Friday, 31 May 2013

Latest cat pics

There's rather a lot of photo opportunities with three cats running around the place. Here's a couple of the latest ones.

Natasha and Kiera, after discovering the comfy chair in the sunroom.

Felix, sleeping on the lounge next to one of his toys.

Russian adoptions to France to stop?

In a move that's perhaps taken some by surprise, an official in Russia has called for adoptions of Russian kids to French parents to stop. None other than Russia’s ombudsman for children’s rights would you believe, Pavel Astakhov
Astakhov said the Russian-French agreement on adoptions should be reconsidered because France’s endorsement of gay marriage directly contradicts Russian legislation. 

“It is evident that a moratorium should be imposed until [both countries’] legislation is brought into accord. This is logical,” Astakhov told journalists. 
His sentiment echoed that of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who said late last month that Russia could change its adoption agreements with countries that allow gay marriage, which goes against “traditional Russian values.” more
Seems overkill to me, even if you did think that gays shouldn't adopt. Why wouldn't they simply put that into the adoption process instead of banning a whole country from adopting? Is it a  bit of a stunt? Do they want to make an example out of France? By banning all French it'd give the issue much more media coverage. It would also inflame tensions within France over gays, as people who want to adopt from Russia will blame the gays now for fucking it all up.

Other than that, how fuckin ridiculous. I would expect that sort of thing from Russia though after the bullshit display of it's priests attacking gay marchers. It just makes the country look stupid. Paranoid and fearful of us. A bunch of ignorant fools stuck in the dark ages. 

In a way it's sort of funny you know. Here's this mighty power shit scared of a few poofs. What do they think we're going to do? Love them to death?

Adele - Someone like you (gay version)

Emergency Reef petition - Greenpeace

Greenpeace has launched an emergency petition as it becomes apparent what is about to happen to the Great Barrier Reef. It sounds absolutely crazy. WTF is going on up there? 

Within weeks, our government could allow shipping port developers to start tearing enormous holes in the seabed inside the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area - a practice known as dredging. 

Some 3 million cubic metres of sediment (enough to fill 1,200 Olympic-sized swimming pools!) would be ripped from the ocean bed, destroying the homes and food sources of turtles, dugongs and rare snubfin dolphins. 

Environment Minister Tony Burke has the power to stop this. So we’ve launched an emergency petition to demonstrate massive community opposition to this dreadful plan. Sign on today and we’ll hand deliver the petition to Burke in front of journalists during the UN World Heritage Committee meeting in June. 

If we act now we can make sure mining companies don’t get away with it. sign here

Still not well

What a bloody fucked up day yesterday was. I was so sick. Couldn't eat all day, finally managed something in the evening. Felt like I was on the verge of vomiting all the time, stomach churning. Couldn't even hold down water most of the day. I'm wondering now if it may have been something I ate rather than just a simple hangover. I started feeling bad through the night before getting up, and it went on from there.

Still don't feel well today. A bit weak and aching. Certainly not pleasant. Just gonna take it easy today. We were gonna go to a friends this evening but I don't think I'm gonna be up to it feeling like this.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Pink- Dear Mr President - Live

Hangover hell

Well I guess that's what it is. Really fuckin sick this morning. Had a few beers last night at the pub, must have lost count..... have a bit of a habit of doing that. 

Took my pills and spewed a little bit. Hoping not too much of the pills came up. Drank a big glass of water before it and couldn't keep it down. It was the emergency run to the toilet and a great river of spewy water came rushing out into the toilet. At least I wasn't on the bus this time.

Doctor said the other week I was drinking a little bit too much. It's days like these I agree with him. Maybe that's it, have actually been drinking a lot less last couple of weeks, maybe my body's spat the dummy after an evening of drinking rather more than 3 beers.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Meanwhile in looney land.......

Um, this is the sort of ignorance that exists. This is the sort of demonisation of gays that many religious people believe. It's full on hatred. 

Wow, didn't know I was that evil :s   Personally I think he's in the closet being so obsessed about gays like that. Wonder what he'd do if one of his kids were gay?

ENUF - HIV stigma

Was looking for a study I remember about a year ago, as I remembered the sign on a noticeboard asking for people's experiences of HIV stigma. Couldn't find it, or is this it? The ENUF campaign.
Join your voice to the ENUF campaign and share your story of HIV stigma.
Our collective voices are what will help mobilise a social movement to resist stigma within our communities. The ENUF campaign aims to encourage all people, regardless of their HIV status, to have the courage and skills to identify and refuse to tolerate the manifestations of stigma in our lives. ENUF
There's also these beautifully said comments at the AIDS memorial day in Melbourne other day, by Deanna Blegg, about stigma. It sums up how I feel exactly. 
“15 years ago I decided I had had enough. I was not a bad person. I had done nothing wrong. I did not deserve this virus; no-one does. I lost my shame and spoke out. I spoke out because I am a person I spoke out because I have a voice. I spoke out because I had a story to tell. 

“20 years on I stand here tall and proud. I am a mother of two strong and healthy children. I am not afraid of HIV or the stigma attached to the virus because I do not allow that very stigma to attach to me.” more

No asylum seeker processed on Manus Island

The TV show here Dateline on SBS has aired what looks like a very important program about the Asylum seeker detention centre the Australian gov set up 9 months back. Quite apart from the secrecy involved from the Australian gov (this was the first reporter to get inside the centre) and all the other atrocities going on there (people hanging themselves, cutting), there is perhaps one fact that stands out as the most appalling of all.

