In the Valley of Ana Kalay

The inimitable John Birmingham gave free permission to share this:

The graveyard of empires is not all razor-backed mountains and howling wasteland. There are hidden gardens and lush valleys between the arid Afghan heights, paddy fields and fertile tillage overlooked by ancient castles. Australian soldiers who fought in Khas Uruzgan recall the eerie dissonance of moving through tropical landscapes that needed just a scattering of peasants in black pyjamas and conical straw hats to complete a weird and contrary connection to another war lost and another time passed.

The Australians were there in September 2008, in the valley of Ana Kalay, and on the second day of that month, the first day of Ramadan, they fought a long battle with a much larger larger force of Taliban fighters. They’d been looking for the fight. Both sides were always looking for the fight.

The day started early, at 4AM, when five Humvees carrying US and Australian special operators and half a dozen Afghan soldiers drove out of an isolated, forward operating base called Anaconda. They headed east into the Ana Kalay, a narrow, green strip of arable soil in the lowland between the gnarlier, desolate heights of the surrounding hill country. A dozen or so Australians dismounted inside the valley, quietly filtering up into the southern foothills to lay their ambush.

Another two SAS patrol groups had ghosted their way into the northern hills hours before. They waited on the vehicle convoy and on the insurgents who would be drawn to it. The Americans and their local allies moved around quite openly, offering themselves as bait, and soon enough somebody took it. The SAS patrols to the north engaged a number of Taliban fighters, killing them. The southern patrols spotted more on the move, but the patrol commander Sergeant Troy Simmonds declined to open fire. There were too many children nearby. When it became obvious there was no more fighting to be done, they withdrew. The two SAS patrols to the north left on foot through the mountains, a long haul back to Anaconda. Their comrades to the south rejoined the American convoy.

That’s when everything turned to shit.

There is a whole book to be written about the Battle of Khas Uruzgan, but in essence the details were simple. A small allied force, deep in hostile territory fought for three and a half hours to move three and half kilometres through a narrow, contested battlespace. The enemy, somewhere between a hundred and two hundred Pashtun tribesmen loyal to the Taliban, controlled the high ground and moved with ease along the streams and river channels. Heavily armed with mortars, RPGs and automatic weapons they prosecuted a rolling ambush which killed one American and wounded nine Australians and one Afghan soldier.

They all fought bravely. All of them. The tribesmen had the advantage of numbers and terrain, but to press that advantage meant standing into a firestorm, including aerial support from US F-18s.

One of the Australians, Trooper Mark Donaldson, was awarded a Victoria Cross for his individual bravery when he raced into the open under murderous fire, to rescue an Afghan interpreter who had been blown out the back of a Humvee by a rocket-propelled grenade. The Afghan was lying face down in a spreading pool of blood and was in danger of being left behind.

Donaldson sprinted eighty metres to grab him and drag him back to the relative safety of the slow-rolling convoy.

He later told the Australian War Memorial.

“I’m getting chased by bullets, and I got to him, and there were bullets kicking around us … I started to drag him at first – and I’m not a massive guy – so it wasn’t really working out. I got him to his feet, with my arms sort of underneath him, half carrying, half dragging, and I just thought: what now? Do I leave him here? Do I use him as a shield? Do I just save my own skin? Or do I get him to that car that’s driving away from us? And that’s the only thing I could really focus on – that vehicle.

“His face was really bloodied and messed up and he was trying to talk to me. He was trying to tell me his eyes were hurting – ‘I know your eyes are hurting, mate, you’ve been wounded, it’s all right, let me get you to the vehicle’ – but I finally got him there, managed to wrap a bandage around him, and mucked around trying to get him into the car.

“I was really, really dry, and my lungs were burning, massively. And I distinctly remember this because it took me about five or six goes of just swapping from side to side to side of the vehicle. I was that tired – and I don’t tell anyone this – but I was that tired, I was leaning against the vehicle as it was moving, and just moving my legs, and my 2IC came around and said, ‘Man, just keep running.’ He was worried I was going to fall over and get caught up underneath the car.”

They finally broke out of the valley and returned to Anaconda. Three choppers full of wounded lifted off hours later. Donaldson helped the interpreter onto one of the helicopters. He never saw the man again but he told the War Memorial interviewer, “We don’t leave anyone behind. It doesn’t matter that we only knew him for five days…He was an Afghan guy that was one of us. He was with us, and he was out there fighting with us, and I respect that.”

