Sunday, 30 April 2017

I'm 55 today

Me as a toddler in the backyard on the farm house. I'm pushing a toy lawnmower.

Yes folks, I've made it through another year, clocking up now 55 years on planet earth.

Things have certainly changed in that time. Growing up in New Zealand in the 60's and 70's todays world would have been thought of as science fiction. TV was black and white until the mid 70's, and there was only one TV channel in NZ back then owned by the gov. It started at about 1pm and ended at about 11pm I think. No mobile phones of course, the phone was in the hallway. Internet was in the distant future. No computers. When you went to the bank the teller wrote in your bank book the transaction and signed it. No ATM's. And of course gays didn't exist. A completely different world than today.

You couldn't communicate across the world in seconds like today. It still sometimes blows my mind that, as NZ was so isolated back then. The US, even Australia were on some far off shores beyond any easy reach. 

So in honour of being around for so long, I've scanned a couple of pics from those early days of my life in New Zealand. 

Dad's first car, before I was born.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Lieberals "will be decimated" at election - senior Lieberal strategist

Ever get the feeling this gov is at war with us? Particularly if you dare to be on welfare? Or want a decent internet connection? Or don't want the Great Barrier Reef and the world destroyed by coal? Or want to keep your penalty rates? Or don't want to be lambasted by robodebt? Or don't want to see fellow Australians begging in the streets because of cuts to welfare? Or want marriage equality?

The list goes on and on. But it's been obvious since the early days of Abbott right up until now that the Abbott/Turnbull gov is one that is at war with the people of Australia. They're a gov controlled by blind ideology, so blind as to be completely at odds with what the Australian people want them to do. Blind Freddy could see this, but not them.

Even their dog whistling never ending crackdowns and war on the poor that they've resorted to on so many occasions is wearing thin with the public, with now around 60% of Australians saying there should be no more cuts to welfare in the coming May budget, As Lenore Taylor points out:

But the real problem for the “red meat” benchmark for policy-making is that voters are apparently not buying it anymore.

 A Newspoll this week found 61% oppose cuts to welfare in the May budget, including almost half of those who identify as Coalition voters. Of course this doesn’t dive into which types of “welfare” the respondents are thinking about but it left the editorial writers at the Oz in a tizz. “How do they imagine the budget is to be repaired?,” they asked, rhetorically, having already declared this task to be impossible without “welfare reform”. The Guardian
But even worse, a leading strategist in their own party is sending out red alert warning big time by going to the media himself and publicly chastising his party, saying that they face electoral doom at both state and federal level if they don't change tack. 

One wonders how this is possible with the current gov being ruled from the far right back bench and solidly in their ways. I would say that with the likes of Abbott wanting such out there things like the Human Rights Commission abolished that changing direction for this gov is entirely impossible.

Known for his ruthless political savvy, Mr Greene was an old-fashioned, behind-the-scenes political operative. His public declaration of despair follows on from the resignations this month of Liberal federal director Tony Nutt and his deputy John Burston.

 “They would not have supported the warfare this government has declared on its citizens,” Mr Greene said.

 “The Turnbull government has attacked every core constituency, small business, superannuants, pensioners, families with children, all because they have a budget that is out of control.

 “They have not done anything about their own backyard. Public servants still fly at the front of the plane.”

 He warns that the crashing political fortunes of his party is being accompanied by administrative collapse at federal, state and branch levels, with membership and donations in freefall.

 Mr Greene said a major Liberal Party constituency was small business, yet they had been burdened with excessive regulation.

 “This is a government which only listens to big business,” Mr Greene said. “Small business has been annihilated.” The New Daily

Cat report - heater cats, birdwatching kittens, cat love :)

The kittens Cloe and Casper are growing up fast. Here they are together brother and sister birdwatching. There was a bird on the washing line looking straight back at them.

Zac has been kept extremely busy with the kittens. He's not even had time to over groom himself anymore and so all his fur has grown back. I think Natasha the old girl has missed him a bit in all this, but we bought out the winter heater the other day for the first time this year and they were back together in front of their beloved heater. Natasha bought him up and he'll always be her boy. Natasha is 15 and Zac about two and a half.

Zac has his little girl Cloe new. Here they are sunning themselves in the cat box in the afternoon. Not long after this Zac was holding her down to wash her.

