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“How Abbott Must Recast Coalition Climate Policy”

Thanks to Jennifer Marohasy  for her review of Bob Carter's new book  that appears to be making the same arguments that I have been making here at the Sandpit for years  (CLICK FOR SOURCE)

Thanks to Jennifer Marohasy for her review of Bob Carter’s new book that appears to be making the same arguments that I have been making here at the Sandpit for years (CLICK FOR SOURCE)

A  worthy read at Jennifer Marohasy’s blog of a book by Bob Carter  that seems to be speaking good sense.
Cheers Comrades


Dreaming of a new online normal


In the seven years that I have been playing the blogging game I have seen some big changes, well the fact that broadband has become the ubiquitous norm rather than the exception has been a biggie. Now we bloggers can put up a far more attractive page with graphics and many photos without concern that it will be too slow to load or despised by readers because it uses too much of their download allowance. I have seen the rise of twitter and the migration to that platform of many of the snark artists that used to haunt the bloggosphere. This has also seen the decline in a vast number of blogs which existed only to accommodate the eternally mean and vicious, well good riddance to bad rubbish, such loses are not mourned in this part of cyber space. Now we are finally beginning to see an end to the online free for all that is just so beloved of the trolls and scum bags. The law is beginning to hold online miscreants responsible for what they say and do which is a trend that I am pretty certain will continue and which will help to create a new normal where one will have to be as decent online as we are expected to be in the real world.

click for source

click for source

It may well take a while for the lawmakers to fully address these sorts of issues, heck it may even take the suicide of a few more victims of cyber-bullies (although I hope not) but there is no doubt in my mind that the tide has turned against a totally unregulated online environment and we can only hope that the right balance can be struck between adequate disincentives for despicable behaviour and the maintenance of our rights to free expression online.
Cheers Comrades


From mindfulness and care comes civility , and civility is the foundation of a well functioning society

Mouse Jim

Of course the other side  to the online anonymity issue relates to the use of social media in and about the workplace, and its the possible employment  repercussions from online interactions that advocates for anonymity usually cite as a reason for their position on the matter. However I think that they are quite mistaken on a couple of levels.


click for source

Firstly  when you are on the boss’s dollar you really have no right to carry out personal business or commentary on  life instead of devoting yourself to the tasks for which you are being paid. It has never ceased to amaze me just how many people who comment on blogs (including my own ) or tweet madly away during work hours and this trend has become even more common with the advent of internet capable smart phones which circumvent any restrictions on the use of workplace  computers.

Secondly there is the matter of how what you may post on social media will reflect upon your employer and the incidents described in the image on the right  (from the AGE) are good examples of the possible negative consequences for being an online  fool or smartarse.

Rather than whining about employers taking note of stupid or malicious online behaviour perhaps those who advocate for the impunity of anonymity on the net should instead realise that the other side of the equation is that if people were as well mannered and respectful online as they are obliged to be in “real” life then the chances of them having any negative consequences for an internet presence will be very small indeed.

I have been blogging for exactly seven years this very day* and during that time I have seen a great deal of change in the online environment   the electric country has become populated with far more ordinary folk rather than being mostly populated by the early adopters of the personal computer and as the demographic has changed so to has the expectations of society about this online  part of life. No longer do is  anarchy and a mostly pseudonymous interaction the norm. Most of us have face-book, twitter or some other sort of social media presence and its up to us all to use our online presence with mindfulness and care for the consequences of publication. This is a good thing as I see it because from mindfulness and care comes civility , and civility is the foundation of a well functioning society, which is after all what we want isn’t it?

Cheers Comrades


*Happy Blog day to Moi 🙂  🙂

Lord Justice Leveson’s address in Australia

I hope that readers can forgive me returning to a pet topic of mine but I found this piece about Lord Justice Leveson’s address rather interesting and I am pleased to note that he is saying things about the “new media” that Both Ray and I have been arguing for quite sometime, namely that its users have to be held responsible for the things that they write or  say.

