:: Thursday, 28 July 2005 ::
:: Tuesday, 26 July 2005 ::
Last night I was watching some wog freak - a Muslim, sorry to be so awful about it, but he was just appalling, giving a streetside interview to heaps of press in England after the arrest in Birmingham of one of the 4 unsuccessful bombers from 21 July.
And he was all blah blah Tony Blair lies, the process is not transparent no proof of Muslims involvement in the Bombs and Osama binLaden is from the CIA and blah blah, sounding just the idiot Taliban when the US demanded they hand Osama over after September 11, all 'oooh, where is your proooooof....".
Just like the Talibanners only slightly better dressed.
Fantabulous Harry's Place has noted the insanity of the madman in the UK so youse can see his words.
Then I went upstairs and turned on the ABC radio and heard Lateline Tony Delroy interviewing 3 wogs, Muslims, about stuff.
Natch I cannot find a transcript which is a shame cos it was a real good show and I would have liked to go through it more carefully, but here is the link for the show if you want it to use the audio they offer.
The 3 wogs were Nadia Jamal, a Lebanese Muslim who has written a book about being Leb, some guy Mustafa doing his PhD in something but I did not catch any nationality or background if any was mentioned, seemed he was just presented as a devout muslim man with a PhD and some Baroness Pakistani lady on the phone from the UK, member of the Liberal Democrats.
The interview was wide ranging and seemed involved 3 lucid people of the Muslim faith who had, if I can recall it right, 3 basic attitudes:
Baroness - we need legislation, Muslim youth are disadvantaged and they are outraged by double standards when the West supports some Muslims but not all but bottom line there is no excuse for bombing;
PhD - the clerics who preach politics and not true Islam have to be stopped by other clerics preaching the right stuff because there is no excuse for bombing and making up excuses is wrong wrong wrong;
Author - it is really hard to be Muslim and Leb and headscarves should be able to be worn if you want to but bottom line bombing is wrong and there's no excuse no matter how hard you think you'e got it.
Not bad when you put 'em all together as an antidote to the raving madman in the UK on the telly earlier.
Plus they each acknowledged that Muslims do segregate themselves from wider society whenever new communities are set up, so they can hardly complain about being ghettoised when they do it themselves.
One thing I was sorry they did not explore was a brief reference by one of the 3 questioning why young men 'go back to the village' of their parents.
I mean, g'uh.
It is a wog thing.
How can you spend every day, morning at toothbrushing, evening at toothbrushing staring into the mirror knowing you know your life but only one part of it cos your skin is stretched full of the DNA, your veins filled with the blood of another geography you have never yet seen. And alls ya gotta do ta see it is jump on a cheapo plane, fly cattle class for too many hours and you are there.
Natch, wogs go to visit the 'homeland'.
It explains a lot to wogs. explains how come ma and Pa are so craaazy. Goodlooking. Short. Ya know? Whatever. It explains stuff.
Anyhoo, I digress. Seems to me that there is a 4th element to crushing this Muslim insanity with the dreams of caliphate and the bombing and the self-pity and the conspiracy theories and blah blah, you know, the madness and it is this - publicising it.
Exposing it to the ridicule and contempt it deserves. The idiot's own words at that streetside press conference condemn him. No risk of defamation for thos of us who publish and republish the rubbish. They are his own words in context on telly in front of the press.
Keep showing them. Keep interviewing him. Until he cracks like a big ol' nut, which is what he is.
Eventually the echo chamber of the mosque, the ruthlessly ruled country, the whole Middle East, Arabic press, will collapse and the sounds of complaint and disgust from teeny folks like bloggers and millions of others in the West (ie not the Muslim 'ummah' - yetcht, what a horrible thought for a Roman Catholic) will penetrate.
Just as it did in Europe with the wholesale change to the Catholic Church wraught (or achieved if ya prefer) by Johanes Gutenberg and his press, so Islam everywhere is going to get seriously affected by 24 hour cable news and the internet.
Hmmmm. Now, if I recall right the couple centuries after that were pretty bloody. In Europe where most of the printing was going on.
Yah, but working on the theory - wholly homemade so take it as a given, natch - that everything these days takes a third of the time that every thing in the olden days took, I would say this Islam-learning-that-it-is-just-a-religion-and-not-actually-the-be-all-and-end-all-of-life-on-the-planet and therefore stopping with the violence should be done in about, oooh, between 60 and 80 years.
Urgh. And there I was getting all optimistic for a second.
Here's hoping I am wrong about the timing, eh?
:: WB 5:02 am [link+] ::
What's the diff?
:: Monday, 25 July 2005 ::
On the one hand a newspaper hires a shitty little terrorcheerleader and gets shamed into sacking him when they run his appalling views as a comment piece and are inundated with contrary views and calls for the shitty guy's sacking over his resolute shitty views following the slaughter of more than 50 London folks in a disgusting act of terror, and the paper does sack him but bleats about it all the way and after.
On the other hand a Uni Law Prof of 29 years long service, less than 12 months away from retirement, writes a letter to his local rag expressing vulgar and offensive views about immigration and gets pushed out of his job cos he has private thoughts unassociated with his professional area, that offend the uni Vice-Chancellor so much she thinks he needs to go early.
But it feels like in both cases political correctness gone wild.
The paper applauded a shitful terrorenabling commenter by directly inviting him to write a special commenty piece which was bad all over for so many reasons but mostly cos it applauds terrorism.
The Spewnie punished a Prof who, on his own account, wrote a letter to a suburban paper which was bad all over for so many reasons but mostly cos it slammed immigration.
Somewhere, in a perfect world of pecorino cheese, ever-filled glasses of bubbly prosecco and magically filled plates of my mother's Involtini Monreale there is a paper whose editors do not invite terror enabling comment and there's a Uni that lets its aged Law Prof's have their own opinions without punishing them.
I guess there are papers like that, and Unis like that so ther is no point getting all bothered.
But jeez, you come across this stuff and just wish it would not happen, yeah?
And no, while I think about it, Prof Fraser is no Ward Churchill, embarrassing non-American Indian prof in the US who thinks terrorists are fab-u-lous.
Prof Fraser just has a problem with too many wogs, mostly Asians, in Oz.
He isn't making excuses for wogs to be slaughtered.
Ya know, I have just worked out that the two issues do have a lot in common:
the Graudiad and MacQuarie Uni are both sheltered workshops.
Whatever. I got Donald Sutherland and Don Rickles and Telly Savalas and Clint Eastwood on the teevee in Kelly's Heroes and I am not up for thinking any more.
:: WB 5:23 am [link+] ::
Howard in Iraq.
Good on him. Earning his keep.
:: WB 5:52 am [link+] ::
Lateline is interviewing Crazy Sheik Omran
The man is a mad man. Incapable of clear thought but Tony Jones is going him hard for some reason. It is not a language problem. He is just venal and nuts. It is almost cruel for Tony to be so sane to this guy since he, the Sheik, is clearly not up to any sane discourse.
Add him to the crazy in the Sydney Morning Herald today and you can see why some Muslims complain about the media always interviewing the crazies and not interviewing enough normals like this one, found at Harry's place.
Tony has just gotten the crazy Sheik to declare, quite clearly unusually enough, that you do not get to heaven by suicide bombing. you get to heaven by doing good deeds. He also declared, after a fashion, that jihad is not right, but I probably have that wrong cos it was not such a clear statement.
:: WB 5:44 am [link+] ::
Whoo. Oriana does not take a step back.
:: Sunday, 24 July 2005 ::
Bless Someguy in Italy, at Mystery Achievement.
:: WB 5:39 am [link+] ::
433 refugees on the Tampa?
ABC, Australian Film Commission has a hagiography going to air tonight on the ABC 'Compass' show and it is a lie. It is called "The QC, the Artist and the Refugee".
They were not refugees on the boat. They were people who wanted to get into Oz from Indonesia without permission.
Urgh, I do not even want to go on. I mean 'refugee' is a legal status earned through a legal process. What is legal about sailing into somewhere without authority?
