Sunday 31st of May 2020

gonski 0.5...

gonski 0.5


At the Press Freedom Dinner, the main speech by Sky News Political editor, David Speers, concentrated on “fake news”. It was a bit lame in the sense that it became an expose of how fake news can change the course of history (but not that much). He did not mention that fake news has been with us since humans developed language and communication skills using a stick to draw something in the sand. He mostly harped on the way fake news (from Macedonia) was used to sway the US Presidential elections. 


So we have to draw something in the sand, but what? A red line? Presently, the next election in Europe, that of the French president, is being affected by trolls and heaps of fake news... But then what is fake news in relation to the future? Is it different to the numerous commentators spruiking their left and right venom at something or something else? Fake news was the way that Peta Credlin and her minions led by Turdy Abbott sold the Australian public the concept of “carbon tax” when she now admits it was only a way to destroy “the price on carbon” which was designed to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and prop up renewable energy sources. Tony Abbott and the Liberal (KONservative) party do not believe in “global warming”, despite the overwhelming scientific evidence, including the next to be opened -- the multi-northwest passages through the north pole. For Tony, global warming is “fake news” because it is not mentioned in the bible. Tony Abbott is an idiot. Is this fake news? No. Abbott is an idiot with a great knowledge of ignorance.


So. David Speers showed on the screens behind him, a couple of example of fake news... Sure, one would have to be a dork not to see that these were fake news, but most of the voting public could be dorky. We have been brainwashed to absorb fake news since we’ve been raised on Santa Claus and religious beliefs. Daily, we get politicians giving us OPINIONS about why they do something or rather. Is an opinion fake news or are these just designed to massage our brains to accept a relative truth of a slanted point of view? When politicians control the political system, they can do what they like until the next elections, unless the MEDIA does something to them -- like the Murdoch press (leading the pack of a band-waggon of bad journalism) pitted Rudd against Gillard... In Australia, the media in general is slanted towards the right, the neo-fascists and the rich -- even the so-called “liberal” media. This is worth 10 seats for starters in any elections. The idiots who think that the media has no influence on the political scene are deluded.


Then David Speers bemoaned that “we found out through US media, Australian troops were in a chemical attack in Mosul”. Okay. Is the absence of news from the Australian Government a way to hide the truth and the fact that REBELS, ISIS and the likes supported by “OUR” side have chemical weapons, while instantly blaming Assad for a “chemical attack” in Syria without having any proper investigation? Are the Western governments afraid that an investigation has the possible outcome to prove that Assad did not use chemical weapons? Assad uses chemical weapons “news” drives our intents. We need this news to stay in the domain of what we want: him to go. But is it possible that Assad’s planes bombed a REBEL storage of chemical weapons? Yes. Critical engineer’s report is quite categorical on this one, contradicting the flimsy infantile CIA report which would get an F minus for the entrance exam of a trainee analyst. Where is the fake news in this? The decision has been made to blame Assad to “confirm” our narrative he is a “bad guy”. The journos go with this narrative because “that is what they have been told by editors, under the thumbs of governments and their owners”. End of story. “Assad gasses beautiful babies”. Thus the next step for journalist is to accept that Trump was correct to bomb something after dinner... despite the gesture being illegal in the United Nations Charter and illegal in the US since no direct threat was made by Assad against the US. This is why we have laws, but so far few journalists seem to know these laws are not elastic to suit the moment of hypocritically lauded glory. Suddenly, Trump shows he has balls to do something stupid and every journalist applauds... Sad and totally unjournalistic.


Kate McClymont, who introduced David Speers, should be well-known for using dubious sources, including promoting “fake news” with the testimony of tainted witnesses, such as Cathy Jackson, to achieve a desire result. She is lauded by many members of the press as a beacon of truth when her investigation of Craig Thomson was as crook as they come. Bad journalism all around. 


