Fair and balanced discourse – is that what we want?

The skirmish that erupted here on The Political Sword last week with one blogsite labelling this one as exhibiting "unremitting one-eyed left wing bias", and another accusing the site of ignoring or demeaning opinions that conflict with those held by the majority of those who comment here, warrants a re-examination of what constitutes bias, what constitutes balance, and how we should address these conflicting positions on this blogsite.

We have often complained about bias and lack of balance in other blogsites, news outlets and political programmes. We have deplored the grotesque anti-Government bias exhibited by sites such as Andrew Bolt’s in the Melbourne Herald Sun newspaper and in his new TV show The Bolt Report. Last week The Political Sword was being labelled as the left wing equivalent of Bolt, but "not as entertaining".

To reflect on what balance is about, let’s get back to its original meaning. A balance used for weighing has a horizontal beam pivoted in the middle from which weighing pans are suspended from both ends. That to be weighed is placed in one pan and standard weights in the other until the beam is horizontal, or ‘balanced’. In other words that of unknown weight is balanced against known weights. In political discourse much the same happens. The weight of a proposition or an opinion is estimated by setting it against established norms or standards, or against other propositions or opinions. We then seek to ascertain if there is a balance. Sometimes a proposition or an opinion does not carry the weight it was hoped it had, and the balance tips against it. The more evidence that can be assembled in support, the better it weighs in. This is what we attempt to do here. We present facts and figures and reason from them a position that seems sustainable, that counterbalances contrary positions or perhaps outweighs them. Different people give different weight to propositions and opinions, sometimes so much so that no agreement can be reached, no balanced position can be established.

This analogy might be seen by some as somewhat too philosophical, but when it’s all boiled down, the weighting we individually give to elements of an issue determines whether agreement is possible. Let’s illustrate this with a contemporary example – the asylum seeker problem.

If everyone agreed that asylum seekers deserve our concern and that they should be warmly received from their war-torn lands into our land of bounty, the only issues would be how they could arrive safely, and how many we could reasonably take. We all know that is not the case. Refugee advocates have a largely open-armed approach, while many of our citizens don’t want refugees here at all because they believe they will take our jobs, or because they come from a different culture they dislike they believe they will not assimilate into our society. There are many in between who can be persuaded one way or the other by public opinion, the media or politicians. But the media and politicians have different views. Some place heavy weight on controlled arrival and are antagonistic to those who arrive by boats, people they regard as ‘queue jumpers’. Others feel that demonizing boat people is wrong, pointing out that more by far arrive by air. Some are strongly opposed to people smugglers and want that trade stamped out. Others insist that these are simply ‘travel agents’ facilitating travel to this country of needy people. One could go on reciting the many other factors about which different people or groups have quite different views, often so strongly held that compromise is impossible, balance cannot be achieved, nor can it be argued for logically because of the different weights people assign to the various factors that apply. The dilemma for politicians elected to govern is how to strike a balance between the conflicting forces, some of them party political, that pull them this way and that, often with overblown rhetoric. We should not envy them their task.

So how should we here regard the quest for balance, and with it fairness?

When it comes to external sites or media programs we have often called for balance. We know that commercial blogsites such as those conducted by Andrew Bolt or Piers Akerman, or radio programs orchestrated by shock jocks like Alan Jones or Ray Hadley, will never be balanced. That is not their object. But we do wish our national broadcaster to be so. It has seemed to us that sometimes the ABC’s idea of balance was to put together people who hold extreme opposite views and let them battle it out, which has resulted in the matching of a heavily right-leaning commentator, not with one heavily leaning the other way (because there are very few of them), but with moderates. The heavyweight generally managed to outpunch and outweigh the others. Our idea of achieving balance on shows such as Insiders was to engage balanced panellists, those who could embrace positions that sometimes favoured one side of politics, sometimes the other. When that has happened with journalists such as, for example, Laura Tingle, Lenore Taylor and George Megalogenis, the quality of discussion has been so much better than when those with extreme and inflexible views have been used.

This brings us then to how we here on The Political Sword should seek to achieve balance. It is apparent, at least among the 180 who leave comments, that a substantial majority favour the Labor Government, embrace its philosophy, and want it to succeed in implementing its program of reform. Those same bloggers resent what they see as the Opposition’s tactics of negativity and obstructionism that impede the Government’s legislative program, and its unremitting attempts to demean and diminish the PM and the Government in the eyes of the electorate. But TPS bloggers can also see flaws in the Government and how it goes about its business. An oft-repeated complaint has been about the Government’s poor record of explaining its policies and plans to the electorate. Recently we here at The Political Sword have suggested the concept of the PM giving ‘fireside chats’ and have furnished examples of how they might be framed. We do not see ourselves as ‘one-eyed’ lefties as characterized by another blogsite. One only has to read the pieces posted and the comments to realize that.

There are some however who visit here from the opposite camp and express views antagonistic to Labor, but strangely not overtly supportive of the Coalition. Sometimes the way they have expressed their views, especially when embellished with personal remarks about other bloggers here, has raised hackles and evoked a similar reaction. This has led to much to-ing and fro-ing with insults rather than well-reasoned counterarguments. Generally no one gives way and no resolution is achieved.

While everyone who blogs here is bound to have a leaning one way or the other, it should be possible for each of us to accept each other’s views provided they are backed with facts and logically reasoned, and not accompanied by insulting remarks about other bloggers. Can we achieve that? Recent exchanges suggest that it is possible.

What I am saying is that while we wish that commentators on political programs would be balanced and be able to express arguments for and against any proposition or opinion, achieving that same balance on blogsites is problematic, principally because individual blogsites will attract mainly like-minded individuals, whether they are right or left leaning, with a sprinkling of those from the other side to take up the cudgels.

Given that constraint, how can we on The Political Sword achieve more balanced and fair discourse?

First, we reserve the right to be critical of the actions of political parties, sometimes heavily critical as in the piece last week: What have we done to deserve an Opposition leader like Tony Abbott? But let us try to be critical of all sides of the political spectrum, difficult though that may be because of our leanings. Equally we reserve the right to defend those whom we believe are trying to do the ‘right thing’. We ask that those who comment here from a different viewpoint do so courteously and with compelling arguments and that they be responded to respectfully. If we all can achieve that degree of balance and fairness, The Political Sword can go up a notch in everyone’s estimation, perhaps even in the eyes of those who like to criticise us now. As NormanK points out, those who post material here should be aware that a new visitor might gain a wrong impression if our language is immoderate; we should temper our words accordingly.

Which brings us to a more vexed question. Is a blogsite entitled to have overt leanings one way or the other? Certainly the conservative blogsites believe they have this right. Those operated by Andrew Bolt and Piers Akerman are extreme examples of heavily anti-Government sites.

Is The Political Sword to be a ‘balanced’ site by giving equal prominence to extreme views from both sides of the political spectrum, something the conservative blogs never do? Or should it be ‘balanced’ by respectfully accepting a range of views in comments, provided of course that they are courteously put and not accompanied by personal abuse? It is the latter that seems appropriate to me; certainly not the former.

When I began blogging my main target was the media, and still is. The way the media has portrayed PM Gillard and her Government, and the way Tony Abbott and his Coalition members have played the compliant media to get their disingenuous messages across and accentuate the media’s condemnation of her and her Government, has propelled me toward even greater support for her and what her Government is trying to do, and against what the media and the Coalition is doing to frustrate that.

I am a Labor supporter, a supporter of PM Gillard and her Government, and antagonistic to Tony Abbott and his Coalition’s belligerent obstructive behaviour. Therefore in what I write here I will continue to express viewpoints consistent with that position. I see no reason to soft pedal while the Bolts, Akermans, Joneses and Hadleys and other extreme right-leaning outlets pour out their anti-Government rhetoric unabated. I hope that The Political Sword might, even in a small way, counterbalance what these people emit day after day to large audiences.

What do you think? What do you want The Political Sword to become?

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Rx

13/06/2011Ad Astra, it should go without saying that you're perfectly within your rights to run the blog however you wish. When right wingers storm in here demanding you do such-and-such, you're perfectly within your rights to bounce them out again. There is more than enough media out there that boosts Abbott and denigrates Labor as their business model. Let's keep this site decidedly left-of-centre as a small measure to BALANCE up the ridiculously one-sided media in this country.

David Horton

13/06/2011Counterbalance Ad, boots and all. It is impossible to imagine the shock jocks like Bolt ever considering the point of view of people like us (if I may be so bold), or doing anything but laugh uproariously at the idea that they should. You are a very civilised fellow though, and I'm happy to do the kicking on my blog (just doing John Howard as a blowfly if you must know, following my earlier piece on climate change nutters http://davidhortonsblog.com/2011/06/11/over-the-cuckoos-nest/). And as the commenter above says - it's your blog and you can do what you like with it. You owe nothing to the right wing blogs, need pay them no attention at all. Just keep up the good work of publicising and connecting progressive voices in this country. At the same time though, as you note above, unlike the right wing blogs for whom Abbott can do no wrong, we must keep Labor and the Greens up tot he mark in both policy and practical terms. The parties have their own websites to push their own line. The advantage of our blogs is that we are not bound to accept those lines in detail.

NormanK

13/06/2011Good morning lyn I put this up at the end of the previous thread before I realised we'd moved on. Thanks for today's lovely links. How are your [i]Notepad[/i] skills progressing. If you have any questions these links might prove useful or you could seek help from the tech-heads here at [i]TPS[/i].:) http://www.smartlabsoftware.com/howto/notepad-tutorial.htm http://www.seniorsguidetocomputers.com/software.asp

2353

13/06/2011Well written AA, I suspect that no information portal (whether it be a blog site, newspaper or other media outlet) can be perfectly balanced - as in a perfectly level bar between two opposing weights or opinions - due to the inherent perceptions and bias of the contributors, their editors and publishers. When a outlet doesn't allow conflicting opinions (as against pre-prepared "talking points" issued by one side of the "argument") to be aired - that's when there is a potential case of lack of balance. As examples: * There are some posters on this forum that, as you point out, argue the ALP Government is hopeless. When they seem to be flogging the LNP message of the day, they are in my view rightly derided. When they propose an independent opinion (as one did in the last thread), they were warmly congratulated by me and others. * Would I be given a "fair hearing" without interruption if I argued against their opinion the shock jocks on their radio/TV shows? I doubt it. Mediawatch has demonstrated this lack of procedural fairness on a number of occasions over the past few years. * Would my opinions remain published on blog sites such as Menzies House (assuming they were contradictory to the message of the proprietors of the site)? Again I doubt it. TO be fair to TPS, the number of non-spam posts removed since I have been a contributor could I think be numbered in the tens. Contrary opinions to the majority of opinions on this site generally remain on the site. TPS may be leaning to the progressive side of politics but criticism of The Greens and ALP is as "allowable" as is criticism of the LNP or the media in general. To be equally fair, I don't participate in a lot of media like Menzies House, the Alan Jones radio program or Newscorp publications. The reason is that when I do consume information from those outlets I really haven't liked what I've got for some reason so I have exercised my rights and chosen to ignore them (mostly). They may publicise some extremely informative, valuable and useful opinions - its just I haven't seen or heard many examples that resonate with me. I wont be searching out the new ".xxx" internet sites for the same reason as I won't listen to Alan Jones (if he's on air in Queensland) or contribute to blog sites like Menzies House - they don't interest me and they have different morals/ethics to mine. For those that like ".xxx" material, Alan Jones or Menzies House they are welcome to it provided they don't try and tell me my views are wrong without providing a good reason. Those that suggest TPS is unbalanced may genuinely believe it is - and they have every right to their opinion. However if they want to change my opinion, they need to use logic and examples not insults and propaganda. The bottom line is this rant is this. AA owns the site, s/he is allowed to set the tone. That TPS seems to be reasonably popular suggests that others share most of AA's views, morals and ethics. If you don't like it - don't read it. Do a search or two and I'm sure you will find something right up your alley.

Mobius Ecko

13/06/2011Keep doing what you have always been doing, to do anything else is to become like the ABC where it thinks it's being fair and balanced but in attempting to be balanced it's actually being biased against the government and aiding the negativity of the opposition.

Glorfindel

13/06/2011“I am a Labor supporter, a supporter of PM Gillard and her Government” I am a Labor supporter, card carrying party member too, and I'm absolutely aghast at the ineptness of PM Gillard and her Government. The damage she is doing to the brand is incalculable. It's starting to make the last few years of the NSW government look polished and competent. It's even starting to make Abbott look electable to the wider electorate – a feat I'd long considered impossible to achieve. Reading this blog is like watching an overly doting parent spoil a much loved child completely rotten. If an election were held today we'd be saying hello to PM Abbott. I can't think of a much worse state of affairs and so far neither the real Julia or the fake Julia or any other Julia seems to be doing much about it. I can only hope her political career to date (Medicare Gold anybody ?) was a warm up and the real “real Julia” is about to burst out of the blocks and claw back the lead she's gifted to the conservatives. Otherwise I hope, in their next very long stint in opposition, that Labor gets it's act together.

macca

13/06/2011I, for one, have transgressed the rules of this site and allowed myself to be baited by the recent visitors. I don't apologise. However I shall try to do better. Should the TPS have a bias? Most certainly! Personally I believe that PM Gillard and her Govt. are doing a quite remarkable job. Given the flak they have thrown at them day after day. The media beat ups, the Oppositions unrelenting negativity and the general ho-hum of the electorate. Although the Govt. seems to be winning the legislative race. After all, government is, at the end of the day, about governance, not politics. Or it should be. That the MSM is running an agenda to unseat and destabilise the Govt. is pretty much irrefutable. This, in and of itself, is worrying. Of much more concern, to me, is the devaluation of the individual vote. That vested interests can use massive resources to create false scare campaigns, start and fund " concerned citizen groups" and basically own a political party..(eg the Qld LNP.)should be a wake up call to any fair minded citizen. Does Australia need a left of centre political blog. My bloody oath it does. ps. If there are 180 contributers to this site the amount of readers must be quite considerable. Something to consider when drafting responses and comments I would imagine.

NormanK

13/06/2011Glorfindel (No sarcasm) You are exactly the sort of person we need here to provide another viewpoint on the issues of the day. No doubt you will encounter some robust rebuttal and defensiveness but it is people such as yourself who stand the best chance of highlighting the shortcomings of the Gillard Government (presuming that they exist). I have no wish to 'not know' these things but when they are presented as extremely broad brush statements they are not properly addressed. I don't agree that this government is fundamentally incompetent but I certainly could well believe that in individual areas they are flawed. Point these out, following Ad astra's desire that it be factual (unless expressly stated otherwise) and courteous. I, for one, would welcome such comments.

Paul

13/06/2011The other thing to keep in mind is how you reach your conclusions. How do you weigh up the facts? What reasoning do you apply? What is your logical approach? Do you have any bias? To me, it comes down to deductive or inductive analysis. With deductive analysis, to put it simply, its coming up with a theory and then finding facts to confirm the theory. With inductive reasoning, its getting the facts first & then moving to a theory using some thinking and analysis of those facts. Thus, selective use of facts to bolster an argument is a case of deductive reasoning. This is the disease of much political discussion. Its the "don't-let-the-facts-get-in-the-way-of-a-good-story" syndrome. Its the way of getting your argument inside the 10 seconds allowed for the news grab. And so, to have a balanced discussion on any topic take the facts, all of the facts, weigh them up, and then reach a conclusion.

Ad astra reply

13/06/2011Folks Thank you for your rapid, comprehensive and impressive responses to this piece to date. I'll reply in more detail after we have fed lunch to the large family we have with us over the long weekend.

janice

13/06/2011Ad astra, I'm with Mobius Ecko, 2353, David Horton and Rx. There is no need to change anything for anyone. Critics of TPS are those who seem to be green-eyed over the quality of the discussions we have here, and over the fact that our regular posters do not resort to abuse and vilification when challenged by those "on the other side" or those whose views differ widely from ours. We may chide abusers with calls for rational and fair debate but I think we have all been patient and willing to welcome everyone with a contribution to make. So far as I am concerned, The Political Sword is your blog and it should be what you what it to be. If anyone comes into your 'home' then they must abide by your house rules - if they don't then you have every right to tell them to leave and not to come back.

Catching up

13/06/2011At least they get their comments posted here. That is extremely unlikely on sites such as Mr. Bolt's. Very good post. It seems all the left wing sites are under attack. You must be doing something right.

Min

13/06/2011Ad astra. I believe that the TPS goes some way to approach a balance against the mainstream media. Keep up the most excellent work.

Jason

13/06/2011Glorfindel, Of course as a "member" who has the right to vote on preselections state and federal, attend sub branch and FEC meetings and try to put policy objectives forward that can be put before state council and state and national conventions and not be swayed by the factional war lords!With the current malaise of the party as you see it, who should take the blame the "members" such as "you and I" or someone else?

Sue

13/06/2011One of the things we taught our kids was from the book "when I say no I feel guilty". Unfortunately we were not so good on instruction as they decided in high school to apply some of the techniques. Anyway to the extreme right out there too bad. Some sites will not be closed because you yell bias. This is not the ABC.