Jeez. Oh, no there's more.
"....Australian's most famous asylum seeker is Alladin Saleem?" Exsqueeze me?
Australia's most famous asylum seeker is Ali Bakhtiari, full stop end of story. The bullshitter from Pakistan.
What this show is trying to create is an alternative history where Alladin - the guy left alone, the last applicant on Nauru - is the most famous asylum seeker.
Sorry alternative history wankers, but that will not wash. I am afraid a Bakhtiari beats a Saleem hands down in the game of oz illegal entry poker.
"Some aslyum seekers have been detained for over 2 years."
Yah. Some. How about explaining that 2 years is what it takes for the legal process, constant appeals, to go through.
Nah, cannot be attacking the lawyers in this lawyer hagiography.
Julian Burnside's wife is an insufferable artist Kate Durham and get this, she gave up her work as an artist to become an activist.
What a trooper for the wogs, eh? Gave up her work as an artist. I for one am ever so grateful.
Apparently now she is going back to her art. God help us. Just what the world needs, more oversized and ugly jewellery, and more Chagall-like paintings of drowning people.
Wonder if the Caring Kate can even put 2 and 2 together and recognise she does not need to be an activist no more - she can go back to her art - cos the boats are not coming any more cos the horrors of people smugglers have effectively been shut down - not for want of anything Kate or Julian have done - nope. But cos our govt, the Howard govt, has done the heavy lifting with the 'Pacific Solution' of setting up detention centres off shore (like Nauru)thereby removing any argument horrible people smugglers could make to their desperate clients, such as 'I can get you into oz easy'.
Not believable any more. Hence the drop off in business.
Natch SIEVX gets the mention on this stupid show, the sinking and drowning of loads of folks who were herded cruelly, venally, appallingly onto an unseaworthy boat from Indonesia which sank. And the use of this fact in the hagiography show? The sly reference to the Australian Navy refusoing to save these folks - utter bullshit - and a superbrief reference to no boats coming after that.
For 4 years.
Well, yeah it has been 4 years. But SIEVX was not the sole reason - although you can imagine the people smugglers would find it hard to sell services to paying customers with that sort of horror blotting their record. But how could this awful program not spare a moment to make clear the sinking was not related to oz. Not mention the fact that the sinking was in Indonesian water or international but not Oz, it involved an Indonesian vessel, it was herded with depserate people by horrible people smuggler folks in Indonesia.
I mean, a whole show about asylum seekers in Oz and not a single mention of people smugglers.
Look, to be clear. These people - Burnside and Durham - make me puke, cos they infantilise wogs.
Which I cannot stand.
And I will state clear and loud the wogs they were dealing with on the show - Alladin and anoither Afghan guy whose name I didn't catch - seem to me to be top wogs. Alladin likes Alfa Romeos. Good guy.
So it is terrific they are here. No question.
Burnside and Durham are not bad people. They are earnest fucks who save up all their care and concern for people who have to be dependent on them. To hear Durham say that "for some peope Sept 11 changed everything, well for me it was August (ie Tampa)" just shows how horribly focussed she is. Cos Sept 11 and Tampa were inevitably connected. How? By the reactions of Oz and the US and the UK and others to Sept 11. To remove the Taliban, the very reason for Afghans to flee their blighted country for fresher brighter zones.
A whole show about asylum seekers, including one Afghan who Burnside and Durham have generously housed with them for over a year - that is a good thing they have done so credit where it is due - and not a mention that since Sept 11, since removing the Taliban, over a million Aghan refugees from around the world have gone home because it is their home and blighted and broken as it is, it can be rebuilt and will be by Afghans.
A show like tonight's show is literally misleading. It lionises a lawyer and his artist wife and infantilises an adult man who happens to be in Oz on refugee status. He is a person. Seemed to me the most honourable bloke in the whole show. A good tonic to Bakhtiari.
Might have been better if the producers just went with Alladin as the subject.
Anyhoo, as a complete change of pace there is now a show on some other channel which is seriously hilarious. I am too ashamed to explain the detail except to say narcolepsy and a dream to be a ballerina....
Oh dear. Giggles.
:: WB 5:19 am [link+] ::
I should not coast on others' good works but Wretchard deserves the linky love
There is terror, it is aimed at people who do not deserve it, have not invited it, it is indiscriminate a deeply cruel.
It is a nightmare. A waking nightmare.
But amidst it all, real hope. See, the Iraqis are currently preparing their bill of rights (I don't such documents are necessary but whatever, if they are sensible they will not hurt).
They had some guff in there about Sharia law and Israelis never being able to be citizens.
But no longer.
That is great. That's worth a round of applause.
That's what the whole International effort in Iraq has been about. Liberating it to enable its citizens to craft a democracy.
Someday soon there will be a free trade agreement with Iraq too.
Normalcy. That is the aim. And it is terrific to see some of them going for it. Most of them I am sure.
:: WB 3:42 am [link+] ::
Yes the bombs were terrible but it could all be for the best...
Some idiot writing at NRO. Here it is in full. It is thankfully not long because it is a little bit of shite the author, if he grows a conscience, will be ashamed of some time soon:
The terrorist attack in Egypt is obviously horrible -- current toll: at least 65 dead, more than 200 wounded -- and it's starting to look worse than the massacre at Luxor eight years ago. But violence such as this, as bad as it is, may have the good effect of causing the Arab world to become more serious about terrorism. As with Luxor, many of these latest casualties are tourists--and tourists are an enormous boon to the Egyptian economy. How many will want to travel there now? Speaking for myself, Egypt is very high on the list of places I would like to visit in my life. But if you gave me a free airline ticket and a wad of Egyptian pounds this morning, I probably wouldn't go.
So, he gets his whole horror over quick smart and declares, 'ya it's a wake up call for them Egyptians. I mean, I like Egypt and all, some of my best friends blah blah but noooo thankyou I won't be going'.
What an ally in the war on terror, eh?
Yah. If you spell ally i-n-d-i-f-f-e-r-e-n-t.
I mean, what is the difference between this prick's attitude and that of Seamus Bloody Milne after Sept 11, with his whole 'America needs to wake up to its appalling legacy of foreign policy blah blah'?
You know what else is shitful about an attitude as bleak as his? It just screams for mad Arabs to conclude that the Yanks must have been behind the bombs. Because after all, if it will make the Arab world crack down on mad Arabs, who has the most interest in doing that right now? Yanks. Blah blah you can hear it can't you?
Lousy stuff from the right.
:: WB 3:25 am [link+] ::
Not a Bomber
:: Saturday, 23 July 2005 ::
Update to a post below. Tim Worstall's fears realised. How absolutely awful for the man's family and friends. Whatever possessed him to run from the coppers and jump a train turstile. Some sort of overstayed visa or something? Criminal background? Weird Brazilian reaction for no actual reason?
Whatever it was, it was not worth five shots at close range. Or even one.
:: WB 3:20 am [link+] ::
He lay down, facing up, on his bomb-packed rucksack, arms spread like Jeebus?
:: Thursday, 21 July 2005 ::
Check this eyewitness account of one of the four failed London bomb-bastards.
Incredibile. This is pure spazz territory, death cultism going on here, not studied political activism with a violent bent.
He lay down on top of his bomb. Like a freakin' sacrifice.
Urgh. Why couldn't he go through his pathetic weirdo ritual in the privacy of a paddcok in the middle on nowhere?
Because the man is a deathcultist. He likes death. He acts the martyr but is atchally the murderer.
Just a filthy deathcultist.
Tim Worstall is concerned about the 5 shots to the head of as-it-turns-out-non-bomber. He makes a fair point and his comments section is lively and worth a read.
For mine, it is a matter of practical reality that the coppers cannot shoot everyone 5 times in the head. They can, as matter of practical reality, shoot the ones who look suspicious and run away when asked to stop and chat. Cos most folks in London, when bombs have gone off and have been primed to go off albeit unsuccessfully, are not going to attract police attention and most people would not dream of running away from the police in response to the police asking them to stop and talk.