But of course, there’s one guy who doesn’t…

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537 thoughts on “In the Valley of Ana Kalay

  1. Australia Card, anyone?

    The trade minister, Dan Tehan, has given a press conference to confirm that the government is working on a QR code system to certify vaccination status, to help enable international travel and attendance at events such as sport, concerts and theatre.

    Check-in CBR (which is working beautifully) only needs you to enter name and phone number. Tehan wants a system which validates who you are.

  2. Sorry for the late posting I’ve been busy. 😀

    friendlyjordies –

    Stephen Colbert –

    Jimmy Kimmel –

    Rachel Maddow –

    Chris Hayes –

    Anderson Cooper –

    Brian Tyler Cohen –

    • Forget how lovely it is to have such a loving father at our helm, guiding us through this pandemic. Imagine this PM, with his priorities so clear, in charge of our national response to the threat of invasion from foreign enemies or national crises of fire and flood, caused by climate change, or whatever danger might threaten us!

  3. So – my area- NSW Mid-north coast – is to be released from lockdown tomorrow.

    That is despite fragments of The Plague being consistently found in sewage in Bonny hills, Port Macquarie and Kempsey for at least the last week.

    Someone here is infected, more likely quite a few “someones” but because they don’t/won’t get tested their likely infection gets ignored.

    It would be better to keep all of NSW locked down for at least another fortnight.

  4. Tudge, serial adulterer, staunch upholder of “family values” devoted Christianist and member of the parliamentary prayer group, says Anzac Day must be “presented as the most sacred of all days in Australia”.

    He can get fracked! Real Christians might say Easter was far more sacred.

    Anzac Day commemorates a dreadful defeat in which what was left of the Anzac forces snuck away in the dark of night to avoid further slaughter.

    I have never understood the right-wing promotion of the day, meant to be a solemn occasion of reflection on those who died in war, into the twisting of historical fact into a myth about “nationhood” and the alleged glory of war.

    Alan Tudge says he doesn’t want students to be taught ‘hatred’ of Australia in fiery Triple J interview
    Education minister says Anzac Day should not be presented as ‘contested’ in draft national curriculum

    Extra – discussion of the Prayer Group and list of members is near the end of this article.

    Who’s who in the Liberals’ left, right and centre factions?

  5. SfM came out with this (and more) a couple of weeks back

    Scott Morrison’s caveman comments alienate Western Australia
    Prime Minister Scott Morrison has angered an entire state by appearing to liken its residents to cavemen.

    Not well received here in the cave as we enjoy our ‘awful’ life living a normal life but 😆 When I saw this in the local rag. With those sorts of comments PM Flimflam might have set himself up for some bites in the arse at the next election from we ‘parochial provincials’ in Sandgropia. Secession Now ! 😆

    Majority of West Australians identify more strongly with State over nation

    Proud Sandgropers: West Aussies pick State over country

    A majority of West Australians identify more strongly with their State than their country — placing Sandgropers firmly at odds with the rest of the nation.

