Bruce Gregory writes: Re. the comment by Peter Faris (yesterday, comments): “Finally, it is interesting that not one Crikey reader supports my analysis and is prepared to say so. No wonder the Left controls the agenda.” What does he mean by this? I can only imagine that he thinks anyone who doesn’t agree with him must be a card-carrying member of the “Left” – an opinion surely founded in bias. Considering his argument on the influence that bias may have on a person’s judgement, seems rather an odd way to conclude his piece. Or perhaps it just proves his point?

Alan Kennedy writes: Peter Faris writes: “As to Kennedy’s abuse, I adopt the marvellous phrase of Dr Peter Phelps: ‘those pig-ignorant whingers who write absolute blather in the letters section of Crikey’.” Does he include himself in this? Of course not, as among us “pig-ignorant” only he is a shining light of wisdom. I note he doesn’t address the central issue. 1) Three judges came to the same conclusion. 2) They were not using the anti terror laws but relying on hundreds of years of accepted legal principles that confessions gained under duress should not be admitted. 3) The jury heard the disputed interview and still threw out the main charges. Then comes a perfect example of why this man has a clearly troubling sense of his own importance: “Finally, it is interesting that not one Crikey reader supports my analysis and is prepared to say so”. Maybe it’s because you are talking rubbish. What an arrogant pig-ignorant pr-ck.

Mike Burke writes: Re. Faris and Maxwell. Left, right or centre, there can be no doubt that on the facts elicited thus far, there must be serious concern that Maxwell’s history should have raised at least an apprehension of bias that should have been dealt with. I’m certain that if the decision had gone the other way, and had Maxwell’s history been one of participation in conservative causes, the left would have been calling for his head. I didn’t think it necessary to post in support because Mr Faris was obviously doing “those pig-ignorant whingers who write absolute blather in the letters section of Crikey” like the proverbial dinner, and needed no help.

Peter Anderson writes: I’ve been keeping an eye on Peter Faris and his various rants for some time on Crikey. Surely Crikey can find some better sources of legal commentary instead of continually trotting out the Faris diatribe on one subject to the next. Seems to me he mustn’t be that busy as a lawyer, spending most of his days defending what he wrote the previous day! His appearance on Lateline a few weeks back provided a terrific insight to his true personality, I thought, and to his approach to whatever issue he’s decided the world needs his views on.

Peter Faris QC writes: To Sky Mykyta (yesterday, comments). In your confused response, you say that I have no grounds for perceived bias against Maxwell P. My answer is that I have set the grounds out in great detail here. Nobody is proposing gagging judges. This is all about a very narrow issue: should this judge sit in this particular case? It does not reflect upon his appointment, capacity or professionalism. Judges frequently refuse cases because of perceived bias – eg. a new judge would disqualify himself if a former client of his was called as a witness. It happens all the time.

Tim Hollo, former Greenpeace climate communications officer, currently stay-at-home Dad, writes: Christian Kerr’s response to his inclusion in Crikey’s list of climate sceptics proves beyond doubt that he belongs on the list. First he calls those who agree with the best scientific advice “Chicken Littles”, then he raises the hoary old chestnut of natural cycles. Come on, Christian, read the science and you will see that what we are heading into is way beyond natural cycles. Have you seen Gore’s film yet? But his final line is one with which I must agree. Humanity has proven many times that we are clever enough to work out ways to tackle the greatest challenges. I firmly believe that we are able to do so for climate change, too. But the only way we’ll do that is if we put a lot of resources and thought into it, and have full commitment to doing so. Christian’s sceptical rants over the years have hindered, not helped, that vital goal.

Martyn Smith writes: Christian Kerr is sorry but doesn’t believe he belongs on Sophie Black’s list of Global Warming Sceptics. I am in turn sorry to disappoint you Christian, but “When you’re hot, you’re hot; what you’ve got you’ve got”. You, Sir, definitely belong on Sophie’s list – live with it!

