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To do a good job engaging in social media activism requires following the intense 24 hour news cycle across big/little media including social media, in order to have anything original to say. At least this is the only way we have found to synthesise the evidence and the facts and build on that with a unique life/professional experience.
For instance we find our blog posts including comments on ezines are barely 5% of the effort, the mere tip of the iceberg, with 95% of time involved in following all background themes and threads. In this sense less is more in terms of influential blog posts with any prospect of getting in the mind of a specialised beltway audience: Political staffers, press gallery, other activists.
We feel some sadness at the decision as our influence has only grown over this time with concurrent value in the domain name. A google of the editor's name presently comes up no. 1 in Australia and no 2 globally behind a namesake in the shlock horror movie business.
For instance we notice a new narrative in the big media at the end of this week relating to the sexual "hypocrisy" of various people and institutions. Right or wrong we feel this "hypocrisy" theme was kicked off by SAM's expose' of a commentator, and News Ltd, in relation to their alleged history regarding prostitutes and/or brothels.
Yes, we feel there will be alot of people relieved we are hanging up our social media political sling shot, metaphorically speaking. For instance we rang and left a message for the director of news of ABC Radio News about the Assange misreporting only last Friday.
Also relief closer to home amongst loved ones.
We expect players in politics will be sceptical that this author will indeed remain silent after 5 years given the wonky addictive nature of politics, indeed the siren song. Believe it.
Putting down this work will be liberating in some ways, after the cold turkey. And we expect to supplement our irrepressible creativity with some new activites such as singing and exploring the Wild Dog Mountains back country and family time.
We note some other political websites in Australia have gone dormant or closed down (eg Lavartus Prodeo) which we interpret as due in part to a recognition of sufficient social media opportunities out there such as crikey, the drum, unleashed, new matilda and no doubt others.
A corollary is that the owner of this domain "sydneyalternativemedia.com" is also open to offers regarding taking over the domain name, with preference to those with a compatible values set. The price and terms are negotiable.
The ABC Radio News channel has a story line for most of this morning in words to the effect "Assange does not regret leaking diplomatic cables". Bold added.
This is wrong and the ABC should know better. Allegedly the cables were leaked to Wikileaks/Assange, which then published and reported on the cables. At least as we understand the stated position of Wikileaks, the organisation didn't leak, just as a journalist and a newspaper do not leak, rather they are leaked to.
There is much speculation that Bradley Manning did the leaking to Wikileaks and is in jail in the USA facing related charges. By contrast we are not aware of any facts in the public arena that Assange or Wikileaks solicited or facilitated that leak so as to have conspired in the leaking. Like any modern news organisation Wikileaks published the news leaked to them which is quite different.
We look forward to the correction by ABC Radio News, but we won't hold our breath either.
The rumour along the Oodnadatta Track near Coober Pedy, and William Creek is that an official investigation report is now in for the fatal helicopter crash of Gary Ticehurst, Paul Lockyer, and John Bean.
The rumour, right or wrong, is that flying at night there is precious little orientation regarding elevation and sand dunes are deceptively high, claiming pilot error flying into a sand dune.
Whether this is the content of the report cannot be confirmed. The rumour is sourced to a roustabout with experience of gyrocopter flying over long distances but strictly at daytime, and another character who worked for a decade on the Ghan, and local home steads, as told to a grey nomad tourist from NSW, and passed onto this writer at the Coober Pedy Stuart Ranges caravan park.
We take a skeptical legal view. We note the experience of the helicopter pilot and the unconfirmed nature of the rumour as well as the predeliction at times for remote areas with an economic dependence on tourism to play down dangers and mishaps including via blame the victim type stories. Whether this is the case time will tell.
Certainly tourist flights to Lake Eyre are advertised in every road stop and town centre in the region with numerous small town airstrips at Marree, Hawker, Wilpena, William Creek and no doubt more.
In any case the above rumour is running.