TalkTurkey

13/06/2011Ad astra About this word 'balance' - It's what we DON'T want! What good is balance? We want resolution! You know that awful ad, Ad, :) , for I think it's called "Inner Health Plus"? Little greeblies all pretty blue with smiley faces and Poodle Pyne voices on one side of a beam balance (scales) amd a whole slew of nasties on the other side yahooing and out to do mischief to us? Helicobacter I suppose, and gastroenteric Things like the single-celled equivalent of trolls? Well we don't need them at all! I don't want balance. I want resolution! Is it Anubis the Jackal-Headed God of the Underworld who held the scales weighing a human heart against a feather, to see whether the soul of the dead owner would go to Hades or somewhere better? What good would it be if the scales didn't tip either way? Oh yes and remember the witch being weighed against a duck in the Monty Python movie? "'s a fair cop!" she agrees when the duck outweighs her and they take her away to "Burn 'er! Burn 'er!" See Ad you only get an outcome when there isn't balance. The problem is getting enough people on one side so that they can make the others STFU as they say. That might sound undemocratic, well No, it's the very core of democracy really. Now btw I'm not necessarily saying DemocracyGood Everything else Bad, I'm saying conflict has to be resolved, not balanced, and that's a problem in any difference of opinions, never more starkly than when there is a hung parliament with such as Abbortt as LOTO who can only oppose oppose oppose like those bad-news gut greeblies in the Inner Health Plus ad. Ad. It's not really a trite point though it might seem so. Au contraire, I actually think there's something almost profound in there. It is not up to the ABC to provide "balance", which implies Their political judgment: it is its job to provide information, and let the people decide who is witch. Slimy Plimer and Pop-Eye Monckton and their ilk should have no place on the Sword. Even if this site were a democracy, which it is not. They have a disgraceful record of telling lies. They have no equivalence with scientists whatsoever and should not be countenanced. Why should they even have a voice here? Tell 'em to [what Jason says!] And their I'm not saying that of jj. S/he/it might be trying to offer a reasoned pov, though s'he/it has to use pretty tortured and one-eyed logic. But perhaps s/he/it's softened a little, and isn't as hateful as of yore. Perhaps. Really hateful stuff, what, do we balance that with really loving stuff? Well Hell we DO! We do anyway! We OVER-balance it with love of country and decency and each other, see ourselves as socialists or humanists or Good Samaritans (whom I'm not sure had a religion!)or perhaps even christians, h'mmm. There are snarls here and there even among goodwillians, but look at the mix here on TPS, 180 contributors, just a handful of trolls! Who wants balance? I want us to win every time. As Harry Jenkins would say: Order. Order! Or-der!!! The House will come to order. OR-DAH! ORRR-DAH! ORDER! Ad astra has the call.

janice

13/06/2011[quote]I am a Labor supporter, card carrying party member too, and I'm absolutely aghast at the ineptness of PM Gillard and her Government. The damage she is doing to the brand is incalculable. It's starting to make the last few years of the NSW government look polished and competent. It's even starting to make Abbott look electable to the wider electorate – a feat I'd long considered impossible to achieve. [/quote] Okay Glorfindel, that is your view but for me, I would like to know what has brought you to being 'aghast at the ineptness of PM Gillard' and what exactly is the damage she is doing to the brand. I have, of course, a different view and would welcome the opportunity to try and understand yours.

Tom of Melbourne

13/06/2011Drop the pretence of balance. You don’t put politicians and commentators to the sword. You engage in partisan criticism of the half you don’t support. You may have started with the objective of balance, but you’ve lost it.

Steve

13/06/2011For many years the ABC went to great lengths to establish "balance" and then along came a well organized campaign to promote the idea that the ABC had a "left wing bias". This campaign succeeded in shifting management and program content further to the conservative side of politics. Reporting on climate change is a good example of the shift. I now laugh when I hear the conservative side complaining about "bias" it is just part of their total media strategy.

Michael

13/06/2011Today's Bad Abbott. Visit here: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/opposition-leader-tony-abbott-says-the-detention-centre-on-nauru-could-be-ready-within-weeks/story-fn59niix-1226074177463 to read The Australian's typically unbiased report. (Yeah, right.) TA reckons a lick of paint and a pane or glass or two will have the place up and ready in no time at all. If you caught any of the television news reports of Shouldabeen wandering around the abandoned refugee holding facility on Nauru, the evidence of its tumbledown status would make you wonder just how savvy Shouldabeen is when it comes to 'home repairs'. There's a heck of a lot more work to be done there than he fancifully seems to believe will make the place both habitable and properly functioning for Australian bureaucrats to deliver the service an asylum seekers' processing facility is meant to. Or does he merely see it as a holding pen safely over the horizon? Need we really ask? Tellingly, with this quote below, Shouldabeen then went on to manifest his remarkable grasp of economic concepts again: "Nauru is by no means the financial marketplace that it was a decade ago so they are not desperate for it ... but they know the problem we've got with boatpeople and they are happy to help," he said. Is he confusedly equating 'marketplace' with 'basketcase'? Because we know that when then Foreign Minister Downer made the deal with Nauru it was just after the leader of that nation at the time came asking for a $300,000 loan to tide his country over. I think it's possible to describe a nation in those sort of financial straits as being a basketcase, don't you? Nauru is apparently much better off now, so the current leader says his country is not "desperate" to have the facility re-opened. Well and good, but Shouldabeen still said what he said - "marketplace" in a linguistic 'place' where it simply doesn't make sense. Linguistic or economic. We know that Shouldabeen rarely does make sense, but this nonsensical sentence commenting on a situation he's been talking about for the best part of a year makes you wonder - does he actually think deeply about anything? Because with his mis-statement isn't he both retrospectively insulting Nauru of a decade ago, and, doing so currently again by simultaneously suggesting that not much has really changed there if, while not "desperate", they're ready to go back to a place they were once in - a financial basketcase? An unconscious slip of the tongue? Shouldabeen and "unconscious" fit together like fist and boxing glove.

John

13/06/2011Hi, All I've been quite sick, so this is teh firt time for more than a week I have visited. As far as being unbalanced, all journalists, including bloggers, bring their own perspectives to their writing. That is human nature, and different from an covert editorial / hiring policy of using pro-conservative journalists, as happens with News Ltd and Sky News. My own leanings are towrds Labor, but I do not have a history of always voting that way. However, I was once called a 'latte-sipping, chardonnay-drinking left wing Howard-hater' because I dared to criticise his treatment of refugees. I considered it a badge of honour, since my criticism was based on ethical considerations. People who post & comment on this site have, in my experience, not been afraid to criticise teh PM &/or Ministers. Much of that is consistent with to Andrew Wilkie's comment that the government has lost its moral compass. (also the topic of today's post on my blog) :)

lyn

13/06/2011Hi NormanK I am sorry I took so long to answer your comment. Whenever I get worried everything seems to go wrong. First I slept in until 7am making my links late, then I dropped my hair gloss, broken all over the tiles. then the blog writers were all late writing, long weekend then I burnt the toast. then forgot to take the washing out of the machine. I know there is something in small birds genes that makes them panic a bit sometimes. Have you read "A Fortunate Life" by Albert Facey, if not you must do so. Everytime things go wrong for me I think of Albert's book and his life, an amazing story. No NormanK, I haven't tried notebook yet, thankyou so much for your helpful instructions on "how to". I will check out the links you have sent me as soon as more time becomes available. Cheers

TalkTurkey

13/06/2011Tune: (One-eyed one-horned flying) Purple People Eater John is a - Left wing, latte-sipping, chardonnay-drinking Howard-hater Chardonnay-drinking left wing latte-sipping Howard-hater Latte-sipping Chardonnay-drinking left wing Howard-hater - Sure sounds good to me! :)

reb of Hobart

13/06/2011I wholeheartdely support and agree with the comments of Glorfindel. Labor is no longer the socially progressive party it once was. It has taken a dramatic lurch to the right with its treatment of asylum seekers being just one example.

linux web hosting

13/06/2011Hi everybody else !!! The blog was totally fantastic! you all do such a fantastic job at such Concepts..., for one appreciate all you do!

NormanK

13/06/2011Ad astra Thanks for putting this topic up. It is healthy to re-evaluate our goals. So, to the bad things first. I include myself in these criticisms. We do at times react in a knee-jerk fashion to some commenters who speak unfavourably of individuals or policies which we broadly-speaking favour. This reaction might arise from the knowledge that the commenter is a serial offender or that the criticism was couched in such a way as to cause offence. At times it might just be that we were caught on a bad day but we are human and can not be relied upon to be angels all of the time. We do at times refrain from discussing a topic which we feel might run counter to a general theme of being supportive of the current government. It is not as though that baton is not gleefully taken up by others who blog and the press in general. Still, it should perhaps be viewed as a shortcoming. We sometimes post when we are angry. Never a good idea and it serves no useful purpose except to feed the demons inside and of course as a result they become even more ravenous. Pride plays an unwelcome part in the rare confrontations that occur here. On the good side. For the most part, original articles and comments are well thought-out and not knee-jerk reactions to a news headline or policy announcement which has not been fleshed out. As much as humanly possible, links are provided to verify facts or to at least indicate that another source accords with the statement being made. We are charitable. By this I mean that given the potential for misunderstanding that goes with the territory of on-line writing, far more often than not if a choice has to be made about whether something someone else has written was designed to offend or not, the charitable option is most often taken and the comment in question is subjected to query not angry retaliation. (This is not a snipe at [i]treldgt[/i] over a recent misunderstanding, I don't do snipes.) It is all too easy to find offence in what someone else writes, it is more difficult to admit that there may have been a misunderstanding on the part of the reader or that the wording as it was composed was less than perfect. This is one of [i]TPS[/i]'s greatest attributes and should be cherished. We should, all of us, take great care when writing, that our words are not likely to provoke misunderstanding. And when reading, be charitable about the possibility that the reader might just as readily be at fault as the writer. It is always worth bearing in mind that it takes two to tango. In the time that I have been here I have never once seen a contributor ridiculed solely for their level of education, their writing skills or shortcomings in that department, their naivety at perhaps taking a simplistic view of a complex matter or a request for more information where detail was seen to be lacking. These attributes are to be cherished and nurtured. Confrontational debating is not the order of the day. In other words, there is very little bullying here. There is a propensity to admit that we have been wrong when presented with irrefutable proof and, conversely, a decided lack of gloating when we are shown to be right. I appreciate the wide variety of backgrounds and life experiences of those who comment here. No-one can reasonably expect to have had all of the life journeys that are available and therefore insights into them and insights that flow from them are valuable. As for balance, the [i]ABC[/i] is currently trying to satisfy an academic's version of balance whereby a stopwatch is employed and word-counts are seen as highly meaningful. The end result is a deterioration in objective, useful reporting. [i]TPS[/i] is what it is and provided we stick to the truth as we understand it, we can do no more. I have said elsewhere, enterprises stand or fall depending on whether they can garner an audience and [i]TPS[/i] has an audience of thoughtful, helpful contributors. The sense of community might well be the source of envy in others. That's the long answer. The short answer is that we need to be careful what we write, careful how we read and pay little attention to those who come into a fish & chip shop and demand a haircut. [i]The Political Sword[/i] was an oasis a little over a year ago when I stumbled upon it and it continues to be so now.

lyn

13/06/2011Hi Talk Turkey Magic tune again from you today. John is a good writer, and always a good read isn't he and I love because he tells me when a new blog goes up. [i]Tune: (One-eyed one-horned flying) Purple People Eater [/i] In Search of a Moral Compass, John, True Politik Morals are not the exclusive domain of religions, or religious groups. Different societies have different moral codes, sometimes at odds with religious groups within their society. http://truepolitik.blogspot.com/2011/06/in-search-of-moral-compass.html

Gravel

13/06/2011Ad Astra Please don't change the tenor of this site. It is a rarity on the internet, and doesn't exist in the MSM, in that most people here support the Labor government. With all the negative propaganda bombarding us from every which way but loose, I find this is a little Island of peace, hope and congeniality. If I see something misreported or misrepresented or straight out lied about I often wonder if I am just too biased against the opposition, then I come on here and find a wonderful group of people that have seen the same thing and it is good to not feel alone. I don't understand why some people come here to be abusive, but for myself, I recognise their avatar, skip past their comments and go on my merry way. I am proud to be a Labor supporter for so many reasons, but to state a few of them; they got us through the global financial crises better than most of the other countries in the world the biggest rise in all pensions ever, which had nothing to do with a stimulus package rolled back Workchoices fixing up the health care system improved the school system, e.g. naplan to help parents, teachers and the government to establish which schools need more assistance. got rid of more than 80 discriminatory laws for same sex couples managed to separate Telstra And that is just a few things I can think of off the top of my head. Nah, silly me, Labor has done nothing and is no good. Oh wait, some things in the pipeline, National Broadband Network, Mining resource tax, carbon price.......with many other things to come. P.S. NormanK, you have said it all, the bad and the good, thank you.

lyn

13/06/2011Hi Norman K There is a comment up above, from me did you see. Cheers

Feral Skeleton

13/06/2011Of course we want to keep TPS going! It's our home away from home in the blogosphere, the place where I feel most comfortable expressing myself about matters political, and if that means it gets derided as a 'one-eyed leftie blog' as a result of our combined contributions, then so be it I say. As being a supporter of the Progressive Centre Left of politics is not a capital crime as far as I know, though some who comment here would like to make us believe it is, therefore there is a reason for being a blog that caters to these sentiments in the Australian community. Which is fair enough, as Ad Astra says, because he welcomes debate from all sides of the political spectrum here. However, as he also says, he has his own particular point of view and, as it's his blog, he has a natural right to express himself here as he sees fit. It's up to other posters to try and persuade him, and the rest of us, to another viewpoint, if they have one. Though it must be based upon verifiable facts from reputable sources, if it's to gain currency and favour here. We are not beyond being persuaded, despite what others may impute. Myself included. Despite what others, both here and on other blog sites, might suggest, in florid and colourful terms. Lord knows I wrestle with the human frailties of the ALP as I see them on a daily basis, and my commitment to it. I can't, on the other hand, help the fact that I am a member of the ALP and I comment here and I post blogs here. However, and this is where I think people who criticise us here get confused. They mistake our core belief in Progressive values with a perversion they deride as being a 'lefty'. Also, they try and make out that we are out of our minds for 'picking and sticking' with the ALP, and not going with The Greens or the Coalition parties, and because we defend the efforts the good ALP governments are making, as we see it anyway. Personally, I think we have a right and a duty to do that if we truly believe in what the ALP stands for, despite the dysfunctional personalities of a few bad eggs in the party, or the occasional poor decision. Especially considering that so little of the MSM these days is inclined towards a balanced point of view wrt the Gillard government, itself. Although as 2353 pointed out yesterday, that particular Titanic might be beginning to turn around. I, for one, would appreciate the coming of the flood of balanced reporting that would herald. If it became the case blogs such as TPS may not be seen as so overtly 'Left' because we would be seeing it balanced elsewhere in the public domain. Until that time, I suppose, TPS will continue to attempt to provide the balance we do not see elsewhere. From our particular political perspective, as AA has articulated it. For which he is unapolegetic, as he should be. So, in essence, even though some may say we are not balanced here, I think we provide balance of a particular kind. I believe we have a right and an obligation to do so and be a counterbalance to the heavily imbalanced rest of the media. And long may we continue to do so. Despite the slings and arrows that get sent our way. All that means to me is that we must be making waves that are being felt elsewhere, however positive or negative that that may be seen as by others. We are but humble messengers with our own particular message. Please don't shoot us. Just provide fair criticism, that's all we've ever asked.

TalkTurkey

13/06/2011Swordsfolks Thought we should know what Halal slaughter and Kosher killing is supposed to be like. Both these descriptions are from Wikileaks. Enjoy. "Dhabīḥah (Arabic: ذَبِيْحَة‎; Arabic pronunciation: [ðæˈbiːħɑ], or Zabiha) is, in Islamic law, the prescribed method of ritual slaughter of all animals excluding camels, locusts, fish and most sea-life. This method of slaughtering animals consists of a swift, deep incision with a sharp knife on the neck, cutting the jugular veins and carotid arteries of both sides but leaving the spinal cord intact. It must be done with respect and compassion; avoiding as much as possible any animal pain or discomfort. The precise details of the slaughtering method arise from Islamic tradition educated by prophet Muhammad, rather than direct Quranic mandate. It is used to comply with the conditions stated in the Qur'an: Forbidden for you are carrion, and blood, and flesh of swine, and that which has been slaughtered while proclaiming the name of any other than God, and one killed by strangling, and one killed with blunt weapons, and one which died by falling, and that which was gored by the horns of some animal, and one eaten by a wild beast, except those whom you slaughter; and that which is slaughtered at the altar and that which is distributed by the throwing of arrows [for an omen]; this is an act of sin." —– Al-Maa'idah 5:3 Yeah well that all makes sense eh. Kosher slaughter "Mammals and fowl must be slaughtered by a trained individual (a shochet) using a special method of slaughter, shechita (Deuteronomy 12:21). Among other features, shechita slaughter severs the jugular vein, carotid artery, esophagus and trachea in a single continuous cutting movement with an unserrated, sharp knife, which is intended to avoid unnecessary pain to the animal as consciousness is lost quickly due to loss of cerebral blood pressure. Failure of any of these criteria renders the meat of the animal unsuitable. The body must be checked after slaughter to confirm that the animal had no medical condition or defect that would have caused it to die of its own accord within a year, which would make the meat unsuitable.[18] These conditions (treifot) include 70 different categories of injuries, diseases, and abnormalities whose presence renders the animal non-kosher. It is forbidden to consume parts of the animal, such as certain fats (chelev) and the sciatic nerves from the legs. As much blood as possible must be removed (Leviticus 17:10) through the kashering process; this is usually done through soaking and salting the meat, but organs rich in blood (the liver) are grilled over an open flame.[19] Fish (and locusts, for those Sephardi Jews who agree that they are both kosher and edible) must be killed before being eaten, but no particular method has been specified in Jewish law." Sorry Folks, (and when you read on and see the rest of their damfool rules and bullshit) well I reckon it's just the most arcane, spooky, bizarre, gory, superstitious and most of all barbaric gruesome stuff imaginable! Fundamentalist Religion, bah! I'm no vegan, but if I knew my steaks were going through like those processes in Indonesia I'd have to turn to quiche . . .

Sue

13/06/2011Feral Skeleton @4.32 Hear hear

John

13/06/2011Talk Turkey ROFLOL - now we have ear worms! Arrrgh! Lyn Thanks for the kind comments. (and I don't care who I criticise, as long as they deserve it) Some posts are better than others, which is really the nature of blogging. :) John PS I AM getting better - not nearly so many typos in this response.

Michael

13/06/2011Bad Abbott #2 for today http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/national/national/general/abbott-warns-pensioners-over-carbon-tax-promise/2193269.aspx Shouldabeen trying to frighten pensioners that the promised pension rises from the government won't actually come through after the introduction of a carbon price. Conveniently ignoring his own policy to take back any compensation people may have had should be be elected next time around. Pension rises taken back by PM TA. Fear-mongering and lying by omission about his own intentions. Lying to real (and vulnerable) people with real concerns, when his only concern is to frighten them into voting Coalition. This fellow is dyed in the wool evil.