The question then is a real lightning bolt straight to the heart question: Should the coppers shoot to kill folks who run away?
I am thinking yes.
But before youse get all 'fascist' on me, I do not mean that coppers should not have to explain themselves. They should. Just as they ever have had to. If their actions were not warranted to avert real and actual danger, or reasonably believed danger that turns out not to be actual danger, then they should be punished. Firings, compensation payments to victims and survivors. The usual, the lot. We already do that, and none of that should change.
But is not a simple equation and Tim's trepidation is entirey fair and rightminded.
Lord, did you ever buhleev you would be living in a period of history where such profound questions about liberty were being writ large across the news everyday? I always reckoned the past held all the profound stuff, you know? Rinascimento...the 1950's etcetera.
Check out this short piece from Perry at Samizdata. And this one too. This is profound stuff. Bottom line, are these mad wogs worth Tim Worstall's concern? Does not get much more profound than that. And it does not get much more depressing than the two "moderate Mulsims" quoted in the piece blogged by Perry, either.
Read it carefully and see how these two senior Muslim men, just will not accept that their constituency - their kin, their Muslim brothers - are 100% responsible for how they react to British foreign policy. To anything at all.
The policy does not make a man pick a bomb-filled rucksack and get on a train. The man does that. Himself. He is not compelled. He could sotp.
Where others are satisfied to vote, or march or write angry letters, these mad Muslims get violent. They could choose not to. But they don't.
They don't. They choose to act violently.
So whose fault is that.
I wish with all my heart these wogs would pick up their game.
If the Sicilians could do it with the appalling mafia, home grown and virulent in their midst, by demonstrating loudly "Basta" (Enough), women and children deliberately and bravely surrounding Palermo's Mayor as they marched - he was the next target after the roadside megabomb that killed Judge Falcone and his crew - if the Sicilians could strip off the turgid rancid cloth of mafiadom, horribe habit of violence and omerta that had swathed them for centuries, then English-based Muslims should be able to muster up the energy and the principle as well to march en masse.
The Sicilians never marched under banners that read "Basta, but of course the mafia began as a response to the oppression of the Bourbons so you must understand the root causes, and plus they do spend money and give jobs and stuff.....so, you know, they should be appeased and treated politically, blah blah, Basta but".
:: WB 1:43 am [link+] ::
Prof Norm saves the Guardian
:: Monday, 18 July 2005 ::
By injecting some sense into their opinion pages.
In other top reading on the whole bombing, mad Muslim, multiculti stuff - for which read "are-wogs-really-worth-it?"...actually, "are-Muslims-really-worth-it?" check out the following:
Andrew Bolt struggles bravely with mutliculti stuff, speaking as a wog himself, and gets quite a response.
And Slatts lays into self-centred wogs in what are objectively great and 100% rolled gold skippy terms:
Fortunately the majority in the newcomer groups do what they’ve always done and drifted into the mainstream, enriching theirs and others lives. Just have a look at how many Asian faces you see in the footy crowds. My estimate is an annual increase of 10 per cent.
But there’s a hardcore of state-funded multi-culti clingons, usually from backgrounds that don’t particularly aspire to democracy, who show little interest in playing kick-to-kick with the rest of us.
Continuing their publicly funded programs is utter insanity.
Natch I have views on all this. I just need work to let up so's I can post more.
But for another sensational effort on this, check out this effort from Marcus of Harry's Place.
Out and back soon.
:: WB 5:03 am [link+] ::
I'll see Blair's Big Dog...
and raise him a bunch of huge Neapolitan Mastiffs.
:: WB 7:19 am [link+] ::
Phillip Adams....oh fer cryin' outta loud
He has written a whole piece about his ASIO file which, by his own cherrypicking, was not active after 1972.
I mean, my father probably had a file in 1972 .... for crimes against fashion.
This really is the end, isn't it? Can the Phat Phuck sink any deeper into his own ego?
:: WB 7:16 am [link+] ::
I meant to blog this piece from Marvellous Malcolm Farr at the Daily Telegraph about the London terrorism. He gets Oz in one. No quarter to terrorists, home grown or foreign.
The piece was published 11 July 2005.
The Saturday edition of the paper ran a short piece by Irfan Yusuf, a Sydney lawyer, who has published quite a bit of Muslim related stuff round and about.
I cannot navigate the Tele site as it is shite, but the full piece by Yusuf seems to be here.
Basic thesis? Most Muslims are not craazy but journo's always seek out the Mad Imams who say Osama is innocent and rape is the fault of women, without appreciating mainstream Muslims thereby giving the lie that all Muslims are craazy. The Mad Imams are a minority and most Muslims listen to peaceful chats etc etc and I have an iPod I am normal blah blah blah.
Do not get me wrong. Irfan is giving it a red hot go - by "it" I mean trying to show that now all Muslims are maaad. But cripes what a battle - it must be hard to be Irfan today when the Islamic Bookshop in Lakemba is found to be peddling terrorist exhalting texts as splashed all over the Tele .
It is the Islamic Bookshop.
I mean. The Islamic Bookshop.
Selling pro-Osama stuff.
Pretty mainstream, yeah?
Somehow I do not believe the Goethe Insitute in Woolhara is selling copies of Mein Kamf.
:: WB 5:50 am [link+] ::
The Benefit of the Doubt
:: Thursday, 14 July 2005 ::
60 Minutes ran an interview with Cornelia Rau on Sunday night following the Palmer Report into her detention, find that she was incorrectly detained as a German tourist who had overstayed her right to be in Oz when she was in fact a nut Oz resident of German ethnicity wandering far away from her family.
DIMIA took too long to find out that she was not who she said she was. Took too long to find out she was in fact somebody else entirely. And they took too long to sort out just how nuts she was and remains. That she had every right to remain in Oz. And no status at all to warrant her being locked up in immigration detention.
The Palmer report finds fault with DIMIA and quite right too.
But I cannot for the life of me get worked up about her case.
Seems to me Cornelia got the benefit of the doubt - she said she was German tourist and the DIMIA folks believed her.
How is Mandy Vanstone supposed to guarantee no errors by the DIMIA team?
She cannot, neither can John Howard. That is why Mandy need not be sacrificed over Cornelia Rau's incorrect detention and the 20/20 hindsight being played out in the Palmer report.
As it happens while the 60 minutes interview was screening cable teevee was showing an Austin Powers movie.
I was flipping channels but I caught Cornelia explaining:
PETER OVERTON: So, you left Manly hospital on your own accord?
CORNELIA RAU: Yeah.
PETER OVERTON: What was your plan?
CORNELIA RAU: Just to get away from the whole situation and maybe start a new life up in Queensland.
PETER OVERTON: Cornelia headed north, and two weeks later, turned up in the Queensland town of Coen, telling locals she was a German backpacker. She was eventually picked up by police, tipped off about her bizarre behaviour. Not only was she penniless, she also had no identification. Her nightmare had begun. What did you say to them when they asked you, "Who are you?"
CORNELIA RAU: Well, I just said, "What's that to you?" in a way, "because I'm just travelling around Australia, I don't need to identify myself, really, I'm just a traveller to you and what is there I need to say any more?" I just made up a name, you know. I just said the name that's always been repeated in the news.
PETER OVERTON: Which was?
CORNELIA RAU: Anna Brotmeyer.
PETER OVERTON: Believing she was a German tourist who had overstayed her visa, the police took Cornelia into custody and sent her to the Brisbane Women's Correctional Centre at Wacol. Here, immigration officials attempted to confirm her identity. She was to languish in prison for six months.
She had been already telling folks she was Anna Brotmeyer and when asked by authorities who she was she said the same name. h
It was not just "made up". It was her personal identity at the time. On account of how her illness is mental and she has different identities. Why no hard questions about this from the interviewer?
Oh, what would be the point? She is nuts. So I cannot complain about the softball interview.
She is ill. A sad case with a family that must feel awfully responsible for not knowing where she was, for not being able to help her when she was detained.