Our photo album of our outback road tour is here Outback road trip South Australia tour via the ubiquitous facebook. One beautiful location is here called Blanches Cup which is a mound spring in the desert near Oodnadatta Track 100 km or so east of William Creek:
May they rest in peace.
Miranda "baa baa" Devine is a rather malicious journalistic sheep for the Coalition ideologues in Australia. Her latest column however is the high water mark of weird and scary.
Under an extraordinary title " Class war barb sees Abbott wooed like Corleone dons" the article in the Murdoch owned Sydney Sunday Telegraph published by the bad News Ltd, refers to a Liberal Party fundraiser at Sydney's expensive Wentworth Hotel late last week. To avoid any misunderstanding about the mafia overtone there is even a prominent picture frame from The Godfather movie.
Well, well. We take Baa Baa at her word. Tony Abbott, as Opposition leader with a very healthy poll lead, is like a mafia Corleone Don.
Wikipedia describes the script of the movie as such:
"To end the feuds, Vito meets with the heads of the Five Families, withdrawing his opposition to the Tattaglias' heroin business and swearing to forego revenge for Sonny's murder. He deduces that the Tattaglias were under orders of the now dominant Don Emilio Barzini (Richard Conte). With his safety guaranteed, Michael returns home and over a year later marries his girlfriend, Kay Adams (Diane Keaton). Seeing his father at the end of his career and his brother too weak, Michael takes the reins of the family business and promises his wife to make it legitimate within five years. ...As the christening proceeds, on Michael's orders, Corleone assassins murder the other New York dons and Moe Greene. Tessio is told that Michael is aware of his betrayal and taken off to his death. After Carlo is questioned by Michael on his involvement in setting up Sonny's murder and confesses he was contacted by Barzini, he is escorted to a car whereupon Clemenza kills him with a garrotte. Michael is confronted by Connie, who accuses him of having her husband killed. He denies killing Carlo when questioned by Kay, an answer she accepts. As Kay watches warily, Michael receives his capos, who address him as the new Don Corleone."
We think CEOs of Australian business - big and small should take due note of the metaphor.
The metaphor seems to imply a capacity for extreme violence, and seems scary and weird, yet credible coming from such a loyalist to the conservative side of politics like Miranda Devine.
After all this is the politician who remains loyal to the Iraq War project even after the confirmation of no WMD existence. This is the politician who seeks to 'bribe' the women of Australia out of their right to choose, no matter the cost.
There also seems to be an implication of real menace in the story. Arguably the story carries a suggestion of extreme punishment for those who stray or fail to display loyalty.
Which raises another question for me, just after Anzac day, whether Australians are cowards to be initimidated by menaces or like Marlon Brando in On The Waterfront, can stand up to and conquer the pain and trouble posed by thuggery.
Is this the kind of PM the CEOs of Australia seek to embrace? Indeed the kind of country they seek to embrace under Abbott?Over to you CEOs of Australia. What kind of "democracy" do you prefer to purchase off the pollie shelf?
Well out of left field, we note the 7.30 Report in NSW last night of the beat up of the Migration Review Tribunal/Refugee Review Tribunal last night.
Ruddock as ex Coalition minister was in the story as was idealistic migration agent Marion Le, hence balance.
Two so called whistleblowers were asserting (without evidence provided but let's acccept the allegation for now) that a corrupt immigration racket exists for papers via the Afghanistan government outlet in Pakistan, to the effect Pakistanis gain fraudulent papers that they are from Afghanistan.
Apparently the MRT and RRT are too stupid to consider the possibility of fraud. Apparently the good hard working lawyers of the Australian Government Solicitor and indeed big law firms outsourced similar work by DIAC (such as Clayton Utz) are too stupid to employ forensic document analysis (they are not so stupid).
Even corruptly sourced 'genuine' documents via Afghanistan agencies can be legally assessed against verbal evidence and other evidence.
