Monday, July 31, 2006

Israel, the new Austria

One lousy dead politician sparked the enormous overreaction by Austria that precipitated WWI. Hizbollah's attack on legitimate targets, a handful of soldiers, has spiraled to daily mass murder of civilians:
54 Lebanese civilians were killed in an Israeli attack on Sunday.


More than 30 children died in the Qana attack - the deadliest Israeli raid since hostilities began on 12 July when two Israeli soldiers were seized.
Apologies to the supporters of Israel-appeasement, but I went looking for an equivalent massacre of Israeli civilians by the Lebanese, for balance, and came up wanting.

54 civilians slaughtered deliberately. Their press releases say as much. Shorter Israel press release: We know we targeted civilians, but as Hizbollah were hiding among them we believe we are justified killing them all.

Here's how being a thrashing great war criminal is improving their prospects for peace by endearing them to their neighbours...

Lebanese PM:
we scream out to our fellow Lebanese and to other Arab brothers and to the whole world to stand united in the face of the Israeli war criminals.
Arab League:
The attacks that Israeli forces are launching targeting civilians and the Lebanese infrastructure are another confirmation of Israeli aggressive intentions.
Egypt expresses its profound alarm and its condemnation of the irresponsible Israeli bombing of the Lebanese village of Qana.
This criminal aggression is an ugly crime that has been committed by the Israeli forces in the city of Qana that is a gross violation of all international statutes.
Iraq, all but declaring war on the US:
Islamic nations will not forgive the entities that hinder a ceasefire. It is not possible to stand helpless in front of this Israeli aggression on Lebanon. If an immediate ceasefire in this Israeli aggression is not imposed, dire consequences will befall the region.
How ungrateful, when they're supposed to be hanging garlands of flowers around effigies of GWB and opening their legs to US trade.

And Lebanon has humiliated the duplicitous and dishonest Dr Rice by telling her to stay the hell away.

With relative moderates like Jordan and Egypt beside themselves with rage, and the Iraqi government clearly blaming the US along with Israel and warning of dire consequences, how much safer are Israeli citizens now?

How much safer are we, taking sides with the world's most insolent rogue state?

Meanwhile at LP, Weathergirl matches some right wing hate talk with appropriate images from the frontline.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Classifying killers

(Updated, below)

A nice little piece by Michael Pascoe in today's Crikey (subscriber edition) asks why is it that some Australians who go overseas and join other people's wars for reasons of religious fanaticism attract sadness from our Government, while others attract hatred?

Meanwhile, Israel's beyond hiding it's intention to breach humanitarian law by targetting civilians:
..a cabinet minister warned that all those who remained in the region would be treated as the enemy.
Exhibit number #1 in the trial of Olmert v Humanity (2015). But hey, who cares less, they could use a nuclear weapon at this point and the Right would wring its collective hands and point out that, well, Hizbollah also fires rockets.

Hence I've given the trial a few years to materialise. Wait until he's lounging on a beach somewhere then snatch him away on a speedboat. Israel could hardly complain, there's a precedent for this sort of thing.

UPDATE: More conservatives edge away from the madman in the room:
Richard Armitage, the deputy secretary of state in Mr Bush's first term and assistant secretary of defence in 1982 in the Reagan administration when Israel invaded Lebanon, said Israel's military campaign would embolden Hezbollah and was working against the US's wish for democracy in the Middle East.
Al Quaeda make hay while the sun shines, predictably:

Al-Qaida's deputy leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, made a dramatic intervention in the Lebanese crisis yesterday with a videotape calling on Muslims everywhere to rise up against Zionists and "crusaders".

"How can we remain silent while watching bombs raining on our people?" he asked. "O Muslims everywhere, I call on you to fight and become martyrs in the war against the Zionists and the crusaders," he said in the eight-minute tape, entitled The Zionist-Crusader War on Lebanon and the Palestinians, parts of which were broadcast by al-Jazeera television yesterday.

Zawahiri also criticised "impotent, treacherous" Arab governments for their feeble response to the Israeli attacks. "My fellow Muslims, it is obvious that Arab and Islamic governments are not only impotent but also complicit ... and you are alone on the battlefield. Rely on Allah and fight your enemies ... make yourselves martyrs."

We may as well fund their recruitment adverts. Actually, we already do.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Ball-watching skills: A Big Kim Masterclass

Yes Labor should be making hay out of the threat of interest rate rises, but the point is that Howard misled the Australian public by inferring he could keep rates stable. The idea that Howard and Costello should be bending over forwards to keep rates down has little substance, and I question his choice of metaphor:
Quite obviously Peter Costello and John Howard have taken their eye off the ball.
If he means leadership tensions he should say it. Otherwise it could look like he means:
Unlike Labor they've had their eyes off the interest rate ball and on big picture issues like war in the middle east.
I categorically disagree with Howard's response to that war, but it's a more important ball to be watching than the endless domestic slapfest over interest rates.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Israel attacks UN, China, Austria, Canada and Finland

(UPDATES I, II, III, IV and V below)

When is an accident not an accident? The killing of 4 UN observers demonstrates the wanton recklessness -at the very least- being displayed by Israel as it razes Lebanon.

Olmert has expressed deep sorrow. He's wisely not added fuel to the fire by adding a rider about how the strike was an unavoidable consequence of fighting Hizbollah. You know, the one Israel has added to every statement of regret in relation to the close to (over?) 400 dead Lebanese civilians.

Kofi Annan wants to know if the targetting could have been deliberate:

Mr Annan describes the strike as a "coordinated artillery and aerial attack on a long-established and clearly marked UN post".
Sounds like a fairly good prima facie case to me.

Israel's Ambassador to the UN puffs up and hits back:

"I was shocked and deeply distressed by the hasty statement by the secretary general insinuating that Israel has deliberately targeted the UN post at Khiam and surprised at these premature and erroneous assertions".
More distressed than at the loss of life? Or less? Different kind of distress, perhaps?

And isn't the word 'erroneous' also then premature? Was it a freudian slip regarding the most likely conclusion to be drawn from any Israeli investigation?

Mr Annan has given his reasons, thereby presenting a case that demands an answer from Israel. Why, Israel, did your carefully targetted attacks hit a

long-established and clearly marked UN post?
Stop whining and give us a damn explanation. If Mr Annan's suspicion is provably way off mark, tell us why.

Oh, and China wants an apology pronto.

UPDATE: Tim Fischer blames 'rogue elements' and points out why it's not premature to be contemplating the worst:

"Clearly there are rogue elements on both sides of the border. There is a rogue element in the Israeli military machine and it's about time the world called a spade a spade and recognised that element has been there for several years and continues.

