THE DAILY Telegraph's David Penberthy becomes the first Australian* journalist to use the phrases "stuttering alcoholic dwarf" and "blistering wedgie" in the same column:

We had some sensational government-sponsored misfits in our street.

The most spectacular was a stuttering alcoholic dwarf who every day would walk though the park to buy an armful of longnecks from the local and on one occasion became so enraged while drunkenly trying to build a rabbit hutch for his kids in the front yard that he threw a hammer through his own front window ...

To the adage about pulling yourself up by the bootstraps we can add: and Canberra will stand behind you giving you a blistering wedgie.

Can any other local match Penbo's achievement? Will any dare try?

* Several international writers have accomplished this feat, including William Shakespeare ("If you wedgie us, do we not blister?" - The Stuttering Alcoholic Dwarf of Venice, act III, scene I) and Robert Fisk ("My blistering wedgie is a symbol of this filthy war ... if I was a stuttering alcoholic dwarf, I would have attacked Robert Fisk").

(Via Peter Kerr)

TIM DUNLOP wants pro-war commentators to apologise for getting everything wrong.

Try not to laugh.

VIA RIGHT-THINKING comes news that the Raelians have honored the delusional leader of another absurd cult:

Remember those Raelians, the pro-cloning sect that believes the truth was bestowed on their mystical leader by aliens in a spaceship? It turns out that they also hand out awards of various kinds. Their latest recipient? According to a press release this week, it's none other than Michael Moore!

Way to boost your credibility, Raelians. Meanwhile the campaign to revoke Moore's Oscar continues. He's got his prestigious Raelian prize; what's he need a stinking Oscar for?

GEORGE W. BUSH joins the Muhammad Said al-Sahhaf fan club

In describing the war from his perspective, Mr. Bush combined acknowledgments of doubts and pressures with accounts of dramatic moments and humor, including his fascination with the relentlessly upbeat accounts of heroic Iraqi resistance provided by the information minister, Muhammad Said al-Sahhaf.

"He's my man; he was great," said a laughing Mr. Bush. "Somebody accused us of hiring him and putting him there. He was a classic."

BARGARZ writes movingly of Anzac Day:

I haven't checked the news yet but the crowds at the dawn service and the march seemed bigger this year. The crowds lining the length of the march were very deep and it seems that as the numbers of older veterans dwindle, the crowds get bigger and bigger. For the march, we bagged a great perch on a pedestrian overpass overlooking Adelaide St (it soon filled up). We had an excellent view of the entire length of the march and the experience of seeing the servicemen and womens' faces light up and wave up at us was unforgettable. Of course, we all waved, cheered and thanked them back.

And if that wasn't prize enough, I copped quite a few air kisses from some old nurses, God bless 'em. Mrs Bargarz and I, along with many others in our area, cheered and yelled ourselves hoarse thanking and geeing up the marchers and they lapped it up, even the oldest and frailest diggers. For awhile, the barriers seemed to go away and all marchers received rousing cheers. Aussies, Poms, Yanks, Vietnamese, Serbs, Greeks, Poles, Dutch and yes, even the French got some cheers. One particular stand out moment for me was when I gave my Aussie flag to a child next to me who was perched on his dad's shoulders. They were both delighted and the kid was soon waving that flag like a manic mini semophorist. They were Chinese-Aussies and they were just as enthusiastic as any white-bread Aussie could be because that's exactly what they were - Aussies.

Fantastic. And at Samizdata, this fine Anzac tribute.