So what was the story really about? Do we view this via the prism of the leadership fights in the NSW ALP, including participants of the NSW Right such as Immigration Minister Chris Bowen, who backed Kevin Rudd in the last damaging ballot? A tickle up perhaps from within the ALP Govt that Bowen has enough on his plate without playing leadership roulette? We say this as we hear objective Fran Kelly on ABC radio national ask the leadership question regarding PM Gillard.
Also we noted heavy moral reliance of the DIAC 'whistleblowers' on 7.30 last night on the the concept of "integrity" in the immigration system for Australia.
Regretably we are aware that "integrity" is already compromised in DIAC towards the rejection of genuine refugees, that is in the opposite direction to the allegation made on 7.30 last night.
We know of a serving federal magistrate who gave a training paper to all Independent Merit Reviewers in recent years. These IMRs contracted by DIAC are set the task of implementing the High Court of Australia decisions about procedural fairness and other legal principles. In that training paper - which we understand the magistrate and DIAC refuse to release to the Catholic Edmund Rice Centre under freedom of information - the magistrate states his political support for strict application of the politically determined queue. The magistrate does this by giving the example of the highly emotional and loaded concept that a refugee allowed in from Afghanistan or similar deprives an African woman suffering all manner of abuse in an African refugee camp getting into Australia. The magistrate grand stands with an example of the proverbial African woman weeping on his arm in Western Sydney out of gratitude.
Significantly this magistrate refers to himself, to paraphrase, as 'one of the club' having been a Dept of Immigration staffer back to the 1970ies.
There are many political views about such an assertion about the queue by the serving magistrate. That there is no real queue in refugee camps in SE Asia, or it is a flexible political number that changes with community views, as signalled by Minister Bowen himself in 2011 at the ALP National Conference.
The problem is that legally this claim about the 'integrity of the queue' by the serving magistrate has no legal basis in the legal training of IMR tribunal staff. Why so? Because IMR members must consider whether a person is a"refugee" under the relevant treaty, not whether they fit into a political queue number. Similarly the IMR must consider the High Court of Australia decisions on applicability of procedural fairness legal principles, not the political merit or not of a queue set at 10K, 15K or 20K depending on which side of the bed the minister got out of that day.
In short the serving magistrate has misdirected a whole cohort of IMRs by referring to the political queue as relevant to the legal principles for review of merits of an immigration decision. We are aware that senior barristers in NSW who work at Federal Court level are askance at the serving Magistrate's misdirection potentially tainting a whole cohort of IMR trainees.
Presumably many copies of this flawed training paper are in circulation with the numerous serving IMR and will be revealed to the public sooner or later.
News Corporation apparently are holding or improving their share value despite the huge reputational damage to the Murdoch regime at the top from the UK Leveson Parliamentary Inquiry.
We are wondering if serious investor groups, ironically, agree with the view that Rupert is not a fit and proper person to run an international company, and that the prospect finally of having him removed against all previous experience, will finally release the value in the company massively constrained by nepotistic share structures and appointments.
In short the creative destruction of capitalism at the expense of the Murdoch brand to the benefit of his Corporation? Or to put it another way - Murdoch bad, News Corp good?
We are actively googling for those Stephen Mayne stories of yesteryear say pre 2010 verifying hundreds of millions if not billioins of dollars of value in News Corp lost by Rupert Murdoch's bad commercial judgement - things like purchase of MySpace, forays into China and no doubt a host of other disastrous frolics by the Grand Old Man, all the while maintaining the ascendancy of his children.
