MARK STEYN identifies the main problem with republican campaigns in England, Australia, and Canada. It's the republicans.

Steyn is precisely correct; Australia's republican campaign was led by the likes of Malcolm Turnbull (a wealthy lawyer and political wannabe), Thomas Keneally (professional Irishman), Robert Hughes (so long away from Australia that he'd forgotten on which side of the road we drive) and Geoffrey Robertson (an Australian-born lawyer who returned from the UK to demand, in his acquired English accent, that we sever ties with England, and then went back to England).

These people are deeply unpopular, and if they aren't, quickly become so once they start talking. The entire media here also urged a republic, thus ensuring a victory for non-republican forces. Steyn writes:

I've got nothing against a republic, it's republicans I have a problem with, at least in Her Majesty's realms. On Tuesday, Hugo Young began his Guardian column thus: "As the golden coach prepares to roll, republicans are sure they've had the better of the argument against everything it stands for. Jubilee year has been a republican apotheosis. The cause has never achieved more respectability in chattering society…"

This was the day, in case you've forgotten, that one million people filled the Mall to bellow Land of Hope and Glory. Given the choice between Elizabeth Windsor and Hugo Young, which would you say was remote, imperious and hopelessly out of touch?

"When is Canada going to grow up?" sighed Hugo's Canuck counterpart in his Queen Mum column for the Toronto Globe and Mail. "Deaths bring out the worst of Canada's infantile instincts toward the royals." That's very much the standard line: the virtues of republicanism are so obvious, anyone who doesn't get it must be a child.

It was this attitude that did for the Australian republicans in a referendum that should have taught their British counterparts several lessons. First, it was a rebuke to the "inevitabilist" theory of history: that simply because something seems obvious to you, it's bound to happen. Second, it was a defeat for the hyper-rationalists - the types who are tone-deaf to what Lincoln called the "mystic chords".

JACK HOYSTED, a great friend, celebrates his 40th birthday this weekend at his Bowral retreat in country New South Wales. He sends this helpful guide to accommodation in the area:

"There are a shitload of B & B's thereabouts, if you go for the sorts of places run by overly familiar women who smile too goddamned often. Their spooky husbands will almost certainly rifle through your possessions, trying on your intimate apparel, before ejaculating into them in a frenzy of lust and self-loathing. But hey, it's the country, and everybody loves the country."

It's going to be a Straw Dogs weekend. Happy birthday, Jack!

DAMIAN PENNY, the Newfie Nuvolari, is trackside at Montreal this weekend to see the Canadian Formula One Grand Prix. Why might someone with Penny's politics enjoy Formula One motor racing? This quote, from racing writer Joe Saward, explains:

"The glorious thing about Formula One for me is that it is excessive. It is wildly wasteful and appallingly politically incorrect. It is a soap opera at 300kmh, in which mentally unstable but often brilliant people play Monopoly with real money."


AUSTRALIA'S World Cup hero plays against Croatia today. Give us another two goals, mate!

Christian Vieri's father, Roberto, came to Australia when his son was four to coach Sydney soccer club Marconi.

"Most Italian players love to exaggerate," says boyhood friend Attilio Labbozzetta. "Christian's totally different. He's like a bull. He doesn't fall over if he gets pushed. He's not typical of European or Italian football. There is an Australian air about him. He still speaks with an Australian accent."

At the time, Christian's preferred sport was cricket, fancying himself as a left-handed batsman. His sporting idol was Australia's no-nonsense left-handed batsman, Allan Border.

THE ABC is baffled by these comments from Donald Rumsfeld:

"There are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns - that is to say, there are things that we now know we don't know but there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we do not know we don't know."

Baffling? Maybe not. Say Rummy was checking his car. After noticing the brake pedal is low (a known), he realises he needs new brake pads (a known known). But he also knows that he doesn't know how to replace the pads (a known unknown), so he buys a repair manual and some tools.

Sadly, Rummy is unaware at this point that his wife has been driving around with the handbrake on and the whole braking system is ruined (an unknown unknown).

YU BIN FOOLED. The Beijing Evening News thinks The Onion truly is "America's Finest News Source", as The Boston Globe – a serious American paper that would never, ever make such a stupid mistake – reports:

Readers of the Beijing Evening News, the capital's largest-circulation newspaper, learned this week that the US Congress had threatened to move out of Washington unless a fancy new Capitol was built.

Yu Bin, the editor in charge of international news, acknowledged yesterday that he had no idea where the writer, Huang Ke, originally got the story. Yu said he would tell Huang to "be more careful next time."

"Huang Ke" – it's Mandarin for "Alex Beam".


Cancer was diagnosed. He took it philosophically.

He hit the car head on and died in the accident. The other stunt people took it philosophically.

The ski portion of our transportation package had been cancelled. But Laurel took it philosophically.

I took it philosophically and blasted a few squirrels from a tree with my shotgun.

The Gregsons' loss was substantial, of course, but they took it philosophically.

He took it philosophically: he told himself that it didn t matter if he couldn't sing.

Lakeshore resident Bernard Ruhnke took it philosophically.

Many of our clients took it philosophically.

At some other time, that week might have frustrated me to a frazzle. As it was, I just took it philosophically.

When his child was killed, he took it philosophically.

Out of town reporters insulted city police and the latter took it philosophically.

Most of them took it philosophically, figuring they'd get out sooner or later, but one young woman began sobbing convulsively.

The aborted drilling season was a big disappointment to scientists who had spent a year or more preparing for the trip, but most of them took it philosophically.

The Frenchman took it philosophically.

Her husband got drunk every weekend and beat her up. She took it philosophically.

The spoon was apparently stuck in it forever. He took it philosophically.

Georges took it philosophically -- better him than Neil, he said. Neil, on the other hand, smashed in Benson's head.

Greb was mad as a hornet but, after castigating Haley and the judges, he took it philosophically.

When water started pouring out of the ceiling over the computer, I took it philosophically.

Romano wasn't overjoyed with the ruling, but took it philosophically, saying: "I'm happy as long as he's not dead."

