Economic stimulus:

David Mortimer writes: Crikey wrote: “He was a shabby economic manager and, for that matter, a shabby Liberal, and should be ignored.”

This type of invective does nothing for your publication.

As a subscriber I ask myself, if Howard should be ignored (after being abused), what credentials of the author should keep me reading more of this from him?

Mike Reece writes: Crikey‘s editorial about John Howard’s economic incompetence certainly resonate with this sole subscriber. One point omitted however is that whilst the Howard government did not use budget deficits to hock Australia, he let the middle class mortgage belt do it for us. Thank you for nothing shabby John.

R. A. Quinchay writes: Re. “Time for some honest truths about where the GFC will end” (18 February, item 2). Stephen Mayne wrote: “Ultimately, the world’s leading powers will need to get together and collectively wipe out the excess credit in the system. And that also means US sovereign debt, which is being piled on at a ridiculous level. The trick here is to recognise the problem and move swiftly to complete this global debt for equity swap and then slowly sell all the government controlled assets back into the private market.”

How typical. I shouldn’t have expected better from Mayne. Private the profits, socialise the loss. Perhaps nationalising banks needs to be a long term strategy. Privatise them again and the same self centred idiots that caused this problem now will just repeat the exercise in a few years time.

The Liberal Party:

John Goldbaum writes: Re. “Viewing the Liberals through a prism of party instability” (Friday, item 11). The problem with the Right-wing faction of the Liberal Party is that they have still not accepted the fact that they lost the last election. According to Glenn Milne, they “believed one of their own should have been given the job as Leader in [sic] the House.”

I’m afraid that while the Labor Government’s Anthony Albanese holds that position, the best Nick Minchin can realistically hope for is that Tony Abbott might one day replace Christopher Pyne as Manager of Opposition Business in the House.

Free speech:

Melinda Tankard Reist from womensforumaustralia.org writes: Re. “What is it about Bob Debus and Japanese p-rn?” (18 February, item 4). Bernard Keane writes that Stephen Blanks of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties, who participated as an Interested Party in the Classification Review Board’s review of four Japanese anime p-rn films, told Crikey that, “in essence, Holy V-rgins had been banned because one of the female characters was shorter than the others, suggesting child s-x.”

There’s a bit more to it than that.

Holy V-rgins was banned because the representations of that character, including her obvious height difference, as well as her sleeping with a teddy bear, her s-xual and emotional immaturity and the portray of her child-like innocence, left the Board with no choice but to acknowledge that the girl was intended to be seen as a minor.

While Hentai p-rn may not be, in Keane’s words “everyone’s cup of green tea” a little more information may shed light on why not. The child was shown being r-ped by a doctor whilst unconscious under sedation, and molested in other scenes by that same doctor and two other adult characters.

Another of the films under review, Classes in Seduction, depicted adolescent students in school uniforms being molested and initiated into sexual acts by an obviously older teacher. The students concerned displayed s-xual inexperience and referred to other students as being older than themselves.

There are depictions of menace and coercion in the initiation of s-xual encounters in all three of the other films reviewed — Bondage Mansion, T&A Teacher and Classes in Seduction. Rules about the “R” and “X” classification mean that coerced s-x is allowed for an “R” rating but only if the impact and explicitness is not so high as to warrant the “X” rating. These films slipped into the “R” rating because the anime was said to reduce the impact of the s-x scenes. In one scene in Bondage Mansions, a young woman is forced to fellate her attacker while he holds a sickle above her.

In the end any concerns about coercion are dismissed because (typically) the female characters always come to enjoy the force and degradation and appear to want more.

The NSW Council for Civil Liberties defends these films in the name of “free speech”. But many Australians don’t put incitement to crimes such as the r-pe of children, in the “free speech” category.

The p-rrn industry continues to push the boundaries and flout the law, labelling any proper democratic review process as some kind of evil moralistic conspiracy.

It was discovered late last year that p-rn magazines containing material depicting young girls as seeking s-x with older men were readily available in corner stores, convenience stores and petrol stations. They were shown holding hand puppets, wearing bobby socks, pigtails and braces and surrounded by soft toys. The magazines also contained material promoting r-pe and incest. A number of titles are imported by a company connected to the secretary of Eros, which is also crying shock, horror, over a so-called crackdown on p-rn.

This material should have been “Refused Classification”. The Classification Board, in a just completed audit of 30 “teen p-rn” titles, found 11 were wrongly classified and 12 had never gone through the classification system. Not one distributor had responded to call-in notices from the Board requiring the publications be submitted for classification.

Do our civil liberties friends defend this as “free speech” as well? We don’t know because they’ve had nothing to say about this illegal material.

The National Classification scheme reflects the will of both state and federal legislatures. Perhaps the Council of Civil Liberties prefers a system without democratic oversight or mechanisms? They even object to consumer advice and classification that enables better informed choice by consumers.

They say they want free speech then try to shut down anyone who tries to exercise it in a way that don’t like.

BBQs at Bunnings:

Kirk Muddle writes: Re. Geoff Paine  (Friday, comments) regarding Bunnings sausage sizzles. Should Geoff not have made a declaration of a conflict of interest? Geoff’s company (Ready to Roll) has managed the last three Bunnings National conferences (that I am aware of), including the last “Boot Camp” in Pukapunyal, and his company is also the sole producer of training videos for staff for Bunnings.

Happiness:

Maria Conidaris writes: Re. “Tips and rumours” (Friday, item 8). Regarding your tip on the “Happiness and its Causes” conference. Someone needs to point out that one of the causes of happiness is a full belly — there’s no lunch supplied for conference delegates, and at $1,525 for a gold pass, you’d think they’d be able to find a plate of sandwiches.

Harry Nicolaides:

Media Mook writes: Harry Nicolaides sent out this media release:

His new novel — VERISIMILITUDE — is a trenchant commentary on the political and social life of contemporary Thailand. It is an uncompromising assault on the patrician values of the monarchy, the insidious infiltration of religious missionaries in the education system and the intimate relationship between American foreign policy and Thailand’s battle against Muslim insurrections in the south.

Savage, ruthless and unforgiving, VERISIMILITUDE pulls away the mask of benign congeniality that Thailand has disguised itself with for decades and reveals a people who are obsessed with Western affluence and materialism and who trade their cultural integrity and personal honour for the baubles of Babylonian America.

So spare us all this “innocent abroad” bullsh-t. And he’s writing “a tell all book” about his time in jail (surprise, surprise). And stop calling him “an author”, everyone. Grrrrrr.

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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