9.07.2002

CHOMSKY, CHOMSKY, CHOMSKY, OI, OI, OI! All three major Australian broadsheets – The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, and The Australian – ran the same Noam Chomsky piece in their 9/11 weekend retrospectives today.

Chomsky is a marginal figure in the US, mocked even by many on the Left. Here he's a mainstream pundit. Tells you a lot about our media, doesn't it?

The article itself is the usual Chomsky load. No need to read.

BUSH KNEW. So people said after revelations that US intelligence had some (but not many) hints about al Qaeda's plans in advance of September 11. The Times of London asks: What if Bush had decided to launch a pre-emptive strike?


What would have been the reaction of the Liberal Democrats, chattering class opinion, church leaders, most European nations, the Arab world or the members of the UN Security Council? Would they have said, as Mr Blair might have, that the President was acting reasonably or would they have demanded considerably more "proof" and a transnational "consensus" before action was taken? I think we know the answer. The same people, organisations and countries who now oppose taking on Iraq would also have opposed intervention against Afghanistan. And they would have been wrong, while Mr Bush would have been right.



So the BUSH KNEW crowd blames Bush for not doing enough to stop September 11, then blames him for doing too much to stop Saddam Hussein. What are they complaining about? In the case of Iraq, BUSH KNOWS.

FRESH MARK STEYN, from the UK Telegraph:


I feel sorry for the 55 per cent of Europeans who, according to a poll last week, think falling secretaries and atomised infants are something to do with "US foreign policy". Mohammed Atta and his chums were wealthy, privileged and psychotic, yet feeble British churchmen line up to say the people who did this did it because they're impoverished, downtrodden yet rational. Granted that the fetid swamp of equivalence is often mistaken for the moral high ground, it's rarely been so crowded.



Speaking of Steyn, what's the deal with this website? It's been sitting there, contentless, for months. So start with the blogging and the posting and the linking, already.

UPDATE. Colby Cosh explains the Steyn website mystery.

A WORTHY CAUSE. Put me down for $50.

IRMINGARD ANNA KOTELEV has composed a beautiful photographic tribute to pre-9/11 New York. Shots of the intact WTC are sometimes more arresting than images of the towers being destroyed.

FOLLOWING THE successful environmentalist campaign to deny GM food to Africa, reader Ken suggests a new bumper sticker:

Starvation Is Bad For Children And Other Living Things

The Greens have third-world blood on their hands. They should be reminded of it, often.

THE WEEKLY STANDARD'S Stephen F. Hayes reminds the trembly, lettuce-wristed Daschle Democrats of a certain 42nd President's opinions on Iraq.

A SYDNEY WOMAN looks at the world around her and scratches her head. Welcome to Angela Bell's new Oz femme blog.

I'M ABOUT a week behind in answering e-mails; apologies, and answers are being written now.

9.06.2002

THE FIRST match of the 2002 Australian Rules Football finals series is played tonight in Adelaide. Collingwood will win. For accurate finals predictions and all your linky-linky football needs, go to OBIS.

DAVID PENBERTHY takes no prisoners in his Daily Telegraph column today on "the lifestyle choice/Jonestown cult/climate-controlled biosphere known as the Australian Democrats." No, let me re-phrase that; Penbo does take prisoners, then subjects them to treatment that would alarm the Taliban. A sample:


Confused is not a strong enough word to describe this party. To label its leadership aspirants as non-entities is an insult to invisible, atom-sized particles of nothingness floating about in galaxies as yet unknown.

Senator Andrew Whatshisface and Senator You Know, The Gay Bloke, have been in Canberra for about 20 minutes, just long enough, with their ding-dong colleagues, to ensure the Australian Democrats vanish wholly from view within the next two federal elections.



Penberthy, like the Democrats, originated in Adelaide. Just goes to show that no place, not even the East Berlin of South Australia, is all bad.

ANTI-MUSLIM HATE CRIME IN CALIFORNIA. The San Jose Mercury reports an obscene attack on a teenage Muslim girl:


Nearly a dozen organizations representing South Asians gathered Wednesday in downtown Palo Alto to condemn what they called the "hate rape" of a Muslim girl.

The ad-hoc coalition, consisting mostly of Bay Area Muslim organizations and those that support abused women, called the press conference outside of Longs Drug Store in Palo Alto, where the 15-year-old girl was reportedly raped Friday night.



Given the proximity to September 11, and ongoing concerns about the treatment of Muslims in the US, this story has particular resonance.

But all is not as it immediately seems:


Palo Alto police on Friday arrested Sanjay Nair, 18, of East Palo Alto, for allegedly raping the girl in the store's basement bathroom. The incident has been labeled a hate crime because of comments police say that Nair, who is Hindu, made before and during the alleged rape.

