Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Twatwatch - 31 July 2007 - Greenswatch

Well there hasn't been a twatwatch in a while. Not that there haven't been any deserving customers for it but well the same five blokes would have been getting it. But this is an HM first - applied to a website Vs a human. Which is ironic because the website by whoever is behind it is a serious sledge on their humanness.

Go here.

This site is basically an attack site against various Greens figures in politics and/or blogger land and is full of nasty innuendo, half truths or facts wrapped in a tissue of lack of context. In short nothing but e-thuggery. I don't know what tools are behind it but well their tool like nature is fairly evident.

Apparently the Greens need to be watched because progressive people who want a better deal for the poor or unfortunate need to be watching. Back in the 60's this job would have fallen to certain members of the law enforcement and intelligence community but alas they're too apolitical now for that (despite what some people think they are professional people doing their best despite a dodgy political environment).

At any rate, kudos to Greenswatch for getting into twatwatch. Well deserved.

By the way fuckwits at Greenswatch. When you talk about the Greens member of the ACT assembly who remains in public housing despite having a well paying job, under the terms of public housing you do not have to move out once your income passes a certain figure because they recognise it's an unfair disruption to your life. Guess what? She pays market rents for that place and the extra monies go into public coffers. Of course objectivity is not the name of the game with a site like this, is it?

Woo hoo - area man cracks personal record for most posts in a month

Yes it's a selfo own trumpet blown effort by me. But in my defence, all legit posts I would have posted anyway. But yes, the record has been achieved. Ha! Take that you dumb squirrel

(Cue sound of crickets as HM gestures importantly at empty squirrel absent room).

Andrews releases more sexy chat

Canberra, Australia: Kevin Andrews, voted sexiest man in Cabinet, much to the chagrin of the testosterone pumped Tony Abbot, today released further information obtained in regards to Dr Haneef that the minister used when deciding to withdraw the Indian medico's visa on character grounds - despite the fact this power has only been used to date following a conviction in a court of law.

'It appears that in the days before the Glasgow attack that Dr Haneef received an email from persons unknown, saying they had it on good authority that there would be a terrorist incident,' said the Minister.

'The unknown person received this information from a friend who happened to be in Glasgow when the bloke in front of him at a shopping queue, an Arab in full costume, dropped his wallet on the floor. The friend apparently picked it up and tapped him on the shoulder to return it. The Arab gentleman was very grateful, opened his wallet and pulled out several £50 notes. “Here,” he said. “You must have a reward for your honesty.”


'When the friend of the unknown suspect in contact with Dr Haneef declined the cash, the Arab leaned towards him and whispered: “Well you must allow me to do something for you. Stay out of Glasgow on June 30.” And with that the unknown person's friend reported the Arab was gone.

'Needless to say this information is fairly damning. You have Dr Haneef declaring on a very soft interview on 60 minutes that he would report those he knew in a plot, yet this email proves he had direct knowledge of an impending incident and failed to act. An incident involving his cousin.'

The minister then mocked the ALP stance on calling for an inquiry into the way all organs of national government worked in regards to the Haneef case, labeling it 'a sop to terrorists and/or inner city leftists who, as we know, would rather a bomb go off in Sydney than to retard any form of civil liberties.'

NOTE: This is a satirical post. Except the last point which is loose adaptation of what Andrews said on Jones' show; 'We are dealing with serious security issues, Alan. And that’s why I had to look at, in making my decision which was, as you say, not convicting someone beyond reasonable doubt, but whether or not I had a reasonable suspicion on character grounds that was an association with people that have been alleged, and in once case now charged, with a terrorism offence in the UK. You know, sometimes when I listen to the critics I wonder whether people want a bomb to go off in Sydney before they’ll actually do something.'

Yeah we all want a bomb to go off before civil liberties are curtailed. We want a strong intelligence and law enforcement body that has a balance of laws to do its job but not fuck people over in the first place. We want a government that uses its national security policy to protect Australians, not as a defacto arm of its re-election strategy and in doing so develop policies which actually encourage terrorism against Australians and our interests.

UPDATE: Some Arab Australians have unfortunately taken advantage of this hysteria. And they should be ashamed of themselves!

And then we have this DAAS number

Which makes me laff every time ... and I find myself singing it hours later.




UPDATE: Sang it loud and sang it proud in the shower. Man acoustics are awesome in the shower. If I was trying to get on idol I'd ask to do it in a demountable shower. Of course then you'd look like the costume Ralph was beaten up whilst wearing in 'The Karate Kid'.

Songs that get you right there

The Doug Anthony All Stars cover of the Hunter's "Throw your arms around me"

Snack Machine Badness

Look I know I said I rarely use the snack machine at work. And it's true I don't. But in an effort to get stuff done and claw back some flex I stayed back tonight, long after our fun fridge closed. So I was forced to partake of snack machine use.

Anyway, don't you fucking hate it when you misread the fucking code for the fucking bar you want and instead of the delish Snickers you get the fucking horrid Cherry Ripe?

Yes. The answer is yes, I really hate that.

And no, I did not propose to the snack machine this time.

BTW, does anyone actually like Cherry Ripes?

Just add chat - the Haneef cake rises

Well it seems our brown Hicks, Haneef, who received a garlanded welcome back home had some interesting chat room chats with his bro, according to Super Double Secret Probation Andrews, who used this chattry info to cancel Haneef's visa even though Haneef made bail (and was therefore unable to travel and had to report to police).

From the ABC

Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews says some of the information he used to make a decision to cancel Mohamed Haneef's visa included an Internet chat room conversation with the doctor's brother in India.

Mr Andrews says he had been advised by solicitor-general David Bennett QC that he can release some elements of the previously secret information he used to cancel the visa.

He says in the conversation, Dr Haneef's brother says, "nothing has been found out about you", "have you got permission to leave work?" and "tell them you have a newborn daughter".

Mr Andrews also says, in the conversation, which took place the day before Dr Haneef tried to leave Australia, the doctor's brother asks, "when are you getting out?" To which Dr Haneef replied, "today."

Mr Andrews says he will not be releasing all the information at Mr Bennett's advice, due to further investigations both in Australia and overseas.

The solicitor-general has seen the material Mr Andrews based his decision on and has backed it the Minister's decision.

Mr Andrews also revealed information on why he says Dr Haneef was trying to leave Australia on a one-way ticket before Federal Police picked him up.

"He did not apply for leave from the hospital when he went to work at the hospital on the Monday morning and it was not until after he received two telephone calls - one from India - having been told in both calls that there was an issue about his SIM card, that he applied for leave that afternoon from the hospital," he said.

A terrorism-related charge against Dr Haneef was dropped last week and he has since returned to India.

Mr Andrews has been under pressure to release the reasons behind his decision not to reinstate the doctor's visa since the charge was dropped.

Of course context is king. Andrews has released some select words it seems which can have blanks filled in around it for some delicious possibilities. Chat that has occurred after the Glasgow incident and not before it. And why then if this was an issue did it not appear before the magistrate? Surely this would have been handy info to know.

It also does not change the fact that Haneef under bail restrictions would have been under ... bail restrictions! So it's not like he could have legged it. Then after all of that if this disconnected chat speak is so damning, why did Dean Wormer let Haneef go?

Andrews is no longer fighting one hand behind his back. But as irony would have it once again selected information released is king for him. Which is what the cops seems to have done with every single terror case in this country in the last five year.