*Click to enlarge :)

Friday, 28 April 2017

Survivors of anti-gay Chechnya concentration camps speak - video

Gays tell of their ordeals in Chechnyan concentration camps. The gov of Chechnya says gays don't exist in the country and if they did they'd be killed. 

Meanwhile, a reporter has gone in to hiding and plans to leave Russia after radical Muslim clerics announced a jihad on journalists for breaking the story of the gay concentration camps.

A prominent Russian reporter who revealed horrific details of a crackdown on gay men in Chechnya has told CNN she is in hiding after receiving death threats.

 Elena Milashina, a journalist at the Russian-language Novaya Gazeta newspaper, said she abandoned her apartment in Moscow and plans to leave Russia altogether after Muslim clerics in Chechnya delivered a fiery sermon calling for "retribution" against her and other journalists.

"This is the first time we got that kind of threat, when 15,000 people got together in a mosque and announced jihad against all the staff of Novaya Gazeta," Milashina told CNN in an interview. "It will last forever until the last of us dies."

Speaking to a packed mosque in the regional capital, Grozny, the clerics adopted a resolution calling for the "instigators" of the reports to be held to account. The sermon was broadcast in full on regional state television in Chechen and independently transcribed for CNN.

The editorial board of Novaya Gazeta released a statement calling the sermon "an incitement to massacre journalists." Shortly afterwards, the newspaper received two envelopes filled with white powder CNN

Westpac Bank rules out funding Adani - Hooray!

Westpac rules out backing Adani coal mine - SBS
Thanks to a lot of action from the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC), Westpac has now ruled out funding the massive carbon bomb coal mine planned for Queensland. They are the last big Australian bank to do so.

Adani is now high and dry for funding, but there remains the Lieberal Federal gov willing to step in with $1 billion of taxpayers money to prop it up. The pressure will now be put on the gov fair and square not to do this. One wonders how the gov could allow the Australian car industry to die, yet prop up Adani's dirty coal mine?

From the AYCC email:

Together, we just dealt a massive blow to the Adani coal mine. Westpac has ruled out investing in new thermal coal basins, which means no funding for Adani’s coal mine. Together with our collective power, grassroots strength and refusal to take ‘no’ for an answer, we finally won!!

 This means that, because of you, every big Australian bank has now distanced themselves from investing in the biggest coal mine in the Southern Hemisphere. We are so much more powerful than we are led to believe.

 Right now though, the Adani coal mine has one remaining lifeline - Prime Minister Turnbull wants to set aside $1 billion of your money to fund this coal mine. Over the next fortnight, our Government needs to hear from thousands of people about why they should rule out funding this coal mine.

 With the Federal Budget in two weeks, and a decision expected soon, now is our opportunity to send the Australian Government a message they can’t ignore: young people don’t want them to use our money to fund this coal mine. There will be actions at MP offices, a big creative stunt in Canberra and we’ll flood social media with our message.
You can contribute to the cause here.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Put Australia first in US alliance - ex PM Keating

Ex PM Paul Keating has given a speech at the Lowy Institute calling for Australia to put it's own interests first in stead of just tagging along with every US action. Presently it seems that those in Canberra are too scared to speak out and disagree with the US over anything.
Speaking at the Lowy Institute in Sydney, the former Labor prime minister said the alliance with the US did not mandate slavish devotion to American demands “as the Uriah Heeps of this world” – a reference to Dickens’ fulsome character from David Copperfield.

 “The alliance, if we had no document anymore, we would remain friends with the United States into the future. We’ve been in every battle [alongside the US] since the first world war. We’ve got a whole lot of cultural and historical common ground but this idea [exists] that we, as a sort of client state, have to shape up all the time or ship out – a view that is pretty much ingrained these days in Canberra – we have to get along with them otherwise they’ll shoo us away.

“Look at the French attacks on the US over Iraq and yet France enjoys a normal relationship with the United States today. The Canadians the same.

 “This idea that we’ve got to be the Uriah Heeps of this world, dragging along behind them. We should be running an altogether independent foreign policy, with much more independence within the alliance structure.

 “Australia should be putting its interests first.” The Guardian

"Pulse Victims Got What They Deserved" pastor gets 35 yrs for child molesting - US (video)

What a lovely title that is above. Yes folks, karma. 

A straight christian pastor, who has in the past demonised gays as being child molesters no doubt and who said that the victims of the Pulse/Orlando nightclub shooting "got what they deserved", has himself been convicted and sentenced to 35 years for molesting children.