In the super-injunction example, the writ of the law was, perhaps, believed not to run against bloggers and tweeters. This is perhaps an example of the wider phenomenon I mentioned earlier: the belief that the law does not, and cannot apply to the internet. In many ways this is a pernicious and false belief: false because the law can be enforced against those who blog and tweet; pernicious because the idea that the law does not apply to some while it applies to others undermines the rule of law as it is inconsistent with the idea of equality before the law. Procedural justice requires the law to be equally applicable to all.

While Lord Justice Leveson speaks  to the nature of the problem with the “New Media” he does not offer any idea about how individuals may be held responsible for the things that they may publish in a tweet or blog and while he does not go further than mentioning online anonymity in passing  I am saddened that he has not made the logical connection between easy anonymity and the behaviour that it enables and encourages.  personally I think that easy anonymity goes hand in glove with bad behaviour and that Ray’s suggestion that no social media presence without verifiable bona fides should be possible has merit for improving accountability and  civil behaviour. The suing of Twits and Bloggers who have thought that they could ignore the law with impunity is something that we will see far more often in the coming years and we Bloggers will have to be eternally aware of just where the boundaries of the law are if we are to avoid litigation. Personally I have always strived to remain within the bounds of the law because I do understand that doing so is essential for the civility of  social engagement, hopefully those who have thought other wise will be brought to heal by the evolution of the law in the way that it pertains to our ever  increasing online presence.

Cheers Comrades


Cabbages, Kings, IPhones, and the way that the toys affect the interactions we have on the net

I’ve been thinking about blogging and its so called decline of late and it has just occurred to me that what it boils down to is that blogging is really a child of the PC, be it the desk top beastie  like the one that I use or the Lap top which the more wealthy have to play on,  and in they heyday of this social medium the Personal computer was the epitome of the human interface with the internet, Now far more people are interacting with the internet through their hand held devices like Phones or other display focused tablets. I have watched my brother using his smart phone to send text messages to his staff and it certainly is possible to send long messages but its also clear that it is poorly suited to writing long responses to something like a political piece in  a blog. A proper keyboard and a large display of the text that you are creating makes a huge difference if you want to make a substantive political argument.  Further the turn around time between posting something as a comment and getting a response to that comment either from the blog author or other commentators makes a difference as well. In the “old days”* the most lively blog threads happened when you had a few people all posting their comments at the same time of the day. Which for someone like me who is on the computer mainly during the day was a problem when the majority of readers/contributors to the conversation were there in the evenings. One other factor that is in play here is the fact that employers are becoming far less tolerant of their employees wasting work time on computer use that is not “work related”. It all adds up to less people reading blogs or writing them for that matter and to be honest if you take the time to brose through a lot of blogs as I have done over the years you will realise that there is a fair bit of chaff among the wheat and a fair few blogs that have just one (sometimes rather good) post and then nothing more. This humble blog and its precursors just sort of happened because I needed something to keep my brain working and it continues for exactly the same reason.

Today I hope to have an internet connection to my PS3 hooked up courtesy of my computer tech brother which will not only allow me to play games online (looking forward to that 😉  ) but also it will make it possible for me to respond to comments made in the evenings  when their authors are still online, heck we might even be able to get some banter going!

Cheers Comrades

The worry is that the as yet secret IPhone six is being developed with canine users in mind with nose print recognition smell based dialing and the ability to block all incidences of Cat blogging…

* How old does saying that make me feel!

Death of a vile anonymous attack blog, a victory to be celebrated and “moving forward”

This is a joint post by Iain Hall & Ray Dixon:

Ray Dixon: As many of you would be aware, Iain and I have been the subjects of a vicious on-line campaign conducted by certain anonymous cretins at an anonymously authored ‘hate-blog’ going by the name of ‘Stalk Watch’.

The SW blog, which has run continuously from late 2009 with literally thousands of often disgusting, untrue & defamatory comments, sanctimoniously claimed – without a hint of irony – to be dedicated to the eradication of Internet “scumbags” & “stalkers”,

HOWEVER, by its very nature and existence, the SW blog was effectively nothing more than a shady vehicle for pissants and cowards to stalk their perceived enemies on the flimsiest pretext of doing the Internet a ‘service’. Give …me … a … break.