There has not been one single person there interviewed by the Dept of Immigration since it opened 9 months ago.
He's been there since day one and not a single immigration official has interviewed him about his case - not once. And all of the guards confirm that no-one else has been interviewed either - in nine months, not one. 

GUARD: They are asking all the time when they are going for the processing. 

REPORTER: But some of these people have been there since it opened? 

GUARD: Yeah. 

REPORTER: So last August or something? 


REPORTER: And they haven't been processed? 

transcript SBS
I can't imagine how it must feel to be living in such a hopeless situation.

100,000 views.... *faints*

Amazingly, and beyond any expectations I've had, the blog has reached 100,000 page views overnight whilst I slept. I thought all you mysterious darlings out there in internet land might like a bit of a current look at some of the stats for today's 100,000th occasion. Here's the updated stats for this morning, just the one supplied by the blog itself:

And here is the audience, with a little map, along with the top ten countries viewing. The views are for the last week.

Am a bit surprised by some of the countries where people are looking from. I seem to have gained a lot of views from the US, which is a bit surprising to me given how I get the shits with the US gov a lot. Russia has been at times a lot more, sometimes even more than US views. Maybe they don't like my announcement of late that Russia is devolving into a theocratic dictatorship? Australians have only started reading in any great numbers in the last 6 months or so.

I had absolutely not the slightest idea that the blog was going to get this far. It's the only blog I've ever tried and it started pretty much as a way to keep my head together by writing about my dramas. It does work, I mean after I have a rave about something here I can usually move on from it rather than it being stuck playing over and over in my head. As it went on and people started reading it I often wondered what the attraction was for them. My psychologist has been interested in the fact that it's gained some sort of audience too and has been following it a bit in the sessions I have with him. 

The only thing I can guess is that people like the openness and honesty. Something that is often rather lacking online. I dunno if that's just me, or because we down under are known for being very direct and forthright. It follows then that the blog is a look into the world of someone who's an HIV+ gay. It sheds light on a minority that has been demonised by religion and bigotry, simply showing a human face to where that hatred is directed. We're just people like everyone else. We're not trying to destroy civilisation or some shit, we just want to live our lives in peace.

Even though it all happened sort of accidentally, raising awareness of the humanity of LGBT people is certainly something I'm very happy about. Perhaps the brave new world of the internet will see LGBT people less hated and more understood.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Tired today

Bloody tired as hell today. Bleary eyed. Got up at a bit after 8, but felt I could've slept until 10 or so. Think maybe it's just a cold I have with sneezing and all rather than it being anything significant. Eyes won't stop watering and nose is running. Weather's getting colder now it's autumn.

Meeting David after his work today at the pub. Haven't been out for a few days with David and the cats settling in. Probably a good thing as it can get a bit expensive, but you do have to get out now and then don't you.

Perhaps a bit of a lie down shortly will help.

Civilisation doesn't collapse in New Zealand

It's been about a month or so since New Zealand passed it's marriage equality bill. The sky has not fallen, and civilisation has not collapsed. In fact, it seems that nothing much has changed at all.

Remember this guy?

His speech in parliament that day went viral on the net and he became quite famous for his use of comedy in the speech. He's written another equally funny piece for, which he speaks of the failure of the gay apocalypse to eventuate.
You might have seen there was rioting in France after they passed similar legislation. Not in New Zealand. People just carried on with their lives, as I suspected they would. 

Now, if that's what the prophesised 'gay onslaught' looks like then we'll take it every day and twice on Sundays. I can tell you that my own monitoring of the Pakuranga Highway, the road that cuts through my electorate, has shown nothing untoward since April 17th. 

The insidious fear mongering has proved to be completely baseless, but hasn't stopped a few people writing nasty letters to me about the speech I made in support of gay marriage. 

One man hoped my family and I would get AIDS and die. Many others said the Lord would deal to me in time – not very Christian of them is it? 

One letter went on to say that soldiers who fought in wars would be outraged at what had happened - but this too is a flawed argument, as those soldiers were fighting for freedom. 

In all the hate-filled emails there was not one credible argument about how allowing gay marriage would affect my marriage or theirs. Because in the end it won't. more

"Ending HIV" - pie in the sky?

My mind is still not made up, in regards to the latest ACON campaign for HIV. The "Ending HIV" logo/catch cry sounds a bit pie in the sky for me. Although it's better than what they were originally planning (I attended one of a number of focus groups in the development of the campaign). 

Here's the add from the campaign:


It all sounds marvellous doesn't it. We're all going to make daisy chains and sing kumbyah as we all act in unison...... 

What I have a problem with about this campaign is that it seems to ignore the fact that we live in the real world, which is far from perfect. Of course ideally everyone of us would wear condoms during sex, take our medication on time, and test regularly if we're negative. The thing is though that condoms aren't always 100% effective (break, slip off), people don't always wear them in the heat of the moment. In cases like mine I was so fucked up mentally I didn't care if I lived or died at the time and safe sex was the last thing on my mind. I don't see a massive overhaul of the mental health services in Australia now or anytime soon. Some people are just hopeless at taking pills every day, let alone on time, and can therefore be walking around with a detectable viral load increasing the risk of it being spread. Not to mention people take drugs and sensibilities fly out the window.

In an article about the campaign, Geoff Honner finishes his piece with this:
Your choice. Our collective consequences. more
I dunno. I've been at the bottom and I know what it's like. Being on a path of self destruction it could be argued is hardly a choice, but rather a condition that arises when life is too much for you. I certainly didn't chose to be like that. And we all know just how much LGBT people are way over represented in mental health statistics. Yet are we to believe that someone in this condition will suddenly start acting responsibly, simply by choosing to do so? Fuck I wish it'd been that easy for me! It was years of therapy and anti-depressants that stopped my decline. I'm sure I'm not the only one either.

