At the Womble Club down in West L.A.,

The music plays and they Fisk all day,

There's a light in the corner where the jukebox stands

It was made by a Womble out of old tin cans.

ELDERLY QUEENSLAND woman Nancy Crick decided a few months ago that she would kill herself. She had cancer, she explained, and could no longer bear the pain. Euthanasia activists, and many journalists, supported her cause:

Whenever and however she dies, Nancy Crick has already done more than most to bring about the changes necessary for us to be a more caring, compassionate society. She has focused attention on a cruel situation that our politicians must change, and only by exposing this sad state of affairs will there be pressure for change.

But then Nancy was admitted to hospital, where she felt much happier:

Terminally ill cancer patient Nancy Crick may reconsider her decision to end her life after the early success of pain relief treatment at a Gold Coast hospital.

Recently, Nancy again became unable to deal with the pain caused by her disease:

A woman who has become the latest public face of the pro-euthanasia campaign has made an emotional plea for someone to supply her with a drug to help her die peacefully. Nancy Crick, 70, who is suffering from the last stages of bowel cancer, has issued a public invitation to her death, which she has planned for next month.

On Wednesday, surrounded by friends and family, Nancy died:

Retired barmaid Nancy Crick, 69 and fatally ill with bowel cancer, ended a long and public campaign to take her own life by drinking a lethal cocktail of barbiturates about 8.30pm on Wednesday.

Euthanasia supporters were glad that Nancy's suffering had ended:

Her supporters see her death as a celebratory event, an end to a tortured existence brought about by painful and debilitating bowel cancer, but like any death, it is a tragedy nonetheless.

They also hoped Nancy's death might help advance the euthanasia cause:

The death of prominent cancer patient Nancy Crick could be used to test laws on assisted suicide, a leading euthanasia advocate said today.

Other ill people, encouraged by Nancy's example, began planning their own deaths:

At least three patients of high profile pro-euthanasia campaigner Philip Nitschke are considering following the lead of Gold Coast cancer sufferer Nancy Crick.

Newspaper columnists saluted Nancy:

It has been a big month for shuffling off the mortal coil. Death got Ruth Cracknell, Alec Campbell and Sir John Gorton, and last but by no means least this week, the feisty Nancy Crick of Queensland, who took her own life when she could no longer endure the agonies of bowel cancer. And took it very publicly and nobly, too.

People opposed to euthanasia suggested Nancy had been pressured into killing herself:

A cult-like pressure was applied to Gold Coast cancer sufferer Nancy Crick who was given little choice but to end her life, an anti-euthanasia doctor said today.

Early reports of Nancy's post-mortem revealed little:

Police said today a post mortem on the great grandmother's cancer-ravaged body had been completed but the results were inconclusive.

This morning it was announced that Nancy Crick had not been ill with cancer after all:

A coroner has refused to release the body of Nancy Crick for burial after a post-mortem examination revealed she did not have cancer at the time of her death.


SEVERAL of the Kylie and Holly images in the report below are hotlink blocked. For all your Kylie 'n' Holly viewing needs, go here. Or just stand around outside your house. They're bound to walk past sooner or later.

NOTES FROM A SMALL ISLAND. Sydney sports PR expert Nicole Brown is in the UK working on the Commonwealth Games. She sends the following observations of British society:

During the week we all watched the doco on Daniella Westbrook, "My Nose and Me". You know, the Eastenders girl who coked her nose away.

She was the most down-to-earth person in the doco, which is saying something given she's a reformed drug addict who's lived in a fantasy soap world since she was 16. Mum the martyr had definitely spent the week before her interviews at the beautician (or was it the plastic surgeon?); her agent – a cross between Patsy and Princess Di – told us she once found Daniella passed out in a drug-induced haze with Gucci the white terrier dog licking her face with worry (seriously – we even got to see Gucci); her multi-millionaire pub-owner husband is a reformed alcoholic; her therapist is a bit of a hatter himself and I swear her Dad is Keith Richards. It's the best comedy I've seen in ages. Oh, and Daniella's nose is growing back a bit.

Everyone's holding their breath waiting for Jordan to give birth. She's that Page 3 bird with the boobs the entire world could one day disappear in. I think the Royal Geographic Society is thinking of declaring them a new mountain range. Nobody will ever see the kid while she's breastfeeding. In fact the kid will probably never see Mum's face for the first 12 month of its life.

