Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Unions fight for manufacturing

Email from my union today, AMWU. Thought I'd mention it even though I'm not working as I was made redundant. I think their approach is pretty good. Certainly much more constructive than the corperate cowboys  wanting to simply reduce wages and conditions in a race to the bottom. National Secretary Paul Bastion puts it very well. This from the "Making Our Future" site:
National Secretary Paul Bastian has lauded the new Centre for Workplace Leadership as fulfilling a key recommendation from the Prime Ministers’ Manufacturing Taskforce.

“Australian manufacturing is doing it tough under pressure from a range of economic factors, including the high dollar, lack of infrastructure and poor local procurement.

“Industrial relations are not the biggest issue for the manufacturing industry. The issues are workplace leadership, skills development and science and technologies connection with industry.” more

Ian Thorpe and depression

Well, still here. Oh fuckin joy.....

On the depression subject, I note that Ian Thorpe, Olympic world champion swimmer extraordinare, has written a new book about his experiences. In it he has included a chapter of his struggles with depression. Yes, depression. This guy was at the top of the Olympic world, medal after Olympic medal, hailed the conquering hero across Australia, and yet he struggled through all this with depression! 

I actually don't find that surprising. Depression, or I guess clinical depression,  is something that happens despite circumstances. This is what Simon doesn't seem capable of understanding. I could well imagine Simon in a conversion with Thorpe when Thorpe is almost being worshipped here for his amazing achievements, and coming out with that bloody line he's done with me many times; "You should be feeling happy now".

Thorpe is a perfect example of how clinical depression has nothing to do with possibly being in a wonderful life. Nothing to do with circumstances outside your own head. It's about you as a person, not about how good or bad life is going. I know Simon means well, and he is actually only trying to help in his own way. The thing is though that saying that line above is probably one of the most unhelpful things that could possibly be said.

The inference is that you should simply snap out of it. That WTF is wrong with you? That it's your fault because you're not trying hard enough to snap out of it. It's imposing guilt on you that you shouldn't have to deal with; incredibly unhealthy and destructive guilt about feeling depressed. Simon is trying to find some magic solution (fair enough I suppose, as blokes are problem solvers) when there isn't one. It would be better if he just accepted me for who I am rather than trying to get me to do the impossible.

A very good interview with Thorpe last night. It's so good to see such a high profile person as him being so honest. These are the sort of Olympians who actually are inspirational. Here's the interview on YouTube;


As a 14-year-old, Thorpe became the youngest male ever to represent Australia at the world championships in Perth in 1998, and he duly won the 400m freestyle title. 

Despite his phenomenal early success that included three Olympic gold medals in his home town of Sydney in 2000, Thorpe was fighting demons. 

"It was in my mid-teens when I realised something wasn't quite right," said Thorpe. 

"And at the time I didn't know it was depression. 

"And it wasn't until a little bit later that I went to seek some help." 

But after confronting his illness that included turning to alcohol to numb the pain, Thorpe said it was cathartic to pen a chapter on his depression battle and hoped his experience will help others in their fight. 

"When I wrote this book, I wrote the chapter on depression for myself," he said. 

"I never thought I'd include it in the book. 

"But then I said `no, it's staying in'. more

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Ready to die?

OK went to today appt at the doctor. I got really fuckin smashed along the way (um, mainly afterwards). 

OK, so I get in only 10 minutes late from the 4pm when he comes out to get me. Mind you, the guy before me looked pretty tragic. He must have looked amazing before he got sick. He looked like about my age I suppose, but had that face thing happening of the sunken near death look. He'd made an effort though and you'd not have noticed it unless you knew about the condition (loss of fat in the face). So yeah he was in there for 20 minutes, and it looked like just a run of the mill regular thing.

My GP is a major person in the HIV treatment world here in Sydney. I may be wrong but that's the impression I get. I only started seeing him as the doctor, as my psychologist referred me to him. The doc I was referred wasn't available. So I saw another temp guy there. He was so nice eh. I was actually wanting a gay friendly doctor as I'd gotten a bit carried away about a month before at Kens (shut now) where a novice wasn't experienced at fisting and didn't use enough lube. 

It seemed like a particlularly good idea at the time, but there is a fine line between pleasure and pain; and sometimes the pleasure in the moment far outweighs/compliments the pain. You worry about any damage later. This was the worst man, a tear in the anus that was starting to get a touch infected. I tried with the usual gay ass purge for ass betterment (healing after the painful/fabulous expansion) but the usual shit didn't work so well this time. It was the tempt doctor above that I saw about it, and he was the one to refer me my HIV GP now. 

Yeah, and the HIV GP has seen up my asshole in the healing process after that, so there's nowhere he hasn't see now. Anything I tell him after that is nothing. He knows I'm a bit of an extremist!

So I see that doc this afternoon at 4pm.......

It was a brilliantly quick visit! Oh I so hate those long drawn out affairs where the visit just goes on and on about fuck all. Sometimes I write a list if it's more than a couple of things I'm seeing him about so we can just get together and not fuck both our times around. It was pretty much all over in a glorious 5 minutes! I nearly fuckin blew.

So I go into see him, sit down, crap on with the pleasantries for a few seconds, and then "I'm just here for the blood test".

We sit there chatting whilst he presses a few buttons on the keyboard as he instructs the printer next to the screen to print out the appropriate form for me to sign, bla. I say "I think I want to go on medication now, I'm sick of worrying about it. I will have to eventually, so I might was well do it now" (that's a summary). He listened......