  6. Good morning Dawn Patrollers

    Niki Savva asks the PM it we really ARE “all in this together”. She is in top form!
    Day after day, more undeserving recipients of JobKeeper payments are uncovered. The demonstrated avarice poses a credibility dilemma as companies now call on their workers to do the right thing in the pandemic, opines Elizabeth Knight.
    Professor of political science, Tim Lynch, explains how September 11 ushered in an age of panic.
    In a bit of a bombshell, The Australian’s Yoni Basham reveals that NSW Health officials advised the state’s crisis cabinet to reopen the economy when vaccination levels were closer to 85 per cent but were overruled by Premier Gladys Berejiklian and senior ministers, who said 70 per cent cover was sufficient.
    New government data shows Victoria has administered almost half of the country’s AstraZeneca vaccines, while New South Wales received more Pfizer doses through its primary health network in August than Victoria and Queensland combined, explains Sarah Martin.
    Richard Denniss says that Morrison and Berejiklian are attempting to shift the blame for Covid on to us. A cracker!
    Michael Pascoe explains why NSW’s ‘Picnic Day’ could come at a huge COVID cost.
    Suppressing the virus will require much lower caseloads before lockdowns can lift, even if we meet vaccination targets, writes Michael Keating.
    Australia needs a new and realistic national plan for emerging from the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, explains Stephen Alomes.
    Kristina Keneally is considering a switch to the lower house at the next election, factional sources say, in a move that would solve a bitter internal preselection fight for top billing on the NSW Senate ticket, writes Rob Harris.
    David Crowe reports that a federal ban on Australians leaving the country will be dropped as soon as November under plans to end an extraordinary travel restriction and embrace a “vaccine passport” so travellers can prove they are allowed to cross international borders.
    David Speers says the states are calling the shots when it comes to vaccine passports.
    The SMH tells us that fully vaccinated Sydneysiders will be able to enjoy a drink in a pub by the end of October and some parts of NSW will have restrictions eased within days.
    Victoria is expected to have 18,000 active cases and 800 people in hospital by mid-October and health officials worry there will not be enough specialist staff to cope, report Farrah Tomalin and Aisha Dow.
    The truth of the matter is we didn’t order enough of the vaccine. But that’s not all that’s wrong, writes John Lord.
    Josh Butler writes that the federal government has angrily denied Labor claims it bungled an opportunity to secure “millions” of Pfizer doses in 2020, after newly revealed emails showed the pharma giant was eager to ink a deal with Australia in June last year.
    Peter FitzSimons asks the CEO of the NRL what will happen next season to those players who are not covid vaccinated.
    World governments, including our own, have been adding to the confusion around COVID-19 vaccines with misinformation and changing facts, writes Sue Arnold.,15491
    Things are not as they should be in Australia. But will ‘normal’ ever return after Covid ponders Greg Jericho who supports his musings with several interesting charts.
    Latika Bourke says that Scott Morrison has thanked expats around the world for their sacrifice and for the first time has acknowledged the heartbreak and frustration they have suffered being locked out of Australia.
    Peter Wicks says that Craig Kelly’s claim of 30,000 new members has many wondering if his counting ability is any more reliable than his Covid treatments.
    The editorial in The Canberra Times declares the PM’s Father’s Day flight to have been a leadership fail.
    A thousand days since Morrison’s promise, there’s still no anti-corruption commission, writes Mark Dreyfuss in this op-ed in The New Daily.
    Under Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Australia no longer displays compassion and humanity towards those in need, writes Rosalind Fuller.,15490
    Bevan Shields tells us that senior British ministers agreed to remove specific references to the Paris climate accord in a free trade deal with Australia after the Morrison government made it clear the new pact should not be used as a tool to force its hand on carbon emissions.
    The Morrison government is expected to come under further pressure over climate policy when the foreign minister and the defence minister meet face-to-face with their US counterparts in Washington next week, says Daniel Hurst.
    According to Mike Foley, carbon capture and storage will for the first time be included in the investment strategy of Australia’s Renewable Energy Agency after a controversial change to its remit.
    More from Foley who tells us the CSIRO is investigating underground water banking for inland towns in response to growing drought risks.
    Is Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp Australia really shifting away from ‘climate denialism’? Graham Readfearn examines the reality of this.
    Defamation law expert Michael Douglas believes that yesterday’s High Court decision will help clean up the garbage on social media.
    But barrister Matt Collins says the High Court has delivered a ruling that should alarm not only media outlets but every user of social media – because its effect is to make all of them the publishers of anyone’s comments to their posts.
    The SMH editorial complains that the High Court judgment on social media posts is a blow to free speech.
    Andrew Tillett reports that Morrison government ministers are split over whether to tear up a Chinese company’s ownership of the Port of Darwin, amid expectations the US will press the issue in top level talks with Defence Minister Peter Dutton and Foreign Minister Marise Payne in Washington next week.
    Harriett Alexander reports that Ben Roberts-Smith has accused his ex-wife of leaking confidential information to the lawyers who are defending Nine newspapers against his defamation claim.
    Today’s nomination for “Arsehole of the Week” goes to this dangerous charlatan.

