Saturday, September 29, 2007

Is Howard Delaying Election In Anticipation Of An Explosive 'Event'?

As we mentioned here, there is a growing paranoia amongst the Australian people, and some quarters of the media, that prime minister John Howard is holding off announcing the date of the federal election in anticipation of a Big Event that might turn the tide against a humiliating defeat at the polls.

The short version of this suspicion is 'Howard Needs Terror'. Murdoch journalist Andrew Bolt was probably the first to clearly state that a terror attack in Australia could be of great benefit to John Howard. Back in July, Bolt dreamily fantasised about how :
"...something might yet turn up that will make us appreciate anew his vast experience and steadiness under fire...if there were to be another terrorist attack...(we could) admire his firmness in handling it."
The 'Big Event' scenario popped up again last night in a discussion on Lateline. The interviewee is Michael Costello, a columnist with Murdoch's The Australian newspaper :
Costello : In 2001, events were absolutely crucial. Not so much Tampa as people think, but what was absolutely crucial was out of the blue, 9/11 and the war in Afghanistan. That totally turned things round and it's worth remembering that even so, with all that going for them, the Government only just got across the line, 51-49.

Q: So the Government's hanging out waiting for a disaster?

Costello : No, no, I'm just saying events can happen.
If President Bush has already made his decision that the US and Israel will go to War On Iran before Christmas, you can rest assured that he has already told his good mate John Howard about his plans. Hundreds of Australian troops in the south of Iraq would likely become targets for retaliatory strikes or terror hits by Iran, or the Shiite militias, so Howard would need to get them out of the way. Hopefully.

If terror threats elevate as polling day grows near, you can expect to see the 'Steel Wall' security fencing used during the APEC conference back on the streets of Sydney. The government has a three year lease on the five kilometres of ten foot high security fencing. It's being stored in Darling Harbour, only minutes out of the city centre, along with dozens of the white mobile 'prison' buses that were used to block off entire streets during the anti-Bush protests a few weeks back.

If you were being funneled through gates in that fencing, lined with police, to cast your vote on election day, would you be more likely to vote for Howard or Ruddley-Do-Right?

Howard Opts For Climate "Shift" Instead Of Climate Change

Don't wait another day, Janette. Pillow your husband tonight. It's cruel to watch him disgrace himself in public like this any longer :

The prime minister, John Howard, said yesterday he believed the continuing drought was an example of "climate shift", not climate change.

"We are seeing what the experts call a climate shift and I do think we should keep our heads about it."
Experts do indeed occasionally refer to "climate shift", but not in a good way. You'll often find the words "climate shift" used for even greater doom-and-gloom effect than "climate change" (see links below). Maybe he should have gone with "climate rejuvination" instead.

President Bush, Condoleezza Rice, the leaders of the UK, Russia, China, Indonesia, nearly every PM or president of the European Union, all now officially recognize the 'reality' of climate change and have announced their intention to do something to stop it, eventually.

But not John Howard.

No. He recognizes the reality of climate "shift" instead.

The news that Howard has embraced 'climate shift' will no doubt delight Andrew Bolt and Tim Blair, but the 70% of Australians who view climate change as posing "clear and catastrophic threats" to the future of their children, and grandchildren, and are sick to death of Howard's procrastination on bringing our energy supplies out of the 19th century, will hear the PM and mutter "WTF is that old bastard on about now?"

Did someone actually advise Howard to do this? Or has been eating mushrooms from the cow paddocks again?

UPDATE : John Howard probably thinks rebranding 'climate change' as 'climate shift' will help him reshape the national debate and draw attention away from the overwhelming international recognition of the reality of climate change now unfolding. It's like referring to 'civilian casualties' in Iraq as 'unexpected non-combatant weapon encouters'. Call it what you like, they're still dead, and the Australian climate (not weather) is undergoing a dangerous, costly and food-shortage producing transformation.

Howard should have done some basic Googling first :

World Health Organisation : Climate Shift Linked To 150,000 Deaths, 5 Million Illnesses Per Year - Figures Expected To Double By 2030

CSIRO : Climate Shift Linked To Greenhouse

Climate Shift Is Australia's Biggest Security Risk

Friday, September 28, 2007

Coca-Cola, McDonalds Free To Advertise In Australian Schools

"One Hamburger, Two Large Fries, Three McNuggets..."

It'd be nice to think that children would be able to escape the mind-numbing daily onslaught of advertising in the sanctity of the classroom, but no.

From Crikey :

State education departments around Australia have told Crikey private corporations like McDonald’s and Coca-Cola, are not restricted from advertising their products to children inside classrooms.

However, after contacting education departments in every state and territory, the consistent response is that it’s up to schools to decide what resources they use.

When asked about policies on whether corporations could advertise in books used in schools, most Australian educational authorities did not have any restrictions.

The message to corporations from Australian educational authorities couldn’t be clearer: the captive market of impressionable young consumers sitting in classrooms from Broome to Bondi is yours for the taking.

To paraphrase a Simspons episode mocking the idea of corporate sponsorship of the classroom :
Q : Now, children. If I drink one Pepsi, and then I drink another Pepsi, how much more refreshed will I be?

A: Pepsi!
An American 'education program' in the 1980s infamously flooded Afghanistan schools with text books teaching children how to count with images of Russian tanks and rocket launchers instead of apples and cute puppies.

Maybe McDonalds will supply free text books to Australian schools if they're allowed to teach children how to count with images of hamburgers and chocolate thickshakes?

Go Here For The Full Story

Flashback: The Day John Howard Called Rupert Murdoch "God"

PM John Howard : Rupert Murdoch Is "God"

By Darryl Mason

Sept 28, 2007

A reporter from The Australian newspaper, in this story, claims that prime minister John Howard was 'joking' when he referred to Rupert Murdoch as "God".

There always some truth in humour.
Mr Howard also referred, jokingly, to Rupert Murdoch as "God". Mr Murdoch is chairman of News Corporation, owner of The Australian. The quip came during a conversation about his opponent Kevin Rudd's visit to a New York strip club in 2003.
At the time, Mr Rudd was an ambitious, 46-year-old Opposition front bencher, not leader of a resurgent ALP. He was partying with one of News's most trusted editors, Australian Col Allan, of the New York Post.
It was suggested to Mr Howard that Mr Rudd may have been willing to go anywhere Mr Allan wanted him to go, because Mr Allan, "sits at the right hand of ..."
Mr Howard interrupted, saying: "God?"
There is some dispute on whether Howard's question mark was audible.

Now we know which all-powerful entity John Howard is praying to for an election miracle.

Enough! Call The Election - What Is Howard Waiting For?

Ruddley-Do-Right Plays Down Historic Labor Victory, Again

What exactly is John Howard's strategy right now? To utterly bore every single Australian into a state of such total nihilism that they no longer care who wins the election, just so long as the fucking thing is over and done with?


Howard & Co. are now basically waiting on a miracle. They're praying and stalling for Kevin Rudd to be exposed as a Satanist, for Julia Gillard's human head to peel back exposing a twelve foot lobster clawed alien, or for the entire front bench of the Opposition to be photographed picking up teenage male prostitutes on a back street in Darlinghurst completely drongoed on crystal meth.

There is now no reasonable excuse left for Howard not to call the election. His government's term is up, and every time he smirks his stupid knowing grin when he is asked, by the media, or someone in a mall in Bennelong, when he will finally announce the election date, more Australians want to brain him with hammers and then drag him down the street behind the family car.

There is no miracle on the horizon that will save Howard's skin. It's over. His political casket is open, the mourners are gathering in their thin ranks, the flowers are wilting and the church organ is playing his favourite Bob Dylan song (but only the music). All that's left for Howard to do now is to get in that hole so the grave diggers can go home.

Every week that crawls past, another few million dollars in pre-election Howard & Co. advertising elicits no response but the collective angry punching of mute buttons across the nation. The money pit of useless, pitiful government advertising is burning up taxpayers' dollars, at the very same time hundreds of thousands of Australian families are fixing vastly overdue, red-heavy mortgage bills to near empty fridges, while dad is down the pawn shop asking what he can get for the kids' X-Box.