"Of course they (the Israeli government) will investigate it and I look forward to that and of course you will hold final judgment but as prima facie evidence 10 phone calls - 10 calls - were made from that clearly marked UN compound post.

"And why might you be suspicious? Because there's form. In 1996 the Fijians, the poor old Fijians, maintaining a UN compound in exactly the same area took a hit which killed 104 people sheltering in the UN compound and that has become known as the Qana massacre.

UPDATE II: More evidence they knew, or should have known, what and who they were attacking.

*fingers tapping on desk*

UPDATE III: The bloodshed also continues in Gaza, taking the total death toll to well over half a grand in this 'latest' war.

UPDATE IV: It's not all bad news though, Daniel has evidence of terrorists being nailed!

UPDATE V: More lamenting from Sherro:

It was the most cosmopolitan, democratic, livable and successful Arab society in the Middle East. The Cedar Revolution last year led to the departure of the Syrians. This was a wonderful human triumph, participated in by Lebanese Christians as well as Muslims. But it also had a huge political import. In Washington recently, several analysts told me their most fervent hope was that one day Iraq would come to resemble Lebanon: a bit of chaos, a bit of disorder, a few militias with too many weapons, but the energy of the street, the instinct of the trader, the growing national pride pulling it through to something better.

In other words, the success of Lebanon was the brightest star on the Middle East horizon.

The probable destruction of the modern Lebanese political development is a profound loss for the Middle East.

That too.

'Gratulations Zoe!

Now if only I could communicate this same message to our cats.... Zoe breaks some big news to Sage. Too cute!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Howard launches Small Step policy

Howard's latest reconciliation initiative launched:
"Reconciliation is not going to come as a result of eloquent rhetoric or high level communiques," he said.

"It'll come through Indigenous and other Australians taking millions of small steps in the right direction."
But Mr Howard, small steps have already been taken and you declined to join in....

Ten eyeballs skewered on the yardstick of revenge

From a piece in Crikey's daily subscriber edition, by Sol Salbe 'who monitors the Hebrew media for the left-leaning Australian Jewish Democratic Society':
On Monday a high-ranking Israeli Air Force officer caused a storm in an off-record briefing, during which he told reporters that IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Dan Halutz had ordered the military to destroy ten buildings in Beirut in retaliation to every Katyusha rocket strike on Haifa.
Numbers reach perfect parity- at a factor of ten:
Dr Rice flew into Lebanon late yesterday, seeking a "sustainable" ceasefire in a conflict that by last night had cost more than 370 lives in Lebanon and at least 37 Israeli lives.
Brits are tired of Blair dictating Foreign Policy while supine before the US President:
Even a majority of Labour supporters - traditionally more supportive of Mr Blair's foreign policy position - think he has misjudged the relationship, with 54% saying Britain is too close to the US. Conservatives - 68% - and Liberal Democrats - 83% - are even more critical.

Oh that Australians will one day express similar levels of dignity.

Our new friends in Iraq make a stunning and obvious point:
"What is going on in Lebanon will be a great push to fundamentalism ... This will increase terrorism and extremism".
Oops make that 380 dead Lebanese, plus over 800 wounded, coupled with around 120 deaths in Gaza. Some more 'terror' targets nailed:
..two brothers, aged 9 and 11, and their uncle were killed in their home.. attack on a Palestinian refugee camp at Rashidiyeh killed one of the inhabitants and wounded five others including a baby in pre-dawn attacks...
and in a major strategic victory in the War on Terror:
Israeli shells have killed five people and wounded several others in the Gaza Strip, including a 60-year-old woman and her 12-year-old grandson riding a donkey cart.
Donkey Carts being a vehicle of choice for opportunistic Jihadis.

Meanwhile, the ALP tries to leap in a stealth bomber and fly completely under the radar. Beazely mutters something vaguely apologist and pro Israel, Rudd does some slightly more balanced hand wringing... is this the best we can expect from what has now become a one issue party? Are they saying more but being ignored by the MSM?

Monday, July 24, 2006

Evolution Denied

Cautionary note to contrarian lefties; spend too long in bed with the conservative right and your grip on science will slip. From a short rant by Graham at Harry's:
I reckon that some of the slimey boneless creatures currently infesting the British left evolved from amphibians myself.
Please correct me if I'm wrong but didn't we all....?

Indifferent sheep and Kosciusko views

Crunching on loose gravel, I worked my way towards the main road. Dozens of sheep stared and strays who'd been feeding between the track and the fence sprinted across to seek safety with the flock. A couple of black cockatoos cursed the city slicker in the bright blue hoodie jogging under their breakfast buffet.

Space is different in the country, deceptive when you're myopic from working on computers all day and counting cracks in pavement. It sounded easy enough- 'down to the end of the driveway, a short distance up the hill then take the track to the sheds'. A good 'task' for my morning jog. And from the kitchen window it didn't look all that far either.

In Northcote, if you can see it, you can probably crawl to it on your stomach with your hands tied behind your back.

Ten minutes later as I started working up the hill, which now towered over me and embodied menace and ridicule, I was recalibrating my judgement. What heroism is demonstrated by having a heart attack at 33 on a country road?

I made myself feel more adequate by sneaking up on and scaring a sheep. 'Ha, tremble before my primal beasthood' I shouted at its retreating hindquarters, puffing my chest out. Then I scuffed my Asics all the way home and made myself a nice hot latte.

We had 3 days of roadtrip and farm life. Relations have improved between beloved and her father and stepmother. Understanding, born of time and shared love for a 6 year old daughter and stepsister, has infiltrated the previously tense relationship. Life, even my constant tooth grinding over the middle east, was placed on pause as we enjoyed simple pleasures like teaching the little one marbles or inspecting the vineyards.

The valley is breathtaking; a patchwork of wine, sheep and cattle country cut with pockets of bush and bubbling trout streams opens a vista bordered, in the distance, by the Snowies and a white capped Mount Kosciusko; Australia's second highest mountain.

I feel a strange sense of beloved's whole life in that valley, a childhood I'll never see which shaped the character of the woman I love.

We returned to honking trucks on a rain-soaked Sydney Road. I was in shock for at least 4 hours.

Hizbollah Nailed!