TED TURNER, the vice chairman of AOL Time Warner CNN Sports Illustrated People Entertainment Weekly Fortune Money In Style Real Simple Time For Kids Sports Illustrated For Kids Teen People People en Español Fortune Small Business Business 2.0 Southern Living Progressive Farmer Southern Accents Sunset Cooking Light Coastal Living For the Love of Cross Stitch For the Love of Quilting Parenting Baby Talk Health In Style U.K. In Style Australia In Style Germany Time Asia Time Canada Time Atlantic Time Latin America Time South Pacific Wallpaper* Who Weekly Popular Science Outdoor Life Field & Stream Golf Magazine Yachting Motor Boating Salt Water Sportsman Ski Skiing Freeze This Old House TransWorld Stance TransWorld Surf TransWorld Skateboarding TransWorld Snowboarding TransWorld Motocross TransWorld Surf BMX Ride BMX Skiing Trade News TransWorld Skateboarding Business TransWorld Snowboarding Business TransWorld Surf Business BMX Business News Amateur Gardening Amateur Photographer Angler's Mail Cage & Aviary Birds Chat Country Life Cycling Weekly Horse & Hound NME Now Shooting Times & Country Magazine Woman Woman's Own Woman's Weekly Woman's Feelgood Series Woman's Own Lifestyle Series Woman's Weekly Home Series TV & Satellite Week TVTimes What's On TV Mizz Mizz Specials Webuser Caravan Magazine The Guitar Magazine VolksWorld World Soccer Beautiful Homes Bird Keeper Cars & Car Conversions Chat Passion Series Classic Boat Country Homes & Interiors Creating Beautiful Homes Cycle Sport Decanter Essentials Eventing Family Circle Golf Monthly Hi-Fi News Homes & Gardens Horse Ideal Home Land Rover World Livingetc Loaded Marie Claire MBR-Mountain Bike Rider MiniWorld Model Collector Motor Caravan Motor Boat & Yachting Motor Boats Monthly Muzik 19 Now Style Series 4x4 Park Home & Holiday Caravan Practical Boat Owner Practical Parenting Prediction Racecar Engineering The Railway Magazine Rugby World Ships Monthly Soaplife Sporting Gun Stamp Magazine The Field The Golf Uncut
What Digital Camera Woman & Home Yachting Monthly Yachting World Aeroplane Monthly Superbike Women & Golf Shoot Monthly Hair Wedding & Home Women's Weekly Fiction Special International Boat Industry Farm Holiday Guides Jets Time Life Inc. Oxmoor House Lesiure Arts Sunset Books Media Networks, Inc. First Moments Targeted Media Inc. Time Inc, Custom Publishing Synapse Time Distribution Services Time Inc. Home Entertainment Time Customer Service Warner Publishing Services This Old House Ventures, Inc. TimePix Essence Communications Partners European Magazines Limited Avantages S.A. CompuServe ICQ MapQuest Moviefone Netscape AOL Music Little, Brown and Company Adult Trade Books Warner Books Little, Brown and Company Children's Publishing Bulfinch Press Warner Faith Time Warner AudioBooks Time Warner Books UK HBO Cinemax Comedy Central HBO Asia HBO Brasil HBO Czech HBO Hungary HBO India HBO Korea HBO Ole HBO Poland HBO Romania A&E Mundo E! Latin America SET Latin America WBTV Latin America Latin America History Channel New Line Cinema Fine Line Features Bay News 9, Tampa, FL Central Florida News 13, Orlando, FL News 8 Austin, TX NY1 News, New York, NY R/News, New York, NY News 14, Carolina Time Warner Telecom, Inc. inDemand Kansas City Cable Partners Texas Cable Partners
TBS Superstation Turner Network Television Cartoon Network Turner Classic Movies Turner South Boomerang TCM Europe Cartoon Network Europe TNT Latin America Cartoon Network Latin America TCM & Cartoon Newtwork Asia Pacific CNN International CNNfn CNN en Español CNNRadio CNN Newsource CNNMoney.com CNN Student News CNNSI.com Cartoon Network Japan Court TV
CETV Castle Rock Entertainment Telepictures Productions Warner Home Video Warner Bros. Consumer Products Warner Bros. International Theatre Looney Tunes Hanna-Barbera DC Comics MAD Magazine The Atlantic Recording Corporation Elektra Entertainment Group Inc. Warner Bros. Records Inc. Warner/Chappell Music, Inc. Alternative Distribution Alliance Giant Merchandising Rhino Entertainment WMG Soundtracks Ivy Hill Corporation, claims that too few people own too many media organisations.

"It's not healthy," Turner added.

DAVID USBORNE locates pockets of resistance in New York:

Don't say it out loud, but there are still places where you can go and light up along with your beer. I will be trying a couple of them in the Lower East Side this evening. Just as in the days of prohibition, when liquor was the devil, word of these smoke-easies has slowly spread. But it is hard to know how much longer even they will be available for the refugees from Michael's law. This is because the Health Department allowed one month's grace before the inspectors actually begin to issue the summonses that will bring the fines. That runs out on 1 May, after which it is possible that even the deepest of dives will start to toe the line.

IS THERE a single document in Iraq that doesn't have George Galloway's name on it?

A fresh set of documents uncovered in a Baghdad house used by Saddam Hussein's son Qusay to hide top-secret files detail multimillion dollar payments to an outspoken British member of parliament, George Galloway.

The most recent - and possibly most revealing - documents were obtained earlier this week by the Monitor. The papers include direct orders from the Hussein regime to issue Mr. Galloway six individual payments, starting in July 1992 and ending in January 2003.

The three most recent payment authorizations, beginning on April 4, 2000, and ending on January 14, 2003 are for $3 million each. All three authorizations include statements that show the Iraqi leadership's strong political motivation in paying Galloway for his vociferous opposition to US and British plans to invade Iraq.

George is having a little SARS crisis of his own:

An Iraqi general attached to Hussein's Republican Guard discovered the documents in a house in the Baghdad suburbs used by Qusay, who is chief of Iraq's elite Guard units.

The general, whose initials are "S.A.R.," asked not to be named for fear of retribution from Hussein's assassins. He said he raided the suburban home on April 8 with armed fighters in an effort to secure deeds to property that the regime had confiscated from him years ago. He said he found the new Galloway papers amid documents discussing Kuwaiti prisoners and Hussein's chemical warfare experts, and information about the president's most trusted Republican Guard commanders.

Meanwhile the Telegraph reports that George has lately changed his tune on the original documents, and also runs a friendly Q & A with Saddam's Scottish suckboy. He faces many more Qs in coming days.


One year after their humiliating defeat in the presidential election, the French Socialists are more divided than ever and facing a national conference next month that could split and even destroy them.

THE DOWNUNDER adventures continue for Andrew Lloyd, currently depleting Australian beer reserves in anticipation of tonight's Sydney-Melbourne AFL match at the SCG. Andrew and wife Karen will attend with Teacher Tony, one of several bloggers who joined us for an evening of mayhem with Andrew on Tuesday night. Those excesses may well be repeated when we catch up after the game. Expect weekend posting to be light and painful.