Then I said how tired I was all the fuckin time. Fuck, last night I couldn't stay awake at this fuckwit moronic time, of about 5pm. Everything hurt after the evening meal. I couldn't stay wake on the chair. I went to bed. It was way more comfortable than the chair I was falling asleep in.

This doesn't happen on the odd occasion, it's pretty much nearly every night now. It may be later (all of about 7 maybe!) and then it kicks off. It's a major obstacle in wanting to socialise as most of the events start after 9pm; my social life is carking it darlings... A tragic state of affairs.

He said basically "we'll take blood!" and agreed with me about the fatigue thing and as I know him now I could tell he thought that that wasn't a good thing to have at all that made you go to bed at 5pm like a fuckin 80 year old pensioner. Crucify any social life at 50. 

I saw him at a meeting I went to recently. The one with the drag queen Vanessa Wagner and nurse nancy. A discussion with a panel of experts. He got there with people and they called him up; when it came time he was on the panel of experts. I was amazed.

Bloke next to me was madly writing notes about the discussion with this panel of experts. At some point (after he raved bizarrely about my doc) I said that "He's my GP". I was drinking beer. He wasn't and appeared to be keeping count of my debauched beer intake. He replied "How did he become your GP? He's so knowledgeable!" I forget what happened after that. He went off for a while somewhere leaving his notepad.  

OK. Got into this thought after today's doc visit. What if this is it? What if I'm so tired because the viral load has gone up and my CD4 count's down? What if it was so bad that they actually gave a time frame of when I might likely die continuing like this? How would I fell? Would I choose death or life? It's a hard choice.

Haven't feared death since 2006. I sat holding the hand of the love of my life as she breathed the last. I'd have been very happy to go with her at that moment. And I guess many after. Miss her a lot. Promised I be here for our daughter though. That's fine. I'll wait.

But other than that, yeah, I'm well and truly ready to die. Had more pain in one life than I dunno how many. I'm staying here now for my daughter. But beyond that, I'm finished with this shit.


Have noticed this post is suddenly getting a lot of views. No idea why. I would like to comment though after reading through it, that life does  go on and things do  get better, as cliché as that may sound. Since this post I've met David and fallen in love again, something that I'd never have expected.

In fact, after looking further, turns out I met David only three weeks after writing this post.

Polling after misogyny speech

"Come the election, people won't be voting on misogyny and things of that nature"
Eric Abetz on the Q&A program last night
Fuck I laughed when he said that. Perhaps he could say that to my daughter. She despises Abbott for what he said in parliament that the gov should have "died of shame". She's never followed politics before at all. Yet she's watched more than once the Gillard misogyny ripping-Abbott-a-new-asshole speech. She reckons he well and truly deserved it and shouldn't have said it. (BTW it's well over 2 million views now).

He's completely misjudging the effect that speech has had. Whether it will change votes is a different matter, but there's no doubt Gillard has struck a major chord with it. It's shown her substance and tenacity, one might even say bravery in saying those things the way she did in front of the entire nation. 

Abbott however seems oblivious to it all (not unusual) and is still banging on about something that no one cares about anymore. The carbon tax is a complete non issue now. The more he goes on about it, the more it makes him look stupid. The boy who cried wolf. But it's worse now as he's claiming that people are concerned about it when they're not. The scare tactic has failed and he doesn't seem to realise it. Either that or he's got nothing left in the ammunition. 

So it's no surprise then that the polls are showing significant movement back to the Gillard Labor gov. I don't vote Labor, being a Greenie, but you'd have to say it's been an extraordinary turnaround. Abbott's carbon tax end of the world gained traction because it was little understood and the gov seemed incapable of explaining it. Only last June, just before the introduction of the tax, Abbott and his merry band of coalition MP's, were 16 points clear of Gillard (and her dejected lot).

Now, for the second time in it's last 3 polls, Newspoll (commissioned BTW for the conservative Australian newspaper) shows the two parties even at 50/50. And here is the story since the last election:

Interactive of it here

The gov, if it's too survive next years election, cannot live on misogyny alone (Abbott staying leader would also be a big help). But my guess is that misogyny will play a roll. It fits perfectly into Abbott the conservative Catholic with ideas outdated in today's Australia. I know for sure at least one person who will be voting on misogyny; my daughter. 

US - third party censorship discussed

This contained in the latest "Breaking the set" online program from Abby Martin. Here she interviews a professor guy over there, Chris Chambers, about the whole issue of the third parties not getting a look in with the whole presidential national debate, except by foreign media. This bit 8 minutes or so.

I know the US and Russia get on swimmingly these days (after all they're much more equal with each other now on human rights violations) but it's surely outrageous that to see an alternative view from their own presidential campaigns they have to,for example, go to a Russian website for it. Surely at least PBS could be covering it?

Monday, 29 October 2012

Whales off the coast

This made me feel pretty good this evening. Haven't been so well today, very tired this afternoon and been in bed since about 5pm. Slept a little bit, but think it was more about just wanting to lie down. Had a big meal, maybe a bit too big as after eating it felt uncomfortable sitting in the chair and was a lot better lying down.

Put the telly on before and on the news they were showing some whales spotted off Sydney today. Mother and calf after giving birth way north of here on their way back to Antarctica. 

Is a regular thing the whales travelling back at this time of year as we're along their migration route. Greenpeace often goes off down south to protest at the Japanese hunting the whales, were very successful last season I remember at stopping the Japanese whaling boats from slaughtering them.

Dunno why, just made me feel good seeing that on the telly. Little channel 7 video here. 

