Low information journalism

Part of the phenomena of the decline of traditional or “legacy” media is a failure to come to terms with the unprecedented connectedness of the world in which we now live.

The old world where only a select few gatekeepers were privy to a majority of facts and selected which ones made it into the finite resource of tomorrow’s paper or this evening’s TV news has gone. The delivery capacity for news is, in effect, infinite and the key restriction is now the curiosity and availability of time for the recipient to gather information.

We get our world views from diverse sources and quickly write off as not credible those which have been proven to be untrustworthy or, worse, manipulative either by false reporting or selective reporting.

The older generation of journalists are taking a huge amount of time to realise this and their failures to come to terms with it are highly public.

Today’s particularly excellent example is courtesy of Jaqueline Maley, “Columnist and senior journalist“;

Let’s get the easy response out of the way first; the reason so few people are talking about it is because the accuser is clearly suffering from severe mental health issues that call into question her credibility, as this disturbing interview demonstrates.

Well done Anderson Cooper and CNN team for putting her up for public consumption simply because you don’t like the result of the 2016 election. What next, trawl the mental institutions for more accusers?

Another reason few people are talking about it is that it’s an accusation in a book, but no police report has been filed. Apparently, she is “considering” it.

You and I are not in a position to know and certainly not to judge whether or not Trump forced himself on Ms. Carroll, but we can judge Ms. Maley’s article where she does exactly that and finds him guilty.

Rape is a terrible crime with long term consequences for the victim. It’s also a crime that can be practically impossible to prove once any significant time has passed. If you were raped in the 1990s, 2019 is somewhat too late to press charges and expect a satisfactory result.

If your expectation is otherwise, may I suggest you haven’t spent enough time considering the consequences of applying that standard to the males you care about, such as your father, spouse, sons, grandsons and close friends.

The more amusing point though is Jaqueline Maley’s failure to treat her readers as having an intelligence quotient much above molluscs.

To even consider writing her opinion piece with a laundry list of reasons she dislikes Trump anchored around Ms. Carroll’s book published accusation, requires her to have completely discounted the possibility of her readers seeking an alternate source of information.

The simplest of internet searches would have given her readers the following internal answers when they read the question, “why are so few talking about it?”;

  1. Ms. Carroll does not present well, and in fact gives off an air of being a nutter,
  2. She’s publishing the accusation in a book but hasn’t informed the police,
  3. The alleged assault happened 4 decades ago.
  4. With the best will in the world, Ms. Carroll seems to have been a bit of a serial target of rape, if her writings are to be believed.
  5. All things considered, Ms. Carroll is really not credible. That’s not to say she’s lying but just that the “optics” are terrible.

Bill’s Opinion

Dear journalists in 2019,

The internet is available and can be used as an incredibly quick and convenient fact checker against which your entire audience can judge your work.

You may wish to consider keeping that sentence at the front of mind whenever you submit copy.

There is a form of bigotry you may not have considered that you are guilty of; the bigotry of low expectations. An example of this would have been evident if you had asked most Australians whether they knew the name of the person this article was referring to in 2013;

They knew it was Rolf Harris despite nobody in the Australian media being brave enough to name him.

Trick me once, shame on you. Trick me twice, shame on me.

This is a knavery of them….

So said Bottom.

There’s another bottom around, apparently:

Sydney’s biggest correction in house prices since the 1980s should be over by year’s end but there is no sign of a return to boom times, according to new forecasts.

Ok. I’m sceptical but let’s hear their reasoning behind this.

Domain’s property price forecast for June 2019, released on Wednesday, expects median house prices in Sydney to bottom out at just about $1 million and median unit prices to dip just below $700,000 in spring.

I don’t want to play the man not the ball here but isn’t Domain’s entire raison d’être to sell property?

The market is tipped see a modest turnaround next year, a forecast supported by low interest rates, strong population growth and ongoing low unemployment. 

House prices are expected to increase by 3 to 5 per cent over next year, while unit prices are forecast to rise by 2 to 4 per cent.

The thing about predictions, as the American mathematician Stanislaw M. Ulam famously said, is they are notoriously difficult, especially about the future.