Anyhoo I was bored with the soft focus approach to Cornelia so I flipped back to Austin Powers to catch Dr Evil describing himself:
"..very well, where do I begin? My father was a relentlessly self-improving boulangerie owner from Belgium with a low grade narcolepsy and a penchant for buggery. My mother was a fifteen year old French prostitute named Chloe with webbed feet. My father would womanize, he would drink. He would make outrageous claims like he invented the question mark. Sometimes he would accuse chestnuts of being lazy. The sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament. My childhood was typical. Summers in Rangoon, luge lessons. In the spring we'd make meat helmets. When I was insolent I was placed in a burlap bag and beaten with reeds - pretty standard really. At the age of twelve I received my first scribe.
Try telling that to a DIMIA officer and you'll find yourself locked up no question.
DIMIA took Cornelia at her word. That was not their error. Validating her professed identity or finding out that it could not be validated and doing it so damned slowly. That was their mistake.
Giving her the benefit of the doubt was not wrong.
She deserves her apology from the PM. But that is all. The whole thing is just awful. But for the life of me I cannot get worked up over having Mandy Vanstone resign.
20/20 hindsight applied to DIMIA is pretty harsh given all the cases they deal with and all the effort they go to to be accurate about detention.
:: WB 4:15 am [link+] ::
French is not an international language
:: Tuesday, 12 July 2005 ::
Amid all the awfulness of the London terror, the reactions of wetheaded lefties with their blame laid at Blair and Bush et al instead of at the actual murderous fanatics, this has made me about as happy as a clam.
God Bless the DrinkSoakedTrotsForWar and God Bless Mister Shintaro for telling it like it is.
The French cannot count.
And this too that came by email:
The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from Run to Hide. The only two higher levels in France are Surrender and Collaborate.
The rise was precipitated by a recent fire which destroyed France's white flag factory, effectively paralyzing their military.
Ha ha ha. Aaah. Less than 50 words, absolutely perfect.
Narure is balanced when the French are mocked.
And before you send me any Italian jokes I know 'em I know 'em:
Q: How many gears has an Italian tank got?
A: 1 to go forward and 11 to go back.
Q: Is there any point trying to bomb Italy?
A: Nope. It'll just slide right off.
Get it? We're vain and don't like to be hurt and we're greasy too.
Pretty awful, huh? And yet....yet...somehow, the French stuff is objectively funnier.
Now, tapping of short wordage, I am liking Les Nessman very much.
Hope you did your one minute's silence for London. And then hope you felt some cheer cos the world is a shitful place when you ponder on the violent jackasses, but it is a lovely place when you think about how funny it is to mock the French for the fact that they cannot count properly.
Ottanta. See how much better we are?
:: WB 2:49 pm [link+] ::
Bunyip Nails the Age, Media Watch and the Vic EOC
They do not him Prof for nothin'.
:: WB 3:58 pm [link+] ::
:: Thursday, 7 July 2005 ::
On Sept 13, 2001, while the rubble at New york and the Penatgon was still smouldering The Guardian published this travesty by Seamus Milne titled "They can't see why they are hated" and featuring this line:
But any glimmer of recognition of why people might have been driven to carry out such atrocities, sacrificing their own lives in the process - or why the United States is hated with such bitterness, not only in Arab and Muslim countries, but across the developing world - seems almost entirely absent.
Driven to carry out terrorism. Unable to prevent themselves from flying planes into buildings, the terrorist had been "driven" to it by the US.
Yesterday Phillip Adams in The Australian wrote a piece, not a week after the London bombings, titled "Britain had this coming" featuring this line:
And let's be clear about it: the people who died in the subway tunnels and on the bus were victims of the Iraq war. They died because of Blair's London Bridge, the one he built from the Thames to the Euphrates.
Had he not misled his nation into that murderous folly of an invasion, the people would have walked off the trains instead of being carried off on stretchers. Or had their body parts collected in bags.
If not for Blair, no bombing. The bombers bombed because they had no choice. It was outta their hands. Every step they took down into the Tube, up on to the steps of the bus, was uninterruptable.
At no point as he walked could the bomber slow his steps and turn back.
He had no chance at all to walk into a lavatory and slow himself up away from people.
There was no time, what with all the walking and the thinking and the seeing other people alive whose lives were going to be ended by him.
It was out of his hands. Blair was making him do it. Tony Blair, miles away in Scotland, giving aid to Africa. Blair made the bomber step every step. Left him no choice. No time.
You do see how much bullshit that is, right?
At any point surely one of the bombers, if not all four, might have turned back.
They did not.
Not one of them did. Not a second thought.
Seamus and Phil have, despite their preference to blame the victim, in fact identified a universal truth about the perps: they are incapable of self-restraint.
Robots of madness.
I do wish Seamus and Phil would stop covering for them.
It seems the editors of Phil's paper also wish Phil would stop covering for them. Check this editorial.
Natch the Tobe has addressed this too. So does the Chrenk.
This letter writer nails Phat Phil nicely:
ISN'T it nice to know that the sun will come up each day and that Phillip Adams will blame the victim when the terrorists strike (Opinion, 12/7). Who needs al-Qa'ida when we have our very own resident renegade, loathing the society which has given him a very comfortable life indeed.
Gravelly Beach, Tas
Gravelly Beach? Aah, always good to see the Great Australian Naming Rules applied.
Gravelly. I'd rather think about that than think about how seamus and Phil just do not know why they are hated so much.
:: WB 3:11 pm [link+] ::
:: Wednesday, 6 July 2005 ::
All anger all the time for the perps and their familes and all good wishes and hopes for victims and witnesses and locals and viewers and everyone else.
No backing down.
Toby says it well and Blair, natch, has everything needed to stay up to date.
Hit the UK links at left and support BritBloggers.
I am gonna be in Englerland all next month. I shall be pleased to drop pounds and pounds and pounds of pounds into London to help that top town get back together, although at the rate their emergency services are working the Brits will have tidied up and all will be back to normal by the time I touch down.
Oh, and thanks so much for your call, Soddy letting us know all's ok in London for the boy. Abbraccione.
:: WB 2:29 pm [link+] ::
A letter in today's Sydney Morning Herald, all about the union scare campaign about changes proposed by the elected Howard government who happens to hold a slim majority in the Senate following the election:
How do you negotiate work conditions when you have no access to unfair dismissal laws?
Emma Ashton, Marrickville
See that? Do you see it?
I need unfair dismissal laws that protect me from getting sacked for doing my job poorly because the laws frighten my small business employer into thinking he/she cannot sack me without me traipsing off the Industrial Relations Commission and natch I will go there cos alls I care about is the low bar set for sacking blah blah blah notice how I could not give a good goshdarn about anything to do with actually performing my job well in return for my pay?
What is her problem?
Small business folks employ bunches of working folks in Oz and the new industrial relations laws are focussed on 100 employees or less, apparently, cos the laws have not been announced to date and the unions are getting their scare bullshit in early.
Emma of Marrickville asked a question and the answer is this:
By reviewing your conditions and making sure your employer and you understand what it takes for you to do your role well, and what will happen if, hopefully it never happens, the employer needs to sack you cos he/she cannot support your salary with their business.
By being collegiate, by thinking, by understand your role in the workplace and the wider Oz world. By understanding you do not have a right to a job and that some workplaces are better run than others.
Jeez, buy not being an anti-employer jackass.
By stopping listening to the Oz union movement cos it has nothing to offer anyone these days. Nothing. Just another rostered day off, that's all the union is good for. And you will notice, the focus is not on actually working.
Emma's employer might ask:
How do you negotiate work conditions with a new or even an existing employee if their head is full of union bullshit about having a godgivenright to keep their job even if they do it poorly or the business cannot afford them?
:: WB 3:18 pm [link+] ::
Congrats all you Englanders
London 2012 Olympics should be a hoot.
:: WB 3:14 pm [link+] ::
Hey. Some wog has written a paper...
:: Tuesday, 5 July 2005 ::
but orunno why this should be in the paper, you know?
And orunno why the headline about 'cultural cringe' should be used.