Gary Price writes: Sure, Christian, science can meet great challenges. But the real worry about dealing with climate change is that the many of the so-called sceptics are vociferous, well funded by special interest groups and well connected at the highest political level. Just as happened with smoking and asbestos, they have the capacity to make dealing with climate change much harder and slower than it should be. If the pressure to act ever becomes too great for them to remain credible, they will sneak out of town at dawn with never a backward glance. Or maybe rejig their resumes and turn up spruiking for money-making solutions. Meanwhile the rest of the world will be left to deal as best it can with something that should never have been a crisis, but may turn into one for the profit of a few. Seeing as there is often a fortune to be made in a crisis, there may even be an incentive for such a crisis to be allowed to happen. Something along the lines of, “I don’t think it will happen, but if it does, there’s sure to be money in it.” Now there’s a disturbing thought.

Jennifer Marohasy writes: You guys are the best! Following on from Al Gore you are going to make being a “global warming sceptic” fashionable. You see with global warming there could one day be more cassowaries.

Rosemary Swift writes: Could we perhaps have more of the Item 10s (yesterday – “What did Pope Benedict really mean?”) and fewer of the Item 16s (yesterday – “It’s war: Il Papa versus the Mad Mullahs”)? I can’t help feeling that Mark Bahnisch’s reasoned, thoughtful analysis of the Pope’s speech contributes quite a bit more to the debate than Christian Kerr’s rabid contributions. While I wouldn’t for a moment suggest he be banned, the more exposure Christian gets in Crikey the more he seems to feel the need to sound like Miranda Devine on steroids – and that’s not pretty!

Michael Vanderlaan writes: Re. “It’s war: Il Papa versus the Mad Mullahs” (yesterday, item 16). Full marks for hyperbole, Christian. When exactly did effigy burning and street protesting constitute acts of violence, let alone acts of war? Oh, and while you’re considering the subtleties of that one, kindly confirm for me that Osama bin Laden speaks for all Muslims. That way I can be certain that his Declaration of War has some legitimacy.

Bill Chandler writes: Good onya Christian. Full marks for consistency and perseverance. If you say it often enough, then a few more people are likely to believe you. Your four examples of the evidence of W-A-R WAR are interesting – but not convincing. A quick daily glance of even the most biased of media would see a multitude of examples of violence in the name of many religions. Take a look at one of the most read bits of journalism – the Holy Bible according to King James, particularly the Old Testament. Do they let kids read this stuff? Keep writing Christian. Different kind of journalist, but a journalist, nonetheless.

Leila Ismail writes: My fav commentator, Christian, is totally right (in more ways than one) as usual. As the officially recognised leader of Fundamentalist Islam (that’s a country, right?), Osama bin Laden’s declaration of war is totally legitimate. So it’s best to ignore the so-called “moderate Muslims” such as Australian Dr Ameer Ali who dismissed “calls to action” by some Muslim scholars in response to the Pope’s comments, saying that it would merely validate those who accuse Australia’s Muslim community of being over-sensitive. Not to mention the Council of Muslims in Germany, which said the Pope had taken an important step towards calming the unrest of the past few days. Or the Muslim Council of Britain, which said the Pope’s expression of regret was “exactly the reassurance many Muslims were looking for”. Or Turkey’s most senior Muslim religious figure, Ali Bardakoglu, who said the Pope’s stated respect for Islam was a civilised position. Christian knows it’s best to give voice to the despots and legitimise their self-confessed leadership of billions of people who happen to practise a particular religion, most of them peacefully – otherwise it’s very hard to gleefully hype some sort of theological call-to-arms. It’s also helpful to lump the murder of a nun in Somalia and protests in Indonesia as part of the same “war” (all orchestrated of course by the maddest of Mullahs, Bin Laden). And is anyone else totally hanging out for the Osama/Pope John smackdown, or is it just me and Christian?

Troy Rollo writes: Mike Burke (yesterday, comments) would do well to read von Clausewitz’s treatise on war rather than to repeat, out of context, one quote from it. The treatise actually supports my position – indeed his definition of war matches precisely a point of distinction I offered in one of the five paragraphs of my comment that was omitted from Monday’s Crikey. Far from supporting an expansive definition of war, von Clausewitz narrowly constrained it. As for Christian Kerr’s continued barrow-pushing, which has now degenerated to name-calling, I am surprised he would decide to make an appeal to authority on the question and then use Osama bin Laden as his trusted source. The fact that one or both parties states or even believes that there is a state of war is irrelevant to the question (even if both parties are States, and a fortiori if one is not), as are all of the other points Christian offered in support of his position on yesterday (item 16). I would offer more detail, but alas I am more constrained in space than Christian.