Then there are the pills themselves, which now they want everyone to be on so that we'll all have undetectable viral loads. Well, it didn't work for me. I've just started back on them after a two year break. Allergic reaction to one of the HIV pills saw me have acute kidney failure and months of recovery. In those two years I was detectable, albeit at a low rate of about 5,000. 

There's other variables too. What about an influx of tourists in some big event hosted by Sydney, or simply the general tourism that happens all the time. Overseas people on holidays here aren't going to feel a hell of a lot of responsibility in regards to this campaign. What about the straight population? There was a bit of an outbreak in the straight population in Western Australia recently, as mining blokes would take holidays up in Asia and have unsafe sex with the locals, unknowingly catch HIV, then come back to Australia and have unsafe sex with their wives. 

I was pleased to see this at the end of the opinion piece then, that the best way to stay safe is still with condoms:
What it does means is each of us acting on what all of us already know: the best way to avoid HIV is to use condoms when fucking with guys you don’t know or where HIV status (including your own) is unknown, unclear or unreliable. ‘Unreliable’ is another way of saying “I was neg when I last tested back in um….” and it’s not qualified by how hot he is. more  

Monday, 27 May 2013

Relaxed cats

It's a fine Autumn day here is Sydney. A bit cold overnight with rain, but I've got the window open in the bedroom now after it's gotten warmer through the day. The cats look quite relaxed now with each other. This is a picture I took this morning.

Marriage Equality Rally Sydney

This was the rally they had in Sydney yesterday. I didn't get a chance to go, but looking at the speakers talking it looked like a pretty fired up group.

Lobby your Coalition candidate

With possibly another vote coming up before the September federal election on gay marriage, Australian Marriage Equality  has set up a site where you can lobby your coalition member with your story. You put in your details and somehow it knows your federal Coalition member. My the internet is smart these days isn't it? This from the site:
If a majority of Coalition members support a conscience vote the last major hurdle to reform is overcome. Please email the federal Coalition members in your state asking them to support a conscience vote. site
Of course another vote will be completely pointless, unless that fossil opposition leader Tony Abbott allows the party to have a conscience vote and not vote along official party lines. Even then it remains to be seen as to whether enough Coalition members will vote yes for marriage equality. The reason for lobbying.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Muslim rioter refuses to stand in court

I've been to court myself as the accused a few times. In all cases there's sort of a hushed reverence as the magistrate enters the courtroom. A call goes out just before saying "All stand" at which time everyone does, until the Magistrate says you can all be seated. Or something like that.

Not so for some it seems........

One of the Muslims arrested over the recent Muslim riots in Sydney (over that stupid internet movie spoof about Mohammed or something) has refused to stand in court for the magistrate, as he appears to answer for his alleged crimes. Something not taken lightly.
A MAN accused of rioting during last year's violent Muslim protests has been berated for his "disrespect" after refusing to stand before a magistrate at his court hearing. 

Mohammed Issai Issaka, who was charged with riot, assaulting police and resisting arrest over the September incident, this morning said his religious beliefs stopped him for rising for the court - the standard practice whenever a judge or magistrate enters or leaves. 

Magistrate Jacqueline Milledge repeatedly demanded Issaka stand for her, telling him she didn’t accept his refusal. 

"You can tell me where it is in his religion that it says he cannot stand," she said to Issaka's lawyer, Stephen Hopper. 
"I was a magistrate at Bankstown Court for four years and I have never had to deal with such disrespect." more
At least he's ended up in court over it. I do wonder though why the fuck he's here in Australia. If he feels that strongly about it wouldn't he be better off going to Afghanistan? Maybe our evil Australian life here is too good for him and he doesn't want to leave?

This is all my own pure speculation of course.

Response to Rudd agreeing on gay marriage

I was a bit surprised to find this opinion piece at The Drum site. Usually what's posted there is of genuinely good quality, unlike this drivel which has apparently passed a level necessary to be published. It masquerades as some sort of argument against Kevin Rudd's rather long-winded but well thought out change in direction on gay marriage, stating that Rudd has got it wrong now to support it.

I thought I might as well read it now that I'd seen it. Unfortunately, the expectation of somebody with intelligence putting forward intelligent arguments for the other side of the debate, I was presented with little more than unfounded opinions that have been proven wrong, Bible quotes (yes, Bible quotes  FFS!), random statistics, all seeming to be sort of mixed in with an underlying dislike of gays. I now present to you, Michael Cook's response to Kevin Rudd. 

You can read it all at the link if you want. I had the misfortune to do so. Some of it is truly appalling. For example:
Christian views on redefining marriage vary, of course. But Australia's traditional definition of marriage as a partnership between a man and a woman is not fundamentally based upon the Bible. It is based on the notion that marriage is the only institution which unites children with their mothers and fathers.

Every child has a right to a mother and a father. more
Evidently solo parents are denying their kids then? WTF does this guy think families are these days? He goes on:
Redefining marriage should be opposed because it does a colossal injustice to vulnerable children. It makes it legal to deprive kids of the right to know their natural mother and father and to be raised by them. more
 As a parent of a wonderful young lady now, that comment alone is personally insulting on so many levels.

Well that's pretty much the gist of his entire long winded raving argument. I can't see anything else in there that remotely looks like an argument. We've got some random guy who reckons marriage isn't all about love (as us dastardly gays think it is for us), some scripture quoting from the Bible (like it's actual evidence or something), and a metaphor about Thomas More from bloody 500 years ago.