Domain economist Trent Wiltshire said the trifecta of an interest rate cut, the Coalition’s election win and potential lending rule changes helped the market bottom out sooner than expected.

Yes, all three of these are potentially good news for property prices. I suppose the missing question and answer is, are any of these actually the most important factor driving rises and falls in the asset class?

“The big factors contributing to prices bottoming out is what has happened in the past few weeks … it turned around the market’s thoughts,” Mr Wiltshire said. “People will be able to borrow more and that should follow through.”

Quite, Mr. River for a Firstname, County for a Lastname, “economist” for a property services website.

Perhaps people are able to borrow more, having the resultant flow on for prices as demand increases. It doesn’t necessarily follow they will borrow more though.

More on that later.

By the way, who knew that a market was a sentient being with thoughts? Hello Skynet.

Meanwhile;

Sydney’s auction clearance rate is at its highest in more than a year.

Don’t, whatever you do, mention that volumes are half of what they were at the peak and those few properties that do sell at auction (rather than sold privately earlier and then added to the highly-fictitious figures) are sold because they are being greatly-discounted to meet the market.

ANZ senior economist Felicity Emmett said the forecasts were in line with her expectations.

There’s a prediction we will return to in a year or so then.

Economist Stephen Koukoulas said it was more likely for property prices to see zero or negative growth than a dramatic turnaround next year.

Nice to see The Kouk has stopped trolling and returned to reasonable market commentary now he’s come to terms with not landing a plum government advisory job for the duration of this Federal term.

One has to love the use of “negative growth” there, if only there was a shorter, more commonly used synonym in the vernacular. I don’t know, something that rhymes with tall and is a homonym for autumn in American-ese….

Anyway, back to that minor factor impacting property prices; lending.

For reasons of incompetence or mendacity, most commentators talk about supply and demand as if the latter is simply a function of sentiment.

In a real world where most purchases are leveraged through borrowing, demand is less about what one would like to buy and more about what the bank will lend me in order to buy.

So, the RBA’s lending figures have been published for calendar month May. What’s the data saying?

Oh dear, that wasn’t supposed to be story.

Here’s the updated Are We There Yet, Mum? Index;

Now, obviously I’m not as educated and clever as someone employed as the “senior economist” for ANZ or “economist” for Domain but it would seem to me one of two things need to be true for property prices to stop falling and then begin to rise, either;

  1. The blue line on that chart needs to reach the 0.4% hurdle and stay there or above for at least a couple of months, but probably much longer, or
  2. A new magical source of funding is found that doesn’t involve domestic banks.

As you were, people, as you were.

Never apologise, never explain

….is a quote by Canadian feminist (back when that wasn’t a label of insanity), Nellie McClung. Possibly.

Then again, it may have been Gertrude Stein. Or it might have been Benjamin Jowett.

PG Wodehouse was more verbose but does give us a clue as to why we should never show contrition (highlighting, mine);

It is a good rule in life never to apologise. The right sort of people do not want apologies, and the wrong sort of people take a mean advantage of them.

The fact many people may have said something similar about the value of apologies, particularly public ones, might be a clue to a universal truth we might be seeing playing out frequently in “woke” 2019.

Let’s draw a distinction here between being sorry and saying sorry.

An example; “I’m sorry it was discovered that I did cocaine in my youth and then went on to be vehemently anti-drugs when I became Home Secretary (the UK’s minister for crime)” is not the same as, “I’m sorry I did cocaine in my youth”.

The latter is an expression of personal regret. The former is, in effect, offering oneself up for the judgement of the world.

Socialists have long known the difference. They understand the vast power of the public apology and have used it to great effect to further their causes.

The Moscow Trials in the 1930s were simply powerful propaganda pour encourager les autres. If the defendants refused to cooperate in the charade, they were executed anyway.

These are lessons we seem to have to learn the hard way every generation.

Twitter is awash with people who have had to show public contrition for some speech or thought crime from decades earlier as righteous offence archaeologists dig up ancient wrongdoing and present it, in the public interest natch, and sit back smugly as the mob is whipped up and baying for blood.

