Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Hi, it’s Sandy, and I’m here with Leo, my brother and Alene’s other boy, waiting for the coroner. Her Blogger page was still open so I thought I’d use it to let friends know what happened, probably on Monday night, and why we’re here. After that, well I don’t know Alene’s password, so when I sign off on this it will be, so to speak, the last post for Alene. After that, no way of getting back into the blog again.

We found her, well, the Emergency boys actually found her, about two hours ago. Alarm goes off, neighbours report it, neighbours report it again, door gets kicked in, and there she is, stretched out on the floor, quite dead, with her head in the oven. She must have been a bit glum when she did it. It’s an all electric house.

Paint is ruined from the smoke ($4000) and the house smells like Sunday roast. New stove ($1000)?  Nah, buyers don’t really need to know what’s been cooking and we all  don’t hear the timer every now and again. Alene’s proved that the oven works a treat, though. And for the replacement door, maybe a leadlight kookaburra, or some Federation-faux gum leaves and boomerangs ($800-$2500). Presentation, that’s what moves a house at top dollar ($750K to $900K). Sorry seagrass, Bali puppets, Krishna and the cow maidens on the wall, it’s time to go! Polished wood and sconces, that’s the shot. Take out the Rheem and put in a woodchip donkey heater. Burns renewables, and your Seddon sorts like that, and it will cut the number of baths, too, because the water takes so long to heat. They will like that as well. No Dams! Wild Rivers Say No Salinity etc!. Yes indeed, maybe it will make a million with any luck.

Leo’s just come back from taking care of Sparkles. The cat was a bit weird when we got here. Probably the three days of overcooking did it. Sorry Mum, but if your little friend had a nibble on the roasted bits I can’t tell. But
you two were very close so I know you wouldn’t mind. Nice Mr Lee, the bloke across the road who owns the restaurant in Footscray, has taken her. Said he didn’t need the cat bed or the John Howard litter tray, so he left without them. Seemed quite happy. Well, happier than Sparkles anyway    

LOOK, it’s Leo here now, and I’ve taken the keyboard away from my brother because he makes this all sound flippant. It’s not. It’s horrible finding Mum like this. And she was a vegetarian too. But Sandy is like that and means no disrespect. It’s the way we were brought up, as she explained in one of her last contributions to the SMH. You may have seen it.

As a "first wave" feminist and single mother, I raised my boys in a way that transgressed the gender norms and stereotypes that dominated the sixties. No toy guns or access to violence-themed superhero figures, limited "play exposure" to recreational aids that encouraged unthinking acceptance of the proposition that only the "hard" sciences and macho occupations -- firemen, cowboy, policemen etc -- were fit goals. Instead, the emphasis was on nurturing, empathetic and consensus-driven goals. At the beach, for example, we didn't make sand castles and then destroy them. Instead, we would have fun laying out sand gardens and making them bloom with "flowers" made out of icy pole sticks and rubbish we collected. This also helped introduce them to environmental principles.
Well that was decades ago and, even if I say so myself, the sandpit policy has worked. When each was an adolescent, both were felt free to be entirely open about their sexuality. There was no anguish about coming out of the closet for either Sandy or Leo because they were never in the closet to begin with.
Today the eldest is a happy, well adjusted figure in the art world and the youngest, who has just adopted a Congolese orphan with his partner, has made me a grandma.
We can change the world, us mothers. One person, one attitude, one generation at a time.
Alene Composta | Seddon - March 13, 2011, 9:42AM 

She was a beautiful person, Alene, always there with a smile and never a harsh word. Opinionated, but then aren’t we all? And who is to decide if one idea is more sensible than any other? Don’t discriminiate. Do not judge, that was her creed. We’ll play “Imagine” at the funeral. It is a beautiful hymn and she always said it gave her such pride in believing in not believing in so many different things. No wonder the kiddies still love it in their music classes.

As far as we can tell, it was Media Watch and Jonathan Holmes that set the thermostat, so to speak. She was calling both Sandy and myself all day, saying we should come over, watch the show and try a new snack, something fishy with tahini and lemon that she was whipping up. There was going to be something very big, something Holmes was going to do for her, some injustice he was going to expose. Who knows what it was this time? Mum was always crusading for something.

Anyway, it was all  such a mix-up! I thought Sandy was going over here and he thought I was going, so neither of us went over and Alene was here all alone. I can’t tell you how often that happened. We were a pair of slack sausages when it came time to see a little of Mum. And now she has gone. Forever. But I think she was happy until right at the end, whenever whatever it was on Media Watch tipped her over the edge.

She could change like that, did it all the time in fact. I remember when we were kids how she agreed with Gough about keeping out those “slit-eyed Balts”. And then, when Howard was in, she howled about the desert concentration camps and would have gone to Woomera and torn down  the wire if only she could have left the house. Same with Timor and the carbon tax and the US alliance and how she loved Kevin one day and adored Julia the next. Always changing, always evolving in what Mum used to say was “the appropriate way”. Just like Julia, actually, when you think about it.

What did it for Mum neither Sandy nor I can really know, despite page after page of the notes she made about what was on the ABC that night. Can anyone make heads or tails out of it? I don’t think the first line is sexual or has anything to do with the warts (who knew!!!), but I really can’t be sure.

ABC building up to Media Watch climax for me in grand style as Four Corners covers Japanese nuclear catastrophe. Fighting words from Friends of Earth, Nautilus Institute, Australian Conservation Foundation, and maybe the Seahorse Society too, or was that another item about Helen Caldicott’s brother? I get confused. Not a pro-nuker or a denier on the show though. How good! Keep swinging, Aunty. We have a carbon tax to pass.

Finally, it’s on! Media Watch – and there’s Jonathan H. Had earthquake in NZ and they’re still screwed, apparently. What losers, putting sheep dip ads or whatever on our national broadcaster.

My item must be next.


Climate change..climate change … climate..change … Jonathan just won’t shut up. Yes, the climate modelers ARE heroes, Jonathan, we know that. But PLEEEZE go get a room after the show. My item next, surely?



 And here is where the notes go very, very strange.

Now its Q&A and the ABC is pulling out all the stops. Nothing but Greens and Youth Climate Kids in the audience. Beautifully, beautifully stacked. ABC at its best.

Hear those cheers? Every syllable from Christine gets applause. And Pyne? Bring on that libidinous dog. More cheers for wind and tidal. That will scare the protesty old men who hate our planet! This tax is going to be so popular we’re going to gain many, many seats. Big girls like Julia need two, just for herself. Ad campaign to obliterate Libs. Millions well spent.

Won’t be here to see it, I’m afraid.

ABC stacked against me. I AM NOT CHRISTOPHER PYNE!!!! Please listen, please.

TEARS. Ink runs like life force down the page.

Every show tonight a wonderful, example of appropriate, responsible journalism, but not a word about the Drum’s injustice to me. Or how the editor broke his word and destroyed an article that would have turned NSW voters against the Liberals, as we agreed. Not a word.