Our support and US bankrolling pay off:
The ambulanceman gave Ali the job of keeping his mother alive. The 12-year-old did what he could. "Mama, mama, don't go to sleep," he sobbed, gently patting her face beneath her chin. Behind her black veil, her eyelids were slowly sinking. "I'm going to die," she sighed. "Don't say that, mama," Ali begged, and then slid to the ground in tears.
No more firing rockets into Israel for you, mama.
Three passengers sitting in the third row were killed instantly, including Ali's grandmother. Sixteen other passengers were wounded. In recent days, families like the Sha'itas are bearing the brunt of Israel's air campaign and its efforts to rid the area of civilians before ground operations. A day after Israel's deadline for people to leave their homes and flee north of the Litani river, roads which in ordinary times wind lazily through tobacco fields and banana groves have been turned into highways of death. Plumes of smoke rise in the distance, and the road in front of us offers up signs of closer peril: car wrecks, still smoking after Israeli strikes, and abandoned vehicles with shattered rear windows. Some were direct hits by Israeli aircraft. Others were drivers who had lost control. Overhead is the menacing roar of Israeli warplanes and the buzz of drones tracking every movement.
So, Hillary, if this happened to you at 12, what would you want to do at 20? Knit sweaters with 'I love Israel and America' on the front?

We endorse this. America bankrolls this. America rushes weapons over lest Israel's relentless slaughter be slowed by, god forbid, a lack of weaponry.

Meanwhile in the UK, someone's breaking the lockstep:
Mr Howells spent Saturday in Beirut seeing bombed-out ruins. Talking of civilian deaths and the destruction of infrastructure, he said: "These have not been surgical strikes. And it's very, very difficult I think to understand the kind of military tactics that have been used." Yesterday, in an interview in the northern Israeli city of Haifa, Mr Howells said the Israelis "know only too well it is not enough just to seek a military victory, they have got to win a wider political battle. That means they have got to think very hard about those children who are dying. It is not enough to say it is unfortunate collateral damage. Every person who has got a mobile phone, every person who can take a photograph of somebody being blown to bits, or a child with a imb missing, is a reporter now".
Everyone with a blog. Everyone with a conscience.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Moderate ponderings from Israel-centric perspectives

Discomfort at Harry's:
why didn't Israel rush to provide an explanation for the bombing of a Lebanese milk factory? Was it intentional? If so, why was it considered a vital target at a time of growing food shortages in the country? Is there some way Israel can help assure minimal supplies of food, medicine and other necessities to Lebanon's most vulnerable while continuing the fight against Hezbollah? (Gene)

Fighting the 'wrong' sort of war is not just immoral, it's stupid. (Brownie the Other)
The formidably well informed and eminently decent Head Heeb (a man well worth visiting for quality analysis on almost any issue related to International Law, very moderate, very learned) considers Israeli-Arab victims of Hizbollah attacks and problems with intitial proposals from the UN.

And Yael K suggests that if they could only cooperate Israel and moderate Lebanese should recognise that they share common enemies and gang up on Hizbollah:

The Lebanese position--1. The Lebanese do not like or want Hizbullah in their country2. They don't like it that Hizbullah attacked their neighbor and broke all hell loose3. They want all under-handed Syrian influence out of their country4. Their government and army has been too weak to kick Hizbullah across the Syrian border (or bury them 6 feet under)

The Israeli position--1. The Israelis do not like or want Hizbullah2. They don't like it that Hizbullah attacked them and broke all hell loose3. They want all under-handed Syrian (and Iranian) influence to stop messing about with their country4. They are going to have a very difficult time totally quashing Hizbullah because they are hiding themselves among the Lebanese population centers.

Can I just make a pan-political statement here and assert that, when you sort the wood from the chaff, the quality and breadth of analysis coming from the blogs in relation to this conflict is comfortably putting the MSM to shame...

Career Quandrary II

Thank you to everyone who left thoughtful advice at my previous post on Career, Canby and pending poppets. One of the nice things about a blogging community is putting the swords down, posting something personal and feeling like you are in a cafe getting well-meaning and often wise advice from a group of friends.

*Holds Latte to one side, hugs various bloggers in turn*

We headed out on foot to find some dinner. An Antarctic blast hit us, inexplicably coming from the east, gushing down each horizontal street we crossed and threatening to drive us onto the main road.

We talked. We found no easy solution to anything. We found common points of agreement, and identified that much is out of our control.

We ate well at a local Vietnamese place. The discussion itself was what mattered. By the time the main course arrived, a fantastic vegetarian hotpot with a light peanut sauce and fat crunchy snow peas, I was lifting.

There is a paradox to the fact that a child will change our lives so profoundly; on the one hand we won't be going out much so having bars and cafes nearby should be less of a priority. On the other hand the very fact that it will be harder to go out makes having such venues for adult respite close at hand so attractive.

I look at a nice spread in the bush, on the city fringes, and think 'that'd do'. I look at nice calibungs 200m from High Street and think 'that's the ticket'.

Who can tell? When our little hobbit is old enough to appreciate such things we may want to go live in London again, for a few years. Before I hit my teens my parents had shown me Borobudur, the Louvre, skiing in Switzerland and Gunung Kinabalu. I treasure all of those memories, they were highlights of my childhood. The idea of spending a few years exploring the great old cities of Europe with our child is one of my more misty eyed dreams for parenthood.

All we need for the next few years is a comfy house with a good roof, functioning heating, space for the cats as well as the poppet, and ideally some friends or family who'll drop over and have a beer from time to time...

Touch one, touch all, Israel

Israel jeopardised an evacuation by refusing to extend a deadline. A deadline on what? Bombing anywhere near a port that's teeming with civilians?

Citizens have a right to expect better of their government. Australia not only can't pull it's finger out and organise an effective evacuation, 'we' are supporting the people who are threatening to murder our civilians.

It's a national disgrace.

And their stories are both heartbreaking and telling. Stories of families wiped out when small villages are shelled into ruin. This is a war on civilians, they are the overwhelming victims.

This is the representative of a Quisling government:
There's a curfew, the Israelis wouldn't extend the curfew. Some Australians, I think it was actually in the end about 45, got onto the Greek ship, but many didn't...
So why don't you tell them to damn well lift their curfew, Alex? Why don't you tell them that if they kill an Aussie by recklessly bombing ports where our civilians are waiting to be evacuated that will consitute an Act of War and lead to indefinite suspension of all diplomatic relations with Israel?

One brave Aussie dad can't wait for his collaborator Government to get it's act together:

TOM IGGULDEN: But one Sydney father isn't waiting for anyone else's help. Rami Abdallah's wife and 15-month-old daughter are holed up in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon's south, a Hezbollah stronghold and target of Israeli bombing.

RAMI ABDALLAH, FATHER: Last call was yesterday and there was a bit of bombing going on around that area where they are. I don't know if words can describe how they're feeling. It's like - in one conversation, I feel like my heart's about to stop. So, you know, you got a young wife, a young baby, who, you know, are just very vulnerableat the moment.

