That’s not torture, this is torture…   31/1/2005

Reckon we’ll hear a lot about torture in coming days with Manboobs Habib back in the presence of gullible lefty journalists.
Seems to me that if the al Qaeda wannabe had been tortured, he would have given up enough to ensure he would remain in custody. But that’s just sceptical me.
Anyways, while on the subject of torture, here’s how some real experts operated:
In one cell pieces of human flesh — ear lobes — were nailed to the wall, and blood spattered the ceiling. A large metal fan hung from the ceiling, and my guide told me prisoners were attached to the fan and beaten with clubs as they twirled. There were hooks in the ceiling used to suspend victims. A torture victim told me that prisoners were also crucified, nails driven through their hands into the wall. A favorite technique was to hang men from the hooks and attach a heavy weight to their testicles.
— Independent, March 29, 1991

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Left alone   

Talented Tom Gogola — who dips the lid unashamedly to Hunter S. — attended Bush’s inauguration where he despaired at the stupidity on his side of politics.

This is not the Left I signed up with back in the 1980s. Nor is it the Left I’d like to associate with anymore. I’ve had it with this Left, and not just because I’m no longer a knee-jerking 23-year-old looking to score Hot Leftist Pussy at the Protest. It’s because they are wrong–tactically, strategically, politically, spiritually.
The Left that showed up in D.C. is the jackbooted-thugs-maaaaan Left, the feral-cat Left, cornered and too scruffy, humorless and way-too-convinced of their own righteousness–and I’m not just talking about the shameful war.
The Left needs a “fourth way,” and the contours of such a Left ought to begin with the proposition that if you’re going to get your hands dirty, you ought to first take a shower. Burn your Rage Against the Machine albums while you’re at it, and leave Larry Summers alone. Also: Eliminate the expression “people of color” from your vocabulary. The Left we ought to have subscribes to the Weekly Standard because it’s an interesting and compelling read, and because it understands the fullness and reach of the term “liberal.” This Left is American to the core, invests in the stock market, hangs an American flag from its window without a hint of contemptuous irony. It burns its copy of The Collected Works of Katha Pollitt . It’s self-assured about its righteousness without being smug. It doesn’t equate the police with Nazi stormtroopers, and it understands that Bush, too, shall pass, and the Republic will outlive him. In other words, this Left has not completely lost faith in the resiliency of this fine country of ours.
Hey, it’s our America, too, and it’s about time the Left started reclaiming it–proudly, patriotically, without apology, and without stooping to tactics that do nothing but give those red-staters good reason to continue thinking we’re nothing but a bunch of filthy, ill-informed America-haters.

Maybe he should move to a red state. He’d probably like it just fine.

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A bob each way   

Coat-tail tuggers they call them at the racetrack. Sneaky beggars who watch you bet, see you collect and then grease up with a tip in the next, hoping to cash in on your luck.
Kofi Annan’s a bit like a coat-tail tugger, forever with a finger to the wind, not prepared to commit until someone else has taken a risk and succeeded.
We saw his MO in the wake of the tsunami; full of bluster and promises only after Australia, the US, India and a handful of other nations had rushed in to do the initial heavy lifting. The UN would do the co-ordinating, he pledged, just as soon as his people had set up their offices, secured five-star accommodation and consulted their black book listings of local deal-cutters.
Now that the allies have secured Iraq a relatively peaceful election and the long-suffering people have bravely snatched a real chance at civilised government, Annan’s hanging around hoping to win some kudos from others’ strength and sacrifice.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan appealed to all Iraqis for reconciliation “on all sides” today following the country’s national elections which were hailed by US President George W Bush as a “resounding success”.

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Fact or fiction?   

This headline and introduction in The Australian today certainly raised the eyebrows:

Habib torment lasted to the end
Martin Chulov
January 31, 2005

UNTIL he reached the chartered jet that flew him home to Australia, Mamdouh Habib was told by his American captors he was being returned to the Egyptian interrogators who allegedly tortured him.

Note: no quotes, no attribution, no corroboration, simply facts.
Habib was tormented — not a claim but presented as fact.

Evil Merrikuns told him he was returning to Egypt — not an allegation, again presented as fact.

