treehouse. The ostensible political purpose may be ending the war, but the immediate occupation for a sizable percentage of these people always seemed to be a kind of rolling adult tourist attraction called Hating George Bush ...
At one point at Camp Casey, an informal poll taken around a campfire revealed that six out of a group of ten protesters, selected at random, believed that the United States government was directly involved in planning the 9/11 bombings. Flabbergasted, I tried to press the issue.
"Do you know how many people would have to be involved in that conspiracy?” I said. “I mean, start with the pilots . . ."
"The planes were flown by remote control,” a girl sitting across from me snapped.
Comments Noir: “Crawford is to moonbats as Iraq is to terrorists.”
COLUMN CELEBRATES LOCAL CINEMA
UPDATE. It’s a goddamn basset hound, not a beagle! Stupid crustaceans all look the same to me.
Australian businessman Douglas Wood, who was once forced to plead for his life on video, may go back in front of a camera to give evidence against his former Iraqi captors.
A student at a top Melbourne state school writes to Andrew Bolt:
The day after it had become apparent the George Bush had won the US election and Mark (not his real name) was appearing slightly jubilant in my maths class—my teacher (who also happens to be the union rep at the school) asked him to look in her eyes and swear he was happy about Dubya’s re-election.
When he did so, she announced to the class: ‘We should hold a minutes silence for the passing of Mark’s soul’."
UPDATE. More Melbourne school news from The Age’s Geoff Strong:
The warning signs were apparent to Chris Doig at least 10 years ago. A small group of the teacher’s students made it clear they despised Australia, regarding it as a degenerate culture to be disrupted and ultimately swept aside.
Two Muslim students danced with joy after the September 11 attacks in the United States. Other students told him these attitudes came out of ideas picked up at Melbourne’s northern suburbs mosques.
The teacher says he tried to voice concern to his school administration, to the Education Department bureaucracy, even to senior political figures in his own Labor Party, but his warnings were ignored.
Via reader Andrew Richards, who notes two differences between the print and web versions of this story:
Web headline: “Australia-hating Muslims unchecked, says teacher”
Print headline: “School system ‘failed to act’ on Australia-hating students”
Web conclusion: “The teacher said these students used to boast that Australia would become a majority Islamic country in 50 years. ‘They would do this by converting the infidel and by out-breeding the rest of the community.’”
Print conclusion: “The teacher said these students used to boast that Australia would become a majority Islamic country in 50 years.”
BROGDEN SUICIDE BID
John Brogden was rushed to hospital last night after an apparent suicide attempt, one day after he resigned in disgrace as the NSW Opposition Leader.
He was found at his Pittwater electorate office in a drug-and alcohol-induced stupor shortly before 11pm, with self-inflicted stab wounds, and taken by ambulance to Royal North Shore Hospital.
His wounds weren’t serious, and Brogden is expected to recover quickly. Nice words from Bob Carr.
HOORAY FOR KYOTO!
Kyoto is bad for trees:
Wairarapa forest owners are being short-changed by the Government’s Kyoto policies, says Denis Hocking of the NZ Farm Forestry Association ...
Mr Hocking said that instead of reaping the rewards from helping New Zealand meet its Kyoto commitments, local foresters are finding that their forest sink credits (the carbon credits they earn from planting trees) are being used to bail out their competitors.
Wood products compete with aluminium, plastic and steel, but the Government is re-allocating the credits earned by foresters to companies operating in those industries.
"The worry we’ve got is they’re our competition and they’re getting our credits,” Mr Hocking said. “Effectively they will be subsidised by forestry."
Meanwhile, deforestation is progressing at a rapid rate as foresters turn over their land to pasture for dairy cows and sheep.
I take back all my criticism of Kyoto. This result is absolutely beautiful.
SGT. JEREMY DOYLE
Hideous scenes at the Indiana funeral of a US soldier killed in Iraq:
Sgt. Jeremy Doyle’s sacrifice brought many out to honor him but also sparked a standoff on a city street.
People arriving to say goodbye to a hometown hero met an altogether different scene in Martinsville. Demonstrators dragging American flags on the ground and holding signs opposing U. S. troops.
Tension grew before the demonstrators finally left their location, right across the street from Army Sgt. Jeremy Doyle’s funeral service.
According to the group’s website, it sees American deaths in Iraq as a kind of punishment for social misdeeds.