The young horse, knowing that it was either this or the glue factory, took it philosophically.

I took it philosophically and with a trace of nostalgia, since it would be the last time my husband would get into my pants.

A CERTAIN LAW of idiotic convergence has taken effect in – of all places! – Berkeley. From The Palestine Chronicle:

Some 300 people rallied against the U.S. push towards war Thursday, then marched through the streets of Berkeley chanting to the beat of drummers who led the spirited procession.

The event was a kickoff for a new nationwide organization, "Not in our Name" that aims to bring together various antiwar groups. Events also took place in New York City, Atlanta, Georgia, Cleveland Ohio, Los Angeles, Calif., Seattle, Wash., Gainesville, Fla. and a half-dozen other cities.

MIKE MOCKS MARGO. Egomonster Mike Carlton, who last year called me a "Grub Street journeyman" and a "hack", redeems himself by smiting his SMH pal Margo Kingston and her fellow conspiracy theorists. Too bad I've already bought the Ricin.

A LIE ON EVERY PAGE™. Page four of John Pilger's masterwork, The New Rulers of the World:

Pilger claims that "recent documents" reveal a "remarkable meeting" in 1967, where the world's biggest, baddest corporations "carved up the Indonesian economy":

A mountain of copper and gold, nickel and bauxite, was handed out to American transnational companies. A group of American, Japanese and French companies got the tropical forests of Sumatra; and so on.

What's recent about this? David Ransom interviewed people about it in 1968. He wrote:

In November, Malik, Sadli, Salim, Selosoemardjan, and the Sultan met in Geneva with a select list of American and European businessmen flown in by Time-Life. Surrounded by his economic advisors, the Sultan ticked off the selling points of the New Indonesia -- "political stability ... abundance of cheap labor ... vast potential market ... treasurehouse of resources." The universities, he added, have produced a "large number of trained individuals who will be happy to serve in new economic enterprises."

So it was a sales pitch from a struggling nation desperate for foreign investment. The devious gathering was described in cables from the US Embassy in Indonesia to the Department of State:

I also spoke of two major meetings, in August and November, organized by Stanford Research Institute and Time-Life, which already attracting large number of top flight executives from North American-Asian-European companies having real interest in Indonesian investment. Suharto said he attached great importance to these meetings, that he wanted to talk directly with those attending August meeting. We touched on need for rehabilitation of fishing and tin industries.

Oh no! Clearly we see the dark influence of Big Fish and the massive US fish cartels! There's really no need for Pilger to exaggerate about Suharto, but old JP just can't help himself.

In tomorrow's 'A Lie On Every Page™': the manifold delights of page five.


JUSTICE LOUIS JOINET is right. Australia's treatment of asylum seekers is terrible. "Detainees live day in day out with an agonising uncertainty", according to the French UN official, and suffer a "collective depression syndrome".

Who wouldn't be depressed? The detention centres smell like dead dogs, and there is a no toilet paper. Stories abound of staff displaying what the asylum seekers interpret as contempt, locking them out of the showers, denying them hot water to wash clothes, waking them loudly at night while carrying out routine patrols. The conditions are squalid and inhumane, and the asylum seekers have nothing to do all day, they're denied their place in a community, denied the right to work and robbed of their cultural identity. Most of their applications for asylum are rejected. Some desperate refugees risk their lives to be free.

Thank you, Mr French UN Guy, for telling us what Australia is doing wrong.

MATT WELCH didn't really write this post.

FAN MAIL. Last week's Australian column on Yasser chips – the snacks that fund what might be called the Palestinian population boom – moved several readers, including Khaldoun Hajaj:

"It seems that the cataclysmic events of September 11 have created an environment where there are no longer any limits to the level of racist abuse that Arabs in Australia can be subjected to.

"Tim Blair's article about Arafat is a prime example. Rather than provide readers with analysis on the tragedy engulfing so many Palestinian and Israeli lives, Blair seems to be pre-occupied with poking fun and making racist jokes at the expense of a people so maligned that they feel their lives have become worthless. Shame on you Tim Blair."

Thanks, Khaldude! And Marcus Hicks – from Adelaide, like that other Hicks, the one the French call dépeceur de kangourous et taliban – sent this jolly note:

"Well, once again I see that Tim Blair is capable of being both patronizing and ignorant in the same breath!

"If he took time to really think things through, he'd realise that the Palestinian Boy depicted on Hero chips has NOTHING to do with physics, or terrorism, and everything to do with defying an enemy hell-bent on the destruction of his community. These were similar tactics used by the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto during WWII. So, Mr. Blair, were these people terrorists or ignorant fools? Of course they weren't, they were brave people battling against insurmountable odds for their own survival; in a word: heroes!

"Also, if Mr. Blair had ever bothered to READ Noam Chomsky's book (which he clearly hasn't done), then he'd realise that he condemns terrorists and their actions from the outset. Instead of stopping there, however, he instead does a critical analysis of the economic and political factors which produce terrorist organizations, so that a long term solution to this problem can be found. Like John Pilger, Noam Chomsky simply refuses to accept what society is told by it's leaders at face value, and instead tries to get at the truth. Their arguments are certainly better thought out than those of the apologists for countries like Israel, America and Indonesia.

"Perhaps Mr. Blair should stop indulging in media 'junk food' and, like Pilger and Chomsky, feast on the sumptuous meal of TRUTH – it's far more satisfying."

The sumptuous meal of truth?

MARGO KINGSTON on conservatives and pornography:

"Conservatives actually get off on it, then hate themselves, then try to ban it. It's a complete sickness."

That's us, Margo. We're porn-lusting hypocrites! Her quote comes from a puzzling comedy-panel-discussion program called Mouthing Off that aired here (as a repeat) a couple of days ago. Margo used to appear on it frequently, for no reason that was ever evident.

Here's another Margoism from the same show, in which she addresses the issue of television violence:

"It's an image of capitalism, isn't it – beat the other guy’s brains out."

