Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Music Of Occupy Sydney

I've been lucky enough to catch live performances of beautiful music on both my visits to #OccupySydney in Martin Place. Worth stopping by, but I wish they could make some funnier signs. A line of interesting, fact-dashed but funny, signs can ground a passing crowd to a halt. Make them laugh, then they might stop, then they might look around.

Day One :

Day Four :

I donated two rare copies of my 1996 novel Max & Murray to the Ocuppy Sydney library.

A friend saw the M&Ms there later and said someone had helpfully noted inside the cover on what page the rants against pokies, affordable housing shortages and political corruption can be found.

I always knew I should have included an Index Of Rants in that book.

Then again, it is mostly rants.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

“This Isn't A Political Thing, It's An Equality Thing. I Just Want People To Be Happy. If People Were Happy That Would Be Sick!"

#Occupy Australia Vows Solidarity With #Occupy Movements Worldwide

How exactly did they manage to pull this off?
In just the four years to 2009-10, the number of households in the top 1 per cent bracket of wealth (i.e. $5 million-plus) rocketed 60 per cent from 55,000 to 88,000. And that was in the post-global financial crisis period when wealth was supposed to be flattened among the executive class."

Alan Kohler explains the basics of the #OccupyWallStreet movement :

My 80 second report on #OccupySydney Day One :

Below, #OccupyBrisbane begins with just a few dozen people, but they've voted to stay and, like #OccupySydney and #OccupyMelbourne, continue the protest in solidarity with #OccupyWallStreet :

This is an image of a board drawn up during the 1st #OccupySydney general assembly. Nothing too radical here, and plenty that progressives and conservatives can find equal ground on :

Glenda Kwek visits #OccupySydney :
"We are getting by. When it starts raining, it gets less comfortable," said Ben Peterson, 22, a protester at Sydney's Martin Place camp, which has been in place since Saturday afternoon.

Mr Peterson and his fellow organisers have been busy putting together workshops to educate campers, including talks on public speaking, logistics, consumerism, alternative media and the political and economic issues of the day, such as coal seam gas.

Sydney protest organisers say they have been inundated with food since putting out an appeal for donations on Saturday.

"We've had overwhelming donations of food," Mr Peterson said, adding that someone brought "delicious cupcakes" for the 50 or so protesters this morning.

Some campers came with portable stoves so they could heat up their meals, while other bought pizzas and other takeaway foods from nearby restaurants.

A yoga school has donated bottles of water, while members of two unions - the CFMEU and the Maritime Union of Australia - raised $2000 for the Sydney protesters so they could buy basic supplies.

Mr Lees said protesters slept under tarpaulins and in sleeping bags and on cardboard sheets after police removed their tents.

The yoga group that donated water also chipped in with a stack of yoga mats.

As the Sydney protesters are being watched at all times by the police, Mr Peterson said safety was last thing participants worried about.

"With the police here, it's the safest place to the city," he said.

"But it's also because we are just interested in looking after each other [and not be violent]. We want this space to continue and be inspiring for people."

Full Story And Photos From Glenda Kwek Here

The #OccupyBrisbane movement finds a star, and GroupThink celebrates :

“The vibes are so good here that I havent smoked drugs for three days”

“People are not sleeping in Africa”

“We went to like round up some homeless people to give them food, it was rad”

“I don’t think this is a political thing, it’s an equality thing, i just want people to be happy. If people were happy that would be sick!”

Phil Staley has the full image of beautiful rock art at Croc Station, but here are two details from his photo :

Monday, October 03, 2011

Seriously, What A Fuckwit

By Darryl Mason

A headline on the front page of the Herald Sun online invites you to read Andrew Bolt's latest column :

Except the link doesn't take you to Andrew Bolt's latest column, it takes you to this Herald Sun news story :
Minister rejects call to alter race laws

by Staff Writer
Justice Minister Brendan O'Connor has rejected Coalition calls to alter racial discrimination laws after the Andrew Bolt case.

Last week shadow attorney-general George Brandis said the laws were flawed and should be altered because they could impinge on freedom of expression.

He made the comments after Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt was found to have breached the Racial Discrimination Act in two columns about light-skinned Aborigines.

Mr O'Connor told the ABC's Insiders program he had a different interpretation to Mr Brandis.

"I think the conclusion that one would draw from reading the judgment is that this was an issue about ... omitting quite relevant facts," Mr O'Connor said.

Maybe Herald Sun editors have finally had enough of Bolt's bullshit as well.

Or perhaps not.

The full O'Conner quote the last paragraph of the story was drawn from :
But I think the judgment should be read by people and read properly, because I think we don't want to see people racially vilified and I think the conclusion that one would draw from reading the judgment is that this was an issue about not sticking to some facts, or in fact omitting quite relevant facts, which I think led the respondent to be in some difficulty with the articles that he wrote.
More from O'Connor :
There's no doubt that if you're going to attribute improper motives about someone, you should get your facts right. And in terms of any chilling effect that's supposed to have happened as a result of the decision, I've seen more of Andrew Bolt since the decision on the front pages of the largest circulated papers, even during footy week.
That's no exaggeration. Via Pure Poison :

Imagine being a Herald Sun journalist and having your front page story bumped to make way for that heaping pile of absolute absurdity? This is why there is much grumbling amongst Murdoch journalists and editors at their city papers right now. They find Andrew Bolt to be an embarrassment and a growing stain on their craft and their credibility.