So the MEDIA is at the mercy of fake news or dubious news, including comments by cartoonists... Moir’s cartoon today (4/5/17) somewhat misrepresents the truth about Gonski 2.0. Gonski 2.0 is short-changing the original scheme by about AU$ 20 billions, though Moir has chosen to show the Labor Party being miffed at Trumble stealing the scheme from under the feet of Shorten and Plibersek... Fair enough, but a bit lame in regard to the savage cuts to the scheme. It should be called Gonski 0.5. Trumble is cynically saving some of the furniture because he is heading towards a wipeout -- one as well in his “party room” where Abbott awaits like a ton of bad bricks. Abbott hates the Gonski scheme though he said he would honour it. Within a few months in his tenure as PM, he ditched it in favour of funding private schools, with the help of his Catholic mate, Christopher Pyne.


Ideologies rely on news to promote their relative ideals. And these ideals can be fake, unsustainable and corrupt. Is the news about ideals fake news?


Speers again (from a Guardian report):


“There is absolutely no justification to link entirely legitimate stories from reputable journalists to the crap from fraudsters in Macedonia and other peddlers of material designed to deliberately mislead and undermine how people are informed,” Speers said.

“If a competitor’s legitimate story is labelled fake by a self-serving politician, call it out. Don’t let trashing journalism become a go-to response for those politicians who can’t mount a better defence.”

Speers said transparency and strong, balanced journalism was more important than ever because the public was losing trust in the media, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer which showed trust in the media in Australia fell an alarming 10 points during 2016, from 42% to just 32%.

“That’s near the bottom of the pack internationally,” he said. “Well below the level of trust in the media in the US, India, China and Indonesia. We scrape in just above Russia and Turkey.

“Without trust we are vulnerable. Who are voters going to believe when a politician labels as fake a story they simply don’t like?”

“Journalists need to be journalists, not players. Not Twitter warriors.

“If you want to be trusted as a political journalist, play it straight. If your media organisation values trust, they will thank you for it. Don’t be swayed by the outrage industry on social media.

“Admittedly this isn’t as easy as it sounds,” he said.



The problems of reporting at speed arise when one is in a quandary taking a side, due to “compassion” or one sees propaganda interfering with the “news”... But this is unavoidable. The news has to be partisan. News cannot be objective as it is representative of ideas and positions. You can see adverts for The Australian (a Murdoch publication) on buses: “there are two sides to every story. Pick the side of the truth” or something like that... Well bugger! The Australian has chosen one side of the propaganda, not the side of the truth. It tries hard to sell you (us) an ideology that suits the rich to get richer, while hounding the poor in a sneaky despicable manner. 


Here the main problem that is hurting the news industry is that everyone these days can become a blogger or a “citizen journalist”. Not everyone can become an airline pilot.


Driving a plane demands a lot of precision training in which there is little room for idealism in the operation of a machine. Journalism on the other hand only relies on the ability to observe from a point of view and write stories. We all learn to write stories. This can be manipulated at all point of entries without any great damage. You cannot do this with a plane. Writing stories has been the bread and butter of Hollywood since it took over from the religious mobs and the brothers Grimm, including recycling of the said fake news. The CIA and MI6 have been doing the same caper since day one. Disinformation is the main purpose of the “intelligence” industry as well.


When will decent journalists admit that the motive for the war on Saddam was FAKE NEWS? Even the NYT has admitted that it was wrong to take intelligence at face value and that the intelligence was “faulty”. In no way has the NYT admitted it had been conned by FAKE INFORMATION created by the Bush Government, though it would be easy for an organisation such as the NYT to prove this. But they won’t do it. Why? Because that would mean that at the time they were imbecilically taken for a ride -- and that this would be an admission that they can be taken for a ride any time. For them “the FAULTY” intelligence” is good enough to limit the damage. Bad bad bad.


Mind you some of the players that tried to expose the lies of the Bush government have been eradicated, suicided or vanished... Thus we need to be careful. Being a journalist is a dangerous profession. According to the Australian Press Freedom fund, 28 journalists were killed last year in the Asia-Pacific alone, and 93 worldwide. Journalism is more dangerous than being a pilot. As well, many journalists find themselves in prison for trying to expose different ideals to that of their governments.