Urmila Devi Nair, the suspect's mother, told the Mercury News that her son … came here with the family from Fiji a year ago.



Appallingly, this information doesn't stop the Mercury News from dragging September 11 into the picture:


As the anniversary of Sept. 11 approaches, the number of calls reporting hate crimes in Northern California has steadily risen, said Helal Omeira, executive director for Council on American-Islamic Relations.



This alleged hate crime was committed by a Hindu who's been in the US for only a year. That doesn't diminish the crime against the girl, of course, but it does diminish the implied guilt of the racist, Muslim-hating US.

CAIR includes this item in today's e-mail newsletter to subscribers.

THE ENVIRONMENTALIST CAMPAIGN to stop starving Africans receiving GM corn could end up killing more people than September 11 and the assault on al Qaeda combined. Just a thought.

THE AGE newspaper opposed the Australian Formula One Grand Prix being run in Melbourne's Albert Park, especially before the first race, in 1996. Too noisy, too polluty, parks are sacred, trees have feelings, people may enjoy it, etc.

Now we learn – from the unlikely source of a Mark Webber e-mail newsletter (no link available) – that the paper is using Formula One to promote itself. Anticipating the Italian Grand Prix on September 15, Mark writes:


"There's going to be a good Aussie presence at Monza this year. The Age newspaper in Melbourne is sending over some of its major advertising clients. Looking forward to seeing you all there!"



Not as much as I'm looking forward to the reaction from the Save Albert Park goblins on learning that their favourite soapbox has turned F1-crazy. The best part: Italy's Grand Prix is also run in a park. Rev rev!

MY GENTLE COLUMN on the future of the Green movement has provoked some reader reaction:


Does Tim Blair have any interests to declare? I don't think I have ever before seen such ill-founded polemic penned by someone without a financial interest in ignoring the environment. Come on, Tim, fess up!

Peter Saul

Newcastle, NSW



It's true; I do own a multinational chain of rainforest sweatshops, staffed by genetically modified third-world condors. But I fail to see how that compromises my opinion.


Tim … Educate yourself at www.nsw.greens.org.au. You may discover that the majority are just like you … trying to make our world a nicer place to visit.

Brendon Perrin

Armidale, NSW



Then the majority is not just like me.


An interesting point you make, despite the Greens' excellent performance in the last election. Does this also point to the death of the environmental movement?

Chris O'Neill

Melbourne, Vic



Yes! Most of the people who voted for the Greens in 2001 were friendless tune-outs who'd previously voted for the Democrats. An "excellent performance" by the Greens is equivalent to a "catastrophic defeat" by a serious party.


Wow, a lot of exclamations without any rational evidence whatsoever. I know this is supposed to be an opinion piece, but where are the references to evidence to back up this person's claims. Sounds like this individual is being extremely defensive, this I would assume is because the individual in question is probably the product of conservative conditioning.
Brett Perryman

Melbourne, Vic



Must … destroy … planet … beep beep … programmed … to … destroy

Where was I? Oh, yes, Brett is still going:


The point is that there is a lot more scientific and symptomatic evidence of radically accelerated climate change. What this means for the future is anyone's guess, my answer would be more extreme and erratic weather. The ridiculous thing is that no matter whether you disagree or not the time to actually do something was approximately 5-10 years ago.



Too late now. If only we'd done something back in 1997, everything would be just perfect.


What a typical green statement by Brett Perryman - "there is a lot more....evidence of radically accelerated climate change." What evidence, pray tell? There is in fact no such significant evidence. But greens believe, with some justification unfortunately, that if you just keep asserting something as a fact, it will eventually gain some currency.

Richard Moss

Canberra



Richard Moss is obviously the product of conservative conditioning. Does he have any interests to declare?

MARK STEYN'S latest is among his finest:


The change that occurred on 11 September was a simple one. When Osama bin Laden blew up the World Trade Center, he also blew up the polite fictions of the pre-war world. At Ground Zero, they've been working frantically to clear away the rubble. Likewise, at the UN, EU and all the rest, they've also been working frantically not so much to clear away the mess but to stick it back together and reconstruct the great fantasy world as it existed on 10 September, that bizarro make-believe land where Nato is a 'mutual defence alliance' and Egypt and Saudi Arabia are 'our staunch friends'. Even in America, some people are still living in that world. You can switch on the TV and hear apparently sane 'experts' using phrases like 'Bush risks losing the support of the Arab League'.



The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, so far as I'm aware, own the Australian reprint rights to Steyn's UK Telegraph columns. That they never run him is a mystery.