Skeptic hat is still firmly on.

UPDATE: If you want to see Andrews get on to the talk chat bandwagon then go here, where he toured the broadcast land this morning with a heavy heart saying how he knew stuff but couldn't release it (but did later).

Naturally Alan Jones was at his most sycophantic and leading in that treasured way where he says 'I think (insert government policy) is the way we should do it, what do you think?' to which a happy chappy government man simply has to say yes.

This is the most hilarious bit.

ALAN JONES:

Yes, just, it’s been reported today that Dr Haneef’s been offered a swag of medical jobs in India. Why wouldn’t he have worked there if that’s where his wife and child were?

MINISTER ANDREWS:

Well that’s a very interesting question. It’s a very interesting question why he wasn’t in India for the birth of his child, for example. These are matters which there are elements of suspicion on the part of the police and elements of suspicion which I share.

News flash Kevin Andrews, owner/occupier of the 457 scheme. Doctors from developing nations come here because the money is far better. Haneef was on around 70k in Oz. Back in India a Doctor of his skills set is as I understand it on something like 20k. Of course the Minister knows this, as would anyone in his fucking portfolio who manages the very programs that encourage people to come here for the salary and instead of saying 'well Alan the money is better here' he wanks on with his 'yes, very suspicious' crap.

UPDATE2: This is The Age story on it, which expands a bit. My gut feeling is the relatives knew what had happened via the news and, because they know what Haneef could have potentially been facing, encouraged him to come home. Again supposition on my part but it's an equally valid view given the darkly suspicious 'well?!?!' from Andrews on said chat room info. But of course no transcript provided. Lest the people who wrote it become aware of its existence and forgot all about what they said in that chat. "What did we say Achmed?, what??"

Monday, July 30, 2007

Andrews summons the shade of Dean Wormer

But Andrews continued to refer yesterday to Haneef as "highly suspicious" and cited a newly obtained opinion from the Solicitor-General, David Bennett, that the visa cancellation power was properly exercised. Andrews has sought legal advice on whether he could release what he previously described as "secret information" attached to the wider federal police brief he says he relied upon.

See here.

Dean Wormer, your
views?

Dean Wormer: Greg, what is the worst fraternity on this campus?

Greg
: Well that would be hard to say, sir. They're each outstanding in their own way.

Dean Wormer
: Cut the horseshit, son. I've got their disciplinary files right here. Who dropped a whole truckload of fizzies into the swim meet? Who delivered the medical school cadavers to the alumni dinner? Every Halloween, the trees are filled with underwear. Every spring, the toilets explode.

Greg
: You're talking about Delta, sir.

Dean Wormer
: Of course I'm talking about Delta, you TWERP! This year is going to be different. This year we are going to grab the bull by the BALLS and kick those punks off campus.

Greg
: What do you intend to do sir? Delta's already on probation.

Dean Wormer
: They are?

Greg
: Yes, sir.

Dean Wormer
: Oh. Then as of this moment, they're on DOUBLE SECRET PROBATION!

Greg
: Double Secret Probation, Sir?

Dean Wormer
: There is a little-known codicil in the Faber College constitution which gives the dean unlimited power to preserve order in time of campus emergency. Find me a way to revoke Delta's charter. You live next door. Put Neidermeyer on it. He's a sneaky little shit, just like you, right? [Greg nods] The time has come for someone to put their foot down. And that foot is me.

So who in the Cabinet is that sneaky little shit Neidermeyer? I personally think it would be Abbott.

Needless to say I am sure someone in the executive will shortly release information to the press on Haneef being seen stocking a truckload of fizzys ahead of the great APEC swim meet.

More Haneef Goodness

In accordance with keeping Haneef from pesky media (though for some reason Haneef managed to chat with Channel 9), apparently the immigration department did him a solid.

See here.

He had enjoyed the flight, in the second row of the first-class cabin, and had slept much of the nine hours to Bangkok, after a sleepless Friday night in a Brisbane apartment provided by the Department of Immigration.

Rather than eat the lobster medallions and foie gras on the first-class menu, Dr Haneef, 27, tucked into a halal meal that he had pre-ordered from economy before being upgraded. The upgrade was one of many tactics by Immigration Department officials to quarantine Dr Haneef from Australian journalists travelling on the same flight, even though he was believed to have given a paid interview to Channel Nine's 60 Minutes before he left Australia.

His lawyer, Peter Russo, who said he was not involved in the Nine transaction, had earlier told reporters in Brisbane that immigration authorities "made it a condition of facilitating [Dr Haneef's] return to India that he not take part in news media photos or interview opportunities". But the Haneef camp's sudden media shyness may have had more to do with the need to honour the exclusivity deal with 60 Minutes.

Either way, extraordinary arrangements were put in place to shield the doctor from the media. Minutes before the flight boarded in Brisbane, journalists were moved from seats they had booked near Dr Haneef to more remote seats upstairs. An Australian official boarded the plane to oversee the reshuffle, and the plane took off late. Announcements warned against the use of cameras or recording equipment, and anxious flight attendants told passengers not to come near the first-class cabin because it was "very secret".

I don't begrudge the man his upgrade. Far from it. But is this really well spent money by the apparently apolitical Immigration department to prevent the man from exercising the right to talk to people about his experiences? I hope the minor parties and Opposition ask lots of questions about this decision.

A delish Downer moment

SBS loves to cut its footage from the one interview and splice it against relevant stories. Different words etc - nothing repeated - but it's fairly obvious.

Tonight they had Downer at an airport. When asked about Haneef he was his usual plumy self, chuckling at the idea anyone in the government owed anyone an apology. 'What do they expect (chuckle, chuckle)? Us to get down into dirt and grovel (chuckle, chuckle)'.

Five minutes later SBS touched on a report that the PNG military recommended charges against Somare for organising the airlift of the Solomon's Attorney General who Australia was hunting (on behalf of Vanuatu for some reason). Cue Downer, with a sober expression, saying 'the PNG PM has a great deal of explaining to do.'

Ha, ha, ha. Here's Downer full of vim and vigour describing the outrage a lot of us have over their shitty use of shitty laws to fuck someone for political benefit (irrespective of the national security issues which obviously needed to be addressed) as 'silly' and 'over the top', and there he is passing judgment on the PNG PM for his own legal trickery.

Does that man even think before he opens his mouth?

Sucky visit

Our lovely Syd friend came down to share the BB double days of ending celebration with thewife. 10 minutes out from our place her alternator fried and her car came to a juddering halt. Forced to leave it at a petrol station overnight she spent this morning organising repairs and meeting tow trucks etc. When thewife and Syd friend got home her mobile rang.

It was the police. Some c___ had broken into her flat, leaving her Mog like moggie freaked out. The cops rang Syd friend from her flat and told her they were securing it for her.

So then she had to get a hire car to get back home and sort it out AND since she left late this pm it means she missed out on the BB final.

That is the shittiest call you can get below injury or death to a loved one. I really, really feel for her. I have had six car break ins and one house break in since I have been in the ACT. And every single time I drive home where thewife and I have not been at home I wonder if our house has been robbed again.

Fuckers.

Toast Watch - July 29 a black day

As campers know I like my toast. I have these rituals with food - perhaps a limited form of OCD - I get that - but once the toast is done I don't want to be interrupted. I don't want to talk to people. I just want to eat it and watch TV or read something.