    Cartoon Corner

    David Rowe

    Cathy Wilcox

    Matt Golding

    Glen Le Lievre with some gifs

    Mark David

    Mark Knight

    Andrew Dyson

    Peter Broelman

    John Shakespeare

    Johannes Leak

    From the US

  7. Seth Meyers –

    Stephen Colbert –

    Rachel Maddow –

    Chris Hayes –

    Brian Tyler Cohen –

    Jimmy Kimmel –

  8. This is our future, people. I was starting to feel a bit safe now we have had both our shots, but not any more.

  9. Scott Morrison’s airbase red carpet photo op broke Defence protocol, emails reveal
    It’s not standard procedure for a PM to receive a red-carpet welcome at an airbase. But that didn’t stop ScoMo.

    Scott Morrison’s photo op during an airbase visit — which went viral after people noticed an unusual red carpet welcome from an honour guard — was preplanned and broke with normal protocol, according to internal Defence emails.

    The prime minister posted an image of himself visiting the Williamtown RAAF Base to virtually attend the national cabinet on his Instagram on May 7.

    The image, which depicts Morrison walking a red carpet with an honour guard of Air Force service people saluting, was criticised as being out of step with normal procedures for previous prime ministers. Both former prime ministers Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull told the ABC they’d never had an honour guard or red carpet welcome at bases.

    Emails obtained by Crikey under freedom of information laws show Australian Defence Force staff coordinating Morrison’s visit to the base, including correspondence with the prime minister’s staff.

    It reveals that Morrison’s staff planned the photo opportunity, while also showing Defence staff scrambling to explain why the guard departed from normal VIP treatment once it went viral.

    • Without social media – and Scovid’s addiction to Instagram – this whole thing would have been ignored.

      Thank heavens for Twitter.

  10. Health Minister Greg Hunt is in damage control mode thanks to the two Pfizer scandals plaguing him: reports that he failed to meet with the company when it first reached out to him in mid 2020, and (disputed) reports that the federal government secretly allocated additional vaccine doses to NSW at the expense of other states.

    Not to be outdone in the tone-deaf department, the PM responsible for much of the nation’s current suffering opened today’s press conference with a reminder that it was R U OK? Day, something we all saw coming and yet desperately hoped he would avoid. Morrison, then pressed on Hunt’s failure to attend early Pfizer meetings, had so much and yet so little to say about his health minister’s actions, rejecting the premise of some questions while simply refusing to answer others. When directly asked if Hunt was right not to take the meeting in June last year, Morrison said he would leave that up to others – as usual.

  11. TLBD
    Fixed it

    Health Minister Greg Hunt is in damage control mode thanks to the two Pfizer scandals his incompetence and indolence still plaguing him:

  12. Good morning Dawn Patrollers

    Michelle Grattan tells us how Scott Morrison is wedged between Joe Biden and Barnaby Joyce in forging climate policy for Glasgow.
    David Crowe describes PM’s culture of creeping secrecy and how a flight to Sydney confirmed his aversion to disclosure.
    In this exclusive, Nick McKenzie, Chris Masters and Anthony Galloway, reveal that the day before he was dumped as defence minister in 2015, Liberal hardliner Kevin Andrews pulled a bold move – he appointed his long-time staff member and conservative party factional player Nick Demiris to the crucial quasi-judicial role of inspector-general of the defence force. They say Details of the appointment, which was overturned days later by a furious prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, have emerged as concern circulates at the highest levels of the Australian Defence Force about whom the government will appoint when outgoing watchdog James Gaynor’s term ends amid the fallout from the damaging Brereton inquiry into war crimes.
    Lucy Cormack and Tome Rabe unravel Gladys’s “freedom road map”.
    But Mary Ward writes that public health experts have expressed concern about NSW’s road map to reopening its economy, which they say appears to have been driven by industry rather than consideration of the state’s stretched hospital system.
    This is a great path to freedom (so long as you’re vaccinated), say Gregory Dore and Liz Hicks in this measured and detached contribution.
    The NSW roadmap is uncharted territory, a Covid experiment pitting the vaccinated against the rest, writes Anne Davies. She says the big unknown in the plan is how it will be enforced. The good news for other states is they can watch it unfold and decide whether to follow.
    Vaccine passports are coming to Australia. Katie Atwell tells us how they will work and what we will need them for.
    Australians must be prepared to see the Covid vaccination uptake curve start to flatten in coming months, a leading vaccine communication expert has warned, due to the rate of hesitancy, explains Melissa Davey. She says the latest data from Melbourne Institute’s Covid-19 Vaccine Hesitancy Tracker suggests 20.3% of Australians are either unsure about or unwilling when it comes to vaccination.
    We’re sick of COVID. So government messaging needs to change if it’s to cut through say these contributors to The Conversation.
    NSW has a road map out of lockdown, but absurd restrictions on useful signposts such as rapid antigen testing are going to make the narrow path more difficult, says Jennifer Hewett.
    The Age says top-level Victorian government officials are increasingly frustrated with the speed at which the state’s public health team is developing a plan out of lockdown, as experts call for more measures to control the spread of COVID-19. Brett Sutton appears to be under the pump.
    It has been just three weeks since Covid first came to the far north-west New South Wales community of Enngonia, but already it has claimed the life of a beloved elder and infected 21 – or 30% – of the Indigenous population of the town, reports Lorena Allam.
    Rachel Clun looks at Morrison’s defence against the allegations over the delay in negotiations with Pfizer.
    The Pfizer deal was an insurance policy we needed, but it was too little, too late says David Crowe.
    Josh Butler reports that American drugmaker Novavax says it is ready to begin shipping COVID vaccines to Australia as soon as the federal government gives it the official tick of approval, claiming it has resolved production issues that threatened to derail plans to deliver millions of jabs in 2021.
    Waleed Aly says that police accessing QR data is a violation of our emergency pact.
    After a delay of over six months, the Australian government has now decided to support a temporary waiver of property rights in the World Health Organisation (WHO) on COVID-19 vaccines. The waiver would allow world-wide production. The WHO meets again on September 14. If agreement can be reached this will enable the production around the world of life-saving vaccines that are needed particularly for poor people.
    Australians will be paying more for groceries and other essential goods heading into Christmas as COVID wreaks havoc on retail supply chains. Matthew Elmas tells us that economists have warned households to expect higher prices as supermarkets and other retailers start passing on large cost increases to consumers.
    Employment experts Stephen Clibborn and Chris F Wright hope that the eventual reopening of national borders will provide an opportunity to end the mistreatment of migrant workers.
    Michelle Pini writes about Morrison’s underwhelming effort at the Women’s Summit.–but-not-tame-enough-womens-summit,15495
    The editorial in The Age goes to News Corp’s climate change shame.
    News Corp’s climate change campaign allows the company to shift its public without being committed to much at all, opines Kim Carr.
    The National Party has abandoned farmers in favour of caving into the demands of fossil fuel donors, writes David Paull.,15497
    Labor’s candidate for the Melbourne seat of Higgins, Michelle Ananda-Rajah, says the government’s lack of action on climate change will be a decisive issue for voters at the next election, as she eyes winning the seat off the Coalition for the first time in more than 70 years.
    Labor’s leading lawyer, Mark Dreyfuss, has promised a tough, transparent anti-corruption body Prime Minister Scott Morrison would be “terrified” of if the opposition won the next election, writes Sarah Basford Canales.
    The AIMN says “This week marks 1000 days since the Prime Minister Scott Morrison promised Australians an integrity commission. In that time, the Prime Minister has done almost nothing to live up to his word. The truth is, this Government does not want an integrity commission before the next election”.
    Australia is at a critical point. A Coalition government that would cling to power to impose broadly unpopular policy threatens the very nature of our democracy, warns Lucy Hamilton.
    JobKeeper for dentists? Fair enough. But more public subsidies for doctors’ lobby groups who enjoyed rising surpluses or hardly suffered a downturn? Callum Foote reports on Australia’s Medical Colleges refusing to pay back the millions in JobKeeper payments.
    Angus Thompson writes that Sydney Liberal MP, Jason Falinski, who is leading the Commonwealth’s inquiry into housing affordability has equated social housing with “housing commission” and criticised affordable schemes as rent fixing that drive up prices and limit supply elsewhere.
    Meanwhile, Westpac chief executive Peter King has underlined a deterioration in housing affordability, saying regulators should wait for lockdowns to end before assessing whether there was a need for lending curbs to be introduced.
    The gaming industry spent $271.3 million on advertising last year, up from $89.7 million in 2011, and the CEO of Tabcorp says more restrictions are needed.
    Shareholders should be outraged by the casino gaint’s remuneration policy. Not only have they not received any dividends, but the board has also allowed failed executives to make out like bandits, complains Elizabeth Knight.
    And The Australian says that, as if things couldn’t get any worse for billionaire James Packer’s casino empire, its brand new auditor, Rachel Milum and her team from top-tier accounting firm KPMG, have issued a formal warning that there is a “material uncertainty” and “significant doubt” that Crown will be able to continue as a “going concern”.
    The Future Fund’s exceptional performance highlights the constraints, not the failings, of super funds, explains the AFR’s Jonathan Shapiro.
    Staff at the nation’s domestic spy agency are working overtime to reduce long waits for officials needing high-level security clearances to handle top secret information. Doug Dingwall reports that a new report from the national auditor shows ASIO is relying on employees to work longer hours when the backlog for high-level security clearances grows.
    The catastrophic failure of US and coalition intelligence in Afghanistan offers serious food for thought about the extent to which Australia relies on the vaunted Five Eyes arrangements, writes former ambassador to Korea, Mack Williams.
    French warships and troops would be given guaranteed access to Australian naval bases and military sites under a proposal being discussed by both countries, as the federal government moves to lock in the next stage of its troubled $90 billion future submarine program next week, reports Anthony Galloway.
    The US government is running out of cash and a stalemate over the raising of the US debt ceiling threatens to throw economies and share markets around the world into turmoil, writes Stephen Bartholomeusz. It’s not a pretty picture.
    Yesterday Joe Biden announced sweeping new federal vaccine requirements affecting as many as 100 million Americans in an all-out effort to increase COVID-19 vaccinations and curb the surging Delta variant that is killing thousands each week and jeopardising the nation’s economic recovery.
    The US Justice Department is suing Texas over a new state law that bans most abortions, arguing that it was enacted “in open defiance of the Constitution”. And we think WE have culture wars!

