Monday, November 22, 2010

Falling on your own sword.

Video here.

There is a lot of international debate lately about banning burqas/hijabs, mainly for the reason that those who wear them are essentially disguised, in a society that doesn't really go for people walking around in disguises (for security reasons).

Of course, some Muslims see this as discrimination (although you're not allowed to claim discrimination when banned from holding hands with your wife in public in Dubai), because it is convenient to shift the blame to the country you're in, as opposed to your own personal conduct within the culture of that country.

The funny thing is, in the news at the moment, there exists the story of a 46 year old Muslim woman from Sydney (Carnita Matthews), who has been jailed for making a false complaint.

"The mother of seven was stopped in June by a police officer at Woodbine for a random breath test. She later filed a police complaint alleging the officer who pulled her over had tried to pull off her hijab, which concealed her entire face except for her eyes.

The court was told that after being issued an infringement notice for not properly displaying her P-plates, the 46-year-old branded the officer "a racist" and claimed he only booked her because of what she was wearing.

"You look at me and see me wearing this and you couldn't handle it. All cops are racist.""

OK, great. After this, she went to a police station and made a (false) complaint. "However, the court was told that an officer who three days later accepted a statutory declaration from a burqa-clad woman he assumed to be Ms Matthews failed to check her identification.

Ms Matthews' lawyer, Stephen Hopper, said there was no way for police to prove that his client was the one who signed the statutory declaration at Campbelltown police station on June 10. Mr Hopper said that meant Ms Matthews should not have been charged with the offence of making a false complaint to police."

Do you know what else that means? It means one idiotic woman, has made a big news story about what a liar she is, and at the same time JUSTIFIED WHY BURQAS/HIJABS SHOULD BE BANNED IN WESTERN COUNTRIES!!!

If her own defence is going to turn around and claim it could have been anyone in a hijab that gave the statutory declaration that day, then it goes to reason that because of that fact, no-one should be allowed to wear one, or at the least, remove it for identification purposes.

And if that is such a massive problem for you, then move to a Muslim country, it's that simple.

Of course this will provoke the usual calls of racism. But there are things I can't do in Muslim countries. If I want to do those things, I have to move here. So why different rules for Islam?

Stephen Hopper, in the pursuit of an excuse for one Muslim client (and who failed, because she's in jail), has pulled the rug out from under the cause of all Muslims in the West, who wish to observe their religious style of dress. Carnita Matthews, has sold out the cause for all of her brothers and sisters in Islam, to get out of a ticket.

Just wow.

Addendum 21/06/2011:

Remember when I said "Carnita Matthews, has sold out the cause for all of her brothers and sisters in Islam, to get out of a ticket"?

The Police Minister has in the press today made clear he intends to tighten up identification procedures for those who wish to hide their faces for religious purposes- Carnita has sold out her brothers and sisters in Islam.

When I think of Islam, I think of people drawing from a rich and extensive history of the written word, of intellectual thought, of science.

Increasingly however, we are confronted by images like the ones above, of aggressive Muslims shouting and acting violently in public, instead of engaging in reasoned argument, whenever things don't go their way (interestingly enough, things did go their way in the above picture, but it turned violent anyway).

I hate to sound like a radio talkback DJ after ratings, but I'm sick of it. I'm sick of scenes like this one in Australia. I'm sick of shouting and threats, hiding behind religion. Don't get me wrong, I'm sick of white Australians acting badly too.

I don't care whether jails work or not. I don't care if they're just breeding grounds for future criminals. If someone acts violently, they should be removed from society, and thrown in a dark hole. And if they don't learn the first time, don't ever let them out the second time. I'm sick of civil libertarians holding society to ransom over the 'rights' of criminals.

I'm sick of all of it, because law, and particularly order have become a joke.

I would much rather a society where people are raised right, with a sense of family, community, balance. But we don't have that society, and we're never going to have it.

Lock them up, and let them rot. If they're not from here, send them back. And fuck their 'rights'. Because the people who were born here, and would like to grow old here, are under attack from violent offenders, and it has to stop.

Ms. Matthews is a joke- a stupid woman who makes Muslims look like unintelligent criminals, hiding behind the symbol of her own oppression for personal gain. She broke the law, but escaped jail, and the absolute idiots in the photographs who support her celebrate that fact today.

When all they have done, is brought increased police scrutiny and security measures against their religion, over what? A minor driving infringement.

Where is their leadership? Why have they allowed this to happen? Why didn't she just pay the fine instead of turning this into a three-ring media circus?

Because she is stupid. Her supporters are stupid. And now everyone who covers their head will have to remove their burqa/hijab when dealing with police- exactly the thing Carnita Matthews had a problem with in the first place.

"WOMEN wearing the burqa or other head covering may be ordered to remove it to identify themselves in the wake of the Carnita Matthews case.