Hell as a kid I used to do toast laps around the dining room table knowing that 25 revolutions meant a decent browning.

Anyway, yesterday was a black day. As I had shooed away thewife with a half nod at the toast plate I just sat down with it when I knocked the fucking diet coke across the paper. Annoyed I grabbed the Enjo dish cleaning thing and mopped it up. Preparing to sit down again I threw the coke soaked rag at the sink. I hit high and knocked the stoopid rooster tea cosy clad teapot into the sink where it smashed.

Thewife bless her didn't mind about the teapot but still major Toastus Interruptus and it made me sad. The toast was cold.

Bastard luck

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Ramsey calls Rudd a Pr!ck

I know Ozzer journos are earthy types, and I love reading Ramsey's work - even if large chunks of his columns are quotes from other people. His overt dislike of Howard and co is enjoyed by me, but he's not afraid to likewise turn his Mad Eye Moody esq glare on to the Federal Opposition.

As previously noted Ramsey has mentioned Rudd negatively a few times since the Ruddster became leader, discussing Rudd's control issues and heavy handedness when it comes to handling the media.

This is Sat's recent effort.

He concludes it by saying "I wrote at the time of the Rudd attempt to stand over The Sun-Herald that I'd always thought him a very bright but prissy, precious p--ck. The way he dealt with Nicholas Stuart is the way he's dealt with others across his life. There are a lot of dark corners. He will be our next prime minister, but he'll remain the same three-P he's been for years."

Ouch. No pulling punches there. I think however that's the first time an elder member of the journalist elite has called a serving party leader a prick.

As an aside I remember when I changed schools in High School in year 9. One of the people that day called me a prick. I was really offended. It's a minor word, and it's not like the C-word is for impact, but still it's definitely offensive. Let's hope Ramsey is wrong. I really, really, really want Rudd to succeed but it's important to me he succeeds in combo with his party and he's not an arsehole about it.

Abbott actually manages to sound like an even bigger twat

I didn't think it was possible. But, well, it is! Abbott from Insiders. Let's ignore what the government did and instead concentrate on the opposition for agreeing in principle with the government. What a friggin' clown.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Broadcast: 29/07/2007

Reporter: Barrie Cassidy

Federal Health Minister Tony Abbott will once again be a key player in the Coalition's bid for re-election when John Howard seeks a fifth term later in the year.

Transcript

BARRIE CASSIDY, PRESENTER: And now to our program guest, Health Minister, Tony Abbott. And once again, he'll be a key player in the Coalition's bid for re-election when John Howard seeks a fifth term later in the year.

Tony Abbott, good morning and welcome.

TONY ABBOTT, FEDERAL HEALTH MINISTER: Good morning, Barrie.

BARRIE CASSIDY: Are you able to explain why Dr Haneef is a free man today, when nothing has changed since Kevin Andrews locked him up in the first place?

TONY ABBOTT: Kevin acted on AFP advice. The AFP briefed the Opposition, and the Opposition supported what Kevin did. So this is really a question of government acting on advice at all times.

BARRIE CASSIDY: But if he did something that justified 25 days in jail, then why wasn't he charged with anything?

TONY ABBOTT: Well, look, that's a fair question, but at all times, the Government acted on AFP advice. The Opposition got the same briefing, and the Opposition backed what the Government did.

BARRIE CASSIDY: But the confusing thing is that advice didn't change, nothing changed from the time Kevin Andrews took the decision, to the time he released him.

TONY ABBOTT: Look, I'm not a lawyer and I'm not personally handling this case, Barrie, but there is a difference between suspicions about whether someone has sufficient character to be given a visa and whether there is enough evidence against someone to sustain a charge beyond all reasonable doubt.

BARRIE CASSIDY: Does it bother you, though, that somebody can be locked up in this way on the judgement not of a court but on the judgement of a politician? It's an executive decision and based in this case it seems on discredited evidence?

TONY ABBOTT: Well, look, if people have got a problem with the law they should say so and certainly the Opposition aren't attacking the law as it stands.

We are living in dangerous times, Barrie. Dr Haneef did give his SIM card to prime suspects in a very serious terrorist plot. He did have some association with these suspects and I think if there hadn't been a serious investigation of him, people would have been saying that the Australian authorities were derelict in their duty and you would be criticising the Government from a rather different perspective.


BARRIE CASSIDY: But the difference in this case though is that you say it's the law but it's a politician that needs to interpret the law, not a court, is this asking too much of a minister, this sort of executive power?

TONY ABBOTT: But don't forget politicians act on advice. In this case Kevin acted on the advice of the AFP. The Opposition were briefed by the AFP, they were given, presumably, the same information. They said they supported Kevin's decision.

My understanding is that Kevin's decision was reviewed by the Solicitor General and the Solicitor General has said that the decision that he took was one that was well and truly open to him.

BARRIE CASSIDY: But this morning he seems as a fairly lonely figure in a way. Should it be these sorts of decisions are taken not only by the minister but by the security commission of Cabinet?

TONY ABBOTT: I don't think Kevin's a lonely figure; I think he's a terrific bloke and I think he's done a good job.

BARRIE CASSIDY: What was the basis of the decision though, when you consider that he - as you said before, he's had some association with criminals, but is it too broad an interpretation to simply say he had an association however innocent?

TONY ABBOTT: But the association certainly warranted an investigation. That's what happened. The investigation we now know didn't turn up enough evidence to sustain a criminal prosecution, but that doesn't mean that there was no evidence that should not have been taken into account by a responsible decision maker in the age of terror.

BARRIE CASSIDY: Do you think that given his experience, that it will make it more difficult for this country to recruit foreign doctors?

TONY ABBOTT: We certainly haven't had any trouble recruiting foreign doctors in the past. I don't imagine that it will be a problem in the future.

BARRIE CASSIDY: You don't feel you need to do any work on that front then as a result of this?

TONY ABBOTT: Well look, the Australian Health Minister's Council passed a unanimous resolution during the week just to the effect that overseas trained doctors are an important part of our health system and provided they are appropriately qualified we're very happy to have them.

BARRIE CASSIDY: Did you find it rather unusual that Kevin Andrews should criticise the Labor Opposition for 'me-tooism' on national security? That he criticised Kevin Rudd and Labor for supporting him?

TONY ABBOTT: I think the question is how fair dinkum are Labor on this, because on the one hand you've had Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard backing the Government to the hilt. On the other hand you've had Premier Beattie out there accusing the police of being keystone cops even though there are 200 Queensland police actually working on the Haneef investigation.

So I think Labor is trying to walk both sides of the fence, and the question is just how fair dinkum is Kevin Rudd in all of this.

BARRIE CASSIDY: You said something, the same thing really on the Today Show, when you were debating with Julia Gillard. I want you to have a listen to this:

(EXCERPT FROM 'THE TODAY SHOW', CHANNEL 9)

JULIA GILLARD, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE FEDERAL OPPOSITION: The Opposition's been briefed on it but the police are the experts in it and obviously Minister Andrews is looking at that material afresh, and asking the Federal Police to brief him again.

So it's really not for us to speculate about what may or may not be in that material. We simply couldn't know.

TONY ABBOTT: I think I've heard another echo! There's another echo there!

(END OF EXCERPT)

BARRIE CASSIDY: So there you have it on a matter of national security. She's supporting you and you're accusing her of being an echo?

