Friday 9th of October 2015

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by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2015-10-09 15:09

If Emmeline Pankhurst were alive today her message to women would be simple: “Don’t give up the fight. It’s not over,” Meryl Streep said last night.

The actor, who plays Pankhurst in the film Suffragette, told a packed audience at the star-studded opening night of London’s first Women in the World event, that while women had come far since getting the vote, there was still plenty of work to do.

“We are coming up from the bottom, but it’s that upper echelon that we haven’t broken through,” she said, urging the audience to remember that “women’s issues are men’s problems”.

Suffragette’s director, Sarah Gavron, revealed that finding funding for the film was a challenge, adding that it was also difficult to find actors to fill the male roles. “We had trouble persuading men to be in it. Agents were calling us saying the male parts just aren’t big enough,” she said to laughter and cheers.

The first night of a two-day event which will feature the home secretary, Theresa May, and Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, as well as Nicole Kidman and Tor Pekai Yousafzai, mother of Malala, saw discussion of subjects as diverse as the refugee crisis, the brutality of Isis and shared parental leave.

by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2015-10-09 15:02


The leader of a Christian group who claimed that the world would end on Wednesday has admitted his prediction was “incorrect”.

Chris McCann, head of the eBible fellowship, warned that the planet would be destroyed “with fire” on 7 October. This did not happen.

“Since it is now 8 October it is now obvious that we were incorrect regarding the world’s ending on the 7th,” McCann said.

McCann originally told the Guardian that by Thursday the world would be “gone forever: annihilated”. McCann based his claim on an earlier prediction by Christian radio host Harold Camping, who said the world would end on 21 May 2011. Camping’s forecast also turned out to be incorrect.

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See toon at top... Idiots...


by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2015-10-09 14:55

The Turnbull government has appointed an academic and company director with strong ties to climate and renewables research as its new “wind commissioner”, in a move the clean energy industry says should help return the wind energy debate to “sensible”.

Andrew Dyer serves on the boards of Climateworks Australia and the Monash University sustainability unit. The government says his primary role will be to “refer complaints about windfarms to relevant state authorities” – which are already responsible for dealing with them.


Announcing the new commissioner, Hunt said: “The negotiated settlement of the renewable energy target in mid 2015 is expected to lead to increased construction of wind turbines in the next five years.

“The commissioner will refer complaints about windfarms to relevant state authorities and help ensure that they are properly addressed. The commissioner will work with stakeholders to identify needs and priorities for monitoring windfarms [but would not] seek to duplicate or override the important statutory responsibilities of other jurisdictions.”

Dyer will provide an annual report to parliament and draw on the work of a new independent scientific committee on wind turbines. He, and the new committee, will serve for three years, after which the positions will be reviewed.

The membership of the scientific committee has also been announced. It will be chaired by John Davy, an adjunct professor at RMIT.

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by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2015-10-09 14:49


Southern Australia smashed heat records this month even without the usual warming in the Red Centre, and more hot weather is on the way, the Bureau of Meteorology says.

All of the bureau's main weather stations in NSW south of the Sydney-Dubbo line set early-season heat records this month, as did all but one of Victoria's main sites, the bureau said in a special climate statement.

Heatwaves baking south-eastern Australia typically draw their extreme warmth from inland Australia, but not this event.

Tell this to Miranda's simpleton mathematician... (read at top). I am sure he has an explanation: "the sun is getting hotter by the minute" (this of course is a bunkum idea but he is a smart fellow with a slide rule and he knows everything)... 


GLOBAL WARMING is not as beneficial as some people could think.


by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2015-10-09 12:37


With Vladimir Putin's Russia carrying out air strikes in Syria, John Passant reposts in En Passant an excellent explanation of the backdrop to the conflict and consequences of this new stage in the violence by Eric Ruder from Socialist Worker, US.

RUSSIA’S INTERVENTION in the civil war in Syria marks the beginning of an ominous new chapter in a conflict that has already cost the lives of hundreds of thousands and scattered more than 10 million people within and beyond Syria’s borders.

President Vladimir Putin dressed up Russia’s entry into the conflict as “similar to an anti-Hitler coalition” to include the U.S. and other Western countries, against the forces of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which controls eastern Syria.