Quite the analyst, ain't she? By the way, her latest Webdiary whine contains both a link to AND practically the entire text of the Advisory Report on the ASIO Legislation Amendment (Terrorism) Bill. Margo's contribution: 212 words, or a mere 1.87% of the entry's entire, reeking mass.

Speaking of crazy Australian comediennes, Dr. Helen Caldicott appeared on Bill Maher's Factually Incorrect during the week to promote her most recent doom-mongering anti-nuke book. She's as articulate as she is intelligent:

"The terrorists don't need nuclear bombs anymore. They've got 103 deployed around the country, which are the nuclear power plants, in which is much long-lived radiation that release the explosion of 1,000 Hiroshima-sized bombs and 30 times as much in the cooling pool. So you bust one of those, and you contaminate thousands of people, millions of people who will later get cancer, leukemia and babies being born deformed …"

Not to mention the inevitable Godzillas and Mothras. Given time, Caldicott probably would.

HELLO, MISERY? THIS IS DEPRESSION CALLING. New for your cell phone: Morrissey ring tones.

GARETH PARKER begs to continue the debate over Media Watch's awfulness. He writes:

If you want to prove consistent bias, show us all the incidents where News Limited papers have received criticism when they didn't deserve it. Then show us all the times where Fairfax/ABC have cocked up and haven't been held up to scrutiny.

Media Watch has pilloried News Ltd. for incorrectly labelling the Queen Mother as Queen Elizabeth I, overstating an opinion writer's credentials, using a silhouette of staffers to represent soldiers it couldn't name, using a bogus byline on wire copy, promoting a managing director's house sale, bad reporting on gun statistics, using an incorrect photograph, publishing a press release without checking the facts, an error in the placement of an obituary, treating News Ltd. business news softly, running advertising to capitalise on stories, an Anzac medal snafu, altering the circumstances of a photograph, and a columnist's alleged inaccuracies, among other accusations.

Some of those errors are entirely Media Watch-worthy. Some – the bogus byline, the Queen Mother's title, the obit mistake, the columnist's very minor errors (if errors they were) – set a low level to qualify for Media Watch criticism.

Low enough, you'd think, to include these:

*Sally Loane's radio interview, the morning after it was announced that Russell Balding had been appointed as the ABC's managing director, with Balding's best friend. (Imagine, Gareth, if A Current Affair interviewed a new Nine MD's best mate. Marr would be apoplectic.)

*Loane's hilarious comment that SMH writer Paul McGeough was "doing terrific work in Afghanistan, talking with the people, eating with them, sleeping with them … er, not sleeping with them … sleeping in their guest rooms." Guest rooms?

*SMH columnist Peter FitzSimons's predictions that the war in Afghanistan would be a disaster and that Governor-General Peter Hollingworth would resign, and his failure to correct both predictions.

*Richard Glover's lazy recycling of his daily ABC radio program as a column in the SMH.

*The apparent banishing of Christopher Hitchens from Phillip Adams's Radio National program once Hitchens revealed himself to be in favour of the war on terrorism.

(For that matter, isn't Adams himself worth a story? The ABC employs this multi-millionaire at a cost to the taxpayer of $120,000 per year to present four hours of radio each week. Who's listening? About 5,000 people in Sydney every night, and 7,000 in Melbourne.)

*The SMH's claim that Phillip Noyce's "Rabbit-Proof Fence" – which died at the box office – would be "the film that changes Australia".

*The number of ABC staffers who simultaneously maintain jobs in the commercial sector (Glover, Angela Katterns, others), which seemingly undermines the ABC's holy "no commercial links" status.

*The number of Triple J staffers who are over 40, yet are employed by the national "youth network".

*The description of Palestinian activist Tariq Ali as a "commentator on the Middle East" during his many appearances on ABC television and radio.

*Margo Kingston's errors, ineptitude, and bias.

*The SMH running Maureen Dowd's columns several days after they've appeared in the US, in one case after the issue Dowd was discussing had been resolved.

*ABC radio's mild description of Osama bin Laden in news items as a mere "Saudi dissident". And Hitler was an "Austrian painter".

*Richard Neville's shocking Good Weekend cover story, which included innumerable mistakes.

*The SMH's story on how the success of the GST had made cars more affordable, thus creating a "problem".

*The ABC's anti-Israel bias. (And what about the claim made in this linked piece about the ABC directing staff to not say anything bad about the Taliban?)

*The refusal of The Age and the SMH to run columns by Mark Steyn, despite having the rights to his UK Telegraph pieces. No conservatives allowed!

*The recycling of Greenpeace press releases at the ABC and in the Fairfax press..

*The anti-Bush bias of Fairfax's Washington correspondent, Gay Alcorn.

Tell you what, Gareth. Let's send this list – which is by no means exhaustive – to Media Watch, and see what Marr does about it. My prediction: he'll do nothing at all.

A LIE ON EVERY PAGE™. And now, page three of John Pilger's The New Rulers of the World:

[Transnational media companies] have transformed much of the 'information society' into a media age where extraordinary technology allows the incessant repetition of politically 'safe' information that is acceptable to the 'nation builders'.

'Is' anyone 'else' getting 'tired' of Pilger's 'quotes'? I know 'I' am, and 'I've' still 'got' 204 'pages' to 'go'.

Let's test Pilger's theory. Using the very latest, most extraordinary technology, I'll now publish some very 'unsafe' information:

George W. Bush personally authorised and profited from the September 11 attacks. Moreover, he did so while dancing with Osama bin Laden at the Kremlin, in the company of Saddam Hussein and the entire Enron board.

Now I wait for the police to arrive. In the meantime, page three also offers:

Those with unprecedented resources to understand this, including many who teach and research in the great universities, suppress their knowledge publicly; perhaps never before has there been such a silence.

Not since the silence of lefty academics in Australia, England, Canada, and the US during Communism's reign in Europe and Asia, eh, John?

Next: page four!


IRAQ COULD really do with some international weapons inspectors. They might stop this kind of thing happening:

A huge explosion has been reported in al-Nasser Enterprise, one of Iraq's major weapons factories specialized in the manufacture of missile parts … authorities blamed the blast, last Saturday, on an electrical short-circuit.