The Parkland Shooting survivor, Kyle Kashuv, has recently learned how little value there is to showing public remorse. Similarly, Milo Yiannopoulos made an apology he has since come to regret. There are countless examples to be found and, if you can’t be bothered to look for them, wait a few days and the next one will come along.

Two people seem to have found a method of surviving this problem; Donald Trump and, recently, Boris Johnson. Both have lots of reasons to say sorry in public but generally wave it away as if the burden of someone else.

Depending on your personal animus, this could be taken as a proof they are of poor character and borderline sociopathic.

However, given the left have made it clear there is absolutely no redemption available, regardless of whether or not one shows contrition, it could be argued theirs is the only logical response to a call for sorrow.

The ancient Athenians looked at this unintended consequence following the Mytilenean revolt on the island of Lesbos. During the Mytilenean Debate, an earlier decision to send a boat with orders to execute all men and enslave everyone else was reversed and another boat was sent the following day to halt the implementation of the first order. One of the most compelling reasons offered in support of the reversal was that it would incentivise future revolts to fight to the death, as they would otherwise have nothing to lose.

Science has caught up with what Donald, Boris and the ancient Athenians already knew; academic paper confirms public apologies are, at best, not helpful to the individual and possibly even worse for them

Bill’s Opinion

If you mean it, say sorry to the specific individual you wronged. At the point the apology goes wider than just people you could name from memory, forget it and move on; they weren’t actually hurt and it’s not going to help you in the slightest.

Oh, and to the person who hosted the party I attended in an apartment in Hong Kong’s Wan Chai in August 1997; it was me who threw up on your bathroom floor and for that I am deeply sorry. 

There seems to be an obvious solution waiting to be found

The new oppressed class living amongst us is, apparently, single people.

No, don’t laugh. It’s true; The Sydney Morning Herald managed to find space between the Folau-dering to published an article about it, so it must be correct.

Grab a coffee, settle back and let’s try not to laugh too loudly as we witness mental illness given a public forum yet again in Sydney’s premier progressive organ:

Ok, you were warned. Here’s one of the oppressed;

Lucy Bloom says everyday household expenses such as rent, utilities, insurance and buying food or furniture can be twice as expensive if you’re single.

You may find this to believe but Marilyn, sorry, Lucy is single. Hardly credible, is it?

Now that you’ve got over that shock, here’s some barely believable maths for you to come to terms with;

A one-person household can spend $2835 per month on living costs – 27 per cent more than couples, who spend a combined $4118 per month.
Lucy Bloom can attest to the fact the singles tax is alive and well in Sydney, too.

If, like me, you’re struggling with the underlying equation resulting a statement that $2,835 is 27% greater than $4,118, consider inserting the words “per person” somewhere in the sentence. Sub-editing going well?

Lucy is a financial giant amongst us pygmies, however;

“So many things cost the same whether you’re a single or a couple, so it’s effectively twice the price to be on your own,” the management consultant says.

She’s a “management consultant”? Let that one sink in for a moment. 

It gets better;

“If I had a live-in partner, the only cost that would change would be food, but there would be two incomes to play with,” she says.

And if my mother had wheels, she’d be a trolley.

Actually, Lucy, if you had a live-in partner with another income, you’d have two incomes to play with.

But regardless of language semantics, she’s doing it tough. She barely knows where next month’s hair dye is coming from; 

“The only way I make it work is by renting out my spare rooms on Airbnb, which covers my mortgage.”

“Living by one of the best beaches in Sydney certainly helps my occupancy rate,” she says.

“On the upside, I have my personal freedom and an asset that has increased in value by $600,000 since 2017,” Ms Bloom says.

Right. Not exactly walking 20km barefoot to the well to collect drinking water each day, are we?

That last sentence in the quote is almost “Peak Sydney”; I’m sad and lonely and need to seek attention by dying my hair bright pink and whining about my life in a national newspaper but at least I’m an economic genius when it comes to investing in property. 

Let’s hope nobody bursts her bubble by showing her the CoreLogic indices relating to apartments in the Eastern Suburbs any time soon.