I think it says wogs are proud of their culture and hstory and love Australian culture and stuff which is laid back and whatever.
Hardly breaking news or even special information. Why is this in the paper?
:: WB 3:02 pm [link+] ::
Don't Talk Crepe, Ya Big French Plonker
God Bless The Sun.
And check out some Sun readers' comments.
This is priceless from a Frenchman defending Chirac's clumsy bigotry:
You just don't know how to cook at home normally and just like in any other field, you have this natural arrogance that make your people the most hated in the whole of Europe.
And this from a Englander:
We might not have great food to French standards, but at least English women shave their armpits! Women not doing that would put me off my food no matter what I was eating!
Nature balances itself, eh?
Just to be clear, but, the Italians have the best food on the planet.
:: WB 5:26 pm [link+] ::
Oh yeah, Brave Iraqi Resistance
:: Monday, 4 July 2005 ::
Look, this is the deal pure and simple.
Freaks in Iraq have not been able to prevent a new government getting elected, so are now turning their attention to kidnapp and posibly kill diplomatic staff from other countries arriving in Iraq.
And that will achieve what?
I'm sorry what was that?
One more time?
Nothing. Nothing but loathing and for the already loathed.
Why doesn't Zarqawi just video himself slicing off his own head, man is such a loser.
:: WB 5:01 pm [link+] ::
No rest for the Wicked
Bin trolling through NewsNow and GoogleNews for this morning's stuff.
Not sure what I reckon about any of it.
But I know what I do reckon - big oxen rock.
:: WB 2:55 pm [link+] ::
Did you know the Arab League represents a fifth of the 53 African Union countries?
Libya is hosting the African Union get together.
Libya's Gaddafi says Africa should "stop begging" and Nigeria's Obasanjo reckons that "rich nations should repay money looted in the past by corrupt African leaders and deposited in the West - funds believed to be worth tens of billions of dollars".
See that? One is calling for some sort of independence, however crackpot in its thinking, and the other is blaming whitey for blacky's own corruption, and demanding money!!
And no one there, but no one, is addressing Mugabe's Zimbabwe.
Orunno what to make of all this.
:: WB 2:25 pm [link+] ::
G8 Protests - what is the point?
Yeah, yeah, protest is a legitimate form of expression and blah blah blah.
Violent anarchist protest?
Pah. Film every last one of these protesty jackasses and mock them for the remainder of their lives.
UPDATE: Top Scots Blog (now linked at left), Freedom & Whiskey has the goods - keep reading.
:: WB 1:57 pm [link+] ::
The Law is an Ass
:: Saturday, 2 July 2005 ::
:: WB 1:23 pm [link+] ::
UPDATE: On the death of Nicola Calipari & the non-death of Giuliana Sgrena
Back in May I wrote about this here and here.
Well, I got a fantastic thoughtful email from a reader, and he gave me permission to reproduce it here. I am so grateful and remiss for having left it so long.
It's kinda loike a fisking, but in a good way.
Bottom line for me? I think the Italians contributed to the awfulness.
Have youse got any idea how hard that is for me to admit? Whoa, I need to lie down.
I read your blog routinely ... But this is a case where I must disagree with you. It is also a case where it is obvious that you are using civilian criteria to judge a military situation. As an ex military fellow, please let me make a few comments.
Monday, May 02, 2005 ::
Calipari Lost his Life Needlessly
It is not a case of "blame" on a US soldier's "inexperience".
It is a case of:
The roadblock was on on a on-ramp at a tight curve without advance warning;
COMMENT: Soldiers do this. There was a tactical reason for this. You do it to prevent open fire lanes (hard to shoot round a corner), and to prevent those who may not wish to be searched or seized (like terrorists) having an opportunity to escape. A possible flaw with the roadblock was a lack of early warning, but they compensated by making their stop and shoot lines a goodly distance away, and using a flashlight-laser warning technique. Importantly, local topography is something you cannot change, you merely plan accordingly. Cars filled with explosives will have a harder time getting up to high speed on a curve. That is where I’d want to position a block, or a vehicle check point (VCP). I would want a suicide driver to have a bad sight line to where my people are, and a high workload when approaching me. More chance for him to screw up his approach. Secondly, if you have a sentry out in front, he is more vulnerable, because he is alone. Oh, he would still be covered by protective fire from the main position or an overwatch position, but you have to change sentries frequently, and movement like that is what gets your people killed. Finally, why on earth would you want to advertise your presence (or give terrorists a chance to evade) by advertising a road block of VCP? That makes no tactical sense.
The US troops manning the roadblock were meant to have been replaced but had had to remain in place over their allotted time because support was late getting to them;
COMMENT: That happens a lot in a war zone. Like he should have, 2nd LT Acosta had a back up plan, but this is not a significant factor in any case. 2nd LT Acosta’s group took over from 1st LT Daniels at 1930. The incident occurred only 75 minutes later "(U) At approximately 2045 hours the Soldiers at BP 541 were in the positions that they had been occupying since 1930 hours. They had successfully turned around 15-30 vehicles, with none getting more than a few meters beyond the Alert Line."
The one soldier who did the shooting was young and had not long completed his training for the role at the roadblock;
COMMENT: Soldiers tend to be young, and have been for some thousand of years. This is not really a relevant factor. Training is what counts. "Specialist Lozano was in his turret, his M240B (on which he had last qualified just five days before (Annex 6G)) pointed down and to his left at a grassy area with Specialist Peck in the driver’s seat in the blocking vehicle. Specialist Mejia was in the driver’s seat of the overwatch vehicle with Sergeant Domangue in the turret. Sergeant O’Hara was sitting in the rear passenger’s seat of the overwatch vehicle, cleaning his protective glasses. Staff Sergeant Brown, the acting Platoon Sergeant, was seeking to determine how much longer they were to remain in position. As such, he was standing with Second Lieutenant Acosta near the overwatch vehicle, their backs to the on-ramp. (Annexes 79C, 83C, 128C, 129C, 130C, 131C, 132C, 133C, 134C). None of the Soldiers knew that the Italians were coming. (Annexes 116C, 117C, 118C, 119C, 120C, 121C, 122C)."
In other words, Specialist Lozano had just completed his training, which means it was fresh in his mind and he had met proven standards for competence. His performance can easily be judged to be both professional and competent. This is to be expected in ANY all-volunteer professional western military force.
4. He fired 51 shots, 11 of wich hit the car and one or two of which killed Calipari.
COMMENT: He fired an M240B. (See http://www.armystudyguide.com/m240b/studyguide.htm). The cyclic rate of fire is 650-950 round per minute. So for every second the trigger is depressed, the weapon will fire 10.8 to 15.8 rounds. However, only an untrained person simply holds the triggers down and hoses away, because the barrel will overheat and distort (start to melt) within 90 seconds of cyclic fire. Well trained soldiers fire in ‘bursts’. As the guide states: What is the rapid rate of fire for the M240B? 200 Rounds per minute, barrel change every 2 minutes, 2-3 seconds between bursts . So he was using rapid rate firing but in a continuous burst (not 5-15 rounds – pause – 5-15 rounds). Again, this indicates very tight fire control and a professional and competent operator, because this is exactly how you fire short of a moving, closing target and try to ‘walk’ the fire in to the engine bay, avoiding the passenger cabin. You MUST keep up cyclic fire to do this ‘walking the fire’. 51 shots and 11 hit (21.5% hit rate at close range against a huge target. If he had been firing at the centre of seen mass, expect 80-90% of rounds on-target, all thru the passenger bay. The kid did pretty well in the seven seconds he had to assess, react, acquire the target, fire off target, and try to walk the fire in to the engine bay. EVEN MORE IMPORTANTLY, this is pretty close to proof that the Italian car was really moving fast. The distances match up, and this is the amount of time the vehicle was being engaged from the Warning Line until it stopped. Four seconds of cyclic rate fire at a 21.5% hit ratio is very good considering the circumstances. When the crap really goes down, it's VERY hard to take the finger off the trigger. Specialist Lozano did. That indicates very good training, and very good fire discipline.
