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May 16, 2011

Open thread 16-20 May

Welcome to another week. If you're looking for a diversion today, take a look at this

Welcome to another week.

If you’re looking for a diversion today, take a look at this article from Rolling Stone about the role Golman Sachs played in the GFC. Sadly it’s the sort of article that’s not being published by our major news organisations, I’ll leave it to others to speculate why.

Remember that we’re collecting crazy comments over in the Cut and Paste Trophy thread, and anything else you want to discuss, media related or not, goes in here.

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88 thoughts on “Open thread 16-20 May

  1. Ross Sharp

    Trading access for kind questions. How the media game works, and why the Greens won’t come on our show.

    For the same reason I haven’t watched it.

  2. RobJ

    I’ll be sure to report back if the ATO respond confessions.

  3. confessions


    I don’t understand either, and will be interested to hear what the ATO say about it.

    I don’t mind donations to the IPA being tax deductible. But if you look through its publications at its website, you’ll see they have a history of calling for an end to taxpayer support for green groups because they disagree with their agenda. While they benefit from support for them being offset by taxpayers, I think such calls are a bit rich.

  4. jules

    Re what I said @ 11.

    It was “attacks on middle class welfare”, not “a tax on middle class welfare.”

    In my defense they do sound very similar.

  5. RobJ

    I notice that donations to Get-Up are not tax deductible, which is fine but I don’t understand why donations to the IPA are. I’ve asked the ATO why.

  6. dogspear

    “I find it extremely perverse that an organisation such as the IPA can use the taxpayer’s purse to actively lobby against the best interests of the country and it’s people.”
    -Think Big

    Pfft. Don’t you know that the last government showed Real Action against pesky lobby groups. Howard’s government passed legislation so donations to “political” NGOs and other not for profits couldn’t be tax deductible. The proper profitable ones have a successful business model and are good for our economy. That’s why the public needs to donate money to them.

    As far as the NGOs go, obviously “political”, means “people that don’t agree with our current modus operandi”. The Wilderness Society and The Australian Conservation Foundation are communist and selected churches are only unprofitable because of religious persecution. The poor churches that are hindered by communism need more money.


  7. Matthew of Canberra

    Adam Rope @42

    Yeah, I noticed that too. I was slightly annoyed. I know headlines are traditionally a bit stupid, but given the beat-up that’s already been occurring elsewhere is it really necessarily for the ABC to stoke it too?

    I reckon folks here might want to just read the submission. It’s online here (pdf, ~2mb). It’s not long. I found a couple of the others a bit interesting too.

    It’s a bit waffly. It stops short of “pushing” for anything in particular, but does talk about “legal pluralism” and the history of islam. It also editorializes a bit – but, then, I’ve never written a submission to parliament and maybe that’s normal. It does point out that jewish and catholic arbitration facilities have existed elsewhere.

    I think this “pushing for” is another one of those B.S. expressions, like “romp”. It means nothing. A guy writes a letter to a parliamentary inquiry and that’s a “push for sharia law”. McClennan has already said no anyway. He said no in 2008, and he said no again this week. The labs have pretty much nailed their colours to that response.

    For those like me who aren’t islamic scholars, melvyn bragg did a show about sharia recently. There’s some genuinely interesting stuff in it that I didn’t know (which isn’t hard, frankly).

    He’s an interesting character. He runs a tight ship – That show comes across as a bit of a ramble, but I’ve heard him put guests back in their place for wandering off on a tangent, and he nearly got into a right punch-up once when a guest tried to argue that the only reason britain was so crucial to the industrial revolution (which, let’s face it, it was) was because it had lots of good coal and ports. That was an interesting moment – I thought he was unflappable.

    Yes, I am a podcast omnivore. Podcasts are awesome.

  8. confessions

    Think Big:

    The IPA’s donations page says donations are tax deductible.

  9. Adam Rope

    Moc @ 22, even the impartial ABC went with a very similar and unsubtle headline.

    “Muslim group wants sharia law in Australia”

    But in the actual story:-

    “Ikebal Patel, president of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, agrees the very word sharia could invoke notions of a fierce, unjust, male-dominated legal code.