If even Jonathan is against me, what’s the point?

That is where it ends. Where Mum ended too.

Oh well, that’s it. House goes on the market and we better get the fixes done before the carbon tax starts to figure in the tradies bills’. Frankly it would have been much more considerate if Mum had done this last year.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Tomorrow Belongs To Us

IT IS now becoming undeniably obvious that, while the “Embargo Alene” movement is spreading, so too is support in some very august quarters. First the bad news.

Of my last two comments on Fairfax opinion threads, the first was published but given the Drum treatment within the hour -- taken down and ground by SMH censors into nothingness. A subsequent comment this morning hailing columnist Warwick Macfadyen’s dad for realising that a nuclear reactor is exactly the same as a nuclear bomb did not even get that brief exposure.

Now the good news, which arrived via email from Dr Stephan Lewandowsky, serial Drum contributor, ferocious climate activist and professor of psychology at the University of Western Australian. His note of support is just lovely in its warmth and good fellowship. And while I will not be restored to the Drum’s roster of great minds until Jonathan Holmes busts open the door tonight, Stephan’s eager willingness to inform me of the deniers’ dirtiest little secret makes me realize that, even without the Drum, I am now a trusted and leading light on the Left.

There are only a pitiful few deniers, Stephan tells me, adding that they use multiple aliases to mount their anti-Gaia barrages. And most chilling of all, they are paid, presumably by Big Carbon, to work this dreadful mischief! “Bear in mind that a proportion of those comments is orchestrated,” he writes, “and for all we know there are only a handful of people with multiple electronic ‘personas’ each, who are paid to create disproportionate noise.”

You heard it from a professor, so don’t doubt that revelation for a second. Here is what I wrote to Stephan:

Dear Prof Lewandowsky,
We have never met, although we do share a background in the field of psychology, so I feel emboldened to ask for your professional advice. You see we have something in common: a passionate concern for averting the looming catastrophe of runaway climate change.

I recently began blogging, especially about climate change, and after a month my site was noticed. Noticed by the wrong people, sadly. Readers of Tim Blair and Andrew Bolt have swamped my site with genuinely abusive comments, many relating to my disability, which I find very hurtful.

So my question to you is this: How do you deal with monsters like this?

I have read and savoured every column you have published at Unleashed, and I have read the hateful comments that, even with an ABC moderator to vet them, still make it up on the site. The worst charge is that they simply do not take me seriously, which diminishes me in my humanity. I must confess that, after the latest round of abuse, I hugged my little cat and cried for an hour.

You have not only shrugged off that abuse, you have also survived the scorn and ridicule of your fellow West Australian Joanne Nova (I found that while googling your email address). It is a species of bravery I do not know if I can tap.

I'm a fragile woman and I thought my blog, Verdant Hopes, might be a force for good in the world. Instead it has made me a victim once again.

Any advice you could share would be appreciated.

Alene Composta

And here is what Stephan wrote in response:

Hi Alene, thanks for getting in touch. Yes, I know all about those abusive comments and it is brave for you to reveal as much personal detail as you do on your blog. Alas, for some people that is an invitation to rip into you and get a laugh out of that—they are like the school bullies whom no one really liked and who didn’t really have close friends, only followers.

I deal with those comments and actions largely by ignoring them. Wherever possible, I insert some of them into my talks to point out to the audience what sort of people are engaging in this assault on science and by what means they operate. Unfortunately, there presently is not much else that can be done about those comments.

As far as your blog is concerned, bear in mind that it is yours and that you can shut down any comment and run any moderation policy that you want. That still doesn’t make it easier to receive those hateful utterances in the first place, but at least it gives you some sense of control to shut them down. Bear in mind that a proportion of those comments is orchestrated and for all we know there are only a handful of people with multiple electronic “personas” each, who are paid to create disproportionate noise.

All the best, Stephan

Stephan Lewandowsky
Australian Professorial Fellow
School of Psychology
University of Western Australia
Crawley, W.A. 6009   AUSTRALIA

And that was not all the support Stephan has provided. In a follow-up email he writes:

Hi Alene, further to my earlier email, here are some more recommendations from a friend, John Cook of, to whom I mentioned your distress:

One is that saying by Gandhi, "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win". The fact that deniers are going to the trouble to attack her means she's making a difference. That may be scant comfort but there will always be people vehemently opposing action on climate change and the greater the perceived threat, the more intensely they attack. The other saying that comes to mind is "for evil to triumph, it only requires good people do nothing" - it's inevitable we invite attack if we campaign for climate change and try to make a difference. … deniers attack everyone indiscriminately from the lowly blogger to the most imminent climate scientists in the world. In fact, the level of attack that the climate scientists receive are the greatest - death threats, dead rats left on their door, legal harassment from conservative lawyers and ad hominem attack after ad hominem attack. No one is worthy of more respect than climate scientists who are the preeminent experts in the world, spending decades researching this stuff, and yet their name is mud to deniers. As all the science and evidence points to climate action, the only recourse deniers have is to attack the messenger.

On a practical level, I would recommend if possible that she changes the settings of her blog so registration is mandatory before people can post comments. Nothing cleans up a person's behaviour like the removal of anonymity. It also makes it easier to ban poorly behaved commenters and to enforce a strict moderation policy. Perhaps direct her to an example of a comments policy like - our level of discussion is of a fairly high quality thanks to plenty of moderation and compulsory registration.

Thanks, hope that helps,


Now I am worried. I have been finding dead rats on my doorstep for some time, even before I started blogging. I had believed (in my innocence) that they were Sparkles’ handiwork, but now I fear Big Carbon has been instructing its operatives to monitor my opinions and engage in pre-emptive intimidation.

I am going to scoop up Sparkles, crawl into the cupboard under the stairs and keep a low profile until Jonathan Holmes sets everything right tonight, comforting myself in the meantime with Stephan’s use of a single, beautiful and inspirational word, the one I have underlined:

“Unfortunately, there presently is not much else that can be done about those comments.”

But soon, Stephan, soon. We are at the very brink of gaining the undisputed upper hand, not to mention the might, moral authority and legal sanctions to make sure holders of the wrong opinions are silenced and, if we are genuinely caring, marked for re-eduction. Can any educated person doubt that those who espouse such views are suitable cases for treatment in the appropriate institutions?

That day is coming, and, for the greater good of our planet, it cannot arrive too soon.

My Turn To Duck

THE EXCITEMENT builds as Media Watch draws near. And so, I am glad to report, does the outpouring of support – with one petty exception. Casting himself as the rude doorman and custodian of the hempen rope that blocks my access to the ranks of the Drum Club’s elite inner circle, Ben Eltham has posted the following remark in comments at a post below.

Maybe Jonathan didn't publish you because your copy wasn't very good? I can't say because I haven't read your work before. But judging by this piece, perhaps he didn't publish you because you play the person and not the ball.