    Cartoon Corner

    Cathy Wilcox

    David Rowe

    Peter Broelman

    John Shakespeare

    Peter Broelman

    Andrew Dyson

    Simon Letch

    Jim Pavlidis

    Mark Knight


    From the US

  13. Biden with a surprisingly tough Covid plan. Them thar ‘freedumb fighters’ will be mighty ‘angried up’
    Path out of the Pandemic

    Requiring All Employers with 100+ Employees to Ensure their Workers are Vaccinated or Tested Weekly

    Requiring Vaccinations for all Federal Workers and for Millions of Contractors that Do Business with the Federal Government

    Requiring COVID-⁠19 Vaccinations for Over 17 Million Health Care Workers at Medicare and Medicaid Participating Hospitals and Other Health Care Settings

    Calling on Large Entertainment Venues to Require Proof of Vaccination or Testing for Entry

    Requiring Employers to Provide Paid Time Off to Get Vaccinated

  14. Very good thread from the AMA on BinChicken’s ludicrous “roadmap” –

    The woman is insane. So is whoever is pushing her into this plan.

    How are pubs, cafes, gyms etc meant to ensure only the double-vaxxed “elite” use their services, especially when most couldn’t care less about possible infected patrons and Covid certificates are so easy to forge?

  15. This tweet shows Grunt in September 2020. Chris Bowen tweeted it in April this year and thought it had not aged well back then.

    It positively reeks of incompetence and arrogance now, in fact it stinks like a well-rotted corpse.

  16. When Pollyanna BinChicken can no longer find a positive spin to put on daily Covid announcements about increasing cases and deaths in NSW she decides to stop making them.

    BinChicken has clearly given up.

    Gladys Berejiklian says she and her health minister, Brad Hazzard, will stop their daily Covid briefings from this weekend.

    “Sunday will be the last day we officially do a press conference in this way but from Monday at 11am, health will provide a daily health update and myself and minister Hazzard or any other relevant minister will present to the community on a needs basis”

  17. Leone you are a sitting duck with the obscuring of case numbers and locations as Sydneysiders start swarming up the coast and the number of infections continues to rise

  18. Is BinChicken copying the failed Alberta model?

    This article sounds horribly familiar – just change a few names and dates and it could be about NSW. Especially this –
    “The bottom line is that people are going to die and it is really tragic — but it is also infuriating, because this was all entirely preventable.”