Considering medication again

Made an appt to see the doctor tomorrow. Been putting it off and am nearly a month overdue on the quarterly HIV blood tests. To be honest I've just not felt at all like going to the doctor. Perhaps depression is a contributing thing? Oh well, 3-4 weeks isn't going to be any big deal. 

The only thing I've felt maybe different is being extremely tired on occasion. But whether that due to an increase in the viral load or not will be something to see. Who knows, maybe I'm just starting to feel my age? Honestly though sometimes I've had no choice bu to go to bed at about bloody 6pm. Have been sitting there watching TV after dinner and just haven't been able to keep my eyes open. Haven't been doing anything different. Then will sleep for 10-12 hours. Might wake up a couple of times and go to the toilet, but other than that it's solid sleeping.

The dreams too have been extremely vivid at times. Dunno WTF that means, is my subconscious going bananas about something? Whatever. Nothing unusual for me to be a bit nuts. The dreams though are the sort that when you wake up it takes a few minutes to realise that it was just a dream and not to worry. They're so strong they affect how I'm feeling when I wake up; apprehensive, worried, uncomfortable, anxious.

I may ask about medication this doctors visit. Starting to think maybe I'd be better off on it again. I dunno. It is good not having to pump myself full of pills all the time, but then everytime I go to get the quarterly tests done it's like I'm sort of waiting around to see when everything is gonna start falling apart. Like, is this test going to be the one where my immune system all turns to shit? It's a stress I could do without.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

AC/DC - Let There Be Rock [HD]

fuck yeah

ACDC - Hell's Bells Official Music Video

fuck this is excellent

Beck - Where It's At

US Third party debate

I had no idea there were more than just two presidential candidates. They're having debates and everything, but with virtually zero coverage in the US media. They even have a Greens candidate, I nearly fell off my chair. A Greens candidate, in the US? Far out. So who was it that covered, and is going to cover, these third party debates? Well don't hold your breath that it's going to be Fox news or CNN. Look instead to RT. Here's the entire debate if anyone's interested. 

I don't think I could sit there and watch 90 minutes of political debate from over there, but it's amazing to me that they even exist. Zero coverage in the MSM here. Just the boring old far right duo agreeing with just about everything (Obama and Mad Mitt). Good to see. BTW they're covering the next debate too Oct 30th.

A whole lot of info about it here at RT.

There's a blackout by the mainstream media and the US political elite on coverage of third parties, but RT covered and broadcast this year's third-party presidential debate, hosted by Larry King and featuring a panel including our own Thom Hartmann. 

On Tuesday night, RT was one of only a handful of media outlets to broadcast the debate, moderated by award-winning broadcast journalist Larry King. Organized by the Free and Equal Elections Foundation, candidates from the Constitution, Green, Justice and Libertarian parties sounded off on the issues facing American voters, without having to worry about towing party lines for the Democrats or Republicans. 

The third-party candidates' debate statements, diverse as they were, were a change of pace for the growing number of Americans who see little substantive difference between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. Though they often disagreed, there was near unanimity on one general concept: The Democratic and Republican parties represent corporate interests, not the average American. more

The depression - Simon backs off again

Isn't his fault. Probably the best thing at the moment. 

As I've been constantly feeling down for over a month now, he's gotten somewhat impatient again with it all. He just doesn't seem to be able to get it with me about this depression thing. It's come up again the other day (the last time we talked on the phone) where we were discussing it and he came out with the same old crap that he always does; that now that everything is going much better then I "should be" feeling much happier.

I dunno how many times I need to tell him this, seems that I shouldn't bother wasting my breath anymore. That may be OK with sort of the normal sort of thing when people get depressed about life and feel down for a bit, followed by things improving and the persons mood correspondingly. But it doesn't seem to work like that with me. Maybe it's different with others but at the moment I'm just talking about my own experience. 

This isn't just a bit of feeling down. This is clinical depression that has clearly been the result of both life events and long term unhappiness and struggle. It has a life of it's own. Not to mention post traumatic stress. I get flashbacks on occasion that may last for only a few seconds but throw me into a mood for few days. Flashbacks from things that to anyone else would be completely harmless. I can't predict them, nobody can. Things going better in the present isn't going to stop them. Other than that I may well feel down for some time, for no apparent reason, and again things going well in the present won't change that.

Part of it is struggling with unhelpful guilt about feeling like this. The logical part of me also thinks that yes, surely I should be feeling much much better now, WTF is wrong with me that I'm not? Is it my fault? Am I doing something wrong? Have I got some sort of personality flaw to not be happy right now? But then I realise the unhelpfulness of thinking like that, and that I should simply know that I and my support are doing everything I and they can, and I shouldn't feel bad if I go through periods of depression, short or long. This is simply who I am right now, and no amount of things going well are going to change who I am. Any more than I can change my hair colour or sexuality.

I'm OK with Simon backing off a bit. I mean in his conversation he made it clear how little he understands about the whole subject, so it's probably a good thing to leave each other alone for a bit. But fuck what pissed me off the most was when he told me I should try and come off the happy pills. Oh FFS, think I did very well not to start yelling into the phone at that point. Just told him that "You just never get it".

Fancy coming out with that bullshit again, seriously. He has absolutely no idea. Does he think I wouldn't come off them if I didn't need them? Doesn't he realise that I actually do want to come off them but can't right now as they're helping me? What sort of fuckin mood does he think I'd be in for the last month without them? I don't want to take them any more than I want to walk around with crutches, but my head needs crutches now. Why is that so hard to understand for some people? I guess I just don't get that either.