    “Short of trying to really find or use another word, really I would like to suggest that what the Muslim community at least in Australia has to do is to try and explain that there’s no aspect of sharia that is being tried to be introduced here,” he said.”

    Could that sort of explanation not be used instead of a provocative headline?

    When the ‘very word sharia could invoke notions of a fierce, unjust, male-dominated legal code’.

    Maybe the ABC could try to be a little bit more – how can we put this – impartial, or even ‘balanced’??

  10. Adam

    [The IPA was founded in the early 1940s, partly in response to the collapse of Australia’s main conservative party, the United Australia Party. The IPA was one of a number of groups which came together to form the Liberal Party of Australia, and was, for many years, primarily a fund raising conduit for the Liberal Party, particularly in Victoria. The IPA returned to prominence as a thinktank in the 1990s, following a merger with the Australian Institute of Public Policy, headed by John Hyde who became Executive Director.]

  11. Think Big

    Confessions @ 20

    thanks for the explanation but I still don’t quite get it seeing as they are not a political party either (although they could easily be confused with the Libs).

    Obviously the rules surrounding donations aren’t an area I’m really on top of but I find it extremely perverse that an organisation such as the IPA can use the taxpayer’s purse to actively lobby against the best interests of the country and it’s people.

  12. jules

    “I’m sure we could do something with that. But it’s just … wrong. I can’t do it. It’s not actually funny. And I think there are some undeniable differences in our current circumstances. The comparison isn’t that simple. And it’s a godwin.”

    It wasn’t meant to be funny tho. I read through a bit of Nazi Propaganda today, and some of the things are mind blowing. Especially the piece written in 1933 saying that practising genocide is barbaric and we germans, especially us National Socialists, aren’t like that. But i came to the conclusion that it would be a bit disingenuous – its not the same. And yeah its a bit of a Godwin, but I’m over Godwin’s to be honest. It should be repealed or at least amended to allow for a valid use of the comparison.

    The main point of doing the exercise would to provoke some thought on Bolts part, to maybe shame him into thinking about stuff a bit more. But its probably a waste of time. Cos it isn’t the same, just similar enough to be a bit irritating.

  13. Matthew of Canberra

    confessions @36

    That’d do it. Yep.

  14. Matthew of Canberra

    jules @35

    It’s too easy, I’m afraid. Just look at britain’s cyprus solution, or go hire Exodus on DVD.

    Trouble is, it’s a bit of a godwin. I’ve pondered cooking up some hypothetical nazi excuses that focused on moving jews out of europe purely for their own safety – keeping them in germany to face those pogroms would just be heartless and putting lives in danger. And let’s not even CONSIDER allowing people to crowd onto rickety boats to fleeenrich people-smugglers. Or rooting them out of hiding spots purely to crack down on insidious illegal activity and the criminals who profited from harboring “illegal non-residents”, or even pointing to the jewish laws on divorce by way of claiming to be liberating women from oppression (women have to cover their hair when they’re married? That’s barbaric!). Heck – hasn’t somebody in our own country recently commented that he “didn’t want to be eating meat killed in the name of an ideology he disagreed with”? I’m sure we could do something with that. But it’s just … wrong. I can’t do it. It’s not actually funny. And I think there are some undeniable differences in our current circumstances. The comparison isn’t that simple. And it’s a godwin.

    But if you want a warm glow inside, ponder that anne frank was almost certainly turned in by patriotic, conservative dutch people, entirely of their own free will (the far left being one of the very few groups that consistently and globally opposed the nazis). Those were presumably the ones who didn’t join one of the two divisions(?) of the waffen SS staffed by their countrymen to go off and help mr hitler. Then think upon certain surprising views on the apparent insidious heritability of culture. Not that I actually agree with them myself, of course. I think that’s pretty clear.

  15. confessions

    Hasta la vista baby!

    [Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife, Maria Shriver, separated after the former governor revealed he had fathered a child with a member of their household staff more than a decade ago, The Los Angeles Times reported.]