By the way, given that the online media environment in Australia is relatively young and small, is it surprising that some of the same writers pop up in various publications? The mainstream journalists would too, except that they are contracted to Fairfax or News. Besides, I can't see Andrew Bolt, Michelle Grattan or George Megalogenis swapping their six-figure salaries for the princely sums offered by The Drum.

I've got nothing against opinionated blogs, but the argument that all of The Drum's writers are somehow united in a left-wing love in doesn't bear scrutiny. There are more than token numbers of conservative voices, but more to the point, there is considerable diversity of backgrounds and media experience there too.

I think attacking the ABC for paying writers is pretty sad, by the way. $200 is a fraction of what print journalists receive, of what other ABC journalists are paid, and far less than the relevant award rate.

By the way, have you considered that the reason the ABC Drum's published opinion writers tend to the belief that anthropogenic global warming is a real phenomenon is because they share the view of the vast majority of the world's climate scientists?

Intrigued by that missive I consulted the Drum’s archive, where the evidence suggests Eltham is himself no slouch at playing people, not just balls. He was right to say Joe Hockey is an economic ignoramus, but isn’t it playing the man to put it thus:

When you consider that the Coalition's economic team is headed up by Joe Hockey, this is frankly amazing. Hockey seems to get just about every economic fact he mentions dead wrong.

I won’t be too critical because Ben’s article at the Drum ended on the right note, given that last year’s election was but days away:

Let's hope there is a leader's debate on the economy. Australian voters deserve to know what they might be in for if the Coalition wins government.

While I find Ben’s remarks very hurtful, I cannot fault his writing. His pre-election warning of the Coalition’s intent to vandalise the economy was the Drum at its very finest.

She Used Her Head

THE stirring story of an animal rights activist who placed herself between hunter and fowl has summoned my muse.

Duck, ducks!
Geese with guns
Are scoring runs
As peaceful folk
While saving birds
From lethal turds
Whose slaughter
O’er the water
Leaves feather and beaks
On countless creeks
And a vegan crusader,
A marshland blockader,
Peppered with shot
In her hospital cot

Silence Of The Grave

HAVE you noticed how the nuclear catastrophe in Japan is suddenly missing from the front pages?

How bad must it be if this sort of censorship is now deemed essential for the public good, needed to avoid panic and riotous disorder?. Even the SMH and Age have signed on, no longer daring to mention the coming meltdowns so many scientists were warning about only on Friday. Instead, in a transparent effort to distract the public, the Age now writes not about the threat to humanity but the impact on carrots and comquats.

During World War Two, the last time Japan was perceived as being a threat to Australia (thanks to the racist Billy Hughes) a line was drawn at Brisbane, south of which the monochromatic culture of the old Australia was to be preserved, even by force of arms.

Where have our officials drawn the new "Brisbane Line" that marks where the southbound tide of nuclear fallout will stop?

Stock up on that iodised fish offal. You will need it.

UPDATE: On the ABC this morning Jon Faine's broadcast is beset by static. Gamma radiation hitting the aerial?

Sunday, March 20, 2011


YES, it is ego, but can I admit to my excitement at Jonathan Holme’s pending expose of the Drum’s cronyism and betrayal, sure as eggs to be aired on Monday night’s Media Watch? What The Drum did to my expose of the NSW Liberals’ moosegate scandal – taking it down after a pitiful few and paltry objections from hidebound traditionalist Mark Colvin -- was nothing less than discrimination. What did I say that went beyond that to which most established figures on the Left have put their names, especially at The Drum?

Tomorrow night, if I might suggest, Holmes needs to drill that carborundum eye deep into Colvin’s intolerance. If the radio presenter cannot name a representative percentage of his AM co-workers who are, like me, victims of genital warts, he stands condemned as the marginliser with a microphone, the enemy of otherness, a self-appointed Commissar of The Pudenda Police. Indeed, in the interests of full disclosure, the ABC must reveal the percentage of its workforce who are members of the genital warts community.

And while he is at it, perhaps he might care to dig deeper into Jonathan Green’s insistence that his site is fair because it has published 4000 articles. But what sort of articles, Jonathan, and who wrote them? According to the Drum’s own manifest of published authors, 1-in-8 articles are the work of just a baker’s dozen of contributors.

Here is how a more replete list of leading lights breaks down:

Bob Ellis  -- 103
Ben Pobje --  58
Helen Razer – 57
Irfan Yusuf – 55
Greg Barns – 43
Kellie Tranter – 37
David Horton – 33
Tim Dunlop --  31
Jeff Sparrow – 29
Lauren Rosewarne – 25
Amin Saikal -- 25
Antsy Lowenstein – 22
Ben Eltham – 19
Scott Bridges – 14
Mark Bahnisch – 13
Melinda Tankard Reist -- 13
Jason Wilson – 12
Marieke Hardy – 10
Catherine Deveny – 8
Ben Sandilands – 8
Mungo MacCallum – 7
Christime Milne – 6

That list makes a total of 628 articles at a cost to the taxpayers of $125,600, allowing that stellar talents like Bob Ellis, Marieke Hardy and Ben Pobje have not negotiated themselves a better screw than the standard $200 a pop.

So why can’t I get just a little piece of that action? Why can’t I be invited to literary festivals, plied with per diems, invited to lecture at journalism schools and given a seat at The Drum’s nightly chat show on ABC-24?

None of the opinionaries listed above differs so much as an atom (sorry to use that word, readers) from the views and insights to be found here, at Verdant Hopes. Not one of those people would disagree that Mr Speedos is a vile creature and that his Catholicism is a big, big problem. There is not one climate denier on that list, nor an opponent of multiculturalism, an admirer of John Howard or a supporter of the ridiculous notion that Australia’s immigration policy be determined by Australia’s elected representatives, rather than undocumented travel agents in Indonesia.

I am one of them, my every opinion in sync with theirs – and even Jonathan Green admits as much, telling Holmes “the  material on her blog was not all that unusual in the online space.” Yet I am banished. Why? Why? Why?

I have tried long and hard to answer that question, to no avail. Jonathan Homes, whose very manner confirms his superior intelligence, might have more luck tomorrow night. What is the common thread that I am missing? Tell me, Jonathan, please tell me.

And if you cannot tell me why I am not allowed to hang with the Drum’s big-bucks whales, surely I could join the swirling tide of port-flowing plankton that surges across the site on a daily basis. Those small fry contribute just an article here and there, vanishing until the next deep thought about, say, why climate denial is a mental illness and those afflicted must be treated. But they are undoubtedly of the left, as am I. I could do that, I really could, take a slap when needed at Abbott or Monckton, or Carter or Murdoch or Pell or Bailleau …  Gaia help me if I seem bitter, but it should be entirely understandable when you consider that, for a few glorious hours, I really was part of the cool kids’ club. No point now in continuing to work on my Tony Abbott piñata, which I was looking forward to presenting Jonathan Green at the next election bash. To attend a party in Jill Singer’s backyard with the cream of Australia’s intelligentsia, well I think I could get myself out of the house for that. And I know Sparkles and Jill would have so much in common.