Here is a useful list from Stephen Mayne via the website of the public library of Victoria (Australia) with bold added by moi, dated 13 October 2011:
"Seventy per cent of the News Corp shares on issue don’t get a vote. Let’s have democracy in Iraq, but not at News Corp. When I ran for the News Corp board in 2002, Rupert completely censored the platform. So it was the only one of my 40 tilts where shareholders weren’t even told how old I was or that I had a degree. That was free speech for you, Rupert-style. So when Rupert does colossally stuff up, it’s hard to do anything about it because whilst the Murdoch family only own 13 per cent of News Corp, this gerrymander gives them about 40 per cent of the vote and the ability to dominate appointments to the supine board, where power ultimately resides. Rupert really should’ve retired in 2006, when he turned 75. It’s been all downhill since then. One billion lost on MySpace, three billion lost on Dow Jones. And now suddenly News Corp has gone from being the most valuable media company in the world in 2007 to being $20 billion behind Disney. And then, of course, there’s phone hacking. With a compliant board and Rupert entrenched as executive chairman, there simply hasn’t been a mechanism available to impose regime change on a control freak who does have dictatorial tendencies and an unfortunate tendency to hire, promote and support rogues, which is something he has done around the world.
Representing the Australian Shareholders’ Association, I had lunch two weeks ago with Sir Rod Eddington and Peter Barnes, the two Australian-based independent directors of News Corp. Whilst I can’t reveal what they said, my comments can be openly discussed. And I really enjoyed talking truth to their power for two hours at the Kenzan Japanese restaurant just opposite the old Herald Sun building. At one point, I said, quote, ‘Guys, it must be hard holding the most powerful family in the world to account, representing us non-Murdoch shareholders. But are you up for the job of regime change?’. I’m not confident. When a majority of the independent shareholders vote to remove the Murdochs from the News Corp board next Friday, which they will, it will be very interesting to see how the independent directors react."
Official findings of the big Leveson UK parliamentary inquiry that Rupert Murdoch is not a fit and proper person to run an international company.
Significant as the UK is the template for Australia's system of law and dominant western European culture albeit it highly multicultural. Also influential as both the leader of the Australian Government and leader of the loyal Opposition here in Australia were both born in the UK.
The Washington Post reports this way:
LONDON — Rupert Murdoch “is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company,” a British parliamentary committee said Tuesday in a scathing report on News Corp.’s handling of the phone hacking scandal.
The report, which culminates months of investigation by a select committee, was far more condemning of the 81-year-old media titan than expected, saying the chairman and chief executive of News Corp. had “turned a blind eye and exhibited wilful blindness” over the widespread malpractice at his now-closed News of the World tabloid.
It appears the Inquiry report findings split along political lines of 6 to 4 regarding the Murdoch finding. The Post link is here. We go to that source because it may preface the huge media gorillas in USA and indeed in the government turning on Murdoch. Time will tell.
Do Bolt's views echo those of Norway's mass murderer, without actually doing the deed? Certainly there seems to be some common beliefs against multiculturalism.
If there are common traits, we wonder if Bolt possibly inherited aryan dutch intolerance from the colonial East Indies network in south east Asia of past centuries? Apparently some of these white colonialists arrived in Australia after the collapse of the Netherlands empire in now Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.
And it seems more than a coincidence that high profile Bolt attacks renewable energy initiatives which most thinking people understand to be addressing the science of climate change. One thing is clear - the institution Bolt writes for - the Murdoch press in Victoria and NSW - is raking in big advertising dollars from the mining industry via a sister newspaper broadsheet as pictured here in today's edition.
We hear shadow AG George Brandis wax lyrical on abc radio about distinctions, arguably without a difference, on why both major parties endorsed Slipper MP in a world of trouble now. Certainly Slipper is hog tied for at least a while by legalistic smart alecs helping Opposition leader Tony Abbott. And the mechanism of choice of the Coalition is revealing of their own character.
Like the worthy Scribe in the Media section of the wicked Limited/News broadsheet, all this recent Slipper imbroglio has got me thinking.
Let me explain. But first note on page 4 of the Murdoch broadsheet today where we see the marginal issue of private sexual matters and petty cab charge misdemeanours.
We submit suing Peter Slipper for sexual harrassment of a 33 year old in a civil suit, in order to unravel a government in a hung parliament is just too small. It is small minded, and legalistic, nonsense with scant regard for the democratic process.