  16. jules

    You know what might be worth doing, finding some abhorrent anti Jewish garbage, maybe from the first half of the 20th century, changing the references from Jewish to Islamic people then noting them beforehand and posting them to see if they get thru.

    It’d make an interesting little study i reckon.

    (We could even not do it and say we had, just to really fuck with certain peoples heads.)

  17. Matthew of Canberra

    Can anyone imagine this comment getting through if it were about catholics, or jews or even hindus?

    It should be remembered that muslims do not do multiculturalism and when they say they do please bear in mind it is in their holy book to decieve the infidel to get their way

    Eric of NQ (Reply)
    Tue 17 May 11 (10:16am)

    Fred replied to Eric
    Tue 17 May 11 (02:54pm)

    The muslim practice of LYING……..

    “Hudaibiya” – Islamic practice of LYING to Infidels!

  18. Matthew of Canberra

    Another brain-burp:

    dd replied to ChomFa
    Tue 17 May 11 (01:28pm)

    We see the Islamic “tolerance” every night on the television. I am so tired of seeing how Islam treats everyone including other muslims. Was there ever a religion where everbody seems to be so rabidly insane, with brainwashed young men screaming,fighting, throwing stones,burning everything in sight. Is that the extent of their “tolerance”. Keep it away from here,it is ugly,it is brutal and it is so alien to our ways and our laws.

  19. Matthew of Canberra

    It’s a target-rich thread:

    Leonie replied to Yilli
    Tue 17 May 11 (09:35am)

    Yilli this group may only represent a small minority and as you say not your community but that will not stop them from ruling you if you don’t stand up to them. Minorities will get their way if no one resists them.

  20. Matthew of Canberra

    I guess some sorts of tribalism are to be admired

    let them have it.

    Speaking as someone who works and lives alongside Australian Muslims I say let what is already De facto become De jure.

    They are a seperate community, they wish to remain one.

    One of the things that blinds Aussies to Islam is the politicos and journos continually claiming that most Muslims are moderate and “just like us”.

    Well they are in some ways and they ‘aint in most.

    Hopefully the more extreme they get the bigger the backlash, that is what has happened in the UK, Holland and France.

    And we need a backlash.

    Westerners need to get some balls back in order to survive.

    I also grew up with many Serbs here in Melbourne. They understand what needs to be done and what nice ideas need to be discarded in order to face Islam in the real world.

    Disagree? Read a Koran.
    James (Reply)
    Tue 17 May 11 (03:22pm)

    Yeah. Those serbs know what to do with muslims. Good one.

  21. bis

    You really are into applauding assholes Bis.

    Quantize, I appreciate that the name ‘John Howard’ is one of the many triggers that sends you of on a convulsive, semi-coherent rant. So from here on in I’ll refer to him as Mr X so as not to aggravate your condition an further.
    I wasn’t applauding anyone on policy grounds, merely pointing out that whatever you may have thought of Mr X, the general public would have a fair idea on where Mr X stood on any particular issue and he was fairly consistent in his policies. Contrast this to the current Labor government’s recent shameless oscillations regarding a carbon price and their about face on ‘boat people’ and it is not too controversial to suggest the public see the Rudd/Gillard government as inconsistent and unpredictable: a deadly tag to be attached to any government according to Mr X.

  22. confessions

    Bernard Keane perfectly pings Terry McCrann in his Crikey column today.

    McCrann is supposed to be the Herald Sun’s economics editor, so you’d think Budget time would be when he really shows readers he earns his dough. I’m no economist, but even I can see that News Ltd would save itself a truck load of money if it simply swapped McCrann for a $1-a-pop tarot card reader from the local markets. The Budget commentary would be no less precise.

  23. quantize

    Uh sorry if this has been discussed already, but did anyone see Media Watch and News Ltd using lobby group ‘research’ for their ‘news’???

    Outrageous lies.

  24. quantize

    [learning the hard way that when John Howard noted that the Australian electorate values,above all, consistent and predictable government, he may have been on to something.]

    Not hard when you do nothing but wage senseless wars (Iraq), fib your ass off (take your pick, that’s a long list, and spend like a drunk sailor on self promotion (or ‘information advertising ‘ as I’m sure you’d have it) as they did.

