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.

Offence trolling

The evil and cruel Israel Folau has been up to his old tricks of being mean to people again, like the awful Christian he is:

“Attack”.

Where and when was this “attack“?

Israel Folau has launched another attack on gay people and also criticised young people being allowed to change gender during a sermon at his Sydney church.

Right, so if you didn’t go to his church on that particular Sunday for that particular service, you wouldn’t have heard this recent “attack” then?

It’s so good of the media to give this egregious behaviour the wider publicity it deserves and otherwise wouldn’t have received. I’m sure gay and transgender people are extremely grateful for being offered this service.

What did the hateful Folau preach to his sheep this time?

The former rugby union star described homosexuality as a sin and claimed the devil was behind primary school children being allowed to decide if they wanted to change gender.

Ok, so in line with the teachings of Christianity, Islam and Judaism then, or, in other words, what about two thirds of the world’s population believes?

Not exactly flat earth dogma, is it?

The statements that homosexuality is a sin and the devil is behind primary school age children “transitioning” genders are presented as being equivalent in their logic and level of outrage.

Perhaps we might not agree Lucifer’s hand is to be found behind “Mermaids“, but it doesn’t mean encouraging the proliferation of transgender children is biologically or morally correct either.

Here’s a fun thought experiment;

You’ve got tickets to see the last ever Rolling Stones’ concert and your babysitter just cancelled. It’s too late to ask any friends or family but both sets of neighbours have said they would help out. Do you ask the Folaus or the Salkilds?

By the way, a quick stalk through Emma’s social media suggests she’s pulled back a little on the “my son is a girl” bullshit and, in fact seems to have completely ceased from boasting mentioning it. Almost as if, I dunno, it was a phase she projected on the poor fucker. One assumes the lad and his dad are somewhat relieved no genitals were mutilated in the meanwhile.

Bills Opinion

It’s obvious that Israel Folau has been found guilty of wrongthink and, from now on, will be subject to this type of offence trolling.

Literally nobody would have known about the content of his sermon last weekend if the media hadn’t sought it out and presented it to the world. I’ve not been to Folau’s church but I suspect it doesn’t meet in a football stadium.

If a gay or transgender person is feeling any negative emotions today as a result of reading the reporting of his sermon, who is to blame?

Folau is being consistent to his beliefs. These beliefs are shared by billions of other people. If you agree he should be hounded out of his employment and to continue to be subject to scrutiny over the details of his religion, perhaps you should also consider where this leads and who the spotlight shines on next.

(We tried to contact Peter Fitzsimons for comment but he was unavailable)

Sheep are concerned by the dimensions of the pasture, wolves aren’t

Oh, this is just exquisite:

Australians are among the world’s most likely to share dodgy articles online at a time when almost half of Generation Z uses social media as their main news source and Google’s YouTube surges in popularity.

Says who?

Oh, The Digital News Report by the University of Canberra’s News and Media Research Centre.

The University of Canberra has a News and Media Research Centre?

When you get the call to evacuate Planet Golgafrincham, be very worried if you’re assigned a berth on the same Ark as anyone from that faculty.

This quote by Dr. Fisher is unintentionally hilarious:

“But consistently over the five years it also very much does depend on the source of news you use and those who rely on traditional – offline platforms, TV, newspapers – they have higher trust in news generally than people who rely on online sources,” she said. “That hasn’t shifted.”

Admittedly, without bothering to look at the same data as Dr. Fisher, I’d like to offer an alternate assessment and conclusion:

People who actively seek out information from diverse sources become very cynical towards the uniform reporting of the legacy media.

Bill’s Opinion

One wonders whether the good Doctor Fisher and her students have ever heard of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave?

Wouldn’t it be just so beautifully ironic if they hadn’t?

Allah enjoys a cold beer too

On a hot day, a palate-cleansing cold beer can be quite refreshing. I don’t suppose that’s the explanation for this though;

Terrorists linked to Iran were caught stockpiling tonnes of explosive materials on the outskirts of London in a secret British bomb factory, The Daily Telegraph can reveal.