This is the thing isn't it. This piece is put there as a serious sort of argument against marriage equality, and all he can come out with in reality are disproved opinions and little more than Bible bashing. That is why marriage equality is suddenly coming to so many countries, because nobody can come up with an intelligent argument against it.

Homophobic Russia

No surprises that gay marchers were arrested in Moscow yesterday. I mean what else would you expect from a country so homophobic that the authorities won't even let a gay march take place for fear of homophobic mob violence. The Russian churches must be over the moon about it. I doubt those who espouse democracy are though.

Anyway this little video is in English and reporting from Russia about the anti-gay hysteria over there. Very informative. Reports about what happened to that bloke who told his mates he was gay and they turned on him. Tortured and killed him. They'd known each other all their lives. That is the level of blind and hysterical hatred of gays in Russia stirred up by the churches. 

I do like the tone of the report. It hints at the almost disbelief in the west at WTF Russia is doing to itself. 

Anxious thoughts

Discussed this with David yesterday over a couple of beers. Has been a very long time since living with someone in a loving relationship. There's quite a bit to get used to. It does appear we're going very well at it so far though.

Think a big plus is living in such a big (albeit old) house. There's room to go to another room or area and do your own thing. Not like we're living on top of each other. Personally I feel like the small boxes that pass for modern units these days have a part sometimes in relationships failing. Living on top of each other may sound romantic for a while, but living in such close quarters is bound to lead to conflict.

David has been quiet and slowly tidying up different parts of the place. Don't think it's a side of him that many people see. He's of course been through his own life dramas. He keeps a brave face on, but when I see him all quiet and wanting to stay home for a couple of days, I know I'm seeing under the mask. Probably because of the way I've had to deal with my own pain.

He even admitted yesterday that he doesn't want to go certain places in his head as he's scared of how much it hurts. He has dealt with things over the years, but as I know from my own experiences with pain, it may mean you can move on but it doesn't mean the pain is no longer there. 

He's settling in fine here though. Quite a thing to all come together. I mean there's so much that could have gone wrong. My daughter may have not got on with him, or he her. The cats would be locked in mortal combat with each other. He may decide he doesn't like living in this area, and other things that may go through my head as my mind runs amok. 

Told David about my sort of waiting for something really big to go wrong, virtually expecting it. The next great catastrophe to befall.  I keep reminding myself however that these are simply thoughts in my head, causing anxiety and fear without foundation. Just because my head thinks something, or expects something, doesn't mean it's right. In fact everything is going along very smoothly in all of this.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Close Gitmo, reduce drones strikes - Obama

Finally! Finally!  Has somebody actually woken up over there in the echelons of the US gov? Do they actually get the thing that dropping drones on innocent civilians in an undeclared war isn't too good for the US's soft power around the world? (that's if the US has any bloody soft power left that is; people are pretty bloody pissed off with it last few years. Australians among them).

Of course we all believed Obama the first time about Gitmo, and where did that get us? Absolutely fuckin nowhere. That stain on the US, that violation of human rights, that gulag, is still there. Not to mention the drones. How could any country harp on about human rights to anyone when they're doing bullshit like that?

Given Congresses efforts in his last term, I'm not holding my breath this time around either. The only hope I guess is if Obama actually does something instead of making inspiring speeches and doing nothing. The "light on the hill" is an American delusion after it's track record. Anyway at least his head's in the right place. He actually puts it quite well to describing Gitmo:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama wants to roll back some of the most controversial aspects of the U.S. "war on terror," but efforts to alter the global fight against Islamist militants will face the usual hurdle at home: staunch opposition from Republicans in Congress. 

In a major policy speech on Thursday, Obama narrowed the scope of the targeted-killing drone campaign against al Qaeda and its allies and announced steps toward closing the Guantanamo Bay military prison in Cuba. 

He acknowledged the past use of "torture" in U.S. interrogations, expressed remorse over civilian casualties from drone strikes, and said Guantanamo "has become a symbol around the world for an America that flouts the rule of law." 
After launching costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States is tiring of conflict. While combating terrorism is still a high priority, polls show Americans' main concerns are the economy and other domestic issues such as healthcare. more
No shit Sherlock.

US reaction to Russian thug violence

I doubt many people will take much notice, as the US is dealing with it's own human rights abuses at the moment (not to mention Australia). Although being as it has about 90% of the worlds military then maybe somebody in Russia might just get a touch worried? The US won't force it, Russia is too big, but it does indicate a growing discontent with Russia in the west. Perhaps it's because Russia is going backwards with human rights instead of forwards?

Anyway, here is the US reaction to the May 17th thuggery in Russia.
The U.S. Department of State said it “condemns” the May 17 violence against an attempted anti-homophobia rally in downtown Tbilisi, saying that “such acts of intolerance have no place in democratic societies.”

“The United States places great importance on the protection of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all people, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender persons around the world,” Patrick Ventrell, acting deputy spokesperson of the Department of State, said at a news briefing on May 20, when asked to comment on the May 17 violence in Tbilisi. link
Pretty weakly worded I thought, like a bit of an afterthought. Still, I'd not be liking such a pointed accusation being made at my country like that, not just from the US, but from all over.

From another sector of the US, the New Yorker was much more scathing in it's criticisms of Russia and the way the priests led the thugs, giving a rather hair raising account of what happened. There's a link to a video there as well, although not in English you can get the idea; priest goes through police line and bashes bus with chair. Something like that. In any case it shows priests being little more than mob rulers.