Police Minister Mike Gallacher has revealed that police do not currently have the legal power to require women to show their face if the women refuse on religious or cultural grounds.

He said he wanted the law tightened up.

"Police powers in relation to face coverings are not clear," Mr Gallacher said.

"It’s time to address that."

He said he had spoken to rank and file police who wanted the situation clarified.

Any decision on whether to appeal the controversial judgment by Judge Clive Jeffreys would not be made until after the judge hands down the reason for his decision which is expected tomorrow.

The government is also considering passing new laws requiring people who make complaints against police, or in the case of witnesses giving evidence, to have to provide at least one fingerprint and their signature.

This follows the finding by the judge that he could not be certain that it was Ms Matthews who made the statutory declaration complaining about the officer who stopped her car because the person who handed the document in to the police station wore a burqa.

Mr Gallacher said he was waiting until Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione returned next week to discuss exactly what needed to be done.

He said he did not expect this to inflame community anger about women wearing full face coverings.

He said he had been told that there was nothing in Muslim culture or religion that stopped women from identifiying themselves in certain circumstances.

Yesterday, Ms Matthews avoided jail because her identity could not be proven.

Ms Matthews, 47, from Woodbine, in Sydney's southwest, had been sentenced to six months in jail for making a deliberately false statement that a policeman tried to forcibly remove her burqa because he was a racist.

But judge Clive Jeffreys said yesterday he was not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that it was Mrs Matthews who made the racism accusation because the person who complained to police was wearing a burqa at the time.

The absurdity of the law is that, to reach the level of proof of identity to make the case, Mrs Matthews would have been required to identify herself by lifting her burqa at the police station - what started the uproar in the first place.

More than a dozen Muslim supporters linked arms and began chanting "Allah Akbar" as they stormed out of Downing Centre Court with Mrs Matthews concealed behind them.

Tempers rose and they began jostling with police after several members of the group attacked cameramen.

It marked a stark difference from their behaviour minutes earlier, when they had quietly assembled outside the lifts for prayer shortly after the judge's decision.

Mrs Matthew's lawyer Stephen Hopper defended their actions saying: "They are obviously happy with the result and are expressing it in a way that is culturally appropriate to them."

Judge Jeffreys said yesterday that even if Mrs Matthews had made the complaint, he could not be sure she knew it was a "false" statement.

"I am not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that she made the complaint," he said.

"Even if I was satisfied that she made the complaint, I am not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that it was knowingly false."

Mrs Matthews made the claim in her court appearance last year, saying police could not prove it was her behind the burqa when the complaint was handed in to police. The local magistrate rejected it.

The case had lit up the religious debate when a magistrate found Mrs Matthews had deliberately made false complaints that Sergeant Paul Kearney was racist and had attempted to tear her burqa off her face when she declined to remove it on request.

She was pulled over for a random breath test last June, and accused Sgt Kearney of racism only after he booked her for failing to properly display her P-plates.

The incident was captured on a patrol car video camera and helped clear Sgt Kearney, prompting calls for all police cars to carry in-built cameras to avoid false claims.

"I've got my P-plates on my car ... there was nothing wrong with how they were displayed," Mrs Matthews says on the video.

"You look at me and see me wearing this and you couldn't handle it. All cops are racist."

She then threatens, "100 per cent", that she will take the matter to court and fight the charge.

France was the first country in Europe to implement a full ban on covering up faces in public.

France's burqa ban descended into farce when the first women to be summoned before a European court for illegally wearing the garments were refused entry, because they would not remove their face coverings."

Addendum Two 04/07/2011:

As predicted, Carnita Matthews' false assertion that Police officer had attempted to rip her niqab (face veil) away from her face, and the media circus that followed, has blown up in her (covered) face.

The State Cabinet has given Police new powers to remove face coverings of anyone suspected of committing a crime. "Suspected".

So the thing Carnita said happened but didn't, will now be happening all the time, because of her, and her own selfish, short-sighted motivations.

Story here:

ANYONE with a head covering - including burqas - suspected of committing a crime will be forced to show their face with police given new powers by the State Government.

Premier Barry O’Farrell announced this afternoon his Cabinet has approved the powers which will come into affect in the next few months.

Police will be given new powers to require motorists and others suspected of committing crimes to remove any head coverings so they can be identified.

Mr O’Farrell said there should be no discrimination – in favour or against any race – when it comes to helping police identify people suspected of criminal breaches.

“I don’t care whether a person is wearing a motor cycle helmet, a burqa, niqab, face veil or anything else – the police should be allowed to require those people to make their identification clear,” he said.

“I have every respect for various religions and beliefs but when it comes to enforcing the law the police should be given adequate powers to make a clear identification.”

