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Feb 27, 2012

Respill-Free Weekly Open Thread 27 Feb 2012

An open thread for discussing stuff that happens this week EXCEPT for anything about a leadership spill in the ALP.


An open thread for discussing stuff that happens this week EXCEPT for anything about a leadership spill in the ALP.


52 thoughts on “Respill-Free Weekly Open Thread 27 Feb 2012

  1. Matthew of Canberra

    “it’s Mardi Gras tomorrow and i do not look good in a wet t-shirt. ”

    Possibly, but lots of people DO!

  2. joni

    AJ (over on the Hun thread)

    Don’t get me started on the rain (JG’s fault of course) – it’s Mardi Gras tomorrow and i do not look good in a wet t-shirt.

    Or maybe Fred Nile’s prayer for rain worked this year 🙂

  3. Matthew of Canberra

    There’s a new show on the BBC called “moral maze” that some might find entertaining.


    It’s a debate show, and it gets very combative (but civil). It sounds like the sort of format that might just throw up some mind-changing arguments.

  4. Angra

    Self-enforced apostrophe policing “…its relationship…

  5. Angra

    There’s something deeply satisfying about the following story, even granted that it probably isn’t a satire on the current state of the Australian media and it’s relationship to politicians.

    “Huge Jurassic Fleas May Have Fed On Dinosaurs.

    “”Primitive fleas were built to sup on dinosaur blood in the Jurassic period, more than 150 million years ago. The potential host–parasite relationship has been uncovered thanks to a set of beautifully preserved fossils found in China. Today, the varied group of parasitic insects known as fleas frequently infests mammals and birds. But little is known about their origins. Researchers have now extended the history of the parasites by at least 60 million years. Whereas modern fleas range from 1 to 10 millimeters in length, the Jurassic and Cretaceous species were between 8 and 21 millimeters. The Jurassic and Cretaceous fleas also lacked the spring-legged, jumping specializations of modern species, and their siphoning mouthparts were armored structures studded with saw-like projections, unlike the smooth jaws of modern fleas.”

  6. Ray Hunt

    Given the continuing stream of allegations that Murdoch’s media operations have used criminal spying techniques in pursuit of lurid tabloid headlines – and the settlement of hacking lawsuits in the UK and USA, there’s a big question for Australia.

    Murdoch’s News Ltd has a 70% share of Australian newspaper readers and late in 2011 Rupert Murdoch appointed himself chairman of News Ltd.

    In light of 38 senior News Corporation executives, editors and reporters so far arrested on criminal hacking and corruption charges – and the ease with which company employees move back and forwards between Melbourne and London and Sydney – the corporate culture of News Corporation and its News Ltd branch office requires independent judicial scrutiny. As the Leveson inquiry is demonstrating.

    First local question: Is Rupert Murdoch a fit and proper person to serve as News Ltd chariman? The Australian Stock Exchange and the Australian Securities and Investment Commission must investigate the News Ltd chairman. The Australian public interest demands it.

  7. heavylambs

    RE #36,O’Neill is trying to spin up a fantasy world of his own,forgetting to mention that the corrupt relationship between police and Murdo-media has been exposed as systematic and long-term. O’Neill’s style is so crude,and his thrust so obviously simplistic, it’s difficult to persist with.

  8. Duncan

    Spot the difference in how The Australian reports on recent LIBERAL party leadership tensions, as opposed to how they handle speculation regarding the Labor party leadership.

    “SOUTH Australian opposition leader Isobel Redmond is on notice to lift her performance or face ongoing leadership tensions, senior Liberal MPs are warning.

    The warning comes even as deputy Liberal leader Mitch Williams claims destabilisation is being driven by the Labor government.

    Mr Williams, responding to a report in The Australian today of a plan to replace the current leadership team if the party’s fortunes further deteriorate, blamed the ALP for reigniting internal unrest.

    “This is another beat-up by the Labor Party trying to destabilise the Liberal Party and detract attention from their own woes,” Mr Williams told Adelaide radio this morning.”

    Funny how they never mentioned the possibility of beat ups destabilizing the Labor party, eh?