Nearly a solid year's worth of polls show the majority of the Australian public has made up its mind. The time for a change of government is at hand, and delaying the election by weeks, or months, will only make the nation more bitter and cynical about the absurd waste of money and time they're now witnessing.

We are being warned that the 'official' election campaign will be brutal, nasty and dirty. What, worse than it already is?

How much of this crap are Australians supposed to be expected to tolerate?

Do Australians have to march in their hundreds of thousands on city streets demanding the right to exercise their democratic rights to vote before this bullshit ends?

There will be no election miracle for Howard now. Next Tuesday's Newspoll will probably show an even greater lead for Labor, and that will surely snap the last remaining threads of sanity holding together the heads of appallingly bitter Liberals like Tony Abbott and Alexander Downer.

And how much longer do we have to hear Labor claiming the election will be "tight" and "close"? Completely ignoring the constant, and growing, support of the Australian public for a big win at the election is almost as insulting as Tony Abbott's claim, earlier in the year, that the Labor Will Win polls only show that most Australians are a bunch of dingbats.

Cut the smarmy humility Ruddly-Do-Right and read your own polls. Labor is set to sweep into power in an election victory that will rock the nation to its foundations.

Unless, of course, Howard finds a reason to cancel or delay the election.

It's shocking how often you hear people now discussing such a reality in pubs, in bus queues and in supermarket checkout lines :

"We'll get hit by terror attacks. Howard won't care if it's Al Qaeda or Young Liberals."

"Janette doesn't want to go back to living in their old house. She'll be ringing to the Terrorist Dob In Line a couple of hundred times a day to ramp up the threat level."

"That fuckwit Bush will bomb Iran and then they'll say we can't have elections 'cause it's too dangerous for us to line up to vote. You know, the shitheads here will hit us 'cause America hit Iran, that sort of thing. That's what they'll tell us anyway."

All of this cynicism and fears of 'false flag' terror events ferment only because more and more Australians are growing suspicious as to why Howard is delaying the elections. The premium question is not when will Howard call the election, it's why hasn't he called the election yet?

Is it because he is waiting for something to happen?

The Looming Labor Victory is now so obvious and impossible to ignore that even Howard apologist and Liberal media lackey Dennis Shanahan has seen the (blinding) light :
"It’s extraordinary and a tribute to Rudd that only 10 months after being written off, Labor is now in a position of trying to fight complacency, arrogance and cockiness."
Howard's last prime ministerial act of mercy to the Australian people should be to call the election now.

Before the Australian public loses all faith in democracy.

Before the NeoCons can bomb Iran for cutting too many multi-billion dollar energy deals with China and Russia.

Before Tony Abbott's fury fries his own soul and he tries to strap on a bomb vest and throw himself into a Friday night crowd at The Rocks Markets, for the good of his party.

Today's the day, prime minister. Call the election. If you make us blow a pre-Christmas December Saturday lining up to vote, the public will only punish you more.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Climate Change Tops Terror As Chief Security Risk To Australia

Australian Federal Police commissioner cited the fallout from apocalyptic levels of climate change as the greatest security threat to the nation in the coming years. Far worse than anything terrorists can unleash.

The threat of terror, whilst real, takes a backseat to the destruction, death toll and tide of human misery that may be wrought in the region by massive crop failures, rising sea levels and all the other horrors of cataclysmic climate change.

From The Australian :

....Keelty described how climate refugees "in their millions" could create a national security emergency for Australia.

...he described a scenario in which China was unable to feed its vast population.

Law enforcement agencies would struggle to cope with global warming's "potential to wreak havoc, cause more deaths and pose national security issues like we've never seen before", Mr Keelty said.

"It is anticipated the world will experience severe extremes in weather patterns, from rising global temperatures to rising sea levels," he warned.

"We could see a catastrophic decline in the availability of fresh water. Crops could fail, disease could be rampant and flooding might be so frequent that people, en masse, would be on the move.

"Even if only some and not all of this occurs, climate change is going to be the security issue of the 21st century."

Mr Keelty said the implications for China were especially alarming. By 2040, with global temperatures surging towards a predicted 3C rise, and sea levels up 50cm, the land available in China to grow grain and rice could be reduced by 30 per cent.

"The mass displacement of people, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, could create a great deal of social uncertainty and unrest in the region.

"In their millions, people will look for new land and they'll cross borders to do it."

Prime minister John Howard actually went with 'no comment' when he was asked about Keelty's comments on Tuesday.

Foreign minister, Alexander Downer, tried to claim that Keelty was talking about threats that would take a century to become reality.

The seas won't rise three metres tomorrow, Downer said on Lateline.

But that's not what Keelty was claiming.

Downer, as usual, avoided the substance of the argument and went for the false, but sensational distraction.

Ignoring the looming threats posed by climate change has become a trademark of the Howard government. As with most of the pressing issues of real importance to Australians, Howard and key ministers, like Downer, like to be seen to be doing something, but in reality are leaving it up to someone else, long after their gone, to deal with the challenges they preferred to dismiss as unworthy of their precious time.

Keelty also said that the coming carbon trading market will be rife for corruption, and police will have to become involved in its regulation.

Carbon Cops for real then?

Howard Government Has Left Australian Unprepared For The Global Turmoil From Climate Change

Keelty : Climate Change Will Make Border Security The Most Important Australian Policing Issue Of The Century

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Rescued Rare White Koala Had To Be Treated In Secret Due To Blackmarket Theft Threat

They called him 'Mick'. He's not an albino koala, which are, apparently, quite common. He was instead an extremely rare white-fur koala. His rarity meant that when he was he brought into a koala care 'hospital' for treatment, outside Sydney, the few staff members involved had to basically swear to keep his presence secret.


Because if word got out that 'Mick' was at the hospital, there was a very real risk that traders in blackmarket Australian fauna would raid the place to get their hands on this rarest of koala bears.

According to this report, 'Mick' was given "round-the-clock security protection in case anyone tried to steal him and sell him to a collector for his novelty value."

The good news is that 'Mick' underwent an operation, recovered to full health and has been returned to the wild.

Australia's Plan To Block Websites Copies China's Extreme Censorship

Howard Government Big Brother Internet Role "A Ludicrous Joke"

Like most things concerned with the internet that the Howard government dabbles in, its suddenly announced plan to block "terror" and "cyber-crime" websites from Australian eyes will prove to be an embarrassing and expensive failure.

As this story details, the only way the Howard government can do what it claims it intends to do when it comes to banning "dangerous" websites is to follow the 'block-it-all' steel fist approach of the Chinese government. An approach the Chinese government has already all but given up on.

The Australian website and internet industries are swinging between a state of shock and gails of laughter as it takes a closer look at the new legislation the Howard government rammed into Parliament with no notice or preliminary briefings.

They'll get down on their knees and open wide for coal and oil companies, but when it comes to working in a calm, open-minded and industrious manner with Australia's rapidly expanding internet industry and web-based business communities, to build a prosperous future for all, the Howard government is still locked firmly in the 20th century.

In short, they have no idea, and they show it every time they unfurl new plans to censor the internet, or to introduce "Won't Someone Please Think Of The Children" level content filtering :

The proposed legislation, introduced without notice into Parliament last week, also gives the commissioner powers to order take-downs of Australian sites related to terrorism and cyber-crime.

The amendment allows federal police to notify the Australian Communications and Media Authority of banned websites, and the authority must then notify service providers. It anticipates ISPs will block access to offshore sites with filters and other technical means.

Industry insiders say the only way a service provider could prevent users accessing banned material is by blocking the internet protocol address on the host server.

"Australia is only one tiny fraction of the global internet and there are numerous places where constitutional protections ensuring free speech mean all sorts of objectional stuff can be hosted, and at present there's no regime here actually requiring ISPs to block access to such sites," Internode carriage manager John Lindsay said.