TONY ABBOTT: There's nothing wrong with echoing good policy. The question is if Labor were in government would they have the guts to do what this Government has done, and I don't believe it is conceivable that a Labor Government are paralysed by political correctness could take the decisions that this Government has taken on so many issues.

You see at the moment Kevin Rudd is being a follower, not a leader, and it's much harder to lead, particularly when you've got no real track record of leadership. I mean at least Mark Latham had run a council. Kevin Rudd didn't even run an office.

BARRIE CASSIDY: But you say that he's a follower, not a leader. Do you want support on national security, do you want bipartisan support or don't you?

TONY ABBOTT: Yes, but Kevin Rudd is bidding to swap being a follower and start being a leader, and just because he's turned out to be pretty good at this 'me too' routine, a 'me too' routine which his Party hates, doesn't mean we can be confident he'll make the sort of decisions whether he were in government.

BARRIE CASSIDY: Are you finding the many too strategy a little frustrating?

TONY ABBOTT: Look, I think that he's obviously been pretty good at pulling the wool over lots of people's eyes but nevertheless our job is to probe, as is your job, when we're not actually getting on with being a good government and I think we're certainly perfectly entitled to question just how sincere Kevin Rudd is.

BARRIE CASSIDY: Is that why you seem to be taking on the states on a number of issues like uranium, and housing and water and so on because Kevin Rudd won't bite so you're looking far fight with the Premiers?

TONY ABBOTT: But the problem is Kevin Rudd can't agree with the Prime Minister and agree with the premiers given that the premiers are fighting with the Prime Minister.

And this is typical of Kevin Rudd. He's trying to have it every which way and you just can't go on forever trying to square this particular circle.

BARRIE CASSIDY: But isn't he entitled to go with the Prime Minister on some issues and with some issues go with the Premiers, depending on the issues?

TONY ABBOTT: But you can't go with the Prime Minister and the Premiers simultaneously when they're on different tracks. It's like being a Catholic and Anglican, which is another particular issue where Kevin seems to have trouble deciding where he really is.

BARRIE CASSIDY: If you aren't hell bent on taking on the State Government's responsibilities, why don't you do that through the COAG process, do it formally and properly?

TONY ABBOTT: We're not hell bent on taking over the State's responsibilities, what we would like the States to do is the shoulder their responsibilities and the problem is, Barrie, that increasingly the States don't do that.

The States' view is all care but no responsibility. They're happy to run public hospitals, for instance, until they get into difficulties and then it's all the Federal Government's fault for allegedly not giving them enough money.

Well, you can't be a sovereign government and at the same time be a beggar whenever things get tough, and that's what the Labor States are like, and I fear that a Federal Labor government really wouldn't be able to manage this situation.

At least you can be confident that John Howard is going to stand up for the people of Australia against these inept State Governments.

BARRIE CASSIDY: On that question of hospital funding, why did you suspend the talks with the State Government's on a new hospital funding agreement?

TONY ABBOTT: Well there were no talks so there was nothing to suspend. And as for the States claiming the Health Minister's Council broke up in disarray, the meeting began when the NSW Health Minister opened it and it finished when the NSW Health Minister closed it.

Everyone said their piece, as they should. I said what I had to say on everything, they all had a full opportunity to say what they wanted to say but the point is this, Barrie, the health care agreements start, the next health care agreements start on first of July next year and the government that is in power on the first July next year should renegotiate those agreements.

BARRIE CASSIDY: But if that's the case, then why has the Federal Government put a radical new housing arrangement in place?

TONY ABBOTT: We haven't put a radical new housing arrangement in place. We've asked people to come forward with ideas. What we've been saying is that we've been giving a billion bucks a year to the States and yet the stock of public housing is shrinking, not increasing.

So we've said look, is it possible to cut the States out of this by giving our $1 billion to other bodies that might actually be better at providing low cost housing. Perfectly reasonable thing for us to do.

BARRIE CASSIDY: Steve Bracks resigned on Friday as Victoria's premier. He goes out on top and it seems he will pass the baton seamlessly to an experienced treasure, any lesson there's for the Federal Coalition?

TONY ABBOTT: I suppose it all got too much for Steve Bracks but it certainly hasn't got too much for John Howard.

BARRIE CASSIDY: Do you really believe that, that Steve Bracks was feeling pressure?

TONY ABBOTT: Well look, he called it quits and I guess sooner or later everyone is entitled to give it away, but the one thing about John Howard is he ain't a quitter, and he certainly ain't going to quit when we are facing a very difficult election.

BARRIE CASSIDY: But you say it all became too much for Steve Bracks. What became too much for Steve Bracks? He'd just won an election, he's miles ahead in the opinion polls?

TONY ABBOTT: Well that's a question for him. Who knows what turmoil is boiling away inside the Victorian ALP. It is, let's face it, normally a cesspool of political intrigue.

BARRIE CASSIDY: You were quoted in The Age as saying the Prime Minister is indispensable in a way Steve Bracks is not, what did you mean by that?

TONY ABBOTT: Obviously the Victorian Labor Party thought they could do without him but no one in the Federal Coalition thinks that about the Prime Minister.

BARRIE CASSIDY: But if the Prime Minister is indispensable that's a bit of a reflection on the Coalition after 11 years in office?

TONY ABBOTT: No, it's a reflection of the fact that the existing leadership team of Howard and Costello is the finest political partnership in Australia's political history, and it has a lot of life left in it.

BARRIE CASSIDY: If though the Coalition was to lose the next election, would you stay around for the full term?

TONY ABBOTT: Well, look, I'm not going to speculate on what might happen if we lose because notwithstanding the polls, I don't think we will lose, because in the end the story is not the polls, Barrie, although the media hype the polls, the story is who is likely to deliver the best government for Australia and that's plainly John Howard and Peter Costello.

BARRIE CASSIDY: Yes, but don't you owe it to your electorate to say win or lose you'll stick around for a full term?

TONY ABBOTT: Well there's no question, there's no question of my commitment, there's no question of the Prime Minister's commitment, there's no question of Peter Costello's commitment.

BARRIE CASSIDY: And if you were to stay around, would you be prepared to take on a thankless task of Leader of the Opposition?

TONY ABBOTT: (Laughs) I'm part of a government, yes, we've got the job ahead of us. We are the underdogs, no doubt about that. But Kevin Rudd won't be allowed to coast forever.

The dark corners in his political character that even Alan Ramsey referred to yesterday, sooner or later will be explored and that's why I'm confident that in the end the Government will be re elected.

BARRIE CASSIDY: And just finally, what's going to happen in the seat of Cook, will Michael Towke survive?

TONY ABBOTT: That's a matter for the State executive and I'm confident that they will resolve it satisfactorily in the next couple of days.

BARRIE CASSIDY: Thanks for your time this morning.

TONY ABBOTT: Thanks, Barrie.

(With thanks to MB for the link!)

Capper as a Meter Man

Whilst waiting for Thai pickup I happened to be flicking through a semi-dated New Idea. It's then I discovered that the man who put the word short into 'short shorts', Warwick Capper, had become a meter man.

Ah the Meter Maids, the garish headliners of Surfer's Paradise and synonymous with '80s excess of tat meets the beach.

You can find a copy of the article here.

 
At any rate, here's a pic of Warwick Capper surrounded by colleagues.











Now is it me, or does he not remind you of David Wenham's character from Gettin' Square?




