Meanwhile, Attorney General Greg Smith said the Director of Public Prosecutions had provided advice that an appeal against the decision in the Carnita Matthews case was unlikely to succeed.

The Government will not lodge an appeal.

This is knifey, from 'the internet'.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Poop Machine.

My toilet is quite a joyous place.

The room, not the actual device...although it definitely plays its part.

A lot of men enjoy the solitude of the toilet, and appreciate a place in which to think, and I am no exception. I have become the cliche of the grumpy old man retreating off to the loo for half an hour with a newspaper under my arm. I'm lucky in that my girlfriend leaves an ever increasing stack of magazines in there, within which I can slip the odd motorcycling magazine, for my own pleasure. For some reason, I can't "commence", until I have found an article of interest, and am past at least the first paragraph. That, I believe is the definition of "anal retentive". So if you're a psychologist and you're reading this, please go read something else.

I like to think in there, and it strikes me how so very few people seem to like to think. Look around...there's a toilet roll holder. Which came first? The roll or the holder? And isn't it just crazy how if there is a holder in a toilet room, how most people ABSOLUTELY MUST put the roll on it, no matter how difficult the mechanism may be to navigate, or no matter where the genius who designed the room put the holder. I have mentioned before I once went to an architects house for dinner, and took him to task over the fact he put the roll holder next to the toilet- behind you! So you have to reach behind yourself just to get at the damned paper. That's not fair!

I have a similar setup at my place, so I just put rolls in front of me, and pretend the holder isn't there. Anarchic, I know.

But my housemate ABSOLUTELY MUST load up the roll holder anyway, because, well, she's obviously a contortionist.

I saw a pamphlet for Clinique skincare products on the stack of my girlfriends magazines in there today, and thought "I really should recycle that". So instead of doing that, I tore it in half, and realised I didn't care about recycling it at all. I just hated it. A very Merry Clinique Christmas to you, too.

Sometimes I am forced to look at my girlfriends magazines, and it makes me angry. Do the writers ever read themselves? Not sure they do.

Like the article in 'Madison' about a 14 year-old eccentrically-dressed fashion blogger, who doesn't like to give out interviews, because the kind of people who watch 'Good Morning America' and 'Oprah' are the last people she wants to communicate with. Madison had to quote a New York Times interview, because she wouldn't get back to them, either. So...they just admitted that the probable future editor of Vogue magazine thinks they're so shit, she won't even give them an interview?

Have a think, maybe.

And don't get me started on the picture of Ryan Reynolds in 'Famous' magazine that is actually Ryan Gosling. Even I know that, and I'm a hetero male. Although I have to be truthful and say the real reason I know is because my girlfriend made me watch 'The (stupid) Notebook'. And also the lyrics from the (awesome) 'Lonely Island' track "Lazy Sunday": "No doubt the bakery's got all the bomb frostings- I love those cupcakes like MacAdams loves Gosling!"

Maybe I should have just quoted that...

Some of my greatest ideas and inventions have occurred on the toilet, and you'd be well familiar with them, and maybe even have them in your own home, if it weren't for the fact you can't write on toilet paper. I'm thinking of buying an Apple iPad just to record such outhouse inspirations. Also, because the toilet is the only room in the house worth installing one into.

I've kinda run out of things to say today, probably because I'm not on the toilet. I have a killer virus (it's an expression, not a fact), and I'm counting the minutes 'til I have to go do security for a big TV show, or do security for a big music venue, depending on which end of the building my boss sends me to.

Wish me luck.

This is knifey, from 'the internet'.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Who Will Stand Up To The Superrich?

I've never done this before.

This has always been MY blog.

But I read this today, and as much as Lefsetz and I have gone to war with one another every now and then, when he's not drowning in arrogance, he nails it.

This post, he does just that, and if you enjoy music, you owe it to yourself to expose yourself to these words.

Lefsetz riffs on this original post...his reply is below. You can read more here and here.

We had an election in the music industry, the incumbents lost. The public gave the thumbs-down to the major labels, Live Nation and a ton of the acts. But just like in the real world, the only ones hurt were the little people, the acts themselves. Who got famous, but in most cases didn't get rich. Watch Kid Rock's testimony on this. Talking about the "American Idol" stars. The executives got rich off "American Idol", the producers. Even if you won, you gave up the lion's share of your income to the label. That's the way it's always been. But now that the label can't make as much money, you've got to give up revenue on your other, more profitable streams... Why, because the fat cats deserve it!

There's a fascinating column in today's "New York Times" about the superrich. Turns out they're not the people you know, not the celebrities or the singers, but those who work for the corporation and the bankers.

Do you see Jimmy Iovine going on record?