Holly Valance is poised to knock Kylie off the top of the charts. Such is Kylie’s total domination here that if Tony doesn't shut up about the bloody Euro, Kyles will shimmy him out of the PM's position in a coup d'hotpants. Holly's playing in every shop you walk into but Kylie's on extra high rotation on radio. Holly's in every second paper or mag but Kylie's arse seems to be legally required to appear within the first 5 pages of every publication a minimum of 4 days per week. Holly's got a boyfriend, Kylie can't keep one more than 5 minutes and has the sympathy vote. Holly's got height on her side, but Kylie's got heels and legs that are more perfect than Octagonal's. Where will it all end? A scrag fight on Top of the Pops?

More Notes from a Small Island next week.


Washington police say a body found in a Washington park is that Chandra Levy, an intern who had a close relationship with California Republican Gary Condit before she disappeared last year.


THAT ANTI-ISRAEL PETITION has now become a furious debating zone. Current issues under discussion: who will win in the rugby league and the AFL this weekend, and why Free Republic is a better web forum than Democratic Underground. This is in addition to the petition's other recent role as a place to list history's finest wrestlers. Total signatories: 562.

UPDATE: the total is now 1460!

THE WORLD is coming to an end! Again! According to the UN ("Fucking Up Royally Since 1945"), our planet will be utterly ruined within three decades. The Sydney Morning Herald reports:

The destruction of 70 per cent of the natural world in 30 years, mass extinction of species, and the collapse of human society in many countries is forecast in a bleak report by 1100 scientists.

The Global Environment Outlook – compiled for the United Nations - charts the environmental degradation of 30 years since the first world environment conference in Stockholm in 1972, and looks ahead to how the world might look by 2032.

"Might look." Given the accuracy of other UN predictions, this probably means we're on the eve of a second Eden. By 2032 the phrase "lush, verdant Sahara" may be a cliché.

Anyway, what does the UN think will cause this apocalypse? No prizes for guessing …

Unless the world changes its current "markets first" approach, the increase in building of roads, power lines, airports and other infrastructure will disrupt wildlife breeding patterns and wipe out species, particularly in coastal areas where most human settlement is concentrated.

Yes, it's Blame Capitalism time. But a few paragraphs later, that conclusion is apparently contradicted:

The report says that in richer countries water and air pollution are down, species have been restored to the wild, and forests are increasing in size.

So in the richer countries, where market forces generally prevail, wildlife is busting out all over and trees are growing like common plants. This won't surprise anyone who ever visited the non-market societies of the Eastern Bloc – no tree for you! Only top level most supreme Politburo leader have permit for tree! – but it's obviously such a shock to the UN that instead of urging increased free market solutions to environmental problems, it thinks the free market is the problem.

Let's place our bets. If the UN's doomsday scenario turns out to be correct, I'll donate every single thing I own in 2032 to the UN and Secretary-General Chelsea Clinton-Mathers. If the UN turns out to be wrong – man, what are the odds of that? – I get France. Deal, Kofi?

THE TWIN DEMONS who run St. Paul.blog have discovered a Blog drink – invented in Minneapolis nearly 30 years ago. This Blog's for you.

BECAUSE ROBERT FISK long ago lost the capacity to startle or amuse – around the time he forgot the name of his "good friend" Daniel Pearl’s father – I can't be arsed reading his monomaniacal copy, even for the purposes of mocking it.

Instead, whenever I notice or am alerted to some new Fisk, I'll link to it here with a happy little Fisk-related tune. Like so:

Sitting in a small cafe now

Swing, swing, swingin’ to the cabaret

You wanna see a movie, take in a show now

Meet new people at the disco

Yeah, we're gonna be so neat

Dance to the Eurobeat

Yeah, we're gonna be so cool

Fisking by the pool

HOW CAN THIS BE? I'm getting murdered in Dawn Olsen's Sexiest Male Blogger poll by James "shops at Target" Lileks and Stephen "fake photograph" Green.

In fact, I'm only three votes ahead of Ken "more penicillin, please" Layne. This isn't right. Nadia, for God's sake, get the gals in the office to send some votes my way, willya? I've got a reputation to construct.