Go down five pars and you’ll find it was a claim after all. By Habib’s US lawyer – an impeccable source no doubt for The Oz’s subs desk but worth a grain of salt from those blessed with rationale.

How hard is it to write “Habib says torment lasted to the end”; or to preface the intro with “Mamdouh Habib’s lawyer says . . .”?

It’s either shoddy journalism or propaganda. Murdoch should be angry.

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Barracking for terrorists   30/1/2005

A strict curfew, sealed borders, closed airports and blocked highways would suggest authorities in Iraq are mounting a pretty thorough defence against election day violence. Nevertheless, the fascist insurgents have mounted a couple of fatal attacks, as any realist would expect. The important thing is that so far, their efforts have been minimalised.
Yet because the dreaded Bush-Howard coalition is involved, the comrades at ABC NewsRadio (links not updated) see, as always, the half-empty glass.
Despite all the above-mentioned measures to prevent anti-democracy attacks, twice this morning NewsRadio has referred to “unchecked violence” by insurgents.
“Unchecked”? Wishful thinking.
Why are left wing Western commentators so transparently opposed to democracy for Middle East citizens? It means they either support Islamofascists or have the racist belief that Iraqi citizens are incapable of exercising democracy.
Regardless of the reason for the commentariat’s opposition to Iraqi democracy, the upshot is that they are aiding and abetting terrorism.

The make-it-as-bad-as-possible brigade has been caught out and forced to apologise.
LONDON, Jan 29 (Reuters) – The BBC apologised on Saturday for erroneously reporting that U.S.-led and Iraqi forces may be responsible for the deaths of 60 percent of Iraqi civilians killed in conflict over the last six months.

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Hans van Leeuwen is the Indian rubber man of Howard haters. The former adviser to The Greens (why would you put that in a resume if you wanted to be taken seriously) stretches himself over all bases in a snide attack on the PM in today’s Australian. Trouble is, as any Nude Twister player knows, such a ploy leaves some ugly bits exposed.
He establishes his position by asserting that Howard supporters are dumb racists:

It would surprise most Australians – Howard voters in particular – to learn that the reverse is in fact true: immigration has expanded under the Howard Government as never before.

Oh, them Howard voters who never go to the shops, or read the papers or meet their kids’ new schoolmates. Patronising drip!
Then he damns Howard with faint praise by pointing out that under little Johnny the immigration rate has increased. But horror upon horrors it’s been done at the behest of BIG BUSINESS!!!

So who has, in fact, been clamouring for a huge increase in immigration, particularly skilled professionals? Why, it’s the Business Council of Australia, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and other industry lobby groups – in short, the traditional elite constituency of the Liberal Party.
Immigration policy is just one example of the way in which Howard’s two pillars of support, big business and the battlers, often have contradictory interests or desires. Howard’s unusual achievement hasn’t been to bridge the gap between them, but to deliver to one constituency while simultaneously appearing to satisfy the other.

I guess if the only thing you can boast about is a gig at advising the Greens you wouldn’t be the sharpest knife in the draw.
But you reckon you’d be smart enough to know that the average Australian realises that migration is an essential part of national policy; that in buoyant economic times it should be accelerated; and that racism is a used-by attitude only adopted these days by dumb lefties who believe some little brown people are incapable of governing themselves.
How does this crap get into the national newspaper? Seems Rupert might have a problem in middle management at editorial level. Fergawzakes the other day they ran a headline about the upcoming Labor leadership stoush that referred to possible challenger Kevin Rudd as “Kevin”. Christian names in news headlines!!! That too, is playing Nude Twister. Sub-editor category.

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Interfering bastards   27/1/2005

Looks like Tim Blair is under serious extended attack. Spammers or hackers knocked his most recent site off the air two days ago, but fortunately the indefatigable Andrea Harris set him up in new digs. Trouble was a few minutes ago, I couldn’t access his comments or links and in jumping around the blogosphere closed my access to his new home. When I went to re-enter, no one home.
Here, some spamming pop-up bastard has got into my Explorer, so I’m working exclusively with Firefox with minimal interference. But the puter has slowed considerably and it looks like time for a visit to the software enema specialist. Ah well, as the man said: “Such is life”.