  9. SHV

    Watching tonight’s Leveson live on the BBC


    Puts the desperation of these people in perspective. “A-Bomb”, indeed. Rotten.

    Some of the people involved in this are very likely to actually end up in jail. Good.

  10. SHV

    His problem seems to be that ALL Murdoch’s outlets are nothing more than merchants of crap.

    That bothers him at an existential level.

    Me? Couldn’t give a shit. Obviously too many people have come to realise that reality and it, presumably, is going to open the boss to well-earned ridicule, possibly criminal charges and an all ’round shafting by the ‘elites’ he has so long envied and aspired to join.

    Cheer on Clowns. Murdoch doesn’t love you.

  11. Adam Rope

    John Reidy @ 36, I read O’Neill’s article as well.

    However I could not work out if it was biting satire, or simply that I – and maybe the rest of the population – live in a parallel universe to O’Neill.

    Or maybe O’Neill is in fact a sneaky left-wing infiltrator, a Murdoch pseudo-supporter, who writes such over-the-top ridiculous nonsense about the whole Murdoch tabloid hacking saga that no-one in their ‘right’ mind can believe such rubbish?

    I mean, surely this is satirical?

    “Then came the first witness of the second sitting – Sue Akers, Deputy Commissioner of London’s Metropolitan Police – who very cynically detonated an anti-tabloid A-Bomb.

    She first decreed that the kind of journalism pursued by The Sun is just “salacious gossip rather than anything that could be regarded as remotely in the public interest”. (Thanks Sue, but if I want the police to tell me what journalism should look like, I’ll move to North Korea.)”

    Oh, and apparently a top police officer reporting the findings of on-going police enquiries is pretty much tittle-tattle, and should not be accorded any weight at all.

    “Yet this weird broadsheet celebration of police power over the tabloid press (which is not unlike turkeys cheering the arrival of Christmas) overlooks the fact that there is no reason whatsoever that we should believe what Akers said about what has been going on at The Sun.”

    Must be that parallel universe thing again.

  12. Adam Rope

    fractious @ 34, I’m not sure about how much CSG work is being down down south of Campbelltown, but I am aware that some exploration wells have been drilled in the recent past.

    I was also aware that a certain large Illawarra steel-working / mining entity with a blobby logo was expanding it’s longwall operations westwards, which would extend them more out towards Wilton and Appin.

    So the operations now include an area that runs under the catchments for some of the southern dams that feed, in part, the Sydney water supply.

  13. Angra

    John – this would be the same Brendan O’Neil, Bolt’s favourite ‘ex-communist’, who supports pokies, damns climate change advocates and believes that anti-racist initiatives and beliefs are ‘class warfare’? And believes that the NOTW and SUN were bastions of working class truth opposed to the suppression of truth by ‘the elites’?

    The man is on the same level as David Icke.

  14. John Reidy

    A alternative ‘viewpoint’ on the Murdoch travails in the UK, by
    Brendan O’Neill published on the Drum.
    Apparently the investigation is an
    [all-out clash between the state and the press, between jackboots and journalistic liberty, between police who want to punish the press and pressmen who want the right to publish and be damned.]
    Just below this he accuses Hugh Grant of having made other-the-top comments before the inquiry…

  15. SHV

    I’m fairly sure that the idea of ‘BS’ (ie: sowing doubt) suits Stratfor nicely.

    If there is some substance to that, some lucky person is about to pick up US$50,000


    In our five year publishing history WikiLeaks has never been fooled. We have published more than anyone else AND have a perfect record.

    We are so confident about the veracity of our Stratfor release we will give US$50,000 to anyone who can show otherwise.]

    As I understand it, the ‘agenda’ is to give us some insight into the inner workings of what has been described as a “Shadow CIA”.