TOM IGGULDEN: Tonight, he's winging his way to the Middle East on a one-man rescue mission.

RAMI ABDALLAH: Get in and grab them and get out as soon as possible. I hope to be able to get a taxi driver that will get me in, stay, come back with me.

TOM IGGULDEN: If the plan sounds desperate, it's because the Sydney real estate agent says he's got no alternative. He doesn't trust government assurances that staying indoors will keep his family safe. RAMI ABDALLAH: I understand that the Foreign Minister - 'Downer', is that right? - has had some issues in getting, you know, access, and ceasefire or whatever it may be. That's not my problem at the moment, honestly. That's their problem. They've got to deal with that. They've got 25, 35,000 people that they gotta contend with. My job is to get my family out.

My job is to get my family out. What a legend.

As conservatives increasingly question the slaughter, Greg Sheridan has struck a clean path away from his editor and the Howard government:
Lebanese Australians have made a magnificent contribution to this country, from Victorian Premier Steve Bracks to NSW Governor Marie Bashir.
The most promising Arab democracy of all was Lebanon. The world hailed the Cedar Revolution last year when hundreds of thousands of Lebanese bravely took to the streets to demand the departure of Syrian troops and a democratic future. Now Lebanon has been thrown into chaos, turmoil and suffering with so much of its infrastructure destroyed.
The return address on Hezbollah's rockets is postmarked Damascus and Tehran, not Beirut. Heavy strikes against Hezbollah missile sites are warranted, but Israel cannot run Lebanon as it runs the West Bank.
An Israeli strike against Syria's armed forces would have shown Assad he had to pay a price for Hezbollah's activities. Striking Lebanon, which is weak and cannot fight back, causes Assad, and the rulers in Tehran, no pain at all.
I agree. And will the Lebanese view things the same way, that the return address on Israeli rockets is postmarked Tel Aviv and Washington?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Hillary the bloodless dials M for Murder

Her endorsement of the legitimacy of killing large numbers of civilians rang with truth:
In her strongest statements yet on the Middle East, senator Hillary Clinton voiced her support yesterday for Israel's military offensive, saying the Jewish state was upholding "American values".
So it appears, given the bodycount in Iraq.

This following statement demonstrates the complete lack of self consciousness felt by someone who clearly views Arabs and Muslims as lesser human beings:
"I want us to imagine if extremist terrorists were launching rockets across the Mexican or Canadian borders," she said. "Would we stand by, or defend ourselves against the extremists?"
Beyond all exercise of imagination to wonder what you'd do if fighter bombers were killing your civilians at 10 times the rate of the rockets, is it?

What a vile, bloodless beast she is.

And how it gladdens me that we allow these perennially ignorant religious chauvinists to write our foreign policy. Because it sure isn't obvious why people hate America, is it?

A Capital Quandrary of Canberran Queasiness

This morning I had a job interview. They were nice, the role sounds extremely interesting. As they have positions going all over I flagged that, while my first choice is Melbourne, given our strong family and friend supports in Canberra and Sydney we might consider one of those options.

The lead interviewer immediately and visibly sat forward, and explained rather excitedly that they are starting a new office in Canberra and may be offering roles there to people interviewing elsewhere. The interview continued on a good note.

I have another interview lined up, and it is unambiguously based in Canberra. We are having to consider the idea as more than mere remote possibility.

We both want to stay in Melbourne, but this has come about due to the combined factors of beloved wanting to spend the first year with bub, me running out of contract where I am, and my experience, as the sole breadwinner for a good year who is in dire need of a good job, being rather weighted towards policy and government law.

And frankly that's where my interests lie. Where do good, senior, government roles tend to cluster? Canberra. A bit of a clash with my Melbaphilia.

Please, if you are a Canberran, post about the good aspects to this because I'm feeling just a little depressed right now. Last night we chatted about live music, and beloved, who's spent some years living there, said 'well, there's Tilly's....and the uni bar.'

There's not much point having family who might share the baby sitting nearby if your evening entertainment options don't extend much beyond hiring a couple of DVDs.

Go on, tell me I'm wrong.

Then there's the pragmatic issue of finding a decent maternity bed and an obstetrician with only 5 odd months to go....

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Forced out, forced over

Why listen to idiots like me opine, here's someone blogging from the front line, both literally and as a metaphor for moderate support of Israel:
Where am I going? Syria. Didn't want to, but I have to. The people we marched against are the ones you sent us begging to. The people who assassinated our leaders, kept us from having an operating democracy, and who armed Hezbollah are laughing it up because they've won the game because of you.

All my Hezbollah supporting friends are sticking around. They call the rest of us cowards. I guess we are. We want to do scientific research. We want our children to learn how to play the piano. We want to watch our stock porfolios burgeon. We can't do that here any more.

I tried to sympathize with you. I didn't support Hezbollah, and if you look at the posts before this conflict began, I was maligning the political parties that oppose Hezbollah for not doing enough. I even gave you guys the benefit of the doubt at the beginning of this, as did most Lebanese. Even the Shia, Christians, and Druze in South Lebanon understood your position. Not any more.

Oh, well. I'm a refugee.
I understood your position. Not any more.

Hat tip Harry's 'Gnac Linking Post.

UPDATE: Jonathan Freedland on the same sentiment:
Every bomb dropped by Israel will have broken hundreds of Lebanese hearts. Some will have lost loved ones; others will have seen bridges, streets and houses that were painstakingly restored after decades of war smashed into the ground. Those who witnessed it will not forget it, and they will carry a bitterness towards Israel for the rest of their lives, passing it on to their children. The bereaved families of Israeli civilians will feel the same way about their enemy. From all the rational, strategic calculations, this is the factor that is so often missing: the hatred sowed in the human heart. Both sides have ensured this dreadful conflict spreads, not just across borders - but down the generations.
The kids will pay. As always.

4 out of 200: Not bad for a week's killing

Israel's winning the genocide, losing the war:

Earlier, at least 51 people were killed in Israeli strikes in Lebanon and 10 more bodies found, pushing the death toll from the Israeli offensive to more than 200 over the past six days.

Separately, Hezbollah announced the death of one of its fighters, bringing to four the Shi'ite militant group's losses since the start of hostilities.


Four members of Hezbollah out of over 200 dead, and the Right continue to claim this is carefully targeted self defence?

Here's an image which the Right would use to 'prove' that all Muslims are hateful terrorists in the making, if only it showed Muslims:

Messages in Hebrew for the kids about to be blown to pieces at the other end, hat tip SMH.

State of the Crappy Political Nation

If they don't accept our values why do they stay? Extremists who hate our country and its values are attempting to take over a major political party; more from Guy at Polemica.