The best is saved for last though. Apparently, the oppressed singletons have one significant expense the privileged couples don’t;

One in four Australians spend $100 or more on pre-date preparation, including new clothes, shoes, hair and makeup and a further $79 on the first date.

They didn’t mention the additional costs associated with veterinary bills for cats, strangely.

Bill’s Opinion

This seems to align closely with Sailer’s First Law of Female Journalism;

The most heartfelt articles by female journalists tend to be demands that social values be overturned in order that, Come the Revolution, the journalist herself will be considered hotter-looking.

Kill it with fire

Sorry, but this saga isn’t going away and nobody is covering themselves with glory;

Christian charity to be investigated for helping Israel Folau.

Yes, Tom Decent was less interested in Australia’s progression to the cricket World Cup semi final after defeating England yesterday but continued his single issue activism journalism.

In a worrying omen for Folau, Gillian Triggs, the previous Australian Human Rights Commission president has offered words of support for his cause. Why is this worrying? Well, Triggs is one of those cultural bellwethers like Peter Fitzsimons; on any given issue, if they’ve made a public prediction about it, you’re usually safe to assume the opposite will occur.

Back to the inconvenient Israel Folau; he’s raised a further $1.2m in the previous 24 hours via a Christian charity donation website. Given that the previous money hasn’t been refunded yet, he’s probably well over the $2m level.

Understandably, this has really annoyed the people who are correct about these things. So, rather than bother letting due process play out, they’re trying to close him down again.

A number of complainants, however, have confirmed to the Herald that they have raised their concerns with the charities commission over the fundraising role played by the ACL.

In a statement, the commission said it “expected all registered charities to meet their obligations under the ACNC Act and the Governance Standards”.

“The ACNC can investigate concerns that a charity has breached the ACNC Act or the Governance Standards,” the statement said. “This may include not pursuing its charitable purpose, not operating in a not-for-profit manner, or providing private benefits to members.”

Presumably these complainants are hoping to help Folau raise a further $3m next week by going out of their way to annoy everyone who ever let a religious thought enter their head into donating in a act of defiance at being told what to think?

At least the Christians have realised the media aren’t their friends;

ACL’s managing director Martyn Iles was contacted for comment.

Quite right. Declining calls from Tom Decent is the smart thing to do at this stage; he stopped trying to pretend he was “Independent. Always” some time ago.

Bills Opinion

It’s not beyond the realms of belief that the Charities Commission will shut this latest fundraiser down. I don’t have any insight into the organisation but there’s a good chance it’s a captured institution given that it’s (a) public sector, and (b) not a meritocracy (but I repeat myself).

If they do, which direction does this saga tack next? People are increasingly wanting to offer Folau support and have shown they will find a way of doing so.

The only logical course to prevent these despicable people from supporting bigotry is to prevent Folau from enjoying the privileges of owning a bank account and accessing the internet and telephone networks.

Anything is reasonable in response to discovering Emanuel Goldstein in our midst, after all.

Why Khan’t you just shut up and do your damn job?

At last, chance to chat about something unrelated to religious rugby players…..

People sometimes ask me why we moved from London to Sydney? Reasons they are correct in assuming played a factor include the weather, the beaches, sailing and the chance to work in the vanguard, nay, the cutting edge of business and industry.

Ok, nobody seriously suggests the latter; if you think Sydney is leading the world in anything commercial, you’ve not been paying attention. It’s not even leading Australia in making good coffee; that’s Melbourne. Sydney sniffily looks down on it’s northern neighbour, Brisbane, as being backward but at least Brisbane has the humility to rarely pretend to be anything other than an oversized country town where everyone is related.

The main reason we moved out of London is that we didn’t fancy burying one or more of our children after they’d bled out on a London street.

Don’t get me wrong, London is absolutely still my favourite city in the world. If you’re earning a decent wedge of cash and enjoy good food, drink, music, arts and great value travel options, London is the place to live. If you’ve got kids of high school age, however, it’s really a holiday destination only.