No, that's the job of the RIAA. The RIAA takes the heat for the labels just like Ticketmaster takes the heat for the acts. And if the public is too stupid to realize that the Ticketmaster fees are a result of exorbitant act prices/demands, do you really expect people to know that the real winners in the post-MTV music era were the executives? Mariah made much less than Mottola. And Mo Ostin made more than all of them. You just don't know this.

But you do know music is overpriced and shitty.

But as soon as you say this, there's someone in the industry decrying the inaccuracy and injustice. Music is just as good as ever, and what a value, you can listen to it forever! And you should pay MORE so the music can be of an even higher quality! So they can be richer and have more time to make it. Huh?

This is the same kind of double-speak we get in D.C. That we just don't understand. But we understand that the bank is taking our home and you can't get a good job. We understand we paid fifteen dollars to hear one track. You don't forget that. After all, the public doesn't get its music for free.

Until now.

Never underestimate the hatred of the public towards the music industry. Sure, free is nice, but most people believe they're entitled, after being ripped off for eons. And if there were no copyright, we'd have a whole different bunch of people running the music ship. You see the rights holders, the labels and the publishing companies, use their catalogs to continue to wreak havoc, to make war on their customers, to resist change, not in an effort to save music, but to get richer.

Tell me. Who is the young new record label star?

There isn't one. The rich fat cats don't want to let anybody in. Just like the Forbes 400. Only 16 of the latest list was newcomers. That's down from 40 or 50 in recent years.

And the funny thing is how wannabes are lining up to sign away their rights to participate for poor pay in this old edifice. Wanting their face in lights, thinking that fame is everything, they become tools of the corporation, chewed up and spit out in the process. Today's new major label artists are just like the poor people voting to decrease taxes on the rich, thinking they may be rich one day. But the statistics tell a different story, the odds of getting rich in America, working for the man, are ever lower. Because the man controls the game. And the man wants to keep all the money.

So what is the way out?

It's the acts. It's all new players. The old guard has proven that change is anathema to them, and rich interlopers just want this same power, like Meg Whitman running for governor with her eBay money. She didn't want change, she just wanted to buy her way in. The public didn't buy it.

The public doesn't believe the present music regime is on its side. And the reality is, it isn't.

The present regime says recorded music and concert tickets must be expensive. That you've got to tie in with corporations. Let me get this straight, these same Fortune 500 corporations that are ruining American are going to somehow save music? Music only triumphs when it's distanced from the game, when it personifies truth, when you can believe in it.

And when it's really good. Made by people who've been honing their craft for eons. Not the ten year olds who can't write, sing or play the industry is always trumpeting.

P2P trading and the Internet are the best things to ever happen to music. Because it brings it all to the people. It may not be good financially for the old, very rich guard, or even some old rich acts, but it's fantastic for the public. Isn't it funny that those who can afford to hear everything don't acknowledge this. When I was a kid you had to sit by the radio to hear a track. Now you just fire up your browser and it's right there on YouTube. You can download an entire album for free and find out it sucks, so you don't have to buy it.

But if you like an act, you can still give it all your money. Hell, there are more ways to support your favorite acts than ever. There are those studies saying the music industry in toto is on the way up.

I'm not saying music should be free. I'm just saying we now live in a better world for the consumer than ever.

In the future, how can we get everybody to pay a little for a lot. That's the way out of this mess. The cell phone industry figured this out. Handsets used to be a grand and calls were a buck a minute. Now kids have cell phones and parents like this, because they can be in touch with their progeny 24/7. Technology is not the enemy, it's the solution.

But this isn't about the Napster question. People are trying to solve that problem. With Spotify and other services. This is about the people holding the future back, those presently in power controlling the rights. They are the enemy. And if you don't think this is true, you're one of them or have been brainwashed. Or let me put it this way, if you believe cutting taxes for the rich is going to benefit the poor, how come there's been no trickle down effect in the music business? How come when the hidden fat cats got richer, music didn't get better and concert tickets didn't get cheaper?

The public has very little control over the Fortune 500. Sure, they can stop buying their products, but oftentimes they don't even know what those products are.

But they know what the music industry's products are. And they're not going to overpay for crappy music on the antiquated technology known as the CD and they see no reason to see that hair band at the amphitheatre one more time, paying to park if they didn't even drive and consuming ten dollar beers.

The music industry has been running a disinformation campaign worthy of the CIA. And just like the CIA, most people have no idea who's in the organization. And if you question the CIA's behavior, the blowback is YOU WANT TO BE SAFE!

But music is not your life, hasn't been for eons, even though that's the case when the industry is most healthy. People are not afraid of the rights holders. They've rejected them. And the rights holders have been crying about it for a decade now, to no avail.

Because the public threw the bums out. It's just that the bums don't know it yet.

"Who Will Stand Up to the Superrich?":

Kid Rock video (use Firefox for best results):