Yes folks, his inner straight child molesting desires were projected onto us LGBT, when really his hatred of himself was his own problem and not ours.

He professed his innocence until the end, blaming gays for having a vendeta against him.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Iran arrests 30 people for sodomy - will be subject to anal exams

Honestly, WTF is wrong with these people? This is just sick. If it wasn't for the west buying their oil that the whole place seems to be floating on I'm sure these religious nutters would still be riding around on donkeys in the desert. But don't expect the west to stop buying their oil out of moral outrage or anything anytime soon. More likely another stupid invasion to "free the people" there/control the oil. But that's another story.....  Roll on green energy eh?

Iran, apparently bound to an archaic and anachronistic religion, appears to have bypassed the enlightenment and chosen to put their heads in the zealot sands of Muslim extremism. It has arrested 30 people in a raid on a private party there, some of them allegedly identifying as straight. They have been charged with sodomy, the officials outing them to their families.

They will now be subjected to sodomy from Iran's medical people, or as they put it anal tests to prove they're gay. The courts in Iran can use "evidence" from these absurd medical examinations as evidence that they are in fact gay.

This despite the fact of course that in reality some gays don't partake in anal sex at all, or are "tops" and don't like to be fucked. Despite the fact that some straight guys like anal sex with their women partners. The anal test to prove being gay is completely absurd and condemned by medics in the modern world as being so. It's not the job of doctors to rape people with objects and thereby violating their charter to do no harm.

Iran has the death sentence for gays, and the judge can use "evidence" from these anal examinations in sentencing men to this death penalty. So Iran's doctors will take part in raping men with objects and them being sentenced to death. FFS.

IRQR received several reports in last few days and were able to confirm that police attacked guests and physically beat them. Police detained them all at the Basij (Revolutionary Guard Militia) Station and then transferred them to Esfahan’s Dastgerd Prison. A few people managed to escape and we received reports that there were several heterosexual individuals among those arrested.

 After a few days, all the families were informed by Basij that their sons were arrested for Sodomy. A special persecutor has been assigned to their cases and they were charged with sodomy, drinking alcohol, and using psychedelic drugs. It was reported that prisoners will be sent to Esfahan’s Medical Jurisprudence department for anal examination in order to provide evidence of homosexual acts to the court.

 According to the Islamic Punishment Code in Iran, homosexuality is punishable by death and a judge is able to sentence them based on valid evidence such as a medical report. IRQR

"Hurts" music video by Beautiful Ones

The video goes in reverse, starting at the end where an LGBT person has just run down his three attackers. It follows through the events that led up to this, again in reverse, where it all started in an LGBT safe space.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Chechnya’s leader wants LGBT gone there by May26th (Ramadan)

Tough guy Chechnian leader scared shitless of LGBT :s
In a gross display of Islamic extremism to Chechnyan LGBT people, the president of Chechnya has said that he wants LGBT people eliminated in the country by May 26th being the beginning of Ramadan.

This is genocide of a minority.

For whatever political or religious reason, this is a cowardly act to aim death and destruction at a helpless minority. Ramzan Kadyrov may appear to be tough by doing so amongst the homophobic nation that is Russia, but in reality he appears to be extremely weak by western standards in that he scared shitless of a few poofs. 

Us in the west can see his fear. Fear of difference. Fear of Muslim extremism that he might offend. To us he's a gutless wonder. Yet this gutless coward is waging war on our LGBT community that exists in Chechnya. Surrounded by his "manly" gov of scared fools.

The president of Chechnya has issued a chilling warning to gay men in the region.

Britain’s deputy foreign secretary revealed the terrifying threat from the Chechen leader while taking an urgent question on the situation in parliament.

 Sir Alan Duncan, Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, told parliament: “Human rights groups report that these anti-gay campaigns and killings are orchestrated by the head of the Chechen republic, Ramzan Kadyrov.

“He has carried out other violent campaigns in the past, and this time he is directing his efforts at the LGBT community.

“Sources have said that he wants the [LGBT] community eliminated by the start of Ramadan.” The minister added:

“Such comments, attitudes and actions are absolutely beyond contemptible.”

PinkNews has spoken to the Foreign Office, who verified that President Kadyrov had made the threat in local Russian language media, seen by the UK government.

Ramadan starts on May 26 this year, and is widely celebrated in Chechnya, which is a predominantly Muslim area. Pink News

Cashless welfare card add produced & distributed by card's creator :s

Good grief. How dumb do they think we are. The Indue cashless welfare card has a new add. However the organisation that put the add out has the creator of the card running it Andrew Forrest, and  it doesn't say so.