However, Russia’s first air strikes on September 30 didn’t target ISIS, but rather rebel groups – some of them supported to varying degrees by the U.S. – that have been fighting a war on two fronts: against the Syrian regime of dictator Bashar al-Assad on the one hand, and against ISIS on the other. Reports of civilians dying under Russian bombs have been emerging ever since.

Not only did these early air strikes reveal Putin’s real aim – to bolster the Assad regime, Russia’s last significant ally in the region – but they also illustrated the potential for a stepped-up confrontation between the U.S. and Russia, despite “de-confliction” efforts by the two nuclear-armed powers.

For its part, the U.S. government has publicly opposed the Assad regime – not because of its repression and violence against a popular uprising, but primarily because of its alliance with Iran, another enemy of Washington – while never providing the level of support for anti-Assad rebels that would allow them to match forces with the Syrian military.

The entry of Russian military forces on the side of the regime has left the U.S. government casting around for a response — while the human toll in Syria grows.

Russia to US: You bomb ISIS, we'll take the rest. Putin's counter-terrorism in Syria.

— Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth) October 6, 2015

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

THE RE-EMERGENCE of the confrontation between imperial rivals Russia and the U.S. now must be placed at the top of the many layers of hostilities that are tearing Syria apart.

The roots of the conflict lie in a popular uprising against Assad that took inspiration from the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, and other struggles that were part of the Arab Spring of 2011.

Unlike the dictators who were swept aside, Assad was able to strike back, slaughtering peaceful protesters, forcing a militarization of the conflict, and portraying all resistance as driven by the U.S., Israel and/or Sunni rebel groups bent on destroying Shia and other religious minorities. To help demonize the opposition, Assad cynically released Sunni extremists from prison, gambling that these fighters would target the same democratic forces he was confronting, while simultaneously serving as the perfect enemy to point to while shoring up support.

The conflict in Syria is a three-way war between the Assad government, rebel forces of varying backgrounds, and ISIS. It includes Syrian Kurds fighting both ISIS and Turkey on Syria’s northern border, plus proxy clashes between various armed rebel and jihadist groups backed variously by the U.S., Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries.

Now, with Russian air strikes serving as cover, Iranian troops will join Lebanese Hezbollah fighters alongside Assad’s government forces in an escalating war to regain control by the central government.

The fighting has so far taken the lives of some 250,000 Syrians — and turned half of Syria’s population of 22 million into refugees. About 7 million people are internally displaced, and some 4 million have fled the country, ending up in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey and – in smaller numbers, but with much higher-profile political fallout – Europe.

Since the Syrian uprising began in 2011, U.S. officials have stated publicly that a political settlement to the conflict must remove Assad from power. But the U.S. and Israel are keen to keep the machinery of the Syrian state intact. The reason is simple: From the point of view of Western imperialism, all the alternatives to Assad seem far worse.

In 2012, Russia reportedly offered to negotiate Assad’s removal from power. But with his regime seemingly about to fall, the U.S. and other Western powers ignored the offer, and spent their time promoting the political and military forces they thought would bring about a stable post-Assad regime.

But Assad managed to hang on, by means of the utmost repression and violence: barrel bombs and other scorched-earth tactics that laid waste to entire neighbourhoods and regions, as a warning to others that resistance would be met with an iron fist.

Meanwhile, ISIS – the product of the barbaric civil war in neighbouring Iraq, largely instigated by the U.S. to keep the upper hand as colonial overlord – gained a stronghold in eastern Syria, where millions of persecuted Iraqi Sunnis fled. Built out of the remnants of al-Qaeda in Iraq, ISIS recruited fighters, gained battlefield experience and seized sufficient arms and money to become a formidable force.

Today, Assad may have clung to power, but his regime controls only about 25 per cent of Syrian territory, in a strip along the heavily populated western third of the country — while ISIS, based in the east, controls about half of the country.

Neither U.S. air strikes against ISIS nor support for Kurdish and other fighters have changed the balance of forces. Another component of Washington’s strategy – a $500 million program to train a fighting force of 5,000 against ISIS – failed even more spectacularly. Last month, in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Gen. Lloyd Austin, commander of U.S. Central Command, admitted that the program had so far only produced “four or five” fighters.

If the additional $600 million requested by the Pentagon to continue funding the training program meets with the same success, the U.S. will have organized a $1.1 billion army of 11 individuals.