AUSTRALIAN ACADEMICS are hitting this anti-Israel petition in massive numbers. The latest luminaries to join the cause include:

161. Pol 'Mountain of Bones' Pot. Advanced Studies Institute for Leadership and Total Domination

189. Dr. Bogus Bullshit Degree. Institute of Hypocritical Parisite Head-up-my-ass Know-it-all sheltered Marxist Dickoffs

221. Sydney Funnel-Web. How my poison sacs ache for you

222. Genghis Khan. Coalition for Mongolian freedom

236. Jesse Jackson. You want me to sign this petition it gonna cost you

237. Dr. Lefty G. Bigott BA(Melb), Ph.D(bullshit). RMIT Centre for Applied Communist Intelectual Wankery

239. Alli Ackba. Institute for Falafel-Free Outback

250. Krusty. I heartily endorse this event or product.

255. Kareem Abdul Jabaar. Arafat works around the outside, looks inside no one open, cuts down the middle and OOOOHHHH! He SLAMS! Where was the defense on that one?

270. J. Raimondo. Israeli art students are spying on me. They hide under my bed. I am not a crackpot.

280. Robert Fisk. Hit me again. I dare you. Please!

284. Boris Badanov, Esq. Der Elite Møøsenspåånkengruppen OberKømmååndø

The total number of signatories is now up to 295. About half of those are international celebrities, dead tyrants, unusually named Arabic citizens, and cartoon characters, which shows how broad is the concern about Israel's actions among the global community.

Of course, hackers could soon bust in and erase all these names. Let's pray they don't.

UPDATE: Whoa! 448 signatures, most of them … err … "creative", to say the least. It's 8.18am on Australia's east coast. I wonder how long the petition, in its current form, will last?


THE GUARDIAN'S Patrick Barkham suffered a severe panty-bunching episode last year when Australian Prime Minister John Howard sent the Navy to deal with refugee boats off the Australian coast. Here's what Patrick had to say:

The popular support for the Australian government's refusal to let 433 asylum seekers seek asylum on its shores appears a powerful example of the startling racist heart of a country that was built by the original "boat people" who settled in Sydney in 1788.

In many ways, majority support for the Australian government's mind-bogglingly brutal and irrational stance is because the country has gone into war mode.

Yep, that's us; warlike racist brutes. I wonder what Pat will write now that it's been revealed his own Prime Minister is planning a course of action possibly even tougher than Howard's:

Tony Blair has taken personal control of asylum policy and is considering proposals to mobilise Royal Navy warships to intercept people traffickers in the Mediterranean and carry out bulk deportations in RAF transport planes, according to a Downing Street document passed to the Guardian.

You can't trust those Blairs. They're all heartless racist bastards, every last one of them.

BOB OWEN reports an event of staggering singularity: a big chunk of the Antarctic ice formation has broken away, and nobody is blaming global warming.

In fact, global warming is specifically ruled out as a possible cause:

Scientists at the University of Wisconsin said the breakage is part of the normal iceberg formation or "calving" that comes as thick layers of ice gradually slide down from the high Antarctic plateau, and is not related to climate changes or global warming.

Next: John Pilger says the US is "probably, on the balance of evidence, not to blame" for the destruction of Pompeii.

THAT ANTI-ISRAEL PETITION being pushed by Australian academics sure is making waves. It's got 153 signatures already!

And among them are some impressive names:

122. Adolf Hitler, Al Quaeda University

131. willie

133. Arafatisaterrorist

140. Heinrich Himmler, Arafat's brother in spirit

141. Haj-Amin Al-Husseini y"sh, Arab Radio Berlin, WW II

By the way, you can tell this is a genuine academic document because it's addressed to the "Australian Acadmic Community".

A counter-petition has fewer names, but they at least appear to be genuine. If you're an Australian acadmic, go sign it here.

UPDATE: Look who's signed the anti-Israel petition now!

154. David Duke. Heinrich Himmler U

155. Robert Fisk. I deserved to get my ass kicked by refugees because it's all Israel's fault University

THE NAKED COLUMNIST. Mandy Nolan's indecipherable item about Byron Bay – an alternative-lifestyle stronghold situated about 30 years south of the present – is only slightly redeemed by the author's photograph. Put some clothes on, hippie!

READER NICK S. has a few points to make about Cuba and the ABC:

"There were a couple of other comments that you could have made about Dubya's take on Carter's visit to Cuba.

"Firstly, the hypocrisy of the US position on Cuba versus its position on China. Both are torture-ridden Communist dictatorships. One gets an economic & travel embargo, the other gets most-favoured-nation trading status."

I agree. Boycott China.

"Secondly, the history of US involvement with Cuba isn't particularly ennobling. Before the current anti-US left-wing tyrant was the pro-US right-wing tyrant Fulgencio Batista. Back in the good old days, when the Mob ran Havana ...