What's more, like the gov, it uses only positive stats and anecdotal evidence from the interim report released the other month. Of course now people are crying foul.

I dread to think if they demanded I go on to some stupid card like that. How the fuck would the rent get paid? Not to mention lack of choice and control over my life.

The mining magnate Andrew Forrest has been accused of lacking transparency after his philanthropic organisation, the Minderoo Foundation, launched an ad promoting the cashless welfare card that didn’t disclose his role as its chairman.

 Forrest is the architect of the card, and made it a key recommendation in a review he led for the federal government on Indigenous employment. Since the card was adopted by the government and rolled out in trial communities in Western Australia and South Australia, Forrest has been advocating its wider implementation.

The video advertisement is voiced by Aboriginal elder Ian Trust, who founded Aboriginal development organisation the Wunan Foundation in the East Kimberley. It uses animation to highlight the card’s success, and promotes data from the one-year evaluation of the card’s trial published in October.

 The ad says the card has led to a reduction in alcohol-related violence, but does not mention other findings from the report, including that 49% of those on the card said it had made their life worse. The ad states that children are “going to school more”, but does not provide the source of this data. The Guardian

Monday, 24 April 2017

End the US alliance - IPAN

Have never heard of IPAN (Independent Peaceful Australia Network), but this statement of theirs has been signed by some very influential people so far.

People in Australia are sick to death of gov's from both major parties here just following the US without question. 

The Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) is campaigning to keep Australia out of wars being waged by the United States of America and says that the military alliance must be put to an end.

 Military alliance with the United States has “involved that complicity of successive Australian governments in US global military agendas, [and] undermines Australia’ peace, security and sovereignty,” a new IPAN statement says.

 The statement is now being circulated and has already been signed by John Pilger (journalist, author and film maker); David Bradbury (Australian documentary film maker); Julian Burnside AO (Barrister); Greg Barns (Past President, Australian Lawyers Alliance); Professor Peter Norden, AO, RMIT University Melbourne; Jeannie Rea (National President, National Tertiary Education Union); Trevor Monti QC; Colin Long (Secretary, NTEU Vic Branch); Prof. Richard Tanter; Robert Stary (Criminal Defence Lawyer); Geoff Hogg (artist); Medical Association for Prevention of War, Maritime Union of Australia, amongst many others. The Pen


When depression shrinks your world

Going to see the psychologist later today. Yesterday felt very low. Tired and sick. Literally.

Was feeling ill as often happens when your kidney's aren't going the best. Ill to the point of dizzy. The kidney's make a hormone that tells your body to make red blood cells, but if they aren't working so well the number of red blood cells reduces in your body, which are responsible for oxygen absorption. So your body ends up short on oxygen, hence dizzy. Aching muscles, and feeling generally off colour.

Which is what I was yesterday. Spent most of the day lying in bed as felt quite dizzy all the time when I got up. My world shrinks when in a mood like that. I feel closed in inside the house, apart from the unpredictable outside world past the front door. the walls of the house become almost like a fortress of safety. I hear the traffic outside going past, people walking past chatting, but I don't feel part of it. 

Depression does that though. It separates you from other people and you don't want to engage. The day can become an exercise in tasks being obstacles, not matter how small they may be. Even everyday things can seem insurmountable, like just getting up out of bed. I did get up yesterday and took my pills, then promptly went back to bed. We had a friend here watching some of our latest movies, but I apologised going back to bed. Felt horrible on every level.

Cripes dunno where I'd be without the 225mg of Efexor a day. But depression is an ongoing condition (well for me anyway) so it's logical to treat it. Plus the psychologist is part of that.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Aussie dad uses ute to support marriage for gay son

A previously homophobic father in Sydney, after his son came out as gay 12 years ago, has changed his thinking and now supports marriage equality. His reasons for doing so are simple logic - it's a human rights issue.

He has also plastered his near new ute with marriage equality signs.

“I spent nine years in the army, I’m a Vietnam veteran, I was a plumbing contractor,” he said. “I was conditioned to be homophobic, and then one day my son comes out to me.

“I had to ask myself the question – what is it about gays that I didn’t like? After that, I decided it was unfounded fear, ignorance and prejudice. Then I came to the view that my son wasn’t equal in law and that really got up my nose, so I became a very strong advocate for marriage equality.