9.05.2002

YOU CAN blame Ken Layne for this. He's been writing about UFOs and September 11, and has obviously confounded Berkeley's majority softhead population. The UK Telegraph's Oliver Poole reports:


"After Flight 93 came down in Pennsylvania, they saw a craft buzzing around. Now what was that? All earth air traffic had been grounded. And in the World Trade Centre, where are all the bodies? They were transported out first to be experimented on. Listen to me now, September 11 was all caused by aliens."

It was certainly a fresh view of the events of a year ago but then again the person propagating it was wearing a T-shirt bearing the slogan: "Beam Me Up, Jesus".



He's almost sane compared to this guy:


A few months ago, at an anti-war meeting in Los Angeles, an earnest young man explained the links between the administration, oil companies and the years of negotiations to try to build an oil pipeline across Afghanistan.

At the heart of his argument was the view that it was all too convenient how things had worked out for the oil barons and that some high-level conspiracy must have arranged it all.

He disclosed who had led the delegations to the Taliban: "Dick Cheney." The gasp from the converted was deafening.


A BRITISH SKY NEWS poll (no link; it just flashed up on TV) is reporting 56% now in favour of military action against Iraq.

Last night's Brit Sky News presented a charming post-Powell comment from Greenpeace's Stephen Sawyer in Johannesburg, who denounced George W. Bush for "interfering" in Zimbabwe's local affairs then attacked Bush for the "farcical" 2000 election. It was, he said, one of the worst elections in modern history.

Sawyer apparently had no problems with this year's election in Zimbabwe.

SAVE THE PLANET, KILL THE PEOPLE. That's the headline on this Margaret Wente column from Canada's Globe and Mail:


In Zambia, one of the most wretched nations in the world, people are foraging for roots and berries. The country has been stricken by famine. Luckily, the warehouses in Lusaka are stuffed with sacks of corn. Unluckily, people aren't allowed to eat it. Some of it is genetically modified. It might be dangerous.

Last week in Johannesburg, activists were papering the World Summit on Sustainable Development with scare stories on the perils of GM foods. Their campaign has convinced most of Europe that the stuff is bad for you. Tragically, they've convinced the governments of desperate Africans as well.

"We would rather starve than get something toxic," said Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa (note: the President is not among the starving) who declared a food emergency three months ago. He has stopped the distribution of 17,000 tons of corn because some of it is genetically modified.



Your people are deeply grateful, Mr. Mwanawasa (Nyanja for "hurry up and die"). Well, most of them are. Some just don't know what's best for them:


"Please give us food," said a blind man to a Los Angeles Times reporter. "We don't care if it is poisonous, because we are dying anyway."



Those words should give pause to the green activists who urged Zambia to ban GM corn. But they won't, because those activists care less about improving Africa than they do about destroying the West. By the way, where's Professor Marc "Death Count" Herold when we need him? He'd get some great numbers out of Zambia in coming months.

AS A RECOGNISED EXPERT in cheap insults and juvenile slurs, I know baseless name-calling when I see it. An example appeared on tonight's ABC news:


Opposition leader Simon Crean has accused Mr Howard of being a "lap dog" to the United States.

Simon Crean says Mr Howard blindly follows the US on international issues, including the possible attack on Iraq.

Mr Crean says Mr Howard must deliver solid proof to Parliament that an attack against Iraq is the right course of action.



Howard and Bush are both conservative, pro-Western leaders. It is exactly the opposite of newsworthy that they should agree on issues like Iraq. Crean is an idiot if he thinks winning a high spot on the ABC news justifies his anti-US stance; if anything, it'll cost him support.

As it stands, his ratings are down there with the ABC's. Tomorrow's bulletin: Bush claims that C is the third letter of the alphabet, and Howard cravenly concurs!

JUAN GATO has all your international hot-or-not concerns covered.

KILL FREE WILLY is the new "Can't sleep, clowns will eat me", suggests pop culture barometer Chris Durnell. I'll try it out on my nieces.

THE NEW YORK TIMES regrets tricking the gullible – including Christopher Hitchens and Robert Manne – into believing Henry Kissinger opposed a war against Irag:


A front-page article on Aug. 16 and one on Aug. 17 reported on divisions among Republicans over President Bush's high-profile planning for a possible war with Iraq. The articles cited comments by former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger and by Brent Scowcroft, the first President Bush's national security adviser, among others.

The Aug. 16 article described Mr. Kissinger's expressed concerns about the need for building an international coalition before waging war and his doubts about the Bush administration's plan to make "regime change" the center pole of its policy. But it should have made a clearer distinction between his views and those of Mr. Scowcroft and other Republicans with more categorical objections to a military attack. The second article listed Mr. Kissinger incorrectly among Republicans who were warning outright against a war.

The Times's Aug. 16 article was based in part on a syndicated opinion article published by Mr. Kissinger on Aug. 12 in The Washington Post and other newspapers. In it, he said that a war was justifiable.