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Ray’s cool   26/1/2005

With the mercury hitting the mid-30s and a searing northerly blowing, the missus and I decided — along with about 1000 others — the local cineplex would offer cool relief. So we went to Ray which opened here today. Brilliant. More than two hours of tremendous entertainment. Charles had a wonderful gift of regularly coming up with songs that were cherry ripe for the times. Imagine what he would have achieved had he not been a junkie for the formative part of his career. After viewing the movie, be prepared to be humming Georgia for the rest of the day. Normally that cheeses me no end. But it’s such a beautiful piece of music you don’t mind. There’s also a nice little footnote about Charles, the song and the state it pays tribute to.

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Would shame be out of the question?   25/1/2005

Anyone who takes in the BBC or reads the Guardian will not be surprised at this.At least the Guardian is printing it. I wonder whether they’ll take notice or just go into denial.

Britain suffered the sharpest rise in anti-semitic attacks of any country last year, and British press coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a leading cause, according to an Israeli government report.
Natan Sharansky, the cabinet minister responsible for the diaspora, said the report found that violent attacks on Jews in Britain rose by almost half.
The government’s global forum against anti-semitism, which wrote the report, said France again topped the list of anti-semitic violence with 96 attacks, but the number in Britain rose sharply to 77.
The total number of incidents in Britain rose to 304 from 163 a year earlier when verbal assaults, damage to property and swastikas daubing were taken into account. The report has been relased as Israel focuses on anti-semitism to mark the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
Mr Sharansky attributed the British figures to “years of hostile reporting and commentary about Israel in the British press now spilling into the streets”.
His officials singled out the Guardian and the BBC, accusing them of “likening Israel to a Nazi state”. The Independent was also criticised.

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Wake-up call   

By jeez, this needed to be said. Now will the Euro-weenies take any notice?
Matthias Dapfner, Chief Executive of the huge German publisher Axel Springer AG, has written a blistering attack in DIE WELT, Germany’s largest daily newspaper, against the timid reaction of Europe in the face of the Islamic threat. Excerpt:

And Bush, supported only by the Social Democrat Blair, acting on moral conviction, recognized the danger in the Islamic War against democracy. His place in history will have to be evaluated after a number of years have passed.
In the meantime, Europe sits back with charismatic self-confidence in the multicultural corner, instead of defending liberal society’s values and being an attractive center of power on the same playing field as the true great powers, America and China.
On the contrary – we Europeans present ourselves, in contrast to those “arrogant Americans”, as the World Champions of “tolerance”, which even (Germany’s Interior Minister) Otto Schily justifiably criticizes. Why? Because we’re so moral? I fear it’s more because we’re so materialistic, so devoid of a moral compass.
For his policies, Bush risks the fall of the dollar, huge amounts of additional national debt, and a massive and persistent burden on the American economy – because unlike almost all of Europe, Bush realizes what is at stake – literally everything.
While we criticize the “capitalistic robber barons” of America because they seem too sure of their priorities, we timidly defend our Social Welfare systems. Stay out of it! It could get expensive! We’d rather discuss reducing our 35-hour workweek or our dental coverage, or our 4 weeks of paid vacation… Or listen to TV pastors preach about the need to “reach out to terrorists. To understand and forgive”.
These days, Europe reminds me of an old woman who, with shaking hands, frantically hides her last pieces of jewelry when she notices a robber breaking into a neighbor’s house.
Appeasement? Europe, thy name is Cowardice.

Read it all — priceless.

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PC flophouse   24/1/2005

Yep, the lunatics are running the asylums — in Scotland, anyway — if a job advertisement in Glasgow for a homeless shelter is any indication. Katie Grant elaborates in The Times.
This Service [their capital letter] will be unregistered and will provide a high standard of accommodation for service users with varying complexities of need, including individuals who have expressed a view to continue drinking.
“Providers must demonstrate the ability to develop services that meet this range of needs, and will be required to have a clear policy on working with people who demonstrate challenging behaviour and non-engagement with services. A needs-led, person-centred approach coupled with a commitment to the values of inclusion are intrinsic to the delivery of the service.”
There was a time when this kind of job specification appeared only in satirical magazines, which when read by Scots would have generated howls of laughter and be passed round to their friends as a splendid illustration of bonkers Islington Guardian-reader mentality, the kind of drippy, dippy do-goodish verbiage that would never be tolerated up here.