"Nice quote from Dubya: 'In fact, the United States has been a strong and consistent supporter of freedom for the Cuban people.' As long as you don't go back before 1959."

History, schmistory. The flaw in the "it was worse under Batista" argument is that it presumes only two possible conditions for Cuba: under right-wing tyranny or under Castro. There's a third way: democracy. Which is what Bush is calling for.

"Thirdly, you said: 'the majority of Cuban exiles scorned Jimmy the Bunny Hunter's efforts'. It should be noted that the majority of Cuban exiles are notorious nutjobs who believed that the boy Elian should not be returned to his father (sole surviving parent) in Cuba because he represented a divine portent of a free Cuba."

Maybe they thought he'd be better off living in the US instead of a dictatorship. Those nutjobs!

"Yes, the ABC is biased. But there are some holes in Dubya's position that you could sail an aircraft carrier through. Do you ever feel the need to point stuff like this out? If not, you leave yourself open to charges of bias as great as those of the ABC."

Me, biased? That's crazy talk.

TECHNOLOGY is no solution to our earthly problems, says some old man in a dressing gown:

Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, has warned that technology can add to the modern confusion that clouds the universal search for happiness.

"Science, technology and other material facilities in the developed world lead people to believe that their problems will all disappear," he explained. "We have seen that this is not the case."

Go tell it to Dave Mill, Gowny!

Dave Mill, from Perthshire, was attempting to become the first man to walk to the North Pole solo and unaided, but after a series of problems and delays he became marooned kilometres from land.

But he used his sledge to mark out a 320m runway in the ice, took a digital photograph of it and e-mailed the image via his mobile phone to a rescue team in Canada.

Using the information, a ski-plane was able to land on the makeshift runway.

Sure, but is he happy?

ACADEMICS. WHAT THE HELL DO THEY KNOW? A loser collective drawn from Australian universities is calling for sanctions against Israel. The Australian reports:

More than 90 university teachers and researchers have joined a small but growing campaign for Western sanctions to force Israel to the peace table with the Palestinians.

They have signed a petition begun by two supporters of multiculturalism – one Jewish and one from a Lebanese family – who want to isolate Israel from scientific, cultural and academic contacts until serious peace efforts begin.

The petition seeks a ban on joint research programs with Israeli universities, attending conferences in Israel and disclosing information to Israeli academics.

Ariel Sharon must be trembling with panic. No conferences? Oh, the humanity!

UPDATE: A selection of letters to the editor over the Israel sanctions nonsense:

The call for Australian universities to cut links with their Israeli equivalents betrays a disturbing view of academic life.

The key issue here is not whether one supports or opposes Israeli policy. It is whether one understands and embraces the ideals of free inquiry … the proposal seems ill-conceived and an attack on intellectual freedom.

Dr Andy Butfoy

Monash University, Melbourne

Should we wonder if the same fair-minded people have equal sanctions in mind for the Palestinians when civilian Israelis are killed by random bombers?

Comparing the campaign with that against apartheid in South Africa does require a bit of an academic imagination I suppose – Nelson Mandela never had so many willing martyrs to send on buses or into crowded pool halls.

Dave Edwards

Salisbury, Qld

Bravo Ghassan Hage, John Docker et al. Keep up the good work. As for dissenting academics, there are no moral grounds for your stand.

R. Stephan

Hornsby Heights, NSW

I'm astounded that these "academics" have swallowed the propaganda of the Palestinians complete with the mantras of occupation and war crimes. They claim that their aim is to make Israel negotiate with the Palestinians.

Negotiate with whom? Have they not noticed that the Palestinians, despite their protestations to the contrary, have not been willing to make peace? … Those who concocted this petition are either naive, misguided or malicious. Either way, I'm horrified to think that they are in a position to teach our children.

Diane Armstrong

Dover Heights, NSW

WHERE'S MY TIP? A Queensland cab driver has collected a $5,500 fare for driving a passenger from Brisbane to Adelaide. The 2,000-kilometre ride took three days.

JIMMY CARTER'S visit to Cuba, and George W. Bush's subsequent dissing of Captain Beardo's Tropical Torture Island, was covered by the ABC in its usual unbiased manner:

If Jimmy Carter thought that he might have paved the way for a real thaw between Washington and Havana, President George W. Bush has today put that idea well and truly to rest.

He's given a speech outlining US policy towards its communist neighbour, rolling out the full gamut of Cold War rhetoric to make it clear that Washington is no closer, after a 40 year stand-off, to building a relationship with Cuba.