One of the worst place to be a journalist in the Western World is Mexico: it is described as The Deadliest Place in the Western Hemisphere for a Journalist. In the Mexican state of Veracruz, the authorities seem ill equipped to stop attacks on the press, and in some cases appear entangled in them. Why? Because corruption rules. Expose corruption and you sign your own death warrant.  And this has been true in the USA as well. Journalists who have tried to exposed this or that government payola have gone missing or died in mysterious circumstances, including one working on exposing the DNC shenanigans, before the Presidential elections. 


Pure honest journalists in Australia (and around the world) are a dying breed, if they ever existed. Too much fear and too many favours to curry. Not enough time to investigate and find “the truth” at the highest level. The truth is often decided by authorities to achieve an outcome. And authorities are ruled by politicians with an agenda, which as exposed by Yanis Varoufakis is the agenda of the rich and the corrupt. Sure we got our man “Obeid”. But he is one black sheep in a flock of black sheep on both side of the fence. He became the sacrificial lamb to the altar of favours for a buck. This is something that Andrew Jackson wanted to eliminate from the burgeoning US government. He did not succeed beyond his few presidential years. The USA is the most deceitful country on the planet --and its success comes from this state of affairs. See “The Age of Deceit”. The last of the breed are hounded, like Julian Assange (who is not an accredited journalist) and Pilger (who is accredited). They have their own problem as well, as they are very informed with the sword of Damocles in their hands.


The two main factors that rule humans and other evolved animals, including cockroaches, are the interactions of fear and reward. Food is reward, having to collect food can be dangerous, leading to fear, like having to kill the beast or going into unfamiliar surroundings. Danger could be a hit on the head by someone bigger than us. Religions are old fake news that have perfected the art on how to use fear and reward to stay in control. Over many centuries they have refined fear into a sadistic illusion and have supplied rewards on a hook. Some religions, like Islam, have painful temporal punishments at the basis of fear in order to maintain the tight-arse religious belief. Apostasy is not an illusion. You will suffer if you abandon Islam. 


Journalists should be forensic scientists. But the immediacy of what they see and report on, as well as desperate editors and imposing loyalties to the “establishment” that owns the news, make their job to seek the truth impossible. The “Truth” has been embedded with porkies since day one and it’s very difficult to separate the bits. Sophism rules most of the time.


So, is the fake news about Le Pen and Macron going to sway the way people are going to vote? The result could rest more with the weather on the day of the elections.


Now the Sydney Morning Herald journalists are on strike because  management is cutting the number of journalists in the organisation. Thus the space reserved for journalistic commentary is filled by ... guess who:... Tony Abbott, the king of ignorant twaddle and informed shitholes... 


What can we do? Not subscribe to the SMH anymore... and Murdoch wins the war. It's a dilemma...


Of all the speakers on the Press Freddom Australia Dinner, Paul Murphy, the CEO of the MEAA, the media alliance, was the most pertinent. But I would not know. Gus was not there also listening to the live auction by Chaser Craig Reucassel who announced he was pissed as a fart as soon as he came to the microphone. That’s pushing the satire beyond the experimentation of fake news. He was really pissed and very very very very funny.


it is time to invest in journalism...

Amid an "unprecedented" week-long strike by Fairfax Media staff after the announcement that it will cut 125 editorial jobs, journalists are sending a clear message to management: it is time to invest in journalism.

Management's decision to cut jobs and cap rates for freelance contributors and casuals has caused major kickback, including from the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), which has joined calls for Fairfax to reconsider its proposal.

Staff at the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age walked off the job for one week — a crucial week for politics as it includes the federal budget.

Journalists have said the drastic industrial action is them saying "enough" to the cutting of jobs and instead finding a way to invest in journalism.

Marcus Strom, Sydney Morning Herald science editor and campaign spokesperson, said colleagues were devastated over the news and were not only worried about their jobs, but about the future of independent and quality journalism.

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chasing the wrong rainbows...