Link courtesy of John Ray.

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Slipper sunk   

Gumshoe novelist Peter Corris is from all accounts a pretty laid-back character whose dander is slow to rise. Well, The Australian’s pontificating pundit of play, Patrick Smith, has raised Cliff Hardy’s creator’s hackles.
Corris is unimpressed by Smith’s style which lately has been marked by an obsession with the boorish behaviour of tennis brat Lleyton Hewitt. “Little One” and “Little Lleyton” stud Smith’s despatches from Laver Arena.
WAYNE Groom’s letter in fulsome praise of Patrick Smith (22-23/1) was a bit too subtle for its own good. It had to be irony, didn’t it? But he never quite tipped us off. I seldom read Smith without wincing at his lack of charity and bungled attempts at wit. Some time ago, he affected a hard-boiled style – something I feel equipped to judge. It was embarrassing.
Peter Corris
Bellambi, NSW

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At your pleasure, Your Worship   23/1/2005

Damned useful advice from The Law West of Ealing Broadway, a blog produced by a dry-as-a- Jatz English magistrate:
If you are facing a short prison sentence, try to get sent down for seven days on Maundy Thursday. You see, remission is one half, and three-and-a-half days is rounded down to three. Good Friday is a Bank Holiday when prisons do not release people, just as they do not at the weekend. So you will be out on the street when the court finishes for the day, having ‘served’ your seven days in a few hours.

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Jargon jockey   22/1/2005

Academic John Pegg of the University of New England has written to The Australian defending his university against recent criticism that its student teachers couldn’t pass basic maths tests.
Reckon they wouldn’t be crash hot at English expression if Prof Pegg has anything to do with teaching it. Excerpt from his letter:

Significantly, the test was part of an integrated approach to mathematics that involved targeted units of remediation in the second and fourth year and retesting at the end of years one and three. UNE has a strong reputation as a leader in teacher preparation. The research presented indicates a further step in improving this reputation as well as alerting other tertiary institutions to potential areas of improvement.
It goes beyond accepting student credentials at HSC to unpacking where trainee primary teachers may have weaknesses or misconceptions and having a program to address these over four years. At the heart of this work is diagnosis and targeted remediation.

I can hazard a guess at what is meant by wankademic words like integrated and remediation . But what the feck in this context does he mean by unpacking?

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Daddy’s got the blues, the baby blues   

Report in our local paper, the Geelong Advertiser, today ran the weirdest excuse for illegal actions ever presented to a local court.
A 24-year-old man blamed his criminal behaviour and heroin addiction on post-natal depression.
His lawyer, apparently with a straight face, told the court his client suffered depression on becoming a father for the first time and turned to heroin as a result.
He pleaded guilty to theft charges after knocking off goods from his next-door neighbour’s shed.
Whack! Straight into the Dumb and Dumber Crims file.
We’ve got to be getting closer to that day when someone in authority with common sense slams the doors shut at our law schools. And the pysch schools for that matter.

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Delightful Democrats   20/1/2005

Is Mark Latham advising the US Democrats on strategy? The Democrats are stalling confirmation of Condoleezza Rice as Secretary of State even though the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved her nomination by a vote of 16 to 2.
So who’s leading the Democrats senatorial opposition to the appointment of a black woman to one of the world’s most powerful positions?
None other than former Ku Klux Klansman Senator Robert Byrd, who once infamously declared about desegregation in the military: “I should rather die a thousand times and see old glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again than see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen of the wilds.”

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The hornbag option   

How does Labor get back into power under Kim Beazley or Kevin Rudd or Julia Gillard? Simple really, according to this feature in The Australian: Sell your policies as if they were footy franks, Jatz crackers or fashion from a Westfield frock shop.
Social analyst David Chalke suggests one simple step taken by every Labor MP could begin rebuilding the brand. “I would stick a large picture of Kath and Kim on every Labor MP’s wall and say to them ‘that is your audience – don’t upset them’.”