The ABC tracked down a pro-Carterite among Miami's Cubans, who had this to say:

"My personal opinion is that the message of former President Jimmy Carter transmitted to Cuba for the entire country was more fruitful and positive than what has been said by the honourable President George W. Bush."

Naturally, his was the only opinion offered. According to the Florida Times-Union, however, the majority of Cuban exiles scorned Jimmy the Bunny Hunter's efforts:

As Carter's five-day trip to Cuba unfolded last week, some Cuban exiles praised the former president for meeting with dissidents and speaking plainly, if not aggressively, about democratic principles.

But most swamped Spanish-language talk radio shows all week to criticize Carter calling on the Bush administration to drop the 40-year-old trade embargo and restrictions on American travels to Cuba.

The ABC is the Granma of the southern hemisphere.

THE PHENOMENON lately identified as Blair's Law™ – the ongoing process by which the world's multiple idiocies are becoming one giant, useless force – is grimly illustrated by this site, which brings together oil paranoia, September 11 conspiracies, CIA hallucinations, McKinney cheerleading, globalisation panic, Palestinian butt-sucking, free market delusions, and John Pilger.

Via Penny, who Sees All.

PEOPLE MAGAZINE'S Australian edition, called Who Weekly, this week published its annual list of the people it considers the 25 Most Beautiful.

Usually the list is a predictable cut-down of People's 50 Most Beautiful, with a few local stars thrown in. Halle Berry is there, Reese Witherspoon, Denzel Washington, and so on.

Among the locals: Natalie Imbruglia. Megan Gale. Danielle Spencer.

And this handsome chap: Australian High Court judge Michael Kirby.

The unbeautiful 63-year-old apparently won his place in the otherwise youthful gallery by virtue of being attacked by a conservative politician, who inaccurately accused Kirby of prowling for young male sex partners.

Kirby was savagely wronged. But how does that make him beautiful? I mean, look at the guy. I've seen more attractive lobsters.

The allegedly adorable judge is the subject of my column this week in The Australian.

WHOEVER selects photographs for the online edition of the Sydney Morning Herald obviously isn't bound by the politically-correct chains that restrain the print edition …

THE DALAI DISH: Prime Minister John Howard has told a bunch of Chinese commies that however goofy and addled the Dalai Lama may be, he's still welcome in Australia. Good for him.

Meanwhile, reader G.L. sends this note on Buddhism, the Dalai, and political stereotyping:

"Your writings on the Dalai Lama make for very interesting reading. I am a citizen of India currently residing in the US. Even though I was born Hindu, I consider myself a Buddhist. I believe in free markets, capitalism and the value of profit; I do not believe that the world is on the cusp of environmental disaster, that people in the East are more spiritual that those in the West and that materialism is an obstruction to happiness.

"You will not believe (or maybe you will) how difficult it is for American-born Buddhists to accept that I can have these points of view. They look at my dark skin and spiritual beliefs and cannot understand how I can be aligned with 'the Right-wing'. Unfortunately, in the US (and other western nations, I'm sure) being a Buddhist means being on the left side of the political spectrum. No one would make the same assumptions about Christians, would they? Being Buddhist does not (and should not) say anything about my political views.

"Buddha was never one for preaching; he thought that everyone should find their own way - 'Be a light onto yourself', he said. The Dalai Lama should stop telling the rest of the world how to live. The West has constructed the most affluent, the most free, the best society in the history of man. If the rest of the world wants to escape poverty and the misery that it brings, we would do well to absorb the lessons of freedom and the importance of the individual which are the foundation of the western world's prosperity."

The East turning to the West for spiritual guidance? Hmmm ... maybe I should start that Church of Voracious Materialism after all.


FROM PAUL GRAY in the Melbourne Herald Sun, actual praise for Blaming Ourselves: September 11 and the Agony of the Left:

One of the few positive things to come out of the terrorist attacks of September 11 on the United States has been an increase in international debate about the causes of terrorism.

One of the negative things has been those truly stupid statements some contributors have made to the debate.

This book brilliantly combines the two.

It documents the anti-American vitriol that was expressed - sometimes gleefully - by Australian writers and commentators soon after the World Trade Centre was destroyed by hijacked civilian jets.

Like the Sydney writer who e-mailed a newspaper two days after the
tragedy saying, "eat shit and die, Bush."

But the book also thoughtfully explores the real reasons for September 11, and why a significant minority reacted to it in this anti-American way.