NormanK

13/06/2011Hi lyn Message received. Just yell out if you get stuck. I have [i]Windows[/i] on a Virtual Machine which I can crank up if we need to walk through something. Take the plunge, girl! :D John Remiss in not wishing you well. I hope you continue to improve.

2353

13/06/2011Jason said [quote]With the current malaise of the party as you see it, who should take the blame the "members" such as "you and I" or someone else?[/quote] Really good question. The answer will reflect on the poster (if you get one). Tom of Melbourne said [quote]Drop the pretence of balance. You don’t put politicians and commentators to the sword. You engage in partisan criticism of the half you don’t support. You may have started with the objective of balance, but you’ve lost it. [/quote] This is just the thing that AA was talking about on this thread. You are entitled to your opinion, however if you want to convince others of it you need to substantiate it. That is the basis of genuine discussion of ideas. Your comment above in its current form seems designed to get an argument going. Until you can play by AA's rules, please stay away - just as you would expect others to do on your blog. NormanK said [quote] That's the long answer. The short answer is that we need to be careful what we write, careful how we read and pay little attention to those who come into a fish & chip shop and demand a haircut. The Political Sword was an oasis a little over a year ago when I stumbled upon it and it continues to be so now.[/quote] Agreed (with the entire post). And last but not least Gravel listed a number of positives of the past nearly 4 years of ALP Government. The issue with this list is that no one in the ALP seems to be able to get the traction so this list becomes the accepted norm. Until they do - they're in trouble. The LNP (state and federal) expediency should have the media in a spin pointing out the errors of fact. The original and ongoing point of this blog is that the media doesn't - so someone's gotta do what the media won't do. Recaptcha bingo "raboul standards" - could be construed as a description of the media.

Feral Skeleton

13/06/2011Michael, I suppose, in his own evil way of thinking, Abbott means that the government will give with one hand and take with the other. The man's malevolence knows no bounds. I mean, if that's the case the GST was worse. :)

Feral Skeleton

13/06/2011Sue, It was all my own work too! :P

Feral Skeleton

13/06/2011If anyone wants to understand the lengths Conservatives will go to in their Culture and History Wars to morph reality to a shape that suits them(square ;-) ), then you must read this: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/06/12/984417/-The-conservative-war-on-facts No wonder we need TPS!

lyn

13/06/2011Hi Michael How good are you 2 "Bad Abbott" posts. Love them. Thanks for the link. Sad isn't it, going to keep happening until the MSM start questioning after they begin to do their homework, which means if they did their homework they could work out their questions. Mr Abbott is probably going to drop his statement about withdrawing the pensioners compensation, he will say the Devil made him say that, or that was before, or things were different then. Michael you should keep a file do you think?. Forget the all the other stuff, just keep a record of the slow gradual missremembering, or the changed speak, twisting, turning. rephrasing. I'm trying to keep all the tradesman jobs that Mr Abbott has performed in my head, it's doing my head in. They are speaking different on the NBN now, also Climate change,parental leave, maybe next the words will change about Nauru, the boat phone, dams caused the floods in QLD, must be heaps more different speak going on. Cheers

Ad astra reply

13/06/2011Folks Having fed lunch to the family and farewelled them, and having read your comments, so full of thoughtful commonsense, I will try to respond seriatim. Rx So often you have been the first to respond. Thank you for your supportive comments and your advice “[i]Let's keep this site decidedly left-of-centre as a small measure to BALANCE up the ridiculously one-sided media in this country.[/i]” That echoes my sentiments. David Horton Thank you for your reassuring and supportive remarks. It is a coincidence that your excellent piece "Over the cuckoo's nest" about soap box orators, which is related to my piece today, was posted so recently. http://davidhortonsblog.com/2011/06/11/over-the-cuckoos-nest/ I resonated with your paragraph referring to latter day soap box orators: “[i]And yet here we are, in the internet age, and these fellows are clogging up every thread on climate change, ensuring that the Labor government is too frightened to undertake action on global warming, and the Liberals don’t want to. They are screaming about refugees, and Aborigines (still), and unwed mothers, and gay marriage, and guns, and “greenies”. Screaming loudly, but their voices no longer restricted to the back bar of the Black Stump Pub, instead on blogs from anywhere in the world, having an influence, their importance magnified not by the echoes of the pub toilet wall but by the world-wide web.”[/i] I enjoyed too “The morning after” listed in Lyn’s Links, http://davidhortonsblog.com/2011/06/12/the-morning-after-2/ and filled in your questionnaire. Please let us have the final result. 2353 Thank you for your kind remarks. I agree with your opening comments: “[i] I suspect that no information portal (whether it be a blog site, newspaper or other media outlet) can be perfectly balanced - as in a perfectly level bar between two opposing weights or opinions - due to the inherent perceptions and bias of the contributors, their editors and publishers. 

When a outlet doesn't allow conflicting opinions (as against pre-prepared "talking points" issued by one side of the "argument") to be aired - that's when there is a potential case of lack of balance.”[/i] after which you gave examples. You final comment sums up the situation well: “[i]
AA owns the site, s/he is allowed to set the tone. That TPS seems to be reasonably popular suggests that others share most of AA's views, morals and ethics. If you don't like it - don't read it. Do a search or two and I'm sure you will find something right up your alley.”[/i] BTW, AA is very definitely ‘he’. Mobius Ecko Thank you for your “Keep doing what you have always been doing' advice. Glorfindel Thank you for your considered opinion, which illustrates how different individuals see the same events so differently. You see PM Gillard seriously damaging Labor, perhaps irreparably. I, like Janice, see her as doing a sound job of governing the nation in the face of an obstructive Opposition and having to negotiate everything with independents in a ‘hung’ parliament. She has made mistakes, but in my view has many more positives than negatives against her reputation. Still we can agree to see things quite differently and wait to see how it all turns out.

Jason

13/06/2011 Bias is in the eye of the beholder! there are some who might say we are nothing more than a cheer squad of the left and we cant see any fault in anything they do. There are others who write on here who no matter how much evidence is produced to support the "topic/topics" you will be told your wrong. I think the blog should be a battle of ideas for and against,However if and when the opposition finally gets around to serious policy development,and stops doing stunts such as "the long weekend in Nauru" and forgets about the policies of John Howard and puts something solid up against the "current" policies that are in place it is hard to be to critical of the current government, and there are some things to be critcal of! Yes I'm a member and secretary of my sub branch so I do have a bias in my views, but that doesn't mean I agree with everything that Labor does in fact I would love to see the back of the out of touch factional warlords to start with,and start giving the rank and file a bit more of a say in "party policy" and pre selection ballots. It's not a fight I'm likely to win but I'll keep on trying.

Ad astra reply

13/06/2011macca Your comments are always to the point. I agree with: [i]”Personally I believe that PM Gillard and her Govt. are doing a quite remarkable job. Given the flak they have thrown at them day after day. The media beat ups, the Oppositions unrelenting negativity and the general ho-hum of the electorate. Although the Govt. seems to be winning the legislative race. After all, government is, at the end of the day, about governance, not politics. Or it should be.”[/i] and your conclusion: “[i]Does Australia need a left of centre political blog. 

My bloody oath it does.[/i] and you PS: “[i]

If there are 180 contributors to this site the amount of readers must be quite considerable. Something to consider when drafting responses and comments I would imagine.”[/i] Yes macca we have many, many more visitors, who choose to be silent. NormanK Your words are always wise. I agree with your supportive words about Glorfindel’s comments. I resonated particularly to “[i] We do at times react in a knee-jerk fashion to some commenters who speak unfavourably of individuals or policies which we broadly-speaking favour. This reaction might arise from the knowledge that the commenter is a serial offender or that the criticism was couched in such a way as to cause offence. At times it might just be that we were caught on a bad day but we are human and can not be relied upon to be angels all of the time. “

We do at times refrain from discussing a topic which we feel might run counter to a general theme of being supportive of the current government. It is not as though that baton is not gleefully taken up by others who blog and the press in general. Still, it should perhaps be viewed as a shortcoming. “

We sometimes post when we are angry. Never a good idea and it serves no useful purpose except to feed the demons inside and of course as a result they become even more ravenous. 

Pride plays an unwelcome part in the rare confrontations that occur here… “Confrontational debating is not the order of the day. In other words, there is very little bullying here. 

There is a propensity to admit that we have been wrong when presented with irrefutable proof and, conversely, a decided lack of gloating when we are shown to be right. 

I appreciate the wide variety of backgrounds and life experiences of those who comment here. No-one can reasonably expect to have had all of the life journeys that are available and therefore insights into them and insights that flow from them are valuable. “The short answer is that we need to be careful what we write, careful how we read and pay little attention to those who come into a fish & chip shop and demand a haircut. 

The Political Sword was an oasis a little over a year ago when I stumbled upon it and it continues to be so now”[/i]. Thank you. Gravel How warming was your opening paragraph: “[i] Please don't change the tenor of this site. It is a rarity on the internet, and doesn't exist in the MSM, in that most people here support the Labor government. With all the negative propaganda bombarding us from every which way but loose, I find this is a little Island of peace, hope and congeniality.[/i]” FS Thank you for your insightful comments. I am in harmony with your opening remarks: “[i] Of course we want to keep TPS going! It's our home away from home in the blogosphere, the place where I feel most comfortable expressing myself about matters political, and if that means it gets derided as a 'one-eyed leftie blog' as a result of our combined contributions, then so be it I say. As being a supporter of the Progressive Centre Left of politics is not a capital crime as far as I know, though some who comment here would like to make us believe it is, therefore there is a reason for being a blog that caters to these sentiments in the Australian community. 

 “Which is fair enough, as Ad Astra says, because he welcomes debate from all sides of the political spectrum here. However, as he also says, he has his own particular point of view and, as it's his blog, he has a natural right to express himself here as he sees fit. It's up to other posters to try and persuade him, and the rest of us, to another viewpoint, if they have one. Though it must be based upon verifiable facts from reputable sources, if it's to gain currency and favour here. We are not beyond being persuaded, despite what others may impute. 

 Myself included.”[/i] And your conclusion: “[i]So, in essence, even though some may say we are not balanced here, I think we provide balance of a particular kind. I believe we have a right and an obligation to do so and be a counterbalance to the heavily imbalanced rest of the media. And long may we continue to do so. 

 "Despite the slings and arrows that get sent our way. All that means to me is that we must be making waves that are being felt elsewhere, however positive or negative that that may be seen as by others. 

 “We are but humble messengers with our own particular message. Please don't shoot us. Just provide fair criticism, that's all we've ever asked.”[/i] How true!

Ad astra reply

13/06/2011Patricia WA This bog engine does not permit me to edit comments; only delete them. I suggest you post the comment again with the wording the way you want it, and I'll them delete the redundant ones.

Acerbic Conehead

13/06/2011AA, Keep on doing what you're doing. As long as jj is unhappy with what you write, I'm happy. BTW, I sent you something on Saturday night. Jason, Great to see you back.

Ad astra reply

13/06/2011AC Thank you for your kind comment. I've just now sent you an email.

Ad astra reply

13/06/2011Folks Since this piece was posted at 10.34 a.m. there has been almost 50 comments, which must be close to a record. I'm working through them but may not get to respond to all of them tonight.

debbiep

13/06/2011Ad astra - the reason as to WHY I enjoy reading your blog daily, many times a day actually, is for the very reason you have just shown above - you write about your concerns. And your concern SHOWS in your writings by the questions you ask, and the topics you cover. Many a good bloggers- TO ME- seem to have a left leaning agenda, a reason as to why Lyn's links is also important with articles I support, and see as a more informative value than the MSM. I take it then that those that feel this blog is left leaning do not like sites such as Poll Bludger, as they to have an informative Gillard discussion, like here. As do other great bloggers like Grog, Cafe Whispers, Ash and now David Horton...and the rest-etc. Over the last few years I have spent online on Political Chat forums , informative research has been important to pass on. That I have a lot to owe to You, Lyn and comments made in those forum and links based on the facts, and scrutiny by those commenting. AND - More so now with the downgrading , of un- researched, junkie journalistic style, we have to deal with when you cannot sadly tell the difference between an ABC News headline and a Commercial TV station headline- when Once, you could. I hope that that 'privilege' is not taken away, from me - And others.

debbiep

13/06/2011'we have to deal with when you cannot' sorry, meant to say we have to deal with IN THE MSM , when you cannot :)

lyn

13/06/2011Hi Ad Thankyou very much for you delightful, enjoyable article Ad, I love you writing, you always choose very interesting topics. Sorry I am a bit late, with my appreciation note. My usually well orgainized day has become out of order today and I don't know why. I am even behind with reading the blogs for my Links as well. [quote]almost 50 comments, which must be close to a record.[/quote] see how popular you are Ad Astra. They have kept me busy just reading Ad, so you must be really, busy trying to answer everyone. Also they are wonderful informative comments from our readers. Cheers

Ad astra reply

13/06/2011Paul of Berwick Thank you for your informative comment and for reminding us about the types of reasoning that are used – deductive and inductive. Your are right when you say: “[i]To have a balanced discussion on any topic take the facts, all of the facts, weigh them up, and then reach a conclusion.”[/i] That is what is required rather than taking a desired conclusion and cherry-picking the facts that support it, while ignoring the contrary facts. janice I appreciate your concluding sentence: “[i] So far as I am concerned, The Political Sword is your blog and it should be what you what it to be. If anyone comes into your 'home' then they must abide by your house rules - if they don't then you have every right to tell them to leave and not to come back.”[/i] From you, the one to comment on my very first blog, on Possum Box three years ago on 14 June 2008, that is a wonderful demonstration of loyalty, which is what keeps this blog going. Catching up I like your observation: [i]”It seems all the left wing sites are under attack. You must be doing something right.”[/i] Min I do appreciate your comment: [i]”I believe that the TPS goes some way to approach a balance against the mainstream media. Keep up the most excellent work.”[/i] TT I take your point: “[i]About this word 'balance' - It's what we DON'T want! What good is balance? We want resolution![/i]” and “[i]I'm saying conflict has to be resolved, not balanced, and that's a problem in any difference of opinions, never more starkly than when there is a hung parliament with such as Abbortt as LOTO who can only oppose, oppose, oppose…”[/i] and “[i]Au contraire, I actually think there's something almost profound in there. It is not up to the ABC to provide "balance", which implies Their political judgment: it is its job to provide information, and let the people decide who is witch.[/i]” sue I agree with your point: “[i]Anyway to the extreme right out there too bad. Some sites will not be closed because you yell bias.”[/i] They do not recognize their rhetoric as biased, but rather as the truth, their truth. So why would they listen to others? Tom of Melbourne What a pity you have nothing constructive to say. You say TPS has lost its balance, but as TT has pointed out, maybe balance is not what we need, but rather resolution of our differences. Would you care to contribute to that objective? Steve I guess you saw the latest academic study that showed the ABC has a right-wing bias, which is what John Howard set out to achieve, or at least counter what he and his Communications Minister Richard Alston saw as left-wing bias. Like you: [i]”I now laugh when I hear the conservative side complaining about "bias" it is just part of their total media strategy.”[/i] Michael Thank you for another Bad Abbott – it’s not difficult to find material is it? Abbott’s statement: [i]"Nauru is by no means the financial marketplace that it was a decade ago so they are not desperate for it ... but they know the problem we've got with boatpeople and they are happy to help,"[/i] is another example of his economics credentials. Imagine he and Barnaby running our economy. It’s just as well Joe Hockey and Andrew Robb are there to prop him up, albeit with shonky ‘savings’ and neo-conservative economics. John I hope you are soon fully recovered. You make a good point: “[i] As far as being unbalanced, all journalists, including bloggers, bring their own perspectives to their writing. That is human nature, and different from a covert editorial/hiring policy of using pro-conservative journalists, as happens with News Ltd and Sky News.[/i] Please post the link to you latest blog piece.

Ad astra reply

13/06/2011HI Lyn You seem to have had a bad day. Let’s hope tomorrow dawns brighter. Thank you for your always-supportive comments. It is those like you who keep this blogsite vibrant, informative and entertaining. You are right. There has been scores of enlightened comments today, comments that point [i]TPS[/i] in the direction its supporters want it to go. Like you, I am gratified by, and grateful for their advice.

Tom of Melbourne

13/06/2011[i]” maybe balance is not what we need”[/i] That is a matter entirely for you. My point is that this site has the facade of “putting politicians and commentators to the verbal sword”, and you neglect to address yourself to this. There are plenty of sites for committed political supporters, as there should be. But few adopt the thin veneer of this site.

Alex Schlotzer

13/06/2011I wouldn't worry too much about the naysayers. In my opinion you get rid of the bullies and rude bastards and toy with the rest. After all it is your blog and if right-whingers don't like they can go to Bolt's blog to complain about it. Keep up the great work and providing some left-wing balance to the right-wing mainstream media.

Jason

13/06/2011AA, Balance tonight on ABC1 TV news here in Adelaide! First item NZ Quake! fair enough Second The ash cloud and the disruption it has caused! Also fair enough fourth item! the ramp ceremony of the last soldier killed in Afghanistan being loaded for his trip home. Fair enough Fifth item!the current happenings with the live cattle problem. Also fair enough What didn't belong there was item number three! which was about two men and their trip to Nauru, who were kicking the "tyres" of the detention facility and speaking to the government as though they were just days away from being sworn in as our "new" government. Lord Monckton will be here soon on his "The Great Climate Cange Swindle" tour of which in the interest of "balance" will no doubt be reported as news! I dispair!