Radicals linked to Hizbollah, the Lebanese militant group, stashed thousands of disposable ice packs containing ammonium nitrate – a common ingredient in homemade bombs.

Hizbollah. The “party of Allah”.

Lovely people, I’m sure. It probably means nothing important that they have a picture of an AK47 on their offical flag.

In unrelated news, the great de-platforming and de-monetising of non-Left voices on social media continues, with Stephen Crowder being the latest to feel the wrath of the tech company censorship.

Meanwhile, this account is deemed fine;

Presumably Hasanein died of an excess of Photoshop?

Anyway, there’s always a silver lining in every cloud, his lad gets free haircuts until he’s 16 years old or when he’s fitted with his first suicide vest, whichever is sooner.

You do have to love the Lóréal sheet as a nice touch, “…because you’re worth it“.

Bill’s Opinion

Jokingly referring to someone who describes themselves as “queer” by that name 7 times over the course of a 12 month period is beyond the pale and will see you thrown down the memory hole.

Being a organisation that actively targets the only functioning democracy in the Middle East, waging wars and planning terrorist attacks, and chucking gays off buildings? All good, apparently.

How interesting.

Free speech for me, but not for thee

Those readers not familiar with Australia’s iteration of Common Law might be surprised freedom of speech is not enshrined in the Australian Constitution.

Precedent case law is not particularly helpful either to those believing we should be free to say what’s on our mind, limited only by the restriction of not inciting violence.

In fact, Federal legislation takes things even further in the opposite direction, with clause 18.C of the 1975 Racial Discrimination Act legislating against “offensive behaviour” based on “race, colour or national or ethnic origin”. Note, religion isn’t currently in that list.

There are further restrictions in State laws, this being the NSW example. The term “vilify” is used a lot in these versions of free speech restrictive laws.

“Vilify” isn’t a verb we tend to use much in our everyday lives, so our common understanding of its definition might be a little shaky. The Victorian version of free speech restriction law defines it as conduct that ‘incites hatred, serious contempt, revulsion or severe ridicule’.

…which is, frankly, a blank cheque for any politically-motivated judge presiding over a case. “Severe ridicule“, for example, could be used to describe most comedy, particularly political satire. And what’s the standard separating “severe” from simply “mild” ridicule?

Note also how the standard for the definition is the reaction in other people. Most laws have a punishment for your direct actions, yet this legislation punishes for possible future actions of others as a reaction to your action.

We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto.

Further evidence that this is not the place to look for brave defence and defenders of the freedom of speech is depressingly simple to find. Examples;

Queen’sland University students hounded by the press for Facebook comments they didn’t write.

Foreign entertainers Milo Yianopolous, Gavin McInnes and political activist Tommy Robinson banned from entering the country because of their speech.

Clearly we are playing in a different ball game to the USA’s First Amendment. A different sport on a different planet, in fact.

However, our brave journalistic class are currently twisting their pinafores in angst and distress over a recent raid of the state broadcaster by the Federal police following publication of leaked classified information.

Let me just run that by you again; the government police are investigating the government news agency.

Oh look, a squirrel!

Here were are though, in 2019, finally seeing our brave media types getting behind a moral cause they are prepared to die in a ditch defending.

Slow hand clapWell played sir, well played”.

Geoffrey Robinson probably makes the best fist of explaining why the raid was on shaky moral ground, why it wouldn’t happen in the USA and UK and a defence of the media’s right to publish military secrets but, frankly, he completely fails to mention all the reasons we’ve arrived here in the first place, such as the media and legal professions’ failure to defend the little erosions of free speech over the years.

By trying to invent a right to “not be offended”, we’ve reduced the right of free speech, the consequences of which are playing out every day as hate speech laws are subjectively enforced. How else can they be enforced but subjectively, when the definition of “offence” is such a personal one?