And from the New Yorker: 
It was a gathering of clergymen worthy of a religious festival: a line of dozens of bearded priests in black robes, with heavy silver crosses hanging on their chests. And yet, you couldn’t imagine a less holy march. The clergymen led a huge mob along the main street of Tbilisi, the capital of the Republic of Georgia, through a police cordon, and toward a small group of visibly nervous young men and women who had set out to mark the International Day Against Homophobia. 

“Fuck your mothers,” a priest shouted. 

Another priest came armed with a stool. Their followers carried rocks, sticks, and crucifixes. “Kill them! Don’t let them leave alive,” they screamed. 

They smashed heads, windows of shops, and a minibus in which activists tried to escape. Twelve people, including three policemen, were seriously injured. 

“Before the van arrived, about ten girls—gay rights activists—were being taunted by a growing, frothing mob. A stone was thrown and split a girl’s head open.… This mob was the creation of the Georgian Orthodox Church and the Georgian government has so far been gutless in standing up to the Church to protect the rights of its citizens. Shame on you, Georgia. Shame on you,” Paul Rimple, a Tbilisi-based journalist, posted on his Facebook page. He later wrote about it for the Moscow Times. 

“A Georgian Taliban has been born,” read status updates of other Georgians on Facebook. Some changed their location settings to Iran. But those who opposed the priests and those who cheered them agree that gay rights—an issue, until now, seen as marginal by most Georgians—has become a proxy for a larger conflict. more

News flash! Big companies avoid tax!

WTF? I find it beyond belief that all of a sudden the Australian gov has woken up to the fact that big multi-national companies pay fuck all tax here, using tax havens around the world to minimise it. This has been going on for decades, whichever major party was ruling in Canberra. 

Who could forget the late Kerry Packer, rich Australian mogul or something, got taken to court in 1998 for tax avoidance. He evidently didn't pay tax on $1 billion. Guess who won the case? Read on if you haven't heard of this, it's quite incredible.
Kerry Packer was not only Australia's richest organ transplant recipient, but reputedly the nation's greatest tax minimiser — and proud of it. 

Mr Packer paid what he was legally obliged to and, as he told a Senate committee in 1991, "not a penny more, not a penny less". 

He said that "anyone in this country" who did not minimise their tax "wants his head read" because governments did not spend wisely enough to warrant taxpayers "donating extra". 

In 1998, he won a court battle with the Australian Tax Office to cut his three-year income tax bill from $40 million to nil. 

His victory in the Federal Court capped a seven-year retreat by the Tax Office over its claim the Packer group should pay tax on more than $1 billion of income, and that Mr Packer personally owed $40 million. 
Mr Packer had rejected a revised offer that he settle by paying tax of $30.55 (a hefty cut of $39,999,969.45) and his companies pay just $25,000. more
Yep, earned $1 billion, paid no tax, and it was all legal. Made me feel really shitty at the time on the factory floor, paying 50% tax back then on overtime. 

That was a shining example, and likely far less secretive than what Australian multi-national companies are doing now. Here's a look from todays Sydney Morning Herald:

And now the gov, strapped for cash, has finally gone "Oh shit. We need money. What about all these multi-nationals paying fuck all then?". I doubt very much there's any sort of moral motive from the gov to fix the system. It's simply that the mining boom is stalling and the gov, used to rolling in it, is now coming up short of $ to fund it's election promises.

I do feel of course that these companies should pay their fair share, but it's a bit little a bit late now. The billions have bolted. And I do find the Canberra hypocrisy sickening.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Felix welcomed by the girls

Felix, after being caught in some kind of cats in boxes weirded out ritual,  has now been let by Kiera and Natasha back onto my bed (in fairness the two girls started living in my room and considered it their  bed). Felix is over the moon about it, and has already sorted out his new cat spot next to a new cuddly bed toy:

He was on the bed a lot yesterday with Natasha. She's the 10 year old that's had two litters. As predicted (although Natasha initially had the shits about moving here) Natasha has taken rather a liking to Felix; the clumsy bounding boy. She's starting the mothering him to death/into submission  thing now we suspect. They run about the house chasing each other in some kind of game.

Kiera has made no advance on a similar friendship with Felix, I guess as she's never been a mother. She does however find great amusement in battling him from the box cat castle.....


"You gotta thank the Lord" - to tornado survivor

Ever heard somebody thanking god for winning a race, or having some other thing happen where they were in danger but still alive? Got a good job. Money windfall. All sorts of things where people thank god for it.

It's always sounded a bit weird to me that. I mean do the people that have bad luck or lose a race, whatever, do they thank god for their misfortune as well? I just think it's crap, in a universe that's ruled by chance, to put some kind of godliness on certain random happenings makes no sense. It's simply the chance of the universe, no rhyme or reason. It's us that labels events good or bad. In the universe there's no good or bad put on anything, it just happens.

So this was interesting. A lady being interviewed on telly about the tornado devastation in Oklahoma, US. The interviewer says something about being blessed and alive, while her house is collapsed around her. She states she's an atheist. A bit awkward for the interviewer. 


Euthanasia bill defeated NSW

Once again the politicians in Australia have failed us. The Rights of the Terminally Ill bill has been defeated by a wide margin in the New South Wales parliament yesterday. This is despite enormous community support for legislation that would see people facing a long drawn out period of suffering before death, the choice to end their life early and with dignity if they chose to do so. 

Once again, instead of providing legislation that the people want, the issue is turned into a political one that serves nobody except the politicians playing mind games with each other.