No punishment for the US soldier? I understand why not. I do not believe he just shot up the car to kill the occupants. I do not want to believe that.
COMMENT: You are perfectly correct. All the evidence in the classified report indicates that Specialist Lozano did all within his training and experience to avoid unnecessary harm.
But I do believe this was a needless death.
COMMENT: Agreed. The critical point here is that nobody on the Italian side thought to inform the US military that they had a diplomatic-mission associated vehicle making a run down Route Irish. That was the fundamental error made here – and it was both stupid and unnecessary. The place is a declared war zone, for goodness’ sake!
Who puts a roadblock on an onramp at a tight curve without advance warning of its presence for drivers?
COMMENT: Already covered. When blocking a road, you block the on-ramps. They are usually curved. You cannot change that. You do not give people advance notice of this, nor do you advertise its precise presence. They DID emplace signs saying that the road was blocked, but no so as to provide targeting data on the block points. Note that all other vehicles that night were moving more slowly than the Italian vehicle must have been, were stopped in the appropriate place, and turned around. The Italian vehicle did not - WHY? Because Calipari was moving too fast, lacked situational awareness, was distracted by talking on a mobile, probably partially blinded by reflections from having the cabin light on, and also distracted by having Sgrena yammering away in the back.
And who leaves in charge of the roadblock just-out-of-training folks who have overstayed their assignment and need to be relieved?
COMMENT: Not in accordance with the facts as we know them. This WAS a relieving group. All military people at all levels are always in some form of training. That is what we do, train continually in a cycle, to keep skills high. You are at your best when just off training. Personal case: I am required to do two range days per annum, a day shoot and a day/night shoot. Each is a full day, running us through basic weapons performance, thru all the action and safety drills, stripping and cleaning etc, then a test, then out to the range, shoot to obtain a designated standard of competence in marksmanship, which is then reported. I think this is where much of your misunderstanding lies. Civilian training is: do the training, then do the job. If you don’t ever use the training, nobody cares much, you are still ‘trained’ no matter how much the skill has actually decayed. Military training is radically different: do the initial training, get in to the job, and repeat refresher training to maintain a certified skill level so the skills do not decay. For example, conversion on to the Australian F88 (Steyr 5.56mm assault rifle) is a 3 day course. Then you must do a ‘weapons handling test’ every 90 days, plus two range days per annum (both incorporate full refresher training on the F88, a handling test, and a marked range shoot).
Chalk up a lost life of a good man to another error of the Iraq liberation.
COMMENT: Yes, but the error lies in not informing the protecting powers in control of Route Irish that you were going to use it. This was stupid, and indicates a real level of amateurishness and ‘cowboy’ mentality. How did they expect to avoid attack by terrorists? They did not, they ‘chanced it’ and blew the risk management. Why did they not coordinate with the US military and obtain the force protection they provide routinely? On top of that, he (as Sgrena stated) was moving too fast, talking on the phone, had the light on, and had her in the back! No way he could maintain situational awareness at all. Stupid. Really stupid.
God, this is just awful - all prayers and wishes for Calipari and his family and friends. They have lost a good man when it need not have happened.
COMMENT: Yes, but the fault was in never telling the force protection people that you were there, not using their services, not maintaining situational awareness, not stopping when someone is both spotlighting and lasing you, and ignoring the stop signs that were emplaced on the stop lines. You just do not play amateur games in a war zone when the professionals are out and about doing their jobs. Because they will do their jobs properly, as trained.
:: W B 4:04 PM [+] ::
Your post is fine, we all agree that this should not have happened. Sgrena placed herself in danger by her own deliberate actions, her Government then bailed her out of the consequences of her own stupidity. But the operators on the ground failed to tell people they should have about the information they needed to know. Not ‘would have liked to know’, but ‘needed to know’. That is a critical difference. Those same operators then acted like amateurs in a situation that demanded cool professionalism. Bad move. I have since scanned the Italian report. It basically takes Sgrena’s word as gospel, but ignores many of her statements like "we were driving fast, nearly losing control in the puddles". She, by her own words in public, is a proven liar. You have shown this yourself on your blog. Please forgive me if I choose not to believe her testimony. I have spent time working with the US military. They do not lie. They DO screw it up, (could I tell you some tales…) they might not tell you everything, their PR people ‘spin’ things (and most real military people detest them for it), but I have never, ever seen them lie, especially in a written report. Their entire military ethos is against it, and they punish it very heavily – I’m talking dismissal in such a way that it ruins your future prospects in life, gaol time, etc. Sgrena is a bit of a bolshie, works for a left wing paper, and thinks that truth is relative. Her own words in public about this are all over the place. She has proven in public that she is extremely casual with the truth. The Italians acted like amateurs when calm professionalism was needed – and I do not understand that. They did not take advantage of available force protection, or even notify them of the transit. I cannot stress how breathtakingly stupid that was. And it bit them on the arse. They screwed up, as badly as you can screw up. I’d have the head of whoever approved that this activity be conducted in this way on a platter. Whoever let this happen in this way is the person responsible, because they approved a badly planned, appallingly risk-managed operation to be conducted by apparent amateurs in one of the most dangerous places inside a declared war zone. Stupid beyond belief– and that is why Calipari died.
A test of this: who would they blame if Calpari had been killed and Sgrena injured by terrorist gunfire in the same place, at the same time, assuming the US block was not there? I think they’d blame the US… for not protecting them!
The complete version of the US report is at: http://www.corriere.it/Media/Documenti/Unclassified.doc
Warmest Regards: Mark
Thanks for reading and writing, man. Makes blogging so worthwile.
:: WB 7:58 pm [link+] ::
:: Friday, 1 July 2005 ::
Made a mistake last night and tuned in late to see some Live8 acts.
Oh, Lord, they were working so hard and so earnestly.
Singing their songs.
Will Smith, an actor, declared the concerts the "biggest thing on the planet" or words to that effect.
Yah, Will, you ignorant jackass. The Tour de France is happening and will be attended by more folks and watched by more folks, and the World Cup soccer happens every four years and shits all over these confused concerts for sheer weight of human interest.
"Make Poverty History".
"Make me look like I did when I was 20".
Just as realistic.
Ya know, while I think on it, the World Cup is one place where African nations can be represented and treated as successful human beings, not starving bloat-bellied babies crushed by evil western indifference and venal World Bank loans.
Bog Geldof sat in an interview and declared that a few years back George Bush did not even know where Africa is, and now he is increasing aid donations.
Why the gratuitous slag of Bush, Bob?
Geldof has recognised Bush's good works for Africa before - why not now, when lots of folks are watching?
I think it is because Geldof is an earnest pain in the arse but no fool and he knows most folks going to these concerts will not be Bush fans, but I guess you take your raised fists where you can find 'em.
For mine, these concerts are a wank and a waste of time. Pink Floyd getting back together for it is the only reason to think twice about going along, but, then, old rockers are really awful, aren't they?
Have a read of this and this and this.
Then ask yourself if Geldof is right - money is not the issue, the solution is debt forgiveness and freer trade and all that without focussing on corruption to prevent the debt forgiveness and aid.
I get his point - things are so dire in parts of Africa that standing on principle to withhold more aid on account of corruption is actually no longer a reasonable choice cos it will lead to deaths, that is how late in the day it is.
This pisses me off royally - it is the most awful tactic of all, to let yourself get so dirty and poor that your neighbour has no choice but to be a good samaritan.
To behave so disgracefully and yet demand sympathy.
What is the disgrace?
Mugabe. Obasanjo. Etcetera. And their constant howling about colonialism whenever whitey has the gaul to point out that Africa's problems stem from a lot of fat despots in dresses. Mad Mugabe - Zimbabwe's President - said of John Howard - Australia's Prime Minister - when there was the meeting of Commonwealth leaders, and Howard challenged Mugabe's right to attend cos of his appalling record of leadership in his plummenting country, called Howard a colonialist racist.
Oz was a colony too.
Anyhoo, having gotten pissed off, what do I do next? Stay pissed off?