GOT TO WATCH: UNITED STATES General Lloyd Austin reveals failure in #SYRIA plan via @YouTube @POTUS

— Guardian_Elite (@Guardian_Elite) September 30, 2015

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

ENTER PUTIN with his soaring rhetoric about leading a coalition to confront ISIS–tailored, of course, to win support at home for reasserting Russian imperial power.

Putin’s gambit led to much handwringing in Washington, with the “hawk” faction of the foreign policy establishing calling on Obama to react forcefully to Putin’s “interference” in Syria — as if the U.S. alone had the inalienable right to determine which countries should be allowed to operate there.

The debates likewise began in the media about whether Russia was acting out of strength or weakness or desperation. The answer is probably all of the above.

To some extent, Putin’s hand was forced by the recent nuclear deal between the U.S. and Iran, which pulled Iran back toward normal relations with other world powers — and thus out of Russia’s orbit. For Russia, this further elevated the strategic importance of the Assad regime.


But if Putin’s most ambitious goal of restoring the Russian empire might be out of reach, the Syria intervention has gained Russia a place at the table in discussions about what the endgame in Syria might look like.

And whatever weaknesses Putin may face, the U.S. grip on the Middle East has been severely tested – in both military and political terms – since its disastrous invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003.

That war toppled Saddam Hussein and created the beginnings of a U.S. puppet regime, but ended with a humiliating withdrawal of combat troops in 2011 and an inadvertent strengthening of Iran as a dominant power in the region. Al-Qaeda, which didn’t exist in Iraq before the U.S. invasion, thrived amid the resistance to occupation, and re-emerged from the catastrophic sectarian civil war stoked by the U.S. in the form of ISIS.

And through it all, the standing of the U.S. as the dominant imperial power of the region, ruling through a combination of its own economic and military power, combined with a network of allied regimes, has been severely damaged.

Putin’s latest grab for power and influence in Syria has further revealed the slippage in U.S. power.

Conservative New York Times columnist, Ross Douthatsummarized some of Putin’s accomplishments:

His annexation of Crimea, for instance, saddled Moscow with all kinds of near-term and long-term problems. But it established a meaningful precedent regarding the limits of American and Western power, a kind of counter example to the first Gulf War, by proving that recognized borders can still be redrawn by military force.

His Syrian machinations, similarly, haven’t restored the Assad regime’s control of that unhappy country. But they have helped prove that America’s “Assad must go” line is just empty bluster, and that a regime can cross Washington’s red lines and endure.

#Australia jets diverted from #Syria as #Russia's entry complicates mission @EjmAlrai

— маяковский (@moscow_ghost) October 7, 2015

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

RUSSIA’S INTERVENTION in Syria also provides a lesson in the limits of historical analogy — specifically, the Cold War conflict between the U.S. and the former USSR that political commentators of all kinds reached for to make sense of the Syrian tragedy.

The Economist, for example, longed for a reinvigorated and more muscular American military campaign, from Syria to Afghanistan.

The magazine argued:

‘Even if this is little more than political theatre, Russia is making its biggest move in the Middle East, hitherto America’s domain, since the Soviet Union was evicted in the 1970s.’

Meanwhile, Independent journalist and Middle East expert, Patrick Cockburn, celebrated the return of Russia to the grand stage of diplomacy, writing in the Independent:

'The US-Soviet Cold War, and the global competition that went with it, had benefits for much of the world. Both superpowers sought to support their own allies and prevent political vacuums from developing which its opposite number might exploit. Crises did not fester in the way they do today, and Russians and Americans could see the dangers of them slipping wholly out of control and provoking an international crisis.'

In reality, the superpower standoff of the past threatened the world with nuclear annihilation, and the “global competition that went with” this threat was far from positive for the countries where it was played out. But even leaving that aside, the yearning for its replay is based on a false hope of returning to the past, while ignoring the casualties caused by an escalation of a conflict in the present, as Marxist author and activist Gilbert Achcar pointed out.

Even more puzzling than Cockburn’s nostalgia for the Cold War is the self-delusion of outright supporters of the Assad regime and its new protector in Moscow. Brian Becker of the Party for Socialism and Liberation and its front group ANSWER simply echoes Putin’s rhetoric in his latest statement:

'The main force preventing Syria from being completely overrun by ISIS and al-Qaeda has been the Syrian Arab Army, the national army of the country … Now the Russian military has directly entered the battle on the side of the Syrian national army … Russia’s intervention was formally requested by the sovereign Syrian government led by Bashar al-Assad and thus conforms to international law.'