HIV Stigma Audit Report

NAPWA (the National Association of People Living With HIV/AIDS) has released a significant study into the issue of HIV and stigma in the community. It looks majorly interesting, although I've only just read the Executive Summary and Recomendations so far. The report (pdf):

And a short description of it from the NAPWA site:

Over the past two years NAPWA, in collaboration with the National Centre in HIV Social Research UNSW, has conducted social research into the experiences and effects of stigma on the lives of people living with HIV. What we found is both encouraging and challenging. We were encouraged by the many signs of resilience among people with HIV. Despite this major life challenge, most are getting on with leading fulfilling lives and bounce back from setbacks when they arise. Some of the challenges include ongoing stigma in many areas of life that we usually turn to for support: our sexual partners and our communities. The media was also singled out as an ongoing source of stigma. more
One of the most interesting things about this report is a call to get rid of the NSW law requiring people to disclose their HIV status before having sex, and rather simply to have a requirement to take "reasonable measures". I didn't know but NSW is the only Australian state that has this law.
It also seeks the abolishment of NSW laws requiring HIV-positive people to tell sexual partners of their status. While sexually transmissible infection laws have recently been amended to allow ''reasonable precautions'' to be used as a defence, NSW is the only state where people with HIV are still compelled to disclose their status to sexual partners. Read more

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Dying With Dignity

Came across this site about assisted suicide/euthanasia. I didn't know such a big majority of Australians agreed with it (over 80%). This video was on the site of a personal story. The family reads a letter of the dying father who's slowly dying of motor neuron disease and wants the choice of a dignified death. He's in the video (can't talk anymore).

With such huge support for it, I hope when my time comes I'll get that choice.

"Vote for Jesus" - wacko's

Meanwhile in loonyville........

I must say this shit has given me a good laugh. I think there's about every crazy nutbag extremist Christian view covered in this lot. The video as well crapping on about Obama being the enemy of god, fuckin priceless! And of course we get a special mention, that evil homosexual agenda where we're all out to destroy the world by being depraved. 

He should have worn some kind of a clown suite in the video. I mean I can't imagine anyone actually taking him seriously. But then again.......

So for all the voters for the US presidential election, just write Jesus in the ballot paper and vote for him. Actually I think it's very good if these wackos do that, at least they'll be throwing away their vote. The thought of idiots like this having a part in deciding who the most powerful man in the world will be is a touch scary.

Here's the site, complete with the lunatic ravings and count of people who've pledged to vote for Jesus. Amazingly it's up to nearly 1.5 million. Excellent! That's 1.5 million wackos taken out of the equation.
President Obama has proven by his words and deeds to be a true enemy of God as detailed in James 4:4. He has been the most pro-death President in history, supporting the legalized slaughter of innocent babies here and around the world, he is a staunch advocate of the radical homosexual agenda, and he has been a great friend to the enemies of Israel. On every major spiritual issue of the day, President Obama has proven to be an enemy of God and a true tool of satan! 

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is a 5th generation member and a priest in the satanically inspired Mormon cult. He and others in his cult LIE when they claim to be Christians, since Mormon doctrine is 100% inconsistent with Biblical Christianity and a Mormon is no more a Christian than a Muslim is. He deceives people by saying he believes in "God" and "Jesus" is his savior, when the "god" of Romney's cult is NOT the God of the Bible, and their "jesus" is NOT the Jesus of the Bible. Romney and those in his cult believe the Bible to be a flawed and incomplete book and look at Biblical Christians as inferior and non-believers for rejecting the beliefs of their cult. more insanity
Here the hilarious video: 


Signed up for a workshop

Got an invite from BGF emailed yesterday. I've had invites from them before but unfortunately the workshops were involving things not very relevant to me. This one though looks pretty good. Is 6 sessions over as many weeks. (Click to enlarge)

The guy there who sent the email rung me yesterday afternoon confirming that there was a place left. Looks just what the doctor ordered.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Bank final receipt

I finally got a final statement from the asshole bank; the one that I've been writing about for the last year. Haven't heard anything about the credit card yet, but the final thing came for the personal loan.

This was the money that was left over after the $guru negotiated down the debt to 70-80% (can't remember which now). The bank didn't close off the account and about 2 months after paying the settled amount as final payment, I started getting harassing calls from their bloody Indian debt collection people. What a fuckin clown show. The whole reason for paying it off via my Super was because the stress of the debt was affecting my health, having HIV. And then the fuckwits stress me out with Indian call centre harassment!

At least the lady apologised in their customer care place; well in an email to the $guru which he forwarded to me. I did like how they added all the interest as well, and over the page there was even a $100 early payment fee (WTF? For early payment?) and then had to wipe all of that too to get the account finalised at zero.

Emailed a copy to the $guru, with a note saying I've not heard anything about the credit card one yet. Just waiting for that to be their next fuck up. 

The value of life

An interesting little video showing some gov US bloke being questioned about a US citizen only 16 years old, killed by a US drone in Yemen. I watched it and have a slightly different take on it than some might expect. 

So, it seems to me that the gist of the questions trying to put this guy on the spot, was that the person killed was an American. Because it was an American, then that made it much of a worse thing. At least that's the inference I'm getting of it (BTW the bloke blamed the kids father for his death, who'd been killed himself two weeks earlier in a separate drone strike).

What about all the other innocents killed regularly by US drones then? Why aren't the questioners asking that? Is their life more expendable?