We could see the trend years ago with a general and pervasive atmosphere of danger increasing over the years. I lived there for most of my adult life and had a great time but this was partly due to the fact that I was, (1) able to afford to live in one of the nicer areas, and (2) physically confident in most conflict situations (thank you Mr. Hamilton, my junior school teacher who introduced me to rugby).

Even with those mitigating factors, there were still a few occasions where the danger crept into our lives. My significant other still berates me for the time when we were travelling home on a bus one afternoon after I’d been playing rugby and I foolishly prevented a young man from attempting to get on through the rear doors (to avoid paying his fare) and he and two mates jumped me. Two factors were in my favour that day; I was in significantly better physical condition relative to the youths and, most importantly, they didn’t have any weapons. Thanks to that second factor and the help from another bloke on the bus, I was unhurt and they left with bruises. It was still stupid of me, however.

One doesn’t just arrive at being financially independent and handy in a fight though, you must survive adolescence and the initial phase of your working life first. High school age children are at a disadvantage, therefore.

Since we left, for reasons unclear to us, Londoners elected (and subsequently re-elected) a mayor who seems uninterested in delivering the most basic of requirements of his job description; i.e. keeping the population alive and physically safe.

Sadiq Khan has overseen the most rapid escalation in knife crime and other forms of serious violence that the capital has experienced since before Robert Peel thought about getting some hairy-arsed blokes together to calm things down a little.

How bad is it? 30 deaths from stabbings since the start of the year.

From that article;

How many stabbings were there in London in 2018?

Figures from London’s Metropolitan police showed that knife crime surged by 16 per cent in the capital year-on-year in 2018, as Britain’s crime epidemic continues.

There were 1,299 stabbings in London up to the end of April, according to official statistics from the Met Police.

In 2017-18, there were 137 knife offences for every 100,000 people in the capital.

2018 was London’s bloodiest year in almost a decade as the murder toll reached 134.

These statistics are appalling but they also tend to obfuscate even worse realisations. For example, how young those 30 murder victims are.

The reason I used The Sun’s article above rather than a more “respectable” mainstream media outlet is because it lists each of this year’s fatalities and gives their ages. Take a moment and scan down the list. Most of those murdered were 25 years old or younger.

When one looks at the probability of being stabbed in London, the “137 in 100,000” is not relevant if you are, say, an 18 year old. Clearly the risk is far greater for you and nearly everything an 18 year old would consider as being fun is likely to contribute to worsening that probability, such as going to a party, drinking in a bar, attending a music festival, walking home from a friend’s house at night, etc.

Bill’s Opinion

Things are likely to get far worse before London improves. The good news is that crime epidemics can be reversed in large global cities like London. New York in the 80s and 90s is the precedent for this.

However, it’s clear that the leadership is where the change starts. If your mayor is more interested at ranting on Twitter about his distaste for the President of the United States than, say, increasing visible policing, targeted stop and search, curfews for school age children, enforcing truancy laws, and generally being bothered about the rule of law, then don’t expect knife crime and other violence to reduce in a hurry.  

Alistair Williams has a good perspective on this;

Australian hypocrisy’s name is Lisa Wilkinson

Christ, can we please all just shut up about Israel bloody Folau?

No? Ok then, here’s our 3rd sodding blog post in a week about the ridiculous saga…..

For those who care enough to continue reading this blog and this specific post but aren’t bothered enough to keep up with the news, which I suppose is probably the square root of bugger all people, the latest update is as follows;

Go Fund Me have taken down his donation page because it breaches their terms of service.

The money will be refunded to the donors.

The Sunday Project (“prow-ject” in the vernacular) host, Lisa Wilkinson, berated a God botherer in a hard-hitting interview last night because he was of the wrong opinion.

Firstly, the Go Fund Me terms and conditions are linked on our previous offering on this subject if you’re curious. They really don’t explicitly exclude Israel’s campaign, but have a big clause about the website’s discretionary powers which would allow them to shut him or anyone else down at a whim. The reporting of this that tries to claim a breach of terms is either wrong or duplicitous. At this stage of the culture war, it’s probably going to save you time if you just assume the latter.