Talk about your class acts; Andrew brought us a bottle of Junipero to mark this occasion of Anglospheric togetherness. It's sitting menacingly on my desk, awaiting olive and vermouth deployment. Our gift to him in return - he doesn't yet know what it is - will startle and amaze.

A Segway has been spotted making a bakery run in Manhattan. Remain alert for further outbreaks.

A WHILE ago I received an e-mail from a young Hollywood actor who told how he had to conceal his pro-war views in order to avoid blacklisting by liberal McCarthyites. Now Matthew McConaughey reveals that he, too, is a dissenter:

McConaughey sees himself as a proud, patriotic American. He is glad the fighting in Iraq is over, is glad America went in there and got rid of Saddam Hussein. The hard, patient work is ahead, and "it's going to take a decade at least to reform, rebuild and stabilise that place.

"If the hard part's over as far as the fighting goes then this has been, in my mind, extremely efficient, and I believe that our commander-in-chief, George Bush junior, had his heart in the right place."

Susan Sarandon will have his legs broken for this. And Streisand will destroy his bongo drums.

A TRUSTED AUTHORITY on Iraqi affairs comes to the aid of George Galloway.


US forces have seized four of Saddam Hussein's top officials, including his air defence force commander.

Muzahim Sa'b Hassan al-Tikriti was the highest-ranked of the four captured - number 10 on the American list of the 55 most wanted leaders of the toppled regime.

"I was just following orders," he told the Times.

SAY IT LOUD - I'm wrong and proud:

Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC's "Hardball," began his keynote speech at the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce's annual meeting Tuesday with an admission.

"I was wrong about the war," Matthews said in a booming voice, immediately gaining the attention of 600 people at the Omni New Haven Hotel at Yale.

Matthews, who described himself as a liberal, said he thought the Iraqi people would fight American troops, there would be a worldwide Arab uprising, and terrorist groups such as al-Qaida would see "massive" recruitment.

"I thought there would be an Arab revolt, a tremendous uproar," he said. "Nothing happened. I hate being wrong, but I'm glad."

He also said he thinks that more antiwar critics should admit they were wrong.

SPEAKING of wrong, here's a couple of questions for Media Watch:

Was Media Watch aware when it broadcast the flag item that only the matter of location was in doubt? If so, why didn't Media Watch point that out, instead of casting doubt upon the entire flag story?

And here's Media Watch's non-answer:

What we said was clear. The Telegraph made a specific claim about the origin of the flag. That claim was incredible and untrue.

Shameful and gutless.


Bernadette Chirac, wife of the French president, Jacques Chirac, has been accused in court of illegally taking a 17th century rug from Paris' city hall to the Elysée Palace.

JANEANE GAROFALO complains about tractor Nazis, the "C word" (calliope? cordite? cumulonimbus? Help me out here, intense midget lady), and awful vicious hate mail:

"There are boycotts and guys driving tractors over their CDs - that's Nazi stuff. If you are a woman with the temerity to speak out, then it's 'Burn the witch!' 'How dare you!' The C word comes up a lot in my hate mail. But that's more misogyny than politics. There's a lot of men who come out and yell at the women because they just love the idea of yelling at women - they hate women in general and will attack your looks and sexuality."

Janeane and I must share the same critics. Here are three recent inbox highlights:

"I hope you die you c---. I notice you daily blather of bile and shite gob right wing evil crap has disappeared. I hope it is because you are terminally ill with a painful debilitating disease which will kill you slowly and spread to all those dear to you."

"It looks you and your cadre of filthy war faggots will lose the peace if not the war! Fuck you very much, for getting us into this mess."

"You fucking arrogant c---."

That pesky C-word appears again and again! When will these witch-burning misogynists stop attacking my looks and sexuality?

UPDATE. Frank J. has more quality hate.

"AN AUSTRALIAN flag now flies over al-Asad air base." Tom Allard of the SMH reports on the SAS's war:

The 57 Soviet-made MiGs, helicopters, anti-aircraft batteries, helicopters and 7.9 million kilograms of munitions and ordnance captured will form the basis of the "free Iraq air force" and it is a matter of considerable pride for men who never doubted the value of their mission.

According to the regiment's operational commander, who cannot be named or photographed and is surprisingly young, probably in his late 20s or early 30s, "we are very, very proud we have made Iraq a viable nation state".

Even during conflict, the Australian soldiers never lost sight of crucial national priorities:

In their final act of the campaign, the entire squadron - who usually operate in patrols of five of six members that are widely dispersed - came together with commandos from the 4RAR battalion to take the al-Asad airfield.

Australian F/A18 bombers helped with air support. "It was nice to listen to an Aussie voice on the other end of the radio," the commander says. "It was even better when they told us we had won the World Cup."

BUY your "Galloway Is Innocent" t-shirts here! You get a discount if you pay with money from the oil for food program.

UPDATE. Now an alternative t-shirt - much more appealing - is also offered.


ON APRIL 14 I wrote that American soldiers weren't looting anything. WRONG! Turns out quite a few of them were. And over at Fox News, it's a case of we remove, you decide:

Benjamin James Johnson - an engineer for Fox news - stands accused of bringing into the US 12 paintings taken from a palace belonging to Saddam Hussein's son Uday and also of making false statements to the police.

The correct punishment: Johnson should be forced to display the horrible paintings in his house for 20 years.

THE Dixie Chicks have launched a nude protest against the crushing of their dissent. Pray that Michael Moore doesn't follow suit.