Middle East News Online adds this information, to assist John Pilger and Noam Chomsky in the formulation of their conspiracy theories about the Western press:

Iraq's government-controlled media ignored the incident though many in Baghdad heard the explosion and saw the plumes of smoke rising from the blaze.

TARIQ ALI reveals why the ABC-Fairfax Axis of Evil adores him so: he's anti-Australian, anti-American, anti-Israel, and a socialist. No wonder Tariq is a permanent guest of Australia's taxpayer-funded national broadcaster. Li'l Tariq is just perfect!

WHO CARES what you think, French United Nations person?

GARETH PARKER says I'm "obsessed" with David Marr's Media Watch (I've raised the subject twice in eight weeks) and that my criticism of the show is wrong. Really?

My comparison of Marr's attacks on News Ltd. and Fairfax papers – which revealed a massive imbalance favouring the Fairfax press – is flawed, according to Gareth, because Murdoch "sells 68 percent of the newspapers in Australian capital cities" and should therefore expect greater critical attention.

OK, Gareth. Let's look at Sydney, where News Ltd.'s Daily Telegraph competes with Fairfax's Sydney Morning Herald. Marr has attacked the Telegraph nine times. He's attacked the SMH – in much milder terms – just four times.

He's attacked News Ltd.'s national The Australian eight times, but Fairfax's national business daily The Australian Financial Review has only been criticised once – and praised twice.

Gareth next quotes me on electronic media, and issues a rebuttal:

"Commercial broadcasters have been smacked 18 times, and the ABC only five times."

Given there is only one ABC, as opposed to three commercial television networks, plus countless commercial radio networks, again it would appear the ABC is over-represented. Strike two, Timbo.

Only one ABC? You’re kidding, right? ABC TV has regional, state, and national broadcasters, individual radio stations in every capital, plus Triple J, Radio National, and NewsRadio. I wish there was only one ABC.

Gareth continues:

Having said all this, Marr definitely errs on the AIJAC/Kroger/Isreal bias issue. If you wanted to nail him, Timbo, why give this one only a passing mention?

Because, Garbo, Marr's creepy bias on that issue spoke for itself. Why shovel dirt on someone who's already buried?

THE LATEST column in The Australian mentions table dancing, lap dancing, and steamy, libidinous pole dancing. All in the context of government expenditure on the arts, of course.

RALPH NADER has called for a review of the Lakers' 106-102 game six defeat of the Sacramento Kings. CBS reports:

Nader, a consumer advocate and former Green Party presidential candidate, and the League of Fans, a sports-industry watchdog group, sent a letter to NBA Commissioner David Stern asking for a review, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

"At a time when the public's confidence is shaken by headlines reporting the breach of trust by corporate executives, it is important, during the public's relaxation time, for there to be maintained a sense of impartiality and professionalism in commercial sports performances," the letter said. "That sense was severely broken . . . during Game 6.

"Unless the NBA orders a review of this game's officiating, perceptions and suspicions, however presently absent any evidence, will abound," the letter said. "A review that satisfies the fans' sense of fairness and deters future recurrences would be a salutary contribution to the public trust that the NBA badly needs."

This won't end happily. Ken Layne's first car was a Corvair. Layne went briefly insane when Matt Welch voted for Nader in 2000. Now Nader is attacking Layne's beloved Lakers.

Layne has nothing to lose. He's unsafe at any speed. Get running, Ralph.

WORLD C-CUP: Bitchin' Monaro links to Asian soccer porn. (Scroll down the left-hand column.) Meanwhile, Andrew Sullivan says "the gulf between America and the world - symbolized by football - is a real and worrisome one", while Layne snaps: "I get a little ticked off being told to appreciate 'football' by the rest of the world while everything from America is roundly denounced as U.S. cultural imperialism."

Let's hope this tournament doesn't end with an England v US final. It'll be a BlogBloodBath.

MARGO-DEX. The latest Webdiary entry contained:

1,559 words from unpaid contributors;

1,338 words from press releases or previously published articles, which could have been linked to, if Margo knew how or wasn't trying to pad her Webdiary to present the illusion of productivity;

And 1,331 words – almost all of them worthless, natch – from Margo, which amounts to 31.18% of today's total. That's more than 20% greater than her average this year! Congratulations, Margo!

HOW DOES ONE reconcile this Jimmy Breslin column demanding more foreign FBI agents in the US with an earlier Jimmy Breslin column condemning foreign newspaper editors in the US – that was rightly torn to bits by James Morrow?

One doesn't. One simply ignores Jimmy, as one customarily does.


The 60,000 delegates to the Earth Summit in Johannesburg this September will produce the same volume of greenhouse gases through air flights, ground transport and hotel pollution as would half a million ordinary Africans in a year.

The British company Future Forests estimates that the summit will produce nearly 500,000 tons of carbon dioxide.

This is the amount produced annually by 44,000 Britons or 450,000 Africans.


OH NO! The Indymedians have been alerted! Time to get me some mace!

A LIE ON EVERY PAGE™. Today, page two of John Pilger's The New Rulers of the World (or, as the book's website
spells it, in a touching homage to their error-prone author, the "News Rulers of the World):

Central to the growth of this 'business state' are the media conglomerates, which have unprecedented power, owning press and television, book publishing, film production and databases.

Pilger confuses ownership with influence. Polls consistently show a distrust of the media, which only increased after 9/11. And how has TimeAOLWarnerCNN's "unprecedented power" helped it in the stock market? As well, there's this thing called the "Internet", which is diluting the power of major media companies. John may have heard of it.

'Global economy' is a modern Orwellian term. On the surface, it is instant financial trading, mobile phones, McDonald's, Starbucks, holidays booked on the net. Beneath this gloss, it is the globalisation of poverty …

So Pilger has heard of the Net! It's where he books his holidays. Check out the cliches; by page two we've read Orwell's name three times already, and now we have the first mentions of – surprise! – McDonald's and Starbucks in connection with globalisation. It's as though Pilger rushed this book, seemingly to capitalise on the events of the past six months ... could it be that he's a war profiteer?