Ad astra reply

13/06/2011reb Thank you for contributing to the debate about what [i]TPS[/i] ought to be. I see that, like Glorfindel, you are disappointed at the direction Labor is taking. You see Labor’s approach to asylum seekers as a dramatic ‘lurch to the right’. As I mentioned in this piece, the asylum issue is one on which the spectrum of attitudes and beliefs is vast with opposing views being several standard deviations from the mean. At one extreme are those who think the Government is too soft; at the other there are those who believe it has lost its moral compass. I think it must be one of the most difficult issues for the Government to manage, as whatever it does, there will be many who will be seriously displeased. It’s easier for the Coalition – just lock them up in Nauru for long periods in the belief that it will, with TPVs, ‘stop the boats’. Whether this Pacific Solution was the reason the boats stopped is only an assumption. Anyway, to get back to your point, the Government is seeking to stop the people smuggler trade another way, with human rights safeguards. We will soon see what they are and how this plan works. It would be so much easier if the electorate could be persuaded to the view that asylum seekers ought to be welcomed in the reasonable numbers now arriving. But that is not so. So Government is caught in the pincers between those who want a liberal humanitarian approach to asylum seekers, and those who don’t want them at all. What a dilemma for representatives of the electorate to manage!

Ad astra reply

13/06/2011Jason It’s so good to have you back. I agree with your sentiment: “[i] I think the blog should be a battle of ideas for and against. However if and when the opposition finally gets around to serious policy development and stops doing stunts such as "the long weekend in Nauru" and forgets about the policies of John Howard and puts something solid up against the "current" policies that are in place it is hard to be to critical of the current government, and there are some things to be critical of![/i] If only we had plausible Opposition policies to debate. The Nauru ‘Pacific Solution’ is problematic and the DAP on climate change is so implausible that debating sensibly against the utterances of Tony Abbott and Greg Hunt is impossible – even Malcolm Turnbull knows that. So there’s little policy to debate, only slogans to counter.

Patricia WA

13/06/2011[b]In answer to your question - [/b] I don't come here for balance, But rather for an audience Who’ll hear me out with tolerance; After making their acquaintance, To enjoy a bit of dalliance, With people of intelligence As well as wit and brilliance. Where when Labor lacks coherence, I find constructive conference. Where I can express with vehemence My loyalty and allegiance To a PM of great competence; Admire her strength and elegance, Her fairness and benevolence. Here Coalition petulance Is seen with its malevolence Since they didn’t win the preference Of those vital independents. Two fair men who weighed the evidence And achieved for Oz good governance Are those to whom I look for balance. Thanks, Ad Astra, you can now delete my two previous postings of today. It's been wonderful reading not only your lucid and very balanced post, but also the heartening support for your conduct of the blog by your regular visitors here. Lovely too to read of how so many of us unashamedly share a perspective on this current government like that of Gravel and others like her and yourself.

Ad astra reply

13/06/2011Patricia WA What a delightful way of portraying ‘balance’! Thank you another of your pomes. AC Thank you for your supportive remarks. I have your email and will take your advice. Debbiep Thank you for your generous remarks: “[i]Ad astra - the reason as to WHY I enjoy reading your blog daily, many times a day actually, is for the very reason you have just shown above - you write about your concerns. And your concern SHOWS in your writings by the questions you ask, and the topics you cover. 

 “Many good bloggers- TO ME- seem to have a left leaning agenda, a reason as to why Lyn's links is also important with articles I support, and see as a more informative value than the MSM. 
I take it then that those that feel this blog is left leaning do not like sites such as Poll Bludger, as they to have an informative Gillard discussion, like here. As do other great bloggers like Grog, Cafe Whispers, Ash and now David Horton...and the rest-etc.[/i]. Such support is heartening. Tom of Melbourne I think you will be satisfied only when I sink the sword deep in the heart of PM Gillard and her Government. As many here have commented, we do not believe that this Government and this PM is bad, as many in the media and the entire Coalition wish to paint it. So it’s not a matter of declining to wield the sword against the Government, but finding not too much to wield against, despite what you, the Opposition, and the media think. Please allow us our opinion. Alex Scholtzer Thank you for your supportive comment: “[i]Keep up the great work and providing some left-wing balance to the right-wing mainstream media.[/i]” I value that.

Ad astra reply

13/06/2011Jason That's our ABC! Tony Abbott knew he would get publicity, which was all he wanted. The 'Nauru Solution' doesn't have to be feasible, or sensible, or humane, or solve a problem. It just has to sound plausible enough for people to believe. I hope you enjoy the Lord Monckton; I believe he's quite an entertainer!

Ad astra reply

13/06/2011Folks It's been a long day, so I'm retiring to bed to watch [i]Q&A[/i]. I hope I have not missed responding to any comment on this piece.

Jason

13/06/2011AA, Despite my earlier doubts there is a god! We here in SA it seems have been spared the "the mad monck tons" tour! You however have not been spared as he has two shows in your fair city at $25 a shot! http://climatesceptics.net/?p=1878 LORD MONCKTON TOUR_white_background(3) Bookings through Ticketek. Phone 132 849 or go to www.ticketek.com.au $25 per person 6th July 7.00pm Starlight Room, Wests New Lambton NSW 7th July 6.30pm Wesley Theatre, Sydney NSW 8th July 7.00pm North Sydney Leagues Club NSW 13th July 7.00pm Brisbane Broncos Leagues Club QLD 20th July 1.00pm German Club, 291 Dandenong Rd, Windsor VIC 20th July 7.00pm German Club, 291 Dandenong Rd, Windsor VIC

TalkTurkey

13/06/2011Alex Well said! "right-whingers" - yeah right! Gee but aren't they a wet lot - ToM da Typo, reb de la Gutter, and sameoldjj! I do so appreciate their input here, it serves at least two purposes, one, it reassures me that those on the the Right have about as much nous as nazi sentries in Yankee war movies, two, it shows how open we are to different points of view no matter how pathetic! :) Oh abd three, it provide me with grist for my mill : Fun (K) With (K) Trolls

Tom of Melbourne

13/06/2011You seem to forget some of the poisonous commentary here. Just a very quick recap. • Nasking posted some views suggesting misgivings about the government. Many here just launched a very personal attack on him. • I posted an opinion on lack of government action about issues such as gay marriage. Immediate attack and presumptions about my personal sexual orientation were the common responses. • Your contributors have a history of attacking the messenger, they dislike accepting the reality of failure of the government. You appear to think that’s all fine.

TalkTurkey

13/06/2011Ad astra said 'Min I do appreciate your comment: ”I believe that the TPS goes some way to approach a balance against the mainstream media. Keep up the most excellent work.”' Min, I want to add my voice to Ad's. I have read some of your comments elsewhere and I just want to say, you sound very sensible and decent. And courageous not least. Over.

lyn

13/06/2011Hi Alex Thankyou for your comment, I appreciate it very much. I am sure you are very busy with your own very successful blog, and to take the time to come and comment on TPS excellent. Thankyou for your support. [quote]I wouldn't worry too much about the naysayers. In my opinion you get rid of the bullies and rude bastards and toy with the rest. After all it is your blog and if right-whingers don't like they can go to Bolt's blog to complain about it. Keep up the great work and providing some left-wing balance to the right-wing mainstream media.[/quote] Book: Review Crashing the Gate [quote]It speaks to how disjointed the progressive liberal efforts have been; especially in coordinating a response to the growing strength of the GOP. There are also vital lessons to learn about being reliant on focus groups and the consultants. Reading the book about the state of national politics in the US had remarkable similarities to what I see as some of the issues plaguing the left in Australia. There are some very good lessons to learn for the Australian Greens in how to avoid being split by different issue-based groups and factionalism.[/quote]http://alexschlotzer.wordpress.com/

Patricia WA

14/06/2011Well, that was a great day, wasn't it! Thanks to a link to http://northcoastvoices.blogspot.com/2011/06/abbott-caught-out-again-by-his-own.html over at Cafe Whispers I was able to do another pome about it being [i]Tony Abbott Who Is Toxic, Not The Tax![/i]Thanks too, FS, for that line, which I used, that 'Tony Abbott can't lie straight in his bed but he can lie with a straight face.'

lyn

14/06/2011 [b]TODAY'S LINKS[/b] [i]Journos in Jarmies , Mr Denmore, The Failed Estate[/i] Over at Club Troppo, Don Arthur has run a post titled 'The Blogosphere's Delusions of Grandeur', regurgitating the now ritual meme that pits the apocryphal self-aggrandising blogger in pyjamas (usually venting about the meeja) against the hard-working professional investigative http://thefailedestate.blogspot.com/2011/06/journos-in-jarmies.html?spref=tw [i]Political purpose forgotten, direction lost, Mungo MacCallum, The Drum[/i] Abbott’s dilemma. He claims that he is indeed serious about the policy: he accepts that climate change is real, that the scientific verdict must be accepted, that man-made carbon emissions have upset the normal balance http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/2756458.html [i]Breaking News: Mr Denmore and I Agree, Don Arthur, Club Troppo[/i] investigative political journalism is being undertaken by a dedicated cohort of political bloggers, such as Grogs Gamut, Larvatus Prodeo, [b]The Political Sword[/b], and others." http://clubtroppo.com.au/2011/06/13/breaking-news-mr-denmore-and-i-agree/ [i]Jaundiced?, Neil Cook , The Bannerman[/i] Turnbull, especially has a massive following among those who sit left of centre, and would probably‘turn’ were MT to regain the leadership of his somewhat rudderless party http://www.waddayano.org/blog/2011/06/jaundiced.php#more [i]Does the blogosphere have "delusions of granduer"? Alex White[/i] In my view, many more people are reading blogs – and many successful blogs from around theworld have become “mainstream”, incorporated into a major newspaper (the Guardian, New York Times and even The Australian has done this). So, Arthur’s question is mis-concieved. http://alexwhite.org/2011/06/does-the-blogosphere-have-delusions-of-grandeur/ [i]The Bogus debate about democracy, The Piping Shrike[/i] It is the fact that the leaders of organised Labor no longer represent anything much that is at the root of Labor’s problem and that party leaders like Faulkner are trying to turn into a virtue of more say for the membership. http://www.pipingshrike.com/2011/06/a-bogus-debate-about-democracy.html [i]Media fever: infecting the political landscape, Tom Valcanis, Upstart[/i] In terms of infecting us with a media virus, Tony Abbott seems to be the master. Abbott’s first was the sound-bite ‘stop the boats’, and the other virus was ‘a great big new tax.’ The intended effect is simple. The virus doesn’t need to have any policy content or relevance to the public discourse, it just has to spread http://www.upstart.net.au/2011/06/13/media-fever-infecting-the-political-landscape/ [i]A Maggot, David Horton, The Watermelon Blog[/i] So my first metaphor was wrong, and we should think of John Howard’s “anti pc speech” as being the first blowfly egg laid on to the sheep’s back carrying Australia. That first maggot began creating the conditions for more maggots. http://davidhortonsblog.com/ [i]Sudden and quick in quarrel, David Horton, The Watermelon Blog[/i] Oh bugger it, life’s too short, plenty of nice people around without having to make allowances for the swine. Back to portraying John Howard as blow fly. http://davidhortonsblog.com/2011/06/13/sudden-and-quick-in-quarrel/ [i]In Search of a Moral Compass , John, True Politik[/i] Morals are not the exclusive domain of religions, or religious groups. Different societies have different moral codes, sometimes at odds with religious groups within their society. http://truepolitik.blogspot.com/2011/06/in-search-of-moral-compass.html [i]An hilariously petty edit, Jeremy Sear, Pure Poison[/i] There are only eight non-negative words about Gillard there. The next sentence is also a sledge. But he couldn’t bring himself to let even such a small positive about her get through. http://blogs.crikey.com.au/purepoison/2011/06/13/an-hilariously-petty-edit/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+CrikeyBlogs%2Fpurepoison+%28Pure+Poison%29 [i]Solar PV coming of age? Brian, Larvatus Prodeo[/i] A total of 383MW of solar photovoltaic power was installed in Australia in 2010. That was a five-fold increase on 2009. In 2011 for the first five months the total is 350MW. http://larvatusprodeo.net/2011/06/13/solar-pv-coming-of-age/ [i]The revolution of energy consumption, Paul Budde, BuddeBlog[/i] CEA believes that these policy changes are essential to the success of the smart grid and encourages close coordination among the various stakeholders during the transition to the next generation of the grid. http://www.buddeblog.com.au/ [i]Refugee advocate says Nauru solution disastrous, Michael Vincent, ABC[/i] "That's the one Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison were in, and you can see the kids' paintings hanging in the window on the [video], so you'd have to rehouse a primary school. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/06/13/3242612.htm [i]Cracking Telstra's code and speaking to an Aussie Telstra Staffe, Clarrie Rivers, North Coast Voices[/i] Where did my problem begin? Yes, in the Philippines when I spoke with someone at Telstra (in the Philippines, of course) about my phone connection two months ago. When did it come to my attention? http://northcoastvoices.blogspot.com/2011/06/cracking-telstras-code-and-speaking-to.html [b]Humour[/b] [b]Love, marriage and running the country, Annabel Crabb, ABC[/b] The first possibility is that she continues to be subjected to condescension - on the grounds of her appearance, her manner and her private relationships - because she is a woman http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/06/14/3242921.htm

Feral Skeleton

14/06/2011Tom of Melbourne, This link is for you and I hope you come to understand that we ARE a broad church here at TPS. Personally, I'm happy to see the debate continuing, on both sides of politics, but you must understand that political parties and MPs must advocate party policy until party policy is changed at their national conferences. Which is slated for the ALP's National Conference in December, as far as I know. http://jasonbstanding.com/2011/05/mawwaige/

Jason

14/06/2011 http://www.theage.com.au/national/no-light-on-the-hill-20110613-1g09t.html No light on the hill June 14, 2011 Victorian branch members are deserting the ALP in droves, fed up with a party they say doesn't know what it stands for any more.

Feral Skeleton

14/06/2011PatriciaWA, That line was all my own work! ;-) (Damn it's peeing me off that I feel the need to justify myself in that way now).

Ad astra reply

14/06/2011LYN'S DAILY LINKS updated: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/LYNS-DAILY-LINKS.aspx

Tom of Melbourne

14/06/2011Feral Skeleton - June 14. 2011 08:10 AM The first comment I made here was in response to what I saw as a personal and mean spirited attack on Nasking, who simply expressed some misgivings about the direction of the government. You participated in that attack. Apparently Nasking wasn’t able to express his misgivings here. I posted about an issue, and not one person addressed the issue I raised. The response was entirely attacking the individual. Standard form for the unthinking... question their personal motives, attack them ... but don’t deal with the issue. The gang included you. There is a personalised, poisonous group here that question sexual orientation as the motive for people advocating fairness and equity. This site doesn’t welcome alternative views. You’ve proved it, so have a number of others that participate here. If you continue to get plenty of criticism for this, it’s all of your own (personal) making.

Gravel

14/06/2011Ad Astra Nearly three years since I've been reading your blog, wow how time flies when you are having fun eh. Thank you for your wonderful response to my comment. It a second time around effort as I accidentally pressed something and couldn't send the original piece. In that original piece, I, like Feral Skeleton, wondered why the 'other' commenters are so scared of this blog. Their frantic responses to this piece sound like they've gone into a panic. I still wonder why.

Ad astra reply

14/06/2011Tom of Melbourne You seem intent on pursuing the line that we here attack the person rather than the argument, and you cite instances of that. You are entitled to your view. What I had hoped in writing this piece was that all who comment here would be persuaded to the view that it is the issues that are important and that personal attacks deflect us from them and cause upset and retaliation. As you are now a regular visitor to [i]TPS[/i], I invite you to put aside past events, draw a line in the sand, and embark on fact-driven logical discourse free from emotion and personal remarks. If you are prepared to do that, I am sure others will reciprocate. The discourse can then become what we’ve always wanted it to be, about the issues, and the politicians and commentators who address them, and not about the character of the bloggers here. Are you with me?

Feral Skeleton

14/06/2011Here's the real story about the Live Cattle trade, Meat and Livestock Australia and the money they rake in and do what with? http://www.smh.com.au/business/too-many-fingers-in-the-pie-20110610-1fwr1.html

Feral Skeleton

14/06/2011Great article about political memes and the Meme master, Tony Abbott: http://www.upstart.net.au/2011/06/13/media-fever-infecting-the-political-landscape/

TalkTurkey

14/06/2011The head of the Fukushima health study Doctor Shunichi Yamashita said: “The effects of radiation do not come to people that are happy and laughing. They come to people that are weak-spirited, that brood and fret.” Ummm. . . play that by me backwards? * Did you know fleas hear through their feet? Proof: Train a flea to jump when you say jump. (Easy if you use an electric cattle prod to emphasise.) The flea will soon learn to jump reliably. CuT off the flea's legs, no jump! QED! * Laugh, be happy. Radiation? Don't You Worry About That! * David Horton I could get used to Watermelon in my daily diet. Your writings about that noted group Blowfly Howard and His Many Maggots only make it sweeter.

Feral Skeleton

14/06/2011No point trying to be reasonable with Tom of Melbourne I see. Nasking can be generous of spirit and act like a grown up by not harboring a grudge, but not ToM. Sigh. Some people. Best ignored then.

Ad astra reply

14/06/2011Gravel Thank you for your kind remarks. It is exactly three years ago today that I first posted [i]Is the media in Australia suffering from groupthink[/i] on [i]Possum Box[/i]. It is still online at http://thepossumbox.wordpress.com/2008/06/14/is-the-media-in-australia-suffering-from-groupthink/ I was surprised that it attracted over 30 comments, including some of my own. Having just re-read it again, the basic thrust of the piece holds true although the context has changed. In a way not attempted before, Lindsay Tanner has done us a service by elaborating on the vagaries of the media in his book [i]Sideshow: Dumbing Down Democracy[/i], a book that all interested in politics and the media in Australia would enjoy reading. Thank you for your long and continued involvement with [i]TPS[/i].