The group in question is a psycho brigade of gay-hating Christian freaks who tour the country picketing soldier funerals. Interesting that the most Taliban-like Baptists in the US are on the anti-war team. By the way, do fathers of fallen servicemen also possess Mother Sheehan’s absolute moral authority? Perhaps Maureen Down should interview John Doyle:
"If I had to lose a son, if I had to lose one, I’d rather it be serving our country,” Doyle’s father explained.
Doyle’s father and stepmother have more to say here:
"I wanted people to know that he paid the ultimate price—that he should be celebrated,” John Doyle said …
"He was there willingly. He was an enlisted man. He hadn’t been drafted, so everybody should support those guys,” Doyle said.
Doyle’s stepmother told RTV6 that when she spoke with him by phone, he never complained.
"He wanted to make a difference and he has made a difference,” Sandy Doyle said. “He’s made a difference in my life and every American."
Do you think the increasing size and frequency of hurricanes is linked to global warming? Air America listeners say YES! And so does Margo, whose readers presumably also blame global warming for their lack of Google sophistication.
Monday, August 29, 2005
DANBY DISSES DREAMBOAT
Michael Danby, Federal Member for Melbourne Ports, responds to claims that he’d attempted to censor author, journalist, and dreamboat Antony Loewenstein:
I have made no attempt to censor Mr Antony Loewenstein, or anyone else. Mr Loewenstein is entitled to his opinions, and to publish them.
What I have done is to exercise my right to criticise his views, which I find abhorrent, and to urge people not to reward those views by buying his book. Readers are free to reject my advice.
I don’t need to read Mr Loewenstein’s book to know what he thinks. He has described himself as “a Jew who doesn’t believe in the concept of a Jewish state,” which he calls “a fundamentally undemocratic and colonialist idea from a bygone era.” He has described the Australian Jewish community as “vitriolic, bigoted, racist and downright pathetic” and as “incapable of hearing the true reality of their beloved homeland and its barbaric actions.” (These quotes appear at Mr Loewenstein’s own website.)
As a representative of mainstream, moderate Jewish opinion, who supports both Israel’s right to exist and defend itself and the right of the Palestinian people to a viable state, I find such opinions disgusting, and I did no more in my letter to the Jewish News than express that disgust. The response from the Jewish community to my comments has been overwhelmingly positive.
Finally, I am curious to know why Melbourne University Press thinks it is appropriate to be publishing two anti-Israel books at a time when Israel is making such a painful withdrawal from Gaza, when we have a new and more moderate Palestinian leadership and when the prospects for peace are improving. I can only conclude that someone at MUP has an axe to grind on this subject.
Occasional commenter Bryan Law requests that he be allowed to address various issues. The following is published unedited:
The Real Jeff S - “I wonder what our loving friends, Bryla and DJFQ, think of this union of ‘philosophies’. I have to wonder how much they enjoy rubbing elbows (even electronically) with nazis and racists.” #23 from “Friends” thread of 28 August.
I’ve never met a real Nazi Jeff, but I know that I’m not responsible for what they say or do on the internet, or in relation to any issue/campaign that I happen to be involved with. Unlike you, it seems, I trust people of all persuasions to be intelligent enough to figure out for themselves what’s going on, and to make their own judgements about what others say.
In relation to Camp Casey, I’m sure there’s quite a variety of views being expressed. Some I’ve read have been very unfortunate in the way they portray Israel, Zionism, and Judaism. Some of Cindy Sheehan’s comments are inflammatory and inaccurate. I do not condone those comments and,
were I present, I’d seek appropriate ways of challenging them.
However this is a side-bar issue. The key impact of Camp Casey remains its critique of the US failure in Iraq.
As for racists, well, they’re all around the place. One need only read the “Progress Measured” thread of 21 August on this blog to see virulent examples of anti-Aboriginal racism from the likes of Mr Magoo, ekw, Quentin George, and a whole bunch of others. Were I able to participate in the discussion I’d challenge those too.
Sortelli – “Remember, Bryla ACTUALLY DEFENDED the Holocaust deniers at the Adelaide Institute in his last romp through here. I wish that had surprised me”. #24 from “Friends” thread of 28 August.
This is the kind of material that is easy to expose by re-posting what I actually said, from “Axis of David” thread of 19 August, which was:
“ilibcc, It’s completely awful that the Adelaide Institute is under the control of Nazis.