Tomorrow: page three. What wonders await?

IN LIGHT of today's atrocity, this Weekly Standard column by Reuel Marc Gerecht is more urgent and powerful than the author ever intended:

Since September 11, the Bush administration could have decided to embrace the cherished Middle Eastern tradition of machtpolitik. And everyone would have understood clearly. But instead we have CIA director George Tenet headed for the West Bank to drink tea again with Palestinian "intelligence and security forces" who probably had a hand in killing Americans. CIA penetrations of Middle East terrorist groups are supposed to prevent the loss of life, not advance it. But such twists and turns in the Bush administration's war on terrorism reveal the newfound flexibility of America's foreign policy. When President Bush was recently in Paris, he remarked that the United States and France share fundamental values. It would appear, alas, that the president wasn't kidding.

GRATITUDE, part one: Kuwait was liberated by US and Western forces in '91 … then the US was attacked by a Kuwaiti in '93, and possibly again in '01.

UPDATE, via Reuters:

Kuwait said on Wednesday a man Washington identified as the probable mastermind behind the September 11 attacks on the United States was not a Kuwaiti citizen but a former resident of the northern Gulf state.

Whatever. As Masai elder Mr. Oltetia said of Osama bin Laden: "That guy — surely we would have to kill him."

GRATITUDE, part two: the Masai offer 14 cows to the US as a symbolic gesture of solidarity over 9/11, and the idiot US ambassador plans to sell them because they'll be too difficult to transport.

HILLARY CLINTON – who once wooed New Yorkers by insisting she was a lifelong Yankees fan, and tried to win the Jewish vote with claims of Jewish family connections – has now told a shooter that she was once a duck hunter.

Who else has Hillary been talking to? Let's see ...

"This street looks just like the street I grew up on, what with the shops and the bins and the giant talking birds and all."

"I told Spassky in '72, and I'm telling you now: the Göring Gambit doesn't work worth a damn against a defensive opponent."

"Yves Rocher depilatory cream really helps. It worked for me. Back then I was a guy, of course."

"Until 1987, fully half of the world's children were hatless. My campaign brought hats and peace to all the desolate, unhatted regions of the globe."

"Helloooo, microscopic wine-borne bacterium! Remember me? Hillary Rodham? From the old days in the petri dish?"

"Four state titles, two national. It's all in the grip."

"I can relate, sisters. I once looked exactly like you. Then I had my bones shrunk."

"What am I bid? What am I bid for this fine Christian boy-child? My, I haven't had this much fun since I ran a slave racket out of ancient Egypt."

WHATEVER HAPPENED to the Time magazine Blog guy? You remember him; he launched a blog back in February after writing a (widely-dismissed) piece about blogs in the magazine. One of his earliest posts was about how he'd stopped watching CNN after 9/11 because CNN was "too patriotic". Is Chris Taylor's blog still as lame as it was in the beginning?

Yes, it is.

MARTIN ROTH, the Cartman of Christianity, tells a terrible story about the time he was visited by some green-leaning Western friends when he lived in Tokyo:

At a local restaurant I ordered a dish of grilled whale meat. It looked and tasted like prime beef. Utterly delicious, said my friends. I seem to recall one of them – a very idealistic New Zealand schoolgirl – actually screaming when I revealed what they had eaten.

A LIE ON EVERY PAGE ™. Lucky me! Yesterday I found a brand-new copy of John Pilger's latest book. It was poking out of the garbage piled up behind a 7-11. To celebrate my good fortune, every day I'll read one single page and post the errors, distortions, and myths that I find. We begin with the very first words on the very first page:

When American Vice-President Dick Cheney said that the 'war on terrorism' could last 50 years or more, his words evoked George Orwell's great prophetic work, Nineteen Eighty-Four.

No, they didn't.

In the novel, three slogans dominate society: war is peace, freedom is slavery and ignorance is strength. Today's slogan, 'war on terrorism', also reverses meaning. The war is terrorism.

'War is terrorism' isn't the reverse of 'war on terrorism'. Besides, Orwell's slogans aren't reversals; they're contradictions or paradoxes, like 'Pilger is a respected journalist'. Next – we're still only on page one here – Pilger declares that the current war has caused terrible repression:

Dissent is permissible within 'consensual' boundaries, reinforcing the illusion the information and speech are 'free'.

Which explains why the book was abandoned. Its original owner must have been killed for possessing dissenting literature!

That's all from Pilger for today. Tune in tomorrow – and for 205 days following – to get your daily dose of A Lie On Every Page™!

MATT GUCKENHEIMER, the US Army soldier allegedly ordered to pull a My Lai on the helpless women and children of Afghanistan, has sent a letter to The Ithaca Journal:

Recently your paper quoted me as saying that my unit was ordered to kill women and children.

I would like to clarify this quote and provide more context.

Prior to the operation, we were made aware of the fact that the hostile forces of the Whaleback might include women and children. In that event, if those women and children showed hostile intent, we were ordered to kill them as hostile forces, just like any other hostile force we encountered. However, this does not mean that we were ordered to slaughter noncombatants such as babies.

We were further informed that some of these children are trained starting at a very young age to be soldiers. Knowing this, we could not afford to just dismiss them as noncombatants.

However, I do not want anyone to get the idea that we were ever sent out to kill anyone and anything that moves. We are better than that, both as a military unit and as a society.

Matt Guckenheimer

Cayuga Heights, May 31

Via The Comedian.

MANY SENIOR AUSTRALIAN journalists were at the Sydney Opera House on April 8. They were there for the launch of Paul Barry's latest book, and some free drinks. By around 9pm, however, several – mostly Fairfax and ABC types – had left. They'd gone to David Marr's house to watch this year's first episode of Media Watch, in the company of the show's new host.