The blog masthead depicting Robert De Niro’s Taxi Driver movie character ‘Travis Bickle’ (which name was also the blog author’s alias) with gun pointing, a support cast of creepy characters all using aliases (and many being the same person) and the nature of the commentary, were clearly designed to threaten & intimidate as well as inciting hatred and even violence. They actually made occasional death threats, or at least calls to violence, although were forced by the host WordPress to remove the worst of them. Thank you WP for the smallest of mercies.

You have to wonder what sort of insecure and malcontent people would go to the trouble of setting up and participating in such a hate-blog for the sole purpose of slagging the real life reputations of others. Repeatedly. To follow (i.e. stalk) their every comment and hang shit on their character, their families and businesses with outright defamation and crude insinuations.

There is no noble intent or justification in haranguing and harassing in this manner. The aim of the blog was clearly to do damage to our personal and/or business lives. As much as they could. To lie, embellish, denigrate and demean in a way that was ridiculously and absurdly out of proportion to whatever ‘sins’ they claimed (usually falsely) that we had committed.

Of course, not one of the people who participated in the herd mentality at that cesspit of a blog had the guts to write under their own name. Not one. Ironically and hypocritically, they claimed the reason for using anonymity was to guard against any repercussions on their real lives, which has to be the biggest bullshit defence ever written. In effect they were saying it was all okay and above-board for them to maximise the damage done to us, but not okay for us to seek to defend ourselves.

Their premise is the one of very weak individuals who have no self-esteem and, consequently, no respect for others or appreciation of their actions. It is the sociopathic profile of the classic stalker – a weak and insecure person, socially inept and under-achieving. Or, even if achieving somewhat, not entirely happy with their lot in life. That is why they love to bring others down to their level – because they are about as low as anyone gets … and they know it.

In short, the scum behind that blog are representative of life’s real losers, self loathers and pessimists. They hate. They hate themselves. They hate everyone else and the only thing that makes them feel the slightest bit better is to stick it to those who they see as easy targets.

All. From. The. Coward’s. Position. Of. Anonymity … of course.

Anyway, to cut a really long story into just a long one, earlier this month Iain & I decided that enough was enough and that the only way to bring these f*ckers to a heel was to take them on – full frontal. Which we did on a little-known and obscure side-blog of Iain’s that hardly anyone read. Well, anyone but the handful of twisted obsessives behind Stalk Watch.

From that small bastion of independence we hammered their credibility daily and drew their attention to their own hypocrisies, lies and poor behaviour. We stood firm and returned a lot better than we got; make no mistake, this was full-on ‘blog wars’. It soon became apparent that we had them rattled so we turned up the heat.

Again, to cut to the quick, it all culminated with this post I wrote yesterday directed squarely at the blog owner “Bickle”, letting him know that I had ‘his number’ (i.e. his full identity, employment, etc) and that I was ready to act on it. I wrote:

Bickle, I’m going to tell you something. Sit down, shut up, listen and think:

There is a point where ‘mockery’ crosses the line into harassment.
There is a point where ‘mockery’ crosses the line into defamation.
There is a point where ‘mockery’ crosses the line into bullying.
There is a point where ‘mockery’ crosses the line into criminal stalking.

You and your blog have crossed those lines a long time ago.
You continue to cross them.
You are in breach of several laws – civil & criminal.
You could be hunted down, arrested, charged, convicted and jailed.

That would do a lot of damage to YOUR reputation, not to mention your liberty.
You’d be stuffed. No one would listen to your advice. Ever. Again.
You are not so well off that you can afford for that to happen, are you?
You are not retired.
You rely on your ‘good name’.
All that will go if you are caught out for this activity.
You are risking everything here.
For what?
You are a fool.

Delete your blog before it’s too late.