"If such a request were made, the most fine-grained way we could actually do it would be to block access to the IP address. That's the Chinese approach. They basically block by IP address.

"Now, if that IP address happened to be MySpace, or Facebook, that would have the effect of blocking everything from those sites."

According to an Ovum report to the communications department, many hosting services carry thousands of domains on a single published IP address.

Telstra, Optus, the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association, the Internet Industry Association and others are currently reviewing the legislation, which caught them by surprise.

Electronic Frontiers Australia chair Dale Clapperton said the proposal had nothing to do with terrorism.

"These laws will be open to massive abuses by the police," he said. "They could, for example, be used to prevent access to websites organising protest marches or rallies against the government, or advocating the legalisation of euthanasia.

"To the extent that it allows police to ban access to material discussing political matters, it is probably unconstitutional."

ISP-based filtering was "a blunt instrument" that gave users no control over what material had been censored, Mr Clapperton said.

"Unfortunately, filtering will not make the internet safe for children. If parents are deceived into thinking a filtered service is safe they will be less likely to supervise their children while they use the internet."

A requirement to provide filtered services would impose serious costs on local ISPs, while also exposing them to liability when "the filters inevitably fail" to block banned material, he said. Filtering were also likely to cause a reduction in internet speed. Microsoft internet safety regional director Julie Inman-Grant said the company was concerned to ensure it could provide its content services to consumers on substantially the same terms globally.

"It would be very difficult to have the capacity to check every single link that is posted on a user's individual webpage." Internode's John Lindsay said ISPs fully supported the government's efforts to remove violence and child pornography, race hate and other objectional material from local sites, and would be happy to extend that to sites promoting terrorism.

"(But)...once you start building up enormous lists of things you want to block, the list gets endlessly larger even though the original content has gone." This would have the ultimate effect of slowing down internet performance. "You might have fast broadband, but you won't get any speed from it because there's a whole room of servers between you and the internet that are picking over everything to make sure you don't see anything objectionable," he said. "That would be a ludicrous joke."

Go Here For The Full Story

The latest Howard government plans for censoring the internet will be "re-tooled" in the coming weeks, but they've already made the industry extremely nervous with this absurd, fascistic, anti-free speech legislation.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Election 2007 Exclusive : The Dirtiest Dirt From The "Dirt Sheets"

Anyone who's been paying attention already knows that the coming federal election is going to be preceded by the dirtiest, grubbiest campaign in living memory. How bad is it going to get? How desperate will Labor and Liberal "dirt units" get in their attempts to smear opponents? How low will they go?

While we cannot verify any of the following claims, we have decided to fearlessly publish these leaked excerpts from the notorious "dirt sheets" that Labor and Liberal party attack dogs have already compiled.

It is our hope that now the worst details of the "dirt sheets" from both sides of politics have been made public, they will all be left with no choice but to base their campaigns on policy, honesty and a vision to build a better future for the next generations of Australians.

Prepare yourselves. It's not pretty, but it's necessary to clear the air.

John Howard

"buys expensive wine for Kirribilli House functions and then decants it into cheaper bottles so it doesn't look like he's being frivolous with taxpayers' money"

"gets piggy backs from his security personnel on his morning walks, but only when the media is not around"

"calls talk back radio, fakes an even older man's voice and says people should vote for John Howard because Kevin Rudd wants to make fried chicken feet the national dish"

"has a secret MySpace account with 2200 friends, who all list 'Shaved Pandas' as their main interest"

"is lying to Peter Costello about an orderly handover of power because he has four clones of himself aged 40, 30, 25 and 18 in cold storage, and will have his brain transplanted into each one in turn so he can continue to rule Australia until 2060."

"has special collection of 'Good Luck' underpants emblazoned with images of Robert Menzies"

"has been spotted at gay bath houses disguised as Peter Costello"

Kevin Rudd

"Calls John Howard 'Captain Botox' behind his back"

"Laughs during the most gruesome horrible moments of The Sopranos, and shouts 'Get some!'"

"gets wasted on vanilla essence, claiming 'I'm just making a cake!' and wipes his naked bottom against TV screens when John Howard is being interviewed on 7.30 Report"

"has told Canberra press gallery journalists that if they help him get elected, he will make sure the contract for the press gallery canteen goes to Krispy Kreme"

"calls talk back radio, fakes a female voice and declares 'Kevin Rudd makes me feel warm all over'"

"orders pizzas containing nothing but olives and anchovies"

"told Russian President Vladimir Putin during the APEC conference 'I once saw Howard clipping President Bush's toenails...with his teeth'"

"has been spotted at gay bath houses disguised as Tony Abbott"

Alexander Downer

"once embarrassed himself at a Chinese banquet in Beijing when he shouted 'enough with the fucking rice!'"

"calls Kevin Rudd's mobile phone in the middle of the night and leaves variations of the following message : 'Alexander Downer would make a great foreign minister you know'"

"watches videos of himself being interviewed on Lateline whilst laying naked on the lounge"

"likes to pass wind in hotel elevators during international conferences before saying 'Don't look at me, I've got diplomatic immunity'"

"has been spotted at gay bath houses disguised as Kevin Rudd"

Julia Gillard

"is fermenting secret plan to challenge Kevin Rudd for the leadership during the election night victory party"

"wants to officially designate fellow bloodnuts as 'special people' and introduce RedHeads Only national public holiday"

"is responsible for spreading rumours that Tony Abbott has life-sized crucifix in his bedroom, with a sculpture of himself on the cross, smiling"

"wants to introduce legislation where employees will determine pay and working conditions for their bosses"

"pronounces the insult 'fuckwit' as 'fuck...wit'"

"has been spotted at gay bath houses disguised as Kevin Rudd"

Peter Garrett

"once ran over a koala bear and then ate it to hide the evidence"

"is planning to refer to John Howard during entire election campaign as 'that long haired prime minister'"

"opposes US bases in every country except Australia"

"told colleagues he is going to 'woodchip' Bob Brown for calling him a hypocrite"

"has been spotted at gay bath houses disguised as Malcolm Turnbull"

Malcolm Turnbull

"plans to challenge Kevin Rudd for the leadership of the Labor Party during the election night victory party"

"has been spotted at gay bath houses disguised as Joe Hockey"

There. Now everybody knows the dirty secrets. Except for the ones we're holding back for Part Two.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Green Tide

Chapter Seven of the online novel ED Day is now up. ED Day tells the tale of how survivors of an apocalyptic bird flu pandemic in Sydney rebuild their lives and their society in a city of the dead.

Here's an excerpt from Chapter Seven of ED Day :

The Botanical Gardens are spreading, growing out through the wrought iron fences and across the city streets. There's nobody around to trim the trees, or cut back the vines, or pluck the little shoots that are now sprouting here and there in the cracks of the footpaths.

....for a moment I saw Macqaurie Street a decade from now. The unchecked growth of the Botanical Gardens, of all those trees and vines, had spread through, or pushed down, the old fence. The Gardens were swallowing up the concrete and steel of the city.

The jumbled lines of dead cars that filled the street were beds for flowers and weeds. The road had cracked under years of heat and rain and cold, with no council maintenance crews to repair the damage. Part of the tarmac had collapsed into some old tunnel below, the rear ends of three cars poked up out of the hole in the street.

The windows of the old apartment blocks and the sleek blue glass facades of office towers were cracked and broken. Foliage spilled down from tenth floor window frames.

Where before ED Day there had been clean footpaths and gleaming facades, everything was covered with vines and flowers and weeds and plants.

I walked back to the Imperium, thinking about how long it will be before the animals and plants own this city.

Are we really going to spend weeks and months fighting to keep plants and vines from taking root in the malls and court yards and public squares of this city? Of course not. We'd have to devote whole teams of survivors to sweeping away the soil and seeds that meet up in the cracks of concrete buildings and the gaps in the footpaths after rain and wind storms carry them through the city.

It's a fight we can't win.

Go Here To Read The Rest Of Chapter Seven.