  16. fractious

    @ Adam Rope

    Probably also (depending on which parks) CSG exploration. Here in cockroach land they already have access for CSG in extensive water catchment lands south west of Sydney. While these lands are not primarly run as conservation reserves in the same sense national parks and other reserves managed by NPWS they are still largely relatively intact tracts of land that contain significant amounts of key habitats for threatened flora & fauna and are viewed as population restocking sources in times when adjacent NPs face disaster (fire, flood). Added to that is the fact that Royal NP (oldest NP in Oz) already has coal mining lease under part of it

    I realised significant areas of natural habitat didn’t count for much, but it did surprise me when I first found out some years ago that metropolitan water catchments didn’t count for much either – a major coal lease went ahead a year or two back that runs right under a significant part of the catchment area with only minor concessions, despite substantial evidence of potential adverse impacts on water inflows to dams, which was borne out within 6 months when big cracks appeared in bedrock after the longwall went through.

  17. Coldsnacks

    Thanks for the correction, Coldsnacks, (Stupid Twitter)!

    No dramas.

    But, the dissemination of the fabricated email does make me wonder about Wikileaks a little.

    With “Collateral Murder” and the diplomatic version of Who that they’ve previously published, they published material from governments/agencies. Easy to make a “public interest” case.

    But, Stratfor isn’t a government or it’s agency. What’s the agenda?

    And, we’ve already seen one fabricated email published and jumped on as “fact”. With Stratfor not verifying what is or isn’t also fabricated, I’m less inclined to go looking at the emails to see what’s there, because of the very real chance it’s BS.

  18. Adam Rope

    MoC @ 11 “Why not mining, or forestry, or grazing cattle?”.

    Good point, forgot how many other ways those country folk don’t like keeping a small proportion of land set aside, such that it might not benefit from mankind’s benign interference. Sorry, meant management, not intereference.

    Or maybe love.

    Oh damn, I’m obviously being city-centric and ‘Elitist’, and simply don’t know the ways of the land.

  19. Ray Hunt

    Senior executives at Murdoch’s Sun tabloid accused of spinning a web of corruption across public life:



    Yon News Corp pot does simmer ever more vigorously. Around half the 38 Murdoch executive, editors, spies and reporters so far arrested – the criminal charges include alleged “industrial scale” phone hacking, corruption of public servants and computer hacking – face bail hearings of some description in March … Should we expect more leaks?

  20. SHV

    Thanks for the correction, Coldsnacks, (Stupid Twitter)!

    Brian Cathcart writes (re: Murdoch):


    [Fortunately for News International, though it is deep in the mire it apparently doesn’t have a suitable bogey-man. The editors, the headline-writers, the columnists and cartoonists just can’t find anyone at the top of the organisation who can be used as the symbol of all that has gone wrong at the News of the World and the Sun. Rupert Murdoch, for example, is obviously too uninteresting for the role.]

    Feel familiar?

  21. Coldsnacks

    Stratfor CEO, George Freidman, has resigned.


    Stratfor mail@response.stratfor.com

    George Friedman on Email Theft and the Wikileaks Release
    —Visit Stratfor.com/hacking-news to watch this video message from George Friedman


    I’m George Friedman, founder and CEO of Stratfor.

    As most of you know, in December thieves hacked into Stratfor data systems and stole a large number of company emails, as well as private information of Stratfor subscribers and friends. Today Wikileaks is publishing the emails that were stolen in December. This is a deplorable, unfortunate — and illegal — breach of privacy.

    Some of the emails may be forged or altered to include inaccuracies. Some may be authentic. We will not validate either, nor will we explain the thinking that went into them. Having had our property stolen, we will not be victimized twice by submitting to questions about them.

    The disclosure of these emails does not mean that there has been another hack of Stratfor’s computer and data systems. Those systems, which we have rebuilt with enhanced security measures, remain secure and protected.

    The release of these emails is, however, a direct attack on Stratfor. This is another attempt to silence and intimidate the company, and one we reject. As you can see, emails sent to many people about my resignation were clearly forged.

    We do not know what else has been manufactured. Stratfor will not be silenced, and we will continue to publish the geopolitical analysis our friends and subscribers have come to rely on.

    As we have said before, Stratfor has worked to build good sources in many countries around the world, as any publisher of geopolitical analysis would do.

    We are proud of the relationships we have built, which help our analysts better understand the issues in many of these countries through the eyes of people who live there.