“I’d had this talk with some people and I said, ‘Every man and his dog supports marriage equality’. And I thought, I’ll put that on my ute!”


“To me it’s a civil rights issue. It’s got nothing to do with religion, nothing to do with gay people having babies. In the 12 years I’ve been advocating for this, I’m yet to hear a reasonable argument against it.” Buzzfeed

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Blissful lap cat - pic :)

Natasha will be fifteen years old shortly, but she's still going strong. She likes to sleep on the bed with me when I'm not well, often these days long into the day as I've just been so tired with the kidney thing. Here she is sleeping on me as I watch telly with my feet up. Cat bliss :) *click to enlarge.

Chechnyan gay man tells of abduction and torture - interview (video)

A man who has fled Chechnya tells of being abducted, beaten, and suffering being electrocuted with equipment specifically set up for that purpose. Chechnya is mainly Muslim, it appears radically so.

The response from the leader of the area is that reports like this are rubbish as "no gays exist" in Chechnya. An entirely stupid argument as wherever you find humanity you will find gays, simple as that. The LGBT are and always have been part of what humanity is, no matter how inconvenient that truth is for some. 

Probably the saddest bit is the man saying that if his family found out he was gay then his own family would kill him themselves. More love from the religious....

Peter & Bon together 50yrs, presented with ceramic wedding cake (video)

Peter and Bon have been together for 50 years. Here they're presented with a ceramic wedding cake to celebrate all that time together.

They wanted to get married on their 50th anniversary, but alas are still waiting. One of them is in poor health and they doubt now that marriage equality will arrive before they're separated by death.

What a despicable and heartless gov this is.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

US troops arrive in Darwin - WTF are we doing?

ABC - fools led by a demented moron

Now we have that maniac Trump in charge (who the other day lost it's aircraft carrier thinking it was on it's way to North Korea when it in fact was heading down under) who just doesn't appear to have the faintest idea what he's doing. Apart from purposefully pissing off North Korea. Which doesn't seem to have much of anything in the way of missiles other than fizzling firecrackers, with most of the missile tests failing. It's entirely laughable that any of them could reach Australia, and the Obama White House had serious doubts as to N.Korea's assertions that it had even tested a nuclear bomb.

But that doesn't stop our gov following the US Trump led grope for popularity after his disastrous first weeks as president. Yep, nothing like a show of force and letting off a few "presidential" bombs to get people back onside. Albeit his base is fuming that this isn't putting "America first". But banging the drums of war always seems to work the patriotic charm.

In any case, my opinion is that with a nutter like Trump running the show we really need to put Australia first for once in the alliance. Why should we even be a target at all for a crazy man in the white house who can barely read, contented in his own self aggrandisement and admiration? All he's doing this for is his own ego, nothing more. This whole scenario is all about Trump. A media game for him to manipulate. The worry is though it has the potential to get right out of hand....
Their arrival comes as Foreign Minister Julie Bishop defended US President Donald Trump's "they gotta behave" message to North Korean leadership after its failed missile test on Sunday. 

 "[North Korea] is on a path to achieving nuclear weapons capability and we believe Kim Jong-un has a clear ambition to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear payload as far as the US," Ms Bishop said. 

 "That would mean Australia would be in reach so unless it is prevented from doing so, it will be a serious threat to the peace and stability of our region, and that is unacceptable." 

 In Darwin, the rotation's commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Brian Middleton said the force was ready, come what may. 

 "Any time a marine force is forward deployed, we are always on standby for anything," he said. 

He said this year's contingent was "the most robust package" the marines had put together for training in the Top End, featuring an "ace aviation combat element" of 13 aircraft. ABC

Trump lost this warship and it's armada

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Ricky Martin interview - talks coming out (video)

An honest interview with Ricky Martin, who came out to the world after his kids were born in the interests of honesty. Although in his private life before that he was openly gay, he was afraid of what coming out to the world would involve.

Someday there will be a time when it doesn't matter what sexuality you are and people like him won't feel they have to live a closeted life.

Tunisian doctors officially oppose gay "anal tests"

English translation of poster text: Is it possible to refuse an anal test? From a legal point of view: It is possible to refuse an anal test when examined by a forensic doctor. But the reality is different. The victims often “accept” the test for fear of being tortured, because of their young age, or because they are unaware of their rights guaranteed by the Constitution. 
Sounds like a no brainer, but so called "anal tests" to prove or disprove someone is gay are still used in many countries believe it or not. Supposedly proving someone has been involved in sodomy by sodomising them with objects seems to me an exercise in futility.