We note in the same press that legally trained Abbott staffer Peta Credlin is negotiating a deal with cross bencher Andrew Wilkie. No doubt Credlin was a chef in the kitchen cooking up this smallness when Abbott was incapable of winning an election fair and square in 2010.
This Peter Slipper affair remind of an episode of the West Wing (Season 2) where Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman must weigh up whether to sue the white supremacists who put a bullet in him. He decides against, according to the script, because the political strategy is “too small”. He doesn’t want gun crime to be defined, to paraphrase, by the 'civil suit equivalent of slipping in the driveway'. Taking government by such a small pretext, in contrast to a national election, is like that. Too small.
Tony Abbott has form on legalistic, albeit financially expensive, games as a weak substitute for good faith motives.
In one of our first forays in this SAM blog some 5 years old now, was a first hand account of bruiser Tony Abbott in action in Sydney University student politics. The story is here:
with postscript here
The common element in the current rumble is the reliance of Abbott on heavy weight legal support. Back then it was to avoid suit for assault in then Glebe local magistrates’ court. Not for our Tony the George Washington declaration 'that it was I who cut down the apple tree', being the honest good faith response. To own up to mistakes.
Abbott similarly is also implicated in tricky legalistic devilry to attack the One Nation virus that was nurtured ironically in his own electorate office. That all ended in the false imprisonment of Pauline Hanson in Qld.
Not for Abbott the full blooded repudiation of racists and white supremacists which again would have been the George Washington option. To take that overt and honest moral political position would have cleaved the red neck rump on the Coalition right.
Bob Brown, retiring Green MP and leader, came close to the essence of good faith last night on Q & A when challenged on his position 30 years ago in the Franklin River campaign for his support for a coal fired power station alternative. BB announced something like ‘it’s in the newspaper, and I was wrong’ with grace and a winning smile, as if to say, yes I am human and fallible. That folks was the George Washington response, for real. No wonder folks love Brown.
We doubt folks love Tony Abbott that way, or ever will. And the reason is that he is too small, and more practically speaking, too small to be a good PM or maybe even PM at all.
Last night we also saw Abbott interviewed by Uhlmann on 7.30. It was a workmanlike but clunky affair, as the cogs turned over slowly and descended into legalistic distinctions over Slipper then and now, ours then now theirs, and a traverse of other broad policy concerns. Abbott looked very much like a man with trainers on, and painfully under done. And we feel this is really his default position. We think the public, business and conservative alike, ought not expect more if he ever gets in the big chair.
We’ve seen this before. The smart arse charm, with a habit for the cheap joke - note the comic insert on Meet The Press on Sunday catching Abbott’s low brow comment about 'spicy workplaces', as if he would know(?). In my experience such personality types have less than meets the eye in the gravitas department when actually in harness. By distinction some other types grow in the job and rise to the occasion. My conclusion is we are witnessing Abbott at his clunky zenith.
Another serious clue to Abbott's nature is his ideological support for the Iraq War despite estimates of 100,000 to 600,000 deaths on the pretext of presence of weapons of mass destruction which didn't exist. Even after the expose' of this mistaken or falsified WMD claim Abbott remains loyal to the project.
In this Abbott is loyal to a fault to the old man, ex PM John Howard. Arguably Abbott having been mentored by Howard is also his cipher. Howard famously wanted the country to be relaxed and comfortable which is ridiculous when faced by global terrorism, ripples from GFC Mark I, expected Mark II, the war in Afghanistan and grim climate change science (as distinct from geologist and oil industry fiction).
Perhaps the churchy people amongst us by definition are small people who embrace the history and grandeur of a world religion to fill up a vacuum in their own persona? They need a bolt on moral substance that others install internally? Whatever the reason, to quote the West Wing opening season, Abbott is not the real deal.
The answer to Uhlmann’s penetrating question “Are you ready to govern?” in truth should have been “No, and I never will be. It‘s not in my DNA.”
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