If you're not yet a regular reader of ED Day, then go here to start at Chapter One.
Conservatives And Lefties Agree : Howard Needs Terror

The Australian media's most relentless, absurd hypocrite strikes again.

Andrew Bolt, of the Herald Sun, is shocked, shocked we tells ya, that Catherine Denevy of The Melbourne Age could even think of writing the following, let alone putting it into print :

If I were John Howard, I’d be praying for a terrorist attack.

Bolt claims Denevy is 'Praying For Murder'. It sounds like she is telling John Howard to 'pray for murder'.

Bolt then claims that Denevy's words say "a lot about the culture that sustains her."

The culture of the mainstream media, of which Andrew Bolt is also a member?

But Denevy's power-of-prayer advice to Howard on how he might coerce God to ramp up his chances of winning the federal election is nothing new.

Ironically, it was Andrew Bolt who, months ago, anticipated how the Australian public's reaction to car bombs shredding passers-by might work to John Howard's favour :
...something might yet turn up that will make us appreciate anew his vast experience and steadiness under fire...if there were to be another terrorist attack..."

Maybe Bolt is just annoyed at Denevy's pseudo-plagarisation of his own mind garbage?

Andrew Bolt : Back In The Gutter When He Belongs

Shock : Murdoch Journalist Denies Murdoch Media Conspiracy

Betrayed By Murdoch : The Changing Climate Of Andrew Bolt

Conservatives Cut Off Howard's Head : Bolt Kicks Prime Minister Fair In The Cags

"I've Done My Dash" - Bolt Admits Defeat On Global Warming

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Tim Blair's Bush-Mandela 'Gaffe' Gaffe

Tim Blair, of Sydney's The Daily Telegraph, loves to point out how evil, deluded Lefties consistently misconstrue the words of the wise and poetic President Bush :
'Nuance Missed' a lefty who apparently thinks Bush was literally referring to Nelson Mandela.
Pity Tim Blair of the Daily Telegraph didn't bother to notice that the Daily Telegraph is also misconstruing the words of President Bush :
By Staff Writers

Nelson Mandela is still very much alive despite a gaffe by US President George W. Bush, who alluded to the former South African leader's death in a speech yesterday.
Another Tim Blair triumph of Lefty-bashing, while ignoring the increasing tide of Bush vilification in his own newspaper.

Blair became one of the most popular bloggers in Australia in 2003-2004, mostly due to his occasionally funny work in shredding the hypocrisy and hysteria of the mainstream media.

Now Tim Blair is about as corporate mainstream media as you can get in Australia, with his gig as opinion editor and columnist with the Daily Telegraph, he's become one of the corporate media hypocrites he once so devotedly despised.

He'll enthusiastically wet lily-bash some blogger hyping global warming, who gets a few hundred visitors a day, while totally ignoring the climate change fear-mongering now so prevalent in his own newspaper. The same newspaper which is read by hundreds of thousands of people per day, and which helped to push climate change into the top three of the most important issues and voter concerns in the coming federal election.

The biggest promoter of the threat of global warming in the world today is not Al Gore, it's Rupert Murdoch, Blair's boss.

Rupert Murdoch : "climate change poses clear, catastrophic threats."

Murdoch also said he would take the fight against global warming and :
...weave this issue into our content-- make it dramatic, make it vivid, even sometimes make it fun.

"We need to do what our company does best: make this issue exciting. Tell the story in a new way.

"...we can change the way the public thinks about these issues..."
Witness the Daily Telegraph's sudden, total embracing of the fight against global warming as a prime example of Murdoch's promise in action.

But will you see Blair shredding Murdoch for succumbing to - as fellow Murdoch media professional hypocrite Andrew Bolt put it - "the most superstitious pagan faith of all."

Of course you won't.

There are some things more important than pointing out the delusions and hypocrisy of the mainstream media. And for Blair that is making sure he stays a part of it.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Government Expands "Black List" Of Banned Websites

Greenpeace Get Nervous

The Howard government has a "black list" of websites they have decided should not be viewed by any Australians. At least, not while they're in Australia. Some are porn sites, some are sites that supposedly disseminate terror propaganda, or information on how to build bombs or stage terror attacks.

But some of the sites on the government's "black list" are information sites related to terrorism and jihad, software "mashing" and peer to peer sharing.

Now the government has back-doored a new "web ban bill" described as a "bombshell" into to the Senate on the last day it sits before the federal election. No warning, no briefings. It was just suddenly there.

And the "black list" of web sites that are already blocked to all Australian users of the internet is about to grow much, much longer under the new "web ban bill".

More alleged terrorist and cyber-crime websites will be included.

But what is a terrorist or cyber-crime website under the new Howard government legislation? Nobody's sure. The wording is vague, and basically leaves it up to government ministers and the police to decide what information should disappear into the black hole of Australia's new wave of censorship.

Today, it's websites that demand violent retaliation for the slaughter of Muslims in Iraq. Tomorrow it might be a pro-conservation website explaining how locals can organize themselves into legal action groups and protest groups to stop a local forest from being chainsawed.

What few Australians now realise is that the Howard government's anti-terror legislation also includes vaguely-worded provisions stating that the disruption of a corporation's daily business practices could also be categorised as an act of terrorism.

In fact, a bunch of protesters don't have to actually chain themselves to a mining company's head office front doors to be acting like a bunch of terrorists. They merely have to have the intent, the plan, to do so.

Pre-crime in Australia is a growing reality.

From The Australian :

Australian Privacy Foundation chair Roger Clarke expressed disbelief that "the government of any country in the free world could table a Bill of this kind".

"Without warning, the Government, through Senator Coonan, is proposing to provide Federal Police with powers to censor the internet," Dr Clarke said.

"Even worse, ISPs throughout the country are to be the vehicle for censorship, by being required to block internet content."

Greens Senator Kerry Nettle said the Bill would give the Police Commissioner "enormous power over what political content Australians can look at" on the web.

"This gives the Commissioner sweeping powers which could potentially be applied to millions of websites," she said. "The Government has dropped the Bill into the Senate on the eve of an election with virtually no explanation."

Senator Nettle said environmental organisations such as Greenpeace had been accused of crime or terrorism-related actions. "Will the Police Commissioner call for Greenpeace's website to be shut down?"

Anti-terror legislation in Australia, the US, the EU and the UK was purposely crafted, and worded, to allow governments to decide that this action group or that dissenting protest organisation is actually conducting a form of terrorism, should any of these governments ever decide it is necessary to do so.

Non-government groups don't have to be conducting, or staging, terrorism against civilians to be regarded as terrorists. Merely planning protest actions against a corporation is also defined as an act of terrorism.

The Australian government, as part of its alleged fight against children being exposed to pornography or "shocking images" online, now offers free "content filters" through its NetAlert program. They sell it as a means to stop children from being exposed to pornography, but it's also about blocking "inappropriate material".

Once the software is installed, websites that the Howard government and the Police Commissioner decide should be locked out of Australian computer screens will be instantly blocked.

There are no set limits to what the Howard government or the Police Commissioner can determine is "inappropriate material."

The Howard government stealthily introduced the "web ban bill" to the Senate at the last possible moment because it didn't want the bill to come under intense scrutiny.

Not exactly a reassuring sign that their moves to ramp up censorship of the internet is being done in the best interest of the Australian people.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Australians Cracked, 'Stole' Top Secret American Military Aircraft Codes

One time defence minister, Kim Beazley, revealed today that back in the 1980s, Australian defence intelligence spied on the American air force to crack and "extract" top secret combat aircraft codes for use in the Hornet jet fighters the US had sold to Australia.

The Australian air force needed the codes to make full use of the Hornet's radar capabilities. But the Americans, paranoid as ever, refused to hand over the top secret information, despite years of requests from their closest world ally.

Beazley announced the stunning revelation, little known outside of Australian defence circles, during his final speech to the federal parliament before retiring.

"We spied on them and we extracted the codes," Mr Beazley (said).