This the email from Greens MP, Cate Faehrmann, who was behind putting the bill before parliament:

Dear Peter 

I have some disappointing news: my Rights of the Terminally Ill Bill was defeated today in the NSW Upper House 23 – 13. 

But please don’t despair. This is not the end. 

Dying with dignity laws are inevitable. This may have been a last century decision by the majority of members in the NSW Upper House today, but I am confident the weight of public support will come to bear within the next year. 

I am of course bitterly disappointed with the result today, and with the MPs who I know support reform but chose to abstain or vote against the bill for political reasons. 

Outrageously, not a single Coalition member voted in favour of the bill. It was hard to believe it was a conscience vote. Clearly pressure was placed on some members to not support my bill. 

Already my office has received a number of calls from people in tears about the outcome. 

I'm telling them that Independent MP Alex Greenwich, Independent MP Greg Piper and Greens MP Jamie Parker have agreed to co-sponsor the bill in the Lower House, so the campaign will continue. 

Excuses about process, inadequate safeguards and a need for an inquiry, will eventually fall away in the face of the overwhelming tide for change. 

If you can make it to Sydney, please join Jamie Parker and me at a special forum to discuss the next steps in the campaign on Sunday at the Italian Forum Cultural Centre, 21 Norton Street, Leichhardt from 3 – 4.30pm 26th May. More infomation here

Thank you again for your continued support.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Europe scathing of Russia

The Council of Europe has come out with the most scathing criticisms I've seen so far from them, in regards to the human rights abuses of Russian gays. Apparently Russia is a signatory to the Council of Europe and it's human rights stance.
"Authorities have an obligation also to (ensure) that LGBT people can express their views and (hold) demonstrations," said Thorbjorn Jagland, secretary-general of the Council of Europe, of which Russia is a signatory. 

"This is a fundamental principle in the European Convention on Human Rights," he said. more
What's more, the Council of Europe is wanting economic agreements between Russia and Europe to have pressure put on them over Russia's stance on gays.
‘Russia should be threatened with expulsion from the CoE if they don’t respect the treaties they signed and the human rights values it espouses, nor the verdicts of the European Court of Human Rights or its jurisprudence. 
‘Furthermore, the European Union should put pressure on economic agreements with Russia so that improves its records and actions concerning human rights or LGBT rights.’ more
I thought there was going to be some sort of reaction like this from various countries after seeing the violence against the gay marchers the other day. Looks like I was right.

"I can't change my principles"

Federal opposition front bencher Joe Hockey has commented that he's still going to vote no for marriage equality, even if leader Tony Abbott allows a conscience vote. This in itself is not remarkable, as there'll be a who bunch of them on that side of politics who'd do the same even if another vote come up before parliament. What struck me here was the reason he gave to not change his stance, saying:
He added that his personal view was that marriage was between a man and a woman. 
"I can't change my principles and what I believe in, and that's the way it is," he said. more
Well Joe, if you ever read this, or ever get around to actually considering the position of LGBT people, hear this. I can't change my sexuality and who I am, and that's the way it is.

Agency rings about a job

Was surprised to get a text from the agency that I was considering working for last August (when Centrelink just about threw the disability pension at me I decided I'd not be able to keep up with work anymore). It was quite a revelation at the time I remember, being that it was obvious now how sick I was as opposed to being in a bit of denial about it. Anyway the agency bloke kept ringing all through July even though I told him I was out of Sydney for that month. When the DSP came through I explained the situation to him and he never contacted me since then.

Until yesterday. Wanting to know if I knew anyone who might like a job in the city. Smallish guillotine, full time 3day week (12 hour days). Sounds tempting but there's just no way I could do it anymore. The fatigue makes it hard enough just to get out of bed let alone lifting all day, and my back still gets pains from work nearly a year after not working.

Was pretty amazed though as to how easy it would be to work if I was much healthier, and at about $35 an hour through the agency. The agency jumps at people like me; qualified with 30 years experience. There's a big labour shortage here for people in the printing industry, I mean qualified  people. It's one of the industries top of the list for people wanting to come out here and work because there's such a shortage. 

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Charice - Pyramid [featuring Iyaz] (Viral Video)

Pearl Jam Alive

Aussie gay speaks out - London gay attack

Here is the bashing photo of the gay friend of Darren Hayes (lead singer Savage Garden). Hayes is Australian from Brisbane, QLD. He has taken to Twitter to voice his support for his bashed gay friend, Christopher Bryant picture below.

Singer Darren Hayes has taken to Twitter to campaign for equality after his friend was left with head injuries in a brutal homophobic bashing in London. 

Christopher Bryant, editor of gay and lesbian online magazine Polari, was heading home from his birthday celebrations with his partner Damon Truluck when they were attacked by a group of six men on Saturday, The Independent reported. 

"This makes me SO ANGRY," Hayes tweeted, along with a link to the story, yesterday. 

"This is a FRIEND of mine who was BRUTALLY BEATEN in a homophobic attack. 


He also forwarded the link and a plea for equality to the Twitter accounts of Prime Minister JuliHere is the bashing photo of the gay friend of Darren Hayes (lead singer Savage Garden). Hayes is Australian from Brisbane, QLD. He has taken to Twitter to voice his support for his bashed gay friend, Christopher Bryant picture below.
Singer Darren Hayes has taken to Twitter to campaign for equality after his friend was left with head injuries in a brutal homophobic bashing in London. 

Christopher Bryant, editor of gay and lesbian online magazine Polari, was heading home from his birthday celebrations with his partner Damon Truluck when they were attacked by a group of six men on Saturday, The Independent reported. 