But alas, anal exams are documented by Human Rights Watch as being used in Cameroon, Egypt, Kenya, Lebanon, Turkmenistan, Uganda, and Zambia, and Tanzania, as well as Tunisia. However the Tunisian doctors have now taken a stand against such a practice, which is classified in any other jurisdiction as torture and vastly at odds with a doctors charter not to harm people.

Forced anal exams violate the Convention against Torture, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. As the United Nations Committee Against Torture has emphasized, they “have no medical justification and cannot be performed with the free and informed consent of the persons subjected to them, who consequently will then be prosecuted.” For medical practitioners to conduct such exams is a violation of medical ethics, Human Rights Watch said.

 The statement from Tunisia’s medical council said that doctors must henceforth inform peoples that they have the right to refuse the exam. Prohibiting doctors from carrying out anal exams without consent is a step in the right direction, but because of their unscientific nature, the use of anal exams to test for consensual homosexual conduct should cease altogether, regardless of consent, Human Rights Watch said. In that sense, the medical council’s statement does not go far enough: it leaves open the possibility that someone accused of same-sex conduct might “consent” to an anal exam under pressure from police, because they believe their refusal will be held against them, or because they believe it will prove their innocence.

 Doctors in the Tunisian towns of Sousse and Kairouan subjected at least seven men accused of sodomy under article 230 of the penal code to forced anal exams in 2015, sparking a civil society movement against the practice. Human Rights Watch interviewed the men, some of whom described the forced anal exams as akin to rape. A 22-year-old student subjected to an anal exam in Kairouan told Human Rights Watch: “I felt like I was an animal, because I felt like I didn’t have any respect. I felt like they were violating me. I feel that up to now.” Human Rights Watch

Petition here Tell Tunisia to end gay torture now.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Kittens in a box :)

We have a box next to the back door that the cats use to sit in. Here kittens Cloe and Casper sun themselves in the afternoon. Being brother and sister from the same litter they're very close.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

NSW ditches Safe Schools program

Unlike Victoria, New South Wales with it's Lieberal gov has followed the Federal gov and ditched Safe Schools. Once again, Australian LGBT have become the victims of a few angry middle aged white Catholic men on the back benches in Canberra. 

The federal gov cut funding to it, which will run out soon. Unlike Victoria which has chosen to fund Safe Schools itself, NSW has chosen to replace it with something broader. This despite the statistics the clearly show young LGBT people are at far greater risk of suicide than their counterparts. What does this say to those LGBT students?

"The Australian Government, who fund and oversee the Safe Schools program, have advised that they will no longer be providing funding for the program by mid-year," Mr Stokes said in a statement.

 "The NSW Department of Education is currently developing an updated anti-bullying strategy that will be a new resource available for teachers from the beginning of term three."

 Mr Stokes said NSW public schools would continue to provide support to LGBTQI students.

"Bullying will never be tolerated in NSW public schools — whether it be because someone is overweight, gay, based on the colour of their skin or for any other reason," he said. ninemsn

Friday, 14 April 2017

Tribute to Fred Dagg/John Clarke (video)

Us New Zealanders are mourning the loss of one of our national icon, Fred Dagg. Otherwise known here in Australia as the late John Clarke. 

Fred will never be forgotten in NZ. Those of us who were privileged enough to grow up in the 1970's and witness his Fred Dagginess on our one TV channel will always appreciate his NZ dry and intelligent humour.

Below I've posted the famous gumboot song, very close to the hearts of any Kiwi that grew up on a farm over there. We didn't wear shoes in the paddocks, we wore gumboots as standard wear. Anything else was unthinkable, It always rained in NZ and it was always grossly muddy. I so relate to this song, and my older brother (not named Trevor BTW but Kevin) had the most stinkiest feet I've ever smelt in my life after he took the gumboots off at the door and went in to watch telly. Even dad told him a number of times to go wash his bloody feet!

After that video I've posted another from the Fred Dagg archives in the early 1970's, about a 20 minute show put on national telly in NZ. Yes folks, Fred Dagg was extremely famous in NZ. My most favourite bit of that video  is when he goes in to town :)

"Men are born every bit as relational as women" - Jane Fonda (video)

A most interesting interview of friends Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. They talk about women's friendships and how it strengthen's them.