Not that this lets Hitchens or Manne off the hook. Both of them should have read Kissinger's original piece instead of relying on a New York Times summary. I mean, really – it's not like we're talking about a journal of record here. A little scepticism is called for.

TODAY'S COLUMN in The Australian was assisted massively by the Daily Summit's David Steven, whose work at the World Gobfest on Everything has set the benchmark by which blogger coverage of political events may be judged.

I called David when he was in the middle of some Greenpeace hissy fit about who-cares-what, and over 30 minutes or so he delivered a series of balanced, cogent views on most every summit issue. He isn't a journalist, by the way, which makes him all the more reliable.

PERHAPS YOU'VE already read this Andrea Harris rant. No? You haven't? Then you're banned from the Internet.

THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD is very impressed with actress Claudia Karvan's plea for a caring Australia that welcomes illegal immigrants. Others are less so. And with good reason; Karvan, like any actress, is simply reciting lines written by someone else. Here's part of Claudia's script:


I don't know why we, as a nation, have behaved this way towards other human beings. Perhaps it is because so many myths have grown up around the issue. Let me clear up a few:

Myth: Boat people are queue jumpers.

Fact: Most asylum seekers arriving here by boat are from Afghanistan and Iraq. Australia does not have any diplomatic representation in these countries. There are no queues for anyone to join, let alone jump.



What about applying at any one of the countries between Afghanistan and Australia where we do have diplomatic representation? Or are the queues too long?


Myth: Australia already takes in more than its fair share of refugees.

Fact: Australia takes in a maximum of 12,000 refugees a year - that is less than half the number accepted by Britain and the United States on a per capita basis, and about half the number we accepted in the early '80s.



Australia has accepted 130,000 refugees over the past ten years. Last year we took in 80,610 immigrants. This year we're aiming to take in 85,000, with an emphasis on people from the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and the former Yugoslavia. Wicked racists us.


Myth: There is no alternative to mandatory detention.

Fact: Mandatory detention costs about $104 a person a day while home detention, out in the community, would cost about $59 a day.



And the cost of finding people once they vanish from home "detention" would be … ?

This list of mythical myths was originally published last year by the Edmund Rice Hand-Holding Collective and has been kicking around the web in various forms ever since. The shallow Sydney Morning Herald only found it fit to publish when it was placed under Karvan's byline.

NO FEAR, lots of loathing in response to Hunter S. Thompson's decision to become insane. New Australian blogger Paul Bickford – one of a pair of "hideous curmudgeons" – writes:


One thing I can't get over is the blind defence by the left of a pack of Koran-waving fundamentalist goat pilots, especially in the case of Doktor Duke, who, given his self-admitted list of carnal and venal sins, would see him buried up to his neck in live vipers until they worked out something really nasty to do to him.



Middle Eastern politics maven Meyer Rafael answers (via e-mail) Hunter's conspiracy question:


After we read articles about Saudi princes doing the shop-till-you-drop thing in Switzerland, I would have thought the answer to the Chomsky, Pilger, Thompson question of 'who benefits' is real simple. OK, maybe not simple enough for a leftie, but for regular folk ...



Conrad the Asian Expat makes a good point:


Give poor Hunter a break. He's spent years soaking his brain in illegal drugs. What the hell is Pilger's excuse?



Montana reader Tim P. feels Hunter's pain:


Thirty years ago Hunter Thompson was cutting edge for those of us who were similarly incapacitated. Now I'm 50 and he is STILL incapacitated. Perhaps Hunter should move to Iraq if he feels that the USA is the enemy of freedom. Must be hell to live in Aspen.



Author/columnist/rumored former follower of the Thompson lifestyle Imre Salusinszky issues this warning, lest we follow HST's path:


We must all stop using drugs. Now!



And Newfoundland night stalker Damian Penny offers this heartfelt farewell:


As one of the few people on earth who liked the film version of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, it pains me to say this: fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck you, Hunter Thompson.

It's a neat trick to denounce your own country as 'the greatest enemy of freedom around the world,' when that country has kept you free enough to become rich, famous and successful by taking massive quantities of narcotics and writing about it for 30 years.


JOHN HAWKINS has trawled the malarial swamplands of environmentalism to assemble this list of crazy enviro-quotes. Print a few hundred copies (on non-recycled paper, or baby panda skin) and drop them off at your local Friends of the Earth office.

BRITISH COMEDIANS and entertainers – usually as left-wing as their Australian counterparts – are adopting strange new ideas, writes the UK Telegraph's Janet Daley:


Who would have thought it? A Tory view is about to become seriously cool. Opposition to joining the euro is no longer the province of what the BBC likes to call "hardline Right-wingers". It is now being publicly endorsed by, among others, Harry Enfield, Bob Geldof, Rik Mayall, Vic Reeves and John Sessions.