Could the reason for my exile be that I was never published on Crikey, where the most prolific Drum contributors became so well known to Jonathan Green? It was only natural, of course, that Mark Scott would authorise Green’s hiring, Crikey being such a fair, middle of the road repository for honest, unbiased and accurate reporting. So perhaps Scott told him to bring the entire crew with him and really lift standards at the ABC.

Or could it be that I did not attend that wonderful election night party in 2007, the one that produced an adorable photo of Jonathan Green smashing a John Howard piñata? Sadly, that photo is now vanished from the web.

Or have I been blackballed, as I suspect, for no better reason than my genital warts?

The ABC boasts a billion-dollar annual budget (minus, of course, the $800,000 the Drum has spent on those 4000 examples of fair, straight bat commentary, which Holmes cited), so Holmes should be able to find a little cash to underwrite tomorrow night’s investigation.

I mean, what do we have a national broadcaster for?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Jonathan Holmes, My Champion

IT is well known that animals predict earthquakes and my little Sparkles is particularly gifted in this regard. At about the same time the weight of rising seas triggered the temblor that rocked Japan, I watched in utter fascination as my animal companion cut shark-like figure-of-eights on the lino in front of the fridge. I was able to still her agitation by opening the door and distracting her with an offering of food I knew to be rich in iodine, which calmed and protected her immediately, also serving as the overture to a little face washing and a tranquil nap on the window ledge. I have now set aside several cans of Whiskas for my own health and urge readers to do likewise as the fallout crisis draws near. With the dark curtain of radiant debris descending on the globe, even vegans and vegetarians (like me) will need to embrace iodine-salted fish offal as their lifeline. If you doubt the efficacy of that prescription, ask yourself if you have ever seen a cat with a goiter? If you don’t like the taste, garnish with a little tahini and lemon juice and serve on a peppered cracker. It is quite palatable and, for those on a budget, much more economical than conventional medicine’s corporately produced anti-radiation tablets.

Now it must be said that Seddon remains geologically stable (or so we are told), despite the worst efforts of Big Carbon and the Queen of The Netherlands to alter our Bay’s submarine topography. The flooding of Luna Park in 2005, just across the water from here, was a close call, but things appear to have settled down lately.

Sparkles, however, remains anything but composed. For the past hour she has been once again hyper-active in front of the refrigerator. There have been no further tremors reported from Japan, so the only appropriate explanation must hinge on the photo of Jonathan Holmes, which I keep on the door as a dietary aid.

That subtle, accusatory smile of his speaks more eloquently than any words of the need to ration the Boston buns, make the appropriate choices, if I am to regain my figure. But there is also that twinkle of knowingness and acceptance in Jonathan’s eyes, and such empathy also offers a conditional comfort: If I do make the wrong choices, and they are the sort of wrong choices he also enjoys and which he is prepared to indulge, then I know Jonathan can be counted on to look the other way. Love you, Jonathan, really do!

But back to Sparkles, who is once again telling it like it is. Having shared my dismay at the left’s conscienceless betrayal of this blog, I take Sparkles’ latest frenzy as a prophecy that Media Watch will be taking up the matter of my shameful treatment on Monday night, as indeed it should.

Strictly speaking, this is about much more than media watching. It is about contract law. It is about being stiffed for my $200 publication fee by the national broadcaster. But most of all it is about the disappearance from the Drum of my scoop on the moose slurs directed by machismo, militaristic NSW Liberals against Katrina Keneally. As I pointed out to the Drum editor, the expose was a means to an end. My goal – our goal, I believed -- was to paint the conservatives as the sexist autocrats they are, alert the women of NSW to their moose misogyny and, once the alarum had been taken up by the Fairfax press (as it would certainly have been), to reverse the polls and swing the election back to the progressive side of the aisle.

I said as much in my original post on this blog, and I repeated the game plan in my communications with the Drum’s chieftain and also with his deputy, who did much helpful editing of my original post in order to get it up to ABC standards.

Here is what I wrote to him. The underline is mine:

Dear Jonathan,
would you be interested in a formal version of this post?

It seems to be that if we can link the Liberals to this crotch talk then there is still a chance we can nudge the election toward Labor, or at least do something to limit what looks like it will be catastrophic damage inflicted by voters.

If you prefer to give this assignment to one of your regulars (Kellie Tranter, for example, who writes much better and faster than me, I admit), I would not object.

The important thing is that we do everything we can, use every tool we know, to help Kristina out of the jam some silly moves and a lot of Murdoch venom has put her in.


The scheme and the urgency is all there, laid out in our correspondence. As for me, the Drum’s acceptance of my strategy opened up the very real prospect of a new career as a an ABC-validated and authorised opinionsmith.

It was premature, I know, but for a fleeting, glorious moment I imagined myself a bright star in the pantheon of ABC-approved pundits: Bob Ellis, Marieke Hardy, cheated Higgins byelection candidate Clive Hamilton, journalism professor David McKnight, legal eagle and environmental lawyer Kellie Tranter, David Horton, the great and passionate psychologist and climate expert Stephan Lewandowsky . The name of Alene Composta might have joined their lustrous ranks. Can I confess that, just for that intoxicating instant, I was there at the ABC’s version of the Algonquin Round Table, trading bread rolls and bon mots with the Drum’s elite, offering to wash Bob Ellis’ jumper and perhaps even saying nice things about the staff at Melbourne University Press, where my first book would have been in production.

Fat chance of that now that the left’s feckless poobahs have locked me out of their inner circle. When MUP published the latest scholarship on the life of Mick Gatto, I knew, knew to the core of my being, that the publishing house was ready for my book-length thoughts on Kitty Litter as a medium for carbon sequestration. Given that MUP’s publisher is the Drum editor’s life partner what chance do I now have of seeing my book proposals acknowledged and accepted? What chance now of column-ating on a job-share basis with Fairfax, perhaps even going girl-on-girl with Suzy Freeman-Greene or Adele Horin.

The same with Crikey! When my expose was posted on the Drum, Crikey linked to it immediately. Then they removed all mention of it. Gone! Consigned, like me, to the progressive memory hole. Now I admit that I am inclined to paranoia, but the experiences of the past week clearly demonstrate that they are out to get me by ignoring my contributions to the debate.

