194 thoughts on “Sandpit

  1. I think the coverage of news by the ABC has become bizarre over recent months. So much other news is left in the wings as whole days are spent muling over a single issue.. whatever happened to the crisp editing and sense of detachment you once had, when it was a form of broadsheet media?

    I am not into conspiracy theories either, but think the MH17 hs been milked outrageously by Western powers through establishment media outlets as they become eager for a large scale diversion of public attention from issues closer to home, or in the Gaza case demonstrate the true face of Western civilisation stripped of the “nice guy” mask.

  2. @paul walter

    I think the coverage of news by the ABC has become bizarre over recent months.

    It’s too much wasted time and pain for me to try and measure this, but I wonder how much of the Melb AIDS conference this week got airtime info about the action rather than the airline victims. This would be a good test of whether AIDS merits coverage in its own right, or perhaps not (I hear its just a disease of gays, Africans, two-timing hubbies). My impression is more on the public broadcasters (some conception of public interest survives), but I suspect nothing on the commercials – anyone prepared to own up to watching them, and can opine?

  3. Could I raise an irrelevant aside about the Russian communication style, just so I can better understand the mindset? The style seems wooden and unemotional, conveying a lack of personality and humanity. I’m not saying this is accurate, just my perception. Point is, is this a slavic trait, or an artifice of deception? We should talk about this and analyse it, the masses will jump quickly to conclusions, so they can get onto The Voice or something. (sorry gotta go now, I’ll miss the final.)

  4. “Tony Abbott’s become the strongest leader in the world on this issue”, G. Henderson, Insiders yesterday. Words may be bulllets but only if they’re fired from a big gun; Henderson can’t tell the accessory from the tool. Ya gotta laugh at the hubris of the puffed-up Liberal motor mouths.

  5. @kevin1 It’s the only issue on which Abbott has performed well, on every other issue he has consistently underperformed his very own KPIs.

  6. @rog
    No doubt giving a panel of experts a platform on QandA is useful to the thinkers who tune in, but my point is about the news value and reporting of the issues to the masses.

    Giving Abbott a tick for turning up with sympathy and gravitas is just confirming he has a pulse, not a measure of performance. This is just pre-race stretching, but we do know his form on international engagement.

    Witness boat arrivals “I don’t think it’s a very Christian thing to come in by the back door rather than the front door”, the self-harming asylum seekers “moral blackmail”, his response to credible allegations of Sri Lankan govt warcrimes ”I don’t propose to lecture the Sri Lankans on human rights…sometimes in difficult circumstances difficult things happen…With peace has come more freedom and more prosperity”.

    Having just seen the ITN documentary http://nofirezone.org/ which he must be aware of, the Sri Lankan statements in particular are disgusting.

  7. @ZM

    A disturbing article – employing the Overton Window technique to promote violent action rather than try to restrain it. Agents provocateurs supplying psychological support rather than material support. A short step to identifying dissidents as “potential” actors.

  8. @Fran Barlow
    Of course the Australian media are reduced to reporting what is happening on the ground in Gaza as the Australian government haven’t made any significant comment on the dire situation of the Gazans.
    Contrast this with the torrent of verbal pap that the PM and the foreign minister have dished up on the plane disaster, they have overreached. The rhetoric is overblown and way too belligerent for a country the size of Australia. Listening to the BBC World Service, it is Dutch spokes-people that consume most of the air time (alongside the usual suspects), Australian government officials barely rate a mention.
    This reflects the relative scale of the impact on the countries that had nationals aboard the plane rather than the corrupted news values of the Australian media. I heard Bishop’s security council speech followed by the Dutch foreign minister. If you can, have a listen to both and decide which is the more effective.
    Australia once again presents itself as astride the world stage to an audience of leaders from countries that actually have the power to influence events. Somewhat cringeworthy. Reminiscent of Joe Hockey (or was it Abbott) at Davos.