I bet they were pleased with David's work, and I bet they remain so. For Marr isn't media-watching; he's defending the Fairfax/ABC Axis of Evil from the forces that would destroy it. Months before the program went to air, John Styles made this prediction:

No doubt, the tabloids and commercial radio and TV current affairs will be once again under the microscope, with the usual special focus on Alan Jones. Expect the ABC to be pinged occasionally for some perceived minor misdemeanour in an attempt to present at least a token display of even-handedness.

Styles was substantially right, although criticism of Jones has so far been limited to a bizarre complaint about the odds of winning one million dollars in a Jones radio promotion.

Working through the show's transcripts, we find that Marr has criticised News Ltd newspapers 31 times, but made just 12 attacks on Fairfax papers. Fairfax has received praise four times; News Ltd twice. Commercial broadcasters have been smacked 18 times, and the ABC only five times.

The Media Watch website claims:

Media Watch and David Marr have vigorously criticised the ABC, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, as well as every other major news organisation in the country. We will continue to do so.


Fairfax's weekend magazine was mocked for a seeming absence of scepticism in a story about magical water. Sceptics might note that the author of the piece was Paul Sheehan, one of the few Fairfax writers who might be described as right-wing. Sceptics should also note that this error-riddled, ill-researched piece by lefty Richard Neville, published in the same magazine, didn't draw a word of condemnation.

Marr attacked The Age not over something it had published, but something its editor refused to publish: this loathsome cartoon. In the episode that followed he gloated over an online poll that showed 85 per cent of Media Watch viewers liked the cartoon. Which tells you more than you need to know about the people who enjoy this program.

Even more "vigorously", Marr launched into the declining quality of the Sydney Morning Herald. But the decline, he pointed out, was nothing to do with the paper's pathetic journalists, piglike bias, and perverted worldview. It's all the fault of financial cutbacks, you see.

As for criticism of the ABC, Marr – as forecast by Styles – has mostly whined about trifling things: the use of outdated footage in a news report, or the clumsy sacking of a Brisbane staffer. Marr's strongest anti-ABC piece was over a news item he thought too kind to a manufacturer of bamboo wall panels.

Maybe Marr has been too busy defending the ABC against claims of bias to do any serious criticising. In which case the show should be retitled: Media Ignore.


LAYNE TAKES his sports gambling extremely seriously. The terms of his proposed bet with Jeff Jarvis would imperil Jarvis's entire family. And if Layne loses, well, dental records won't be sufficient to identify the remains. It'll be a job for the DNA lab.

Speaking of bets, check out Damian Penny's site. God, the shame of it …

COULD THOSE yummy Yasser snacks possibly be made from US corn? Don Arthur investigates.


A FEMINIST SLOGAN FOR OUR TIMES. In the comments box for this item at Dawn Olsen's site, reader Shell writes:

"In a post 9-11 world, I feel it's my duty as a woman to wear clingier clothing, flirt more outrageously, have more orgasms, and get on top more often. In short, anything that's taboo to the islamofascists."

Follow her lead, Western babes. Or the terrorists will have won.

ALL THE POOR COUNTRIES hate America. That's why there's terrorism, right? Because of the huge disparity in wealth and all?

Go tell it to Kenya's Masai tribesmen. The New York Times today runs this fantastic story:

When Kimeli Naiyomah returned recently to [his] tiny village from his studies in the United States, he found only the vaguest understanding among his fellow Masai of what had happened in that far-away place called New York on Sept. 11.

Through his tales, Sept. 11 became real. The Masai felt sadness. They felt relief that Mr. Naiyomah was unscathed. They wanted to do something.

Today, in a solemn ceremony in a grassy clearing, they did, blessing 14 cows being given to the people of the United States. Elders chanted in Maa as they walked around the cows, animals held sacred by the Masai. After the blessing, the cows were handed over to William Brancick, the deputy chief of mission of the United States Embassy in Nairobi.

One of the villagers provided a quote certain to enrage any US-loathing anti-globalist:

"We're out with our cattle every day so we're not always up to date on the news," said Vincent Konchellah, 22, who donated one of his 12 cows. "We had heard about a disaster in America but we didn't know much about it. Now we feel the same way we would feel if we lost one of our own."

And the very best lines in the entire wonderful piece can be found near the end:

"That guy — surely we would have to kill him," Mr. Oltetia, the village's chief warrior, said of Osama bin Laden. "We as the Masai have ways to kill, just using a spear and bows and arrows."

These people live in mud huts made waterproof with cow dung, yet they make more sense than any Berkeley sociology professor. The Masai truly rock.

THE ISRAELI EMBASSY in Paris burns down in the middle of the night, and nobody cares about it, or investigates it, or writes about it. Larry Miller can't believe it.

BLOG YOUR WAY TO WEALTH! Sydney Morning Herald blogger Margo Kingston, whose Webdiary she-zine is occasionally published here, might be one of the best-paid journalists in Australia.

An analysis of her output since the beginning of the year reveals a per-word pay rate likely unmatched anywhere in the nation. Let's work through the numbers:

From January 25 to May 29, 152,065 words were published on Webdiary.

Of those, 68,988 came via previously published pieces (including columns written by Margo for other sections of the SMH, reprinted articles from The Guardian, transcripts from television programs, and so on), as well as verbatim speeches by politicians, or endless Parliamentary debates. (Margo rarely links to, or excerpts from, any source; she prefers to publish entire items.)

Another 66,851 words were contributed by unpaid correspondents. At least one of them – Tim Dunlop – has had more words published in Webdiary this year than has the site's editor.

And what of the site's editor? In the period Jan. 25 to May 29, Margo wrote only 16,226 words specifically for Webdiary. That's just 10.67% of Webdiary’s total content. Readers donated 43.61%. Previously published articles account for 45.36%.

And many of Margo's words were merely introductions to reader mail, which she posts without any apparent editing.

For this she's earning $4,880.33 per month – after tax. Is it any surprise that SMH publisher Fairfax's online division has so far lost more than $100 million? Way to stick it to Fred Hilmer, Margo!