Michael

14/06/2011Definitely a Bad Habit for Bad Abbott to get into. http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/fox-provided-jet-for-tony-abbotts-nauru-trip/story-e6frf7jx-1226074671165 Shouldabeen and his benefactor are keeping mum on confirming the details, but it's been reported that the corporate jet provided gratis to TA and Scott Morrison for their flight to Nauru (and back, regrettably), was made available by Lindsay Fox, the trucking magnate. All very well if Fox is a regular "Liberal Party donor" as the jet's provider was cloakingly described in the weekend's press, but not so very well if Shouldabeen and such "donors" seem to prefer to keep their relationship secretive. After all, in this very big country of ours, government policy can make transport companies and the people who own them very very wealthy indeed. Or if a company (or indeed, an entire competitive transportation concept, fast rail for example) finds itself on the outer with a government (for whatever reason...), the absolute reverse. 'Quid pro quo' still has dollar signs attached no matter how few of us might remember what a "quid" used to be in Australia. (1966 sometimes seems as far away as 1066, doesn't it?) Come on, Shouldabeen, tell us, who picked up the tab?

Ad astra reply

14/06/2011FS Thank you for your link to the very revealing the cattle industry story, [i]Too many fingers in the pie[/i] by Michael West, which shows the labyrinthine workings of those who control it. http://www.smh.com.au/business/too-many-fingers-in-the-pie-20110610-1fwr1.html I enjoyed too [i]Media fever: infecting the political landscape[/i] by Tom Valcanis. It reminded me of the groupthink phenomenon; media viruses appear to be the vector for promulgating groupthink. http://www.upstart.net.au/2011/06/13/media-fever-infecting-the-political-landscape/ I looked for his counter to the media virus, some other way of political discourse, but found only this: [i] Recognising how media viruses affect us starts with education, and ends with our own awareness of them. As the media landscape changes so often, it’s hard to determine the start- and end-points of what constitutes our media environment, let alone our place in it as a singular, yet networked, organism. We can’t really have answers if we’re unable to conceive a working hypothesis. What we can observe instead is that if we slow ourselves down we tend to miss out. I would argue that in the age of the media virus we would be better off knowing about the symptoms, rather than infecting ourselves unwittingly.[/i] Even after reading it three times, I still don’t understand what he’s saying. I do understand [i]We can’t really have answers if we’re unable to conceive a working hypothesis.[/i], but after that he lost me. Can you enlighten me? He ends with the somewhat nihilistic comment” [i]If you’re a politician you’d better know how to cultivate and spread media viruses – without some level of mastery over them, you’re dead in the electronic water.[/i]” As you would say: 'Sigh'.

Ad astra reply

14/06/2011Michael Your Bad Abbott piece this morning is revealing. I wonder why Lindsay Fox would make his private jet available for the Nauru visit. Was it to be a secret? Who sussed it out?

lyn

14/06/2011Hi Ad I did post Hillbilly's link in Today's Links Media fever: infecting the political landscape, Tom Valcanis, Upstart In terms of infecting us with a media virus, Tony Abbott seems to be the master. Abbott’s first was the sound-bite ‘stop the boats’, and the other virus was ‘a great big new tax.’ The intended effect is simple. The virus doesn’t need to have any policy content or relevance to the public discourse, it just has to spread www.upstart.net.au/.../

Ad astra reply

14/06/2011Hi Lyn Thank you for the link to the Alex Schlotzer website and his review of [i]Book Review: Crashing the Gate[/i], which sounds interesting. Sadly there is a parallel between what is happening in the US and what is happening here. http://alexschlotzer.wordpress.com/2011/06/12/book-review-crashing-the-gate/

Ad astra reply

14/06/2011Hi Lyn I’ve been so busy this morning that I haven’t had time to look through your list carefully, but will do so after lunch. Tom Valcanis’ article on media viruses gives a frightening glimpse of latter day political communications. I don’t recall seeing his site before, but it sounds an interesting one.

NormanK

14/06/2011Ad astra It is almost impossible to believe that the owner of the jet Abbott used was meant to be kept secret. There are so many regulatory clues available to anybody who cares to check e.g. registration as denoted by code on the tail of the jet. The pilot would probably be a Fox employee - easy enough to check and given the number of journos who spent the long-weekend with Mr abbott, someone is bound to have enquired. My take on Tom Valcanis's statements that you quoted is that there is nothing we can do to inoculate ourselves from media viruses. [quote]What we can observe instead is that if we slow ourselves down we tend to miss out.[/quote] If we try to hide from them by avoiding hotspots for infection we significantly reduce our own incoming information flow. [quote]I would argue that in the age of the media virus we would be better off knowing about the symptoms, rather than infecting ourselves unwittingly.[/quote] Unlike more traditional threats to our health, knowledge of its existence does not lead to a workable preventative measure. Keeping an open mind and maintaining a very healthy measure of cynicism is all that we can do. I too enjoyed that article and I fear he may be correct.

TalkTurkey

14/06/2011Congratulations Ad astra on the occasion of the Third Birthday of The Political Sword You have not wavered, you have been single-mindedly pursuing your aim stated back then, and the standard and focus of this site are a tribute first and foremost to you. Thank you too WebMonkey, and all who have helped TPS to grow into the infopinional* colossus it is today! I have been a contributor for only a quarter of that time, but I feel immensely enriched by the readings and links here, and honoured and strengthened by having my own thoughts read by overwhelmingly sensible folks such as YOUS! (K) Congratulations again, Ad astra, and thanks ever so. *Is 'infopinion' good? Can I patent it? I bet it's already Out There. I'll look later. Portmanteau words, they're called, and they're not half bad. Which is a funny expression, (like "head over heels", erm . .? . . ) but here I mean I do like portmanteau words. (Though poor old John Hewson copped heaps for the use of "incentivation"!) * Where else could a Turkey be so comfortably peripatetic? This is a Very Good Blog. Venceremos!

Typecastphil

14/06/2011Interesting piece AA My thoughts: yes, it is your blog and you have the right to be as "biased" as you see fit. My only contrary to that is your sub title for your blog - putting politicians and commentators to the verbal sword - connotates that you show no fear or favour, yet you profess to showing favour to the left side of politics. Granted you have taken the Labour Party to task quite often, at other times you have shown a fair bit of leniency. Again that is your right as it is your blog, but it does hint at a bit of hypocrisy. One other point I would like to make is your statement that your commenters do not abuse other commenters unless they abuse first. I have only previousl posted once to this site and found myself the target of a heap of personal abuse without provocation. Once again, I have thick skin and was not offended and it is your site to do with as you wish but do not make the claim that you do not attack personally first. just an observation

reb of Hobart

14/06/2011Well said Typecastphil. That has been my experience here also.

janice

14/06/2011Many happy returns, Ad astra. Gravel, I reckon this blog is noticed because of the lack of froth and bluster, rabid, rude and vacuuous comments that other blogs are choked up with. Ad astra has always presented his readers with reasoned articles that encourage his commenters to respond in a likewise manner. re Abbott's trip to Nauru. Is it just me or does anyone else feel slighted that the media has not published photographs of the real state of what is left of the detention facilities on the island. So far I've seen one shot of a building with broken windows/doors, and the rest have been of the buildings/grounds now in use as a school. I'm willing to bet my last dollar that if this was a government exercise, the cameras would have been everywhere and extensive footage shown.

Ad astra reply

14/06/2011Patricia WA Thank you for reposting your clever pome. I'm still catching up with the posts that came in last night. Anyway I've deleted your two previous posts as requested.

Ad astra reply

14/06/2011NormanK Thank you for your interpretation of the Tom Valcanis piece. I thought his “[i]We can’t really have answers if we’re unable to conceive a working hypothesis.[/i]” was a small voice calling for rational political debate based on the hypothetico-deductive approach, but from what you say ‘working hypothesis’ probably referred to the media virus infection that threatens us all. His nihilistic ‘get with it or die’ is rather depressing. Is there no cure; is there no immunization?

Gravel

14/06/2011Janice I agree with your impression that the MSM have only produced tarted up pictures and good articles on a trip that the opposition has just done as one huge political stunt. I would be ashamed if I was a reporter. I am past the screaming, blood pressure raising stage. Now if I could only get my interest in politics to go away. Your description of the behavior on most other blogs is very apt.

TalkTurkey

14/06/2011Typecastphil said "I have only previousl posted once to this site and found myself the target of a heap of personal abuse without provocation." Please, Would you provide co-ordinates of your original post, and times and dates of the slings and arrows, so that we can gauge the validity of your complaint? That's one of the great things about this site, it's all here right on show bar the very very most offensive, I'm sure your bits will still be there ;-)

Ad astra reply

14/06/2011TT Thank you for your kind congratulatory remarks. You are a stalwart here on [i]TPS[/i]. I will pass your good wishes onto Web Monkey. Indeed Venceremos! ‘infopinion’ is not a word that I have heard of, and a Google search reveals little except that in 2002 David Weinberger, an author and philosopher, seems to have laid claim to the word as one that refers to the connection between information and opinion. http://wikipedia.qwika.com/de2en/Infopinion Anyway, you can claim it as your own on [i]TPS[/i]. Rupert Murdoch, who insists that opinion is news, would like ‘infopinion’.

D Mick Weir

14/06/2011Ad, [i]Fair and balanced discourse – is that what we want?[/i] Yes. [i]What do you want The Political Sword to become?[/i] Whatever it is that you Ad, want it to become. Your house and if you want to to paint Purple, Pink and Puce go right ahead. You are buying the paint and brushes wield them as you wish. No suprise that I agree with most of what NormanK wrote @ June 13. 2011 04:16 PM. Also much of what others have already written. Why do I like visiting your blog home? As I commented elsewhere [i]I am able to comment (t)here and not be derided or called a d*** head (well not too often anyway) and the banter is entertaining AND sometimes I am caused to rethink my views and I learn something. The conversations (t)here are (mostly) civil even when there is disagreement.[/i] I add my comments are respected even if sometimes I may get a bit 'off beam' and therefore I feel valued as a contributor. Are there things I don't like about your blog home? No, however I do get a little peeved with some visitors at times. I will take a short break and come back with more on this in a few moments. btw a piece of trivia. Somewhere in the dim distant past a moment was defined as being 90 seconds. Who and when I can't recall. I will leave with that unsubtantiated fact :)

D Mick Weir

14/06/2011And now a distraction. Even those who don't like BLeak will probably agree he has nailed with this on: http://newmatilda.com/2011/06/14/energy-burn-0

lyn

14/06/2011Hi Ad You guessed another Censure motion by Mr Abbott. Mr Abbott can guarantee that Nauru is better than Malaysia . What better guarantee, he said he has been there. Mr Abbott never minds they are using the old facilities for a public school. Just need a paint job he said. I suppose he needs to justify the donations by Mr Fox for his trip to Nauru. Lot of yelling by Mr Abbott. Tony Abbott going full cycle over Nauru , Gemma Jones, The Telegraph He began the day by cycling the island's 24km circumference at dawn, forcing local police to hang on to a tailing car to keep up with him. http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/national/tony-abbott-going-full-cycle-over-nauru/story-e6freuzr-1226074516809

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14/06/2011Typecastphil I’m still catching up with this morning’s comments. I don’t recall your earlier visit, but welcome back to [i]TPS[/i]. It is regrettable that you feel you have been poorly treated on your first visit. It has been an aim of this site to facilitate rational discussion free of personal rancour, and this current piece is a plea to return to that after some of the exchanges that have occurred recently. No doubt you will judge the site on whether we achieve that, but I hope you will find it a congenial place to express well-argued propositions in the time ahead. You make a case that the byline for [i]TPS[/i]: “[i]putting politicians and commentators to the verbal sword - connotates that you show no fear or favour”[/i]. After reflecting on that over lunch, I question whether that connotation is correct. There are hundreds of blog sites that might have used that byline, as that is what they do, but how many are totally evenhanded in dealing with political issues? Off hand, I can’t think of one. They seem to lean one way or the other to a small or greater extent. So rather than this suggesting ‘a hint of hypocrisy’ it seems to me to be more in line with the real world of people and groups who habitually take sides. It so happens that many who comment here believe that the Gillard Government is endeavouring to improve the lot of Australians through its reform program, and applaud that. Of course many in the community will disagree vehemently. Likewise many here believe that the Abbott-led Coalition is a destructive force that obstructs the Government’s agenda at every turn. So it ought not to be a surprise that such sentiments are expressed here. I’m not sure where you got the impression that here we had an: ‘attack only if attacked’ approach. I can’t recall advising anyone here to attack at all, but you may be able to remind me. Anyway, I appreciate your returning and hope to see you returning again. reb I note your agreement with Typecastphil, and in the interests of brevity, point you to the response to him above. We look forward to a more peaceful and courteous time ahead.

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14/06/2011janice Thank you for your third anniversary greetings. My first post was at 1.56 pm on June 14, 2008 on Possum Box. At 3.15 pm you responded with this comment: [i]”Where has objective, informed and balanced reporting gone indeed? The buzz words/phrases used by ‘Groupthink’ cover a multitude of sins, are quickly picked up by uninformed readers to use as criticisms of issues of which they have little understanding, and the journos of poor quality escape accountability and scrutiny for the tripe they present as reporting. It appears that the majority of journalists see themselves as king makers and judges. “Prior to the Howard era, when a story broke in the media we were able to turn to the ABC to get the facts, but this is no longer the case as what you find in our National Broadcaster now is a carbon copy of the reporting in the tabloids.”[/i] Sadly, your words are as relevant today – indeed the situation has worsened, as now we have Abbott slogans that are repeated [i]ad nauseam[/i] by the media and ‘media viruses’ that spread them through the blogosphere and beyond, infecting all in their path. Thank you for being such a loyal visitor from the very beginning.

David Horton

14/06/2011Thank you TT, you might enjoy a new slice of watermelon http://davidhortonsblog.com/2011/06/14/waxing-lyrical/ just posted.

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14/06/2011Hi Lyn I missed the censure motion as the ABC broadcast stopped at 3 pm. But I could sense that Tony Abbott was working himself up to it in QT. What a waste of time for our parliamentarians to have to play his puerile game. I can see that no matter what, no matter where, Tony needs his bike ride.

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14/06/2011D Mick Weir I do appreciate your comments, especially [i]”…my comments are respected even if sometimes I may get a bit 'off beam' and therefore I feel valued as a contributor.”[/i] That is reassuring after the string of comments that question the evenhandedness of [i]TPS[/i] towards visitors. The Bill Leake cartoon is apt, but so ugly.

Typecastphil

14/06/2011AA Thanks for your kind reply. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy your blog and its contributors. I have no problem with robust debate etc. I don't often add my own 2 cents as I don't feel qualified and researched enough on the topics. Personally I do feel that the blog does give a lot of unwarranted abuse to the media, yet I don't find the same bias as you do. For example the posts above about Abbotts trip to Nauru, I thought the media had given good coverage - both TV and paper - with regard to qualified people pooh poohing his statement that the camp is ready to go. In fact I feel that there is a major shift in most commentators statements that are getting quite fed up with Abbotts rantings and the Coalitions constant negativity, especially with regard to global warming (my particular area of interest). BTW Talk Turkey asked for the post that I claimed unwarranted anger at what I had written as opposed to rational debate, it was the post regarding the home insulation program: 'A sparrow farts in Queensland...'

D Mick Weir

14/06/2011[i] 'One fine day in the middle of the night, Two dead boys got up to fight, Back to back they faced each other, Drew their swords and shot each other, One was blind and the other couldn't, see So they chose a dummy for a referee. A blind man went to see fair play, A dumb man went to shout "hooray!" A paralysed donkey passing by, Kicked the blind man in the eye, Knocked him through a nine inch wall, Into a dry ditch and drowned them all, A deaf policeman heard the noise, And came to arrest the two dead boys, If you don't believe this story’s true, Ask the blind man he saw it too!'[/i] I use this fine bit of nonsense verse which I found here: http://www.folklore.bc.ca/Onefineday.htm#Onefine to gently(?) point out that some of the visitors here behave in a manner illustrated in the ryhme. I have to agree with some of what Tom of Melbourne, Reb of Hobart (and others) have to say about some of the behaviour here even though I don't agree with how they present the case and what seems to me the nasty way they sometimes make their comments. There is a certain amount of hypocrisy at times here and at times some are accused of sins of which some of us are also guilty. There are claims such as [i]'... and we always back up our claims with links to sources so go away and come back with links to back up your outrageous claims ...'[/i] when clearly that is not always the case. The pot is often calling the kettle black. At times some jump in boots and all to howl down comments that are not to our liking. And yes I am guilty of this too, particularly when it comes to some jj's comments. I let my fingers run off at the typewriter and press send before I read what I have typed and check my facts. Listen to someone long enough and they will often contradict themeselves. Does this make them a hypocrite? No, it often just proves the person is confused in their thinking and hasn't yet come to a clear view of their own thinking or opinion on a topic. However we can all be guilty of hypocrisy particularly in the heat of the moment when we are reacting to an opposing point of view. There is sometimes a 'hyper' sensitivity when a comment is criticised and the person being criticised over reacts instead of being a little humble and accepting that, just maybe, the criticism is given not to offend but to educate (I use educate only because I am lost for a better word/s to say what I am thinking here). Sometimes when spats occur I think of something I have heard often from friends and acquaintances working in the family law area: [i]'In any dispute there is his story and there is her story and more often than not the truth lies somewhere in between.'[/i] So with my (very) amateur counsellor hat on may I suggest that [i]'Fighting fire with fire usually burns both parties'[/i] please think before you return fire. [i]The thing/s that you dislike in another and upset you or press your buttons are often the things being reflected back at you that you most dislike about yourself.[/i] please think before you react. I do have some othe 'quibbles' however I must say: Thankyou for allowing me to visit and comment. Thankyou for the respect with which you treat my comments and thankyou, one and all, for being you. Oh, and thankyou for allowing to mix my metaphors

lyn

14/06/2011Hi Norman K Did you tell me something about windows video. I can't find your comment. I have filed the 2 links you posted for me and thankyou they are excellent, information exactly what I needed. I am going to get a new computer. Can you tell me your choice. I would like an "all in one desktop", and as much memory and speed as possible and also as much hard drive as possible, for a home computer. My existing computer is windows XP, the hard drive is 8 years old, 68gig Don't answer until you have time Norman. Cheers

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14/06/2011Typecastphil Thank you for your reply. I’ve looked through the post you mentioned. Your blog name is now different and your Gravatar has changed, so I failed to recognize you. Apologies. I can understand why you feel you were ‘done over’. That was an intense exchange, and try as you did to have your points acknowledged, they were not. I can imagine how frustrated you must have felt. Anyway, if you can, let’s consign that to the past and look forward to more congenial times ahead.