“Our leaders are following the wrong rainbow.” So remarked the historian William Appleman Williams on April 1, 1965. The occasion was a “teach-in” organized by students and faculty at the University of Wisconsin to protest against the Vietnam War.

Both the war and the phenomenon known ever since as “the Sixties” were just then kicking into high gear. At that moment, in ways that are today difficult to recall, American history and historians of the United States mattered. Among those historians, Williams was then achieving prominence (or notoriety) for challenging the conventional narrative of American statecraft and more specifically the origins and conduct of the Cold War.  

The essence of that conventional narrative, as Williams later wrote, was that the “American Empire just grew like Topsy.” According to this interpretation, the United States became a superpower reluctantly, almost inadvertently, as if through the workings of Providence. Its rise to preeminence ostensibly occurred despite the inclinations of the American people who viewed the outside world with suspicion and disdain and who wanted nothing more than to keep to themselves.  

Williams argued otherwise, crediting American statesmen with having pursued a sophisticated, if opportunistic strategy of expansionism. Over the course of nearly two centuries, the United States had sought power and had succeeded spectacularly in acquiring it. Furthermore, Williams dared to suggest that this longstanding penchant for expansionism was essential to understanding the ongoing Cold War.  

For students in Madison (and elsewhere) who found Lyndon Johnson’s justification for bombing North Vietnam and ordering U.S. combat troops into the South unpersuasive, here was an alternative framework that seemed to make sense. Williams’s critique of orthodoxy meshed neatly with events unfolding before their eyes. Here, in short, was a rendering of the past that illuminated the present.

In our own day, the purpose of history is less to illuminate than to entertain or reassure. More or less like poetry, history serves at best an ornamental function. Today the only American historians enjoying a significant public profile are those like Michael Beschloss or Doris Kearns Goodwin who specialize in repackaging colorful stories. Innovative, critical, probing history does not lack for practitioners;  yet beyond the confines of the professoriate, it commands minimal attention. 

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Unfortunately, too many journalists are chasing the wrong rainbows as well, especially those attached to the main stream media which is itself attached to the governing system.

Those alt-media like the laudable OffGuardian can sometimes be conned as well. Because some of the main stream media is allowed to veer into some issues such as "global warming" for example, the OffGuadian will be conned into taking the opposite viewpoint by some clever work done by say The Heartland Institute and such. Enough said here, but I wish more care about some issues were taken by the "alt-media", especially when sciences are concerned. see:

dear donald...


government is easy...



The Abbott-Turnbull government is terrified of the word “unfair”. The tag Bill Shorten put on the 2014 budget – that it was unfair – resonated with the public and has stuck. The Greens, GetUp! and the 2014 crossbench agreed. Pensioners, workers at the ABC, teachers, the unemployed, doctors, patients and parents agreed. Unfairness is now the Coalition’s kryptonite.

The reality of the 2014 budget became the perception: this Coalition government unfairly goes after the poor, the sick, the old and the young. It is out of touch, elitist and protects its mates in big business. Mr Harbourside Mansion can’t be bothered to know, much less meet, ordinary Australians in western Sydney or south-east Queensland.

In 2017 Malcolm Turnbull and his cabinet mates are going to be anything but unfair. And that, I suggest, will be their subliminal, or perhaps even intentional, message in the budget.

Cuts to legal aid services? No more. New money has been found to fill this hole.

Gonski is not gonski. It is now proposed to be the law of the land, with Gonski himself adding an imprimatur. Yes, Gonski 2.0 is worth $22bn less than Gonski 1.0 over the next decade for Australian schools, but try to get that detail to stick in anyone’s mind when the most holy Saint David Gonski is standing there next to the prime minister, giving Turnbull’s announcement his solemn blessing. The centre-left canonised Gonski – they can hardly complain that he’s sinning against them now.

Debt and deficit emergency? Emergency schmergency. That is so 2013. It’s literally all about the vibe of the thing now. Good debt and bad debt is what is in vogue these days. Good debt is the “new black”, so to speak.