Here's the irony. Both are set in the same location!

Awesome clips of yesteryear

Sure hair metal is not for everyone. It's not for me. No life sized pics of JBJ on my wall growing up (though, oddly, one of Garfield that I got free with a bulk order of Garfield juice).

But as far as clips go Blaze of Glory is awesome. The scenery, the trippy drive in on top of one of those tor thingies, and well placed inserts of Young Guns II, which the song was semi-promoting.

Though it should be noted that JBJ in this clip has the exact same hairstyle as the razor edged boomerang kid from Mad Max II.





See what I mean?

Colbert Vs the Bloggers

With thanks to Magic Bellybutton. Via Fox Attacks, the counter site set up to contact advertisers on Fox and explain that their support for that network means less product sales for them.

Word veri results in accidental summoning of "Old One"

Canberra, ACT; Area blogger, Harrangueman, was killed and consumed today by the great pulsating and tentacle clad brain of Artuzelii when the heavyset blogger made the mistake of reading out the word veri he just typed, causing a rift in the space time continuum and allowing the blogger to be snatched via a limb and pulled through the crack following the uttering of the "Old One's" name.

'Everyone knows you don't ever say their names out loud,' said noted occultism and Cthulhu enthusiast Trador P Feely. 'That's just asking for trouble.'

The blogger, an avid pen and paper gamer, should have known better according to local gamers, one of who prided himself on having a Cthulhu player character survive an entire campaign by having the man being functionally illiterate.

'You can't summon what you can't read,' said Mr IdearippedofffromKODT.

'Personally I blame Blogspot,' said another unnamed local blogger and gamer. 'Too often their word veri's come up with combinations that sound like they came from a Lovecraftian glossary. Why can't the words be things like Bucket with a 6 at the end, or Spade with a pound sign? Why do they have to be fucked up fucking words that are gibberish, especially the 20 character ones that inevitably you type in wrongly, forcing you to have several cracks it before it goes through?'

Cryo lab contents good eating says six armed mutant

Apocalyptic wastelands of United States, 2067; The contents of the Barnam St Applebee Cryogenic Research Laboratory proved to have some good eatin' according to Kang-Auzuil, a six armed mutant bandit chief.

Left: Kang strikes heroic pose for glowing box from before ago.

'Him knows speak of old time,' said Kang, pointing to another mutant with three pairs of glasses who translated the signage. 'Him know men sleep with ice and free for eating.'


The mutants discovered the entrance to the basement of the facility during their night foray into the old city and discovered the small nuclear reactor embedded by the then eccentric Barnam St Applebee was still in operation and able to power the nitrogen fueled tubes that contain the very elite of the then recently deceased US society.

'We pull from tubes, thaw, then cut and eat,' said the victorious Kang, waving the gnawed upon remains of a 48 year old Paris Hilton who was committed to the facility like because she wanted to see the future and stuff.

'We find map to other places like dis one and go eat them too,' said Kang.

When asked how Ms Hilton tasted Kang said she could have shown future Americans a bit of respect and fattened up before she went in.

'No fat on skinny woman, she taste stringy. Rosie O'Donnell however, now that's a red meated American. Also Oprah delicious. She taste like ham.'

The consuming the past super rich however did result in one casualty, when Azdor the mighty, half man half street sign, choked to death on Trump's hairpiece.

'You're fired,' bellowed Kang, placing Azdor's remains on the fire, adding 'it's what he would have wanted.'

Miranda Devine on Haneef - so what? Just a little bit of detention

Ah Miranda Devine, part of the coterie of the right that claim they represent the silent majority of the average ozzer conservative views (perhaps - if your average Ozzer gets their views from the likes of TT and ACA), has come out naturally enough with some conservative views on the Haneef detention.

The alleged Opus Dei member (don't know if she's the sticking pins in her leg variety) claimed that 'WHILE people like Queensland Premier Peter Beattie are congratulating themselves for being the first to call the Australian Federal Police "Keystone Cops" over the Mohamed Haneef matter, we should pause to think how all the name-calling and cries for heads to roll will help prevent terrorist attacks.'

See here.

No Miranda. People are not name-calling. They're pointing at laws used to screw people's liberties over about how they were used to screw someone's liberties over. Sure, some incidental name calling. But what about your political sign of the fence? They were like a fucking cream truck hitting a brick wall over this issue of maddened Muslim medicos madly molding malicious mayhem. But the moment the holes like a moth eaten t-shirt appeared in the case, they whined about 'leave it up to the courts' and 'it's not us, it's the police'.

How ironic.

And then we come to this little off the chart dare I suggest drug induced observation;

At worst, an innocent man has been detained for three weeks while investigators examine links to his relatives.

Again!

At worst, an innocent man has been detained for three weeks while investigators examine links to his relatives.

Louder!

At worst, an innocent man has been detained for three weeks while investigators examine links to his relatives.

At. Worst.

Bullshit.

This is a man the media went into an utter frenzy over - convicting him in the media before the spotlight shone back on the people that caused it. This is a man whose presumption of innocence was utterly shredded by politicians and by the cancelling of his visa when he made bail. This is a man who was, albeit temporary, treated as a full terror suspect on 23 hours a day in his cell with limited access to lawyers and other material. This is a man that was used as a cum rag by a government that has so wanked itself over on the issue of "War on Terror" their testes likely look like that balloon you find under the couch one month after the party.

Miranda Devine's politics and leaning appear to be lockstep with the Federal government. Like so, so many of her bed fellows they are spent millions of words and gallons of ink fostering the notion that Islamic evil is amongst us and the only reason they are is because 'they hate our values'.

And then, when the first major public test of these hideous laws is shown to be the utter shemozzle it is and the utter bastardry that can be performed under these laws - like effective indefinite detention, she claims the worst that happened was 'an innocent man was detained.'

That's up there with calling the accidental carpet bombing of villagers 'collateral damage'.

Devine, you're proud of the giant metaphoric balls you are alleged to own. So act like you have a pair and just say 'yes we fucked on him and he deserved it' instead of hiding behind nicey-nice words like 'worst that happened.'

What's the bet she's on the side of judicial torture as well?

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Haneef to leave Oz

Well he's allowed to go but Andrews, remember the Christian Andrews, won't revive his visa leaving, of course, Haneef not only hampered in getting a job in Oz but elsewhere OS.

See here.

Mr Andrews, who cancelled Dr Haneef's work visa on July 16 when a Brisbane magistrate granted the doctor bail, said today the visa remained cancelled.

His passport would be returned to him but his visa remained cancelled, Mr Andrews said.

He said the Commonwealth Solicitor-General, who had reviewed the decision to cancel the visa, believed that Dr Haneef's appeal against the cancellation would fail.

"Accordingly I do not propose to change my decision and the commonwealth will continue to resist this appeal in the Federal Court.''

Mr Russo has lodged an appeal against the decision to cancel the visa in the Brisbane Federal Court, with a hearing scheduled to take place on August 8.

Immigration authorities made it a condition of facilitating his return to India that he did not participate in any media photo or interview opportunities, his lawyers said.

Hey check out that last point. Remind you of anything? Wait, that's it. The media embargo on Hicks that the yanks kindly dropped on during an election year.

Funny how this government spends so much effort on silencing its mistakes isn't it?