    You really are into applauding assholes Bis.

  25. monkeywrench

    Melissa Clarke and her interlocutors on the ABC Breakfast show this morning were bemoaning the “poor selling job” by the Government concerning the budget. But when coverage by News Ltd. outlets has ranged from the biased to the outright-fraudulent, how can people think otherwise? Tim Colebatch puts it excellently in today’s Age.
    Despite the somewhat turbulent times The Age is enduring, I can see no other news outlet in this country that has journalists of the calibre of Colebatch, Shaun Carney, Ross Gittins and Tony Wright. The Australian, with its pisspoor shower of Opposition suckholes, is a sham paper.

  26. Rich Uncle Skeleton

    The Wegman scandal continues to rock the scientific community.

    Coupled with Anthony Watts’ simpering backdown on his past Surface Stations claims (so fondly beloved by that Southbank journalist) this has not been a good week for the deniers.

  27. Matthew of Canberra

    Bloody hell. Here we go again.

    A few choice snippets:

    “What fits with Australian values is the idea that we are one people bound by one law, not rival peoples with each our own”

    “But for the law to specifically endorse verdicts of religious groups is to give them a power and legal standing that seems at odds with not just our notion of one law for all, but with our Constitution’s insistence on a separation of church and state”

    “Note, by the way, how multiculturalism encourages those who want to retribalise Australia, rather than stress what unites us.”

    Now, I’ve pointed out the following over there a number of times. So I reckon that, by now, he knows about it. Therefore I tend to assume that he figures the droogs are too stupid or ignorant to work it out for themselves. One thing I’m fairly sure of, though, is that he wouldn’t be responding if anyone thought to post the next two links in that thread:

    Melbourne rabbinic courts

    Sydney rabbinic courts

    Do I have a problem with a Beth Din? Of course not. They’re arbitration courts, dealing with non-criminal matters with the agreement of the applicants. Anyone who wants to claim that islamic divorce law is tough on women ought to learn a bit about the “gett”. But that’s religious law – not the actual civil law of divorce in australia. And, as we all know, it’s not possible to sign away any statutory rights under a contract in this country. So I just don’t see the problem … as long as the hearings and judgements are public.

    No “sharia court” in this country is ever going to be considering criminal cases. They just can’t. It’s not possible without a massive change to the way our legal rights are protected. It’s not the thin end of the wedge, in fact it’s no different from any other arbitration process currently operating.

    Talk about fear-mongering. Sheesh. And for a guy who reckons he’s all about debate, he does seem prone to leaving out any reference to facts or reason that might tend to actually represent the debate.

    Here’s predicting a low post-count for that one. The respondents are going to be rabid and unhinged, and he knows we’re watching.

  28. Matthew of Canberra

    Surprise surprise.

    “Trump Not Running for President: ‘Decision Does Not Come Easily Or Without Regret'”

    Here’s the telling comment:

    Ultimately, however, business is my greatest passion and I am not ready to leave the private sector.

    No kidding, donald. Why take a job which requires that you ACTUALLY declare your assets and sources of income? Why take a job that will have people actually watching what you’re up to? Why even apply for that job, in the glare of publicity, when you have no chance whatsoever of getting it?

    But when did he decide that he is “not ready to leave the private sector”? Just now? I doubt that. That was obvious from the outset. So the whole thing was a cheap self-promotion exercise (now he can add “presidential candidate” to his list of honors), and all those media hacks who couldn’t help themselves gave him free publicity.

    He bowed out the moment it looked like real candidates would begin campaigning. Just as we expected. Now – can our journalists perhaps get a clue and stop falling into line for this sort of dross?

  29. confessions

    Think Big:

    I assume it works in the same way that political party donations are tax deductible.

  30. Think Big

    [The IPA are apparently subsidised by taxpayers because donations to the IPA are tax deductible. ]

    How does that work? They’re not a charity surely? (other than one for mining magnates).

  31. confessions


    Hey, how’s it going? 🙂

    Harvey is making some big blunders. First his attempts to get the govt to put GST on online retail, which failed. Now his bluster and carry on in the wake of the Liberals giving his company free publicity last week. That too looks like failing.