In summary, they are a private website and the contract you sign when you use it allows them to do whatever the hell they want. That isn’t the same as pre-emptively banning on principle Israel Folau’s campaign or similar campaigns.

Refunding the money will be interesting, however. As commenter, Sgt 73rd Regt mentions on our previous post, the inference is that the money goes straight to a trust bank account and doesn’t sit on the Go Fund Me account earning interest for them. I will be able to confirm what really happens shortly as I, ahem, may have considered it worth an amusing tenner to donate under Lisa Wilkinson’s beta male husband’s name….

Which brings us on to the increasingly haggard, post-menopausal La Wilkinson….

Last night on a TV show nobody was watching, she gave a 30 year old God botherer a proper lesson in investigative journalism. Nah, not really; she just did the easiest thing in the world and ran logic rings around someone with faith. If this is important work, there’s a billion people in India who believe God looks like a blue elephant whom she could doorstep with a willing camera crew.

Picking on God botherers is fine, if that’s how you want to make your money but we would like to point out two reasons why La Wilkinson is being incredibly hypocritical;

  1. Her co-host on The Prow-ject is an outspoken muslim  who has struggled in the past, on camera, to explain his faith’s doctrinal view of homosexuals. Presumably, her hard-hitting interview with Waleed will air later this week?
  2. A very lucrative part of Lisa’s annual salary is earned from hosting “Carols in the Domain” each Christmas. One assumes she’s spotted the underlying religious element of that TV program?

Bill’s Opinion

I promise this is the last missive on this subject until something halfway interesting occurs (and that doesn’t include faux legal advice in the comments from a failed civil engineer).

It’s probably worth clarifying my personal faith regarding this issue first; I’m an atheist who enjoys the benefits of where the Judeo-Christian tradition arrived in 2019. Perhaps a “cultural Christian”, if you will. I have no animus whatsoever toward homosexuals, to use the cliché, some of my best friends, etc.

If I could be so inclined, I could seek out discussions with people of faith and run logic rings around them just for fun. In fact, when I was younger, more foolish and cruel, I often did, asking my Christian relatives what they thought about those awkward fossils in the Natural History Museum and what the implications were for their reading of the Old Testament, for example.

What seems odd to me is that Lisa is applauded for poking fun at someone of a particular faith, especially as she’s very fucking happy to take their coin every Christmas. We can play the whataboutery game here too; why doesn’t she ask the question of other religions, for example the bloke she sits next to several evenings a week?

If you don’t believe in the tenets of Christian faith, why would you care about whether it teaches some people will go to a place you don’t believe exists?

Those who suggest this is no longer just about a kick and clap football player and his employer are correct. This is a cultural war being played in AND BY the media. Go Fund Me were bullied into closing down the campaign after a concerted effort by the a small subset of the media. It will be interesting to see where the battle is fought next.

Next week on the Sunday Prow-ject, Lisa Wilkinson angrily confronts Harry Potter fans who claim she can’t travel to Hogwarts.

Take it away, Waleed;

Doing the Decent thing

Tom Decent seems to have decided to not selectively edit today;

GoFundMe’s fine print says the crowdfunding site cannot be used for “campaigns we deem, in our sole discretion, to be in support of, or for the legal defense of alleged crimes associated with hate, violence, harassment, bullying, discrimination, terrorism, or intolerance of any kind relating to race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation or sex.”

Here’s my take on his previous attempt to steer the narrative.

Bill’s Opinion

There was a time when journalists used to at least attempt to offer their work as being without bias. I recall a time when they would be referred to as “reporters”. That noun seems to be out of favour now.

It’s absolutely fine to be an “activist”, we all have causes we support, but it’s highly disingenuous to pretend to be a “journalist” at the same time.

Obsessive reporting

The Sydney Morning Herald isn’t coping well with the thought that Israel Folau might have even the slightest chance of winning his legal action against The Australian Rugby Union Rugby Australia.

Reporter Tom Decent and his editors are particularly piqued that quite a few people are putting their money behind Folau in a Go Fund Me campaign:

Hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations to controversial rugby union player Israel Folau will end up in the pockets of Rugby Australia if he loses a protracted legal battle against them.