I'LL BE on Richard Glover's ABC radio show at 5.30pm to review the week in news with
Helen Dalley and
Quentin Dempster. No violence is expected.

MARK STEYN on Iraqi looting:

Am I sorry it happened? Yes, because it has given the naysayers, who were wrong about the millions of dead civilians, humanitarian catastrophe, environmental devastation, regional conflagration, etc., one solitary surviving itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny twig from their petrified forest with which to whack Rumsfeld and Co. The retrospective armchair generals are now complaining the generals didn't devote enough thought to saving armchairs from the early Calcholithic age. It isn't enough for America to kill hardly any civilians or even terribly many enemy combatants or bomb any buildings or unduly disrupt the water or electric supply, it also has to protect Iraq's heritage from Iraqis.


As a devoted right-wing "conservative reader", I feel obliged to come to Tim Blair's defence ... Unlike many leftist hippies, he possesses the wit and intellect to contrive an informed, interesting and humorous column — which I look forward to reading each week.


Is Tim Blair a real person, related to Tony Blair or even just a caricature of a stupid person?

For several weeks I've been trying to work out why a page each issue is devoted to Tim Blair, but I'm no closer to an answer.

Where in the hell did you dredge up Tim Blair? ... this bloke is neither interesting nor funny. He sounds like Alan Jones' idiot son.

Alan Jones has a son?


He already has his own talking doll, countless T-shirts and websites; now Iraq's infamous information minister, Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, is to launch an ad campaign for ski trips to Thredbo.

HEALTH EXPERTS say I should avoid Beijing and Toronto.

Consider it done.


GEORGE GALLOWAY says others may have profited from Iraq, but never he:

George Galloway conceded last night that intermediaries in his fund-raising activities could have siphoned off money from Saddam Hussein - but insisted he had never done so.

In The Independent, defiant George offers this spirited defence:

The Telegraph says I traded in oil and food under the oil-for-food programme. To whom did I sell this oil (which, incidentally, is done through the United Nations Sanctions Committee and subject to the most forensic scrutiny)? And what happened to the proceeds? In other words, where is the money? From whom did I buy the food that I allegedly sold to Iraq? Which food? When? Where?

I am genuinely surprised that lawyers on a major national newspaper appear not to have asked these basic questions. Does anyone seriously believe that I, one of the most observed and scrutinised political figures in Britain, could have been in receipt of such sums of money without attracting the attention of the security services?

The Telegraph has yet more George-Iraq news:

Saddam Hussein sought to protect George Galloway by severing the Iraqi intelligence service's contacts with the Labour backbencher, according to an official document found by The Daily Telegraph in Baghdad.

This letter, found in the files of the Iraqi foreign ministry, explained that any disclosure of Mr Galloway's "relationship" with the Mukhabarat, which operated as both secret police and intelligence service, would do great harm to his political career.

And The Independent analyses George's earlier evasions:

He claims he has "never seen a barrel of oil, let alone owned, bought or sold one". Anyone receiving commission would not necessarily have to have done so. He later tells the Telegraph: "I have never solicited nor received money from Iraq for our campaign against war and sanctions." That, in itself, does not address any personal benefit.


"WE'RE down at the old Hitchens place probably twice a month at least."

SADDAM HUSSEIN couldn't buy George Galloway! Er, actually, Saddam couldn't afford him:

Saddam Hussein rejected a request from George Galloway for more money, saying that the Labour backbencher's "exceptional" demands were not affordable, according to an official document found by The Daily Telegraph in Baghdad.

The letter from Saddam's most senior aide was sent in response to Mr Galloway's reported demand for additional funds. This was outlined in a memorandum from the Iraqi intelligence chief disclosed yesterday in The Daily Telegraph.

THE LATEST Continuing Crisis column in The Bulletin mentions Sir Paul Getty, Tara Gabriel Galaxy Gramophone, Mick Jagger, Bianca Jagger, John Paul Getty III, Keith Miller, Mohammed Said al-Sahaf, Piers Morgan, Rupert Murdoch, Bernard Slattery, Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Kim Beazley, Simon Crean, Philip Clark, Deke Wiggins, John Quiggin, and Peter Roebuck.

JOHN PILGER is promoted off the Daily Mirror's front page, although Pilger's last piece ran on April 5 and he's recently been writing for The Independent. What's the deal? Has the Heroic Crusader been pushed aside? Is Dissent being Crushed?

THE Australian Labor Party is in meltdown, which is a stunning achievement for something already molten and ruined:

Federal Opposition Leader Simon Crean today accused former Labor leader Kim Beazley of destabilising the party.

Mr Crean said his predecessor had failed to show him the respect he offered Mr Beazley as deputy ALP leader.

"I don't think he's shown respect ... when I was his deputy I was totally loyal and showed him respect when there were times when I disagreed with his judgment," Mr Crean told Melbourne radio station 3AW.

"I got behind him. That's what deputies do."

The latest division was sparked by the most recent edition of The Bulletin, which included these thoughts from Graham Richardson:

During his travails in the 1980s there was a front page of The Bulletin emblazoned with the headline "Mr 18%". This was a reference to Howard's abysmal performance in the úpreferred-PM poll. The whole world knew that at this level of support his leadership was dead in the water. Last week, the Newspoll reported Crean's ratings had sunk even lower. He has finally set a record that even his most timid colleagues can't ignore. A figure of 16% compared with Howard's thumping 62% is just plain horrible.