Mr Beazley, who was defence minister from 1984 to 1990, said that when he took over the job he soon learned that the radar on Australia's Hornets could not identify most potentially hostile aircraft in the region.

In other words, Australia's frontline fighter could not shoot down enemies in the region.

"I went to the US and for five years, up hill and down dale, with one knock-down, drag-out after another, with Cap Weinberger, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, I tried to get the codes of that blasted radar out of them.

"In the end we spied on them and we extracted the codes ourselves and we got another radar that could identify (enemy planes)."

Beazley spoke of how difficult it was to deal with American government defence and Pentagon personnel, like Mr Cheney and Mr Wolfowitz :

"...they are a bunch of people you have to have a fight with every now and then to get what you actually need out of them," he said.

Mr Beazley also revealed that the Americans found out what the Australian intelligence agencies were doing and were "intrigued" by how much progress they had made in accessing and cracking the heavily encrypted codes.

Come on, what's a little spying and espionage between close allies every now and then?
Liberal Chief Of Staff : Australian Soldiers In Iraq Like Nazi Guards At Concentration Camp

As Liberal Party MPs, and their key staffers, try to deal with the reality that they are extremely likely to lose their seats, and their jobs, in the coming federal elections, the sheer desperateness of their position is showing itself in ever more vile and disgusting ways.

Peter Phelps, the chief of staff to a Liberal MP, attended a public forum where respected and distinguished Iraq War veteran Colonel Mike Kelly was speaking. Col. Kelly is running for the seat currently held by Phelps' boss in the coming federal election.

During the Q & A that followed Col. Kelly's speech, Liberal Party staffer Phelps grew angry as Col. Kelly refused to acknowledge his absurd claims that because Col. Kelly was a veteran of the Iraq War he was being hypocritical to hold the position that Australia should now withdraw its combat forces from the war zone.

Phelps is clearly so stupid, and ignorant, he doesn't comprehend that if you're already in the Australian Army when the federal government goes to war on another country, you do as you are ordered. Col. Kelly did the same as the many hundreds of other Australian soldiers who disagreed with the now vastly discredited case for War On Iraq put forward in early 2003 by prime minister John Howard, when Howard followed US President Bush into invading, occupying and allowing chaos to reign in Iraq.

Just because an Australian soldier didn't think the war was right, or necessary, didn't mean he or she had a choice about serving.

Col. Kelly refused to be baited by Phelps, who was told to shut up by other locals who wanted to ask Col. Kelly more relevant questions on local issues. Phelps kept going, seething with anger, and then asked Col. Kelly if his role in Iraq was like that of the Nazi guards at the Belsen concentration camp during World War 2.

Phelps has now apologized to Col. Kelly, but only after the despicable incident was raised in federal Parliament. In short, Phelps was shamed into apologizing, or forced to do so by his boss. Phelps insulted Col. Kelly, and every other veteran of the Iraq War, last week. He had more than five days to apologize. He refused to do so until today.

Despite his belated retraction, Phelps clearly believes what he said.

In a letter to Col. Kelly, Phelps referred to his comparison between Australian soldiers serving in Iraq, and Nazi guards at WW2 death camp, as "a partisan political point."

From AAP :

Col Kelly was keen to move past the row today but reiterated his pledge to run a clean and fair campaign.

"From the start of this, I made a commitment to play the ball and not the man, and focus on the issue," he said.

"I call upon all candidates to run a clean campaign and let's hope we can go that way from here."

Col. Kelly can have his dream of taking part in a clean election campaign, but furious, pathetic soldier-hating Liberals like Phelps will make sure that is one of the dirtiest campaigns ever seen. The Liberals are desperate, and scared, and their actions will become only more explosive, abhorrent and vile as the reality of their fate causes further panic.

Labor backbencher Michael Danby, the only Jewish MP in Parliament, described the comments as offensive not only to the Jewish community but to former and current Australian military personnel.

"I felt sick to my stomach sitting in federal parliament hearing some of these comparisons," Mr Danby said.

"Dr Phelps has attempted to equate an Australian who served in Iraq with someone who was a Nazi concentration camp guard at Belsen.

"This is deeply offensive not just to the Australian Jewish community but to all of our World War II diggers and airman who fought to defeat Nazism.

"It's also an astonishing attack on our servicemen in Iraq."

It's not the first time the Liberals have insulted Australian veterans. And it won't be the last.

Liberals like Phelps are following the example set by their leader, John Howard, who said the thousands of World War 2, Korea and Vietnam veterans who voiced their dissent against the War On Iraq, in early 2003, were giving "aid and comfort" to Saddam Hussein.

Around the same time, John Howard was busy doing all he could to supposedly ignore more than a dozen memos, letters and reports that flowed through his office warning him that the Australian Wheat Board was funneling hundreds of millions of dollars to the Saddam Hussein regime.

Liberals, like Phelps and Howard, don't care if they're being hypocrites, or spitting blood in the faces of Australian veterans with their crude and shameful insults. They only care about winning, nothing more.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

"The Age Of Instant Everything Is Over"

The latest chapter from ED Day, the online serialized novel about life in Sydney after a bird flu pandemic, is now up.

Go Here For That

Here's an excerpt :
When I first saw her, sitting in the aisle, reading by sunlight, I asked her, ”Are you okay?”

She nodded, gave me that amazing smile. Her teeth were almost black. With chocolate.

I asked her, “What are you doing in here?”

She waved the novel at me, pointed at the neat pyramid stack of dark chocolate KitKats she was working her way through and said, “The good chocolate, the stuff with lots of cocoa, it boosts your immune system. Did you know that? And that keeps you safe from the flu.”

“Yeah, but won’t you get sick from eating all that chocolate?” I said.

She thought about this for a moment, laughed, and then showed me one of the wrappers. Her smooth, clear and shiny fingernail pointed to the Use By date.

“You see that?” Kat asked me. “In a few months this will be no good to eat. And now that the air-conditioning is gone, and we’ve got this weird combo of sun-rain, sun-rain nearly every other day, this stuff won’t even last that long. The rats will get into it all eventually.”

“Yeah,” I said, “so what? There's plenty to eat."

Kat shook her head slowly at me, ate some chocolate.

“Yes, but that’s it then, isn’t it?” she said, not noticing, like I had, that the chocolate was all over lips. “We’ll never have these again, chocolate bars like these, I mean. Nobody is going to be making these anymore. Right? Someone might be able to hand make them, but they won't taste the same. They won't even look the same. These perfect chocolate bars, the exact same measure of ingredients in every single one, all exactly the same size, flavour, smell, the bright wrappers…they’ll be gone soon."

She stopped to finish eating another Kit Kat and then continued : "It’s not just the people who died. This, all this kind of…production, it’s gone now, too. And in a few months, or less, you won’t be able to eat this stuff anymore. I mean, this is it. Then it's all gone forever."

Kat frowned at me, flicked through a couple of pages of her novel, then looked back at me.

"I’m not crazy, you know."

I knew then she was right. "You mean the mass production thing, don't you?"

She nodded quickly, "Exactly. This is it. The last of the last. Then no more."

"No more delivery trucks," I said.

"Delivery trucks? There aren't any more factories, or enough people to work in them," Kat said. "Everything from now on, for a few years at least, if not forever, will have to be made by hand. Chocolate, our meals, then our clothes. The age of fast food, instant everything, is over."

Go Here To Read ED Day From The Beginning

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Howard Gives Rudd The Finger In Parliament

This photo by Gary Ramage appeared in today's edition of The Australian

As anyone who wears glasses will tell you, the only time you use your middle finger to "adjust your glasses" is when you're either missing your index finger, or when you want to send a non-verbal message.

Yesterday in federal parliament, of all places, prime minister John Howard showed just how petulant and immature he can really be, particularly when he's losing the election he refuses to call.

He gave Labor leader, Kevin Rudd, sitting opposite, the finger.

Howard and the Liberals have been polling so miserably for virtually all of 2007 that even when a new poll reveals they have "clawed back" ground, it is impossible to ignore the fact that they still won't win on these numbers.