Whatever next? Can we look forward to an organisation called the National Coalition of Alternative Comedians in Favour of Tax Cuts?


THE RIGHT to Google is a basic human right. The next Tiananmen Square uprising will no doubt be Google-inspired.

9.03.2002

THE BIG WHEEL has returned … in Scream Machine form!

COULD THEY be the same bunch of people?

•The percentage of Australians who will suffer bipolar disorder: 2%

•The percentage of Australians who are problem gamblers: 2%

•The percentage of Australians who have obsessive-compulsive disorder: 2%

•The percentage of Australians who admit to using heroin: 2%

•The percentage of Australians who have attended political meetings: 2%

The percentage of Australians who support the Australian Democrats: 2%

WHY IS CANADA blessed with so many clever, funny people? Because Canada is also burdened with so many boring, stupid people. Thus nature balances itself.

PAUL KEATING says he would like to tax four-wheel-drives off the roads. But increasing the cost of the machines – called SUVs in the US – wouldn't remove them; it would merely restrict their ownership to wealthy people.

Like, for example, Paul Keating. How unlike a Labor politician to want an increase in the gap between rich and poor.

LEARN ECONOMICS using the cow method.

FAREWELL, funny Satirewire guy. If you were phoning it in, I couldn't tell.

TERRIBLE RACIST AUSTRALIA … isn't. This from the Sydney Morning Herald:


Just three per cent of migrants believe Australia is racist, according to a new report commissioned by the immigration department.

Despite Australia's migration program being filled mainly by Asian, North African and Middle Eastern people, few complained that the country was racist.

"There are frequent reports based on anecdotal evidence that suggest that it is a problem," Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock said.



Meanwhile ...


About 300 students attempted to drown out Mr Ruddock as he delivered an address on Australia's immigration policy to the law society at the University of NSW.

Some accused Mr Ruddock of being "racist" and said it was he should be locked up and not the refugees.


GREENPEACE IS now opposed to trees.

The environmental group's radical new anti-tree policy was unveiled in response to a Southern Pacific Petroleum plan to plant 1.6 million eucalypts near the company's proposed shale oil refinery in Queensland. Attempting to calm Greenpeace concerns over carbon dioxide production, SPP said the trees would soak up the earth-wrecking gas.

This would be one of the largest reforestation projects undertaken in Australia. And Greenpeace is against it, as spokesdork Gareth Walton explains:


"Someone will be left with a carbon time bomb because if those trees are killed by fires, droughts or pests, they will release all that carbon stored inside them."



And then we'll all die. Please, Greenpeace, save us from the trees!

SO MUCH for Hunter S. Thompson. The crazy old guy has joined the idiots, as this interview with Australian ABC radio reveals. In fact, Thompson might be aiming to be appointed King of the Idiots:


Overall the American journalism I think has been cowed and intimidated by the massive flag-sucking, this patriotic orgy that the White House keeps whipping up. You know if you criticise the President it's unpatriotic and there's something wrong with you, you may be a terrorist.



Yeah, yeah. Thompson and Ted Rall and Mike Moore and Susan Sontag are all sharing a prison cell in Attica.


I'm starting to sense that the tide may be turning against the President; we have to beat this bastard one way or another. And the American government is the greatest enemy of freedom around the world that I can think of. And we keep waving that flag, freedom, yes, these people are flag-suckers.



"The American government is the greatest enemy of freedom around the world that I can think of." Hunter has become John Pilger – minus the laughs.


Some people were made an example of early on … But I think Bill Maher, there was some kind of rave after 9/11 that all these people, cowards, you know these dirty little bastards, who snuck up on us and pulled off what amounts to a perfect crime really, no witnesses, very little cost; talk about cost-effective, that was a hell of a strike. I'm not sure I'd call them cowards …



September 11 was the perfect crime? A hell of a strike? Scary hippie. These days, for some reason, Hunter hates any reminder of the heroic slaughter of 3,000 office workers, children, and elderly airline travellers:


Celebrations of the dead, the patriots, exposes on al Qaeda, it's just relentless, in fact 25 hours a day, of just how tragic it was and how patriotic it was, and how much we have to get back at these dirty little swine …



Far better just to leave them alone, eh, Hunter? Next, Thompson begins channelling the conspiratorial spirit of Thierry Meyssan:


You sort of wonder when something like that happens, Well who stands to benefit? Who had the opportunity and the motive? You just kind of look at these basic things, and I don't know if I want to go into this on worldwide radio here, but –



You may as well. You're already toast.


All right. Well I saw that the US government was going to benefit, and the White House people, the republican administration to take the mind of the public off of the crashing economy. Now you want to keep in mind that every time a person named Bush gets into office, the nation goes into a drastic recession they call it.