Bill’s Opinion

Defending free speech is pretty virtueless if you only ever defend the speech with which you agree.

There is no Morality Olympics Gold Medal for only speaking up when your team is attacked. Nobel Peace Prizes aren’t usually as easy as Obama’s was to attain.

I have two questions to all those in the media who suddenly think free speech is important;

1. Where the fuck have you been for the last few decades? And,

2. Do you really think fighting for your right to publish illegally-leaked military secrets is going to be the best test case to take to appeal to reverse free speech restrictions, compared to say, defending some camp clown who writes hurty tweets on the internet?

Irony is resurrected for Australian Rugby

The ARU are looking to renew their links to charitable causes and are seeking expressions of interest;

The photo above is interesting; last time I checked, there were 15 players in a rugby team, not 10. More if you count the match reserves.

I wonder why they’ve cropped the rest of the team and wider squad out of the picture?

Perhaps a clue can be found in the press release (highlighting mine)?

Rugby Australia said it is seeking a charity partner that aligns with the game’s core vision, which includes making rugby “a game for all” and igniting Australia’s “passion for the game”.

Right then, a game for all? That’s great.

Can we get a hint of what that might mean by looking at the current charity partners?

The charity will also link with Rugby Australia’s current community partners including Disability Sports Australia, Pride in Sport, the Australian Deaf Rugby Team and Our Watch.

Pride in Sport? I wonder what they’re all about?

Pride in Sport is the only sporting inclusion program specifically designed to assist National and State sporting organisations and clubs with the inclusion of LGBTI employees, players, coaches, volunteers and spectators. The world-first Pride in Sport Index (PSI) benchmarks and assesses the inclusion of LGBTI people across all sporting contexts.

Ah, because what one does in the privacy of one’s bedroom and with whom one does it is extremely relevant to kicking a ball or swimming in a pool, isn’t it?

I suppose there’s no point in the charity, The Australian Christian Values Institute applying then?

Bill’s Opinion

As this article points out (h/t Tim), the ARU is one of those organisations that has fully-embraced the current fashion for wokeness. The problem is, they haven’t fully-worked out the details of which victim credentials trump which others.

Hence a deeply religious rugby player is about to sue the arse off the sport for firing him for legally-expressing his views, fully in line with the recognised teachings of the religion, because they are at odds with the feelings of another one of the protected groups.

Unless the Australian judge presiding over the case decides to defenestrate Common Law precedent (which, to be fair, is not beyond the realms of possibility), the ARU are going to have to cut a considerable cheque.

The lesson is straightforward.

Go woke, go broke.

Nothing burgers for sale – $10 each

A reading of all 448-pages of the Mueller Report is taking place in Queens, New York on Saturday and Sunday.

Isn’t it always the case that we find out about events too late to buy tickets or to cancel other plans?

For example, U2 have just announced an Australian tour but, unfortunately, it’s too late for me to attend as the concerts coincide with a long-planned appointment I have with slamming my cock in a drawer.

But back to the performance art by people who are absolutely sane and in no way caught up in an echo chamber of views;

Beginning on Saturday evening, volunteers will read from the report over 24 hours. Music will play over some of the redacted portions.

Riveting stuff. I bet there won’t be a dry seat in the house.

Ticket sales must be huge, somewhere between the Alien Sex Fiend reunion and “T’Pau’s Greatest Hit rebooted” tour, I imagine.

“The American people paid for the Mueller Report and not a lot of people have read it,” Steven Padla, a member of New Neighbourhood, told Business Insider. “We want it to be heard by as many people as possible.”

“…..not a lot of people have read it”?

It’s not as if there’s a concerted effort to censor it; it’s a free downloadable PDF.

Frankly, if you’ve not had an utter gut full of CNN talking heads trying to find something, anything, of interest in the report for the last few months, can I suggest Rachel Maddow over on MSBC would welcome the extra viewing numbers?