They don't need to claw back ground, they need something close to a miracle.

Or something that will allow Howard to delay the elections until well into 2008.

BushCo. and NeoCon allies in France and Israel launching a War On Iran perhaps?

As we predicted here on the weekend, the latest Newspoll has shown a four point increase of support for coalition government, but Howard's rating remain virtually unchanged on a fortnight ago. We got that bit wrong. We were convinced that Howard would get some sympathy votes in the polls because he had been so thoroughly humiliated for a solid week.

Labor maintains a 10 point lead on the Howard government, but the poll shift saw Labor dropping four points and the coalition gaining four. Nothing hugely dramatic either way, but it could have been worse for the Howard government. They could have dropped from 18 points behind to 22.

Maybe the government got a rise because when the poll was taken on the weekend, Australians were convinced the Liberals were still going to toss Howard overboard?

Here's a round up of the latest Newspoll :

Labor still has a clear election-winning lead on a two-party-preferred basis of 55 per cent to the Coalition's 45, and Kevin Rudd is well clear of Mr Howard as preferred prime minister.

But an eight-point narrowing in Labor's primary vote lead during the APEC meeting, and despite the Liberal Party's devastating leadership instability, will boost Coalition morale at this morning's crucial party meeting in Canberra.

They'll need it.

More than half of Howard's senior cabinet couldn't muster messages of support for the prime minister when he needed it the most. The Australian public shows more respect and support for Howard than his own government ministers do.

Also, Workchoices doesn't stink any less this morning than it did last week, or last month, despite the raft of new ads showing 'ordinary' Australian workers having epiphanies about why giving up overtime and penalty rates is actually good for them. Or something.

Howard now has to come up with a reasonable excuse as to why he won't call the federal election now. Or at least in the next week.

The Labor Party will shred him over the reasons why he is delaying the election. And so they should. Howard has no reason other than his own interests to put off the inevitable. The three years is up, the election is due.

Unless, of course, Howard knows something is coming that the rest of us don't yet know about.

Would Howard use military action on Iran as an excuse to delay the federal election he is surely going to lose?

Do you really think he would not use such a horror, to cancel the election, if he was given the chance or the option to do so?

Of course he would.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Howard The Bitch

Tells Liberals 'You're Nothing Without Me'

Finding out that half of his cabinet couldn't be arsed to muster up a strong message of support during the APEC summit must have really got under the skin of John Howard. In fact, we know that it did.

He's none too subtly begun to point out that while the Liberal poll numbers are tanking, he's still doing pretty well, with most recent approval ratings hovering around 50%. It's not me they hate, Howard is telling his senior ministers, it's you bastards :

The Prime Minister said that if the party was as popular as him, the Government wouldn't be in trouble.

Mr Howard insisted he would go into the coming election as a team with Treasurer Peter Costello, but underlined his own attractiveness to voters.

" level of personal support is significantly higher than that of the party's," he told Melbourne radio. "If the party's level of support in the opinion polls was as high as mine is, it would be a different story.

"I'm not drawing any particular comfort from that. I'm just making the observation."

Expect more such 'observations' from Howard about his many deeply unpopular Liberal colleagues (yes you Tony Abbott and Alexander Downer) soft-peddling the line "You're a bunch of losers and I'm sick of winning elections for you wankers."

By the way, it should be becoming clear to Australian voters by now what the New Howard Style will be for the coming (official) election campaign : Peter Beattie with more pouting, and more earnest whining for "just one more chance to really prove myself".

Here's some lines that we expect Howard to start, or keep on, spouting over the next six to eight weeks :
"Well, yes, we were wrong on (insert humiliating scandal or dirty rotten lie)"

"I won't say 'I've Got A Dream', but I will say 'I Have A Vision For Australia's future."

"We could have handled (insert scandal, dirty rotten lie) a lot better than we did, and for that I apologize. I really do."

"I will be stepping down, but I will make sure that when I do, Australia is even a better place to live and work (emphasis work) than it is today. That is my vision."

"Most Australians already know that Australia has become the greatest country in the world (thanks to me), but before I go I want to make sure the rest of the world knows it, too."

"It's not about me, it's about our team, and the nation's future."

"I'm sorry...I apologize...I never meant to mislead anybody....I always had the nation's best interests at heart....I always had the national interest in mind when I made that decision."
"I do have regrets. But I've only ever wanted what's best for the country, and what's best for all Australians."

"I had to stay and fight this election, because our entire team is united in wanting all of Australia to know that they cannot afford to make a bad choice they will come to regret next year."

"I didn't mean 'Australians have never been better off' financially, I meant we've never been better off as a country."

Enough of that.

We'll finish up by tipping next week's Newspoll results.

Howard will stage something of a comeback, five or more points, with a slight drop off for Rudd. The Liberals will regain three or four points. Labor will stay about the same.

In some book about five years from now, we're going to find out that last week's tumultuous Liberal Party Leadership Melt-Down was not all that it appeared to be.

If Howard does gain some noticeable ground in the polls next week, it will be much harder for his traitors to toss him over the side, just as he planned, and it will prove that what happened was less scandalous and explosive than what we've been led to believe.

We figure Howard's wife, Janette, saw the signs of a coming betrayal from his colleagues and told him to cut it off before it gained steam by forcing them to make a move.

Friday, September 14, 2007

"I Want To See This City Come Back To Life Again"

Another chapter now online from the free-to-read serialized novel, ED Day, on life in Sydney after an apocalyptic bird flu pandemic.

An excerpt from ED Day - Chapter Five :

It’s night outside now. The towers of the city stand tall and dark, shiny black fingers against the deepening sky.

Why did you leave me behind? I want to go, too...

I didn’t believe much in God before ED Day. I don’t believe in God any more now. Hundreds of corpses of little kids scattered all over the city makes you realise fast that there probably isn’t someone who really gives a fuck about what happened to us, or what happens to us now.

I want to go, too.

But I don’t want to go. I did a few weeks back. I stood on the roof, toes over the edge, waiting for a wind, or a muscle spasm, so I didn’t have to decide. I thought about Kat, and how she'd feel when she found out I was gone.

I thought about all those babies that Kat and Matron looked after in the hospital, some of them still fighting for their lives.

I thought about that day, three days after ED Day, when I came down from my rooftop hideout and first met Bookman and Matron and Trader, walking the streets, calling out for other survivors. I thought about how happy I was to still be alive, and to find people like them, so happy to have found me.

And I thought our first barbecue in Hyde Park, when three dozen of us cooked the last of the steaks that were still edible (before we cracked the first tin of Spam), and drank warm champagne, and found a few minutes amongst all the death and misery when we actually forgot what had happened and we were just new friends, having a drink, and eating together. Sharing. Surviving.

I want to go, too...

I want to survive this. I want to live through it, and see what happens next. Tomorrow. Next month. Next year. Two decades from now.

I want to find out if Chrissie is still alive. I want to see the vegetable gardens and rooftop orchards grow big enough to feed all the survivors. I want to see a whole flock of sheep and lambs grazing on the slopes of the Domain and chickens and ducks getting fat for our future dinners in the Gardens and all the streets of our part of the city totally cleared of corpses.

I want to help these people as much as I can, because we all need each other now.

And I want a million more nights like this, when you can see every star in the sky, and you can see the flurry of movement of the owls and other birds making new homes in the apartments next door, where people had left balcony doors open before they died, or ran away, and when you can hear the soft, beautiful songs of the dolphins in the harbour, as they swim and play, coming back to waters their ancestors knew before any of us came down out of the trees.

I want to be here, I want to be a part of it. All of it.

I want to see this city come back to life again.

Go Here To Read Chapter One Of ED Day

Go Here For The Latest Chapter

They're Coming For The Children

Children of drug-and-alcohol addicted parents would be adopted out, and addicted children under 18 forced into rehab, if extremist conservatives like Liberal MP Bronwyn Bishop had their way.

Wait, my mistake. Did I write alcohol addicted parents? Okay, that was wrong. Bishop only wants drug-addicted parents to have their children taken away from them.