In order to imagine Russia’s intervention as a challenge to the U.S. empire on behalf of the “anti-imperialist” hero Assad, Becker has to ignore the barbarism of the Syrian dictatorship, responsible for the vast majority of the hundreds of thousands of deaths in the civil war — and the ugly history of Russia as an outpost of neoliberalism serving the Russian oligarchy and an imperial power in its own right, with a savage record in Chechnya among other conflicts to prove it.

The old slogan “Neither Washington nor Moscow” has become newly relevant.

As Syrian revolutionary, Joseph Daherwrote:

'There can be contradictions between … different regional actors, but at the end of the day, the U.S. wants to maintain an imperialist status quo in the Middle East, maintaining its interest in the region. This is why we should oppose all imperialist (USA, Russia and others), and sub-imperialist powers (Saudi Arabia, Iran, Qatar and Turkey) because they all oppose the interests of the popular classes, and not choose one or the other because we consider it the lesser evil.'

This story was originally published on John Passant's blog on 5 October 2015 and has been republished with permission. You can follow John on Twitter @JohnPassant.


One must say here that Washington is not going to give up its bone... Moscow is going to take a bite out of it nonetheless... And the Saudis will be up in arms that their dream of a Wahhabi kingdom is fading... Unless the Russians and the USA defeat ISIS together and tell the Saudis to put a sock in it, then, as proposed by the Russians in 2012, Assad can be removed gently (an option rejected by NATO) — then we are in a global stupid quagmire from which no good will come out of. 

So why would there still be some supporters of Assad in Syria? Well because they simply know that should Assad go, they are dead. and this represents more than 10 million people. Simple enough?


by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2015-10-09 11:42


Paul O’Brien reviews the terrible conditions in Yemen and castigates the administration for its role in creating them:

The responsibility for Yemen’s descent into wanton destruction lies not with the United States, but with Yemen’s government in exile, the Houthis, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf Cooperation Council, and other Yemeni political and military leaders; they are each pursuing their own short-sighted interests at the expense of an equitable and inclusive peace. But thanks to the U.S. government’s deep involvement in what many Yemenis call the “Saudi-American” military campaign, American hands are far from clean.

I agree with O’Brien’s call to halt U.S. support for the campaign and to pressure the coalition to lift its blockade on the country, but as he points out elsewhere in his article the administration hasn’t been inclined to do any of this. U.S. officials express their “concern” over the latest bombing of civilian targets or the growing humanitarian disaster engulfing the country, but then U.S. policy remains exactly the same as it has been since late March. As the U.S. has done since the campaign began, it voices alarm at the tactics used in a campaign for which it provides the arms, intelligence, and fuel and acts as if it is a mere spectator to the actions of its clients.

O’Brien is urging the administration to bring its actions in line with its largely empty rhetoric, and he’s right to do so, but it has become hard to miss that the administration’s feeble protests have been made to create the impression that the U.S. can’t be held responsible for the war it is enabling. As evidence of Saudi war crimes becomes harder to deny or ignore, the administration seems even less inclined to have an honest accounting of the war’s costs, which is why it acquiesced in Riyadh’s squelching of an independent investigation into war crimes in Yemen. It is correct to pin most of the responsibility for the war on the main belligerents, but insofar as the U.S. is making the Saudi-led campaign possible with its considerable support the U.S. has a significant share of the blame for wrecking Yemen.

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The US involvement in many wars since the 1950s has transformed many places into poopoolands (see toon at top)... Is it deliberate or accidental? Or sheer stupidity? It seems the US is creating HELL by paving it with good intentions... But so far I am not so sure about the GOOD intentions, more like creating CRAP to keep itself busy... 


by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2015-10-09 09:05


See also:


When US special forces raided the compound of an Islamic State leader in eastern Syria in May, they made sure not to tell the neighbours.

The target of that raid, the first of its kind since US jets returned to the skies over Iraq last August, was an Isis official responsible for oil smuggling, named Abu Sayyaf. He was almost unheard of outside the upper echelons of the terror group, but he was well known to Turkey. From mid-2013, the Tunisian fighter had been responsible for smuggling oil from Syria’s eastern fields, which the group had by then commandeered. Black market oil quickly became the main driver of Isis revenues – and Turkish buyers were its main clients.