Don’t get me wrong. It is a wonderful thing for the left that progressive minds have taken control of the means of debate. We -- and by that I mean people like me -- are now so numerous in academia, the media, in schools and amongst Media Watch producers that it is entirely possible for progressive forces to limit rash discourse and reactionary objections to the few issues that the ongoing evolution of the materialist dialectic has yet to fully resolve. This is not deception and certainly not censorship, as the Boltards and Blairites like to bray. Discussion of asylum seeker policies, for example, were gagged by the shaming observation that it was too soon after an unfortuante event  to discuss the factors that have led to the increase in boat arrivals. Now it is too late, and with the Christmas Island freedom fighters magnificently on the loose, it is too soon to discuss that as well. It is not censorship. It is taking responsible control of the conversation and, overwhelmingly, it is a force for good and betterment.

But not when the left turns on one of its own, as it has done to me.

Can I tell you how angry I am? If an ABC courier were to bring over that cheque I would not accept it, even though it would mean a better quality of iodised fish offal.

So send that $200 to the SMH and Age, which need the cash even more than I.

Go get ‘em, Jonathan Homes. I know we can count on you to lay bare the cronyism and moral corruption..

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Missing Link

THIS IS the treachery I was talking about: First, the nice letters -- then your link is taken away without explanation.

Dear Arlene

I am very sorry to see what those utter pr*cks, Beck, Blair and Bolt, have done with their repulsive horde of monkeys. Bullies and thugs, the lot of them.

I very much want to write something condemning their behaviour at Pure Poison, but am concerned that to do so would make things worse for you. I suspect you'd rather I didn't provoke the hornet's nest to descend into further abuse.

But you have my support. Being a target of such vicious people is both upsetting and a massive compliment. Imagine being someone who those three approved of. THAT would make a person question themselves. Whereas being someone they feel the need to bully - you must be doing something right.

All the best.


Jeremy Sear.

and there is this too.

Hi Alene,

I'm Jeremy Sear's Fiancee'. I noticed that the usual suspects like J F Beck and Tim Blair have been attacking you (no doubt partly because you showed public support for Jeremy). I just wanted to let you know that I thought the post you wrote in response was very brave, and the only reason I'm not posting this on your blog is because I'm conscious that would make things worse.

Also, I'm fairly sure that "Spot the Dog", one of your followers, is J F Beck. I'd suggest you block him if you can. I know you can't stop him from reading, but if he knows that you're on to him, it might give him pause. I can't prove that it's him, but we're fairly sure it is.

I'm sorry you have to go through this. I cop the same thing just because I am Jeremy's Fiancee. Unfortunately these people are terrible bullies. I think your response is the right one. Don't publish the comments and then just ignore them. I can't promise they'll get bored and go away because god knows they haven't let up on Jeremy, but you'll definitely feel better about it.

Sorry to blather, just wanted to let you know that it's not all sucksville out there, and they're a pack of bullies not worth the worry.

And then, after Jeremy wrote this, "I very much want to write something condemning their behaviour at Pure Poison, but am concerned that to do so would make things worse for you" what do I find?

Jeremy has gone ahead and written about me anyway, questioning my very existence!

You can tell from the note that Jeremy believed in me, a faith that gave strength to my blogging and stiffened my conviction. But it didn't last. By the time he had published that Pure Poison post, this is what he was saying about my blogging. It was an "assinine gotcha".

As Margo learned, they would sell their own mothers.

Me And Margo

I HAVE been thinking a lot about Margo Kingston, how she was “disappeared” and how much she and I have in common.

Surely you remember Margo and the pioneering work she did at the Sydney Morning Herald’s Web Diary, which set the standard for instant online commentatory? She was everywhere, covering every topic, from the Bali bombings to the latest advances in military technology. If you tuned in to Radio National there was a good chance of hearing her analyzing the issues of the day with Phillip Adams. To hear them chat and brandish the rapier banter was a joyful celebration or erudition and acumen, the brightest minds in Australia. Same with the Lateline, where Margo was a fixture,  the ABC’s go-to person for any issue that required deep thought and independent analysis.

And where is Margo today? Gone. Vanished. Flushed away.

She was the voice of progressive reform, in thick with the cream of the media elite. She was one of them, one of us, one for the record.

Mark Scott was editor in chief and helping to make Fairfax what it is today, just as he is now transforming the ABC with features like the Drum. Margo commanded Scott’s entire respect. How could it be otherwise when he made her the public face of his company’s internet efforts?  Her roots with colleagues were deep. There were the common views and deep empathy that united Margo with star columnist Paul McGeough, a bond she told us was cemented amid the revelry of budget night in Canberra and sparked and flamed through any number of mutual interviews.

And what happened? Well, as I have only just discovered, you can only maintain your place in the progressive pulpit while “friends” find you useful. Margo could withstand Tim Blair’s ridicule with an admirable stoicism, but her public profile could not withstand the treachery of her mates, who cast her aside when a feverish urgency once they recognised, or thought they recognised, that she had become a liability. So much for the love they proclaimed..

There was nothing wrong with Margo’s views and insights when she was being prominently featured in the meeja, as she liked to jokingly call it. But when the weight of Blairite abuse and Boltian disdain became an encumbrance, phhhhht, no more Margo. There were years in the limelight and, after that, irrelevance and exile in Byron Bay, where Valentines Day cards from Scott, Adams, McGeough and so many others never find their way into her letter box.

I thought the Left was a synonym of solidarity. Now I know better. The Left are bastards.

Where Do I Go To Get My Humanness Back?

THIS time last week life was full of promise and brimming with friends, including all the news ones I was making through this blog. It seemed to me that, finally, there was a certainty and solidity I cound count on - a community of sympathetic souls who shared the same vision. Tolerance, acceptance, decency, trust.

Amazing, isn't it, how you can be flung so quickly from champagne to plain old pain?

The abuse was to be expected, I suppose, once Bolt and Blair had whipped their bogan brigades into a frenzy of hate and villification. That hurt, and it hurt again and hurt even more just a few minutes ago, when I steeled myself to look in the comments tray and found hundreds - HUNDREDS!!!! -- of messages waiting to be moderated, many questioning my sanity. They had been building up for a week, festering like a pocket of pus under the epidermis of the internet, and when I looked they exploded across the screen and bathed my eyes in rancid poisons.

Even my very existence has been called into question. We all know about the curse of otherness and the permission that grants the bourgeois, brick veneerial bigots to dismiss and degrade anyone who does not share their quarter acre sensibilities. Now I am less than "the other". Call it sub-otherness, if you like. Or if you want to use old fashioned words,  just say that my situation is the result of cowardly treachery by supposed allies.

Now that is low, so low, and while it was to be expected from the rancid right, can I tell you how much more pain was inflicted by the those who swore that we were all comrades marching toward the common goal? For 24 hours this blog was the destination for visitors following links that Jeremy Sear posted at his site. Then the trouble began, the abusive avalanche commenced, and the link was gone.

How can we stand together, Jeremy, if we are not prepared to be hanged together?