Asked by the ABC interviewer if he was "suggesting that [September 11] worked in the favour of the Bush Administration", Thompson continues:


Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. And I have spent enough time on the inside of, well in the White House and you know, campaigns and I've known enough people who do these things, think this way, to know that the public version of the news or whatever event, is never really what happened.



Bye, Hunter. Thanks for the books.

MARGO KINGSTON, who can't spell, makes elemental errors of fact, and gets singular and collective nouns confused, is a judge for this year's Walkley Awards.

The Walkley Awards celebrate excellence in Australian journalism. Well, they used to.

THE WEEKLY WORLD NEWS gets all bloggy with the jokes:


Middle East extremists now have something else to get fanatical about: Snack foods named after their favorite terrorist heroes!

Snackers on both sides of the political fence are munching on cookies, crackers, candy and cereals inspired by scum like Yasser Arafat, Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. And U.S. intelligence sources say money from these snack sales is being used to fund violence against America and its allies.



The magazine's list of top terrorist snacks includes:


Al Qaeda Bits: Alphabet-shaped cereal that challenges kids to spell out anti-American diatribes.

Blow-Up Pops: Lolli-pops that promise "an explosion of flavor in your mouth!"

Jihad Bites: Mini-crackers filled with goat cheese.


THE INDEPENDENT'S Yasmin Alibhai-Brown had an entire year to compose this column about September 11, and blew it in the very first paragraph:


I have been dreading 11 September for a good two months. And now it is nearly upon us that weight has become almost intolerable. What happened to the 2,823 Americans and their families was unutterable and I hate the malevolent malcontents who perpetrate these acts … However, I have to make this unambiguous proclamation to avoid misunderstanding as I explain what my true feelings are about the anniversary.



2,823 Americans? What about the British? The Japanese? The Mexicans? The Chinese? The Canadians? The people from Bermuda and the Dominican Republic? What about the murdered Americans who'd immigrated from India and Pakistan and Bangladesh? What about Andrew Knox, one of the Australians killed?


So the right things will be done and said by Muslims on both sides of the Atlantic. What we feel is another matter. And for most people in the world, this only confirms that American lives are more valuable than others. So many questions have been stifled because of this great suffering of America.



And every other country that lost people. Alibhai-Brown knows less than nothing, but at least she's warned us that, no matter what Muslims say on September 11, we can be confident they believe the opposite.

9.02.2002

WHO WAS BEHIND SEPTEMBER 11? According to Saudi "royal family member" Adnan al-Fadda, it was a Jewish-US government conspiracy:


He refused to believe that any of the hijackers were Saudi citizens, and maintained the attacks were an Israeli-CIA plot.



In the same article,10-year-old Saud bin Fahd al Hussein offers a conflicting notion:


He believed the Sept. 11 attacks were actually ordered by U.S. President George W. Bush.



Meanwhile, Mohammed Atta's father has yet another theory:


He vehemently denied that his son - believed to have flown the first plane into the World Trade Centre - had taken part in the atrocities, blaming them instead on "American Christians".



That's the opinion of the Arab Street on September 2, 2002. United and rational as always.

AUSTRALIA IS under racist attack. Jonathan Moyo, Zimbabwe's information minister – do people with such titles owe royalties to Orwell's estate? – says his nation won't listen to any criticism from "some kangaroos from Australia":


"We will not allow a fundamental issue like land resolved in accordance with some amorphous, fuzzy notion of the rule of law as dictated to us by some kangaroos from Australia … It is a very serious matter and has to be resolved in accordance with national laws and the constitutions of the countries in question."



Despite his grave kangaroo slur, Yoyo Moyo says that we're the racists:


"They want to talk about preserving white minority land ownership … They are only concerned about the 4,500 white farmers in Zimbabwe, not the more than 13 million blacks."



Who currently have nothing to eat because you're running all the farmers off their land. Way to go, Moyo.

THE MAJESTIC South Australian Stobie Pole might be the finest pole on earth. Don Arthur celebrates the Stobie, a crime-fighting, arts-loving, garden-helping super pole.

KUWAIT IS IN, according to the UK Telegraph:


Kuwait became the first Arab state yesterday to signal support for a US-led military coalition against Iraq, in marked contrast to the caution shown by other countries in the region.

A Kuwaiti government official said: "If America asks for support Kuwait will give it. I expect the same response from all Gulf states. There may be the need publicly to be anti-war, but under-the-table deals are being struck."


THE FILTHY THREE. That's how Greenpeace spokeswad Remi Parmentier describes Australia, the US, and Canada.

Well, as my dear old grandmother used to tell us kids: "It's better to be filthy than to be a shrieking pox-mouthed calamity monger named Remi Parmentier." Gran really had a way with the folksy sayings.