"This makes me SO ANGRY," Hayes tweeted, along with a link to the story, yesterday. 

"This is a FRIEND of mine who was BRUTALLY BEATEN in a homophobic attack. 


He also forwarded the link and a plea for equality to the Twitter accounts of Prime Minister Ja Gillard and British Conservative Party politician Gerald Howarth. more

Happy pill decision

After being on 300mg/day of Efexor since 2009, I was hoping to reduce that to about a half now. However coming down on them turned out to be much barder than I expected, and I even had to get smaller pills so as to come down more slowly. Even so I'd spend about two weeks feeling really sick in the stomach and nauseas. 

Eventually it wore me down. Particularly that horrible time I ended up spewing on the bus on the way to the dentist. Ack. Both the psychologist and David agree that it'd be best to just leave myself on the 225 now that I've managed to come down to. Maybe look at the issue again in a few months. Lots of changes happening isn't a good time to be doing anything major to my anti-depressants.

Man suicides over gay marriage - France

This blows me head away (no pun intended). I guess it does show the insane levels of anti-gay feelings in some individuals. 

I've been suicidal before, as long time blog readers here would attest to. But honestly I can't imagine ever taking the ultimate step and ending my life, simply because two people who I don't even know of the same sex will be able to get married.
A far-right French historian shot himself in the head beside the altar of Notre Dame cathedral in Paris today apparently in protest against the legalisation of gay marriage in France.

Dominique Venner, 78, a former member of the nationalist terrorist movement, OAS, placed a pistol in his mouth and shot himself dead in front of scores of tourists inside the most visited building in France.

Mr Venner, a presenter on a Catholic-traditionalust radio station and controversial historian and essayist, posted an essay on his website earlier in the day calling for "new, spectacular and symbolic actions to shake us out of our sleep, to jolt anaesthetised minds and to reawaken memory of our origins". more  
I note he's an historian. Did he have some personal attachment to history, or did he think he was another one of those self appointed defenders of civilisation or some crap?Man, this is really out there.

Straight attacked by gay thugs!

OMG! I never thought we had it in us. Just keep in mind that we gays have our own brand of thuggery darlings...... 
A 20-year-old straight man has told of his terror at being set upon by a gang of openly gay thugs. 

The victim told reporters that earlier that evening he had been the subject of a series of bitingly waspish remarks from what had either been two men and a woman, one man and two women, three very effeminate men or three very butch women. Their comments, which were of a ribald nature, were accompanied by a lot of ‘oohs’ and ‘ahs’ and high-pitched shrieking. 

The man, who was singled out by the group for looking a bit ‘buildery’, had been drinking in the Queen’s Head, which was known to be popular with local heterosexuals. After leaving the pub, and on his way to a nearby lapdancing club, he was cornered and subjected to a series of unprovoked slaps. 

Despite his cries of ‘oi’ the victim continued to receive further poorly co-ordinated blows, accompanied by more remarks in Polari about his interest in ‘lady parts’. His attackers then left the scene laughing outrageously. 

While his assailants remain unidentified, police have said that CCTV footage of the attack shows it was unremittingly camp. Several passers-by merely stopped to admire the attackers’ outfits before walking on. more

Evil cats in boxes

WTF? Has Kiera and Natasha lured Felix into some kind of cat cult? Cat Satan worshippers?

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Kevin Rudd changes mind on gay marriage

I wasn't exactly interested to read his very long writings on the matter (our ex prime minister is a bit long winded) but surprisingly it's a very well written piece. He describes his views eloquently, and putting into words the basic premise of his changed mind. 
The Christian tradition since Aquinas is one based on a combination of faith informed by reason. If the latter is diminished, then we are reduced to varying forms of theocratic terrorisms where the stoning of heretics and the burning of witches would still be commonplace. In fact if we were today to adhere to a literalist rendition of the Christian scriptures, the 21st century would be a deeply troubling place, and the list of legitimized social oppressions would be disturbingly long. 

Slavery would still be regarded as normal as political constituencies around the world, like the pre-civil war American South, continued to invoke the New Testament injunction that "slaves be obedient to your masters" as their justification. Not to mention the derivative political theologies that provided ready justifications for bans on inter-racial marriage and, in very recent times, the ethical obscenity that was racial segregation and apartheid. 

Similarly with the status of women. Supporters of polygamy would be able to justify their position based on biblical precedent. Advocates of equality would also have difficulty with Paul's injunction that "wives should be submissive to their husbands" (As a good Anglican, Thérèse has never been a particularly big rap for Saint Paul on this one). The Bible also teaches us that people should be stoned to death for adultery (which would lead to a veritable boom in the quarrying industry were that still the practice today). The same for homosexuals. And the biblical conditions for divorce are so strict that a woman could be beaten within an inch of her life and still not be allowed to legally separate. 

The point is that nobody in the mainstream Christian Church today would argue any of these propositions. A hundred years ago, that was not necessarily the case. In other words, the definition of Christian ethics is subject to change, based on analysis of the historical context into which the biblical writers were speaking at the time, and separating historical context from timeless moral principles, such as the injunction to “love your neighbour as yourself”. more

Amnesty Int.'s reaction to Russia anti-gay violence

Amnesty International, well known for it's record of espousing and supporting human rights around the world, has come out with some harsh words about the mob attacks on gay marchers in Russia. This is further to the EU wanting Russia to drop it's so called "gay propaganda" laws that likely will come into force in July.