And before you say, “Is that a threat”, I’ll give you the same answer as before:

Take it any way you like … just don’t take me lightly.

After a few hours the o-so-courageous “Bickle” put this tail-between-his-legs post up pathetically saying he was going to delete the blog (unless someone else took it over) on the grounds he no longer had the time to administer it:

Yeah, just like Senator Mark ‘Rat’ Arbib resigned for ‘family reasons’. Sure. So in the early hours of today I put this in the comments section of his filthy, stinking blog:

Then I had a shower (to wash the Stalk Watch scum away) and went to bed. Getting up this morning at 7.30 a.m. I switched on my computer and found this:


What a nice way to start the day. Cowards never win. Just remember XXXXXX XXXXXXXX, I know where the bodies are buried. Now it’s over to Iain.

Iain Hall: As of this morning “Stalkwatch” is no more,deleted and forever removed from the Internet.

Its tough writing under your own name sometimes especially if you start your blogging career by putting  out of joint the noses of some rather nasty and sanctimonious idiots who think that they both own the internet and that they get to set the rules of good online etiquette. You see when I naively made my first foray into the bloggosphere I did not know at all that some people so jealously guarded their true identities so that they could be uninhibited by the consequences of their bad behavior. I just thought that their anonymity was nothing of consequence. In the course of the last seven years I have discovered just how petty, nasty and venial some people can be when they have their masks dissolved and how they will stoop to any vilification to demonise the target of their bullying.

During the course of the last seven years I have had to learnt some handy self-defense skills, not in the martial arts sense mind you but in the sense of learning about precise way that the internet works and the way that we all leave electronic “paper trails” in our wake as we comment or publish our “words of wisdom”. Being ever on the lookout for the next underhanded attacker seeking to infiltrate my comment threads or to become my “friend” via email has made me rather too cynical about the new faces that turn up at my Sandpit and hopefully the demise of “Stalkwatch” will be a lesson to the rest of that deluded crew that neither Ray nor I are “easy marks” who will give in to bullying and piss-weak internet vigilantes who foolishly believe their own propaganda about their targets. Those who sought to punish Ray and I for some pretty venial sins have time and again made disproportionate responses because they were simply bullying boors who could not stand being out smarted or out lasted by an ordinary blokes from the back blocks of southern Queensland and eastern Victoria . They especially could not stand the fact that I have made a friendship and alliance with that  fellow blogger from eastern Victoria. The reason was of course that the alliance between Ray and I has shown then that the whole is stronger than the sum of its parts. They have thrown everything at us and “Stalkwatch” was just part of the story most of which is probably best kept private, not because the scum-bags who ran it and populated its comment threads deserve any mercy (they don’t) but because Ray and I are both sick and tired of the entire thing. Ray has his business to run and I have my  family to “do” for, projects to work on and well the bigger political picture is just so much more interesting than being obliged to do battle to defend our good names and reputations from the most vile smears and ongoing attempts at character assassination all made from behind the mask the  easy anonymity of the internet  .

So hopefully we can now move on and focus upon topics that will be far more interesting to the many casual readers of The Sandpit. Issues like the rise, fall and further fall of the Federal Labor Government. The most spectacular rise of the Newman administration up here comes to mind as well. The weird and wacky things that surface all the time and just beg for commentary. Heck I may even try to encourage Ray to increase the sporting and religious (AFL) content of the blog  as well. The world is , as it ever was, a wild and volatile place which offers plenty of opportunities to share and debate our opinions.  Old favorites like the loopy Greens and their religious faith in Climate change and their millenarian madness need much more attention and I for one am looking forward to giving these things and many more greater focus in the weeks months and yes, years ahead. I am very proud of the fact that here at The Sandpit we have a range of political views evident in the writing of its authors, it’s what sets us apart from other “group” blogs which can end up being too narrowly focused and too politically  incestuous. Anyway  on this beautiful day I’m lifting my coffee mug in salute to my friends and respected debating adversaries who make Blogging so rewarding and so much fun.

Cheers Comrades

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