His lawyers have been mobilised, and at least one Labour MP offers support:

George Galloway, the Labour backbench MP, was locked in a battle to save his controversial political career as he launched a libel action against the Daily Telegraph last night.

Mr Galloway's lawyers acted as the paper accused him of taking as much as 370,000 pounds a year from Saddam Hussein in return for support for the fallen dictator.

"I think it's a miraculous set of circumstances that the Daily Telegraph walks through all the rubble of Baghdad and manages to find a file on George Galloway," said anti-war MP Jeremy Corbyn.

The same question is raised by intelligence experts:

Most intelligence experts claimed yesterday that the documents obtained by the Daily Telegraph are probably the real thing.

However, eyebrows were raised at the fact that they were unearthed with relative ease by a reporter for a British broadsheet which would naturally be critical of George Galloway.

The Guardian has a handy guide to the Galloway matter, as does the London Times.

David Blair, author of the original report, tells how he came to discover the damning documents:

The air was thick with choking clouds of dust and the looters were hammering and shouting in the rooms and corridors around us. Then my translator happened upon an orange box file with the Arabic label "Britain". Its interior was lined with tigerskin wallpaper.

Four blue folders, each stamped with the Iraqi eagle, lay inside. Opening the first, I happened upon George Galloway's letter nominating Fawaz Zureikat as his representative in Baghdad. Another folder contained a letter from Sir Edward Heath thanking the Iraqi representative in London for attending a luncheon in Salisbury.

Two more box files were labelled "Britain". Others were labelled "United States", "Security Council" and "France". Each appeared to contain all the appropriate documents that had crossed the desk of an Iraqi foreign minister.

Meanwhile, George now remembers that he just might have been in Baghdad close to the date cited in the documents:

Labour MP George Galloway - accused of being on Saddam Hussein's payroll - has admitted he could have been in Baghdad with the Iraqi Foreign Minister for Christmas 1999.

Mr Galloway told BBC's Newsnight he could have been in Baghdad with Tariq Aziz for Christmas 1999, just over a week before the memo is dated. The MP claimed he could not remember if he had visited then or the following December.

See here for clips that may assist George's memory. Other George-related money trouble looms, reports The Times:

The Attorney-General is considering action against the money-raising appeal set up by George Galloway which is at the centre of allegations that he was bankrolled by Saddam Hussein.

As the Labour MP began legal action for libel over the claims that he had received 375,000 pounds a year from the Baghdad regime, The Times has learnt that Lord Goldsmith, QC, is studying a separate complaint against him. It is based on an article in The Times showing that Mr Galloway promised to spend all the money raised by the Mariam Appeal on treating sick Iraqi children, but later used it to fund his travelling expenses.

The Mariam Appeal is highlighted in the purported Iraqi intelligence documents found in a Baghdad ministry.

Further from The Times on the Mariam Appeal:

George Galloway is notoriously sensitive and secretive about who paid for his globetrotting campaign to lift United Nations sanctions against Saddam Hussein.

Even close associates cannot say with confidence who was really paying for the Mariam Appeal and who was benefiting financially from its immeasurable pot of cash.

Mr Galloway chose not to register the appeal as a charity, so avoiding the scrutiny and transparency that would reassure the public about who was subsidising his foreign travel.

And The Sun delivers this almighty beating:

The world has produced some evil, twisted men throughout history. Saddam Hussein is one of them.

Treacherous Labour MP George Galloway is another.

There have long been questions over the way a nonentity backbencher like Galloway could afford his lavish lifestyle of fast cars and fast women.

His constant travel, always first class, could never be funded by an MP's pay or from proceeds of his litigious pursuit of so-called defamation claims.

Galloway is a silver-tongued bully who has always been surrounded by a cloud of suspicion over his shifty activities, his manipulation of other people's cash and his readiness to punch anyone he could not sue.

He left a slippery trail of scandal wherever he went, from the finances of the once mighty charity War on Want to the funding of his local constituency Labour Party.

A congenital liar, his favourite defence trick was total denial. If that failed, he would claim he had been misquoted.

The Sun's fence-sitting is uncharacteristic. More on George soon.

PUCE is admired by Mark Glaser, who "gives his spin, in blog style" twice a week for Online Journalism Review.

Blog style? Twice a week?

Fuckselv, could. Thank.

SHARIF HAMMOUD, in the letters pages of the Indy Morning Herald, identifies the key issues facing post-war Iraq:

Iraqis have a right to do as they please. It is their choice whether they want a half-naked Britney Spears on their television screens or a McDonald's store on every corner.

They can't have both?

BRUCE C. WOLPE, ex-US Democrat congressional aide and manager of corporate affairs for Australian media company Fairfax (publishers of The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald), is sad and embarrassed:

It is astounding, and disgusting, but the way this war was conceived, and the diplomacy executed, meant the US and its allies lost a moral edge over the butcher of Baghdad in the eyes of the world, and it has not been recovered. There is no love for Saddam, but neither is there any for the US President.

This is an immense PR defeat, unprecedented since Ho Chi Minh gained ascendancy over LBJ in a war that was much more challenging morally than Iraq.

It is immensely sad to live overseas and have your country and President pilloried.

So tell Fairfax's journalists to quit it, Bruce.