Thought police catch up with a NSW MP who expressed an incorrect view in a book. Don't go forming the view that someone is innocent then proceed to campaign for them. Ever. Or you can't govern.

The leadership of the country is in limbo, but the likely outcome is a win for lying and a slow death by a thousand slivers of bamboo under the fingernails for the man who could've been:
Mr Howard is preferred as prime minister over Mr Costello by 66 per cent to 20 per cent and over Mr Beazley by 53 per cent to 27 per cent.
Message to the youth of today, read Machiavelli, be a total crunt, lie, and you can have it all.

Will this be the end for Costello? The Libs may take it, with some good reason, as a pretty strong indication that he's close to unelectable. But Howard has shown that if you cling on like a rat on an anchor rope, things can swing your way.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Shock: Pope can open law book, read Bible

The world of conservative hatred, so used to drawing on the Vatican's obsession with sex to justify their own mysogeny and homophobia, is reeling after the Pope's office called reprisals reprisals:
"As in the past, the Holy See also condemns both the terrorist attacks on the one side and the military reprisals on the other. Indeed, a state's right to self-defense does not exempt it from respecting the norms of international law, especially as regards the protection of civilian populations," Cardinal Sodano said. "In particular, the Holy See deplores the attack on Lebanon, a free and sovereign nation, and gives assurances of its closeness to those people who have suffered so much in the defense of their own independence," he continued.
Credit where it's due, at least the Pope's people can open a law textbook as well as a Bible. One by one the decent members of the Right, those with an ounce or more of humanity, and there are many, will acknowledge what is happening.

Hat tip Currency Lad, wading through (and attracting) examples of right wing disbelief.

Prior hat tip Saint.

What's a few hundred dead Lebs between Israel's friends?

The number of people willing to defend outright mass murder is breathtaking. What's Chris Mitchell think when he looks at the civilian death toll then scribbles such garbage?

And Howard, re-affirming that any muslim who associates us with Israel's homocidal tendencies is entirely justified:
"Much as I deplore the violence ... one has to understand Israel's position," Mr Howard said.
Just don't try to make any effort to understand the position of a 100% innocent Lebanese civilian who has their family murdered in a brutal and senseless reprisal. And don't, whatever you do, sit down and think about the incredible gulf between the picture painted by the statistics (that's dead civilians I'm referring to) and the rhetoric about self defence.

Meanwhile, in a high point for mid-conflict humour, Olmert is threatening payback for the latest Hizbollah rocket attack.

Payback? As opposed to what- minor incidental genocidal reprisals?

Will they try to slaughter thousands, rather than hundreds, is that when it becomes payback?

When they get to 500 civilian homocides, will our government, overpaid Murdoch hacks, Bush, conservative bloggers, will these pundits quietly start to fall out of line and question the proportionality of the response?

What about 1000 dead Lebanese civilians? 2000? Use of a WMD? Use of 2 WMDs?

Or is their support a blank cheque, underwritten by sheer anti-Islamic hatred? The rate this is going, we're going to find out pretty quickly just where some people draw the line, if they do so at all.

More comic relief as Bush foots his Putin it!

Bush to Putin:
I talked about my desire to promote institutional change in parts of the world, like Iraq where there's a free press and free religion, and I told him that a lot of people in our country would hope that Russia would do the same.
Putin to Bush (while obviously doing his best not to explode into screaming and uncontrollable fits of laughter):
We certainly would not want to have the same kind of democracy that they have in Iraq, quite honestly.
So bad it's good, so awful it's pleasurable, so naive it's dangerous.

More Baby Boom Absurdity

So we rock up to Yum Cha at the Shark Fin Inn on Sunday. 2 other couples are there; friends with whom we often eat, drink or go on road trips. We were expecting the congratulations and baby talk. We weren't expecting (though damned if we didn't have some suspicions!) one of the other couples to announce that they too are expecting a child in January 2007!

Madness. And it's not Costello. While our announcement email drew responses from 4 other couples among our extended friend group who are also expecting, 3 of those are overseas.

It's just... something in the air!

So what could Israel have done?

(Updated below)

Lefties have an obligation to recognise all attacks on civilians as crimes against humanity. In deploring what Israel is doing, I believe I have an obligation to tackle this question in a less than polemic manner.

Assuming Israel is not without rights in a situation where they continue to be targetted by homocidal maniacs, but also assuming that actions designed to (or recklessly likely to) exterminate civilians in reprisal are never allowable, what would be legitimate? I believe I may depart from many of Israel's detractors in this post, which I am writing entirely off-the-cuff as 'gut' analysis.

I welcome constructive elaboration.

1) Israel has the right to erect the wall, but on their own territory.

That's pretty self-explanatory. The current position of the wall makes it into a substantial land grab. I'm not going to enter the 'where's the border' debate here, but give or take a bit of thrashing you all know what I'm referring to. The left need to acknowledge that, leaving aside the land grab aspect, this wall has reduced suicide attacks and can therefore be justified as a defensive measure. However, see point 3) below.

2) Israel has the right to target those attacking them.

Some civilian casualties in these circumstances are inevitable. Although what is currently going on is clearly sledgehammer-swinging reprisal, it cannot be said that they can never take action that is aimed in good faith at directly hitting their protagonists that may also result in some civilian casualties.

Israel has, due to its experience and high expenditure on the military, an extremely capable air force and commandos as good as (or better than) the SAS, Delta Force and Spetznaz. It simply beggars belief that they could not attack their opponents with far more accuracy, if that was their aim.

In fact, their sprawling attack on Lebanon is a sign of weakness, because it suggests they really don't know where to start.

3) Israel may have a right to create buffer zones.

Let us assume that their attackers are too deeply embedded in civilian populations in Gaza and Southern Lebanon to be targetted without killing large numbers of civilians. It isn't reasonable in my view to simply make bland statements in relation to 'correct' borders and leave Israelis to suffer the consequences.

I have the same view regarding the Golan Heights- until Syria demonstrate that they are not a threat and won't revert to shelling Israel from that strategically advantageous piece of land, no-one can expect Israel to give it back.

It may have been a reasonable response that Israel would drive a few hundred metres, maybe even a couple of kilometres, into Gaza and Southern Lebanon and claim this as a buffer zone. If this was genuine then they would not populate it with 'settlers'.

Settler populations create 'civilian' targets and suggest that the land is intended as a national acquisition rather than a strategic buffer. However a short strip that could be watched and covered by anti-rocket missiles would appear to be justified.

Israel's reprisal slaughter will not win this for them. It is strategically foolish as well as being utterly and indefensibly illegal and immoral. There are other more nuanced steps they could have taken; instead, their conduct demonstrates that this is more about pure, vicious reprisal against civilian populations.