I know I said I would not blog again, but I can no longer stand by that promise. I have been betrayed  by so many people. Now I demand that the guilty to explain themselves.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

That's It

McCARTHYISM is alive and well in Australia. Dissent and be damned, ridiculed, vilified. If it had not been for the dozen warm and generous emails from supporters and sympathisers, I would not even be posting this. I am not a professional writer or public figure. Is it fair that I should receive more at least 80 comments urging me to see a shrink, drop dead, get help, have a bath, eat meat, drown Sparkles or have a threesome with Bob Brown and a moose?

As I have said, I am not publishing those comments. There is enough ugliness in the world without giving hate another pulpit.

In fact I am not publishing anything more. Period.

Go and abuse someone better equipped to return the abuse in kind. Am I weak? Probably, but to abused by so many, to be lynched and silenced by intimidation and an avalanche of mob mentallity abuse, that is too much for me.

No more posts from me. Go and torment someone else, you animals.

Thanks to those who shared words of comfort and support. I won't mention you by name because the horde will only switch its venom to your sites. And also thanks to the good people at the Drum for their support and editting of my expose of Kristina Keneally and that "moose" comment. It is a little glimpse of what might have been and now never will.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Ridicule Me, Please

OK, I have some problems with my private life. The panic attacks, the fear of leaving the house, a constriction that can make it almost impossible at times to talk on the phone, especially to strangers. So I'm damaged goods.

Fine. Terrific. Have a good laugh if that is what floats your boat. And if you come from Tim Blair's blog that is exactly what you will do. I am just here to be ridiculed apparently by the schoolyard bullies. I look at Sparkles asleep on the pillow by my desk and I shudder. These people are the sort who would torture you for the "fun" of it, Sparkles.

I won't ask for pity or sympathy. But what I will do is refuse to post their vile comments. I put up a number of critical and insulting ones before I twigged, wondering where the sudden deluge of jokes and remarks was coming from. So I looked in the traffic stats category and, yes, they were all being directed from Murdochvania, where the media vampires suck the goodness out of any effort that doesn't sit right with Count Rupert. I guess I am getting the "Margo treatment" because that is what he did to her year after year. Well thanks for that, Tim. To me it is the highest praise.

They could have come here to debate the issues and argue their case. Instead like ringwormy jackals they only want to tear down and destroy and ridicule and laugh and scoff.

What i can do is refuse to post any more abusive comments. The ones that are there now will remain as exhibit A in the prosecution case against people whose humanity can only be measured with a microscope.

Let that record stand.

Uncle Sam Circles The Drain

IT's a pity that it had to happen when the US has the brightest and bravest President in the country's history, but the historic inevitability of America's decline could never have ebeen avoided. Yes, it will be tough for Americans as things go from worse to absolutely horrible, but life was pretty terrible for the Japanese after Truman dropped atomic bombs on two largely undefended cities full of women, children and other civilians.

What the Japanese came to realise is that they had a responsibility to hold their government and Emperor accountable, and this is a concept that, up until now, has been totally alien to Americans' thinking. Now smarter people are catching on, even those who write for the corporatist media.

Yes, America deserved it -- as a million slaughtered Iraqis would say if they had not been killed in a nakedly nasty war of conquest for oil.

Read the link and celebrate the imminent downfall of a despot's reign. Just spare a thought for the average American living in the wreckage of imperial dreams.

Soon we will be sending them food parcels and our cast-off clothes. Can hardly wait!

Melissa Fyfe's Promotion. Great News!

In relation to the previous item about Andrew Bolt's attempts to intimidate and browbeat Fairfax management into silencing reporters like Phillip Coorey, it seems it isn't working. Not working at all!

The good news is that the magnificent Melissa Fyfe is being promoted from reporting on state politics for the Sunday Age to covering the federal sphere. At a moment in time when progressive forces need to be mobilised and regimented in support of the carbon levy (not a tax), it is a fantastic thing to see one of the best reporters in the country bringing her insight and perspective to Canberra. There is one Green, the brave and courageous Adam Bandt, in the House of Reps, who faces every day a barrage of negativity from the Murdoch-dominated press gallery. At least now, with Melissa in town, he will have a reporter who can cover his actions and initiatives with a fair, open-minded devotion to spin-free journalism.

And the bad news?

At a moment when the reactionary party controls both houses of state parliament and the state of Victoria is sliding rapidly back into the moral corruption and cronyism of the Kennett Era, the best reporter of the lot will be moving to hundreds of kilometres away from the action. Can we expect Melissa's replacement to keep turning over  Big Ted's rocks and revealing the sordidness underneath? She did it again this weekend with her revelation that the Bailleau  Goverenment has been intinidating the scientists at Melbourne University in order to rig the results of its ridiculous "test" of using cattle as a means of averting bushfires. Yeah, like cows eat gum trees or something.

As we all know, and I include Melissa in this, it is climate change that is making the bush go up in flames, as her daily Age colleague Adam Morton helps the scientist David karoly explain if you click the link.

Congratulations, Melissa. The IQ of the Canberra press gang is about to go exponentially!

Bolt's Bile v. Coorey's Decency

NO GARDEN grows without fertilizer. So, in order to stimulate my mental arboretum and find material for this blog, I will admit to sometimes visiting the sites and thoughts or some very mucky individuals. People like Andrew Bolt, for example, who is always good for a laugh, even if it is through gritted teeth. The great Jeremy Sear regularly dissects Bolt’s rancid tripe, and I feel inadequate trying to do what he does so easily and with such acidic aplomb. But this morning after checking the hate-spewer’s blog, my blood is boiling.

What has he done this time? Published an obscene, vicious, nasty, foul and entirely inappropriate attack on a real journalist, the Sydney Morning Herald’s Phillip Coorey.

Let me explain something before I go on. When I could still get out and about, I was no good at tennis, which my ex-partner would force me to play. I have no skills in that sport and, because I am a bit well-padded around the hips (one thing that makes me like and understand what drives Julia), I always felt uncomfortable when he trotted me out at the tennis club. When I fluffed a shot, I could watch his body language tell me that I was useless, an idiot. It was psychological abuse, pure and simple. One thing, though, that I came to understand was that my lack of aptitude for the sport of tennis obliged me to refrain from telling other people what they were doing wrong on the court.

That’s what brings me to Bolt. On every issue I can think of, Bolt is wrong. As a journalist he is as bad at writing and analysis as I was at hitting a yellow ball with a strung racket. Bolt refuses to understand that our planet is on the brink of an ecological abyss. He declines to recognize the manipulative, shameless saturation of the Murdoch press with pro-Carbon sermons inspired (and usually paid for) by Big Carbon and the greenhouse lobby. He sneers at Muslims, scoffs at the Greens and peddles a confrontational style that fills simpletons’ heads with venomous bile which, at this moment when the earth is in crisis, encourages the ignorant to resist any and all measures that might, just might if we act decisively, stabilize the global eco-sphere.