So buy the book, already.

DAN RATHER: KEEPING THE FLAMING TIRE OF LACK OF PATRIOTISM BURNING SINCE 1950. Dan the Newsman's strange, possibly medicated outburst about "necklacing" provoked a two-fisted takedown from Matt Welch:

If Dan Rather was my employee, he would be fired before tonight's newscast. I can't fathom paying a salary to a journalist who ever says "this is not exactly the right time to ask" a question of a government. What absolute cowardly rot.

Cowardly, and downright weird. Why, of all possible dissident-repression examples, would Rather choose necklacing? Here's how AP reported Rather's comments:

At one point during the interview, Rather compared the problems that American journalists sometimes face regarding patriotism with the price that dissidents paid in South Africa years ago during apartheid.

"It is an obscene comparison. You know I am not sure I like it. But you know there was a time in South Africa that people would put flaming tires around peoples' necks if they dissented," he said.

"And in some ways the fear is that you will be necklaced here, you will have a flaming tire of lack of patriotism put around your neck. Now it is that fear that keeps journalists from asking the toughest of the tough questions."

Rather – and the AP reporter – make it sound as though necklacing was a brutal tactic of white rule, or something to do with opposition to the government. In fact, necklacing was almost exclusively employed by black vigilantes.

According to a 1994 paper presented to the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, necklacing was more often a response to claims of witchcraft than to political dissent:

Necklacings and burnings in general have been retribution for a vast array of misdeeds. The phenomenon does not simply belong in the political arena, it is a punishment used also against criminals, rapists, murderers, shebeen owners, other ethnic groups, witches and wizards. Indeed, in my research political burnings were certainly not the most prominent category which is what one would have expected given the general perception. Out of 65 random instances of burnings between 1984 and 1993, 39 victims appear to have been burnt following witchcraft accusations, 15 burnings were for political reasons (against collaborators, policemen or opposing political groups), 5 for medicine murder, 4 for murder and 2 for criminal conduct. Male and female, young and old, have all been attacked. However, it should be noted that these burnings appear to be largely confined to the black community in South Africa; only one report was discovered where the victim was white.

Winnie Mandela declared her support for necklacing in 1986: "Together with our boxes of matches and our necklaces we shall liberate this country." Dan interviewed Winnie in 1994. The subject of necklacing didn't arise. Here's one question Dan asked:

"Do you know there are people who say that she [Hillary Clinton], like Winnie Mandela, gets too far out front, that it's not healthy politically for a woman to be so far out front?"

As for Rather's claim that "there was in time in South Africa …", well, that time is now. Necklacing still happens. Dan Rather is a jabbering freak.

NINE HUNDRED and nineteen words without a link. Jack Robertson's computer must be broken.

So must be his brain; Jack simultaneously praises a group of Australian journalists for being on the scene during the Indonesian invasion of East Timor and mocks a friend of mine who did the same – as a Fretelin officer.

Apparently my friend's crime is that he disputes the opinions of Noam Chomsky and John Pilger. Excuse me, Jack, but he was there, risking his life, for a cause you support.

As well, Jack – usually more clear-headed – seems to think I oppose a free East Timor for some reason. I can't work him out on this issue at all. Time to ignore him for a while.

"THEY DON'T like it up 'em, you know, they do not like it," as Corporal Jones used to say. Mark Davis is the latest Australian leftoid to attack Blaming Ourselves: September 11 and the Agony of the Left, in a review (no link available) published in Saturday's Melbourne Age. Davis – typically pointless and paranoid – has identified a dark secret at the core of the book:

Most contributors to this anthology owe an intellectual debt, and in some cases a paying career, to US-style neo-conservatism.

Owen Harries was founding editor of The National Interest, a New Right-funded US foreign policy journal. Keith Windschuttle is a member of the New Criterion circle, another New Right-funded journal. Of the other contributors, many have Australian think-tank connections, are conservative columnists, or have affiliations with New Right journals such as Quadrant and the US journal Commentary.

Well, I guess that invalidates every single one of our arguments. As a hate-filled "conservative columnist", I'm clearly in the pay of Richard Mellon Scaife.

Davis also exposes another of the book's grave flaws:

The overall effect is of a lack of credibility that is underscored by the book's misspelling of World Trade Center throughout.

The book's editors used the Australian/English spelling of "centre" for the simple reason that the book was published in Australia. Davis's review was published in The Age, an Australian newspaper. How does The Age spell the building's name?