Most notably, that men have to deal with proving their manliness, which women don't have to. At one point Fonda describes how men are born with the same relationship abilities as women, but unfortunately men get that suffocated by "patriarchal culture" that tells them to be emotional and ask for help is "girlie".

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Adani coal spillage drone footage

Latest footage of the disastrous coal spillage at Abbott Point terminal from Cyclone Debbie. Adani is of course the company that the gov wants to give $1 billion for it's efforts to create the biggest coal mine in Australia. 

Aside from the stupidity of doing that in the face of global warming and the likelihood of stranded assets as the world ditches coal, should a company that did this be trusted with such a venture?

Today is national get a VPN day - metadata collection begins

*Update: Gov ;ies about metadata - Sydney Criminal Lawyers.

From today Australian's metadata is being compulsorily collected by providers, to be stored for two years and handed over to the gov. So if you haven't got a VPN yet, now is the time. Digital Rights Watch has declared today National Get A VPN Day.
From 13 April 2017, all Australian telecommunication providers are required to collect your metadata and provide it to your Government. Many interactions we have in the digital world are being collected and stored by our communications providers, all without adequate safeguards. This program requires no warrants, has very little oversight and has received condemnation from human rights experts worldwide.

 That’s why we’re declared this Thursday as a national day of action – we’re calling upon Australian citizens to educate themselves about the scale of this surveillance and take precautions accordingly. If the government wants to surveil its citizens, then we’ll do everything in our power to equip people to circumvent that surveillance.

 We declare Thursday 13 April to be National Get A VPN Day.

 It’s time to protect yourself. It’s time to get a VPN. Digital Rights Watch
It's actually very easy and I got one for free. I recently installed the Opera Browser as my other one died and I wasn't happy at all with Firefox. So I tried Opera, and guess what, it comes with a free VPN already installed as part of the browser. All You have to do in enable it, and you can turn it on or off straight from the browser.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Old couple argue for the right to die with dignity - Q&A video

There's 80% support for dying with dignity in Australia, to be able to chose to end your life in a dignified way instead of going through pain and indignity beyond your capacity to cope with.

I'd say people support this for much the same reasons as I do. My late wife went through terrible suffering for months before she finally passed away in my morning visit. At one point she was on 60 pills a day as doctors persisted with trying to keep her alive. All it did was prolong her agony and humiliation at being in such a terrible state. She couldn't walk or stand, had lost most her hair, control of her bowels, her dignity, and wanted to die months before she did.

Those last months still haunt my daughter and I to this day. Her death became a long drawn out horrible episode of suffering and grief. When she finally passed away next to me it was overwhelming relief that her and our nightmare was finally over.

Surely we can do better than that.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Thug bouncer complaint against pub finally resolved

At long last the issue of the homophobic thug bouncer at The Oxford hotel has been bought to a satisfactory conclusion. Thanks mainly to the efforts of the anti-discrimination board being the middle negotiators in it all.

We have received what we wanted right from the outset, that being a groveling apology from the pub. Management has apologised for the whole way they handled the situation, saying they did receive the first email but got too busy with other things. I had previously said that David and I never expected the complaint to get so far along in the process as it did. The pub not even replying at all didn't help. 

Interestingly, previously the pub had simply said that the bouncer was no longer working there. Now they say they fired him because he wasn't the sort of person they wanted representing the pub. The security company says he left them of his own accord, but my guess is that he was fired from there too after the pub got rid of him. I suspect our complaint may have had a bit to do with that. I imagine it wouldn't be at all pleasant having the anti-discrimination board breathing down your neck.

Although it's resolved there remains the issue of what in our opinion is over policing on Oxford St. Perhaps I may write again to Alex Greenwich about these concerns now that it's all over. Under present law there remains the opportunity for a bouncer thug to have innocent people demonised on the whole st and unable to get in to any venue on a night, and even permanently banned from venues run by the same security company. 

What happened that night after the altercation the bouncer took David's photo and sent it to all bouncers at all venues on Oxford St, so we couldn't get in anywhere after that for that night. This is all currently legal under present law. The bouncer then went on to have David permanently barred from three other venues that all had the same security company. Vindictive and just plain nasty, and another thing we had to sort out with management at the other venues.

So anyway to sum up, the whole experience has been very enlightening for both of us.