WORLD HEALTH Organisation Director-General Gro Harlem Brundtland is cranking up the hysteria in Johannesburg:


Environment-related illnesses kill the equivalent of a jumbo jet full of children every 45 minutes, the Earth Summit in South Africa has heard.



This raises a number of troubling questions. Who, for example, gets their frequent flyer miles? And why isn't "Gro Harlem" a haircare product for balding African-Americans?


Brundtland said … almost one third of the global burden of disease could be attributed to environmental risk factors.

"Increasing industrialisation ... lack of pollution control, unabated waste dumping ... and unsafe use of chemicals affect the environment in which today's children live."



If increased industrialisation is causing child deaths, then surely nations with the highest levels of industrialisation would have the highest rates of infant mortality. But, unaccountably, the opposite is true.


Brundtland said the contribution of the developed world towards development aid to right such problems was "abysmally low".

"I have never understood why so many industrialised countries are not even able to give half of the (UN) target of 0.7 per cent (of gross domestic product) towards development aid."



Make up your mind, Gro. Development means industry. How many kids do you want to kill?

ANTIWAR STRATEGIST Germaine Greer has devised a brilliant new tactic:


Germaine Greer has called on the women of Australia to wear veils in protest against any war against Iraq.

"Imagine if Melbourne - if Australia - became a sea of black veils ... it would be a protest that would be undeniable," she told the 2,300 who packed Melbourne Town Hall last night to hear the final event of the Melbourne Writers Festival.



Or it could confuse the Americans into thinking we're Iraq. Incoming!


Professor Greer said women wearing veils would send an unequivocal message.



And that message would be: "I have no idea what I'm doing, or why. Pity me."


"If every woman were veiled, it would be very disturbing, at least to the clothing industry."



Apart from the sector of the clothing industry that would design, make, and sell Germaine's war-stopping WonderVeils™. Greer hasn't really thought this one through, has she?

UPDATE. Wicked reader Edward G. writes:


Veils, or at least scarves, may become popular in Germany, Norway, Denmark, and the Netherlands once word gets around that it's a good way to keep from being
raped.


LEWIS LAPHAM, war profiteer! The Harper's editor and thoroughbred idiot tells the Melbourne Age that sales of his magazine have grown 33% since the terrorist attacks of last year. Soon he's releasing a collection of his droning anti-war essays.

The release date? September 11.

Not that Lapham is trying to cash in … oh, no, no, no, no, no. That would be vulgar, and Lapham despises vulgarity. In his Age interview (not available online) Lewis "laments the spectacle that will occur in New York on September 11." He complains to journalist Warwick McFadyen:


"We are preparing to commemorate September 11 with the equivalent of a Superbowl football game half-time show."



And Lapham's swell new book, of course.

The interview is headlined "Voicing Dissent in an Age of Treason", which should give you some idea of the general tone. McFadyen informs us that Lapham – inevitably tagged as "one of the few dissenting voices" in an otherwise barbarous, bloodlusting nation – was deep in thought at his New York office on the morning of the attacks:


He was gathering ideas about Brothers in Arms, a television documentary he had seen a few days before about an American unit in World War II. It occurred to him that the film was less to do with truth and more to do with agitprop.



There's a shock. Not so surprising is Lapham's flyblown, funguslike thinking. "The rights of the individual in the United States have been increasingly diminished and the rights of property continually augmented," he gripes, as though people have nothing to do with property. Apparently in Lapham's world property invents itself, then forces itself upon us humans. Go away, house! Leave me alone, car!

Oh, by the way, everybody is stupid and nobody can communicate properly:


"The point is that there are no new words," he says. "We don't even have the language in which we can put the events of September 11 into our own words."



I guess this explains why most people, whenever they talk about September 11, use a combination of Spanish and Urdu. We just don't have the words! The final paragraph of McFadyen's dissertation on the dissenter veers into madness:


As to the New York state of mind, Lapham sees little difference from September 10 a year ago. The economy, the Wall Street failures, the bursting of the Internet bubble, these are uppermost in people's conversations. The terrorist attacks? They're receding into history, consigned to the dusty carton in the basement, with the text on civil liberties.



Sure, Lewis. They're talking about "the bursting of the Internet bubble". In New York. In 2002. Say, do you think Hillary Clinton will run for the Senate? What about those Brooklyn Dodgers! Ain't that new Neil Simon play a scream?

Lapham's books aren't fit to be used as Ground Zero landfill.

LEON LOUW, director of South Africa's Free Market Foundation and a delegate at the World Summit, identifies eco-imperialism as "more insidious, pervasive and potentially more devastating than traditional imperialism" in a crushing piece for the UK Telegraph:


These latter-day imperialists are neo-Luddites who place elitist environmental whims and nebulous fears of "resource depletion" above the needs of the world's destitute billions.