Liberal MPs on a House of Representatives committee inquiry into illicit drug use have called for a hardline approach to drug policy, including dumping the Government's "harm minimisation policy".

Naturally. Everybody knows that the hardline approach to drug policies always work a charm. Look at how few drug addicts there are in the US, for example, where only tens of millions of people are hooked on pills, cocaine, heroin and ice.

The committee recommends adoption be established as the "default" care option for children aged five and under, where child protection authorities had identified illicit drug use by the parents.

It also recommends amending legislation to allow for children up to 18 years to be placed in mandatory treatment if they are addicted to illicit drugs.

Labor MPs on the committee, in a dissenting report, raised concerns about how the inquiry had been conducted.

Some witnesses had experienced "outright hostility because their expert views did not accord with the personal beliefs or political aims of those questioning them", they said.

Outright hostility from extremists like Bishop? Accused of letting her "personal beliefs or political aims" get in the way of accurately assessing expert opinion? Tell me it's not true. I refuse to believe that.

It should come as no surprise that alcohol abuse wasn't considered anywhere near as dangerous, by conservatives in this parliamentary committee, as all those evil illegal drugs.

So why the focus on only seizing the abused or neglected children of smack junkies or ice freaks? Because most of them are poor and can't afford lawyers to fight back. Rich junkies can afford nannies to make sure their babies' nappies aren't crawling with cockroaches, or that 3 year old Tanya isn't undernourished.

And also because there's only a few thousand families where children are placed directly in harm's way by the use of those drugs by their parents.

If you start talking about alcohol, then the abuse and neglect figures rocket up to hundreds of thousands of families. Tearing apart the culture of abuse spawned by alcohol would mean deconstructing and rewriting the entire fabric of Australian society, where white middle class families, per capita, utterly outrank those of poor Aboriginal families for loading up on booze and beating ten kinds of hell out of their kids.

There's a problem with drug-addicted parents mistreating their children, of course there is, but it's typical of conservatives like Bishop to only focus on the smallest sliver of a far bigger problem. Naturally, the conservative tabloid media and talk back radio will praise politicians like Bishop for taking a "tough stance" and a "zero tolerance" approach to illegal drugs, while filling advertising space flogging the drug of choice for child-beating, kid-abusing mums and dads - alcohol.

Hell, drinking half a case of beer and punching your eight year old son the entire length of the hallway is an Australian tradition. It's how you turn wimpy little boys into real men, apparently.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Why PM Refused To Quit - JanHow Didn't Want To Lose The Good Life

Much has been made, as it well should, of prime minister John Howard's years of claims that he would only stay in the top job of the Liberal Party as long as his party wanted him to stay, and as long as it was the best thing for his party.

Now we know that most of the senior ranks of the government wanted Howard to step down last week, for the good of the party, but he refused.

And now we know why. His wife, Janette Howard, didn't want to move out of Kirribilli House, where she has lived the very, very good life for more than ten years, all at the taxpayers' expense. And it's been very, very expensive. Millions worth of renovations, millions more for new furniture. Tens of millions of dollars spent hosting parties, cocktail parties, barbecues and get togethers. The wine bill alone runs into the thousands each and every month.

Of course John Howard denies point blank that his wife made him stay, so she could stay, but it's certainly no great secret that JanHow is the PM's top adviser, motivator and whip cracker.

Janette Howard overruled Cabinet ministers who wanted her husband to step down as Prime Minister.

Government sources yesterday said John Howard's wife was central to his decision to stay on to fight his Liberal Party critics, and the election.

"Mrs H is the key," a source said.

Last night Mr Howard denied his wife's advice was decisive.

"I think that's unfair to my wife, it's wrong," he told Nine's A Current Affair. However, there is a strongly held view within senior ranks of Government that her involvement was indeed pivotal.

Government sources said it was Mrs Howard who over Friday and Saturday helped convince him to stay on.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Murdoch Journalist Denies Murdoch Media Conspiracy

Andrew Bolt : 'We All Love A Good Conspiracy'

Murdoch Explains How He Uses His Media Empire To Change And Shape Public Opinion

Herald Sun columnist, and blogger, Andrew Bolt rails today against the growing tide of claims that Rupert Murdoch (Bolt's boss) instructed his Australian media empire to go after John Howard because he refused to step down. And that Murdoch gave the double thumbs-up to Labor leader Kevin Rudd earlier in the year, and ever since, Murdoch's sprawl of national, state and city newspapers have been backing Rudd, if not totally, then with a blinding enthusiasm once reserved for John Howard.

But there is no conspiracy, Andrew Bolt claims, all Murdoch columnists and journalists are free-thinking and independent. They can write whatever they like :
Murdoch columnists simply write what they really think, reacting to events that are obvious to anyone with eyes to see and the courage to report.
This theory that Murdoch orders his writers to speak his own mind is peddled by many of the usual suspects, from radical propagandist John Pilger to RMIT's journalism graduates.
But Bolt's claims that Murdoch never "orders his writers to speak his mind" comes completely undone when you look at the May speech by Rupert himself where he clearly lays out his plans to use his worldwide media empire to convince the public that climate change "poses a clear, catastrophic threat" and that he can change the beliefs of hundreds of millions of people.

Not only does Murdoch openly admit to his plans to use his newspapers, cable TV and movie-making empire to change peoples' minds about the threat posed by climate change, he says his media will pump his message directly to its readers and viewers.

All the below quotes from Murdoch's speech can be viewed in the context of how his vast Australian newspaper chain has reflected and precision-focused his desire to see Howard gone and Rudd installed in the prime minister's office :
"We need to reach them in a sustained way. To weave this issue into our content-- make it dramatic, make it vivid, even sometimes make it fun. We want to inspire people to change their behavior.

"The challenge is to revolutionize the message.

"We need to do what our company does best: make this issue exciting. Tell the story in a new way.

"Now... there are limits to how far we can push this issue in our content.

"...we can change the way the public thinks about these issues..."
That's exactly what Sydney's Daily Telegraph in particular has been doing. Changing the public mind on how they view John Howard, not necessarily how they view Kevin Rudd. Of course there will be the throwaway columnists hammering Rudd, but that's not where the true influence and change induced by a concentrated media campaign matters the most.

The vast majority of newspaper readers take in the headline and the photograph of the newspapers they buy, and then they might read the intro. Maybe. Most newspapers go unread by their readers. They glance at photographs and headlines and the first few paragraphs. And in Murdoch's daily tabloids, the use of headlines and photographs have consistently, and quite obviously, torn apart and aimed to discredit the once impenetrable image of John Howard they've carefully built up, stone by stone, over the past decade.

Ever since Murdoch's May speech marking climate change as a key issue for promotion through his media empire, Andrew Bolt has quieted his criticism and once hysterical attacks on those who promote the fight against global warming. Sure, he'll still flog Tim Flannery and Al Gore with a wet lilly, but he's pulled back from branding all believers in global warming as being mentally defective and believers of "the most superstitious pagan faith of all".

We go through how Murdoch betrayed Andrew Bolt on global warming in The Changing Climate Of Andrew Bolt here.

In the intro to Bolt's 'No Conspiracy Conspiracy' piece, this is written :
We all love a good conspiracy theory, but anyone who thinks opinion writers are told what to write by Murdoch is delusional.
But anyone who thinks an established and highly paid Murdoch opinionst, particularly one as compromised as Bolt, is going to even touch on the truth about about Murdoch's 'hands-off but guiding hand' approach to the editorial content of his newspapers is probably delusional enough to believe what Bolt is writing.

What isn't delusional is that moderators are heavily censoring comments to Bolt's piece, dismissing any Murdoch conspiracy. And the censorship is going down at both the front page and on Bolt's blog. Both avenues of comment have been open all day and only attracted a measly 28 comments, combined, by 1pm.

There may well be a conspiracy, but don't expect Andrew Bolt to be your Oliver Stone.