  9. @kevin1

    Is that something Tony Abbott actually said? I mean, the statement ‘I don’t think it’s a very Christian thing to come in by the back door rather than the front door’?

    Has anybody drawn his attention to Mark 2:3-5 or Luke 5:18-20?

  10. @J-D

    I don’t feel obliged to join your parlour game where you adopt the pose of lofty doubter in residence (are you a therapist by trade?) Is it beneath you to do some elementary research and check it for yourself? Grappling with empirics rather than logical syllogisms will be a novel experience, and is probably the only satisfactory proof for you.

    Are you so out of touch with the modern world that you quote these gospel refs. as a self-evident statement of something. They’re not, because most of us are rationalists not religious mystics. Perhaps you are a priest of some sort?

  11. If only Abbott could extend his recent principled stand at the UN to the UNHCR.

    Bring them home vs send them back.

  12. @Tim Macknay

    It wasn’t just Rupert’s phone-hacking-scum “looting” and riffling through personal belongings at the crash site, his ABC’s Phillip Williams was also doing it.

    There is a story online (with video) at Gina’s Fairfax to prove it.

    Williams was all over the ABC yesterday spreading “Shock! Outrage! Fury!” about people being able to wander around touching things – while he was doing just that.

    The ABC has removed the video – to “avoid offending the families” of the victims, of course.

    PS: Why is it that whenever I’m defamed and slandered I get banned? I didn’t remember ever putting anything up from “globalresearch” but after a thorough search I did find one, clearly attributed, link. It was from 2011 and it was about what a disaster the US-led destruction of Libya was/would be. Hardly controversial stuff I would have thought.

  13. @Megan
    Yes, I read after posting my comment that the ABC also disgraced themselves.

    I hope you don’t think I slandered you?

  14. Global Research is perhaps for foremost left leaning conspiracy site on the web, which promotes conspiracy theories on everything from the JFK assassination to vaccinations to the death of Osama Bin Laden to 9/11.

    I found over a dozen links to Global Reearch and its nutty founder Michel Chossudovsky on the Moonbat’s site. Here are but a few:

    Western-backed Terrorists in Syria Slaughter Christians in Bombing, Tony Cartalucci, Global Research [30/11/12]

    link: www#springhillvoice#com/novmedseven2012.html

    “Ultimately the author must have been Washington” as “none of the groups would dare carry out this high-profile hit without clearance from handlers in Washington,” wrote Finian Cunningham in the Global Research.

    link: www#springhillvoice#com/mediajan2012.html

    Glen Ford, Global Research [11/1/13]:

    link: www#springhillvoice#com/janmedthree2013.html

    Felicity Arbuthnot is Global Research`s Human Rights Correspondent based in London

    link: www#springhillvoice#com/4september2011.html

    Global Research [7/9/13]:

    link: www#springhillvoice#com/8september2013.html

    Libya360 [25/8/11]:

    link: www#springhillvoice#com/28august2011.html

    Global Research [17/4/14]:

    link: www#springhillvoice#com/20april2014.html

    This this article was first published at Global Research

    link: www#springhillvoice#com/medmayfive2012.html

    And on and on and on and on it goes, despite Megan’s claim that doesn’t remember ever having linked to Global Research and to have only found a solitary link after a “thorough” check.

    Who is selling old fashioned pork pies, Megan?

    ps. replace hashes in the links with a dot.

  15. @rog

    I guess you meant UNHCR, but the UNCHR (UN Council for Human Rights) would be equally apt. It voted last March for an inquiry into alleged war crimes of both govt and Tamil Tigers during the final stages of the war in 2009. AFAIK, no report yet, but no excuses for Australian agnostics either, with their earlier “Promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka” giving sufficient “non-media” basis for our govt. to act responsibly.

    Which is not to disparage journalists – they can make timely comment when official bodies have to bite their tongue. Callum Macrae, the producer of the No Fire Zone film, twittered this yesterday:

    Last Jan #Israel’s Peres praised Rajapaksa & end of war in #Lanka as “extraordinary lesson in history”. Lessons now being applied in #Gaza?