It's very simple. Andrew Bolt knew claiming people raised as Aboriginals were pretending to be Aborigines for profit and personal gain would probably lead to legal action. He wanted this lawsuit. He wanted to be a martyr. And, apparently, Herald Sun lawyers didn't mind either. How else to explain why they let him publish two columns filled with flat-out lies, not merely deceptive language, nearly all of it unreliably sourced?

The Age explains the facts under this headline :

The question mark is superfluous :
Andrew Bolt conceded he made errors in two columns found to be unlawful under the Racial Discrimination Act last week but claimed that ''none seemed to me to be of consequence''. Justice Mordecai Bromberg disagreed, finding Bolt's writings were ''grossly incorrect'', and contained ''significant distortion of the facts''. This was critical to why his defence failed. Here is a sample:

BOLT: ''For many of these fair Aborigines, the choice to be Aboriginal can be considered almost arbitrary and intensely political, given how many of their ancestors are in fact Caucasian.''

BROMBERG: ''In relation to most of the individuals concerned, the assertion in the newspaper articles that the people dealt with chose to identify as Aboriginal have been substantially proven to be untrue. Nine of the 18 named … gave evidence. Each of them had been raised to identify as Aboriginal and had identified as such since childhood. None of them made a conscious or deliberate choice to identify as Aboriginal.''

BOLT: ''[Associate Professor Anita] Heiss … won plum jobs reserved for Aborigines at Koori Radio, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board and Macquarie University's Warawara Department of Indigenous Studies.''

BROMBERG: ''Each of those assertions was erroneous. Mr Bolt accepted that they were wrong because they were exaggerated. One of the positions that Mr Bolt claimed Ms Heiss had won as a 'plum job' was a voluntary unpaid position. The other two positions were not reserved for Aboriginal people but were positions for which Aboriginal people were encouraged to apply.''

''[Ms] Eatock only started to identify as Aboriginal when she was 19, after attending a political rally.''

BROMBERG: ''This statement is untrue. Ms Eatock recognised herself to be an Aboriginal person from when she was eight years old whilst still at school and did not do so for political reasons.''

BOLT: ''Acclaimed St Kilda artist Bindi Cole… was raised by her English-Jewish mother yet calls herself 'Aboriginal but white'.''

BROMBERG: ''That statement is factually inaccurate because Ms Cole's Aboriginal grandmother also raised Ms Cole and was highly influential in Ms Cole's identification as an Aboriginal.''

BOLT: ''The very pale Professor Larissa Behrendt, who may have been raised by her white mother but today, as a professional Aborigine, is chairman of our biggest taxpayer-funded Aboriginal television service.''

BROMBERG: ''The factual assertions made were erroneous. Professor Behrendt's Aboriginal father did not separate from her mother until Professor Behrendt was about 15 years old. Her father was always part of the family during her upbringing, even after that separation.''

BOLT: ''Larissa Behrendt has also worked as a professional Aborigine ever since leaving Harvard Law School, despite looking almost as German as her father … But which people are 'yours', exactly, mein liebchen? And isn't it bizarre to demand laws to give you more rights as a white Aborigine than your own white dad?''

BROMBERG: ''To her knowledge, there is no German descent on either her father or mother's side of the family although she assumes that because of her father's Germanic surname, there may have been some German descent.

Her paternal grandfather came to Australia from England. Mr Bolt also referred to her father as being white. Her father had dark skin.''

BOLT: ''Take the most prominent Yorta Yorta leaders - Melbourne University academic Wayne Atkinson and Victorian Traditional Owners Land Justice Group co-chair Graham Atkinson. Both are Aboriginal because their Indian great-grandfather married a part-Aboriginal woman.

''How can Graham Atkinson be co-chair of the Victorian Traditional Owners Land Justice Group when his right to call himself Aboriginal rests on little more than the fact that his Indian great-grandfather married a part-Aboriginal woman?''

BROMBERG: ''The facts given by Mr Bolt and the comment made upon them are grossly incorrect. The Atkinsons' parents are both Aboriginal as are all four of their grandparents and all of their great grandparents other than one who is the Indian great-grandfather that Mr Bolt referred to in the article.''

I used to call Andrew Bolt The Professional Idiot. But he isn't. His almost 100% negative columns and blog posts about Aborigines and his obsession with demanding people embrace 'white culture' and for them to give thanks for what he believes is a European improvement on 60,000 plus years of successful survival is much worse than mere idiocy. What he did was calculated and conniving.

And just plain sick.

It's a stain on Australian journalism, and an unfortunate fallout for all journalists and editors at News Limited, many of whom now find themselves shuddering whenever their friends say the name "Andrew Bolt" in their company.

You'd be surprised at just how many Murdoch journalists and editors there are that feel that way.

Andrew Bolt's Reality Meltdown Over Fukushima