So, there you go Kim. Drop the 60-word intros and simply command the nation to: “Look at moi, look at moi”.
There is some sound advice in the article, though. But it will grate with party hacks and the cheer squad from the commentariat and inner ‘burbs:

“First they have to understand where middle Australia really is at,” Chalke says. “Identify with what they want and what they are saying. Then they have to develop a new product — and it has to be tangible.” Chalke says this includes bringing in new blood with real world experience through preselections — business people with track records rather than party apparatchiks and career advisers. “You also have to neutralise the loopies in the party. They must re-elect Bomber [Beazley] unopposed. This will show party unity and then all the shadow ministers should resign and Beazley given a free hand to appoint his own shadow cabinet.”
On price, he says it is the risk people take in “buying” the new Brand Labor. “You have to neutralise it as well. Placement is the outer suburbs. This is where middle Australia lives and they don’t care what happens in inner-city Melbourne or Sydney. Labor can ignore those markets, because they will vote no matter what Labor does.”

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Had your corn, flakes?

Courtesy of Denny, the Grouchy Old Cripple.

A bear walks into a bar in Billings, Montana and sits down. He bangs on the bar with his paw and demands a beer.

The bartender approaches and says, “We don’t serve beer to bears in bars in Billings.”

The bear, becoming angry, demands again that he be served a beer.

The bartender tells him again, more forcefully, “We don’t serve beer to belligerent bears in bars in Billings.”

The bear, very angry now, says, “If you don’t serve me a beer, I’m going to eat that lady sitting at the end of the bar.”

The bartender says, “Sorry, we don’t serve beer to belligerent, bully bears in bars in Billings”

The bear goes to the end of the bar, and, as promised, eats the woman. He comes back to his seat and again demands a beer.

The bartender states, “Sorry, we don’t serve beer to belligerent, bully bears in bars in Billings who are on drugs.”

The bear says, “I’m NOT on drugs.”

………You’re gonna love this………

The bartender says, “You are now. That was a barbitchyouate

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The Republicans would be crazy not to start preparing Condi Rice for the next presidential nomination. I stayed up late last night to watch her in the Secretary of State confirmation hearings.
What a dazzler! Smart as a whip, unflappable, gracious and possessing charm by the barrowload.
And she’s a good sort who has mastered music, likes a party and enjoys football. She’d wipe the floor with Hillary Clinton.
Rice also used the hearing, which will extend to Wednesday, to outline her plans for a renewed Middle East peace initiative and other goals.
“The establishment of a Palestinian democracy will help to bring an end to the conflict in the Holy Land,” she said. “We seek security and peace for the state of Israel. Israel must do its part to improve the conditions under which Palestinians live and seek to build a better future. Arab states must join to help and deny any help or solace to those who take the path of violence.”
She added: “I expect myself to spend an enormous amount of effort on this activity” but noted that she “can’t substitute” for the parties involved that represent the Israeli and Palestinian people. “That’s the message we have to keep sending.”

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It IS true. This bloke told me it happened.   

Crikey is doing its bit for unsubstantiated garbage.
Mayne reports today that American journalist, Jon Lee Anderson, a regular Baghdad correspondent for The New Yorker, has backed up claims made by Sydney Morning Herald journo, Paul McGeough, that the Iraqi interim Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi, executed six suspected insurgents at a Baghdad police station last year.
In this week’s issue of the magazine, Anderson reveals that he was present during McGeough’s interview with a witness to the executions. He writes:
In late June, however, I sat in on an interview, conducted by Paul McGeough, a reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald, of a man who claimed to have witnessed the executions. He described how Allawi had been taken to seven suspects, who were made to stand against a wall in a courtyard of the police station, their faces covered. After being told of their alleged crimes by a police official, Allawi had asked for a pistol, and then shot each prisoner in the head…

Gawd, he can’t even get the number of executed prisoners right.
Anderson then claims that an unnamed Jordanian politician told him that an unnamed US official had repeated the claims.

Crikey at least points out that no other publication has gone anywhere near McGeough’s story in the six months since it was published.

I’ve got this terrific story I reckon Crikey should publish. If Mayne won’t use it the Fairfax stable is bound to front page it.
You see, I’ve spoken to a bloke — and another reporter was with me who’ll verify what this bloke said — and he said he saw John Howard rape three single mums and then eat their babies. Gotta be a Walkley Award in it.

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