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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Sunday, 27 May 2012
SAM is disengaging from social media politics
Mood:  chatty
Topic: about editor

SAM's editor has come to a juncture in life where he doesn't have the critical large blocks of time available to engage in effective political blogging.

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.

Posted by editor at 1:26 PM NZT
Updated: Sunday, 27 May 2012 1:36 PM NZT
Friday, 25 May 2012
Assange as publisher/reporter, not leaker, of diplomatic cables?
Mood:  sharp
Topic: big media

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.

Posted by editor at 5:10 PM NZT
Updated: Sunday, 27 May 2012 11:45 AM NZT
Richo and those alleged hookers, News Ltd and those brothels
Mood:  accident prone
Topic: big media

The Harper Valley Hypocrites are out in force in the big news media today over alleged use of prostitutes by an MP.

Here is a comment which may or may not be allowed through on today's crikey.com.au editorial where they suggest Craig Thomson MP should chuck it all in. 

Let me recall that chicken dinner in company with Graham Richardson in 1994.

It was down at the take away tables in front of what is now the Swiss Grand Hotel. It was the end of a fundraising walk along the scenic eastern suburbs cliff line in aid of The Wilderness Society. The former federal MP, former environment minister, was in need of some pro bono PR kudos. He had fallen on hard times and needed the non aligned cred of a high profile organisation that was busy ramping up tens of thousands of submissions in favour of environmental heritage in the lead up to the critical state election in March 1995.

As NSW campaigns coordinator I chose to lead that walk to mix with the fallen fixer. You see he was implicated in a scandal involving … hookers. The tabloids were burning him alive in reputational terms. He needed some charity in his PR sails. I had no doubt he wanted to use us for his own ends.

Ironic to read his pontificating in The Australian today to feed off the big media employment in light of the above.

As the wikipedia entry notes:

Four weeks later, on 25 March 1994, Richardson resigned both positions and retired from parliament, citing ill-health. However, at the same time, allegations were mounting that Richardson was involved in acquiring prostitutes for his personal use, supplied by Robert Burgess and Nick Karlos. Karlos reportedly had been accused of having serious criminal connections; meanwhile Richardson had signed a letter of support on Ministerail letthead for Burgess which was then used to set up a meeting between Richardson and the senior executive of a US defence company, where Richardson discussed Burgess’ interests. Richardson denied the allegations.” [Refer “The fixer in a fix”. The Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Media). 13 December 2003. Retrieved 30 December 2010.]

Even more ironic to read Simon Benson reference another scandal involving the Touch of Class brothel … located opposite Forresters Hotel in Surry Hills Sydney about 200 metres from … News Ltd headquarters (innocently noticed from my bushwalking club meeting at Forresters Hotel the other day). A quick google indicates at least another ten in the Surry Hills area with News Ltd the biggest employer presence in the suburb. Coincidence? I wonder if the shareholders are briefed on News Ltd corporate credit card use at that and other close by brothels?


Posted by editor at 4:20 PM NZT
Updated: Friday, 25 May 2012 5:13 PM NZT
Friday, 18 May 2012
Rumoured finding into ABC staffers fatal crash near William Creek
Mood:  blue
Topic: big media


Picture - dawn over Lake Eyre South from the public car park off Oodnadatta Track about 100 km east of William Creek, South Australia, taken 17 May 2012.



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.

Posted by editor at 11:24 AM NZT
Monday, 14 May 2012
Devine memo to Australian CEOs re 'Abbott mafia family'?
Mood:  chillin'
Topic: aust govt

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?

Posted by editor at 9:41 AM NZT
Updated: Monday, 14 May 2012 10:16 AM NZT
Friday, 11 May 2012
Dolt Bolt latest rant confusing local state and federal governance
Mood:  energetic
Topic: aust govt


Picture: Costume shop nearby News Ltd Sydney headquarters, photo taken May 2008

Andrew Bolt the bad News Ltd propagandist is a real head case by the judge of his last hopeless rant.

Entitled "Sacrificing decency on the altar of expedience" he tries to put meat on a story that has been thrashed of all genuine news months if not years ago - the union ALP cronyism around Dobell MP Craig Thomson. 

 Apparently the ALP milks unions for electorate funding - OMG, who knew? Oh yeah, the ALP voting membership, the public, the media, the coalition opposition, the Greens. Oh yeah, everyone except folks on a Budhist retreat  perhaps like for 100 years.

Back to nutter Bolt. Under a graphic about Federal Parliament he refers to safety regs of local council to avoid tripping hazards on unlit nature strips, speed cameras organised by state govt at 2.00 am (exactly when people are tired, drunks might be crossing, and the increasingly 24 hour city may be active), and incredibly sledges state govt control of alcohol at a school fete, as if there is not enough alcohol related crime around pubs.

And even as parents across Sydney are in a moral panic over child predators not least by coverage of both major daily newspapers, Bolt sledges safety forms for volunteer coashes "answering a veritable booklet of questions on what breed of pervert we might be".

