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Some thoughts about mooted changes to Media ownership law in Australia



People are creatures of habit and it is only that so many people are habituated to buying the news papers that any are still being sold at all. Just take any kind of commute on public transport and consider how many people are reading a paper and how many are staring at a screen instead. Some certainly may be playing games or even watching video but I expect that they will be out numbering those who are still reading dead tree editions of the MSM.

Then there is the things in the paper that people buy them for, most papers are not exclusively about politics and current affairs anyway, so some readers will be buying the paper for its coverage of sport, lifestyle or even just for the crossword puzzles.  My point is that the political classes (in particular those from the left ) just look at the raw sales figured and they think that every reader of the Herald Sun is in the thrall of Rupert Murdoch and that the owners dictate to their readers directing their opinions. The reality is that all media entities write to their audience. If they don’t their audience wither away quite quickly.  With the coming of the internet this is even more how things work Online entities are even more in an endless quest for readers so you have to play to what your readers want rather than thinking that you can manipulate their thinking. I have been writing a blog for nearly a decade now and I have noticed just how quickly particular readers flit in and out its the same now with the way that people read things online from the likes of Murdoch, Fairfax or even the Guardian People don’t just get their news from one source any more no matter what the subject is they will read what several sources say about it and then make up their mind. This behaviour is the same when it comes to broadcast TV people flit form one channel to another seeking different perspectives. My argument is simple, if the media  consumers have changed their habits then perhaps there is something in the notion that media diversity laws from the last century should perhaps reflect those changes as well.

Cheers Comrades


Old vs new Leonard Nimoy takes on newbie Zachary Quinto and his all-new Audi S7

On a lighter note this ad for Audi is quite funny and most timely given the opening yesterday of the new Star Trek  “Into darkness”  movie:

live long and prosper Comrades


Is it the love of beer that prevents Damian Doyle from converting to Islam?


Damian Doyle has always struck me as a strange individual, so sanctimonious and so judgemental of yours truly and so full of condescension for anyone who does not hold beliefs concurrent  with his own. He is an avid consumer of what I call “disaster porn” and if there is some natural disaster in the third world he is onto it like a flash tweeting about it or decrying the tardy response of the west to said disasters. Anyway  our Damian has written a rather wordy piece about the way that Islam is perceived in this country and in it he sneers at  any and all criticism of that faith.

During the question and answer session it became clear that many members of the audience were genuinely curious about Islam. Having heard so many terrible things about the religion – not just at the forum but elsewhere too – they wanted to understand its core teachings and central texts. One woman commented she had attempted to read the Qur’an but found it unintelligible and confusing. That’s a pretty normal response as it’s a very different book to, say, the New Testament. “So where can we learn more about Islam?”

The response at that forum, naturally enough under the circumstances, was not all that helpful. The conveners were unanimous in their advice, “There’s an excellent website called Jihad Watch, which is run by an organisation that we’re linked with. Its main author, Robert Spencer, has also written a lot of books that are essential reading”.

Of course, you don’t need to attend a meeting of the Q Society, a fringe group fighting the good fight against the ‘Islamisation of Australia’ and the implementation of sharia law in our school tuckshops, to meet people who see Islam as a baffling unknown. Through conversations in pubs and coffee shops, by reading letters in tabloid newspapers and on blogs, or by listening to commentary on television or radio, it’s easy to see that Islam is a poorly understood religion in Australia.


Notice the way that Doyle frames his barely concealed contempt for anyone who is critical of Islam? The reference to Tuck-shops is clearly an allusion   to the cruelty concerns of the issue of the conversion of institutional food sources to halal even when only a very tiny number of the consumers are Muslim. It seems to me that Doyle is suggesting that only very favourable discussion of Islam should ever be listened to and considered and that anything that is at all critical of Islam is haram.

  Please dear readers go to his piece and you will find a great example of quisling rhetoric in full flight, an essay that even tries to play down the significance of Female Genital Mutilation Note his choice of words to describe the practice:

A sad example of this is the issue of female genital cutting. The attendees at the Q Society forum would have been left with the impression that female genital cutting is an Islamic practice as an example of the religion’s repression and abuse of women. By contrast, the conference attendees heard an account of a pre-Islamic cultural practice being eliminated from a community as a result of a local imam’s leadership during the 1950s.


Yes Damian we have all heard  that line and although it may be true in the most pedantic sense for every Muslim society that abhors and rejects the practice there are many others who are at best indifferent to the vile practice..