DR FRANK'S "Democracy, Whiskey, Sexy" - go download it now, if you haven't already - is fantastic. Bunch of fun power chords in there. Fine lyrics. And you've never heard the word "democracy" sung so sweetly.

If people aren't screaming along to this in bars across the planet within six weeks, the earth deserves to be killed.

POOR peace protest poster people! Aren't any of the posters entered in their competition genuine? And why can't they tell the difference?

IAIN MURRAY has an insider's view on the reporter who broke the Gorging George Galloway story. Should David Blair's information prove accurate, Galloway will forever be known as the Bagman of Baghdad:

David Blair is, by all accounts, a man of integrity, personally expelled from Zimbabwe by Robert Mugabe, recipient of the top First in Politics from Oxford and former debating partner of a friend of mine. A man of such credentials falling for a forgery is very unlikely. George's days are numbered. Liberation for the people of Glasgow is at hand.

And ex-blogger Diana Moon, intrigued by Galloway's evasive comment about his Baghdad visits ("he says he did spend one Christmas in Baghdad,
possibly in 1999"), has Nexised the bastard. Following are the two best articles Diana (who stresses that she is reserving judgment) has turned up:

From the BBC, December 30, 1999:

The Vice-Chairman of the Revolution Command Council Mr Izzat Ibrahim received today Mr George Galloway, the Labour Party MP currently visiting Iraq. Vice-President [as heard] Ibrahim conveyed the Iraqi people's warm feelings
and greetings to Mr Galloway for his initiative and for what it represents in noble and supreme human values, manifesting the true meanings of loving Iraq and its people which has historic links with the British people.

Addressing Mr Galloway, the vice-chairman said: "Your initiative revived the human principles and the principles of chivalry, which many in Britain used to carry, although nowadays we only find a few, regretfully." The vice-chairman said that the Big Ben to Baghdad trip gave the British people a big service not provided by all British governments throughout the last 50 years, because it showed the true feelings of the British people in rejecting injustice, aggression and dominance.

And from AP on December 28, 1999:

Americans who oppose the U.S. government's policy on Iraq ended a Christmas visit Tuesday meant to focus attention on the suffering of Iraqi children.

Another sympathetic visitor, British Member of Parliament George Galloway, was hailed by the official Iraqi media on Monday for his "spirit of knighthood."

Galloway, a member of the ruling Labor Party, had announced plans to fly in a planeload of medicine early next year. Galloway also said he was collecting donations to build a cancer hospital in Baghdad.

As Diana writes: "Make of these what you will."


GEORGE GALLOWAY has some serious explaining to do:

The Labour MP George Galloway issued strenuous denials last night after documents were found in Iraq alleging that he had received regular, large sums of money from the regime of Saddam Hussein.

Confidential papers found in Baghdad purported to show that Mr Galloway had been taking a cut of oil revenue meant for the people of Iraq under the United Nations oil-for-food programme.

Confronted by the evidence of his links, the MP, who has vociferously opposed action against Saddam, claimed that the documents were the product of forgers.

Which they may well be, although George's pleadings don't pass the Columbo logic test:

"The truth is I have never met, to the best of my knowledge, any member of Iraqi Intelligence. I have never in my life seen a barrel of oil, bought or sold one."

Nobody said you did, George. Nobody said you did.

(Via Daily Pundit.)

UPDATE. Galloway is, as they say, no stranger to controversy:

Mr Galloway was paid 5,000 pounds in cash by Al-Fagih in late 1995 to early 1996 to repay costs incurred on behalf of others during the campaign to prevent [bin Laden supporter] Al-Masari's deportation.

In the parliamentary committee's concluding report they found that: 'It is unacceptable for any member to be involved in recycling cash between third parties.

"It is also highly undesirable for any member to act on behalf of any organisation where no full record is kept of all financial transactions with which the member is associated.

"It is bound to be susceptible to misinterpretation and risks bringing the house into disrepute. We are particularly concerned that Mr Galloway's actions were on behalf of an overseas interest."

Latest word from London is that George is threatening to sue. This could become very interesting.

I WISH someone had told me this before Easter:

If family gatherings for you are anything like mine at some point you may feel the urge to harm someone. If you do not want to appear on Cops it is important to not give in to that urge. I have found that on Easter I can best channel my destructive impulses by abusing the most defenseless among us - Marshmallow Peeps.

Too late for ol' Tim.

THE SENSATIONAL peace poster prank of '03 has ended with Ken Layne becoming Satan - as usual. No matter what crazy adventures the likes of Treacher, Layne, and Parrott get up to, Ken invariably winds up all possessed and demonic. It's like in every Scoobie Doo episode; come the final minute, there's always the horns sprouting and the flame pouring from the mouth and Shaggy eating someone's brain.

Maybe I'm getting Scoobie confused with another cartoon. Anyway, I would have chosen A. Beam's poster entry to win, had he submitted it. Or this, which was submitted, and which demonstrates that no matter how many people you kill or torture or starve, you're never as bad in a peacenik's eyes as the man from Crawford.

ANDREW LLOYD has just arrived in Sydney - and headed immediately for the seamiest bars he can find. We'll be catching up with the lively California blogger and his wife tomorrow for fun, laughter, and international neo-con scheming.