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14/06/2011D Mick Weir Your poem from days of yore says such a lot. I appreciate your words of wisdom and trust we can all take them on board. There are enough external battles to be fought without the distraction of internal ones.

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14/06/2011David Horton Your piece [i]Waxing lyrical[/i] is delightful. http://davidhortonsblog.com/2011/06/14/waxing-lyrical/ It gives us a pleasant break from the rather heavy discussion we have had here recently. Thank you.

Typecastphil

14/06/2011Happy to dip my toe in when I feel I can add to the debate Mr A. “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others” (paraphrase) Winston Churchill

NormanK

14/06/2011Hi lyn No, I didn't mention a video but in order to not dig an even deeper hole let me just say that I have access to [i]Windows[/i] if we need to do a walkthrough (tutorial). As for buying a new computer, I'm on an [i]Apple Macintosh[/i] and have little knowledge of the relative merits of competing brands that use [i]Windows[/i]. Perhaps we could throw a wider net and see what others here might recommend. From your description of your old computer, you are not going to know yourself when you get a new one. They are really really fast and ever-so clever. Remember to haggle or take someone with you who likes to haggle. The shelf price is never the same as what a salesperson will be willing to accept. Any takers who can offer lyn some advice?

David Horton

14/06/2011Lyn - option 1 Buy a Mac. Option 2. Buy a Mac. Option 3. ..... As Norman says, you won't know yourself!!

lyn

14/06/2011Hi NormanK Thankyou so much. That was what you said [quote]access to Windows if we need to do a walkthrough (tutorial[/quote] I just couldn't remember the words you used. I can hardly wait for my new computer the speed sounds very attractive. I realise ADSL will still let me down but the NBN will save me there. Cheers

D Mick Weir

14/06/2011Typecastphil @ 4:25 PM [i]'... I do feel that the blog does give a lot of unwarranted abuse to the media, yet I don't find the same bias as you do.[/i] Cheers and welcome. I am with you on this. Sometimes it easy to forget that journos are only human too. There is a lot of overly slanted 'reporting' that 'favours' both sides of the two horse race between the government on one horse and the opposition on the other but there is also a fair slab of 'mostly balanced' reporting as well. Another 'problem' is the bluring of the lines between opinion and reporting and we will have to live with 'infopinion' unfortunately. Infopinion - I like that word - thanks TT. :) Having worked in the meeja and shared more than a beer or three in the non-members bar and elsewhere with many of the greats and not so greats then, of the gallery I am a little biased in favour of the working journo and cut them a bit of slack at times knowing the difficulties of working in the hothouse that is parliament house. My head is hurting recalling some long after session cleansing ales with Mungo - just 'cause I can drop names :) Let me assure that was dangerous sport trying to match it with Mungo. My experience is that most journos are after the story before the are after being on one side or the other. The thing that has changed, I suspect, is a little more meddling by owners and management that is forcing the working journo to find either an angle that suits the bosses way of thinking or attempting balance in the reporting. btw does anyone have a link to the 'recent research' showing a bias toward the conservative side on the ABC (or elsewhere)?

NormanK

14/06/2011D Mick Weir [quote]No suprise that I agree with [b]most [/b]of what NormanK wrote @ June 13. 2011 04:16 PM.[/quote] What do you mean 'most'? I'd like to know what YOU found inadequate for YOUR expectations. And I mean WORD by WORD what YOU thought was lacking, how so and HOW WOULD YOU have put it any differently? YOU can't even spell SURPRISE. WHY would I take anything YOU say seriously? :) :D :) :D :) :D :) :D :) :D :) :D :) :D :) :D While you are at it, can you tell me how I am to get over the ignominy of falling for your asylum seeker story? :$ I have taken to wearing a Spiderman mask when I go down to do the shopping, I can't look my neighbours in the eye and the damage to my self-esteem is immeasurable. Who would have thought that an on-line experience could do such long-lasting (probably irreparable) damage?

lyn

14/06/2011Hi David How good of you, thankyou so much. I will take your advice and NormanK's much appreciated. But David I read somewhere, that you have written 100, that is one hundred books, now I remember where I read that, on the ABC website. That said, and from your productivity on Your Watermelon Blog you have had a lot of computer experience. Your today's article is magnificent, wonderful read I gave you five stars, so were both your articles yesterday, 5 stars for them too. Cheers

lyn

14/06/2011Hi Dm Weir The article you are referring about ABC bias. I am pretty sure you would find the article with a quick look at Ad' Astra's Today's Links" archives, I remember posting it. Just run down the excerpts. Over to you happy hunting. Cheers

D Mick Weir

14/06/2011Lyn @ 4:38 PM first see if there is a local chapter of the Ausralian Computer Society near you. They can be very helful people. Also go to your lacal libray where you can get lots of advice and probably a bit of training on using a computer. I suggest you think seriously about a laptop as you could plug in your current monitor, keyboard and mouse and operate as if on a desktop and then pack it up and take with you when you travel (if you so desire). These days I tend to stick with 'name' brands rather than clones as the prices are pretty similar and there is 'brand name' back up (mostly) While you are at it make sure you get a portable hard drive so you can backup all your valuable files and have it on hand should the worst ever happen. I am trying to recall what my mate who swears by Macs says, Something like: [i]Macs - Nerd technology for the computer dumbos Windows - Dumbo Technology for the computer nerds.[/i] Anyway take on board what NK says and haggle.

Typecastphil

14/06/2011D Mick I figured you were sympathetic from your first posting. Yes, in this era of 24/7 meeja it would be difficult for journos to present the proper nuanced and researched article most journos would give their eye teeth (whatever they are) to do. Plus a lot are also asked what is their opinion on a particular topic and, once they give one opinion, quite often they are then labelled as 'left' or 'right' biased on all topics. I find it interesting that this site gives low cred to the ABC while so does blogs from the other side of the political house. Makes me think I am getting good info for 3cents. The art of a good compromise, perhaps? I am so happy to see that no-one of any cred or intelligence bothers to accept an invitation to the Bolte Report. That show is frightening in its lies, the sooner it is starved of viewer ratings/advertising the better. It gives nothing to rational debate. BTW: beware of NormanK I think he is planning death by smiley face.

Russell Glendale Newcastle

14/06/2011Dear all, I cannot agree more with this site. There are enough harsh critics of the Government within the MSM. I find that much more reasoned discussion takes place here. It is very much appreciated. I understand disagreement and different views but the comments exchange within the news paper sites seems to descend into billy tea party rants. No policy, no science, no conscience or empathy. I guess I should also lay a card or two on the table. I am a recent convert to the greens. Previously a strong supporter of the Rudd govt but found my self adrift politically when the original carbon tax was scuttled. (I know, the greens had a hand in this policy demise) However, on balance I am happy with the current government with the labour left and its conscience no longer being taken for granted. Russell

2353

14/06/2011Lyn - buy a Mac. YOu can get an equal performance program for most tasks that works on a Mac. After you do, buy Applecare. You can ring an (Australian) number 24/7 ask ask for advice for a period of three years from purchase. Applecare also gives you a three year "they come to you" warranty. AA - Happy 3rd Blogging Birthday - and may there be many more.

Jason

14/06/2011Typecastphil, The only problem I had with the Nauru so called story, was there wasn't one!Stunt, desperation, or farce yes news no. The government by all accounts have no intention of opening it,Abbott et al have no authority to "negotiate" on the governments behalf! Morrison was there last year a couple of days before the election also as the opposition spokesman. Where is the news? Or is it me what am I missing?

lyn

14/06/2011DM Weir and 2353 You guys are fabulous, thankyou so much. Come to you warranty sounds good, also 24/7 advice.

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14/06/2011Hi Lyn Would you believe it, but only now have I got round to looking carefully through your links today. This piece has turned out to be the busiest for ages and many well-thought-through contributions have been made. It has been exciting reading and most encouraging. I think I’ll have to get up earlier to read your links. As usual, Mr Denmore’s piece [i]Journos in Jarmies[/i] was spot on. Everyone interested in the so-called ‘journos vs bloggers struggle’ should read his commonsense appraisal. He forensically dissects Don Arthur’s article on [i]Club Troppo[/i], who makes a response on that website, listed among your links. Alex White also has a go on his blogsite. All interesting reading. Mungo is his usual perceptive self. He asks how Tony Abbott can continue his opposition to a carbon tax followed by an ETS in the face of the Productivity Commission’s Climate Change Report. He will of course because he will not allow facts to get in the way of a good slogan. Bannerman’s post is sobering for those who belong to political parties. The Piping Shrike’s piece should be read with John Faulkner’s speech. As usual, the other TPS speaks good sense. I’ve already commented on Tom Valcanis’ piece on media viruses. David Hortons’ [i]A maggot[/i] and [i]Sudden and quick in quarrel[/i] are good reading. [i]True Politik[/i] has some interesting things to say about the ‘moral compass’. Jeremy Sear exposes Andrew Bolt’s attempts to demean the Gillard biography. There are other interesting pieces by Paul Budde and LP and North Coast Voices on technical matters, a revealing article on Nauru by Michael Vincent, and finally Annabel Crabb makes some pertinent observations about the way we now treat prime ministers. In all, it’s great reading. Again thanks to you Lyn.

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14/06/20112353 Thanks - it's been a very busy birthday. I had no idea it would come to this!

lyn

14/06/2011Hi Russell Glendale Newcastle How nice of you, thankyou so much for your welcome worthwhile comment. Welcome to TPS you have started commenting here on forever now, I am sure you will enjoy all our readers comments.. Did you mention commenting on the Newspaper blogs, well we have all started there. You will find a lot of stories to be told about commenting on those sites. The Political Sword collected us all one by one because we joined in on the interesting comments and our quite wise, considered Manager Mr Ad Astra who has some very worthwhile opinions up his sleeve.. Enjoy Happy blogging here. :):):):):)

D Mick Weir

14/06/2011NormanK @ 5:36 PM [i]'What do you mean 'most'?'[/i] this is real picky bordering on pedantic: [i]'... or a request for more information where detail was seen to be lacking.[/i] I just did not get what you meant by that or figure out if some words were missing so I just could not bring myself to agree with something [b][i]I[/i][/b] did not understand :P [i]'... can you tell me how I am to get over the ignominy of falling for your asylum seeker story? [/i] Excuse me while I search for my white coat and pull the counsellors hat out from my back pocket (side?) First I shall refer you to a comment @ June 11. 2011 09:09 PM on the previous post [i]'Strutting the catwalk in Carbon Alley'[/i] and a follow up @ 10:11 PM that day. If you take time to read the comments of that brilliant commenter you may come to understand how at times things can slip past us especially when there are few if any clues in the comment. Once you have absorbed that pretend that you really knew as there was no link in the comment and that you were a co-conspirator in the hoax and you were helping helping spread the word. Say to yourself 'I am all knowing and wise to pranks' over and over again. The key here is to [i]F'Fake it until you make it'[/i] :) If all that fails ask me about the bridge I bought recently that I am still trying to re-sell :$ btw the recaptcha says 'large ionole' which I think translates roughly big stories :)

lyn

14/06/2011Hi Ad Isn't that good, there is some good reading there today. So yes they do take some time to read and some days like yesterday, keep me very busy all day as they are being written at different times all day and night. I just got ready to close of last night when, here they come again 3 at once. Funny too the bloggers are blogging about their neighboring blogs. Good to read the different perceptions of the same article and the differing opinons. I really was so pleased to read yours and DM Weir's comments on Tom Valcanis piece, very interesting . :):):)

D Mick Weir

14/06/2011All good Aussies need to know about this: http://www.nonannystate.com.au/ To save you a bit of bother (unless you want to watch the video - which I haven't) [i][b]Do you really like living in a Nanny State?[/b] You may be a smoker. You may be a non-smoker. Either way, you'll be aware of the associated health risks. The current packaging makes that abundantly clear. The Government now wants to remove all branding and ~increase the graphic health warning to cover 75% of the front of the pack. It seems the government doesn't believe you can make your own decisions. More and more, the government is telling us what we should and shouldn't do. And while many rules are necessary in a modern society, there needs to be a limit. The proposed Plain Packaging Legislation is quite simply regulation gone too far. [/i] You can then fill in your details to do an automated letter to your local MP: [i]Dear [Local MP Name] [b]I'm an adult and I say NO to Plain Packaging Legislation[/b] While many rules are necessary in a modern functioning society, there's a limit. The proposed Plain Packaging Legislation is quite simply regulation gone too far. As an adult, I can make my own decisions. I strongly urge you not to make Australia a Nanny State and ask that you represent my views to parliament. Thank you [First Name] [Last Name}[/i] Now come on every one deep down you all know you don't want to live in a naany state Aussies are too young and free for that. There is little writing at the bottom that says: [i]© Authorised by W. Merrett, Imperial Tobacco Australia Ltd. 4-8 Inglewood Place, Baulkham Hills NSW 2153.[/i]

David Horton

14/06/2011Hi Lyn - no, not 100 books (if only) but 100+ academic articles. Three books, but on the other hand one of those was an Encyclopaedia!

D Mick Weir

14/06/2011Typecastphil @ 5:58 PM thanks for that advice about NormanK. I suspect he has sucked me in with his comment @ 5:36 PM and as he well knows there are times when I can't just help myself and I fall to appeals to my vanity and come up with deep and meaningless responses :$

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14/06/2011Russell Glendale Newcastle Welcome to [i]The Political Sword[/i] family. I hope you will return. Thank you for your comments. Many would share your feelings.

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14/06/2011D Mick Weir I wonder if that fierce looking woman on the 'nanny state ads' will do big tobacco's cause more harm than good.

D Mick Weir

14/06/2011How remiss of me [i]Happy birfdee Ad[/i] been so busy running off at the keyboard again I sliiped and missed it :)

NormanK

14/06/2011Ad astra Happy anniversary. The last two days of comments should go some way towards recharging your batteries and reinforcing your faith in [i]TPS[/i]. How refreshing it is to see new commenters and returning commenters popping in to give a vote of confidence. D Mick Weir My mock outrage was indeed in jest (hence the Emoticon Army) and yet you managed to pick out the phrase which, if I had my 'druthers', I would rewrite. Put it down to laziness and the fact that it had the right shape to finish the sentence even if its meaning was unclear. I had forgotten about the old 'I knew all along' excuse for getting sucked in. That bloke back at [quote]June 11. 2011 09:09 PM[/quote] is a pretty clever fellow.

D Mick Weir

14/06/2011Folks I have been down in the gutter a few times today and I would like to share with you a few lowlights: [b]Important developments in the fight against the carbon tax[/b] [i]Earlier today, independant economic modelling revealed that the Gillard-Brown Carbon Tax will immediately cost over 4000 jobs in the mining industry alone, forcing 18 mines to close, resulting in $22billion in lost revenue. And this is just in one industry. Just imagine what the total cost will be when this is translated accross the whole economy! As Tim Blair notes, the carbon tax is opposed by almost every job-creator in Australia ...[/i] [b]The Impact of The Bolt Report[/b] [i]Joel Silver discusses the significance of The Bolt Report, and concludes that Andrew Bolt's influence is only set to rise:[/i] [b]Carbon tax 'will cost 4000 coal jobs'[/b] [i]EXPLOSIVE economic modelling warns that the carbon tax could force eight black coalmines to close, costing nearly 3000 jobs in regional NSW and more than 1100 jobs in Queensland in its first three years.[/i] [b]If the Hat Fits, Wear it.[/b] [i]Julia Gillard was a key figure in a socialist group that pushed radical policies and social agendas in the 1980s and early '90s.[/i] (Insert pic of PM wearing cossack type hat with red star on it) And on it goes. Sorry about the lack of links but if you are really interested you too can visit Menzies House I kinda liked the cartoon that headed this story there so I will provide a link http://www.menzieshouse.com.au/2011/06/carbon-copying.html

TalkTurkey

14/06/2011Typecastphil said "BTW Talk Turkey asked for the post that I claimed unwarranted anger at what I had written as opposed to rational debate, it was the post regarding the home insulation program: 'A sparrow farts in Queensland...'" Erm . . . I did ask "Please, Would you provide co-ordinates of your original post, and times and dates of the slings and arrows, so that we can gauge the validity of your complaint?" I have no idea of how to find a sparrow fart in Queensland . . . especially if you've changed your blog name . . . I note that Ad has supported your plaint but I'd like you to accede to my request anyway. Dates, times, gravatar/s, blog name/s (yourself and respondents), please? I do not mean to be confrontational, just I want to have the information so I can see for myself. Thank you.

D Mick Weir

14/06/2011Ad @ 7:29 PM Agree, she gave me the creeps which was probably why I didn't watch the video. I have only heard the ad pointing to the site which is running very heavily in prime time on 7 & 10 tonight (haven't been tuned into 9 but probably there as well) The Nanny State theme is one that is being pushed heavily atm in quite a few places. Nothing like a bit of 'ageism' to con the youngsters.

D Mick Weir

14/06/2011NK @ 7:32 PM :) and thanks for acknowledging one of my rare bits of original writing. The gerbrils spent many hours working that one up.