Wikileaks releases detainee policies

Reading the press release at Wikileaks, I'm sure most reasonable people would consider the fact that no other news organisation on the planet has released any of these documents. It's taken Wikileaks to get this out in the open.

I suppose Obama and Mad Mitt will both be having hissy fits over it, along with all those good-old-boys who love America. This enemy of the state, deserving of the death penalty just like Osama, this terrorist, how dare he do this to us! I can hear the bloody pathetic rhetoric from here. Obama and Mad Mitt will both try to out do each other in how tough they want to be with Assange and Wikileaks. 

I mean they've not got much else to argue about do they. As far as the main problems go for American foreign policy and it's loss of soft power around the world, they both seem intent on rubbing the US's name into the dirt across the globe. Gitmo is a symbol of how fucked up the gov has made that country. I'd say "from both sides", but there's not two sides over there, just two people arguing around the fringes, both of them so far to the right as to border on extremism. 

Who'd of thought 50 years ago that the US would be jailing people without trial, not giving them a prison identity, commit systematic abuse of their human rights, inventing laws to charge them with retrospectively, without any recourse on the prisoners part? Gitmo has been doing this for years. It was only when Americans themselves were threatened with the same treatment that they cared less about it.

And so, in light of this, it has taken Wikileaks to do what all other media outlets haven't. Shine a light onto this treatment of US prisoners. Wikileaks has begun now releasing the "Detainee Polices" of Gitmo and others. The handbooks for how those prisoners were to be treated. 

The latest WikiLeaks release includes the ''foundation document'' for the Guantanamo Bay prison - the 2002 Camp Delta standard operating procedures manual.
''This document is of significant historical importance. Guantanamo Bay has become the symbol for systematised human rights abuse in the West, with good reason,'' Mr Assange said in a statement. Read more
For the world outside the US, this will be very interesting reading. For some inside the US, it will be an act of war releasing them. Oh how far the US has gone abandoning it's ideals of free speech and democracy.

Below is some of the Wikileaks Press release, and here are the documents released so far.
Starting today, Thursday, 25th October 2012, WikiLeaks begins releasing the ’Detainee Policies’: more than 100 classified or otherwise restricted files from the United States Department of Defense covering the rules and procedures for detainees in U.S. military custody. Over the next month, WikiLeaks will release in chronological order the United States’ military detention policies followed for more than a decade. The documents include the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) of detention camps in Iraq and Cuba, interrogation manuals and Fragmentary Orders (FRAGOs) of changes to detainee policies and procedures. A number of the ’Detainee Policies’ relate to Camp Bucca in Iraq, but there are also Department of Defense-wide policies and documents relating to Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay and European U.S. Army Prison facilities. 

Among the first to be released is the foundation document for Guantanamo Bay ("Camp Delta") – the 2002 Camp Delta SOP manual. The release of the ’Detainee Policies’ marks three years of Camp Delta (Guantanamo Bay) SOP manuals released by WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks has now released the main Guantanamo Bay operating manuals for 2002, 2003 and 2004. The previously unpublished 2002 manual went on to shape successive years in the Guantanamo Bay prison complex and other U.S. military prisons around the world, such as Abu Ghraib. "This document is of significant historical importance. Guantanamo Bay has become the symbol for systematised human rights abuse in the West with good reason," said WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. "But how is it that WikiLeaks has now published three years of Guantanamo Bay operating procedures, but the rest of the world’s press combined has published none?" 

A number of what can only be described as ’policies of unaccountability’ will also be released. One such document is the 2005 document ’Policy on Assigning Detainee Internment Serial Numbers’. This document is concerned with discreetly ’disappearing’ detainees into the custody of other U.S. government agencies while keeping their names out of U.S. military central records – by systematically holding off from assigning a prisoner record number (ISN). Even references to this document are classified "SECRET//NOFORN". Detainees may be disposed of in this manner without leaving a significant paper trail. 

Another formal policy of unaccountability is a 2008 Fragmentary Order that minimises the record-keeping surrounding interrogations. Following revelations of torture tapes and pictures from Abu Ghraib and the political scandal over the destruction of Central Intelligence Agency interrogation tapes, the FRAGO eliminates "the requirement to record interrogation sessions at Theatre Internment Facilities". Although the FRAGO goes on to state that interrogations that take place at Division Internment Facilities and Brigade Internment Facilities must be recorded, it then states that these should be "purged within 30 days". This policy was subsequently reversed by the new Obama administration. 

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said: "The ’Detainee Policies’ show the anatomy of the beast that is post-9/11 detention, the carving out of a dark space where law and rights do not apply, where persons can be detained without a trace at the convenience of the U.S. Department of Defense. It shows the excesses of the early days of war against an unknown ’enemy’ and how these policies matured and evolved, ultimately deriving into the permanent state of exception that the United States now finds itself in, a decade later." more

$660million financial collapse

In what's possibly further indication of what's happening in the real world of the Australian economy, as opposed to the continual capitalist bullshit we get from Canberra about how wonderful it all is here (you know, all those cliches about "envy of the world", bla.... try paying our rents and see how envious the world is then, but I digress) we have today the news of the large financial group Banksia going broke in Victoria.

Unfortunately it's not a bank, so there's none of this stuff for investors:

I dunno why anyone would invest in anything that wasn't guaranteed by the gov these days. I mean FFS Europe lurches from one catastrophe to the next, the US is obsessed with some strange delusion that this election is actually going to do something to fix things, Japans been in the doldrums since longer than the GFC, and even the Chinese economy isn't looking too shit hot these days. Yeah, so lets chuck all our money into some company that's not gov guaranteed, this is Australia right? We're the envy of the world right? Nobody goes broke here right? We're the boom town...