It seems to me that for Damian   dreams about is an uncritical acceptance of Islam   and the practice of the faith, both here and elsewhere in the world, and a substantive deference to the sensitivities of those who follow that faith. Thus he wants no criticism of the hot heads who call for the beheading of  unbelievers   and he wants to see nothing but positive  PR for the faith within the Australian community.:

And so I’ve decided to start small. To think about the things I can influence, rather than those I can’t. People will decide for themselves what to believe about Islam and its role in society, both in Australia and globally. Some will continue to reach out to sources of information that, in my view, are toxic and uninformed. I need to remember that a simple thing I can do is to let them know there are other sources, that those sources can be trusted, and that obtaining information from a range of sources is the best way to become informed.


The trouble with this exercise in parsimony, as readers of this blog will know, is that Damian  considers any sort of criticism of Islam at all is an example of “bigotry” and I can’t help thinking that the only thing that is preventing Damian from going the whole hog to making the declaration ” There is no god but Allah and Mohamed is his prophet” must be  Mr Doyle’s love of beer.

Cheers Comrades


click to read Damian’s tweets

Silver-tail socialists lack the desire and ability to truly do the right thing

One has to wonder just what motivates those ah hmm “straight” lefties who so vociferous advocate  “gay marriage” in this country when they wilfully ignore the plight of homosexuals in Africa and the Islamic world who face a far more serious problem than not being able to characterise their relationships as marriage. They face brutality and death. This is something that our friends from the left have a great deal of trouble with because they are so afraid of criticising any the despotic or theocratic regimes that are de rigueur in much of the “developing” world


Thor goes on to describes how:

‘Upon arriving in Norway, she was approached by several members of one of Oslo’s gay and lesbian organizations who urged her not to speak at the Oslo Freedom Forum because they disagreed with our inclusion of several speakers who were outspoken critics of left-wing dictatorships. Sadly, some people in Oslo believe that only those on the left call themselves human rights defenders [but] their double standard usually will manifest itself when they ignore the crimes of the governments they favour.’

I am researching a book on free speech and am coming across stories like Jacqueline’s all the time. The Liberal-left is making a habit of snubbing people from the poor world or Europeans of immigrant descent, who believe in liberalism, and gay and women rights, and have every right to expect its support. Usually radical Islam is at the heart of the hypocrisy. When dissident Muslim liberals are threatened by ultra-reactionary theocrats, leftists will not defend them because they’re frightened of being accused of “Islamophobia” or of being a “neo-con,” or because their political leaders want to appease the brutish “community leaders” they hope can deliver the ethnic bloc vote on polling day.

Don’t think that those on the receiving end of liberal double standards don’t notice what is being done to them. Right wingers accuse the left of “political correctness”. But when it comes to the oppression of people with brown skins by people with brown skins, the Left is nowhere near politically correct enough.

The best and bravest people I have spoken to are on the move. They are rejecting the establishment left with a contempt, which is justifiable in the circumstances. Many are turning towards the democratic Right seeing it as the best protection against neo-Nazism on one hand and Islamism on the other – not that there is much of a difference between the two.I am not sure the Right is ready to receive their support.

You see real lefties who really do care about the fate of humanity should not give any group faction, government, or religion a free pass for their abhorrent ideology or political practice just because that group, faction, government, or religion  is an “oppressed minority”  if there is any evil within group faction, government, or religion a true progressive has an obligation to at least say something about that evil sadly they don’t because so many silver-tail socialists lack  the desire and  ability to truly do the right thing  and any real moral backbone to stand for any real moral principles.

Cheers Comrades

Reasons to keep the purse closed

I have long thought that the constant tugging of our heart strings to get donations for one disaster or another somewhere in the third world are well intentioned but ultimately futile. While sending funds to help the flood affected in Pakistan may do some small good (and it will be a very small good after the corrupt have taken their slice of the action) in the long term there will be no change to the core problem of poor governance that is the underlying cause of the poverty and suffering. The piece at the Drum that I cite today explains why aid is actually bad for its recipients:

Tom Elliot

Before countries like Australia donate anymore taxpayers’ funds as foreign aid, we need to understand why poverty exists in the first place. Common explanations for this phenomenon include:

Extreme weather events, like drought – Yes, the absence of rain will cause crops to fail, thus hurting agrarian dominated economies. But droughts, unlike poverty, rarely last for decades on end, as we have recently discovered here in Southern Australia;

Natural disasters, like earthquakes – Yes, these can create temporary poverty. But as the experience of the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami demonstrated, the West is actually pretty good at getting supplies and people into places that require short term assistance. Unfortunately as the Pakistan floods also demonstrate, political will is necessary for such aid to occur;

Wars – Yes, these are responsible for creating much poverty. There’s little evidence, however, that intervention achieves much, if anything. Remember the events dramatised in the film Blackhawk Down? UN and American forces were only in Somalia to try and help distribute aid to starving civilians. Once the shooting became too much to bear, these forces were recalled;

Lack of natural resources – This factor is less important than one might think. As mentioned, Africa is well endowed with many resources, yet remains poor. A place like Singapore, however, has little more than a good deep water harbour yet is extremely wealthy. This is due mainly, I suspect, to the industriousness of its people and the country’s well developed system of law and order.