  16. @J-D

    I’m glad that a blogger somewhere echoes your biblical reference and this is comforting to you. However it adds nothing to the discussion, and confirms that rejecting engagement with you is the right decision. There is a didacticism amongst some religious who claim special access to “received knowledge”, hence my comment.

    Socratic questioning is a great technique, applied by contemporary teachers like Paolo Freire to develop holistically their pupils, but the skill is to ask the right questions. Aristotleian logic has its place, but a pre-occupation with fault-finding rather than exposing your own opinions to scrutiny is a sterile process. It suggests a teacher who is not open to learning and therefore a fraud to themselves, as well as to discussants drawn into their bad methodologies.

  17. @J-D

    Of course questioning in a legal advocacy context has an entirely different purpose than personal enlightenment. Like you, I guess I can now answer my own question.

  18. @kevin1
    I read J-D’s comment @14 as pointing out that, if Tony Abbott said that, he’s a hypocrite. I’m struggling a bit to understand why you took offence to it.

  19. @Tim Macknay

    I’m not taking offence, just pointing out to him that it is presumptuous to give biblical refs without elaboration. I am not a member of his Christian tribe, and don’t want to go and look at a Bible to get his point. Just say why it’s relevant, and spell out his conclusion.

    You are also hostage to his enigmatic technique, in inferring his point is that Abbott is a hypocrite; whether he adopts this normative view is unknown, maybe he thinks just that Abbott is inconsistent. Either of these have such broad application to the political class as well as the rest of us, as to be trite.

    One day he might take sides on something rather than just throw back questions, if you sit on the fence long enough you get a sore bum.

  20. @kevin1
    I’m not taking offence, just pointing out to him that it is presumptuous to give biblical refs without elaboration. I am not a member of his Christian tribe, and don’t want to go and look at a Bible to get his point. Just say why it’s relevant, and spell out his conclusion.

    Well, that sounds pretty offended to me. 😉

  21. @Tim Macknay

    It’s all getting a bit silly Tim if I say I’m not offended and you say Oh yes you are! I still think I’m arguing rationally, strong opinions don’t require being offended do they? Life’s too short to take offence all the time.

    I don’t want to get into ongoing debate about this (though will respond politely if you want me to) but it seems to me style differences reflecting different cultural norms are at play here. I am usually direct but rarely abusive, compared to the elliptical allusions of m’learned friend J D for instance. Some find that confronting but not intended by me.

  22. @kevin1
    Fair enough. It may be cultural norms as you say, or simply the limits of the textual medium, which are also (IMHO) what make J-D’s communication style sometimes difficult to parse.

  23. Since both the Gaza conflict and the Bible have been mentioned in previous comments, I’ll take that as my cue to report that since the conflict flared up, on my Facebook feed I have received a link to an article claiming in all seriousness that the PLO and the Palestinian Authority are Zionists, and I have seen comments on a friend’s wall arguing in all seriousness that Netanyahu is a wuss and that the republic of Israel needs to be dismantled and replaced by a Kingdom of Israel ruled by a divinely appointed sage (presumably like King Solomon).

    For a different perspective to either of these, I recommend +972 Magazine.

  24. @kevin1

    I gave the exact biblical references so that anybody who wanted to could look them up, but if you’d rather I provided the word directly, here they are, in the New International Version translation:

    Mark 2:3-5
    3 Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4 Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

    Luke 5:18-20
    18 Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. 19 When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus. 20 When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”

  25. @rog

    i see that Crikey (July 23) reports on my speculation that AIDs news from the conference got sidelined due to the plane disaster, which is not surprising of course. They agree that “MH17 has taken up so much airtime that stories which would normally be huge haven’t gotten much of a look-in. That includes the announcement at AIDS 2014 that a potent cocktail of three drugs could cure tuberculosis in 75% of cases.”