WHERE DO COMMIES come from? From Melbourne's Victoria University, which offers a postgraduate course in "public advocacy and action". Andrew Bolt reports:

What makes this course even more dubious is that it's sponsored by Greenpeace, Amnesty International and Oxfam, whose activists will be brought in to help teach.

What right does Greenpeace, which lies and breaks our laws to get publicity, have to teach and recruit at a public institution?

But I doubt my objections will cut much ice with the man whose idea this was, the university's Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Jim Falk. See, Falk is a former chairman of Greenpeace Australia.

THE RUSH to bungle: Don D'Cruz tells the NGOs (non-good organisations) to keep the hell out of Iraq.

MICHAEL MOORE is touring America.

THE ABC website promises "investigative journalism at it's best".

The ABC should investigate the number of semi-literates employed by the ABC. Over at Media Watch's Pound ("reserved for all those bungled headlines, miscaptioned photos and silly media stuff ups that add an unintended comic twist to your daily news") they're adding unintended comic twists of their own; Imre's surname is Salusinszky, not Saluzinsky.

Incidentally, Imre is also not Professor Bunyip. (I am partly to blame for this widespread belief, of course. Who can resist tormenting a goddamn Hungarian?) Half the staff at The Australian are convinced that Imre is the elusive Professor. In Melbourne recently, even old friends greeted him with "Hey, Bunyip!"

It's making him crazy. All Imre's denials are ignored. The little guy is tearing his hair out ... er, slapping his forehead in frustration.

People, take it from me. Imre ain't the Prof. Computer-wise, he doesn't know HTML from HREOC, or coding from codeine. He's a Hawthorn supporter, for Christ's sake.

As to the actual identity of Professor B., well, I'm not at liberty to say, except that I'm pretty certain he's never even met Imre, let alone inhabited his body. Time to drain the billabong, Bunyip hunters!

HAS The Daily Mirror fired John Pilger? The reader-shedding Mirror hired Pilger as part of a doomed relaunch last year, but today Pilger's screaming nonsense appears in The Independent. What's going on?

LOOKIN' good, Shane!

LISTEN UP, Mayor Bloomertunes:

Caringbah RSL tried to quit, but found it just couldn't give up.

Eleven months after becoming entirely smoke-free, the club is reintroducing smoking in parts of its premises.

At first things seemed to be going well: the club moved to a renovated building next to the old premises last May, and membership rose from 2000 to 7000.

But the new members just didn't spend much money. And they certainly did not seem to gamble.

So chief executive Brad Pearson is welcoming back the happy, free-spending smoking people:

"We would love to be able to stay non-smoking, but we've just had to open it up to smokers.

"Otherwise we won't be here in two years."

New York City, welcome to your future.

NEO-PINKO Robert Manne rails against the neo-con forces swamping Australia, particularly at The Australian:

The pre-war editorials at The Australian were crisply written, supremely self-confident and brash, reminiscent more of the editorials in a right-wing student newspaper than of those in the quality Australian press.

That they also turned out to be accurate matters little to Manne. He didn't like their tone. Maybe he'd enjoy them more if they'd been run through Manne's patented Pomposticator™ Text Mauler first.

PETER GARRETT, master of the precise and telling metaphor, explains recent trends in environmental politics:

The environment issue "has continued to drift in the wind like a handkerchief that has been put up to try and send a 30-foot yacht down to Hobart in the Sydney-to-Hobart yacht race".

A tiny, handerchief-sized sail would be stretched taut by the task. Garrett's comprehension of the physical universe is as sound as Robert Fisk's.

P.P. McGuinness on Iraq and journalism:

While truth may indeed be the first casualty of war, among its murderers must be counted those journalists who are unable to distinguish between their observations, their opinions and their anti-Americanism (and distaste for any official briefings) on the one hand, and fair reporting on the other.

Read the whole thing.

FROM THE New York Times via The Age, an apparent WMD breakthrough:

A scientist who claims to have worked in Iraq's chemical weapons program for more than a decade has told an American military team that Iraq destroyed chemical weapons and biological warfare equipment only days before the war began, members of the team said.

They said the scientist led Americans to a supply of material that proved to be the building blocks of illegal weapons, which he claimed he had buried to keep as evidence of Iraq's illicit weapons programs.

Of course, the quagmire Left will dismiss this as a media-military conspiracy. Interestingly, the quags have had little to say about the only proven media-military conspiracy to lately emerge: CNN's conspiracy to conceal Iraq's atrocities.

MEDIA WATCH is wrong, Media Watch knows that it is wrong, and Media Watch's viewers know that Media Watch is wrong. Some comments from Media Watch's guestbook:

"Come on. Media Watch got it wrong. Why don't you just admit it? Seeing you trying to wriggle out of it now is not an edifying spectacle and is more than a little hypocitical for Australia's premier media 'policeman'.

"I saw the show on Monday night and I have no problem admitting that I didn't believe the Tele's story, either. David Marr's presentation left me in no doubt that Media Watch had exposed the purported origin of the flag at the Pentagon on Septmeber 11 2001 as a fabrication ... There is no doubt that virtually every other viewer of Media Watch would have thought the same as I did and was left convinced that the Tele had fabricated the whole story."

"If MW didn't know the flag was from the Pentagon when it ran the story, then MW was incompetent. If MW knew the flag was from the Pentagon, then MW wasn't telling the full truth."