I am reminded of the image of a band aid being used to treat a gangrenous leg you may be able to suggest that it might do some good but in the real world the only treatment that will actually save the patients life is the judicious use of a surgeon’s  knife and the bone saw. So perhaps the real long-term “cure” for third world poverty is to take a step back and let those societies stand or fall upon their own efforts. Because without the development of good governance and maybe some tough love from the first world places like Africa will never properly sustain its people or give them a future.

Cheers Comrades

Half a million page views at the Sandpit

I know that statistical miles stones are really meaningless but that does not stop you feeling pretty good when you reach them. Well if you keep an eye on the hit counter at the bottom of the page some time today I expect that you will see the counter tick over t0 the magical “500,000” mark . That is pretty good for a modest blog written as a bit of fun .

Thanks very much to all of those who take the time to read what I and my friends put up  here and a special thanks to all of those who take the time to comment and argue with what is on this web-page. Commentary and argument is the life blood of blogging and long may it keep pumping at the Sandpit.

Cheers Comrades

Swings and roundabouts

Reading the BBC news website today led me to two different stories about the environment in the Bay of Bengal. Now if you read the first one I would be very surprised if you did not think that it is a sure sign that the dire  predictions about climate change were being vindicated.

A tiny island claimed for years by India and Bangladesh in the Bay of Bengal has disappeared beneath the rising seas, scientists in India say.

The uninhabited territory south of the Hariabhanga river was known as New Moore Island to the Indians and South Talpatti Island to the Bangladeshis.

Recent satellites images show the whole island under water, says the School of Oceanographic Studies in Calcutta.

Its scientists say other nearby islands could also vanish as sea levels rise.


“What these two countries could not achieve from years of talking, has been resolved by global warming,” said Professor Sugata Hazra of the School of Oceanographic Studies at Jadavpur University in Calcutta.

Anyone wishing to visit now, he observed, would have to think of travelling by submarine.

Professor Hazra said his studies revealed that sea levels in this part of the Bay of Bengal have risen much faster over the past decade than they had done in the previous 15 years.

And he predicts that in the coming decade other islands in the Sundarbans delta region will follow New Moore, or South Talpatti, beneath the waves.

“We will have ever larger numbers of people displaced from the Sunderbans as more island areas come under water,” Prof Hazra said.

I am sure that PKD or JM  will be thinking something along the lines of “At last here is some proof that Iain Hall can’t dispute” but If you think about it for a second it is not that hard to realise that the many islands in that part of the world are in fact made of accumulated river mud and not what anyone would call very substantial so the disappearance of this island is probably down to it being simply washed away rather than it being inundated by rising sea in much the same way that sandbanks come and go.. But just as the lord takes something away something else is created and on today’s climate roundabout  we have this story also from the BBC:

Bangladeshis are used to frequent flooding

New research shows Bangladesh may not be as vulnerable to rising sea levels caused by climate change as previously feared, scientists in Dhaka say.

They say satellite images show the country’s landmass is actually growing because of sediment dumped by rivers.

A report by UN scientists has projected that rising sea levels will inundate 17% of Bangladesh by 2050, making about 30 million people homeless.

One its authors said he saw little in the new research to change his mind.

‘New islands’

Satellite images of Bangladesh over the past 32 years show that the country is growing annually by about 20 square kilometres (7.72 square miles), said Maminul Haque Sarker of the Dhaka-based Centre for Environment and Geographic Information Services.

Looking at the two pieces  should make you think about how the alarmists are so keen to give us half the story if it tells us that disaster is imminent.  Based upon a small detail like the amount of land in Bangladesh that is only a little above sea level   they ignore the fact that the delta is being constantly added to by the silt carried by the great rivers of the area.

Its  an interesting confluence of stories that should serve to remind us that nothing in the planets geography of our planet is fixed and unchanging, especially when it is at the meeting place of some great rivers and the sea.

Cheers Comrades

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