Well, yes, that’s how legal cost allocation tends to work once cases have been decided.

Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle told Nine News last night she was surprised Folau, one of the highest paid athletes in Australian sport, would ask the general public for financial support.

Where “surprised” is a synonym for “shitting herself“.

“From our perspective [GoFundMe] is a place where sick children get support, so certainly it is not a strategy we thought was appropriate,” Ms Castle said. “They [donors] have seen what the money is going to be used for and they have to make their own decision.”

No, I’m pretty sure it isn’t just for sending bald kids to Orlando, with a huge range of causes from the deadly serious to the frivolous on there.

There’s top level categories for people asking for donations for their weddings and holidays and jokers asking for beer money. For example, I’ve recently been following the progress of a couple who are having a fabulous time circumnavigating in a small yacht who are being funded by donations on the page.

Once Folau’s GoFundMe page was activated just before midnight on Thursday, the money starting rolling in for the exiled Wallabies fullback who pleaded in a viral video for financial support to help stand up for religious freedom.

By 8pm yesterday, more than $410,000 had been sent his way as donors from all over the globe showed their support for an athlete prepared for the “fight of my life”.

That’s quite impressive, but don’t expect any back slapping from the media as it doesn’t fit their narrative. In fact….

However, questions have been raised about the wording of a disclaimer at the bottom of the fundraising page. It read: “In making this contribution I acknowledge that my contributions are made freely as a gift on the basis previously affirmed and that there will be no obligations on Israel Folau to do anything for me in recognition of the gift or to apply the funds in any particular way with respect to his legal action, and that I hold no expectation to receive anything in return for my contribution.”

A basic search of the other requests for donations would show that’s just standard for every request. In fact, every Go Fund Me campaign has the following default disclaimer as part of the platform’s terms and conditions:

All Donations are at your own risk. When you make a Donation through the Services, it is your responsibility to understand how your money will be used. GoFundMe is not responsible for any offers, promises, rewards or promotions made or offered by Charities, Campaigns or Campaign Organisers. We do not and cannot verify the information that Campaign Organisers supply, nor do we represent or guarantee that the Donations will be used in accordance with any fundraising purpose prescribed by a Campaign Organiser or Charity or in accordance with applicable laws.

It might be argued that, by putting the disclaimer on his page, Folau is being more open and honest than everyone else who prefers to let it languish behind a hyperlink.

Still, it’s nice of Tom Decent to draw everyone’s attention to this. Great public service there, Tom; Woodward and Bernstein will be proud of you.

When contacted by the Herald, a spokesperson for Folau declined to comment on the wording of the disclaimer or what the 30-year-old’s plans were if the money raised was surplus to his legal fees.

Frankly, if I were advising the Folau team, I’d suggest they treat any contact from the Sydney Morning Herald as one made in bad faith, based on all the bias they’ve already demonstrated.

Tom is lucky they still answer his calls to even say, “no comment” or something a little more robustly Anglo Saxon.

While it is expected Folau will use the cash for his upcoming challenge, the $3 million goal he set far exceeds the usual expectations for such a legal bill. One barrister labelled the price tag “outrageous”.

A barrister so brave that they didn’t want to be named? Surely there’s an opportunity for the shy and anonymous lawyer to get his/her/zher name out there to offer to under-bid the incumbent legal team?

RA chief executive Raelene Castle (right) said she was surprised one of the highest paid athletes in Australian sport would ask the public for financial support.

Well, if he’s being overpaid by so much, who’s fault is that Raelene?

Law Council of Australia president Arthur Moses warned that the thousands of individuals who donated anywhere from $5 to as much as $10,000 yesterday might not realise exactly where their money is going.

Again, it’s great that the public are being made aware of the Ts&Cs of the Go Fund Me website all of a sudden. Interesting that Moses wasn’t leading his people across the sea to safety for all other campaigns.

“The issue of crowdfunding and its application to litigation opens up a veritable can of worms for the legal profession and the courts,” Mr Moses said. “This an issue which the legal profession and the courts must grapple with if this practice continues to increase.

Hold the front page; “lawyer finds a problem to be solved by lawyers“.