Well, there are now a a whole lot of people in the state of Victoria wondering what's going to happen with the $660 million that's invested with this company.
THOUSANDS of farmers and other regional Victorians face a nervous wait after the collapse last night of the financing group Banksia Securities, which has put at risk $660 million in savings.

Receivers McGrathNicol took charge of Banksia. It is based in Kyabram in the state's west and generates the bulk of its business through that region.

As a non-bank lender, Banksia offers investors high interest on debentures and then lends these funds out as mortgages or commercial property loans.

Given Banksia does not hold a banking licence, the funds in the debentures are not backed by a deposit guarantee.

Debenture firms often target retirees as investors, generating new business through promises of high-interest returns backed by property.
McGrathNicol last night froze the $660 million in investments and stopped all interest payments as it began an urgent review of the company's accounts. Read more
And why has said company gone broke? Bad management? Dunno, hard to say at this stage. It appears they've suddenly had a big increase in bad debts from it's clients, looked at the books, and went "Oh shit, we're fucked". 
McGrathNicol's appointment was triggered by Banksia launching a review of its lending book. 

Early figures from the review presented to the board yesterday indicated a sharp jump in provisions needed to cover bad loans. 

The steep losses were likely to lead to Banksia having ''negative net equity'', it told debenture holders ahead of the appointment of McGrathNicol. 

At the end of June, loans valued at $65 million made by Banksia were overdue, according to the company's financial accounts. In addition, it had seized property against which it had lent $74.5 million. Read more
Dunno what the "high" interest rates were, but I guess it's the old saying, if it sounds to good to be true then it probably is. Aside from people who simply got sucked in though, this could be an indication of the reality in parts of Australia; that there is a lot of debt that people are finding they can't pay off.  This despite the rosy picture Canberra likes to paint.

(*also posted here)

Housos, the movie!

Oh my goowd! The Housos the movie is being released Nov 1st! The traila:

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Clean energy - investment $billions

Further to the politics of being a Greenie in the last post (i.e. that it's an evil leftie plot to destroy the world) I've read today about the reality of what's happening in Australia now.

Far from green technology stifling investment and whatever else the right wing pollies claim it might do, it's having exactly the reverse effect. Even if someone didn't at all believe in climate change, I'm sure they'd agree it's much nicer to breath clean air and drink clean water. And there's no argument about what it's doing for investment. Because of Australia's 20% target of clean energy production by 2020, green power is in boom times. That means new jobs and new money from it.
AUSTRALIA's 20 per cent renewable energy target has helped spark $18.5 billion in new clean energy investment since its inception - and will drive another $8.8 billion to 2030 - an economic analysis commissioned by the industry's peak body has found. 

The modelling to be released today by the Clean Energy Council also says Australia would have failed to meet its greenhouse gas targets under the United Nations Kyoto Protocol without the target in place. 

The modelling - carried out by firm Sinclair Knight Merz - comes on the eve of a discussion paper to be released by Australia's Climate Change Authority as part of its review into the role and performance of the renewable energy target. The target mandates that 20 per cent of Australia's energy is to come from renewables by 2020. Read more 
Our last electricity bill (mind you it was for winter) was nearly $500 for the quarter. That's using mainly gas to cook (gas was another $100 as well). But well, I'm at the stage of life now where I'm fucked if I'm going to sit inside in the middle of winter freezing my ass off to save a few $ on the energy bill. Can't afford to do that as if I get sick it could turn into something very bad, who knows.

Limited as to what I can do here too as I don't own the place. If I did I'd probably use some of my redundancy money to put solar panels on the roof. They can work wonders for your bill I'm told. Not exactly sure how it works but think it's using the energy from the panels to put back into the grid, and getting credited from the electricity supplier for that. They're quite common around where I live, lots of people have them. Strangely, the world hasn't ended from all this green technology.

Reject John West Tuna - Greenpeace

A very informative email from Greenpeace. All about the canned tuna that we eat and how it's caught; whether that way is destructive or sustainable to the environment. Pretty good I thought. They also have things to print about it if you want, and an interactive page. Here's a poster I snipped from their site:

Here's the "Reject John West Tuna" site, the main one for the campaign. From there you can do all sorts, including sign a petition (from anywhere in the world) that sends a letter to John West. 

But there's more! 

Here's the interactive site of the above poster; the "2012 Canned Tuna Ranking" guide. It's like the above poster only better, like you can roll the mouse over a store name to find out what canned tuna they sell there and which one you can buy from them that's fished sustainably.  

Here's the video from the main site:

I think it's good to be informed like this. It's not some dastardly conspiracy by the left to take over the world or some shit. It's simply informing us how exactly the canned tuna we buy is fished. Online campaigns can work, as Alan Jones has found out.

Horrifyingly, I've discovered I have one of those evil John West cans of tuna in the kitchen. OMG! Oh now I feel dirty! Next time I shop I will be somewhat more discerning. 

I've been getting fresh fish lately anyway. Even then I make sure it says it's been farmed sustainably. Fish is supposed to be a main part of your diet isn't it?

Cat vs toilet roll

I have never in my life seen a cat do this before. Yesterday it must have been a bit bored waiting for me to open the back door so it could view the birds outside through the screen (sit there for ages doing that). I walked into the toilet, and saw this:


WTF? It had gained access to said toilet roll by jumping on the bath edge, than to the toilet cistern, then to the washbasin, whereby it was an easy reach to unravel a whole roll of toilet paper onto the floor.