If you are wondering what the technical definition of good debt is, let me help: it is whatever the treasurer of the day says it is. Right now, good debt funds airports. And probably the Snowy Hydro scheme. And maybe some new train lines, to be determined, somewhere. And a few road projects in rural Australia that don’t stack up on any cost benefit analysis, but do look good in National party brochures. Oh, and definitely the extra $19bn on Gonski 2.0. But not university funding. That’s bad debt. So too is subsidising university student fees.

But lifting the freeze on the Medicare rebate is good debt. Most certainly. In fact, I would bet my house (if I owned the house I live in – I rent) that the government will announce it is lifting the freeze on the Medicare rebate in the next few days.

If all this keeps up, Turnbull could go down in history as the biggest spending, biggest taxing, most socialist prime minister in modern times. Or maybe in all of federation. (I’m getting carried away with the headiness of it all.)

Also the most protectionist. Notice how the government is no longer trumpeting how it completed three free trade deals? The trade minister, Steve Ciobo, one of the government’s better performing ministers, seems to have been put on ice. Turnbull didn’t even take Ciobo with him to India recently, and one of the main topics up for discussion was the proposed Australian-Indian free trade agreement. The Trans-Pacific Partnership is dead, buried and cremated, and now it’s all about “Aussie jobs” first. Foreigners are out, and Australians are in. At last, Aussie deer farmers and blacksmiths are going to get a fair go now that all those 457 visa workers are out of the way.

When I became planning minister in NSW, a former Labor premier gave me some advice: “Government is easy. You just give people what they want.”

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Please note that in the revised Gonski cartoon at top, Mr Gonski, while being hanged high and dry, is SMILING... The first one can be see a few years back on this site...



FAIRFAX JOURNALISTS have gone on strike for seven days in response to management announcing they are going to sack one quarter of the editorial staff. If successful, this will see 125 journalists from papers such as the Sydney Morning HeraldThe Age and the Australian Financial Review on the scrap heap. 

It is just the next episode in a decade long attack on print media staff. NewsCorpse is doing the same thing. Fairfax, since 2009, has cut the number of journalists from 1,000 to 500 and, if successful, in this latest round will have just 375 journalists. It sacked 1,900 staff in 2012. Since 2011, the MEAA estimates that mainstream media has got rid of 2,000 journalists.

These proposed round of sackings will "save" Fairfax $30 million in wage costs, although what it costs them in lost readership is anyone’s guess. At the same time, the man driving these sackings, CEO Greg Hywood, has been given rights to 2.6 million shares.  

If Hywood passes performance hurdles (by cutting overheads through axing staff, for example) the shares will become his in 2019 — for no cost other than the havoc he has unleashed on staff and readers. At current prices, his reward for sacking staff among other things will be about $2.5 million.

The Fairfax journalists’ seven day strike has the potential to change our understanding of the real class forces at play – or rather at war – in Australia.  It also has the potential (remote at this stage) to turn the bosses’ one-sided decades-long class war against us into a two-sided class war, as more workers, inspired by the Fairfax journalists’ strike, walk out in support, or even begin their own strikes to defend jobs, improves wages and conditions, and win safety on site.

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The cartoon of today (5/5/17) in the Sydney Morning Herald is serendipitous:

SMH toon

selling out to huffpuff...

Fairfax has been sold out by its own board and we are witnessing the systemic and systematic killing of Fairfax Media, writesTess Lawrence.

JOURNALISM IS MY RELIGION. It consumes me every day, almost every hour.

For some, facing Mecca paves the way to salvation. 

For me, facing the screen more than five times a day will not necessarily lead me to Jannah, but to a road less traveled by and paved with the vicissitudes of the human condition.

Journalism is a vocation. It might sound poncey, but there it is. That's how I feel about it.

Fairfax management must have got a perverse kick out of announcing axing about 125 editorial  jobs on Wednesday's World Press Freedom Day.

The same day, the New Zealand Commerce Commission knocked back the proposed merger between Fairfax New Zealand Limited and NZME Limited. Coincidence ?