Amnesty condemns the lack of police willingness to protect LGBT people there, and are scathing in their description of how the church has too much influence. There's more too that went on than just on those videos online.
“The authorities must investigate this violence and bring to justice those responsible for committing acts punishable by law.” 

Video from the scene depicts dozens of people apparently attempting to lynch a young man because they believed he was gay – something he denies, while making the sign of the cross in front of a nearby church. Police intervened to separate the man from the crowd, but no arrests were made at the time. 

The attackers at today's event were accompanied by – and appear to have been encouraged by – the religious authorities from the Georgian Orthodox Church. 

According to media reports, on Thursday the Church's highest authority, Patriarch Ilia II, called on the authorities to ban the LGBTI rights event, saying it would be "an insult" to Georgian tradition. 

Amnesty International noted that this is the second consecutive year that police in Tbilisi have failed to protect LGBTI activists from violent attacks by Orthodox groups inspired by such intolerance. 

“It is becoming a dangerous trend in Georgia to condone and leave unpunished the acts of violence against religious and sexual minorities if they are perpetrated by the Orthodox religious clergy or their followers. It is simply unacceptable for the authorities to continue to allow attacks in the name of religion or on the basis of anyone's real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Dalhuisen. 

“It was clear from last year’s events, as well as this year’s announcements for the planned counter-demonstrations, that violence was to be expected. The police appeared to have been woefully unprepared and failed once again to ensure that LGBTI activists could exercise their right to freedom of assembly and expression. 

“By failing to take effective measures and hold these accountable to justice, the Georgian authorities are allowing the intolerance and impunity to grow and fester. They must improve their policing of peaceful demonstrations in future and ensure that this is not allowed to happen again,” Dalhuisen added. more
I think some of those priest particularly should be arrested, for at least inciting hate and violence. When we had the Muslim looneys go bananas here in Sydney the other month there were many arrests made in the following days using video evidence caught from the scenes of violence. Among them were leaders of Muslim churches here in Sydney.

Telling your family that you're HIV positive

This guest post is from a freelance health and wellness writer in Los Angeles, Virginia Cunningham, who contacted me the other week about possibly doing a guest post for the blog. She decided to do one about HIV disclosure to your family, certainly a big issue. Sometimes it doesn't go so well, although in my experience with my brothers and sisters (both parents died long ago) once they've got past the shock their concern has been for my well being. That's better than what some people go through; issues of judgement and ignorance from those being told. I heard of one case where the guy told his mother, who proceeded to start screaming and going hysterical :s Not exactly the best case scenario.... Anyway here's the article written:

Telling Your Family that You're HIV-Positive

Learning that you have HIV is difficult enough, but the pain of telling your family can add another layer to the complications. Of course, the degree of difficulty in telling one’s family varies from person to person; family to family. Here are some things to consider in deciding whether to break the news to your family, how to tell them and how much you should reveal.

Image Courtesy of Mikhail Evstafiev/Wikimedia Commons

Benefits of being open with family about HIV

No matter how your relationship with your family members is defined, letting them know you have HIV won’t be easy. Given that the disease is acquired through means that are highly taboo to some people, an admission of having it is almost certain to raise questions: “Were you having unprotected sex? And with whom? Were you sharing needles?”

As potentially uncomfortable as such implications may be, being open presents some potential advantages. Most importantly, you stand to gain the powerful support that family can provide, a considerable thing to take into account should the virus begin to truly compromise your health.

Similarly, the stress of keeping such a major secret is likely to take a toll on you mentally, emotionally and perhaps even physically. Should your well-being ever approach critically low levels, waiting until late stages may only stoke the levels of pain.

Finally, being honest with loved ones can be a benefit to others by preventing misinformation about HIV.

Guidelines for admission

Whatever the advantages of being candid, this is a decision that should be given a significant waiting period during which you weigh every conceivable pro and con. Some essential things to consider:

     What are my reasons for telling my family?  What do you hope to get from the revelation? If you became HIV positive from behavior you have not been truthful with your family about, this may be a complex issue. For instance, if you’ve contracted HIV from a relationship your family knows nothing of, your reasons for honesty may serve to broach a larger issue you’ve been avoiding.
     What do I really know about HIV? In breaking the news, it’s a good idea to arm yourself with the most accurate facts on HIV. Is there HIV medication that can help you? Get such info through research, videos or even a class.
Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

     How will they handle it?  Especially if you’re revealing (directly or indirectly) additional information, such as sexual lifestyle or drug use, you will want to think about what the results may be. Are they likely to blame your disease on you? Or,might this be an opportunity to strengthen your bonds? It’s important to imagine not only the best case you might hope for, but also the worst.
     How will I handle it? In any case, you should probably arrange to visit someone you completely trust or a professional caregiver after you’ve planned to tell your family. Should things not go as well as you’d like, it’s essential to have support in the aftermath. One way or another, you will have to accept the reality of their reaction.
As for actually breaking the news, there is no way to make it easy and your approach should be gauged by your existing relationship. For example, if your connection with certain family members is so volatile that you anticipate the possibility of violent outbursts, strongly consider making the admission over the phone. 

Conversely, if your confession is only to register as a revelation of a medical fact—that is, your family is not likely to pass any moral judgment—you may want to think about the things you’ll say to comfort them.

Under any circumstances, telling your loved ones you are HIV positive should not be done in total isolation. Be sure that you’ve discussed the matter with others who already know the truth, whether they are personal or professional connections. With the right support, it might be much better than you think.

Virginia Cunningham is a freelance health and wellness writer from Los Angeles. As a mother of a child with special needs, she understands how difficult it may be to break life-altering news to one’s family.