    But the test of the primacy of news values is whether after the crash news is broken, the above revelation is newsworthy – as it ought to be.

    Apparently not: despite its clear importance; the caravan has moved on.

  26. Quarter of a billion funding for School Chaplaincy (atheists/agnostics need not apply), or a hundred plus million cut from CSIRO (who needs that scientificky stuff)? You do the mass…

    Is it too much to ask for funding of a chief scientist to be in charge of the SKA in Australia? [SKA = Square Kilometre Array telescope.]

  27. @kevin1 After viewing footage of a stream if hearses complete with dignitaries I’m reminded of the funeral of Lady Di and the public outpouring of emotion. There was also a piece speculating that Tony Abbotts face and posture indicating his great stress and tension brought on by the event.

    Of course had it been the US that shot down the plane it would be all quite different.

  28. Page 257 of the ICJ judgement

    When all is said and done, it is apparent that the manner of operations of the U.S. fleet in the Persian Gulf (which continue to this day), the action of the United States in shooting down 1R 655, and its response to this criminal act, all involve violations of international law of the most serious kind.

    Click to access 6629.pdf

  29. Meanwhile, an Air Algerie plane flying from Burkina Faso to Algeria has gone missing over Mali.

    Mali is in the middle of a France-backed war. Raoul Castro’s daughter, an advocate for gay rights, was apparently on board.

    There are early news reports that say the US-French backed militants in Mali do have anti-aircraft weapons but not the type that could bring down a civilian plane at that altitude.

    The early reports also say there was heavy rain and the pilots cited that when asking for a change of course.

    Early news so far – but my bet is our media and pollies won’t give a stuff about this.

    PS: “Yats” (‘our man Yats’, in the US run Ukraine) has just announced he is resigning, according to AP. Did anyone else see the Ukrainian parliament descend into a brawl during the ‘minute of silence’ for the dead from MH17? It was surreal.

    We are certainly living in the “interesting” times we have brought upon ourselves.

  30. @kevin1

    … that his stated views about what is ‘Christian’ and what is not are inconsistent with the description of the behaviour of Jesus in the passages I quoted.

  31. the brawl was over conscription. one mp said another mp’s party was just killing citizens. that would be right sector being criticised for just killing citizens. in the yats gov’t right sector headed the interior ministry in charge of the militia, comprised mainly of men from right sector, and which commits war crimes & executes conscripts when they refuse to carry out illegal orders, such as shooting dead the relatives of men who are out of town for extended periods. over 300 civilians have been killed this week by artillery bombardment of lugansk suburbs. this has been not been reported in our media. there is video here of the brawl in the verkhovna rada:-
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvW2KzCpTHU -a.v.

  32. @J-D
    Hmm…so Abbott’s shortcoming is being inconsistent. Well slap me with a feather. Tim Mackney take note.

    If Abbott said the comparison between the gospel refs. and his view on asylum seekers coming in the back door was inappropriate, which is likely his implicit position, then that would moderate your objection, because he would no longer be deliberately inconsistent, and probably get a tick for honesty and openness.

    No wonder so many politicians can run rings around so many voters, including the highly educated.

  33. @kevin1

    I didn’t say that being inconsistent was his only shortcoming. But insofar as inconsistency is a shortcoming (which it isn’t always), being unintentional doesn’t make it less of a shortcoming (at least it doesn’t always).

    In this case, if (hypothetically) Abbott were to become aware of people pointing out his inconsistency (which I doubt he would) and if (hypothetically) he were to choose to respond (which seems even less likely), he might perhaps say that he doesn’t think those Gospel stories are relevant. But if he doesn’t think Gospel stories are relevant to determining what’s ‘Christian’ and what’s not, then he’s just one of those people who use ‘Christian’ as code for ‘what I personally approve of’ and ‘unChristian’ as code for ‘what I personally disapprove of’, a highly dishonest practice.

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