What on earth is the point of that?
I put a plug on my nose and grugdingly, grumblingly get with the debt relief and aid program.
But having said okeedokie to Geldof, I am going to keep on doing what I have always done about Africa. Noting that bunches of the leadership in various countries is corrupt. I am going to stay informed about Africa - when in doubt check out the Head Heeb (now linked at left)- and I am going to notice whether they are improving or not.
Cos the aid is fine - there is lots of it - and the aid and the debt forgiveness and the opened markets for food after all this Live8 self-indulgence will be fine too.
The unwillingness to use that money well, and to do decent works with it is the problem.
And that is a homegrown problem.
Have I any reason to imagine Africa will get it together after this latest push?
Botswana. Highest African nation on the Transparency International Index.
And the nation described in those beuatiful 'No.1 Ladies Detective Agency' books.
Well, now, if they can get it together why not others?
:: WB 6:21 pm [link+] ::
The Red Crystal?
Ya gotta read this piece. The Red Cross has refused to let Israel have a Star of david which is the Jewish symbola, right? It has let the Muslims have their crescent but not the Jews.
The solution to the emblem problem, which Switzerland has long supported, could have been implemented five years ago. A conference of signatories to the Geneva Conventions was initially planned for October 2000.
But Switzerland shelved the meeting after the then Israeli opposition leader, Ariel Sharon, visited the site in Jerusalem known to Jews as the Temple Mount. The site is also sacred to Muslims. Immediately after that the second Palestinian Intifada began.
Although the situation in the Middle East is less tense now, it is still not sure that the use of the "red crystal" as the protective emblem of the Red Cross movement would be universally respected.
See it? Ariel Shron started to second Intifada.
The second intifada started cos Yasser Arafat (spit) was due for re-election and did not care to bother with that process and used Sharon's visit to a sacred Jewish site, not just a sacred Muslim site, as the pretence, showing all the utter lack of restraint that has come to define Palestinians.
And Switzerland - neutral in WWII, did what? Why, it took Arafat's side of course.
Damned Jews, eh? Puhlease.
(hattip for this whole weirdo topic: Zibibbo is Good)
:: WB 7:36 pm [link+] ::
Australian Unions Are Pathetic .... and perfectly Legal and dying a natural death
Nick O'Malley of the Sydney Morning Herald covers the issue and gently reveals the unions to be 'barking mad':
One of the most dramatic aspects of the Federal Government's proposed workplace changes has almost been disregarded during the past month of brawling between unions, employer groups, premiers and the Government.
Within five years almost one in five workers could be signed on to an Australian workplace agreement, an individual contract that overrides any and all of the thousands of state and federal awards.
These workers will have largely forgone union representation in bargaining for pay and conditions, giving up most of the minimum awards set by the Industrial Relations Commission. They will be left with just five basic rights guaranteed and enshrined in law: minimum pay, three leave conditions and ordinary working hours.
For many workers, having these contracts slid across a table at them by a new employer on the first day at work will be their wake-up call that Australia's industrial relations landscape has truly changed.
You get the contract slid across a table to you on the first day?
You get the contract in the post after you have gone through the application process for the job and been given an offer by an employer in the form of the written document.
You hold all the cards, cos you can take up the offer or not.
You might be starving and desperate to feed your family and feel you do not hold the cards and therefore need to take the job.
But nothing is getting slid across to you.
You are being treated as an adult and capable of maiking a decision. And if you are a wog and not to good-a widda di engalish, you get your kids or your buddies who are fluent to read the doc and translate it for you. And then you decide what you want to do, which is preumably to sign up, sinece you have deicded you would like to work and the work you have decided to do is work for the employer.
Sheesh, 'slid across the table'. Ooooh, is it night-time? Is there a dark office, two fat guys in the shadows and one nasty Human Resources rep at the table shining a light in the poor worker's eyes?
The Government started pushing workplace agreements in its first reforms after it was elected in 1996. They proved thuddingly unpopular, and today only 2.5 per cent of workers are signed to them.
Exsqueeze me again?
They are unpopular because they do not represent what most deals are - which is independent employment contracts.
AWAs are nothing but red tape writ large. As the article goes on to show.
Chris Briggs, a senior researcher at Sydney University's industrial relations research centre, says many employers found the agreements' administrative costs outweighed the benefits. "And many of them are small business so they were a bit too busy running their businesses to worry about it."
Even if employers went to the trouble of negotiating and certifying the agreements, a mandatory no-disadvantage test meant they had to meet set industry awards and conditions. But not any more.
The no-disadvantage test will be scrapped in favour of the five minimum standards, and the government office responsible for policing the awards, the Office of the Employment Advocate, has been charged with helping small business set them up.
Ahh, too much admin and not enough genuine independence from awards and stuff. Red tape, right?
It has always been easier - not to mention less patronising - to use independent employment contracts, which is exactly what non-unionised and smaller business has been doing.
Red tape over workplace agreements is to be swept away. Template awards that can be signed by staff and employers and sent off for fast approval by the advocate have been written. Even better, from the employers' point of view, though present staff cannot be forced onto workplace agreements, they may refuse to employ new staff who won't sign.
As 25 per cent of the workforce take on a new job each year, the growth of workplace agreements could be explosive. Industry groups such as the Pharmacy Guild and the Restaurant & Catering Association have declared they are working with the advocate to establish industry-standard workplace agreements. This is one of the points that has the unions barking mad.
While the Government says it wants to prevent industry-wide bargaining - known as pattern bargaining - by unions, it has established an office to help employers do it.
See that? Employers "may refuse to employ" as if being employed is a right.
The worker can refuse to accept an employer's offer.
The offer is coming from the employer. Not from the worker. The worker is sizing up the offer and deciding whether to accept it.
Briggs says that when a similar system was adopted in New Zealand some supermarket workers heavily dependent on shift penalties lost up to 40 per cent of their income.
Briggs, who carried out the research predicting a 20 per cent uptake of the agreements in the medium term, is sceptical that workplace agreements are genuinely negotiated. He says all the available research shows workers are simply told to "take it or leave it".
That is what employees of the Department of Education, Science and Training, the department responsible for the system, say happened to them. "They said they were happy with all our work but if we wanted to have our existing contracts renewed we had to sign an AWA," a mid-ranking department officer says. "They had all the paperwork right there and then. And they made us sign off on a thing that said, 'We are happy enough to sign an AWA for our ongoing employment."' The department later backed down after staff took legal advice.
This was not the experience of Rayleen Ridgeway, an employment manager at the Mounties club in Mount Pritchard, who happily signed a workplace agreement more than two years ago. She spent four days studying the agreement and won the right to cash in sick leave and annual leave. For other concessions she was offered varied hours and paid maternity leave, which she has chosen not to take up. "I'd sign it again," she says.
One guy called Briggs says the new deal will be "take it or leave it". Well, he has that right if he means "this is the offer and you are at liberty to accept it or not".
I much prefer the Rayleen's of the world, who understand what work is, what the employment relationship actually is all about, and who assesses her life to determine what will suits her.
The reporting in the article closes with:
This is the flexibility the Government believes will most benefit workers and employers. The Workplace Relations Minister, Kevin Andrews, and the Prime Minister, John Howard, argue the award system is complicated and atrophied, a relic of the industrial age that clogs today's more fluid workforce.
One industrial relations expert, Peter Rochfort, says the most dire predictions are unlikely to transpire. Yes, many guaranteed conditions will be stripped away, but employers will still have to pay well and provide good environments for good staff.
He says until the Government's legislation is revealed it is difficult to predict what the full effects will be.
"But some people, good workers, could find themselves better off," Rochfort says.
As a Labourite buddy said recently (one of the good ones, impossibly handsome, pro-Iraq war) you take the building industry and the public service sector out and you got no role for unions at all. I mean, how many friggin; rostered days off do you need?
Nick O'Malley ends his piece with this:
The upside Rayleen Ridgeway hasn't looked back since her manager at the Mounties registered club in Mount Pritchard offered
her an Australian workplace agreement more than two years ago. "All my conditions improved and my pay went up substantially," says Ridgeway, the club's training and recruitment manager.