As a result, the oil trade between the jihadis and the Turks was held up as evidence of an alliance between the two. It led to protests from Washington and Europe – both already wary of Turkey’s 900-mile border with Syria being used as a gateway by would-be jihadis from around the world.

The estimated $1m-$4m per day in oil revenues that was thought to have flowed into Isis coffers over at least six months from late 2013 helped to transform an ambitious force with limited means into a juggernaut that has been steadily drawing western forces back to the region and increasingly testing state borders.

Across the region, violence has been spreading across borders, scattering huge numbers of refugees and contributing to the turmoil in neighbouring regimes. Few countries – from Turkey to Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Israel – remain unscathed by the tide of chaos spreading out from Syria.

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by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2015-10-09 08:12


My heart breaks for every one of these girls, not only because of the misogyny and economic disparity that will keep them in these circumstances, but also because their Australian sisters are scoffing at their exploitation over bottles of Merlot and Wagyu steaks in chic inner-city bars, all while congratulating themselves for being staunch advocates of women's rights.

What I've learnt is that Australian feminism is not so much a sisterhood as it is a mean girls' clique. The mainstay of liberal feminism moves around circles where it's suave to discuss "high class escorting," where porn is merely an element of women's freedom, where it's acceptable to publicly malign campaigns and joke about women as "c--ts," and yet it's somehow unacceptable to make the most vulnerable women and girls a priority.

While many people may be uninformed or unaware of the modus operandi of the sex trade, liberal feminists claim to be better informed and yet they use this information to undermine women in poverty. I've come to realise that if anyone couldn't care less about the countless Asian girls being exploited at home and abroad, it is Australian feminists.

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Gus: I must say I have not yet met the type of feminists as described by Laura McNally, here. It looks as if she went searching for those who pretend to be femmes and stuck a general label on all females and males who support feminism in Australia. She also quoted some weird Human Right Watch rumbles as if these represented Feminism in Australia. 

We know that misogyny, economic disparity and poverty in many countries are major problems. I have not seen anyone genuine, male or female, scoff at this in Australia. It's possible that some so-called feminists gather in chi-chi cliques, but it would be more the exception or the rare occasion than the norm. 

The most ardent feminist I could mention is Julia Gillard who is now trying hard to promote education for girls and women, on the international stage. Education would be a step in reducing the rate of sexploitation. Good luck to her... She got hit for six by a ruthless Aussie media and some misogynist political opponents, because she tried to save the planet with a carbon tax. She would know the hurdles and the difficulties to promote education in countries where it's not traditional for women to be educated. There are many obstacles to changing perceptions, including local customs, and exploitation by white men from abroad, providing cash to a poor economy. 

One can try very hard to change social systems in other countries but often it is very difficult due to "cultural" sensitivities — a change of which could involve massive revolution and uprising. As we know revolutions are rarely for the immediate best and evolution in change takes time, due to generative differentials. 

All the feminists I know care and try to do all they can to improve the situation and make people aware of the problem, including shaming exploitative white men. 

It's not a good look for Sally to try to demonise Australian feminists, in order to promote her own worth. On a whole, Australian feminists are doing a darn good job against exploitation at all level — and some feminists I know were involve very early in family planning that would provide equity for women, when it was regarded as destroying the rights of men. There are still too many white men in politics who think women are inferior. 

Feminists today have to fight a sleepy misrepresentative media that profits from "travel" advertising to country where sexploitation of girls is rampant. They have to fight political parties that are in favour of glass ceilings and boys clubs. They have to fight bad social policies that treat women like second class — unless they can be hero mums, hero worker and hero femme at once. Actually, it has been my humble observation that some of these "super-mums" are the least feminist of the lot and end up thinking if "they" can do it in a crummy social structure, all the other femmes can cut the mustard as well. These hero-mums end up at the extreme right of the political spectrum and have no time for those who can't cut it.

It has also been my observation, that some of the "sisters", those who have reached a certain high level of incompetence also decry the processes of social equality and quotas for women because they resent other women who could do better than them.

The situations are varied and complex and there is nothing wrong with feminists enjoying a glass of Chardonnay or Merlot. But Sally is highly unfair in her representation. Australian feminists are not scoffing at the exploitation of other women in Asian countries. Many Australian feminists work behind the scene to help out against such exploitation, but having your heart breaking for every women in an exploitative situation is not going to change the situation. It needs an evolution of minds, that also involves changes of traditions and local customs, as well as breaking down exploitative gangs and systemic constructs that go up to some government corruption. It needs education and helping people break the poverty cycle. 