Murdoch Journalists Warns Howard Government About Negative Column Before She Even Finishes Writing It

The Changing Climate Of Andrew Bolt

Andrew Bolt Admits Defeat On Global Warming : "I've Done My Dash"

Back In The Gutter Where He Belongs
Howard-Hugging Columnist Warned Prime Minister Of Her 'Time To Go' Op-Ed Before She Even Finished Writing It

By Darryl Mason

A columnist for The Australian newspaper - the supposedly "balanced" and "not biased at all" flagship of the Australian Murdoch media empire - has been outed as not only a rabid supporter of prime minister John Howard, but also one that lets the prime minister know, days in advance, when she is writing an op-ed that may reflect badly on him.

Who's doing what now?

Yes. Janet Albrechtsen, a columnist for The Australian, rang John Howard's office before she had even written her column about why it was time for him to step down, to let him know what she was planning to write.

She called other ministers as well, allowing them the opportunity to try and talk her out of writing the 'Howard Must Go' column that supposedly "rocked the Howard government" when it appeared in The Australian on September 7.

How do we know all this? Because it's right there in the pages of The Australian newspaper today :
Albrechtsen is an unashamed and long-term Howard supporter who decided to write a special column for Friday's newspaper urging Howard to go.

On Wednesday and Thursday the columnist - a strong supporter of Turnbull, and whose husband, John O'Sullivan, campaigns for the Environment Minister in his Sydney electorate of Wentworth - told Turnbull, as well as Tony Abbott, Nick Minchin and Downer, of her plans.

She also told the Prime Minister's office. She said yesterday she talked to the ministers "as a courtesy".

Turnbull says he urged her not to write it, as did Abbott and Howard's office.

Any sliver of credibility that Janet Albrechtsen may have had is now completely gone.

She's not an independent columnist, with scant regard for the impact of her opinion, as a truly fearless and uncompromising columnist must be. She is a propaganda outlet for John Howard, and has been a key player in the current game of "Howard Must Quit"/"Howard Must Stay" that has dominated political media coverage for the past eight days. The Game that is meant to show just how tough and resilient Howard can be, and how ready he is for the Big Fight in the coming election. And it all took place just when Howard needed it the most, when he is absolutely tanking in the polls.

You can see it all for yourself in Albrechtsen's original 'Howard Must Go' column, that was supposed to have earthquaked the Howard government. We know now it did nothing of the sort. They all knew it was coming. Not only did they know it was coming, they knew what the column was going to be about before she had even finished writing it.

In the column, Albrechtsen first devotes hundreds of words to reminding readers just how brilliant a prime minister John Howard has been, and how we'd all be eating dirt and back on chain gangs cracking sandstone slabs if he hadn't graced us with his leadership.

She immediately follows all this with one of the most gag-inducing paragraphs I've seen in any newspaper all year :
Under Howard it became cool to be a conservative. He rebuilt a political philosophy of individual responsibility for a new generation. His legacy is profound...
Bring me another bucket.

When she supposedly unleashed on Howard, it was with a feather :
But now he must go. The Howard factor is there. Where once it meant success, now it presages defeat.
Hmm, tell us something we don't know, Janet.

Do you ever get the feeling that you're being conned?

Of course, Albrechtsen's column came at a very opportune time for The Australian newspaper as well.

Murdoch's national broadsheet is widely mocked and ridiculed across the Australian media, the public and within political circles for being the 'Government Gazette'. There was a joke that went around last year for a few days : Why don't you ever see John Howard reading The Australian newspaper? Because he already knows what it will say about him.

Albrechtsen has proved the joke is actually reality.

Her column advising Howard to pack it in and hand over the leadership to Peter Costello was seen as proof that The Australian was not staffed by Howard-huggers and federal government propagandists.

And the timing was perfect. On the brink of an election, when The Australian most surely needs to regain its credibility and give the appearance of being unbiased, up pops Albrechtsen, the "unashamed...long-time Howard supporter", demanding he step aside. Well, not demanding. Suggesting he step aside would be more accurate.

But of course, we know now Albrechtsen didn't just write and publish this column, one of the few she's ever written that even dared to slightly criticise Howard. She actually got on the blower
and called the PM's office, before the column was published, to let Howard know what was coming. She called other ministers and gave them the opportunity to talk her out of it, or perhaps more importantly, convince her to tone it down.

Why would she do this?

Why would a columnist for a newspaper even contemplate doing such a thing, let alone making the calls?

Remember, Albrechtsen said herself in The Australian newspaper today that she called the prime minister, and at least two other Howard government ministers, "as a courtesy."

That is, she called to give them notice and to allow them all to fully prepare for the negative fallout that they knew would surely follow the column's appearance in The Australian, to craft their answers and reactions to media questions days in advance.

Albrechtsen didn't voice her opinion, boldly, honestly, and without regard for who may be offended by her thoughts, she actually tipped off the key players in the Howard government, and Howard himself, before she 'dared' to say it was time for him to go. Before she even typed the words.


Just remember what Janet did every time you see her column, or any column, in The Australian that is allegedly critical of the Howard government, or any of its key ministers.

You may well begin to wonder, as you probably should if Albrechtsen is any example to go by, 'Did they tell Howard what they were writing about?' 'Did they warn Alexander Downer they were going to criticise him today?' 'Did Howard government ministers try and talk this columnist out of writing this piece?' 'Was this column different before the columnist discussed what he/she had written with some Howard government minister?'

Janet Albrechtsen is utterly compromised, even when she is critical of John Howard, because she dwells in a compromised world where she cannot write nor say what she wants, when she wants, and to hell with the consequences.

So why does she get column space in the newspaper, and prominent positioning on The Australian's website?

Well, why do you think?

Shock! Murdoch Journalist Denies Murdoch Media Conspiracy

Murdoch Conservatives Cut Off Howard's Head - Albretchsen And Bolt Lead The Chant : "Howard Must Go"

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Prime Minister Declares Police Tactics Of Intimidation And 'Brutalisation' Of Sydney Protesters "Worked Brilliantly"

State Premier Declares "Mission Accomplished"

By Darryl Mason

As far as prime minister John Howard is concerned, the use of more than 2000 police officers, police dogs, snipers, the deployment of the full riot squad and a water cannon circling anti-Iraq War protesters in Sydney on Saturday "worked brilliantly."

So happy was the NSW state premier, Morris Iemma, with the police violence against peaceful protesters that he directly echoed President Bush's infamous May, 2003, declaration on the Iraq War by stating, "Mission Accomplished."

A video published on YouTube reveals that police ID tags did not fall off in scuffles, as senior police are now claiming, but were removed on purpose, according to one police officer :

"It's one of the policies the bosses have this week".

The fact that "no windows were broken" during the protest shows the police tactics were successful, said premier Morris Iemma.

The "forward action" taken by police, a strategy long planned to be used against protesters, was "the right decision" and "it worked brilliantly, it really did."

A former police officer has been quoted as saying on-duty police had no excuse to remove their ID badges, which are normally attached by velcro :

"They're saying they don't want anyone to know who they are, then they are demanding that the average citizen produce identification."

International tourism is one of Australia's biggest industries, generating billions of dollars. That source of revenue, and jobs, may now be under threat from the 'police state' display of security during the APEC summit, as tourism experts fear Sydney's international image has been damaged :

The managing director of the Tourism and Transport Forum, Christopher Brown, said authorities failed to strike the right balance when given a promotional opportunity akin to hosting the Olympics.

"Empty streets with concrete barriers, high fences and riot squad officers, snipers in buildings and helicopters," Mr Brown told ABC Radio. "We just got out of control … we just didn't get the balance right between the imagery and security."

A senator for the Green Party wants an independent inquiry to be held to investigate the tactics and full force display of intimidation used by police. The senator said she was concerned that 'police pointed guns at protesters and people were subject to video surveillance.'

We eyewitnessed more than three dozen police using video cameras to image protesters. Police are now allowed by law to database the faces of every single one of the more than 6000 people, including children, who marched peacefully through the streets of Sydney last Saturday.