There's that famous tag line of Platoon where 'the first casualty in war is innocence.' I think as far as the War on Terror goes it was the truth. This is a government, who along with the US, who has lied, and distorted information, in an effort to get their own way politically. To the great cost to us all.

And perhaps, just perhaps, their poor showing in the polls is a reflection on some in the electorate seeing the sad old emperor naked before them, as he was all along.

UPDATE: I swear you cannot make this stuff up. According to the ABC Kevin Andrews find is suspicious that Haneef elected to go home now that's he's able to, instead of hang around in Oz under residential detention and being unable to work.

"His lawyers indicated to my department ... that he wanted to get out of Australia as soon as possible," he said.

"If anything that rather heightens, rather than lessens, my suspicions."

That's just awesome. Of course he'd rather be unemployed and still the focus of investigations and trash media with figures like Andrews and Howard huffing and puffing about terror than to go home and see his wife and new baby! You'd have to be missing half your brain to think otherwise. Maybe that's it? Does Andrews actually have a mental impairment? Fuck drug testing politicians, let's IQ test them. And if they're Forest Gumping like Kevin "Box of Chocolates" Andrews clearly is then we should have their record listed on the web for the viewing public to take into account at election time. I think Andrews could be joined by Tuckey and, if he was still here, Lightfoot. What a tool.

No work for you!

Under the terms of his residential detention it seems Haneef can't go back to work. Because, you see, he could poison the patients whilst working as a registrar! Or take photos of our buildings for the purposes of terror p0rn. I don't know, there has to be a reason in there somewhere right Andrews? I mean you wouldn't continue this charade of ill treatment against someone who was proven to be caught up in a terror incident not generated it right? It's not a purely political face saving exercise to continue to blacken the Doctor's name by inferring he's still of bad character for having distant relatives involved in criminal acts is it?

Left: An artist's depiction of Andrews giving Haneef the bad news.

Hey, aren't you Christian? Isn't what you've done your entire time in government been spittle in the eye of your lord and saviour?

Well makes sense. Ruddock still thinks he's a member of Amnesty International, even I believe still wearing his button despite the organisation asking him not to on the grounds of violating everything they stand for. So why can't Andrews still pretend he's Christian when he acts anything but?

Channel 9 drama department has it in for the government

First there was Macleod's Daughters exposing "WorkChoices" for the 'my way or the highway' pro employer effort it is and now there's Sea Patrol.

In picking up refugees at sea the crew are forced to deal with their feelings about the issue. The Petty Officer finds government policy disquieting and has a word with his CO. The CO shrugs it off with 'we don't make the policy' but it's clear if they could the punitive demonisation of sea borne refugees would get some changes. Later the PO is forced to tell the attractive overly optimistic refugee woman he's grown fond of that she's not in fact going to school but into detention - his last view of her being bundled by faceless officials into an ominous black van with tinted windows.

It's heartening to see characters in contemporary Australian drama confront the prejudices and evil this federal government has inflicted on people in the name of their 'economy first, people second' rule of order.

Keep it up Channel 9.

Oh, that voice over of the CO's letter to the parents of the deceased Jaffah got the old tears working their way out of the ducts. Kudos writers, kudos.

PS It should be noted that refugees seeking to land in Oz would know by now that they wouldn't be headed for a better life and be free to enter the community just like that. Enough work has been done by the government to pass the word that Oz is not a place where that can happen. Also if it was a real boat of refugees there would have been likely far more on there since snakeheads cram as many as they can, point in the direction of Oz, and say 'sail that way'. And yes, some refugees that tried to get into Oz that way were economic not political or cultural refugees. It's a complex issue but made less complex by turning it into sound bites and lectern thumping like the Libs did back in 01 with their 'we decide' and 'the manner in which they come'. The irony is that the Libs have overseen the greatest intake in refugees in modern Oz history and, by it's focus on skilled migrants, the delish irony is that these are actually people that compete in the labour market with Australians. Ha! I know, great isn't it? We take about 14,000 refugees a year Vs I think (from memory) about 140,000 skilled migrants. So 10%. And even then the refugee test is hard to pass. You have to be in a UN camp for decades I believe before you get nommed.

Star Wars meets The Blues Brothers

With thanks to Pete for the tube-spot

Top Gear Vs the Deep South

I don't watch Top Gear normally. I hear it's an acquired taste (and you have to like cars). But Jillbo said I should see this bit at least and so I am watching it now.

Embarrassing fat moments

Like when your shirt rides up when you're sitting down and the person opposite you can see you muffin topping over your pants, with your pallid fatty bulge bloating out from under your hem and they are forced to ask you to pull your shirt down.

I hate being fat.

The Minister for Re-electing the government speaks

This is likely all over the blogosphere with the urgency of that rash I get when I eat mousse laced with artificial sweetner. But it's worth repeating because of how much I hate Tony Abbott.

TONY ABBOTT has cast doubt on whether the Coalition will be in power after the federal election.

At a meeting of all state and territory health ministers in Sydney yesterday, the federal Health Minister refused to discuss Commonwealth funding for public hospitals, telling reporters outside the meeting it would be fruitless to discuss it until after the federal poll.

"I don't see any point in having this discussion when there is some question as to who is going to form a government after this coming election," Mr Abbott said.

"The important task at the present time is to get re-elected and that is where my energies are focused, and that which can be done after the election will be done after the election."

See here.

Let's highlight my favourite bit.

"The important task at the present time is to get re-elected and that is where my energies are focused, and that which can be done after the election will be done after the election."

Hmm. Needs to be bigger.

"The important task at the present time is to get re-elected and that is where my energies are focused, and that which can be done after the election will be done after the election."

Yep. You got to hand it to him. He is being honest. Tony Abbott's goal in life is not to do his job as health minister. He would be concentrating on that with any electioneering as an annoyance if it were. As evidenced in his self serving with many glaring omissions (Krusty autobiography style) fairfax columns, he is concerned with not pressing health issues, but how much the government deserves the love that it's not getting. How Saint Kevie is nothing more than a liar with made up life stories and a rich bitch of a wife that screws the worker to the wall (I exaggerate for comedic effect - but not by much).

If Tony Abbott can't do his fucking job as health minister because he is concentrating on not getting his arse booted to the curb then he should fuck off to the back bench and do political business from there, instead of getting the extra 100k he grabs for being a minister. Wait, I forget, cabinet ministers are so badly paid compared to big business.

Should we have a whip around for the Tonester? Maybe a pat on his manly muscular back. There, there Tony. In six months or so you can gleefully stride from the other side of the chamber to cry about how you were so badwy tweated by da nasty pubwic.

Haneef released as charges dropped

Says it all really.

Of course he's not entirely innocent because the AFP 'is still investigating' thundered Mick Keelty who refused to apologise for the reasonable assessment that unfair laws used unfairly resulted in shitty treatment of a brown person with a funny faith. Admittedly one who had the bad luck to have a relative hate people enough to allegedly self immolate himself in an effort to explode others.

This is by no means to suggest the AFP targeted Haneef just because of his skin colour and religion. Fact is he had a relo caught up in a terror incident and they used the powers available to them to maximum effect to get the maximum amount of information - even though it involved potentially unlimited detention (albeit magistrate monitored) and allowing them to go over his life with a fine toothed comb over weeks. And ... write names of terrorists into his diary apparently then ask questions of him about it.