On Friday, Fairfax issued a media release laced with spin that did not mention the number of human beings to be culled but emphasised the $30 million it would save.

A happy World Press Freedom Day to all journalists around the world. Your words and pictures can change the world #pressfreedom#WPFD2017

— The African Voice (@teddyeugene) May 3, 2017JOB CULLING INDICTMENT OF MORIBUND FAIRFAX BOARD

Shedding even more editorial jobs this year is brutally crushing and yet another indictment of Fairfax Media's notoriously moribund executive and Board. 

Going on strike is anathema to most journalists, but sacking journalists as a first resort by boards and management seems at times a growing sport, and a solution to lazy management.

Not all Fairfax journalists are on strike, indeed stablemate Australian Financial Review Weekend does a bit of chestbeating about its own growing circulation and rebukes the Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance union for the seven-day strike's ' futility.'

It brings no pleasure to witness the continuing destruction of  "old" media. The death or demise of one of us diminishes us all. But this continuing latest culling of hard copy and online journalism could surely have been avoided.

We are witnessing the systemic and systematic killing of Fairfax Media.

Insofar as legacy flagships The Age, the Sydney Morning Herald and flotilla mastheads are concerned, the writing has long been on the yellowed paper wall. The Board has failed to move with the times.

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Meanwhile at merde-och inc...:


If you believe this advert, you are either the Prime Minister or an idiot... and as Mark Twain said "I repeat myself..."

selling out to tpg...

Senior management at Fairfax Media were on Sunday locked in urgent meetings after private equity outfit TPG Capital approached the company with an offer to buy its biggest assets.

TPG has offered to buy Fairfax's online real estate business Domain and the company's three big publishing mastheads - The Sydney Morning HeraldThe Age and The Australian Financial Review.

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not selling out to tpg...


Whenever unabashed greed and large sums of money collide, controversy is sure to follow.

In the secretive world of private equity funds, specialist takeover vehicles that grew out of the 1990s recession and reached their zenith in the buyout frenzy leading up to the Global Financial Crisis, that's become par for the course.

Now they're preparing to pick over the carcass of Fairfax Media, the floundering former giant of Australian newspaper publishers, following a formal approach from TPG Capital to snap up the company's key assets.

At this stage, it's an offer bound for the scrapheap. At 95 cents a share, it's well below the market price and an offer only to cherry pick the company's best known businesses — The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, the Australian Financial Review, along with its main growth asset, the Domain real estate listings business.

As for the rest — the New Zealand newspapers, the radio joint venture and Stan — the television streaming business Fairfax owns with Nine — TPG has kindly offered to allow Fairfax to retain them.

This is merely round one in what probably will be a protracted battle. Should TPG, or Texas Pacific Group, ultimately succeed with a higher or full takeover bid, it has vowed to protect the journalism.

That would be a turnaround. Private equity firms only ever are protectionist of one thing — that is maximising their earnings through ruthless cost-cutting and financial engineering.

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Not enough camels on offer...


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journalism in mexico...



A prominent, award-winning Mexican journalist famed for fearlessly covering drug cartels has been murdered, adding to the already long list of reporters killed this year in what is the most dangerous country in the world for members of the media..

Javier Valdez, who founded and edited the weekly newspaper Ríodoce in Culiacán, capital of the western state of Sinaloa and long a den of drug cartel activities, was driving when he was pulled from his car and shot dead around noon on Monday by a lone gunman, according to early press reports.


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"One of the worst place to be a journalist in the Western World is Mexico: it is described as The Deadliest Place in the Western Hemisphere for a Journalist. In the Mexican state of Veracruz, the authorities seem ill equipped to stop attacks on the press, and in some cases appear entangled in them. Why? Because corruption rules. Expose corruption and you sign your own death warrant.  And this has been true in the USA as well. Journalists who have tried to exposed this or that government payola have gone missing or died in mysterious circumstances, including one working on exposing the DNC shenanigans, before the Presidential elections. "