20 eyes for each eye, apparently.

Other lefties say...

If Western governments and leaders demand that the Muslim community do more to criticise “them”, it is not surprising that Muslims look askance when extreme disproportionate action by Israel, clearly involving collective punishment of whole civilian communities, is only met with minimalists murmurings of concern by the West, when Israel is clearly linked to “us”.
Guy at Polemica:
Hezbollah is calling Israel’s bluff, continuing to attack Israel while estimating (probably accurately) that Israel is going to come off decidedly second-best in the public relation stakes, particular in relation to the other Arab nations in the region and the Palestinians.
Shaun at LP:
Hezbollah cannot hope to win a war against Israel and it is unlikely that they even care.
I must respectfully disagree; this flailing response shows that Hezbollah are winning. And they didn't exactly lose last time around.

Eric Lee on why the left should support Israel:
But while the West Bank remained relatively calm, and the Golan completely quiet, Israel suddenly found itself under attack from precisely those territories which it had evacuated. Let's be absolutely clear about the nature of the attack. It was not the case that some Palestinian "militants" (as the BBC calls them) seized one Israeli soldier near Gaza. Those same terrorists (let us call things by their right names), having interpreted the 2005 withdrawal as a sign of Israeli weakness, have been bombarding the western Negev desert for months with their Qassam missiles.
OK Eric, but is slaughtering hundreds of civilians and destroying Lebanon from top to bottom the best response? One the left should, without reservation, support?

UPDATE: Israel are fine-tuning their targetting of terrorists:

Israel has extended its air campaign to northernmost Lebanon, killing at least 14 people, including nine soldiers, in the port of Abdeh near Tripoli.

Beirut's port and northern suburbs were also hit overnight. About 130 Lebanese have been killed since Israeli operations began on Wednesday.
All terrorists! At least this should stop those pesky rocket attacks from Northern Lebanon.
....attacks on a border village killed seven Canadians of Lebanese origin who were on a family holiday.
That will teach Canada to be soft on terror!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Howard defends reprisal killings

Here's Johnny:
This latest incident started because of the Hezbollah incursion into Israel against all of the resolutions of the United Nations, against all of the understandings now of international law.
"Incident"? They've lost the plot. Here's a bit of perspective on his efforts to paper over the Israeli maelstrom of death:
reprisals that have killed 53 civilians in Lebanon since Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers a day earlier.
Murdering 53 civilians (and rising) for 2 captured soldiers? Topping off over 50 civilians killed in Gaza in a futile response to 1 soldier taken prisoner there?

I can see why Israelis get so angry at comparisons with the hated Nazis, it's because they're so damn easy to make sometimes:
In a number of occupied countries, the Wehrmacht's response to partisan attacks was to take and shoot hostages, up to 100 hostages for every German killed.
Sure Mr Howard, is this what you are saying, that every time some terrorist scumbag attacks the Israeli military then that entitles Israel to kill 50 times as many civilians in reprisal?

Are you out of your mind?

Israel has the right to target and kill those who are attacking their own people. Hezbollah and Hamas are riddled with maniacs who don't care what the outcomes of their actions are, who don't care if their own civilians are killed along the way.

Surely though there's got to be a limit to what Israel's allies will tolerate? This is just mass murder, it is beyond any form of justification whatsoever. And because this large-scale killing of civilians clearly and unambiguously constitutes a crime against humanity, one that could easily be argued before any competent court, this madness will haunt Israel for a long, long time.

Lighter relief: Ugly Dogs


Aw, even ugly dogs need a walk, pats and a good rub on the tum...

Via a dogblogging Jellyfish.

Why they hate us Chapter 1357

(Warning, disturbing images of dead terrorists)

First we need to have a clear understanding of terrorism. That's when you kill civilians with the aim of terrorising your opponents into giving you what you want, isn't it?

Are we clear?

Good. Scroll on down.

In response to the capture of 3 soldiers Israel has rightly, and with a sense of proportion firmly in place, invaded two of its neighbours and given the terrorists a taste of their own medicine.

Look, this terrorist got their comeuppance:

Don't come that crybaby crap with me; she may be small, but she was a key player in Hezbollah!

This one looked much bigger without the bodybag:

Israelis will sleep safer now!

And here, a whole bunch of terrorists:

(Thanks Letters Apart)

And don't go telling me I can't count, this is clearly a fair trade for 3 captured military personnel.

And any comparison to the SS practice of killing civilians in response to Partisan attacks in WWII is just offensive anti-Semitic twaddle!

I can feel peace, its just around the corner...

'Those things aren't legs are they?'

Yes, they were legs. At 13 weeks I had no idea you could see so much in a scan. Our beautiful child was kicking its legs and waving its hands around. I counted its fingers, tiny little dots. Its heart flashed blue and red as they tracked the pumping of its blood. From the top I could see both hemispheres of its brain- destined to be huge if it takes after its mother!

I couldn't pull away from the screen except to flash huge grins at beloved. I was ecstatic, the feeling was of indescribable joy and wonder.

We have been going well, and the risk of miscarriage starts to ease off in the second trimester, but this scan, standard in the world of pregnancy, with its capacity to pick up not only chronic disabilities but also disorders that will result in the child dying at birth, was lurking in our minds.

We are now celebrating, relaxing a little. Beloved is upbeat and smiling again.

The mass email and text announcements went out yesterday, and I am still emptying my inbox and catching up on news from people I haven't heard from in years.

And the news is its a baby boom- three old friends (or their partners) are pregnant as we speak!

That Peter Costello, he should find a new career as a fertility adviser.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Downer's latest fib: 'US adhered to Geneva Conventions'

Alexander Downer QC:
Mr Downer says to the best of his knowledge the US has always adhered to the convention in the treatment of Guantamo Bay detainees.
Is this like 'to the best of my knowledge no-one paid sanction busting bribes?' Let's just pull some random sections out of the Convention on treatment of prisoners of war:
...prisoners of war must at all times be protected, particularly against acts of violence or intimidation and against insults...

Measures of reprisal against prisoners of war are prohibited.

...respect for their persons and their honour...

...all prisoners of war shall be treated alike by the Detaining Power, without any adverse distinction based on race, nationality, religious belief or political opinions...

No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever. Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind.

All effects and articles of personal use, except arms, horses, military equipment and military documents, shall remain in the possession of prisoners of war...

Except in particular cases which are justified by the interest of the prisoners themselves, they shall not be interned in penitentiaries.

Prisoners of war shall be quartered under conditions as favourable as those for the forces of the Detaining Power who are billeted in the same area.