David Horton

14/06/2011Mick you need a good decontaminating shower, and a brandy, after that descent into the depths. Ad, you asked about my Poll on Howard's toxic legacies. The top (bottom?) six in order were : Huge increase in wealth gap between rich and poor Attitudes to refugees ABC - commercialised and shoved far Right 15 year inaction on climate change Tony Abbott Iraq and Afghanistan wars Not unexpected I suppose. Still plenty of time to vote by the way everyone, still time to get Mr Abbott to the top (bottom?) of the heap. http://davidhortonsblog.com/2011/06/12/the-morning-after-2/

John

14/06/2011NSW Legislative Council passed BOF's IR laws today, 22-18. It goes to the lower House (LA) as soon as they can get it in. So much for The Separation of Powers, which ensured independence of the courts. The IRC will now be told its jugement by Ministerial directive. Our democracy is being undermined for purely party-political purposes. :( John

2353

14/06/2011AA said [quote]Thanks - it's been a very busy birthday. I had no idea it would come to this![/quote] Maybe not AA, but you should be rightly proud that it has. DMW - I've got a better idea - don't visit the website and don't sign the petition. If smoking was "invented" today, it would be illegal due to to the health problems it causes. If plain packaging takes the "glamour" away I'm all for it. Off topic but relevant. I was in the City last weekend and saw a group of young girls walking past. Some of them sported those large holes in their earlobe as seems to be the current fashion (looks too painful to me but what would I know?). Then it all made sense . . . I looked again, one of them had a small cigarette lighter inserted into the hole in her ear - now it all makes sense. If I smoked, I'd do it tomorrow! :)

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14/06/2011TT The piece is [i]A sparrow farts in Queensland[/i] by Bushfire Bill. 'Typecastphil' is 'Typecast' there and his Gravatar is a green face with glasses and cross across the mouth. There are several posts and exchanges. http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/post/2010/02/12/A-sparrow-farts-in-Queensland.aspx

macca

14/06/2011 This may be a little convoluted But I think there is some sort of point to come. The first job I had when I left school was as a shop assistant in a hardware store. In those days we sold nails by the pound,saws, hammers and there were no power tools. I then worked for the PMG (Postmaster Generals Dept) as a Junior Postal Officer (Telegram boy..delivering telegrams by bicycle) after that for the WAGR (West Australian Government Railways) as a fireman ( shovelling coal into a steam locomotives extremely hungry firebox.) At home we had a bakelite wireless, wood stove and a thunder box down the back. My father renovated the house with asbestos sheets on the outside, masonite wall sheets on the inside and every summer he would paint the corrogated tin roof with lead based "silver frost " paint. Home telephones were a luxury and television, when you saw one, was black and white and grainy. The political rallies that I saw, though didn't understand, were held in Forrest Place, Perth. No stages. Just the back of a truck. No sound systems. Just a voice and a message and, apparently, some inspired heckling. In those days the politics were very local and there was a genuine difference between capital and labour. There were very real and important social issues fought for. The basic wage was one I think. Workers comp another. The political debates appear to have been more about the policy and the good of the country. I guess having parliements full of ex servicemen just a few years out of a world war would do that. Today; I can see the New York Times' front page in an instant. I can ring the world on my mobile phone..from anywhere. I have as many television channels as I wish. This world has changed immeasurably. People and society have changed with it. Labour isn't fighting the " bosses " anymore. They're fighting international cartels, hedge funds, speculators and multi national conglomerates. All aided and abetted by an international media and public relations corporacy that has scant regard for any sense of decency and fair play. Indeed decency and fair play are seen as a weakness to be exploited. That these people can, cynically and cruelly, exploit refugees. Reduce the very real threat of climate change to a debate over who gets what, when and how much? To ramp up intolerance, racism and xenophopia to the extent that, surely, somewhere in this country the Judeo Christian leadership must start saying something. This is what the labour movement is up against. This is what the Gillard Labor Govt is up against. As was the Rudd Govt. It has been said that the Gillard Govt has lost its moral compass. I don't think they have. The intractable evil that they're up against has burnished its face. Underneath, it still points true north. disclaimer: history and timelines may be a bit out. History periord in school was spent behind the bike sheds smoking, and going green, puffing scrounged roll your owns.

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14/06/2011David Horton They are interesting results. I look forward to the final outcome.

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14/06/2011NormanK Thank you for your kind comments. The response to this piece has been most encouraging. BTW, I have sent you an email.

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14/06/2011D Mick Weir You had me worried until I saw the source of these horror stories - Menzies House!

D Mick Weir

14/06/20112353 I have never understand some peoples desire to put extra holes in their bodies or add extra pigmentation either. OTH the ingenuity you pointed out and some the 'art' that adorns some bodies is amazing to. In the highly unlikely event that I got a tattoo it would be to have my blood type and maybe some other info for emergency use but no, needles for medical reasons only thanks.

Jason

14/06/2011macca, Thankyou for putting a smile back on my face! After watching your comrade from the west on the 730 report tonight,I was almost in tears.

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14/06/2011macca A nice summary of bygone days. I agree with you on the issue of the 'moral compass', a term now in the media virus groupthink category. Maybe we should have a piece on it.

lyn

14/06/2011Hi Talk Turkey How are you going, very enjoyable comment you posted above Mr Wordsmith *Is 'infopinion' good? Can I patent it? I bet it's already Out There. I'll look later. Portmanteau words, they're called, and they're not half bad. Which is a funny expression, (like "head over heels", erm . .? . . ) but here I mean I do like portmanteau words. Wonderful words Talk Turkey, Ad Astra said you can patent "Infopinion" I have been trying to work out another word that could go with infopinion can you for me please. Just for fun. Now I did hear you say a very nice please to Typecastphil So I thought I could help you Talk Turkey, everyone has been helping me today it's great. Here is the link and I think the first comment is about number 4. Cheers (D)(D)(D):):):):):):):):) (K)(K)(K)(K http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/post/2010/02/12/A-sparrow-farts-in-Queensland.aspx By the way that was an excellent article by Bushfire Bill.

BSA Bob

14/06/2011Macca at 8.17 Well said. Michael, Lyn et al- Abbott even worse than usual in his nightly stunt, I thought. Fairly immaculately dressed, turn up for a mo, bung a visibility vest on, shovel some sand into a mixer & that's it. No longer any pretence at all that he's actually doing the supposed job. Having done my share of complaining about Chris Uhlmann, I must say I thought he gave a fair performance tonight interviewing Forrest. He at least put the Government's case, plus a few genuine questions.

NormanK

14/06/2011lyn Don't let those naughty, naughty Mac lovers lead you up the garden path without pointing out the thorns on the roses. If you were more computer literate I would write you a thousand words about why you should have a Mac computer. After all their owners are good-looking, intelligent and articulate BUT ...... Macs work on a different Operating System than Windows-based computers. This means all of the boxes on your screen will look different, they will behave differently and a lot of the names of things are different. I'm not sure that you are ready to learn a whole different way of doing things. If you buy a Windows-based machine it will have Windows 7 installed (you are currently using Windows XP) and with a little help you will be able to transfer all of your files from your old machine to your new one. The suggestion of a laptop is a good one if you think that you don't need a new monitor. Also the suggestion of a portable hard drive is a good one if you can afford it. This is a little box that sits on your desk and on it you can store a spare copy of things which you feel are too valuable to lose if your main computer malfunctions. If you don't feel like spending all of your money at once, you could think about firstly buying just a new Central Processing Unit (CPU), the box under your desk. This is the brain of your computer and is what makes it go fast and remember lots of stuff. If you are still happy with your keyboard (I know you have a new mouse) and you can get by with your old monitor for a while you might like to think about this option. Later you can buy a new monitor when you can afford it. Get a wide one, as big as you can afford - you won't regret it. You can blow text up to a size that suits you and have several pages open at the same time and still read them all. DMW (Confucious) has offered some good advice. Talk to someone at the library or contact a group. Stick to brand names that you recognise. If you've been happy with your old computer, buy the same brand again. Haggle, haggle, haggle. Whatever you do, don't buy online if you don't know what you are doing. The very best thing that you could do is find someone that you trust who knows a bit about computers and have them guide you through it. Don't trust a salesperson - they are more interested in the sale than they are in your future happiness, no matter how nice they may seem. Sorry to all for a long off-topic post but we do have to look after our Link Detective.

TalkTurkey

15/06/2011Russell Glendale Newcastle These days I tend to be circumspect around those claiming to be recent fugitives for the Labor Party, for one of two reasons, viz., on the one hand I might regard them as pale partners and fair-weather friends, on the other as rats on the right. But I do acknowledge a third possibility: that yeah you're genuinely fed up with Labor. To which all I can say is this: that Labor has always made all the social progress in this country, against unrelenting reaction, and it's only made up of people, and if there are more naysaysers and gainsayers than yeasayers and facilitators then who are the former lot to blame? You do sound genuine, but you also sound as though you have just about contradicted yourself in a way, hopefully in a good way, to return not just your second preferences to Labor but a bit of encouragement to the only mob that are really ever going to do you any good. Personally I think Labor is doing its amazing best, not perfect, some things make me cross too (Gunn's?) but Man, see the Big Picture! So welcome Russell, and may you feel better about this government ere long. How about, Ask not what Labor can do for you - Ask rather, what you can do for Labor! I don't think I'll be able to patent that Ad!

janice

15/06/2011 good morning all, Isn't it strange how the brain works? I woke up at 3am with the thought that I made a spelling error in my comments yesterday - the word "vacuous" was highlighted in my mind together with the image of sentence in which I used that word, giving it an extra 'u'. I wonder what prompted my brain to punish me by waking me up at 3am or am I just being reminded that I am "losing it" a bit more as time marches on?

lyn

15/06/2011 [b]TODAY'S LINKS [/b] [i]It’s Tony Abbott Who’s Toxic, Not The Tax!, Min, Cafe Whispers[/i] He’s now denouncing Labor’s carbon tax While carefully not disclosing facts That he had plans for one himself Which for the moment’s on the shelf http://cafewhispers.wordpress.com/2011/06/14/its-tony-abbott-whos-toxic-not-the-tax/ [i]Families Slugged by NewsCorp Innumeracy # NewsCorpFail, John Quiggin[/i] Woolworths, for example, will pay around $73 million a year in higher electricity costs. That certainly sounds like it would put a dent in the household budget. As the old saying has it, a million here, a million there, pretty soon you’re spending real money. That’s where Lewis leaves the story http://johnquiggin.com/ [i]Essential Research: 54-46 to Coalition, William Bowe, The Poll Bludger[/i] Gillard’s personal ratings, with approval down seven from a month ago to 34 per cent and disapproval up six to 54 per cent. Tony Abbott has also gone backwards: down four on approval to 38 per cent and up four on disapproval to 48 per cent. http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollbludger/2011/06/14/essential-research-54-46-to-coalition-4/ [i]Newspoll: 55-45 to Coalition, William Bowe, The Poll Bludger[/i] Coalition lead is out to 55-45 from 52-48 a fortnight ago (matching Labor’s previous nadir of April 1-3), from primary votes of 31 per cent for Labor http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollbludger/ [i]A Representative Parliament? Tell her she's dreaming, The Conscience Vote[/i] Senate Committee investigation into the Pacific Solution, and Nauru in particular.One submission documented the conditions in the camps, and the plight of the asylum seekers held there. In the words of one interviewed detainee: http://consciencevote.wordpress.com/2011/06/14/a-representative-parliament-tell-her-shes-dreaming/ [i]Is Australia discovering its heart, Peter Lewis, The Drum[/i] Opposition Leader Tony Abbott is pushing the Nauru government to sign the UN Refugee Convention so he can put it forward as a credible alternative for processing there http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/2758396.html [i]The YouTube loophole, Jeremy Sear, Pure Poison[/i] is that certain anonymous political players are now putting together their own versions of footage, quite cynically chosen and dishonestly-edited ( http://blogs.crikey.com.au/purepoison/2011/06/14/the-youtube-loophole/#more-10569 [i]Roxon Shows How The Job's Done, Ben Eltham, New Matilda[/i] If a week is a long time in politics, then the two years to 2013, when the next election is scheduled to be held, is an eternity. In the last Parliament, we saw three opposition leaders and two prime ministers in one term of office. Who knows what the next 24 months might bring? http://newmatilda.com/2011/06/14/roxon-shows-how-jobs-done [i]Fighting pollution whithout prices is like....Peter Martin[/i] I bet you think you know where greenhouse gasses come from. http://www.petermartin.com.au/2011/06/fighting-pollution-without-prices-is.html [i]Global 'weirding' Gary Sauer-Thompson, Public Opinion[/i] The Guardian has an article on the "new normal" of the extreme weather in Europe that is explained in terms of the adverse effects of climate change.The drier springs and hotter summers http://www.sauer-thompson.com/archives/opinion/2011/06/global-weirding.php#more [i]A carbon tax is meant to hurt a little, but we have a choice: we can change, Watching the Deniers,New Anthropocene[/i]. The media’s war over the carbon tax continues to wage, with Melbourne’s Herald Sun leading the charge with the headline “Carbonated!”The paper breathlessly warns of how the tax will raise a price on everything.: http://newanthropocene.wordpress.com/2011/06/14/a-carbon-tax-is-meant-to-hurt-a-little-but-we-have-a-choice-we-can-change/ [i]Waxing lyrical, David Horton, The Watermelon Blog[/i]Climate change denial, refugees, Sarah Palin, WMD in Iraq, Bob Katter, alternative medicine, nuclear power, gay marriage, GM food, Carbon Tax, love of guns, all seem to attract people with a part of the brain that doesn’t consult with the rest. http://davidhortonsblog.com/2011/06/14/waxing-lyrical/?blogsub=confirming#subscribe-blog [i]Has the Internet "hamsterized" journalism?, Matthew Laser, ARS[/i] Journalists complain that where newsrooms used to reward in-depth stories, "now incentives skew toward work that can be turned around quickly and generate a bump in Web traffic." http://arstechnica.com/web/news/2011/06/has-the-internet-hamsterized-journalism.ars [i]Space. The ultimate hurdle?,Ash, Ash's Machiaviallian Bloggery[/i] I better clarify that. What astronomers mean by this is the distances between solar systems and galaxies is expanding. Now this creates a huge problem http://ashghebranious.wordpress.com/2011/06/14/space-the-ultimate-hurdle/

Feral Skeleton

15/06/2011janice, Isn't dreaming just sorting through the day's events? :)

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15/06/2011LYN'S DAILY LINKS updated: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/LYNS-DAILY-LINKS.aspx

Michael

15/06/2011Today's Bad Abbott. Well, it's Shouldabeen's Bad Abbott every day that parliament sits. The show-boating censure motion that achieves nothing. Wrong. It achieves the diminution to nonsense of a serious parliamentary option for a serious Opposition to draw serious attention to a Government's serious failure over a serious issue. "Serious" as in questioning the ability of a government to seriously govern. By turning 'serious' into 'sideshow' Shouldabeen reduces the Federal Parliament to vaudeville. And worst of all, his gags always fall flat. The only laughter is AT him. His repetitive and ridiculous censure motions are not even "pragmatic politics". They are seriously stupid. And insulting and demeaning to Australian democracy.

Feral Skeleton

15/06/2011Is Dame Elisabeth Murdoch too rich to be coming out in public in favour of a Price on Carbon? http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/06/15/3243919.htm?section=justin

lyn

15/06/2011Hi Michael Thankyou for your enjoyable Bad Abbott report. What was the total of Abbott moved censure motions? I think there were something like 100 questions that the Coalition has missed out on, as a result of the censure motions. Wasted tax payers money and a mockery of Question Time. Anthony Albanese said yesterday, Abbott made history in the longest doorstop ever, all the way to Nauru for a doorstop interview. Cheers

D Mick Weir

15/06/2011Having read Peter Martins [b]Fighting pollution whithout prices is like....[/b] (see todays Lyns Links) I am waiting for a screaming headline [b]Latte Sipping Greenies Cause Greenhouse Gas Pollution[/b]

Typecastphil

15/06/2011Sorry people I am a bit late in checking these comments. My thanks to AA and others who listed the link to the 'Sparrow farts in Queensland' for me. Apologies for using a different gravatar name, it was over a year ago and I forgot Macca - great writing at 8:17pm well done. As AA says maybe he should do a more nuanced piece regarding moral compasses (compassii?). Just a question for the group, does anyone think the influence of PR people from Hawker Britton is too large and their advice is misdirecting the ALP compass? I have no idea personally but would be interested to see what this group think.

D Mick Weir

15/06/2011FS @ 9:11 AM I am reminded of the lines from [b]Hitch hikers guide to the galaxy[/b] as the world is about to end. [i]It's times like this I wish I had listened to my mother ... Why? What did your mother say? I don't know, I didn't listen.[/i]

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15/06/2011Typecastphil ‘Moral compass’ is a catchy phrase; I wonder whether it means the same thing to all who use it and all who hear it. As it delves into issues of morality, the issue of what is considered moral arises. It would be an interesting but tricky subject to explore. I too wonder whether Hawker Britton is the right firm to advise Labor. If it has been responsible for the PR that Labor has used (rather than the poll- and focus group-driven apparatchiks), they have not done well, as many here have pointed out. We have been urging Labor to get better media advisors, but if one can judge from recent performances, nothing has changed.

NormanK

15/06/2011janice Overnight is when my gerbils do most of their work so it should come as little surprise that your's woke you up when they reckoned they had a 'gotcha'. They can be vindictive little beggars when they think they aren't being properly listened to.

Feral Skeleton

15/06/2011DMW, I am having just that same problem atm. I try, as a mum, giving advice, the product of my own years of compounded mistakes, but will my young ones listen? No. They are the product of my genes and so continue to make the same mistakes. That's the problem!

Feral Skeleton

15/06/2011Michael, You'll be pleased (?) to hear that the Opposition got in very early today and moved a Suspension of Standing Orders at 9.02am! It was over Nicola Roxon's staff leaving a couple of Phillip Morris employee's names on her donor list after Mark Latham, back in 2004, stopped the ALP from taking any more tobacco company donations. And that is relevant to the governance of the natiion and Ms Roxon's attempts to introduce Plain Packaging for cigarette packets how? All it shows to me is that Tony Abbott's desire to bring in 'Guided Democracy' to Australia would simply complete the trashing of our fragile Australian democracy that he has started from Opposion now. It's a scary prospect.

lyn

15/06/2011Hi Norman K Thankyou for taking the time to write and post a comment for me last night. Very thoughtful advice and I appreciate your time very much. I am going to Hervey Norman,I will just try out some of their desk tops that are on display. We don't have many shops here so not as many choices. [quote]Overnight is when my gerbils do most of their work [/quote] Now I know what happens to me, it's all the gerbils fault, all this time I have been calling them worry. Cheers

D Mick Weir

15/06/2011FS @ 10:08 AM like it or lump it goes to credibility. Attention to 'minor' details that could bring you undone would part of Politics 102 surely?