    We have developed these relationships with individuals and partnerships with local media in a straightforward manner, and we are committed to meeting the highest standards of professional and ethical conduct.

    Stratfor is not a government organization, not is it affiliated with any government. The emails are private property. Like all private emails, they were written casually, with no expectation that anyone other than the sender and recipient would ever see them. And clearly, as with my supposed resignation letter, some of the emails may be fabricated or altered.

    Stratfor understands that this hack and the fallout from it have created serious difficulties for our subscribers, friends and employees. We again apologize for this incident, and we deeply appreciate the loyalty that has been shown to Stratfor since last year’s hack.

    We want to assure everyone that Stratfor is recovering from the hack. We will continue to do what we do best: produce and publish independent analysis of international affairs. And we will be back in full operation in the coming weeks. We look forward to continuing to serve you.
    Your security: You can confirm all official emailed communications from Stratfor at Stratfor.com/hacking-news
    Questions? Contact feedback@stratfor.com or (512) 744-4300 ext 2

    I have one of the free (so, no CC details to worry about) subscription

  22. Angra

    In a touch of precipient (and possibly postcipient) irony, the Dr Who show on ABC showing now is about a spaceship called the Titanic run by a cruise line run by Max Capricorn.

  23. shepherdmarilyn

    And Lenore Taylor in the Herald and Michael Harvey in the HUN are still whining about the Malaysia deal – it’s not legal, something they don’t seem to have registered yet.

  24. zoot

    While I’m here, Virgin have announced they’re lifting fares to cover the carbon price. As much as $6 for a flight longer than 2000k!!!1!

    Oh, the humanity!

  25. zoot

    The genius who wrote the “we don’t get paid on Feb 29” rubbish should extend the logic.

    Some months have 30 days while others have 31. So in Jan, Mar, May, Jul, Aug, Oct and Dec those of us who are paid monthly are all working one day for free.

    We’re being ripped off 7 days a year, every year.

  26. Aldaron

    Hmmm…I’ll bow you your wisdom on this, Deziner & MoC. I’m not *100%* convinced, but I’ll accept that you guys have better math heads than I do (my mathematics gland was excised at birth). 🙂

  27. Liz A

    Interesting that I haven’t seen much of this article on the Hun or Age websites…


    Lets see if it gets a run at all.

  28. Matthew of Canberra

    Aldaron – I’m with deziner.

    Most people are paid on a fixed number of weeks, not as a lump sum for the year, and not even very often as a fixed sum per month. If somebody’s paid according to the second two, then I guess they are affected … but does anyone here actually KNOW anyone who is paid that way? And those who are paid a fixed amount per month are going to be used to working a variable number of working days each month anyway – for them, it’s just part of the deal.

    But for the majority of people, who are paid according weeks or fortnights, or paid by casual hours worked, they’re really not worse off at all. All a leap year means is one more working day happens before the year ticks over – but they ARE paid for it.

  29. Matthew of Canberra

    “Whatever happens, as soon as we leave, the lunatics who kill people over a fucking book are still going to be there, and they will slaughter the people who live there who *aren’t* lunatics”

    It’s more a question of the massacre that’s going to happen when pakistan’s ISI moves in, picks the group that it wants to have in charge and either stands by or joins in as everyone else is rounded up and executed. Like what happened last time a foreign power pulled out.

  30. Deziner

    Addendum: actually, for the weekly/fortnightly salary people it would depend on how your office person works it out. If they didn’t consider the extra day in this financial year then you may end up getting paid for it, but if they did your weekly pay packet for the last 8 months would have been marginally lower.

  31. Deziner

    MoC & Aldaron: It really only affects people on salary who get paid monthly. The rest, those on salary who get paid weekly/fortnightly or those of us on wage aren’t affected.

    It’s a pretty stupid argument anyway. If people want to get that technical, you could argue that the yearly salary in each of the non-leap years includes an “extra” ¼ of a day’s pay in order to make up for that 1 extra day every 4th year, just like we save up the ¼ of a day to add to the calendar.

  32. Aldaron

    MoC @17 (not stalking you, Matthew! 🙂 )

    [I don’t think so. Somebody really hasn’t thought that story through.]