I couldn't get angry at it, it's only a bit older than a kitten. Went and opened the back door and put it there.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Meeting felt like this

This is how I felt when I met my wife. It was a hugely intense time for a few months. We fell deeply in love. I won't ever forget her.


Bohemian Rhapsady

"So you think you can love me and leave me to die?"

I dunno what exactly Freddie was thinking about when he wrote that. All I can say is he died of AIDS and left the announcement to the world a week or so before he did so. I'm sure the media christian bullshit may very well have been on his mind.

Middle class welfare

The federal gov is obsessed politically with bringing it's budget back into surplus this year. The opposition Liberal party has for some decades (rightly or wrongly) been perceived by Australians as the party better able to manage the economy. That's something I very much disagree with but that's another subject.

Abbott the head kicker and politician, has been able to maintain a big lead over the gov in the polls since the last election. He's not had any particular policies that have woed the electorate to love his party and his leadership, in fact he's had hardly any policies at all. In a performance that makes me seriously wonder at the average intelligence of Australians, he has succeeded in gaining a 16 point lead over the gov in  polling (as of last June) over a carbon tax scare tactic (with his mate Alan Jones screaming from his radio show) and political opportunism. In June Labor was polling a mere 27% or so, and looking like being annihilated in next years federal election.

Then July came. The carbon tax started and Abbott's and Jones' end of the world predictions of the sky falling didn't materialise. People started to realise they'd been duped by Abbott's exaggeration and pretty much lying about what effect it was going to have. Pensioners got extra payments, workers got big tax cuts (the tax free threshold was increased from about $6,000 a year to $18,000 a year). People started to finally see that Abbott was full of shit. So much so that perhaps a bowel cleaning might be in order. The 16 point poll lead in June is today reduced to only 4 points, with poll after poll showing the gov steadily improving. The gov senses a comeback. Then Gillard delivered the misogyny speech that saw Abbott destroyed not only on national telly here, but globally. 

But still the gov wants to continue whatever winning trend it's found. IMO it's increase in popularity is more about the self destruction of Abbott than the gov doing anything differently. But anyway, so the gov has promised a while back to get the budget back into a surplus next budget speech time to prove to the electorate it's fiscal responsibility, and that they're better than the Liberals at running the economy, and they'll do anything to get that surplus. They just had a mid year mini-budget thing where they've introduced more cuts to gov spending.

The most controversial parts of this little budget are cuts to middle class welfare here, something that IMO is way way long overdue. The gov is reducing the baby bonus from $5,000 to $3,000 for the second child (yes, the gov pays you to have babies here, um, that started from the so called fiscally "responsible" Howard gov). They're also cutting private health insurance rebates, for people who have private health insurance (yes the gov subsidises private health premiums). This is a good start, but pretty weak really. It needs to go far further than that. What about the bazillions the gov gives to private schools? All middle class welfare paid for by taxpayers.

You'd think with all that welfare getting splashed around all over the place that the entire population would be on easy street right? Wrong. ACOSS (the Australian Council of Social Services) has recently released a report into poverty in Australia, and it states that 13% of us are living below the poverty line. So why isn't the huge amount of money being paid in welfare in Australia finding it's way to the people who really need it? They aren't concerned about private school fees and private health insurance, these being completely beyond their reach. It's public schools and public health. They're concerned about where the next meal is coming from for their family.

How can this be in Australia, that we have these levels of poverty? Where people are honestly expected to survive on a $250 or so a week dole (unemployment benefit). Where people are having to rely on charities for food and clothing. Where perhaps their self respect is under attack from being so poor, I mean I dunno how it would feel if I'd not been able to afford food for my daughter growing up.

Middle class welfare, that's why. WTF is the gov doing paying for peoples health insurance fees and such, people who can well afford to pay all the fees on their own, when that money could be much better used by the 13% of people in this country below the poverty line. But it'd be unpopular amongst middle class voters wouldn't it. And it would threaten the surplus.....

Nonetheless, there is still an awful lot of taxpayers' money devoted to greed rather than need. If the need were less pressing, this misallocation could perhaps be justified on the grounds of Realpolitik, but if the ACOSS figures are right - and they have not been seriously disputed - the situation is urgent, even desperate. But there is no sign that the Government is treating it as such; so far, the reaction has been muted and indirect. 

At the weekend, Treasurer Wayne Swan wrote a rather smug article about how much worse things are in the United States than they are here. And Employment Minister Bill Shorten suggested that yes, perhaps the Newstart Allowance - the dole - was inadequate. But quizzed later, he made it clear that the Government had no immediate plans to increase it, and fell back on the mantra that the very stinginess of Newstart was a positive; it encouraged the unemployed to find a job. Well, they might want to, but if they can't afford to travel - or even to dress decently - their chances of doing so are somewhat limited. 

This is the Catch 22 facing the forgotten 13 per cent. Well, perhaps not entirely forgotten; but for the time being they have definitely been consigned to the too hard basket. Newstart currently stands at $246 a week - just 42 per cent of the statutory minimum wage. To bring it up to even half the minimum wage would cost nearly $2.5 billion a year - and that's at a time of low unemployment and is just for those actively looking for work. A great many of the 13 per cent would still miss out altogether. more

Just on the Abbott doomsday carbon tax claim. Today in the news, an indication at just how much shit Abbott is full of. Turns out the carbon tax starting in July 1st has had fuck all impact on anything. Honestly, he was blaming the carbon tax for everything. If someone stubbed their toe he'd have probably blamed it on the tax. I'm all for political debate, but fuck at least keep it remotely factual. This was supposed to be nigh on life as we know it ending in Australia:
THE carbon tax has boosted the cost of living scarcely at all. Despite dire talk of an ''almost unimaginable'' increase (Tony Abbott) and $100 for a Sunday roast (Barnaby Joyce) the first official consumer price figures show a far lower impact than predicted by the Treasury. 