Ombudsman robodebt report - recommends full evaluation before further implemented

The long awaited report into the disastrous robodebt debacle has been released by the Ombudsman. It's pretty dry reading, but entirely scathing of the whole implementation process. The way they describe it sounds more like the Keystone Cops were implementing the system rather than the Dept of Human Services.

There's other arguments detailing what changes recommended to be made in specific areas. For example the initial debt letters didn't even have the phone number hotline specifically set up by the DHS to ring about the debt letter, so everyone called the main lines. The phone system couldn't handle it with ridiculously long delays, and the DHS people taking the calls had little idea what it was all about. 

The Ombudsman sums it all up thus:
PDF here
In other words, the whole system has that many problems it's fucked. Imagine if they'd done this to businesses somehow, putting them through the wringer like that. Imagine if the politicians got a Centrelink robodebt letter telling them they had to pay back entitlements. Welfare recipients are an all too easy target, but it'd be a different story if it was them getting done by a fucked system.

The fact is there's a very good reason we're on welfare. We find ourselves in unfortunate circumstances. Many times that includes mental health issues. Robodebt doesn't help. It's very hard to see why the gov would go after people like us with nothing when they want to give $24 billion tax cuts to companies that don't need it anyway, other than they're just plain mean and cruel. 

Tudge reckons he'll follow the recommendations in a strange sort of tweet, almost completely brushing off the report like "nothing to see here" sort of thing. I wouldn't trust a word that comes out of his mouth.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Live Journal bought by Russia - LGBT issues now illegal

Illegal Putin picture
Live Journal has been around for years, even before Facebook. However in recent times it was bought by a Russian company. Now they've changed the Terms of Service to reflect Russian law, which means not writing anything about us dastardly LGBT in case children might learn about us.

Now, understandably, non-Russians are leaving the service. It might be an interesting experiment to open a free account and start talking about gays, seeing how long it takes for the Russians to have a hissy fit over it? Or maybe even just post the above picture.

I probably stuck with LJ for too long, because back in the day I paid for a perpetual premium account—unlimited access and no ads: the urge to get one's money's worth out of something you've paid for is hard to resist. But the rot has finally gone too far. This Tuesday Livejournal pushed out a revision to their terms of service that emphasize the service runs under Russian law, and specifically requires compliance with Russian law on minors—which makes any discussion of "sexual deviancy" (aka LGBT issues) illegal or at least a violation of the ToS. 
 So I'm currently migrating my entire Livejournal presence to Dreamwidth, a service set up by some of LJ's original founders that focuses on providing a Livejournal-like set of services for creative types (and, significantly, is not subject to Russian law because it's not based in Russia). Boing Boing

Bad backache

Had a terrible time of it yesterday. Back was aching so bad. I've read that usually back aches happen on the top of your back with poor kidney function, but yesterday it was aching all over.

Tried taking Panadol but it didn't seem to do much. The pain was so bad I felt physically sick from it. By the end of the day all I could do was sit there in the chair a cry from it. David found some heat cream and put it all over which was a bit better. Obviously I can't use Voltaren anymore as am very allergic to anti-inflammatorys. I guess I'll have to try some of the heat creams to see which one of them works the best.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

LGBT still feel unsafe at times holding hands in public - video

Australian Darren Hayes of Savage Garden is married to his partner and living in the US. Yet he still feels unsafe holding hands with him in public.

Here an Australian show discusses the issue. Unfortunately the show seems to have all straight people with very little idea of what LGBT people often go through with just the mere act of holding hands in a straight environment. 

It's of course not a problem in safe gay spaces such as Oxford St in Sydney and gay venues, but to walk around the local shopping mall would perhaps engender real fear. 

I don't agree with one of the hosts putting it on Darren Hayes as his responsibility to address that. Why should it be up to the LGBT alone do brave up and do that? We have a gov opposed to marriage equality perpetuating the notion that we're so weird we don't deserve even that basic human right. What are we to expect in opening ourselves up to stares and the possibility of hatred in that environment?

This is the gov's responsibility to vote for our equality. That would go a long way in us being accepted in holding hands in such situations; that we're just people like everyone else.

I have to note the violence suffered by LGBT people in Sydney too. David's first partner Wayne Tonks was infamously murdered in a hate crime by his own school students. Many gays have been abused on the street over the years, and gay bashing has been a sport for young western suburb thugs who've traveled in from the west just for that purpose. Surely it's up to gov to address these issues, not the victims of hate.