UPDATE: The total number of words in today's edition of Webdiary: 6,073

The number of words provided by readers: 6,065

The number of words provided by Margo: 8

Margo's contribution as a percentage of the total: 0.1317%

Margo's pay for today's work, after tax: $162.67

Margo's earnings per word: $20.33

SILVERWHEELCHAIR. Daniel Johns, lead singer of the Australian band Silverchair, recently withdrew from a planned concert tour when "a rare form of arthritis" left him barely able to move. Simon Roberts has discovered something about Daniel's condition that the press have conspicuously omitted.

GUCKENHEIMER UPDATE, via Offwing. Fox News contacted the 10th Mountain Division about the comments of one of their men in The Ithaca Journal. Fox reports:

An Army Private who served with Tenth Mountain Division during Operation Anaconda in eastern Afghanistan claims he was under orders to kill women and children. Private Matt Guckenheimer told the Ithaca Journal (New York) that he and about 100 others were sent into the area in early March. "We were told there were no friendly forces," he said. "If there was anybody there, they were the enemy. We were told specifically that if there were women and children, we were to kill them." The Tenth Mountain Division told FOX News today that its rules "did not permit such illegal acts."

WHAT DID THE CIA KNOW, and when did they know it? Short answer: a whole bunch, and January 2000. For the long answer, go here.

DAMIAN PENNY has launched a fatwa against fearmongering midget David Suzuki, and readers are piling on. The Canadian enviromite is being sliced apart like a tiny tree-loving pickle.

PUTTING THE 'FUN' INTO FUNDAMENTALISM! England's Independent on Sunday reports:

A British company is producing an educational CD-Rom that encourages Muslim children as young as five to "kill" Israelis.

The CD, called Islamic Fun!, is being sold for £19.95. One of the games on the disc is called The Resistance and tells children playing it: "You are a farmer in south Lebanon who has joined the Islamic Resistance to defend your land and family from the invading Zionists."

Players procure ammunition to fire at Israeli tanks by answering multiple choice questions and then firing at the Israelis as the tanks roll across the screen.

Questions include "What was the crime of the Jews of Khayber?" and "Who said: 'I know I have been elected thanks to the votes of US Jews. I owe my election to them. Tell me what I have to do for the Jewish people' to Ben Gurion?"

Ummm … was it Chester A. Arthur? Am I right? Do I win? The Independent interviewed Abbas Panjwani, boss of the company that makes the CD-Rom, who told the following lie about his little game:

"It does not target any religious or racial group including the Jewish community. In fact its educational content teaches children the difference between Judaism and Zionism."

Sure, Abbas. It's a learning tool. Just like Dynamite 4 Kidz. The game is also available for sale in Canada, from the, er, "Islamic Humanitarian Service".

Bring it on, terrorist toy-makers! We want more Islamic-themed playthings! How about …

Jihad Joe

Rubik's Jewb


Chatty Cathy the Collaborator

Magic Hate Ball

Hungry Hungry Habib

Ker POW!

Holly Hobbie Holocaust Oven

Rock'em Sock'em Robotic Suicide Killers

Semtex sold separately. Order now!

UPDATE: Hey, there already is a Jihad Joe! Thanks to The Melbourne Truth of Blogs – tons of great stuff at that site, by the way – for the alert.

INTERCONTINENTAL JAMES is leaning towards home schooling. And with good reason.

HENRY WODEHOUSE, a son of the late 4th Earl of Kimberley, writes:

I am one of Johnny's sons. I was with him when he died. It is of the utmost sadness to me that the Daily Telegraph wrote such a despicable and inaccurate obit about him. If you would like to look at the Times website they wrote a more accurate account of his life.

He was not the best by any manner or means, but he is and always will be a much loved friend and father to me. The Telegraph, when I telephoned to complain of their blatant inaccuracies, actually did have the grace to call me back and apologise for their incompetence.

I cannot however refute the statement he made about queers. I was there when he said it.

Kind regards

Henry Wodehouse

IS THE ABC BIASED? HA! Man, I worked there for 12 weeks last year. The place is built on bias. If the bias was removed, the entire ABC would implode.

Some people notice this. Daniel Mandel in The Review provides example after example of ABC bias in its coverage of the Middle East:

On 'AM' (28/8/01), Linda Mottram reported on the Israeli killing of Abu Ali Mustafa, leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, an organisation that under Mustafa's direction had carried out car bombings in Israel. Mottram stated that Mustafa "is by far the most senior of around 50 Palestinians killed by the Israelis in their campaign of murder directed against Palestinian militants."

John Highfield on the 'World Today' said Mustafa had been "assassinated," then introduced correspondent Peter Cave, whom, Highfield said, was asking an Israeli official "why Israel had chosen now to murder the head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine." The not so subtle implication was that Israel was committing war crimes in eliminating terrorists.

Tony Jones, too, in presenting 'Lateline' opened one program (7/8/01) with a statement alleging that Israel had begun "escalating its campaign of state sanctioned assassinations to include senior Palestinian leaders."


NEW RULES mean Formula One teams can no longer conceal the details of their beautiful machinery during race weekends. Take a look at some XXX car porn.

JASON SOON says I'm being a Marxist and a Tory over the Nancy Crick right-to-die issue. He writes:

It seemed that Mrs Crick knew she was in remission all along but couldn't bear the suffering. Whose business is it? What crime was committed?

Well, none, if it involved just her killing herself. But this was never solely about Crick. It was about the point at which any sick or dying person might reasonably request to be killed, and of the rights of people to carry out that act without opposition from the state.

Crick was a public test case. Which is why Dr. Nitschke misrepresented her illness and understated her weight. Crick, it turns out, wanted to die because she wanted to die. She rejected further operations and drug treatment that could have helped her. Nitschke thinks that assisted suicide in such circumstances is just fine. Why is this our business? Because Nitschke wants the state to agree with his proposed terms for euthanasia, which amount to death-by-whim.

The risks of this are abundant; imagine learning, six months after a just-diagnosed brother had opted for Nitschke's needle, that a cure for his disease had been discovered. Meanwhile, under the current system, the very worst that can happen is that you'll stay alive a little longer than maybe you'd like.