  32. RobJ

    Yeah, it seems that Liberals have all of a sudden flip flopped on the Set Top Box scheme. Also, Conroy called Gerry Harvey’s bluff the other day, advised him that he should be putting in a tender for NSW if he could do it cheaper.

  33. confessions

    Who said this:

    [The Government also needs to finalise a strategy to assist the economically disadvantaged to upgrade their analog equipment to digital. The elderly and others may also require technical assistance and support to ensure their digital equipment is properly installed and working. ]

    Senator Conroy? Prime Minister Gillard? Some other pro-Labor stooge?

    Nope, Liberal Senator Nick Minchin.

  34. Post hoc

    I have just posted a comment on AB’s site, I doubt it will get through. About his lattest dig at the Carbon Tax and a report by Deloitte that the price is going to need to be about $40 per tonne to make electricity providers switch to gas.

    He uses it to blast the Tax as being pointless and for increasing power prices (the article does say it will for various reasons) but it also says that Abbotts options will also increase prices, over the medium term.

    Something AB fails to mention in his post? Fair and Balanced?

  35. dogspear

    Don’t know if this qualifies The Trollstralian for a Cut And Paste award and you can bend your head around it with some effort, but it does have a catchy headline.

    Muslims Use Multiculturalism To Push For Sharia

    If you read to the end there is a statement by a super peak Muslim acknowledging government being cooperative with some people into Halal stuff and their welcoming of Muslims participating in the economy, which might explain “the Gillard’s government’s re-embracing of multiculturalism”.

    Like I said; it’s a super headline.

    “THE nation’s peak Muslim group is using the Gillard government’s re-embracing of multiculturalism to push for the introduction of sharia in Australia, but it says it would be a more moderate variety of Islamic law that fits with Australian values.

    The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, in a submission to a parliamentary inquiry into the government’s new multiculturalism policy, argues that Muslims should enjoy “legal pluralism”..
    In most Western countries, the submission notes, the idea of an “Islamic family tribunal or arbitration is likely to fuel the debate on radicalism and liberalism”.

    “But is it true that Australia will never consider Islamic law?” it asks.

    “It seems that in two areas, namely Islamic finance and halal food, the Australian government has been actively involved.

    “So although the Attorney-General ruled out introducing Islamic law, or sharia, at the same time Australian financial institutions are encouraged to do much more to attract Muslim business by developing innovative products which comply with Islamic law.””

  36. Matthew of Canberra

    Just watching hungry beast. A good episode.

    The prison rape thing – I’ve always been a bit astonished that prisons aren’t criminally liable for the safety of their inmates. It seems to me that employers are WAY more (legally) responsible than prison operators. Just ethically, I would have thought that somebody who is forcibly detained, who has no control whatsoever over their circumstances, surely must be able to rely on their detainers a reasonable measure of safety. I would like to think that if a prisoner is injured, somebody would at least want a report on it.

    Do the lawyers in our midst know if there have been any test cases on this?

    One assumes that it’s just too politically unpopular to give a stuff about anything that happens to prisoners. Just see the the recent idiocy from the tele about prison food for an example of what awaits any MP foolish enough to develop an ethical spine. But … here’s the weird thing – even the lock-em-up leader, the US, has seen political attempts to at least pay attention to it:

    The public view of what happens in prisons is quite strange. It’s disturbing to see the approving understanding that rock-spiders get “dealt-with” in prison by the other inmates. Does anyone bother to consider that maybe we shouldn’t be leaving our law enforcement to society’s most violent and dysfunctional people, away from public scrutiny?

    An interesting thought experiment for people who think it’s acceptable to ignore the problem: What happens if an inmate is raped, then they’re proven to be innocent? Was the rape ok or not ok at the time that it took place? Did it only become not OK after the fact?

  37. confessions


    The IPA are apparently subsidised by taxpayers because donations to the IPA are tax deductible. GBNT on middle class welfare indeed.

  38. jules

    Q and A tonight – Did I just hear that clown from the IPA say words to the effect of “Great big new tax on middle class welfare”.?????