He has no qualifications to criticize decent reporters like Coorey – and he especially has no qualifications to slam the Sydney Morning Herald columnist for his thought this morning. Basically, Coorey is blasting people like Bolt and shock jocks like Neil Mitchell for their gross rudeness to our leaders, Julia most of all.

Coorey understands that, when everything hangs in the balance and direct action is the only remedy for pending disaster, it does nobody any good if the press chorus starts singing out of tune. How can you have a discussion that has a chance of reaching the appropriate conclusion if the ravening jackals of the right-wing media  turn every debate into a competition to see who can heap the most abuse and ridicule on our elected leaders.

Does not the office of Prime Minister demand deference and respect by virtue of its very nature? Bolt builds his profile (and Big Carbon-subsidised income) by being rude to our leaders. So does Mitchell, who owes his ratings to his confrontational style.

That is why we really need the Fairfax press to be preserved. It is perhaps the only news outlet in the country where a recognition of the greater public good trumps the need for ratings and profits. Coorey dares to point this out today – and Bolt, of course, swoops down from the high tower of his hypocrisy to lacerate the SMH star columnist for – wait for it – his lack of rudeness!

Can you believe it! Like most of the quislings for American cultural imperialism, Bolt is taking his cues from the violent thugs of America’s Tea Party movement, which delights in assaulting the mainstream media in the same breath that it advocates homophobia, racism and the religious right. Now that cancer is spreading in Australia, and it is the hate-spewers like Bolt who are its seed cells. If he and his ilk are not silenced, the disease of me-first individualism, of a lack of respect for authorities, will metastasize.

I have a few thoughts about how this can be countered and will blog about this a bit later today.

Meanwhile, Bolt will be fit to criticize a sane, polite, deferential reporter like Coorey when I start giving tennis tips.

In other words, never.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The "Moosing" Of Kristina K

SO, back to what I really wanted to write about this morning.

It seems the cocky NSW Liberals have taken to calling Premier Kristina Keneally "the moose" and this has the Sydney Morning Herald's state parliamentary reporter Sean Nicholls groping for an explanation. Now there is always a reason for a nickname. People do not just pluck random words out of thin air and pin them on other people, especially when they are public figures, and Nicholls tries very hard to come up with a rationale. If you take his word for it, Keneally has been "moosed" because she reminds former British soldier Mark Neeham, who is now a top NSW Liberal, of the one-time and short-lived Canadian Prime Minister Kim Campbell, who was in office for just a few months in the Nineties before losing the election and her seat.

Nicholls really digs to make his case -- digs too hard and far too deep, if you ask me -- by noting that the Canadian PM's official residence is on Sussex Street, which is also the name of the street in Sydney where the Labor Party has its headquarters.

Top marks for effort, Sean, but you did not need to work up such a sweat. The real reason the Liberals are using "moose" and chuckling about it is because it is a flat-out sexist obscenity commonly used to describe female genitalia. Here's one example:

I like girls that can cut a rug...I'm talking no stubble, just a freshly shaved set of moose knuckles.
Or look at how it is used in the caption to this this picture:

It gets worse, much worse.

The Urban Dictionary cites the common use of "moose" as a synonym for the female genitals, which Premier Keneally, being an undoubted woman, obviously has. She is also from North America, although not from Canada (sorry Sean), so if you are a troglodyte, knuckle dragging NSW Liberal whose background is in a macho military force, the moose allusion must have come to mind in a millisecond.

After that the sexual association came next, and even more naturally. The sort of barrack room banter that Liberals obviously trade when they think no one will understand their private jokes also embraces racism. The examples I feel obliged to present below are not pretty. Indeed, they turn my stomach as I copy them from the Urban Dictionary, but NSW voters need to know just what sort of people all the polls say will be running the state in a few short weeks:

Moose Pussy
A.) A large, canyon like vaginal cleft, sometimes the result of copulation with a large rubber fist.Usage: Damn! you could park a hummer in that bitch's moose pussy!

B.) A vagina that is extremely loose, usually on a woman that has been screwed a lot by black people.
Useage: Ugh I bet that bitch has a moose pussy, she got fucked by big nig, three times.

The question now is what we can do about this. It seems to me that the women of NSW want to know if the men who are confidently anticipating the regressive havoc they are about to inflict on the state can be trusted, and that starts with the Sydney Morning Herald getting its facts and its explanation straight.

I intend to send Sean Nicholls an advisory note. If you can think of anyone who can raise awareness of this anti-woman filth, please pass a link to them.

If we can start a backlash, generate a storm of protest and get some opinion articles in the press, it might still be possible to save this election for Keneally and the progressive movement.

AS I wrote in the previous post, today has not got off to a good start. I have had to change the sheets I put on the bed only five days ago and because they are big and bulky, that means an extra load of washing, which I try to keep to a minimum. One load a week limits the amount of phosphates I inject into the environment and, because it all ends up flowing into the Bay, into the bio-cycle. Our Bay has been raped -- there is no other word for it -- by a Dutch multinational dredging company and the damage to the seafloor environment has been catastrophic. From Mornington to Williamstown reports are coming of cancer-riddled fish and genetic mutations.

It is obscene even to consider the damage, done for no better reason than corporate profit, that has been inflicted on the magnificent body of water that makes life in Melbourne possible The recent heavy rains have washed all sorts of nasty stuff into the Bay, where that detritus now forms a toxic soup with the polluted sediments stirred up by the dredgers' buckets.

Damn it! This post was going to be filthy conservatives' sexist jokes at the expense of Kristina Keneally but I have let my passions sidetrack my thoughts. Better start again, but before I do, how's this for an example of genetic damage:


Dawn Of The Damned

COULDN’T sleep, not at all, just a few blanked-out moments when the sense of nameless dread that often comes to me in the night  faded temporarily away. It was just before dawn, only an hour so ago, when I finally slipped over the border into blank oblivion, but it was not to last. Turns out the possums had nominated just that moment to conduct an orgy on the tin roof of the garage, which is just beside my bedroom. I am quite used to the possums, who are much less annoying than the bogan sports buffs who live next door with their drunken father, and I probably would not have registered the commotion if it had not stirred my little cat. Sparkles was on the prowl, jumping around the bedroom, trying to figure out where the possum racket was coming from.


An inept jump from bed to table not only knocked over the half carafe of water I keep beside the pillow, it woke me with a soggy start. You can’t sleep in wet sheets, especially when you can barely get to sleep at all, so I was up in time to hear the magpies welcome the full light of day.

It was a beautiful sound, a warbling symphony, but the mood of cheerful resignation after an uncomfortable night did not last longer than it took me to log onto the internet and start reading the day’s news.