Andrews, who swore nothing had changed his mind whatsoever RE canceling Haneef's visa, has given him residential detention. Which I think is the same as still canceling his visa but not meaning he has to be detained while it's sorted out. He has to report to people however. According to Andrews:

"That means that he has to reside at an agreed place, he's free to actually move about in the community, but as a matter of legal principle he is still formally ... in detention."

But what next?

Mr Andrews said Dr Haneef would not immediately get his passport back.

"No, as far as I understand his passport hasn't been returned, and nor would it be returned unless there is some change in relation to his immigration status, namely that his visa was reinstated,'' he said.

But he left open the possibility that Dr Haneef's visa could be returned.

"That's a matter for the legal adviser in this regard," he said.

"If they came to the conclusion that there was some material change to the basis of my decision as a matter of legal principle, because of the decision of the DPP, well then obviously one doesn't have legal advisers for nothing."

Mr Andrews said he was being "cautious" in seeking updated advice from the Solicitor-General.

Mr Andrews said it was too early for compensation for Dr Haneef to be considered because police investigations were continuing.

"That's not an issue that in my view arises, it certainly doesn't arise at this stage, because of two things," he said.

"One is as I understand from the federal police this investigation is ongoing, that today's decision was simply that the charge as laid had flaws in it and therefore has been withdrawn.

"As I understand from what Mr Keelty said this afternoon ... that the police investigation is a matter which is ongoing."

Interesting. Makes a change from the deliberate refusal to say prior to the charges being dropped that Haneef would get his visa possibly restored when directly asked by a journalist if this was possible. All Andrews did was repeat 'I acted on the information given.'

What a pathetic caricature of a human being. I especially love his later petulant whining about 'awwwwwww Rudd felt the same way, why aren't you picking on him ?! awwwwwwww'

Quite possibly because the briefs the opposition receives as a courtesy from the government are never the full story and typically involve a verbal short time frame sit down that is potentially politically skewed (especially if delivered not by an apolitical public servant but by a definitely political adviser or politician). It may have also involved a paper brief. Not sure. But to infer the opposition were in the possession of the exact same facts with the exact same changed information supplied to them as was government is utter crap.

Of course I wasn't there, so I don't know what the ALP were told by the government. But I've been a public servant for a while and I know how these things work. Even if a public servant does provide briefs to the opposition there is always the potential for them to give the briefing with a lean or slant in government favour because A) they know what side their bread is buttered on and B) senior public servants are on two year contracts that may not get renewed.

This isn't meant to be a defence of the federal ALP. I think they acted poorly in this issue and I think they did so politically not morally. Which in a way is immoral. But they had little choice but to suck the teat offered them by the government. Hence while Beattie and others questioned the evidence when the media revealed the shaky case built against Haneef.

Here from today's Crikey are two views on the Haneef issue. In the blue (conservative) corner (which is ironic consider here in Oz left is red and blue is right - which is in the reverse in the US) is Peter "former head of the Crime Commission for seven months; people's religion should be on their identity papers" Faris. In the red (progressive) corner is Greg "human rights are still important and need to be protected from an increasingly hysterical and politicization of terror for their political benefit" Barns.

Peter Faris QC, former chairman of the National Crime Authority, writes:

There are important lessons to be learned from the Haneef fiasco. And they need to be learned quickly. Australia cannot wait until the next terror threat. We must get it right now.

There are three fundamental elements of the legal aspects of national security: legislation, investigation and prosecution. The Haneef case has focussed attention on the operation of all three – and, in particular, the failure of these parts to function together.

The anti-terror detention laws worked well – Haneef’s 14-day detention was fully supervised by a magistrate and thoroughly reported by the media. (For the purposes of this legal analysis, I put to one side the political debate as to whether we should have these laws at all).

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) investigated the matter and provided a (written) brief to the Commonwealth DPP (CDPP).

Any decision to prosecute is the sole responsibility of the CDPP and it has published policy guidelines. In particular, the CDPP had to be satisfied that there “was reasonable prospect of obtaining a conviction”. It is becoming increasingly likely that there was never a case with which to prosecute Haneef, and that the CDPP made a grievous error in laying the charge.

Things then got worse. The magistrate granted bail, partly because of the weak prosecution case. The Commonwealth prosecutor falsely told the court that the SIM card was recovered from the Glasgow vehicle and is reported as telling the court that it had been intended the SIM card would be destroyed in the planned explosion when a Jeep Cherokee was rammed into the doors of at Glasgow Airport.

None of the Federal police officers in court corrected these false allegations. The question then arises: were these allegations contained in the police brief?

Immediately after bail was granted, Federal Immigration Minister Andrews revoked Haneef’s work visa on character grounds. This decision was apparently based on two sets of facts: first, the criminal prosecution evidence; second, secret national security information. Now that the evidence has collapsed, the Minister must review this again.

None of this is the Minister’s fault. He is obliged to make the best decision he can based upon the information provided. It seems clear that, even though there is now no evidence of Haneef committing a crime in Australia, the fact of his close association with a terrorist group (the UK doctors) is a proper ground to revoke the visa.

The lessons to be drawn are these.

One, the AFP has so badly bungled this case that we must consider whether they are capable of handling terrorist investigations at all. I think they are not. We need an FBI-type organisation which specialises in terror and other national security investigations and which has coercive powers. Incidentally, there has been no mention of the Australian Crime Commission in the fight against terror. The AFP should have Haneef coercively interrogated by the ACC but apparently this was not done.

The CDPP is just plain incompetent. The whole organisation needs to be reviewed, and not just in relation to terror cases. In my opinion, if they had briefed an outside QC, none of this mess would have occurred. They need to be reformed, and quickly.

The immigration visa laws need to be brought in line with the terror laws. The Minister should have a complete discretion to revoke visas or refuse entry on national security grounds rather than “character”.

Australia is lucky that Haneef, whatever happens next, is a small fish. If he had been a major international terrorist he could have walked free due to our incompetent system.

In hindsight what should have happened is this: Haneef detained, a QC advises there is no case, Haneef not charged but immediately deported.

All of this has been very unfair to Haneef and he should be substantially compensated.

Greg Barns writes:

Over the course of this past week two commentators on the Haneef case – The Australian’s Janet Albrechtsen and lawyer Peter Faris – have got it badly wrong.

They both think that the laws under which Dr Haneef has been detained and charged are ok, but it’s just that the investigation has been sloppy. Mr Faris has even taken to calling for Commonwealth DPP Damien Bugg and AFP Commissioner Mick Keelty to resign over their roles in this farcical case.

But get this Peter and Janet – it's the law, stupid! The anti-terror laws have been shown by the Haneef case to be dangerously flawed and open to manipulation by the authorities. These are the laws which allow the detention of an individual for days on end in solitary confinement.

These are the laws which allow for the prosecuting authorities to provide secret affidavits to magistrates, and which the defence is not allowed to view, even though the affidavits impact on their client. And these are the laws that allow for up to 12 hours of questioning of suspect in a manner that can be grossly unfair to the accused – you can string the 12 hours of questioning out over days and weeks.

Remember also that these laws are poorly drafted. No one has yet been able to provide an adequate explanation of what it means to ‘recklessly’ support a terrorist organization.

The Howard government/ALP anti-terror laws have enabled the Haneef farce to occur because these laws lack transparency safeguards and checks on power.