While respecting the individual preferences of every prisoner, the Detaining Power shall encourage the practice of intellectual, educational, and recreational pursuits, sports and games amongst prisoners, and shall take the measures necessary to ensure the exercise thereof by providing them with adequate premises and necessary equipment.

Prisoners shall have opportunities for taking physical exercise, including sports and games, and for being out of doors. Sufficient open spaces shall be provided for this purpose in all camps.

And on it goes.

Sound a bit soft? It is. The core notion underpinning this is as follows:

You CAN take them out of action until the fighting is

You CAN'T punish them for fighting for the other

Unless you identify a war crime for which they are directly responsible.

It's not rocket science, you'd think the Foreign Minister or his hatchlings could get their minds around it.

Or maybe they have, and are just following the example of their leader in relation to the truth.

The Unborn Child Who Came In From The Cold

We should be starting to feel safe by now. We have passed the 12 week mark. But we, and in particular beloved, are more afraid than ever.

There's a scene in a Cold War classic by Le Carre. I read it years ago, the detail eludes me. The scene is a short exposed strip of road. At the end of that strip of road is safety. It is so close, the chase is almost over. But as the protagonist starts to run, a finger is squeezing the trigger of a Kalashnikov.

On the cusp of declaring ourselves clear, of making the formal announcement (yes dear readers you are ahead of most of our friends and family), we both feel so prone to losing everything. She is almost distraught with fear, I am helpless and useless beside her. She dreams of miscarriage, waking often.

This week could not go fast enough. I want to run across the last strip of calendar and dive into next week. By next week I know we'll be stronger. Things can always go wrong, but somehow next week seems like it is beyond the reach of the stalking snipers of the 1st trimester.

The Marathon Runs

Ever wondered how marathon sportspeople hang onto their bodily waste for so long? They don't:
Eagan runner and race organizer Mary Anderson said she once ran the New York City marathon, where the runners start at the dual level Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. Some of the runners on the lower level at first thought it was raining. They were being hit by a shower, a golden one. "The men were shooting all over the bridge," Anderson said. "The women were just squatting down."

Swedish cross country skiing star Gunde Svan tells a story about gastrointestinal distress he suffered in the middle of the race, when "that happened which should not happen. In the beginning, it was still good and warm in my trousers, but then it got cold, and I simply began to freeze," according to Svan. But he didn't stop and he won the race.
Pelvic floor strength is clearly an underrated athletic asset.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Costello's Poison Pill?

Triggered by this comment at LP, I'm starting to wonder if Costello has reached a mental place where he is determined to make sure John Howard doesn't get another term. One way or another.

It seems a stretch, but our Parliament has a habit of inspiring meltdowns.

Meanwhile, as I suggested in my previous post, Howard is attempting the 'we can disagree and keep going' approach. It's an olive branch that the Treasurer may be tempted to grab.

At the cusp of war, an uneasy truce is offered...

Who will be evicted from the Big Parliament House?

What can any of us say? Costello has called Howard a Liar, no matter how carefully he sidestepped the word.

This is exciting for the politics buff because no-one can predict the next move, the one after that, or the likely outcome for the Government.

Neither player is bound to take it further. Pundits claim they have to bring it to a head, but it's in their interests to say that. In reality Howard and Costello have lived with the tension this long and there is still plenty of room for them to say 'we strongly disagree as to the exact nature of that discussion, but won't be taking it further for now'.

Either could bring on a fight. But Bishop was wrong when on Lateline she put the ball entirely in Costello's court.

If Costello is telling the truth, and I think most people believe he is, then he has every right to stand back and say 'No, I'm just going to continue to assert the truth, let John decide whether he wants to do anything about it'.

The idea that he doesn't have a point because any such deal would still have been subject to party room approval is wrong. It misunderstands the nature of the alleged promise. It would be obvious to those present that such a handover would not be a fait accompli. What Howard was allegedly promising was that he would stand aside and give his support in the party room to Costello.

That is not an unreasonable promise, it makes sense in the world of politics.

And the number of years that have passed does not diminish the wrong. It makes it worse. Costello has waited in the wings and given largely loyal support ever since. He has been shafted.

The timing of Costello's attack is difficult to fathom, however, and suggests a man at the end of his tether. He could have played down MacLachlan's note while endorsing it, let the issue slide a little for now.

I think there was a real chance that Howard was considering retiring before Christmas. Given uncertain polls over IR, an issue owned by Costello, the temptation to walk out on top and leave the mess to his deputy must have been stronger now than at any point in the past 10 years. I actually felt in my gut that it might happen, I haven't felt this before.

Now, if he goes voluntarily, it will look like he's bowed to the pressure or tacitly conceded to Costello's version of events. He won't be keen on that.

And the Liberal Party, if it comes down to a challenge? Anything is possible but they've shown many times over that they value winning more than integrity. Costello has ridden the wave for 10 years, he should know the score.

After all, the issue of whether Howard broke a promise is not the same as the question of who is more likely to win the next election for the Liberals.

Meanwhile, excitement ripples across the poliblogs: Fits celebrates good times, Mark Bahnisch says maybe nothing's going to happen at all, and Tim Dunlop says Howard:
hubristically and arrogantly, according to his own assessment, tried to organise the leadership for himself on the basis of a deal rather than a straight-out vote
and asks
does anyone seriously think that he would’ve done this without offering something in return?

We wait. We drink coffee. We wait some more.

Fantastic and well-deserved headbutt

I don't care if it was 'dirty terrorist' or 'I wish an ugly death to you and all your family', Materazzi, who was upholding his team's strategy of relying on dirty tactics, deserved every PSI of that headbutt.

Zidane should be proud to go out in style. Here, I'm best player in the tournament, and what's more take that *ungh* you dirty cheat.

My only criticism is he should have grabbed the filthy racist douchebag by the lapels, for leverage, and aimed a bit higher.

Here's a chicken and egg puzzle. Who inspires the other- Italian politics or Italian football?

Friday, July 07, 2006

Beazley vs Education

Kim, ex Oxbridge geek, sniffs votes in the anti-intellectual kneejerk vote:
Kim Beazley has dismissed the push by federal Education Minister Julie Bishop to reinstate the teaching of traditional Australian history in schools as an "elite preoccupation". The Opposition Leader insisted that the plan, revealed in The Australian yesterday, was part of a trend by the Government "to talk about anything other than those things which matter most". "Fundamentally, what we need now from our education ministers is a focus on trades - encouraging young men and women into trades," he said.

(Hat tip LP)

First, why does this have to conflict with a rounded education? Why can't all kids get a broad education then opt for a trade if that's where their skills are?