Bill’s Opinion

The Kübler-Ross model is generally accepted as a good indicator of where people suffering from grief and loss are on their journey to some semblance of normality.

The stages are as follows;

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

It would seem stages (1) and (2) are quite hard to leave for some folks.

Et tu, Tony?

It’s quite amazing this took so long:

It’s an utter non-story. Don’t take my word for it though, follow the link and judge for yourself.

What’s important is that the #MeToo movement is coming after Tony Robbins. Whether they are successful or not will be instructive, mainly because there were so many reasons to have taken Robbins down in the past, if this one is his nemesis, we now know where the power sits.

Let’s face it, the man has made an absolute fortune selling evangelical Christianity without the Christianity part. We’ve all met someone who’s got the religion at one of his $8,000 conferences and tried to make some massive change in their life… and usually failed.

He’s a snake oil salesman and has been for decades. If he was untouchable all that time but is taken down by an old video with few off-colour comments at a paid for conference, that’s very instructive.

Bill’s Opinion

It’s not clear what Robbins has done to become the next target. If you think the controversy is about the comments on the video, you’re being somewhat naive.

First they came for, ah fuck it.

Bill Pulver’s letter to Raelene Castle – exclusive

(from an anonymous source in the ARU)

Dear Raelene,

Kia-Sportage bro, as you and Jacinda say in the vernacular.

I hope you’re having fun in the not so new gig and the daily drive out to Olympic Park isn’t too tiresome. Strewth, it is truly a godawful place to have to work from, thank goodness the Wobblies only play there once or twice a year. I can understand why the fans prefer to stay at home and watch it on their sofas. Well, that and the fact that they can do something else with their time in the second half of the match, once the result has been decided.

Anyway, I digress.

I wanted to drop you a quick note to wish you the best of luck in the forthcoming World Cup in Japan and send my best wishes for the preparations. Hopefully Chek has got a great esprit des corps in the changing room now, with all of those unique characters working well together. I can just imagine the larrikins Quadey and Pocock must get up to, surely they will be great room mates in Tokyo.

I wanted to mention something I missed in the handover documents. In addition to the two envelopes, I thought you might want to consider some changes to the player contracts in the next round of contract extensions.

Increasingly, and as a result of our strategy to stop funding grass roots rugby and simply poach the better mungoes from Rugby League, you’ll need to have a strategy to deal with the God-botherers.

Obviously, the majority of these are Westies with apostrophes in their names, so any successful strategy is going to have to be reasonably unsubtle and articulated mainly in monosyllables. Try to pitch it at a level that an ABC for Kids viewer could comprehend.

There’s likely to a bit of a clash of cultures with that LBTQI+ptangyangkipperbang thing you and David Pocock committed the sport to in your pitch to the Board. Those happy-clappy types aren’t so keen on the shirt-lifters so you’ll need to reign them in on the old interweb thingy. Apparently, some of them have suggested that Caitlyn Jenner might not be completely female.

I know, madness, eh!

Some sort of contractual clause about not expressing religious or political views should do the trick.

The alternative is to do what the ABC do when one of their vastly more intelligent journalists tweet some extreme left wing opinion (i.e. always); state that their views outside of work are their own and they have the right to express them without any consequences to their livelihood of providing unbiased and objective reporting.

You’ll have to pick one of these approaches though otherwise you’ll be left in a terribly difficult and probably expensive no-man (or gender non-specific) land the first time one of them gets an injection of the Ol’ Time Religion one Sunday morning.

Actually, thinking about it, maybe you’ll be in such a mess if you don’t that you’d make my CEO term look halfway competent, which, let’s face it, would have been unthinkable a year or two ago.

On second thoughts, I think I won’t bother sending this letter after all.

Yours, in rugby,

Bill Pulver

Bill (Ockham’s) Opinion

It’s a funny old world when the European colonialists spend 200+ years telling Pacific Islanders, often at the end of a gun barrel, about the salvation of Jesus Christ and then sack them from their jobs for believing the message.