“A security for costs order is an order that requires a litigant to deposit money into a secured account. This means that if the case is dismissed or the litigation fails, this money would be used to pay legal expenses of the opposing side.

“There are also questions around what occurs with remaining funds if the money is not used in its totality. Is it returned to those who donated or to the person who collected the funds?”

Yes, we’ve covered that already. Read the terms and conditions, Moses.

It’s a donation with no guarantee.

Yet knowing this, people have still freely donated half a million dollars already? That’s got to hurt.

There were also suggestions Folau’s GoFundMe advertisement breached the site’s rules, which states that users may not attempt to raise money for, “for the legal defence of … intolerance of any kind relating to race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender or gender identity, or serious disabilities or diseases”.

Suggestions from whom? The Sydney Morning Herald sportsdesk or someone more qualified in analysing the terms of service for a website?

Actually, this is a brilliant example of fake news. The clause partially quoted above is part of a list of inappropriate causes. Have a look at what Tom deliberately cut out and replaced with some dots:

8. campaigns we deem, at our sole discretion, to be in support of, or for the legal defence of alleged crimes associated with hate, violence, harassment, bullying, discrimination, terrorism or intolerance of any kind relating to race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender or gender identity or serious disabilities or diseases;

In other words it’s entirely at the website’s discretion and they are concerned with not getting involved in criminal cases, which this isn’t.

Selective editing, Tom? For shame, Tom Decent, for shame.

Bill’s Opinion

It doesn’t matter which side of the debate you support, there’s no excuse for deliberate selective editing to fraudulently bolster your side.

Also, whipping up a non-story about terms and conditions applicable to every campaign for donations as if they were unique to Folau is a clear form of journalistic fraud.

It must be quite a life burden to have a surname such as “Decent” to live up to.

UK judge performs a miracle

….by making us almost feel sympathy for a cyclist, even one who has recently moved to the south of France.

A yoga teacher who stepped into the road while looking at her mobile phone has won damages from the cyclist who struck her

A yoga teacher AND a cyclist collided?

Wasn’t there an option where they both could have lost? Perhaps taking out three vegans as collateral damage?

The cyclist does seem to have acted reasonably and taken steps to avoid hitting her over and above the usual ding-a-ling and “Hey! Watch out!”:

She “panicked” and tried to dodge back to a traffic island, but the cyclist, who had been travelling at between 10-15mph, swerved in the same direction and hit her.

Mr Hazeldean had come through a green traffic light, and had sounded a loud airhorn attached to his Specialized roadbike, as well as shouting, swerving and braking in a bid to avoid the pedestrian.

Seems entirely her fault.

However….

Judge Shanti Mauger, sitting at Central London County Court, said the cyclist was “a calm and reasonable road user” who was “courteous and mild-mannered”.

But she went on to find that Ms Brushett deserved a payout, saying Mr Hazeldean “owed a duty to other road users to drive with reasonable care and skill.” 

Which presumably means riding at a snail’s pace in case something interesting is trending on a pedestrian’s Facebook feed that morning?

It all seems a bit silly really. Roads are for vehicles, pavements are for pedestrians, and the rules when those two worlds need to meet are fairly well-established. If road users now need to assume every pedestrian is going to randomly leap out in front of them, we may have just found the secret of full employment as everyone with a vehicle hires a person to walk in front waving a red warning flag.

What about this judge, Shanti Mauger, what other cases has she ruled on recently?

How about a cleaner who received ten gees’ compensation for slipping whilst cleaning a kitchen that was dirty. No, seriously.

Can we find anything else in the public domain about this judge?

Oh, her actual name is Claire, her middle name is Shanti, and her recently-deceased Dad was a not so happy clappy yoga devotee.

Wait, what? Yoga???

Bill’s Opinion

I’m going out on a limb here but do you think that maybe Claire Shanti let her own personal feelings toward the stupid yoga teacher interfere with the requirement to provide unbiased judgement based on the facts presented and the legal precedent?

I’m no legal expert but I’d strongly suggest the cyclist might want to consider appealing the ruling.

Ommmmm. And breathe.