Second, is he effectively saying working class kids don't deserve an education in core academic disciplines?

Third, is Labor deliberately positioning the Liberals as the 'Education Party' for the next election, with Labor the party dedicated to pumping out productive little units for industry?

Fourth, does he think that a more educated population would not be a more tolerant and left-leaning population? I remember polling from the last election that suggests otherwise.

Fifth, if the issue is concern with historical 'whitewashing' then say that.

Personally I'm quite happy with all the politics from both sides being stripped out of high school level history studies. I believe a comprehensive understanding of history gives people the tools to put current events in context. I think it might give people more civic pride, as Howard wants, but even with Windshuttle in charge of the curriculum you couldn't get around the fact that our occupation of this land was not consensual, and the fact that all non-aboriginals are descended from either crooks or immigrants.

This is a disturbing development. Education is a plenary issue, so Beazley better work out whether he's with it or against it.

Proportionate response

Israel are not using the capture of 1 soldier to go on an unhinged rampage:
Israel has widened its offensive in the Palestinian territories, carrying out a strike in the West Bank following a day of violence in Gaza during which at least 17 Palestinians and an Israeli soldier were killed. A number of Palestinian militants have been injured in an Israeli Defence Force attack on alleged terrorist leaders in the West Bank town of Jenin. The attack missed its key targets, with the leaders of the Al Aqsa Martyrs brigades and Islamic Jihad escaping unharmed.
Who's advising them, Donald Rumsfeld?

Palestinian anger remains puzzling, clearly a consequence of Islamic doctrine or somesuch.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Late Abortions: A leftwing paradox

Contrast the strong ideological conviction expressed by Paul at No Pod, in relation to late term abortion and infanticide of females in India, with that expressed by Suki in relation to late term abortion of a foetus with dwarvism.

When I read Suki's post I was unable to comment. Understandably a lot of vitriol was directed at Julian McGauran, an unpleasant anti-choice activist who is using this sad case to pursue a much broader agenda. However even assuming the mother was bordering on suicidal at the time, the idea that dwarvism- primarily a disability due to society's intolerance and emphasis on physical perfection- would drive a mother into such a state and warrant an abortion just weeks from birth is for me extremely saddening.

I don't know the answer to this quandrary. If the mother was really suicidal then there was nothing else to do. But it is a sad indictment of our society. In much of the developing world if you are born woman you are a second rate human. But what if you are born 'unattractive' or 'deformed' in our society? Where your greatest disability is the stares you'll attract all of your life, the struggle to find a partner, the cold, cutting laughter?

Who are our most vulnerable members and how does our 'civilisation' treat them?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

That's not a poll, This is a poll

It seems last week's poll and commentary were premature; Labor is now trouncing the Tories:

Opposition Leader Kim Beazley has received a significant boost as he battles the Government's industrial relations laws, with Labor surging to 53 per cent support on a two-party preferred basis.

In a big shift in voter sentiment, the Coalition's primary vote has slumped to 40 per cent while Labor's has jumped to 41per cent and satisfaction with the way Mr Howard is doing his job has dropped to its lowest rating in eight months.

As Coalition MPs contemplate a possible leadership change later this year, the Prime Minister's approval rating has taken a nosedive. Just days after returning from his latest overseas trip, more voters now disapprove of Mr Howard's performance than praise his work -- the first time he has hit negative ratings since February.

I wonder how the Australian's pundits, eager to please their ultimate boss with their anti-worker drivel last time around, deal with this dose of reality.

Dennis, do you have anything to say??

Howard's battlers may not be latte swaffing university lecturers, but they aren't long black skolling 6 figure income pocketing editors and bloggers-with-credit-cards either.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Big Brother News II: Is Gretel Killeen Pregnant?

I can't always be political.

Based on the loose frumpathon outfits she's been wearing lately, culminating in tonight's Kermit green mu-mu, I'm moved to put the question out there.

In case it's true you'll have seen it here first- I'll get my CV over to the 3am girls pronto.

Rape's a laugh if you're a Big Brother kinda guy

(Updates I and II, below)

John and Ashley's sexual assault of Camilla is already old news, but check out these comments left on a thread at Ausculture and carefully distilled and linked by Cristy:
Camilla was probably begging for it, its obvious shes a cock starved slut from what shes said in the past, john and ash should get a million each and should sue camilla for getting close to his cock the skanky whore

Camilla needed a good slap

Camilla was actually giggling as if she really wants it. She is a dirty
scum whore

she deserved a few firm slaps...
See, talk of educating males about sexually appropriate behaviour is just political correctness. Aussie males know the difference between sexual assault and good clean fun, or between a slightly assertive emotionally vulnerable young girl and a 'skanky dirty scum whore'.

You know, the skanky dirty scum whores are the ones who are asking for it and need a good slap. Like, because they are on a cruise, or Big Brother, or, I dunno, are walking down a dark street on their own when a few likely lads are out in need of some entertaining.

Sometimes a significant portion of my gender are like another species. Sometimes I wonder if Houellebecq was right when he predicted that humanity could find peace by developing the capacity to reproduce without males and then phasing them out.

UPDATE: Last night's show could provide study material for a thousand psychology assignments. Note how Crystal, a repugnantly stupid little ball of silicone and makeup, openly tried to haggle with Big Brother about the removal of the two sex offenders from the house? Crystal's reaction, plus her general breast-enhancing himbo-chasing brain-disengaging approach to life, demonstrate that feminism (or is it just humanism- how can preventing sexual assault be only a feminist issue?) has almost as many obstacles among women as men.

Gretel's revolting spray about "misleading media reports", which seemed to imply that really kids it's not as bad as what you're hearing, confirmed that this hyena does not have the skills to handle complex incidents on a 'high risk' show and should be driven down to the dole queue forthwith.

Big Brother himself handled it ok, all things considered.

Having given the matter some thought overnight, I think ending the show would be a kneejerk reaction. Worse, it suggests that the cause of the incident is the particular nature of the Big Brother house and the pressures of the show, allowing people to avoid the conclusion that the conduct reflects a wider problem that our society has to grapple with.

Logically you'd expect the opposite: that this happened despite the cameras suggests that an ordinary house full of young yobs might give rise to even more abusive conduct.

But why start grappling with a significant social problem when you can take aim at one show and simultaneously improve your standing with the Wowser* set?

(* Thank you to Gallaxy for the nomenclature!)

UPDATE II: Speaking of wowsers, Paul Gray says we need to return to pre-sexual revolution days. You know, when people expressed their sexuality by buggering children and going for 'business trips' with their secretaries. Thanks to Liam for that tip.