World Trade Centre

World Trade Centre

World Trade Centre

World Trade Centre

World Trade Centre

World Trade Centre

World Trade Centre

World Trade Centre

Tell me more about this "credibility" you speak of, Marky.


FORGET THE alleged persecution of Islamic refugees held in Australian detention centres. The real persecution, according to Amnesty International, is being conducted within detention centres by those same Islamic refugees:

Amnesty International's refugee co-ordinator Doctor Graham Thom says intolerance and vilification are now serious problems inside Australia's immigration camps.

"The reports we're hearing say that Mandeans, Tamils and other Hindus and Christians - in particular Christian converts - are facing violence or threats of violence from certain Islamists with the detention centres.

"They are being called infidels. They are being refused access to kitchens and things like that because people think they are unclean as infidels.

"This has escalated at times when there is a serious breakdown of order within the detention centre when there are riots and things like that and these groups, who often refuse to participate in riots, are physically assaulted," Mr Thom said.

Earlier this month a newspaper report in Western Australia alleged a Islamic leader had called for a jihad - or holy war - on the small Mandean community at the Port Hedland detention centre.

If Christians and Hindus are "unclean" and "infidels", why would Islamic extremists (note: extremists) want to live in Australia? We're stacked with infidels and we're as unclean as hell. And we fucking love it.

JACK ROBERTSON, the Honorary Consul for Margostan, writes that Bill Hayden's 1983 resignation as leader of the ALP was "even more selfless" than John Gorton's decision to vote himself out of the Prime Ministership.

Hayden's resignation wasn't quite that clean, and followed a typically bitter battle for the top ALP job:

On 16 July 1982 Hawke challenged Hayden for leadership of the parliamentary ALP. Hayden resigned the leadership, contested the position against Hawke at a caucus ballot on 16 July, and retained the position in a close vote 42:37.

Hawke's supporters continued lobbying for him to replace Hayden, who was persuaded to resign the leadership. He did so on 3 February 1983, 20 minutes after the Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser, called a general election.

Jack also wonders if I'm "man enough" to admit that Pilger and Chomsky "got it right" on East Timor. On which specific issue, Jack? And how did slain journalists Greg Shackleton, Gary Cunningham, Tony Stewart, Malcolm Rennie and Brian Peters also "get it right"? What is "it"?

(A close friend was a Fretelin officer during Indonesia's invasion of East Timor. He may have been the last person to speak to the group of Australian journalists before they moved towards the hostile territory where they were killed, and was himself almost killed when Indonesia troops shelled his house. On broad issues, he agrees with Chomsky and Pilger; ie, East Timor should be free. On specifics, and certain claims made by Pilger and Chomsky about the conflict and its aftermath, he rolls his eyes and laughs … )

DALAI DISH. Reader and ex-Buddhist John L., of Boston, writes:

"I spent way too many years involved in Buddhism. I dropped out in the mid-90s, but still kept an affection for the Dalai Lama, and I believed that the fight for Tibetan Independence was one of the great causes of our time.

"In 1999, I was hanging out with a couple of philosopher friends. Old hippies, but with incredibly sharp minds. Somehow the subject of Tibet came up, and I was shocked when they just shrugged about it. The wife of the couple, an ex-radical feminist (emphasis on the 'ex'), said 'How can I be sure Tibetan women would be better off with the Buddhists in charge? Buddhist countries have been awful to women.' I expended a bit of energy defending the Dalai Lama, explaining that his exposure to the West while in exile has given him a love for democracy, equality, etc. I got nowhere with them.

"A few months later, I read an article on the Dalai Lama in Newsweek (August 16, 1999 -- I saved it). The article had the following passage: 'But in recent teachings the Dalai Lama has denounced abortion as a sin against 'non-violence to all sentient beings,' opposed contraception, and criticized proponents of euthanasia -- much as the pope has done.'

"'My God, she was right,' I said. It was one of those smack-your-forehead-with-your-palm moments. What the hell was I supporting here?

"So, I agree he's a nice guy, the Tibetans should get their country back, etc., but I have better things to do. One writer (can't remember who) said the attitude of Western Buddhists towards the Dalai Lama are the same as a two-year-old to Barney the Dinosaur: 'Awh, look at him. Isn't he great?'"

Meanwhile, blogger Martin Roth is monitoring Rama Lama Ding Dong's activities in the southern hemisphere. He notes: "From Australia, the Dalai Lama heads to New Zealand, where the organising committee is selling for NZ$30 a T-shirt with the religious slogan, 'Happy, Useful, Meaning, Life'.