Feral Skeleton

15/06/2011D Mick Weir, It all sounds like a 'Back to the Future' justification for an attack today, about an issue which is in parliament now and the responsibility of the Minister for Health, using as its justification the overlooking of a detail from 2005 when that Minister for Health was Shadow Attorney General, not even Shadow Minister for Health. It's a very long bow being pulled don't you think? I mean, explain to me how Nicola Roxon or her staff could have known that she was going to be Minister for Health in 2011 bringing in Plain Paper Packaging legislation, that her 1 year old donor database hadn't been scrubbed of tobacco company invitees to fund-raising events, or that the tobacco company in question would have retained that invitation for 6 years to use against her in a future campaign against Plain Paper cigarette packaging? Therefore, how does it prove her a hypocrite today?

Feral Skeleton

15/06/2011lyn, Harvey Norman charge a fortune for computers you can buy for half the price online! Even Dell computers are better value than Harvey Norman. You can only purchase them online and they deliver to your door.

janice

15/06/2011[quote]Overnight is when my gerbils do most of their work so it should come as little surprise that your's woke you up when they reckoned they had a 'gotcha'. They can be vindictive little beggars when they think they aren't being properly listened to.NormanK [/quote] In the past, my gerbils have been more helpful in assisting in solving problems for me. I think that they have been infiltrated by those pro-abbott gerbils and are out to get me :D:

Typecastphil

15/06/2011FS I agree with D Mick Weir - it is just sloppy practices. Would you not check (ie Roxon's staff, not necessarily her personally)ANY invite/message/mail/flyer being sent under your letterhead? Not necessarily a punishable offence but, as Weir said, goes to cred

D Mick Weir

15/06/2011FS @ 11:10 AM I, for one, will not accuse Roxon of being a hypocrite. [i]... that the tobacco company in question would have retained that invitation for 6 years to use against her in a future campaign against Plain Paper cigarette packaging?[/i] There are some laws about retaining documents for ten (?) years and well I would put nothing past a multinational behometh that is having it's profits threatened. All it shows to me is that Roxon and/or her staff were sloppy at the very least, in not taking them of lists when Latham decreed Big Tobacco was 'persona non grata' My advice to her would be 'take it on the chin, admit it was a foolish and careless error and move on.'

D Mick Weir

15/06/2011Lyn re computers. I am not sure if this advice is sound or not but please remember what god told Adam: [i]'Don't touch Apples'[/i]

Jason

15/06/2011Roxon can hold her own with Abbott and Dutton who are nothing but "flat track bullies" throw in Southcott and you end up with nothing. No bring it on! they have 6 sitting days left until the senate changes,so if they wish to waste another day for no result that's up to them. If Abbott thinks this might sway the independents his way he was out in the hot Nauru sun for to long! Nothing but a beat up.

D Mick Weir

15/06/2011Lyn NormanK may be better placed to advise on this but I gather that once you have bitten an Apple things will never be the same. Something about being led up garden paths and all sorts of other things. Then again didn't someone say 'An Apple a day keeps the doctor away' Oh dear now I am conflicted and have probably caused more confusion.

NormanK

15/06/2011D Mick Weir [quote]'Don't touch Apples'[/quote] Them's fighting words! Let the Operating System flame wars begin! Slightly more seriously, I've been meaning to ask for some time: "What has Nicola Roxon got on Tony Abbott?" I've never seen any other Labor politician cause Abbott the level of discomfort that she can. In question time, if she is at the Ballot Box he won't even look at her, rarely interjects and displays quite interesting body language. Does she know something about him? Did they get on the turps one night and he let slip some secret he doesn't want revealed? I find the chemistry of their interaction particularly intriguing.

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15/06/2011Hi Lyn Thank you for another interesting set of links. Those interested in the changing media scene might be interested in a US paper: [i]THE INFORMATION NEEDS OF COMMUNITIES The changing media landscape in a broadband age Steven Waldman and the Working Group on Information Needs of Communities June 2011 www.fcc.gov/infoneedsreport[/i] that was linked from: [i]Has the Internet "hamsterized" journalism?[/i] by Matthew Laser at [i]ARS[/i] 
 http://arstechnica.com/web/news/2011/06/has-the-internet-hamsterized-journalism.ars The report itself is at: http://transition.fcc.gov/osp/inc-report/The_Information_Needs_of_Communities.pdf Those interested in the mysteries of space would enjoy the two space YouTube videos on space on Ash’s blog: Space. The ultimate hurdle?, Ash, Ash's Machiaviallian Bloggery 
 http://ashghebranious.wordpress.com/2011/06/14/space-the-ultimate-hurdle/

NormanK

15/06/2011Oops. Dispatch Box not Ballot Box. Curse you gerbils! ([i]I don't really mean that.)[/i]

lyn

15/06/2011Hi Ad I am so glad you enjoyed the ARS article, as I did also makes for an excellent topic of conversation doesn't it. Gives us a bit more understanding of what is going on with journalism today, and the problems they face. As always Ash provides good reading, I do enjoy his blogs. Jason just posted an excellent comment about Nicola Roxon. Good on you Jason, agree with you totally. Jason said: [quote]Roxon can hold her own with Abbott and Dutton who are nothing but "flat track bullies" throw in Southcott and you end up with nothing[/quote] [quote]If Abbott thinks this might sway the independents his way he was out in the hot Nauru sun for to long! Nothing but a beat up. [/quote] Abbott's no match for Nicola Anyway what about them, Abbott signed, asking for donations on their emails as well, was it Queensland flood victims? Abbott didn't check before signing did he. Cheers

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15/06/2011Hi Lyn I hope I won’t confuse your decision making about a new computer by putting in my two bobs’ worth. Up to a year ago I would have agreed with D Mick Weir because I was an avid long time Dell PC user, but in the last year I have become an Apple user. Let me tell you of my experience. I was attracted to the large screen iMac and bought one about a year ago, and use it when we are staying at our south coast home. I still use a Dell laptop when in Melbourne. The large 27 inch screen is magnificent – there is also a 21.5 inch screen which is also very easy to read. The operating system in Macs is different from Microsoft PC’s but the commands, although a little different from Microsoft’s, are quite easy to get used to. As I use both Mac and PC in different places, I have to be aware of the different commands, but have not found that a problem. I am looking at replacing my ancient Dell with an Apple MacBook Air as with Apple’s new iCloud facility I would be able to synchronize my two computers and iPad, which would be a great boon. So while I understand DMW’s attitude to Apple, my recent experience has been very positive. So my advice would be to take a look at what Apple has to offer. Because you sit at your computer a lot of each day, you may find the larger iMac screens to your liking. Prices have come down so much in recent years that even elaborate computers are now reasonably priced. I can remember many years ago paying around $7000 for a Toshiba laptop with a whole 20Mb of hard drive. It’s a new world of prices now. I don’t wish to persuade you to buy an Apple computer – you must make your own choice – but I believe it would be worthwhile taking a look at the iMacs with their large screens. There is an Apple outlet in Hervey Bay; here are the details: HERVEY BAY
Widebay Technology
Shop 2, 75 Main St
Hervey Bay, QLD
4655
 (07) 41 24/7 MAC (41247622)
http://www.widebaytechnology.com.au 
 email: info@widebaytechnology.com.au You can look at Apple iMac computers online at: http://store.apple.com/au/browse/home/shop_mac/family/imac?afid=p219%7CGOAU&cid=AOS-AP-AU-Google-AA0000018615 It’s exciting choosing a new computer, but stressful. I wish you a happy and satisfying choice.

D Mick Weir

15/06/2011NormanK Don't tell anyone but I am still following discussions over at CT (you know that club that suffers from to much tropical sun whose name I fear to mention here) Anyway someone named Patrick made the comment: [i]'I do believe that slogans existed in Ancient Greece, ffs!'[/i] http://clubtroppo.com.au/2011/06/12/bloggers-or-journalists-whose-opinion-writing-is-better/#comment-434290 I couldn't help myself: [i]I must, however, pull you up, or at least question you on historical accuracy: "I do believe that slogans existed in Ancient Greece, ffs! Surely slogans have been around since Adam was a boy. Think [b]Don’t touch Apples[/b]. If I understand one version of history correctly Adam was a boy a bit before the Greeks were invented.[/i] I was so pleased with my (t)witty response and well I just had to spread my (t)witicism. At times I have no shame, at others :$

Sue

15/06/2011Norman K @ 12.05 Nicola Roxon got the upper hand on Tony Abbott when he was late for the health debate at the Press club in 2007. Roxon was able to get Tony to lose his cool and he has never recovered. You could say she just put on her Doc Martens and and said "I'm just going to Walk all over you."

D Mick Weir

15/06/2011[i]"What has Nicola Roxon got on Tony Abbott?" [/i] ATM all I can think of is that maybe Tones is still smarting over the time he stood her up at the Press Club

D Mick Weir

15/06/2011... and maybe secretly Tones knows that she is a better Health Minister than he ever was?

lyn

15/06/2011You guys are all amazing me. I am so grateful for everyone's kind advice. Thankyou everybody. Ad thankyou for telling me about: HERVEY BAY
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http://www.widebaytechnology.com.au 
 email: info@widebaytechnology.com.au I will go there tomorrow. You see the reason I mentioned Harvey Norman was because I know I can manually have a go there.. But Politically I would rather not give my money to them everybody will know why. Ad I was thinking of around $1,700. the big screen would be very helpful for me using mostly 3 web pages at once. The IMac looks from the web site very nice. I must have all in one I am so sick of cords hanging everywhere. There are more and more pages becoming so graphic intense that my ram or virtual memory doesn't cope very well at the moment. Wow! the laptop you bought must have been amazing at the time. Although my computer is 8 years old, I have purchased a new flat screen and a new keyboard during that time. Cheers

D Mick Weir

15/06/2011Hi Ad my attitude toward Apples has more to do with poking fun at NK than about the technology etc. :) A lot of smart people use Apple. I have been stuck with bleedin' microsoft/windows for work reasons and now compatability is no longer an issue I am consider a change.

D Mick Weir

15/06/2011and yes NK I am considering Aplle so that I can pretend to be smart :)

TalkTurkey

15/06/2011Ahhhhhhh! At last! Harry Jenkins had ( * )ed ?3? of the Coalons under 94a for disgraceful conduct, and rightly so, then NAMED Hartsuyker after getting him to admit that he had heard Harry's earlier warning . . . after which Luke Hartsuyker a serial offender kept being disorderly . . . and by then the Coalons had had enough members ( * )ed that the Government won the division, don't know the vote. After that Pyne has been ( * )ed too! Patricia WA I failed to say what a great pome that was, In Answer To Your Question, at June 13 9-something PM. I think you might have missed your calling as a Rapper!

Jason

15/06/2011Lyn, As expected not one question to Roxon today despite "the faux outrage"! After all no use looking under that rock in case you catch some of your own!

NormanK

15/06/2011Newsreader on Channel 10: "What a great stunt. That's what we all want, a good stunt." or words to that effect when they showed Abbott's 'bring the shutters down' media stunt today. They did remove one of his veils though by showing three separate takes of the same thing. What a fake. And what a flake - we all want a good stunt! Tony Abbott's Dance of the Veils is not a bad way to depict his slow but steady exposure as a fraud.

lyn

15/06/2011Hi Jason No Jason, not a mention she has too many loaded guns and Abbott knows it, he is scared. Have you ever watched Mr Abbott when Nicola is at the dispatch box, he hates with avengence. I saw once today, when Julia was taking Abbott apart, his head started to wobble, not as bad as the Mark Riley thingo, but bobbling and wobbling.. He will go over the edge one day. Cheers

Patricia WA

15/06/2011DMW, I think what Nicola Roxon has over Tony Abbott is moral character and brains. And he knows it. Lyn's right he's no match for Nicola. Thanks for this idea, Sue! [b]Nicola’s In There, Boots And All![/b] So, Tony, you think you’ve got something on me? Something you can offer to the press? You keep undressing, but that’s not impressing. Now here am I, having much more success! My boots are made for walking, and that’s just what they do. And, fully clothed, I wear them to walk all over you. You keep lying, when you ought to be honest. That’s why you’re losing, and never well ahead. I keep praying, you’re not about to be changing. Your right is wrong. No one believes a word you’ve said. My boots are made for walking, but that’s not all I do. Every day while wearing them I talk all over you. Keep on saying the things you shouldn’t be saying, Just keep on thinking that you’ll never get burnt. Ha! I’ve got me a box of no-brand cigarettes! And where there’s smokes there’s fire you should have learned! These boots are made for walking, and that's just what they'll do. Every day these boots and I will walk all over you! Still with me, boots.? Let’s keep walking!

Jason

15/06/2011latikambourke | 59 seconds ago !!!!! RT @SimonGetUp: Just won auction and are giving the dinner with the PM to same sex couples #marriageequality #GetUp

Feral Skeleton

15/06/2011This short exchange on Twitter about Tony Abbott says all that needs to be said & especially wrt the polls: 5 mins ago via TweetDeck [quote]seearjay @phbarratt Isn't it called a 'wrecking strategy'? Scare the stuffing out of the electorate so it turns to another Party for rescue. #madmonk phbarratt @seearjay Absolutely correct. Still waiting for his first constructive contribution.[/quote]

D Mick Weir

15/06/2011Re Nicola Roxon, I have just come across a post by Ben Eltham @ New Matilda [b]Roxon Story All Smoke, No Fire[/b] http://newmatilda.com/2011/06/15/roxon-story-all-smoke-no-fire [i]But how big a story is this really? The letter was sent six years ago. There was no cover up. Roxon immediately admitted the letter was sent, owned up to being embarassed by it, but also confirmed that no tobacco representatives attended and that no money was donated. That’s right: no money was donated.[/i] No money was donated. Something I was not aware of until now. Oh well another storm in a teacup.

D Mick Weir

15/06/2011Riley on 7 News saying the roller door thing [i]'another stunt by Tony Abbott'[/i] How many stunts does an opposition need to perform before he figures out everybody else is seeing them as just more stunts?

NormanK

15/06/2011My apologies to Channel 10 (hah!) - it was some ditz on Channel 9 who thought we all enjoyed a 'good stunt' from the Leader of the Opposition. Please, please, please could just one channel show footage from 15 seconds either side of one of these stunts. "Ya ready guys? Righto here we go." "Did ya get that? You want me to go again? Am I up to it? Oh yeah, I can do this all day!"

lyn

15/06/2011Hi DM Weir This is what David Horton says on his Watermelon Blog about the Nicola Roxon beat up, Payback David says: Caesar’s wife, David Horton, The Watermelon Blog [b]This week came payback, the tobacco industry revealing [/b]that in 2005 (2 years before Labor came into government!) some fund-raising letters had gone out, signed by Roxon (I’m guessing in a big pile of hundreds of letters http://davidhortonsblog.com/2011/06/15/caesars-wife/

Sue

15/06/2011Patricia WA @5.37 I have been humming the Nancy Sinatra song all day today. Now I have the poem and it is so much better. Thanks Patricia.

D Mick Weir

15/06/2011Bingo. I think I have got it. I have worked what Tony Abbotts real fear about the carbon tax is. Once the carbon tax goes through he reckons a tax on methane will be next and with all the bullshite he peddles he would have one hefty tax bill. Has someone else suggested this before? Probably, but I have now worked it out too. btw I liked the comment on the 7PM Project tonight [i]'Tony Abbott is going through a metaphor stage ...'[/i] They bagged him out real good.

Ad astra reply

15/06/2011Folks I've just posted a new vignette: [i]Is your moral compass better than mine?[/i]. http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/post/2011/06/15/Is-your-moral-compass-better-than-mine.aspx

paul walter

15/06/2011So this is the blog that was stoushing with Troppo? Well, I can't find much to quarrel with in the threads, one more progressive blog can't hurt with politics running like a car on a flat tyre and some of the older blogs stale after quite long hauls. I see D Mick is here, g'day.

Ad astra reply

15/06/2011paul walter Welcome to The Political Sword, and thank you for your comment. I hope you will return and contribute to the discourse here.

Patricia WA

15/06/2011Hey, Sue! I forgot to mention they were Doc Martens! I've just changed the title and I'll do an explanatory note for the uninitiated at http://polliepomes.wordpress.com/2011/06/15/nicola%e2%80%99s-in-there-boots-and-all/ I am also searching for a picture of Nicola wearing them. No luck so far. Can anyone help? TT - Thanks for the Rapper comment! An unintended result, I'm afraid. Like you I'm somewhat eclectic about form but the sound and meaning of words fascinate me.

Glorfindel

16/06/2011Res ipsa loquitur - the thing speaks for itself. If an election had been held on the last poll date we would now have PM Abbott. What better testimony to the incompetence of the Gillard government could there be? Or is the aim and purpose of the Gillard government to make Abbott PM? However a brief list of the shortcomings might include: The challenge for the leadership, and it's ramifications, was poorly thought out - (Mumble certainly called the result more accurately than this blog.) The campaign was poorly run, admittedly leaks were an issue, but the "real Julia" and the one debate, two debates etc. Not to mention the debacle of the "east timor" solution. The on-going handling of the asylum seekers issue is appalling, the lack of moral leadership taken by the weak and craven government is shameful. (However the negotiations after the election and the securing of the support of the independents were exceptionally well done and one of the very few feathers in PM Gillard's cap.) The back-flip on the introduction of a price on carbon The perceived pandering to Brown and the greens. The ridiculous oversell of what a "tough budget" this federal budget was going to be and the ridiculous "set top box for pensioners plan" (it's a pity pensioners can't eat patronising twaddle or the comments of some on this blog would have kept them fat and happy for months) "The media beat ups, the Oppositions unrelenting negativity and the general ho-hum of the electorate." The same media, the same opposition and the same electorate environment that Rudd somehow managed to produce an election winning poll result in. Perhaps the media et al are not the core factor? The only slight light at the end of the tunnel is that there is a significant amount of time between now and the next election. It's possible that the fortunes of the government will be reversed.
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