John Peak writes: Two things on Christian Kerr’s piece: “The secret life of Helen Clark” (yesterday, item 5). Firstly, as “ravaged” as anybody might feel already after “a good degree of rum and coke”, I suspect if anything the well-built Caribbean gentleman might have been after ravishing Helen Clark. And secondly, and most disappointingly, what is Crikey doing squatting in this particular gutter, publishing a gratuitous bit of 20-year-old gossip?

Andrew Lewis writes: After copping the justified caning that Peter Phelps got the first time (14 September, comments), you would think a PhD would recognise that perhaps they were in error. Let’s start again, Peter. If a politician is there for the money, then we have a problem. If a politician thinks that throwing money at the problem will solve it, then we have a problem. In simple terms, politicians are not poorly paid. They are not bereft of money, and if you think money is the answer then you haven’t understood the question. As a voter, I don’t want a politician who is there because it’s good pay. But I can’t believe you would try to regurgitate the line, in a slightly modified form, that I’m not allowed to comment unless I become a politician. I have a fair idea what a politician does, having been a public servant and having worked in a minister’s office. The problem is not the money, it’s the job, and the slimy hangers-on who are attracted to power. Don’t pay them more money; allow them to have a life. Change the job. The problem with the recruitment of politicians is not the pay, it’s the fact that to succeed in the game, it is almost essential that you become a complete ars-hole. Great to see you assuming everyone who commented was a bile-filled lefty. You wouldn’t be out of touch at all, would you. Hubris!

Tim Warner writes: Re. “TV policy is really about one thing: appeasing the behemoths” (yesterday, item 19). What bollocks! I haven’t read the book by Griffen-Foley. But if it is as well researched as this piece then I will not be spending my hard earned on a copy. My family was in control of Electronic Industries Ltd, which was the controlling entity of General Television Ltd (GTV-9). My grandfather Sir Arthur Warner was Chairman and my father Graham Warner was Managing Director of GTV – a situation that shows a measure of control. According to this author it was run by Film and Publishing interests. My grandfather cobbled together a group of cinema chains, political and community groups to have small share holdings each. His conception was by being kept to small parcels and without control they would sell out. Most bailed out when the station was not immediately profitable. My grandfather sold the then majority ownership to Frank Packer in 1959, for reasons that are a whole better story. As for the networking arrangements favouring the big boys, hello, Bridget – Earth calling! The lack of one-to-one linkage was a major reason why rural TV was able to succeed when few TV sets were available. The two major groups could not bind country stations to servitude – that took the Hawke Government to achieve. To explain: if there are two major groupings in the Melbourne-Sydney area, then when they buy the major programming rights from the US and UK they then try to sell programming to other areas, to defray the cost. If you have one station, in, say, Ballarat, then they can pick and choose between the two groups and have a measure of bargaining power. It was that power that the Hawke Government destroyed with Agglomeration in 1985. We now have rural groups who are in a much weaker position, hence the need for major rationalisation in the 1990s, with subsequent loss of local control. If you need another instance of the power of the rural lobby then the choice of VHF for our first TV system was also determined by those interests. It was understood that stations would have a much reduced range if they transmitted on UHF, although many experts at the time pointed that UHF was were the industry would end up.

Sydney FC fan, Simon O’Toole, writes: What’s happening at the Crikey sports desk? You have an article on a small town Victorian football game that attracted 4000 people titled “A new dawn for Victorian football?” (Yesterday, item 26). Surely the new dawn is the success of the undefeated A-League team Melbourne Victory that rated a headline on the front page of The Age ahead of the AFL. When has that ever happened at finals time? Come on, give the A-League a go!

Send your comments, corrections, clarifications and c*ck-ups to [email protected]. Preference will be given to comments that are short and succinct: maximum length is 200 words (we reserve the right to edit comments for length). Please include your full name – we won’t publish comments anonymously unless there is a very good reason.

Peter Fray

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