Is this guy a spiritual leader, or Stimpy in a robe?

SIR JOHN GORTON – bastard child, schoolmate of Errol Flynn, war hero, rogue politician, Prime Minister, drinker, and famed pants man – has died, aged 90.


RECKLESS GOSSIP about a new Los Angeles newspaper just won't end.

THE LATEST Fox column has been up for days, but I somehow forgot to link it. So now I'm linking it. It is linked.

EASTERN ARROGANCE: The Dalai Lama has arrived in Australia to lecture us on peace and love and so on. People who are convinced of the West's inherent sickness – journalists, mainly – are giving Rolly Polly Holy his usual smooth ride:

The Dalai Lama, or Tenzin Gyatso (ocean of wisdom), is a symbol of spiritualism and purity, the antithesis of a corporate culture that is more concerned with profit than purification.

That's from a piece by Kathy Evans in Fairfax's Sunday Life magazine (no link available). Evans quotes a Dr. Alan Molloy, organiser of Mr. Lama's Australian tour:

"If happiness were a car, a house, a job, the suburbs would be filled with enlightenment." The suburbs, he says, are a cauldron brimming with human suffering … it's the deep anguish of everyday living that haunts a lot of us the most.

Speak for yourself, girlie. It's the deep anguish of typical Australian journalism that haunts me the most. Evans then sits in on a meeting called to arrange the Daily Llama's tour schedule:

It is suggested that the Dalai Lama might be flown in by helicopter. Molloy ponders the idea but His Holiness is travelling with an entourage of 10. That would mean borrowing a troop carrier from the RAAF, hardly appropriate for a man who has dedicated his life to peace.

As everyone knows, all members of the Royal Australian Air Force swear an allegiance to Zuul, the bloodlusting patron demon of fixed-wing aircraft. It's part of their initiation ritual, right after the consumption of a live labrador puppy.

If a Christian leader appeared in Australia claiming to be the reincarnated form of John the Baptist, he'd be laughed out of the country. No such scepticism is ever directed the Dalai's way.

Elements of the media here were angry when Prime Minister John Howard went to England for the funeral of the Queen Mother; The Australian's Greg Sheridan called the trip "self-indulgent, frivolous and useless". Now they're angry that Howard won't meet the Dolly Lamer. Some arbitrary religious and political hierarchies are obviously more important than others.

Look, I'm sure that the Dalster is a nice guy and all, and Tibet should be free, and his efforts towards Tibetan democracy are just dandy. But the anti-materialist, anti-Western tone of his supporters creeps me out, as does their adoration of an old man who looks like he got tangled up in the curtains during a bender.

I can do that trick. I'm going to establish a Church of Voracious Materialism. And I won't need no vestigial bits of skin at the shoulder blades, indicating the two other arms possessed by the Bodhisattva, either.

OCH! Scotland on Sunday's Gerald Warner rips into Bush 9/11 conspiracists:

It turns out it was not Osama bin Laden who killed 3,000 American citizens in New York: it was Dubya, who screwed up the intelligence report warning of the September 11 massacre and threw it to his dog to catch; in fact, Dubya screwed up - full stop.

It is this legend, crafted in the finest traditions of the Protocols of Zion and the Angel of Mons, that has reactivated the DNA of the dinosaurs. Once again the roar of Dimpledchadivarius Rex is heard in the Florida swamps and the committee rooms of Washington. As Dubya himself, in typically understated style, has observed, there is "a sniff of politics in the air".

Dubya will beat this rap - no sweat.


THE INVENTION of the wheel. The moon landing. The discovery of penicillin. The splitting of the atom.

All of these achievements are as nothing – nothing – compared to the astonishing breakthrough made last night by a tireless collective working in Melbourne, Australia. Truly, we live in an age of miracles.

CLINTON KNEW … where Osama bin Laden was holed up, and he did nothing:

Clinton says he tried repeatedly to kill Osama bin Laden and recounts a tough decision in the fall of 2000 when the U.S. received intelligence about bin Laden's possible whereabouts. "[I had] a 40 percent chance of knowing we could have hit it. But there were a very large number of women and children in that compound and it's almost like he [bin Laden] was daring me to kill them."

Just a reminder.

ANOTHER AUSSIE BLOG begins. Presently it is at its larval stage. Welcome to Paul Wright, "Husband, father, and wannabe Corporate Lapdog".