    I’m not sure that they’re wrong, actually. If we tot up the actual working days, it comes to 241 (365 – 104 weekend days – 20 annual leave days) working days per year, for which we get paid “x”.

    In a leap year, nothing changes except the initial total, which is 366, leaving 242 working days, for which we get paid “x”.

    Maybe I’m missing something here, but it looks to me like – sans sensationalism – the article is actually correct. In a leap year we actually do work an extra day (it’s got nothing to do with Feb 29 falling on a work-day, either – it’s just the fact that the year is a day longer and we actually get paid the same and the same number of days off)

    Please, if I’m wrong, someone correct me on it. I’m not trying to be a smart-arse, but I see it being simple maths.

  33. Aldaron

    MoC @@: “I just want to know that, when it happens, nobody can say “wow, nobody saw THAT coming””

    I think anyone who thinks nobody saw the Afghani bloodbath coming would have to be certifiably insane. Thing is, I can’t see any other outcome, whether we stay for one year, ten or a hundred. Whatever happens, as soon as we leave, the lunatics who kill people over a fucking book are still going to be there, and they will slaughter the people who live there who *aren’t* lunatics…and then force the surviving women to stay at home, uneducated, and their husbands to wear beards and beat the shit out of them when they don’t.

    *sigh* Nobody ever uttered truer words than Hitchens: “religion poisons everything”.

  34. Matthew of Canberra

    Is this the most ridiculous story of the week?


    “Leap year means a day without pay for most Australians”

    Really? So … one fortnight, when the paycheck comes in, there’ll be a bit less in it?

    I don’t think so. Somebody really hasn’t thought that story through.

  35. AR

    Arbid, like Bitar as so many before him, in most western polities, “resigning to spend more time with his wallet.”
    Until the news of STRATFOR I was wondering with which Devil he’d be supping. No longer.

  36. Angra

    Silly joke time.

    Q. What’s a Stratfor?

    A. Playing the blues

  37. Angra

    On the Dubai assassination that used Oz passports and the murder of Iranian physicists…

    Date 2010-06-14 16:41:36
    From burton@stratfor.com
    To sean.noonan@stratfor.com, tactical@stratfor.com

    RE: Mossad agent arrested over Dubai murder

    I have VERY good information this was a contract job The mission was
    contracted by the MOSSAD. In essence, subbed out under contract. The
    last few hits have been subbed out. I also have VERY good information
    that the Iranian physicist hit was also a subbed out job. More in
    person at the T meeting Tuesday, can’t put anything in writing.

  38. SHV

    Just watched the “WikiLeaks” ‘Stratfor’ press conference.

    No, not on Australian TV – Derrrrr, I had to watch directly on the internet via u-stream.


    Even missed the good bits of the “Leveson” inquiry where he was looking into Murdoch corruption of the cops.

    Funny, they’re really one and the same at the end of the day.

    Leveson is just the ‘playgroup’ but ‘Stratfor’ is where the real shit happens! Need a war? You get these guys on board, Murdoch just prints the fliers.

    What a sad and hollow country we have become. In a sad and hollow empire.

  39. Matthew of Canberra

    “Or is it just another anti-Green ‘dog-whistle’, and it really means opening up the National Parks in Queensland to those who like to kill other creatures with guns? “

    Why not mining, or forestry, or grazing cattle? Come on – the right’s got way more ways to screw things up than just by shooting them.

  40. Matthew of Canberra

    John Reidy @4

    That’s gonna make hadley pretty annoyed, because his integrity is everything and he never tells porkies.

  41. SHV


    Stratfor CEO, George Freidman, has resigned.

    Here’s just a random snip from one e-mail:

    [One of my trusted former CIA cronies reports Wachovia laundered $70

    billion (yes billion) for the MX drug cartels per an on-going

    investigation. His company has been hired by the MX govt to look for

    drug money.]


  42. dogspear

    Angra; whoa..
    SHV; yeah, I thought maybe Arbib wanted to step back to selflessly distance himself from his accomplishments, whatever they may be, but I didn’t know the scope of the Stratfor files..
    Lulz indeed.
    Even The Yes Men got an honorable mention: http://theyesmen.org/stratfor

  43. SHV


    Te, he, he! Just reading a few of them now. Can’t wait for the ‘searcheable’ format like we have with the cables.