So yes, there are grounds for calling on Mick Keelty to resign given what looks to be an appallingly poor investigation by his team, and Damien Bugg’s people in Brisbane may have let him down, but how about Mr Faris and Ms Albrechtsen take off their Conservative cheerleader outfits and recognize the reality of the Haneef case?

And why don’t Faris and Albrechtsen attack the Howard government for its disgraceful politicization of the Haneef case? How about they stand up for traditional values and demand that the Nation’s first law officer, the Attorney-General, not provide a running commentary on terrorism cases and seek to twist public sympathy against the suspect?

And what about the capricious actions of Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews in this matter? Surely Mr Andrews’ conduct has been nothing more than a political stunt in which he is beastly careless about the rights of Dr Haneef and due process.

It is time to amend the anti-terror laws so we can prevent another Haneef.

Me? I agree with Barns. The terror laws Howard et al forced through, as evidenced in this case, are a shit stain on legal tradition of fair play in the justice system. All those people that wank on with 'new paradigm' and 'using our freedoms to kill us' etc seem not to understand that political violence has gone hand in hand with human civilization since the year dot. Yes, terrorist movements do employ mass casualty attacks as preference - which is scary - and they do it because they know it can and does have an impact. But there's no denying, as in this case, that the political parties that retard our freedoms do so with an eye to their political health as well as securing the nation. Terrorism works when we are afraid. And closing the gates on freedoms we've earned, indeed fought and died for in the case of some, allows terror to work.

A balance with everything is needed. Laws do need to change to protect us. But there's protection and then there's coercion. And right now the trend in Oz is the latter. Such as anyone can now be searched without reasonable suspicion in some states in the advent of a terror attack, people can be held without trial secretly and if they tell anyone they get charged, media are unable to report on detention in some cases, indefinite detention (though magistrate monitored) under the guise of a fixed number of hours of detention with no limit as to when they occur, likely removal of bail for some charges (so much for presumption of innocence) and now in NSW the cops are wanting anyone in the justice system's DNA record.

I've said it before and I will say it again. If you give the executive too much power they will use that power. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. And now cops need to do far less work and can rely far more on supposition versus fact to hold and charge and even try someone than they ever have before in this country.


And if you're not worried, then you fucking should be.

By the way, is anyone else weirded out about the difference between TheOz's ability to perform stellar first class objective reporting (such as in this case) and the mockery of objectivity of their opinionists? I bet the actual journalists shudder to have to deal with the Shanahans, Sheridans, Albrechtsens etc. As noted neatly in this comment in yesterday's Crikey

Ray Hassall writes: I couldn't agree more with Mark Bahnisch's assessment of the Oz online's recent metamorphosis. My PC routinely crashes trying to access the content heavy new site (which is also harder to navigate). But I think he's off the money on the pre-emptive closing off of comments being a technological issue. I recall similar closeoffs on the old site, most recently in relation to a David Nason piece praising the commutation of Scooter Libby's sentence. I suspect it's more a case of the moderators jumping on negative feedback. Which brings us to the 64 million dollar question, how can the day to day and investigative journalism on the Oz be so good, and their op ed pieces be so risibly bad? Answers on the back of a beer coaster please!

Well I'm out of ideas on that one. Wait, no I am not. Because some people at theOz are actual journalists and want to report the news. And others are paid to toady up to business and conservatives to keep the rivers of business advertising gold rolling in.

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Egg Trickle

I am not sure if this is an 80's thing, or just an excuse to touch people inappropriately that I happened to learn in the 80's, but does anyone (else) remember the spinal rub egg crack sensation game? It's the sort of thing you did at year 10 parties where a cool parent let you drink West Coast coolers in the rumpus room converted from the garage downstairs.

You rub your knuckles up and down a person's spine for about a minute, which causes various possibly pleasing sensations. Then you pretend to crack an egg on the top of their head and you lightly graze from the temples down the cheeks with your flickering fingers. It causes goose bumps and back shudders.

The other kewl trick was to stand in a doorway and force your arms against the sides, palms in, putting as much pressure as you could bear on your arms. Do it for 30 seconds then leave the doorway. Your arms would then seemingly magically float up perpendicular to the body.

And of course there's the classic blindfolded person sitting on a chair with their legs off the ground but with their hands resting on the heads of two other people. Those people duck down, giving the sensation the person is instead being lifted into the air and the chair is then tipped by another person. Blindfolded person shrieks as they 'topple' to the ground.

Or there's the classic feeding me whiskettes in my nutragrain the next morning and laughing as I eat them unknowingly - or putting the mouth wash in my VB.

Ha ha fuckwads.

Pringle hiding

When asked to quickly hide a tube of pringles from the eye line of a toddler do not instinctively shove them down the front of your pants.

Because even though the tube had yet to be breached, there's still the worry of an errant pube getting rim crusted under the lid.

And people will be hesitant to share.

Of course if you don't want to share your pringles by all means crotch them.

Forehead Splashback

I don't know if it's a combination of the curvature of the urinal shell, the angle of my stream, it's power, or my height, but today I got splashback ... on the forehead.

Yes, that's right. Between the eyes, above a bit, definite sensation of a droplet of wee striking flesh.

Needless to say I was shocked.

That is all.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Move over Tammy Wynette cause here comes Kevin Andrews

Sometimes its hard to be a minister
Giving all your love to just one decision
You'll have bad times
And it'll have good times
Doing things that you don't understand
But if you love it you'll forgive it
Even though it’s hard (for the public) to understand
And if you love it
Oh be proud of it
'Cause after all he's just a foreigner
Stand by your decision
Give it two arms to cling to
And something warm to come to
When nights are cold and lonely
Stand by your decision
And tell the world you love it
Keep giving all the love you can
Stand by your decision
Stand by your decision
And show the world you love it
Keep giving all the love you can
Stand by your decision

Andrews stands by decision to revoke visa of immigrant even though evidence presumably presented to him was found to be demonstrably false

PS Best. Version. Of real song. Ever.


Blackadder Moments

From Dish and Dishonesty

Left: Prince George and Mr Lefty









At Prince's House

(a knock at the door; Edmund opens it to find Pitt the Younger.)

E: Well, well, well: if it isn't the Lord Privy Toastrack! Pull up a muffin;
sit yourself down.

P: You don't like me, do you, Mr. Blackadder?

E: Well, nobody likes a loser.

P: Oh, then that's why nobody likes *you*.

E: (serious) What?

P: You lost the vote. Your monkey obligingly voted for us.

E: Oh God, no... If you want something done properly, kill Baldrick before
you start.

P: You're beaten, Oik! And you and your disgusting master have twenty-four
hours to get out.

E: Twenty-four hours is a long time in politics. Good day.

P: There is just one thing before I go... (confidentially) I've got this
sort of downy hair developing on my chest -- is that normal? Also, I get
so lonely and confused. I've written a poem about it; maybe you'll under-
stand. "Why do nice girls hate me? Why--

E: Get out, you nausating adolescent! (shoos him out the door) Piss off!

And a happy 68th to the PM

Happy birthday,
Happy birthday,
Pain and misery fill the air*,
People dying everywhere.
Happy birthday,
Happy birthday.

*A big thanks on that

PS When singing happy birthday as part of a crowd to a very senior person don't go it alone with the Marilyn number. Because chances are as the last of the Hip Hip Hooray's die down you're just finishing the 'tooo yoooooooouuuuuuu' bit and pointing at her in a sultry manner.