    I must have misheard surely…

  39. shepherdmarilyn

    We are the ones who jail the refugees, we are the ones who hire a British prison company and yet some ning nong wants the refugees investigated?

    Huh? All they did was ask for help according to our law, we are the morons.

    All over the media today they seem to be waking up to the fact that Bowen wants to break Australian law by trafficking humans to Malaysia in the pretext of stopping “people smugglers’.

    Now I am all for stopping actual people smugglers – you know those companies that bring people into the country as slave labour on 457 visas and pay them third world wages by having them on off-shore rigs and claiming that is not Australia. BHP are good at it.

    Then we have the fat old men on the north shore who have a roaring trade in sexual servitude who are never punished.

    Giving refugees a ride though is not people smuggling, it is giving refugees a ride THEY ASK FOR.

    The lunatics running this asylum seek to have us believe that “recruiters” are running around looking for “recruits” but Bowen belled the cat tonight on George Negus when he wilfully stated that he would send 800 refugees to Malaysia in breach of the law knowing very well that they would not be protected and trying shamefully to convince Hamish McDonald who has just been to Malaysia that Malaysia would treat our 800 well and just keep torturing the other 93,000.

    Gawd, we get dumber and dumber.

  40. liliwyt

    This may not be right place for this, but I’m a little puzzled about this month’s Open Road. First, we get an apologetic Editorial, then we get a disclaimer at the end of Tim Ross’ clearly satirical take on “Dr Happy’s Top 10 Tips”. Have we really had a humour bypass in this country?

  41. bis

    The ALP continues to languish in the polls, learning the hard way that when John Howard noted that the Australian electorate values,above all, consistent and predictable government, he may have been on to something.

  42. Matthew of Canberra


    I look forward to the day that processing marine refugees is suspended. I would like to see the AFP deployed, with the help of the ATO investigate refugees and the immigration dept. employees. As Serco is not an Australia company maybe they should take a good look at them as well.

    Julian Burnside is an intelligent man. He must be willfully supporting this rorting. I just cannot understand what his agenda would be to continue his support.
    Swmbo of WA (Reply)
    Mon 16 May 11 (09:54am)

    That intelligent man is also a lawyer.

  43. Matthew of Canberra


    I will remember Telechoice when we upgrade our mobile phones next. Petal, Curly and the boys will be paying the Lefties a visit soon. We are multi-cultural and will communicate to them in their own language.
    PaulC (Reply)
    Mon 16 May 11 (07:42am)

  44. Matthew of Canberra

    Leftist thuggery, apparently:

    So in fairness to TeleChoice we should note that it ran ads in my show yesterday. I hope you reward them with your business for standing up to Leftist thuggery.

    A couple of things.

    (1) I’m no expert, but I’m not sure run-of-the-mill advertisers get that much say about when their ads run. I quizzed a friend who IS an expert about these things once and she suggested that it was unlikely that an advertiser would be able to target a particular program in the way I was suggesting at the time.

    (2) Apparently it’s only thuggery when AB disagrees with it:

    If you go looking through the comments (and I don’t recommend this), you’ll find that the droogs are fairly keen on going after sponsors as well – channel 7 apparently deserved this in spades after the “gotcha” question. Is that thuggery too?

  45. GavinM


    Option 1 – he’s wearing the dress because Julia is wearing the suit, i.e. she’s wearing the pants in the relationship ?

    Option 2 – its not a dress its a bedsheet, i.e. Labor/Greens in bed together ?

    Option 3 – its a kaftan, because that’s what Lefty, Greeny, hippy types wear isn’t it ?

    Option 4 and the most likely one – I have no clue 😉

  46. quantize

    C’mon MoC,

    you know male greenies are tree hugging femme metrosexuals…whereas those ‘born to rule’ – the war mongering capitalists – wear suits!

  47. GavinM

    Hello Dave,

    That Rolling Stone article is horrendous, it should make us all glad that our governments keep at least some level of regulation on the banking industry here.

    It should also be compulsory reading for all Australians so we don’t forget what can happen if those regulations are slackened.