    Apparently I wasn’t the only person whose first thought on hearing of Arbib’s decision to spend more quality time with his family was: “Stratfor!”

    What’s the bet he’s been feeding them juicy bits as well?

  44. Angra

    Wikileaks starts releasing 5 million confidential emails from global intelligence company STRATFOR. This time they’ve spread them around to far more ‘media partners’.


    “The emails date from between July 2004 and late December 2011. They reveal the inner workings of a company that fronts as an intelligence publisher, but provides confidential intelligence services to large corporations, such as Bhopal’s Dow Chemical Co., Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and government agencies, including the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Marines and the US Defense Intelligence Agency. The emails show Stratfor’s web of informers, pay-off structure, payment-laundering techniques and psychological methods, for example :

    “[Y]ou have to take control of him. Control means financial, sexual or psychological control… This is intended to start our conversation on your next phase” – CEO George Friedman to Stratfor analyst Reva Bhalla on 6 December 2011, on how to exploit an Israeli intelligence informant providing information on the medical condition of the President of Venezuala, Hugo Chavez. “

  45. Adam Rope

    Since I’m currently in QLD, and subject to Imparja, I saw an LNP advert over the weekend where CanDo said something along the lines of “Open up the National Parks to all”.

    Now, I’m not 100% sure on National Park policies and regulations, but I thought they were already ‘open to all’, albeit for a small fee?

    Or is it just another anti-Green ‘dog-whistle’, and it really means opening up the National Parks in Queensland to those who like to kill other creatures with guns?

    Those poor disenfranchised voters who feel hard done by because they haven’t got the rest of Queensland to use for such life-afirming purposes?

  46. John Reidy

    from New Matilda the result of the defamation case –
    Habib’s Victory Against The Shock-Jocks
    Apparently the jocks had a slight problem – nothing they were saying was based in fact.

  47. Duncan

    “As Barack Hussein Obama II is of the ‘Mulatto’ race, his status of citizenship is founded upon the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Before the [purported] ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment, the race of ‘Negro’ or ‘Mulatto’ had no standing to be citizens of the United States under the United States Constitution.”


  48. Matthew of Canberra

    I think it’s possible to have a number of responses to the following …


    … and the series of events that lead up to it. On the one hand, somebody really ought to DO something about this. It’s insane that NATO troops are being killed by supposedly friendly afghani staff, police, troops etc.

    On the other hand, doesn’t this sort of suggest that some people aren’t quite getting the message yet? Apparently, doing nasty things to korans makes people really angry. We now have about a decade of pretty solid evidence of what happens when somebody defaces, defiles, burns (or threatens to burn) a koran. Yes, we over here in the west all agree that killing people over that is insane, not to mention suggestive of an inverted set of priorities. But if anyone has any lingering doubt about how it’s seen over the other side of the fence … then maybe they shouldn’t be in a position of responsibility.

    Obviously, this glosses over the whole obama “apology” thing (which bush did too, not that you’d know that from the “appeasement” coverage). It also tends to ignore just what the hell karzai’s doing. We can cover the should-we-go or should-we-stay at another time, and obviously the war is really with pakistan anyway.

    Oh, and I think somebody needs to write a prominent news article somewhere (soon) about what happened in afghanistan when the russians pulled out. Because, right now, there’s a real push on The Rights to (as somebody once called it) “cut and run”. What will happen after that is entirely predictable, and the words “blood bath” are entirely appropriate. I just want to know that, when it happens, nobody can say “wow, nobody saw THAT coming”.

  49. Cuppa

    Just imagine a Spill-free ABC! It would be back to the usual format of political ‘stories’ beginning with the phrase:

    [“The Federal Opposition says…” ™]

https://www.crikey.com.au/2012/02/27/respill-free-weekly-open-thread-27-feb-2012/ == https://www.crikey.com.au/free-trial/==https://www.crikey.com.au/subscribe/

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