They seek to impose first-world conceptions of environmentalism and human development on developing countries. They do not want poor countries to follow the path that made the prosperity of their own countries possible.



There's lots more, including this attack on the Church of Sustainability:


Rapid growth and development for suffering people is in some mysterious sense "unsustainable", as if the word has coherent meaning in this context. It has none. "Sustainable development" theory is voodoo science at its worst; pure gobbledygook.

Sustainable for how long: 10, 100, 1000, a million or a billion years? For whom? Advanced people with unknowable future technology and resources? What must be sustainable? Utilisation of "non-renewables"? Why not consume them? They are resources only if used. For how long must we conserve them? Must our decendants, by the same twisted logic, do likewise? Forever?



Please read the whole article. If any good has come out of the World Summit, this is it.

OLD COMMUNIST playwright Dorothy Hewett has died, and The Age's Joanna Murray-Smith is furious:


I am bitter that not more of this country knows what they have lost … Her loss should not have to make way for articles about Kylie, corporate scandals, the Democrats.



Murray-Smith tells us what to do and what to think. It's a touching homage to Hewett's Stalinism.


This country is not good at treasuring its artists, or indeed its thinkers, or its old … We view old age as a life spent rather than a life built. We patronise rather than respect, we silence rather than listen, we are obsessed with the moment. But surely we are old enough now to savour the wisdom and experience of those who precede us, to add their legacy to our shifting sense of self?



Whatever that means. Where's the evidence for all this "we" business, Joanna? I don't recall any polls showing that Australians resent thinkers, or art, or oldtimers. In fact, taxpayers generously funded Hewett for decades through arts grants. Nobody demanded their money back.


Our artists and our poets are our teachers. They should be with us from the beginning, used to give colour and meaning to our history. Dorothy's poems should be read in our schools.



In schools for the deaf, maybe. Man, I hate art.

AUSTRALIA SENDS some Muslim gang rapists to jail and Kathy Marks of The Independent squeals "Racism!" I wonder how she'll react to this gang-rape punishment:


Six men were sentenced to death in Pakistan early today for a gang rape sanctioned as a brutal punishment by a tribal council.


9.01.2002

RUMOURS OF enmity between George W. Bush and Tony Blair are greatly exaggerated, reports the UK Telegraph:


"You know," the Prime Minister has been heard to say more than once since September 11, "I actually get on better with Bush than I did with Clinton."


HOW MUCH of the 300 tons of trash generated at StupidFest 2002 is being recycled? Only about 20 per cent. These people are pigs:


Recycling bins have been put in conference halls, but they've ended up as replacements for garbage cans, filled with all sorts of non-recyclable waste.

The conference's 45,000 delegates are also plowing through other resources. On average each of them is using 53 gallons of water a day, and the city's electricity consumption has soared.



They're miserly, too:


The Johannesburg Climate Legacy project hopes to [raise] nearly $3 million from participating countries, corporations and individuals … to implement 16 projects to reduce carbon emissions.

Only $300,000 has been raised, and only seven of the 192 countries at the summit have pledged donations.



That's just $6.60 per delegate. The whoring bastards are spending many times as much on prostitutes and booze. Yet we're urged to listen to their pleas for pollution control and third world aid. Go tell it to the hookers, freaks.

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA really hates it when his qualifying lap at the Belgian Grand Prix is ruined by the slow-moving Kimi Raikkonen.

ABC RADIO likes to pretend that it attracts a more intelligent audience than the slumping proto-humans lured by the commercial networks. This smug illusion is shattered daily during the quiz portion of James O'Loghlin's evening program.

Last week his listeners were completely baffled by this question: Which American politician said, "If we do not succeed, we run the risk of failure"?

Caller after caller struggled hopelessly. Was it Kennedy? Reagan? Bush? O'Loghlin helpfully hinted that the particular individual was "really stupid". One caller sought help from his family before confidently announcing his answer:

Napoleon.

Yep, those ABC listeners sure are a bright bunch. Eventually someone got it right: Dan Quayle.

CLAIRE MILLER, a senior writer at The Age, weeps 979 concerned words about Australia's desperate need to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and curtail greenhouse emissions. If she was serious, the word "nuclear" might have been one of them. Professor Bunyip (hilarious) and Andrea Harris (check the comments!) call her out.

THE LEAD ITEM on last night's ABC news reported the adventures of Akram Al Masri, an asylum seeker who is soon to be sent home. This online piece doesn't repeat the error, but the news broadcast claimed that Al Masri would "fly to Perth before returning to Palestine."

Maybe he'll catch a connecting flight from Atlantis.