Now I’m angry, seething is a better word, and it is the same old sexism and veiled obscenity of the conservative string pullers that that has me steaming with fury.
I’m going to make a cup of tea and toast some bread, feed Sparkles and then I’ll be back to dissect the filthy, sexism of the NSW conservatives as they gloat over the imminent Murdoch-assisted demise of a good woman, Kristina Keneally.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sear-ing Insight

MY training is in psychology and counselling, but when I read Jeremy Sear's posts I really wish I also had studied the law. The Melbourne barrister has been a fixture of the online progress-o-sphere for many years and has the distinction of having got the better of Tim Blair and Andrew Bolt on many issues. He runs the Pure Poison blog at Crikey and is tireless in his efforts to counteract the oppressive and instinctive gagging of dissent that is the staple of Australia's conservative media establishment. (At a risk of being sexist, he must turn quite a few heads at parties, demos, and other social functions. Smart and a spunk too! Some people have it all. Don't worry, Jeremy, I'm far too old for you!).

Anyway, his latest post at An Onymous Lefty is just brilliant. Here's a little excerpt:

The Opposition is banking on Australian voters being unwilling to consider a small drop in their standard of living to reduce the risk of a massive drop in their standard of living later; it’s banking on us being short-sighted and hypocritical. (Hypocritical in the sense of, let the much poorer people in China and India live on even less before we consider tempering our unsustainable consumption.

Jeremy's proactivity in taking on the powers that be was one of my inspirations to finally take the plunge into the world of blogging. What could I, a homebound retiree, contribute? Jeremy provided the answer by example: truth, passion and conviction. I don't kid myself that this little blog will achieve the influence and profile that Jeremy has established and which he builds upon, day by day. But every little helps, and I am proud to count myself on the same side.

His legal training has equipped him to cut straight to the issues, to bare the core of any argument. It is why his blog is on my daily list of sites to check.

It should be on yours too.

Published in the Age

I HAVE just had the following comment published in a comment thread underneath a Peter Hartcher commentary on the vicious, vile, ongoing, Abbott-orchestrated assault on our PM.

When our PM made the decision ten days ago I thought to myself, "How low will the reactionaries go, the deniers and the corporatist lapdogs, and how soon will they start."
I didn't have long to wait.
These assaults on our PM are nothing but sexism and woman-hatred. The outpouring of Tea Party-style hate could easily lead to violence, sooner or later. If our PM introduces the licensing of commentators and a peer-review panel of media professionals (Laura Tingle, Phillip Adams, Virginia Trioli, Mike Carlton, Hartcher, for example) to determine what constitutes "fair free speech" and to stamp out the noxious, inappropriate variety, I would support her 100%.
Alene Composta | Seddon - March 03, 2011, 9:35AM

I was a bit surprised that the moderator cut out my reference to a Saturday afternoon shock jock on 3AW who urged his listeners to imagine our PM "gambolling in her scanties on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin with horny cabinet colleagues" while First Bloke Tim sits at home and puts the roast on steam. The motor mouth's slur was that, because Julia had "lied" to the Australian public -- she didn't, that criticism is purely semantic, as we know --  she would also lie to her partner.

But then I realised that The Age owns 3AW and that while the newspaper's reporters and editors are on the side of the angels mostly (apart from Costello), when it comes to progressive issues the Age is also a corporate entity and must protect its assets.

I am of two minds. I am glad we have the Age in Melbourne, and glad that it is mostly a progressive institution dedicated to stressing the points of view the Murdoch minions demean and suppress.

Should I protest the censorship? Opinions would be welcome.

UPDATE: Shouldn't The Age have inserted a notification that my post had been trimmed? That would seem to be fair and honest.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I HAVE just sent this little note to Tim Flannery:

Dear Dr Flannery,
I recently started blogging and, because I am fearful of what will happen if we don't reduce carbon pollution, I write regularly about this topic. Today an item of mine was reproduced in part on Tim Blair's blog, which is funded by Rupert Murdoch (as you might expect). When I followed the links to his site (a place I usually avoid), I found the most disrespectful and appalling picture of you. Same thing at Bolt's cesspit, too.

My question is why don't you sue? Murdoch has a lot of money and his minions hold you up constantly to ridicule and encourage people to have contempt for everything you stand for. With our country ravaged by floods and fire, your message is vital.

Personally, I think Murdoch's contempt for reason and science and the peer-review process invalidates any claim he has to engage in "free" speech. As Commissioner of the Clime Change Council, perhaps you could suggest restrictions on what Murdoch and his monkeys can say. This would leave us with the Fairfax papers and the ABC, and I do not think you can find better sources of information than them.
etc etc

Monday, February 28, 2011

Quaking in our boots

I don't know if you noticed but New Zealand has had some terrible tremors that have left a lot of environmental damage and also claimed some human lives. If you are rational and objective it is hard to think too much about the human victims because, as the globe's most invasive species, humans should not there. New Zealand was a secure, isolated natural paradise until Captain Cook arrived when, like most colonisers, he announced the Europeans' arrival by killing the other-skinned peoples who were already there.

Still, it is hard to replace our instinctive empathy for our fellow pink apes with nothing but dispassionate rationality, so Verdant Hopes wishes those who survived a happy recovery from their injuries etc. When their minds are clear again they will owe it to themselves to think about cause and effect -- why did those earthquakes come, and why did they do such terrible damage.

Now the verdict is in. As the damage caused by our raping greed and lack of empathy with the planet gows and compounds, the number of earthquakes, tsunamis, mudslides and volcanic eruptions increases in step.

So let us by imbued with sympathy for our Kiwi cousins. But it also needs to be made clear to them that we reap what we sow.

UPDATE: The following graphs make the connection absolute. The first is the increase in earthquakes.

And this one shows temperature increases:

Hard to deny the evidence of your own eyes, isn't it (except if you are Andrew Bolt, that is)

I'm back!

IT has been two weeks since I last put my thoughts on this blog and the explanation is that I have not been very well. What started as a case of the summer sniffles turned into a ten-tonne chest cold with full-blown fever and bowels that were so runny they could have competed in the Olympics.

The weather has not helped either. If people cannot look out theior windows and notice that Melbourne's climate has changed dramatically and suddenly there is no hope for them.

In any case, it is good to be back. As someone who lives an isolated life I really, really enjoy the comments of my supporters and readers.

What I dobn't like are people from Tim Blair's blog who come here to scoff and villify, which is their bogan style.

So don't come. You are not wanted. You are not liked. You can cover yourselves with petrol and burn, babby, burn for all I care.

Got that? Now go.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Just Lovely

A NEW reader sends the following quotation from his pastor. No name provided, but wisdom like this stands alone, regardless of who uttered it. Let me share a beautiful thought with you all:

...separating humanity from nature, from the whole of life, leads to humankind’s own destruction and to the death of nations. Only through a re-integration of humanity into the whole of nature can our people be made stronger. That is the fundamental point of the biological tasks of our age. Humankind alone is no longer the focus of thought, but rather life as a whole . This striving toward connectedness with the totality of life, with nature itself, a nature into which we are born, this is the deepest meaning....

Many thanks to Rudy for sharing this inspiring thought..