Last July, Treasury said the tax would push up the consumer price index 0.70 percentage points, adding $9.90 per week to average household costs. In return, households were given compensation averaging $10.10 per week. 

But 0.70 percentage points looks like being an overestimate. Inflation figures for the September quarter - the one that encompasses almost all of the electricity and gas price rises - show them adding 0.44 points to the CPI. It's a big figure, but not that much bigger than the usual September quarter slug. Read more

Ombudsman condemns police taser use

Here's the PDF.
I've not read much of it, is very long. But the summary starts on page 193.

Although it obviously doesn't address the other issues involved in the police brutality of Curti (misuse of capsicum spray for example, or the willingness to inflict great pain) it does address exactly the issues related to the way tasers were used with Curti. Strange it hasn't investigated Curti's case at all, perhaps due to the ongoing nature of it? In any case the report is damning.
ELIZA HARVEY: The Ombudsman concluded that the taser shouldn't have been fired because there was no evidence of imminent or actual violence resistance. These case studies were among 2,000 studied by Ombudsman Bruce Barbour. It's the biggest audit of the controversial weapons conducted across the country. In 27 cases he concluded they shouldn't have been fired. BRUCE BARBOUR, 

NSW OMBUDSMAN: That is 27 too many. It's the equivalent of one a week, and we've got to make sure that that doesn't continue. more 

The report reviewed 556 incidents between June 2010 and November 2010 and found the devices were used inappropriately on 80 occasions. 

In 27 cases, police were not under serious threat and should not have fired the weapon at all. 

Police tasered people who were handcuffed or fleeing, and in some cases victims were tasered repeatedly - actions that Mr Barbour said should be outlawed. 

The report makes 46 recommendations about how police should use a Taser and how they should improve Taser training for general duties officers. 

"(Taser) can present significant safety and medical risks, and there is a justifiable public concern about the potential for unsafe and inappropriate use," Mr Barbour states in the report. more
I'm not impressed at all with the police reaction; one of defending themselves and smoothing it over. And last night all the commissioner was saying is that he would "consider" the findings of the report. Bullshit man. This needs gov action, with the NSW gov ordering the police to comply with the reports recommendations.

What enrages me so fuckin much about all this was this one line by the Police Association of NSW:

The Police Association of NSW (PANSW) said assaults and injuries to officers had plummeted since the introduction of Tasers. more
That is an outrageous thing to say! Of course officers aren't going to be hurt when they're bloody tasering someone to death! Fucks sake! What a completely stupid thing to say. It just shows the mentality though; they think they're in some kind of war against us, instead of being there to protect and help us. All kitted out in their head kicker boots and all. It's designed to intimidate, not help you.

That Police Commissioner Scipioni has been around for years. The new gov should have sacked him. He's a thug through and through, concerned for his police and not the public. He's the idiot responsible for getting a water canon here in Sydney, years ago now. It remains the only one in Australia, and has never been used. What a fuckin waste of money. I still remember him crapping on on the telly when I was nursing two broken ribs from the police (all 68 kilos of me) and he's on there saying "I'm tired of my officers being used as punching bags". Oh fuck off, get real.

Cat picture

The kitten has grown to I guess toddler stage, in human years. It has a very different personality than the other one. Being a male it's much more blokey. Last cat was a sweetie, this one's more like a mate.

Not sure I like how long it's fur is. It's a medium hair cat. Although it doesn't hardly malt at all yet. 

Daughter has kept her promise and is still doing all the looking after it. As I'm home a lot these days it's seems to have decided it likes me. It's having turns at night sleeping on daughters bed and mine. 

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Ombusman already called moratorium tasers

I heard something on the channel ten news just then. Maybe I got it wrong. I heard the NSW ombudsman had recommended something about tasers because they were dangerous. They went on to something else really quick, and as I was preoccupied eating cheese and crackers with a crown lager I missed the rest of it. So I was forced to then fire up the plastic brain and search for it.

Not much luck. Either it's too early and it hasn't had time for Google to know it's there when I search for it, or it was talking about something else. So I checked another one where it was at Nov 2008. The article was entitled "NSW Ombudsman calls for Taser Moratorium".

TONY JONES, PRESENTER: Yesterday, the NSW Ombudsman called for a two-year moratorium on the use of tasers. Despite that, a growing number of Australian police forces are adding the electric stun guns to their armoury. The taser is promoted as a non-lethal alternative to hand guns, but the stun gun is the subject of intense controversy, especially in the United States, where the use has spread to the general public. Critics say Tasers have killed at least 300 people and are widely abused by police. North American correspondent Michael Rowland visited the factory in Arizona to file this report. more

I'll have to watch the Channel Ten news shortly. I want to find out if they're talking about then, or has the NSW Ombudsman come out with something even earlier than Nov 14th, when the Coroner hands down her findings over Curti?

I'm hoping for some sort of justice will come out of all this. I hope Curti's death won't be for nothing.  

*Edit:  Noticed people have been reading this again for some reason, but the links weren't working anymore. They're fixed now.