If you can do this, do it. But don't expect that there will be no resistance against the change for the better. There will be opposition, and some dangerous opposition. It can be done though, carefully, trying to avoid walking on big toes.


Read from top...


by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2015-10-09 06:19

Moscow will soon start paying the price for its escalating military intervention in Syria in the form of reprisal attacks and casualties, the US defence secretary has warned, amid signs that Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies are preparing to counter the Russian move.

Ashton Carter was talking at a meeting of Nato defence ministers in Brussels on Thursday during which the ministers agreed to increase a Nato response force intended to move quickly to flashpoints.

There were no plans to deploy the force to Turkey, though the Nato secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, suggested its existence alone should discourage future Russian or Syrian incursions into Turkish territory.

“We don’t have to deploy the Nato response force or the spearhead force to deliver deterrence,” Stoltenberg said. “The important thing is that any adversary of Nato will know that we are able to deploy.”

Saudi Arabia, a leading supporter of Syrian rebels fighting to overthrow Bashar al-Assad, was said by diplomats to be preparing to step up its support, having despaired of the US. Ministers from Qatar and Turkey, the Saudis’ partners in the fight against Assad, are holding talks on their next moves.


In the complexity of the Syrian slosh, NATO is supporting Saudi Arabia's support for "moderate" rebels... "Moderate" rebels is a euphemism for nasty Wahhabi terrorist branches of Al Qaeda which are not yet aligned with ISIS, but soon will be. The plan of the Saudis is to throw out all the other sectarian ethnics from Syria and turn Syria into a Wahhabi fiefdom, by using all its Wahhabi branches of "rebels" (who are terrorists that we support). So the plan of NATO, by supporting the Saudis, is to do the same and support terrorism in Syria. NATO is so-filled with bad-will because they hate the Ruskies and the Iranians, who could show then how to defeat ISIS with the next three months... BUT NATO has decided it needs ISIS to stay as a strong force until ASSAD is gone... and the sectarian Wahhabi take Syria over— murdering the others and exiling millions of people...

The ISIS "threat" has become a second-rate side issue as the Saudis want the ISIS Caliphate to take over the region including most of Iraq. NATO is nuts to play this stupid game.

What NATO wishes is not going to happen. Iran, Russia and Hezbollah will defend Assad against the Wahhabi/ISIS take-over of Syria. In order to defeat ISIS, NATO has to let the Russians support Assad till ISIS is gone, then you can negotiate with Assad. The fall of Assad at the moment would be a victory for ISIS. Is this what we want? NO.

So NATO has another agenda in mind... Keep the shit going, in order to promote its self-importance... NATO is run like the generals and colonels of CATCH-22...

by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2015-10-08 20:21


But I will defend Newman against, of all places, the Avid Reader bookshop, the premier independent bookshop in my hometown of Brisbane. Avid Reader is routinely named the best bookstore in the city, with a “ridiculously comprehensive” selection.

Its owner, Fiona Stager, is a former head of the Australian Booksellers Association and a leading cultural figure in Brisbane. This is a flourishing place, comparable to Readings in Melbourne or Gleebooks in Sydney. It’s the sort of place I love.

Avid Reader is refusing to stock Newman’s authorised biography, written by former Queensland MP Gavin King. Stager told ABC radio that Newman’s decision soon after winning office to scrap the premier’s literary awards was a key reason.

“We saw that as an attack on the writing, editing, book-publishing, book-selling community in Queensland. It seemed ironic that the first thing he did after losing was to turn around [and] be involved in the publication of a book,” she said.

Stager says the store has “always reflected the views and feelings of its community” and that many of its customers were devastated by Newman’s public service job cuts.

So why does it matter if Avid Reader refuses to stock Newman’s book, which presumably is as self-serving as most political tomes? So what if five or six shops across Australia refuse to have it on their shelves, as King claims?


Why should one read about Newman's self-delusions? Should his book be placed on the self-help-yourself shelves, in the remainder bins, or straight away sent back on a no sale-return contract? Someone should find something to sue about and the entire print-run could be pulped... 

Actually the best way to deal with this would be to give him the "Premier's Book Literary Award" for fiction.