In four days of negotiations she settled for a package that increased her holidays, allowed her to cash in her unused annual and sick leave and granted her free meals.
When the agreement expired a few months ago she happily re-signed without altering the terms. "I had no reason to. They have my complete loyalty, 100 per cent," she says.
Though concerned the Government is planning to remove the no-disadvantage test that prevents the agreements from undercutting awards, Ridgeway is helping the management roll out agreements through the rest of the club's 400 staff.
The worst-case scenario The ACTU presumes Cath, a supervisor in insurance, will lose the conditions that will no longer be guaranteed by the no-disadvantage test, costing her $5490 a year. She is covered by the Insurance Industry Award, works a 38-hour week plus three hours overtime, and at peak times works an extra day of overtime on Saturday.
Her base rate of pay as a supervisor under her award is $17.26 an hour, or $655.88 a week, she is paid time-and-a-half for the three hours' overtime she does every week, increasing her weekly wage to $733.62 The combination of overtime, six Saturdays a year and annual leave loading boost Cath's annual salary to $39,600.
But a workplace agreement could remove all penalty rates and other conditions except for her minimum hourly rate of pay, eight days' sick leave, four weeks' annual leave, unpaid parental leave and her 38-hour week. Cath's pay could be cut by $77.67 a week; she would lose overtime payments and holiday loading, cutting her salary to $34,110.
The New Zealand experience For Garry Preston, a carpenter of 34 years, this is Groundhog Day. He was living and working in New Zealand in 1991 when the then government deregulated its labour market and workers drifted towards individual contracts similar to Australian workplace agreements. By 1995, having left one job and having signed a contract to take another, he had lost allowances for travel, tools and equipment. Worse, he lost the penalty rates he depended upon to prop up his income, he says.
When people enter contracts their basic pay might go up, but they inevitably lose their loadings, so their take-home pay falls, Preston says. In 1998 he resigned and moved his family from Dunedin to Sydney, where by working long hours with overtime loading he was able to double his income. "I think potentially the laws here are worse. In New Zealand it created a working poor; people worked longer hours to gain the same pay," he says.
Do you eyes glaze over with the loading and the days off and the meal allowance and the travel and the stuff?
And does your head shut down with all this hysteria when no legislation has actually been sighted and no one even knows what the impact is going to be?
Yah. Mine too.
A whole SMH article and we are none the wiser, except we can see the hysteria of the unions perfectly.
Oh, and by the way - that rally in Melbourne? No way more than 30000 people. No way. The Oz union movement claimed 100000. They are so bad they are now doing the double-it-and-add-thirty celsius to fahrenheit.
:: WB 6:47 pm [link+] ::
Easter Pic test
:: WB 6:12 pm [link+] ::
Judge Sandra Day O'Connor on the US Supreme Court has resigned.
She will need to be replaced - cannae be having an empty seat on the Supreme Court.
Democrats, who lost the 2004 election and are the minority party in the US government because less people were moved to vote for them than were moved and voted for Republican candidates including 2-nd term US President George W. Bush, have been refusing to consent to the appointment of certain judicial nominees put up by the Bush administration.
A "compromise" position was reached recently whereby Democrats agreed to consent provided the nominee in question is not seriously unconsentworthy.
For real - that was the extent of the "compromise".
As in, it was an imprecise resolution that was no compromise at all.
Sack the folks who wasted time with that.
And as Judge Andrew Napolitano, who I think totally rocks, legal commentator on FoxNews, has just answered the question "what does seriously unconsentworthy actually mean?"
Answer: "Anybody who Senator Ted Kennedy does not like".
The man who, as this Wikipedia entry says, was driving the car that went off a bridge and overturned into the Chappaquiddick river, killing Mary Jo Kopechne . The incident resulted in Mary Jo's death cos Ted Kennedy was drunk and cos he did not save Mary Jo, instead saving himself.
I got no problem with self-preservation. It is not the lack of heroics that makes me hate the guy. Lord, I am as yellow as the next person even if the next person is Ted Kennedy.
It is the fact that, after a trauma of this sort, he has the gaul to demand respect.
I reckon he should be slumped in a bar somewhere, living lean, doing quiet good deeds for folks, with maybe a bad case of some serious disease and maybe a neighbour's kid who likes him, and hangs around with him, but who is occassionally disappointed by the drunkenness and unreliability.
Not daring to be the arbiter of who can be a judge on the US Supreme Court and who cannot.
I mean, Chappaquidick, man. Have some shame.
:: WB 5:39 pm [link+] ::
I like it when Tim Blair is mean
Atchally, in a weirdo bit of wog-skip-Oz-bloggy synchronicity, I was trawling through the Clive James site that Tim also linked to today or yesterday, and found this perfect big diamond of an essay written by James just over a year ago.
The man can think and he can write.
I particularly liked this opening bit:
The mad idea that the Jews have no right to exist is a potent intensifier of the almost equally mad idea that the State of Israel can somehow be eliminated. I say "almost" because a friend of mine in Australia recently presented me with a plausible case that the Middle East would probably be a more peaceful area if the State of Israel had never been founded. Like her argument that the Aborigines would have been a lot happier if the Europeans had never shown up, this contention was hard to rebut, except by rudely pointing out that we were both sitting in an Italian restaurant in Melbourne, history having happened.
History having happened.
Ya got that right, man.
The approach that I most loathe of the anti-Iraq types - yeah, yeah, the one's against the war, but frankly, if you ever thought Saddam was leaving without war you are just mental - is the anger and bile over history that has happened.
You know the drill - we were lied to about WMD, Saddam is not the only appalling despot on earth, containment was working [not our problem, do nothing, Bush is an idiot, soverign nations, I like refugees I just do not want to help them out at home bla-blah].
All about history.
I mean, you could not hire one of these folks, could you? How could you ever work with them? What possible value is there in a person who is wrong about something, but who cannot let go and get right about it?
Like, wogs are rather known for their ability to hold grudges (think Serbs + Croats, think me and Sister Nicoline, who gave me the strap in front of the whole school in Grade 4 because I chased Michael somebody-or-other into the toilets cos he pushed me over and took one of my shoes....the freak.....ahem). But to be fair, the grudges are all pretty well based - big fat disputes over death and land and atrocity.
But all these anglo-wankers who hate Bush, in Oz, in England, in Canadia and the US, well, whooo, they sure are giving the wogs a run for their money in the grudge-holding stakes. Cos their grudge is all about philosophy. Theirs is a philosophy that says war is bad and that is all, and mine is a philosophy that says some people are cunts and don't deserve any protections and Saddam is one.
Bottom line for my support of the war - I could not think of a good reason not to support it.
I mean, you got your jackass despot Saddam refusing to improve, on the one hand, and n the other you got Iraqi communities around the world who got their by fleeing Saddam cos he is a jackass despot, ho call him a jackass despot and want him to be removed.
Bit of a 'nuff said', really. Get rid of Saddam, get rid of a big fat refugee problem too.
But this is all too complicated for some people.
As Blair notes again, still with the plastic turkey bullshit as a slur against Bush.
Still. It was wrong day 1 and remains so in 2005.
History has happened. Everything we in the West are left with, if we indulge in fanstasies of the wrongness of the Iraq war, is a 'what if'.
There is a series of 'what if' books and i recently dipped into the 'What If America' one.
Crapola is my verdict, as you can probably guess. I got no time for what if.
Plenty of time to learn from history and do things better next time round, fer sure.
But what ifs? Nah.
Oh plus, just so's I don't miss it, Sept 11 changed everything and if it did not for you, you are an idiot. Saddam was a jackass from day 1 and everyone knew it cos the Iraqis all over the world, in Melbourne and London and Toronto etc, had been telling us all about it. But Sept 12 he became an intolerable jackass.
There was simply no good reason to tolerate him any more.
UPDATE: I also like it when Goldstein is mean.
:: WB 4:53 pm [link+] ::