How does allowing people of sound mind to in effect sign a contract that would request the State *not* to do something (i.e. punish those who assist them with suicide) constitute the end of civilisation as we know it?

Crick, in fact, required no assistance at all to end her life. Her doctor wasn't even present when she swallowed the barbiturates she'd purchased via the Internet. As a poster-granny for the assisted suicide cause, Crick is a remarkably poor one.

Conservatives have never really believed in individualism and freedom of choice. So they don't want the State to own phone companies but they want it to own our bodies. Conservatives are only good at defending economic freedom, and at times they aren't even very good at doing that.

Suicide isn't a crime. Nor is attempted suicide. You can try to kill yourself over and over without the state charging you with anything. Your body isn't owned. Scrawl dumb slogans on a railway bridge and it's called vandalism. Do it to yourself and it's a tattoo.

Jason, a Libertarian, is actually calling for the state to involve itself in people's lives, via legislation that would provide for the ways and means by which people killed themselves. I return to my original point: Nancy Crick killing herself is nothing to do with me. But were her death to be sanctioned or assisted by the state, it would be something to do with me, and with all citizens. And most people prefer to keep people alive.

THE KORAN DID IT. A novel claim from a Melbourne court case:

Religion led a devoutly Muslim woman to join her husband in a plot to blow up their kebab shop, a court heard yesterday.

Fadime Cubuk, 24, always stuck strictly to the teachings of the Koran -- which included obeying her husband, Muhammed.

Her lawyer, Tony Lewis, said Mrs Cubuk's religion called for her to take a vow of obedience to her husband at their wedding.

He said a passage from the Koran stated women must be "obedient to Allah and their husband", or they may face "a light beating".

[Mrs Cubuk] allegedly told police she gave her husband about $25,000 at his request, to pay another man described in court as the architect of the scam.

Via Islamablogger Amir Butler, who comments: "It is quite one thing when non-Muslims blame the criminal conduct of some Muslims on Islam, but it is quite another when Muslims blame their own criminal behaviour on Islam." Quite so. She deserves a beating.

MICHAEL UEBEL, an assistant professor of English at the University of Kentucky, explains the lure of cyberporn:

Cyberporn is revolutionary in the sense that it has made a disruptive cultural appearance, radically altering the ways men consume porn. Abandoning a more traditional, rhetorical understanding of revolutionary events, which implies only "redundancy, circularity, predictability, even a sense of stasis," brings us closer to Deleuze and Guattari's "molecular revolution," a project of "mutation," which, according to Bernardo Attias, produces something unpredictable, something truly other or without place in the normal order of things. Both a product and an agent of mutation, cyberporn thus reveals its true otherness as a sign of the utopic. The "nowhere" (or now-here) of porn in cyberspace shares with other politicized and narrativized utopic spaces, such as those described and theorized by Louis Marin, deep tendencies to resist univocal meaning and to remodel desire. By installing both a reactionary politics and a liberatory aesthetics, cyberporn's effects occur "in the distance between contradictory elements," in this way becoming "the simulacrum of the synthesis, while yet signifying the contradiction that produced it." The simulacral, "in-between" condition of cybersex consumption figures it as a practice both produced and dissimulated by the representations within which it is generated, including not only private desires and obsessions, but political projects and social resistances.

Uh, OK. So, you got any pictures?

PAUL GOTTFRIED is a professor of humanities at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania and the author of 'After Liberalism: Mass Democracy in the Managerial State' (Princeton).

Despite this, he credits Jonah Goldberg for the phrase "cheese-eating surrender monkeys" when everybody knows Groundskeeper Willy is its author. Don't educated people research anything these days?

READER and World Cup watcher Ross F. writes:

"They say Saudis have no sense of humour, but losing 8-0 is hilarious. Personally, I blame Mossad."

ONLY HOURS after theorising about such a monster, it is born … people, meet the OmbudsGod.

ARI FLEISCHER, SUPER GENIUS. According to The New Republic's Jonathan Chait, White House press secretary Ari Fleischer is wily and cunning beyond measure. His powers of deception … why, they're stupefying:

The typical press secretary shovels out fairly blunt propaganda, the kind reporters can spot a mile away and sidestep easily. But Fleischer has a way of blindsiding you, leaving you disoriented and awestruck.

Chait knows this because he himself has been a victim of the gigantic Fleischer brain. Six years ago Chait phoned Fleischer – then working for House Ways and Means chairman Bill Archer – to grill him on tax reform issues. Knowing he faced a formidable opponent, Chait planned to "anticipate his possible replies and map out countermeasures to cut off his escape routes."

Chait's opening gambit appeared safe enough:

I began the conversation by bringing up what seemed a simple premise: His boss, Bill Archer, favored replacing the income tax with a national sales tax.

But Fleischer countered Chait with that mercurial super-geniusness of his:

Fleischer immediately interrupted to insist that Archer did not support any such thing.

This complex and intricate verbal manoeuvre – known to experts in the field of rhetoric as a "lie" – utterly floored Chait:

I was dumbfounded. Forgetting my line of questioning, I frantically tried to recall how it was I knew that Archer had advocated a sales tax. But in the face of this confident assertion, my mind went blank. "Wha ... uh, really?" I stammered. He assured me it was true. Completely flustered, I thanked him and hung up

See? Fleischer is brilliant. He must be. He outwitted Jonathan Chait.

A BIG-ASS case before Australia's High Court is trying to work out how defamation laws apply to the Internet. Where, for instance, does a libel occur: at the place of writing, at the place of publication, or at the place where the article is read? Could I be sued in Pakistan for something I've written in Sydney? Could Treacher be sued everywhere, just on general principles? Could Layne be sued in Australia?

That last example is what this case is all about. Australian mining executive Joseph Gutnick is suing over a US article that was read in Australia by fewer than 2,000 people. Layne has a bigger Australian audience than that. If this case goes the wrong way, and Ken subsequently offends an Australian target, he'll be in one of our fine correctional facilities before Christmas. Australian defamation laws are cruel.

And Malaysia's are even crueller.