If you forward me the information you have about their Nazi membership I’ll start lobbying to stop their insidious influence.
Er, you do have some factual material to base your assertions on don’t you, or is this just another WMD line of spin?”
I was banned immediately afterwards, and the only “evidence” presented was comments made by people posting to the discussion pages of the Institute’s blog. To say that means the Adelaide institute is controlled by Nazis would be similar to inferring from the comments here that Tim Blair is a bleeding heart leftie because I can find a few examples of such thinking on his blog.
Jeff S and Sortelli, IMHO you are cowards hiding behind bluster and deception. You’re very good at insulting people who can’t answer back. My guess is that you also kick cripples and steal from blind men’s cups.
MONEY ON THE TABLE
The Jim Ball prize for media dupes is shaping up as a very tight contest.
We note The Australian’s Mark Steyn has renewed his run for the prize today.
But we don’t have room to deal with him here.
So until next week goodnight.
Australian taxes paid for every word of that. Meanwhile, Andrew Richards writes:
I will give $2,000.00 to the Salvation Army when Media Watch admits they were wrong on any major matter (other than, for example, screwing up an expose of the Wangaratta Courier for getting the footy score wrong again), i.e. on something important (like Steyn).
Or even if they expose the cutting and pasting or other journalistic shabbiness that is carried out by their lefty mates (such as Teflon Phillip), i.e. something serious.
Unfortunately (for the Sallies) I think my money is safe.
Andrew will provide copy receipt of payment upon loss of his bet.
UPDATE. Tim Lambert thinks “Abel Danger” is a person:
Abel Danger did not find that Atta was in Brooklyn before June 2000. In fact he stated that they had no firm evidence that he was in Brooklyn.
UPDATE II. Former Canberra Times staffer Steve Crispin writes to Media Watch:
The picture you showed of Jack Waterford, editor in chief of Canberra Times, on your show on Monday the 29th August 2005 was not Jack Waterford at all. Having worked at CT until recently, I can say I have no idea who that was as it was no one I recognise, but it certainly wasnt Jack. Perhaps you should update your library file pics. Its not like they dont print his pic every week in their newspaper.
And MW moderator (and executive producer) Peter McEvoy replies:
I’m afraid your right - apologies to Jack.
MW can’t even run the correct picture of a local media identity (or spell you’re) yet they presume to lecture Steyn on the possible movements of terrorists within the US five years ago. Sweet.
(Via Nora in comments)
UPDATE III. Tim Lambert thinks it’s terrific fun to rip off someone’s site (and then dodge phone calls and emails requesting an explanation). But mock his clumsy writing and Lamby wails with indignation:
If Blair’s reading comprehension skills were any good he would have noticed that I consistently referred to the Able Danger team as “they”. The word “he” in the sentence Blair quotes refers to the official who was talking to Jehl about Able Danger. Blair’s response is characteristic of the unserious and superficial nature of his blog. He has no substantive comments on Bryant or Able Danger, just repeated assertions that Steyn is somehow correct and a lame attempt at point-scoring with an out-of-context quote.
UPDATE IV. Now he’s even whinier:
Blair has added another update—now his story is that he understood what I meant and all he was doing was mocking my “clumsy writing”. Even if this is true, it means that the sum total of his contribution to the discussion in five posts on Steyn and Bryant has been to discover a typo in the Media Watch transcript and some “clumsy writing” in one of my posts. Look up “superficial” in the dictionary and you’ll see a picture of Blair.
For full Hurricane Katrina news please go to PunditGuy, now maintaining complete blog/video/audio coverage.
Sunday, August 28, 2005
NONO TO KYOTO
Kyoto, once the most popular Protocol of them all, is increasingly shunned:
John Howard claims he has been vindicated over his opposition to the Kyoto Protocol after business groups in New Zealand and Germany demanded their countries quit the agreement as soon as possible and join the Asia-Pacific climate pact.
A coalition of 22,000 New Zealand businesses, under the auspices of the New Zealand Chambers of Commerce and Industry, called on both parties in the New Zealand election to start talks on pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol by 2008 - the earliest possible date to do so …
Germany’s industry bodies said last week “the hopes on the Kyoto Protocol were unfortunately not fulfilled” and that consideration for all countries to join the recently agreed six-nation Asia-Pacific Clean Air and Development partnership “after the expiration of the Kyoto Protocol in 2012”.