"Anybody who saw the segment regarding the flag could only have come away with the impression that the entire flag episode was a myth conceived and propagated by the pro-US Murdoch media. I think an on-air apology is owed to the Daily Telegraph, although the chance of getting any apology, from somebody as smug as David Marr, is zero.”

“You guys are kidding, right? Do you really expect anyone who watched the show (or even read the transcript) to believe that the reference to the Daily Telegraph was only intended to cast doubt on the fact that the flag was pulled from under debris, rather that recovered from elsewhere in the Pentagon on 9/11/01? Apart from anything else, what an utterly trivial point that would be to make: who would care if that were the Daily Tele's crime?”

And Media Watch's response to all of this?

No one can vouch for The Tele's claim that the flag came from under the rubble of The Pentagon. Their story was incredible and untrue. Our criticism stands.

Media Watch's criticism stands on the blighted corner of Obfuscate Ave. and Hypocrisy St., with its dacks down and rum on its breath. People walking by avert their eyes in disgust. Pity Media Watch.


MADONNA'S new album isn't exactly receiving rave reviews. And taste these lyrics:

I always wished that I could find

Someone as beautiful as you

But in the process I forgot

That I was special too

Great work, Grandma Hallmark.

My mother died when I was five

And all I did was sit and cry

I cried and cried and cried all day

Until the neighbours went away

To get rifles, probably. Madonna's next single: a remix of Ipsy Wipsy Spider.

ACCORDING to this test, I have about the same systemizing ability as someone with high functioning autism. Cool!

UPDATE. NZPundit is a high functioning autistic too! Time for a HFA high-five (swing ... miss!).

THE SILENCE of the lame: CNN's avoidance of any bad news out of Iraq for the last dozen years has at last been mentioned in the Australian press.

READER JENNIFER rejects my crude slurs against the knitting community, and makes an extraordinary offer:

I am a knitter, though not a church goer. I want to make you a lovely hand-made gift, because I really enjoy your website, and would hate to have you believe all knitters are dullards and gossips. Please choose:

-willy warmer


-bed socks

Give me a little time, as I also knit bootsocks for the troops, and - sorry - they have top priority.

Bed socks are boring, but hell, I thought I'd give you an easy non-offensive option.

Hmmm. It is getting colder lately. A hand-knitted thong might be ideal. Hey, it works for Ray Smuckles!

THE SPECTATOR'S Stephen Glover on Robert Fisk's "dreadful war":

The Independent was less balanced, chiefly because of its near-total reliance on Robert Fisk, who must be the most famous foreign correspondent of our day. As I said a couple of weeks ago, I revere Robert. I can even claim to have been one of those who persuaded him, when in a different life I was foreign editor of the Independent, to jump ship from the Times. I often found myself defending Robert against the accusation made by Marcus Sieff, chairman of the Independent and an ardent Zionist, that our new star correspondent was biased against Israel. He is a brave and brilliant correspondent, and so it grieves me to say that on this occasion he has allowed his anti-Americanism to get the better of him, and has had a pretty dreadful war.

Even his old pals are against him now. Fisko Duck is playing a tune nobody wants to hear.

WHAT THE hell? We've got to wait until October?

GET YOUR Most Wanted Iraqi playing cards from UK manufacturer Firebox, who also provide these military card factoids:

The playing card idea is not a new one. It was used all the way back in WWII to help soldiers familiarise themselves with German military equipment, so they could more quickly recognise friend from foe and gauge the strength of the enemy in a local area. These packs have gone on to become very valuable collectors items.

In the Vietnam war soldiers were issued with packs of cards that contained nothing but the Ace of Spades. These cards were useful in psychological warfare. The Viet Cong were very superstitious and highly frightened by this ace. The cards were deliberately scattered in the jungle and in hostile villages during raids. The very sight of it was said to cause many Viet Cong to flee.

And if the card didn't work, the Motorhead song always did. By the way, 10% of Firebox's card profits will go to the Red Cross.

THE ABC's John Highfield - the man who declared "if this is liberty, then it's far from perfect" only hours after Saddam fell - is leaving the ABC.

To take up a job training journalists.

(Via Peter Kerr, who puts Highfield's departure in the correct perspective.)

AUSTRALIA started the war:

General Peter Cosgrove yesterday revealed details of how Australia's SAS fired the first shots in the Iraq war.

The mission has been cloaked in secrecy, and General Cosgrove said much of the covert operation must remain secret.

He said the attack was launched hours after the deadline for Saddam Hussein to stand down expired on March 20.

"At the first moment, with support of other coalition forces, our people crossed the border into Iraq and made a significant dash by night to our operating area. On the way we encountered several dozen Iraqis, whom we dealt with," he said.

THE YOUTH anti-war movement was a fantastic success, at least according to the youth anti-war movement. Given this claim, some might conclude that stopping the war was possibly not a primary aim.

(Via Angela Bell.)

UPDATE. A source close to the stupidity writes:

Considering that their primary aim was to recruit more members for the Workers World Party *cough* I mean Books Not Bombs, then yes, it was a resounding success.

I know Damien Dupuis and Vicky Kasidis, both heavily involved in BNB and Socialist Alternative. And I can tell you I've heard straight from these horses' mouths that the anti-war protests were designed with recruitment in mind.

I am completely disillusioned.

CLARE SHORT is all over the place on Iraq - again. Tony Blair must be keeping her in Cabinet just for the laughs.

IS THERE a word for reverse looting?