One hopes this last is not projection by an otherwise very creepy Bolt. Which brings us to how the senior propagandists obsess about politician sleaze. There is an old school yard gibe - takes one to know one. That is Bad News have alot of form on sleaze and seem to know the subject inside out. First of course is the Leveson Inquiry in the UK revealing the reputational protection racket run by the slippery News Corp press outlet(s).

But we note another circumstantial item of evidence - the proximity of booze and sex industry around the "Holt St Harlot" headquarters of News Ltd/Corp in Sydney Australia. We reported on this SAM blog some years back noting the incredible concentration of booze outlets nearby concurrent with the high alcohol advertising dollars, including at that time the slang named Evil Star i.e. Evening Star Hotel.

Here is that SAM link with such as this hotel as an "exhibit" so to speak under the title

Wednesday, 4 June 2008
Sydney tabloid hard liquor politics to protect retail advertising?
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: big media


The sex side of things down Holt St-Surrey Hills way is amply revealed by the sex industry paid classifieds on a daily basis in the tabloid newspapers owned by Bad News here in Sydney. Yes Bad News propagandists surely are well informed about the sex industry. But how exactly?



Posted by editor at 9:44 AM NZT
Get Carter movie remake in 2000 with prototype Mark Zuckerberg?
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: culture

ABC tv public broadcaster here in Australia are running a BBC doco on Facebook.

When I saw Mark Zuckerberg's certain type of look I was reminded of the Jeremy Kinnear/Alan Cumming character in the fairly unappreciated US remake in 2000 of the original British gritty drama Get Carter

The Jeremy character 'is a Harvard graduate' who exclaims that he 'doesn't do porn' even though he does, which at that time one presumes the internet was already obsessed with. He also has another memorable line 'I have more money than God.' He gets pushed around by Carter and told 'to be a man for once in your life' and he gets 'a second chance'.

Here is the actor Alan Cumming picture, who has a profile on wikipedia. Sort of the same, sort of not. It's mainly in the big brain bubble head and the internet script line, as a precious super rich brat, though Zuckerberg comes across as a better character than his movie prototype.


Posted by editor at 12:07 AM NZT
Updated: Friday, 11 May 2012 12:11 AM NZT
Thursday, 10 May 2012
Film review of Delicacy aka La Delicatesse
Mood:  happy
Topic: culture

We added this to the IMDB website, and go as high as 9 out of 10 which is a big call:

I am not a fan of emotional nuanced, indeed French, movies. So why the big score? Went with my girlfriend who was tired after a busy day at work. I was skeptical already. We loved it.

- Female lead was whippet like, not the usual Hollywood cookie cutter looks. Her emotional range in subtle fashion was very good. The whole movie reaches an emotional climax at the end and I love the surreal nature of that, always been a sucker for the spiritual/metaphysical/surreal imagery.

- The male lead was goofy but as you look you see a dignity, a certain honor, and pointed wit. This man is lovable and credible as such.

- The music was fantastic no doubt because it was written for real life loss by Emilie Simon. My friend is Budhist and the bells in the signature tune were perfect. Any movie with excellent music (compare Thin Red Line) will lift and indeed soar.

- The movie is just released in Australia and probably there are a lot of multicultural 'mismatched' couples who commit to each other attracted by difference. Australia is the most successful multicultural country IN THE WORLD. When I was in France I saw the pathetic xenophobia with due contempt felt by me (it was a subway situation in Paris).

- The French style in the urban and rural landscapes were very stylish for those with an eye to detail, but perhaps not for knuckleheads (other reviewers?).

- The French history is sub textual - Norsemen naming Normandy and making a marriage of Vikings and French some 1,000 years ago. The above-mentioned highly metaphorical rural landscape of yellow and green is notable for those with eyes to see. Even dialog about a cold day being like summer gives the clue to this ancient subtext.

- these themes of multicultural tolerance and deeper humanity,
especially in the shadow of madman Anders Behring Breivik, was a superbly timed contribution to popular culture. Bring on the Love as the antidote to the hate.

9 out of 10. I stand by that.

Posted by editor at 9:47 PM NZT
Friday, 4 May 2012
Whoa dude, who stole my page hits metric?
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: independent media

Seems we had an outage on the old automatic metric for our US based blog server on 30 April 2012. As most bloggers, and lawyers, know one can never really believe extreme results such as zero or conversely sky high. Not one accidental page hit in 24 hours after 5 years of existence? We don't think so.

 It may be a coincidence we sent the link to the latest posting about Andrew Bolt comparision with Anders Breivik to all federal members of parliament on the evening of 30 April 2012, or not. We have no way of knowing. Here is the graphic to verify the weird result.


Posted by editor at 10:30 AM NZT
Thursday, 3 May 2012
7.30, DIAC pr, 'integrity' and the political (not legal) queue

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.

Posted by editor at 10:09 AM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 3 May 2012 10:11 AM NZT

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