    Alberta’s rising COVID-19 cases due to faulty modelling and government inaction, experts say
    ‘People are going to die and it is really tragic — but it is also infuriating’

    Gladys is taking her ideas from the UK, as did Alberta. What could possibly go wrong?

    • I think Gladys is stopping her pressers so the news cycle moves on and people forget how bad the pandemic is

      Scotty wants to hold his election this year

  19. friendlyjordies –

    Seth Meyers –

    Stephen Colbert –

    Jimmy Kimmel –

    Rachel Maddow –

    Chris Hayes –

    Brian Tyler Cohen –

  20. I feel the same way.

  21. Another Covidiot.

    XPT service from Sydney halted at Kempsey after positive COVID-19 case identified

    The XPT service from Sydney to Grafton was stopped at Kempsey on the New South Wales Mid North Coast on Thursday night after a COVID-19 positive case was identified aboard.

    Police received reports that a 22-year old woman had failed to isolate after a positive COVID-19 test and was travelling from Strathfield to Coffs Harbour with her three children.

    The train was stopped by police at Kempsey just after 10:30pm and the woman her three children were removed, before being taken to a special health hotel in nearby Port Macquarie

    I had no idea there is a “health hotel” here.

  22. Next time you fly to Kabul make sure you fly on an NZ passport 🙂
    ……………she says, again, jarringly casually and like it’s a total normal thing to get a text from the Taliban.

    “They asked if it was true if New Zealand donated $3m for aid relief, which we did via the Red Cross – and they thanked me and said that New Zealand was truly a world leader in empathy.

    “They granted me the first interview today and they said they’re giving it to me because they specifically want to thank New Zealand for offering humanitarian aid.”

  23. Good morning Dawn Patrollers

    Laura Tingle piles in to Berejiklian and Morrison over their “steamrolling” of the national plan.
    George Megalogenis says that Sydney in real danger of a once-in-a-century setback, given Berejiklian’s “challenging policy experiment.
    A number of things that happened on the last week of politics have really got Katherine Murphy fired up. It’s a great read.
    Also driven by the events of last week, John Hewson says, “Voters are looking for politicians with conviction and purpose rather than drones who are just there for the perks of politics, whatever they might be.”
    “Scott Morrison loves to keep a secret. It has become a trademark of his government and famously manifested itself long before he snatched the keys to The Lodge. It is serving him and the workings of our democracy poorly”, begins Paul Bongiorno in this assessment of the secret life of the Prime Minster. He says of all the prime minister’s secrets, one is very poorly kept: an integrity commission like that is the last thing Scott Morrison wants.
    Tony Wright reckons the Prime Minister for Sydney could do with a little camping out. He says, “If Scott Morrison is aggrieved at being tagged Prime Minister for Sydney, he could do worse than consider why The Lodge was chosen as Australia’s primary residence for national leaders and their families in the first place.”
    Annika Smethurst tells us all about Morrison’s efforts in heading up tourism under Fran Bailey. It seeks Tim Fischer has warned her about the dangers that would be presented by Morrison.
    Defence Minister Peter Dutton is on a mission to fix Australia’s complacency regarding China, but our nation must also look within to address the many threats to the lucky country, urges Peter Hartcher.
    Hooray! David Crowe tells us that Australia’s medical regulator is preparing to take legal action against federal MP Craig Kelly over text messages that could have misled people about vaccines.
    As overwhelmed hospital staff prepare to triage patients based on age, a new briefing to national cabinet says the strain on the health system will last well into next year, reveals Rick Morton in this very concerning article.
    Tom Rabe and Lucy Cormack write that Sydney’s Delta outbreak has put an $11 billion hole in the NSW economy in 12 weeks, with the budget deficit forecast to hit $19 billion but Treasurer Dominic Perrottet insists he has no plans to scrap any of the state’s major infrastructure projects.
    Deborah Snow and Lucy Carroll say that right when Berejiklian most needs to maintain public trust, she cuts back the government’s exposure to questioning. NSW is now walking a Delta tightrope.
    Beh Doherty looks at some of the reaction to Berejiklian’s cessation ofs daily presser appearances.
    In a long and informative contribution, Greg Sheridan says that vaccines or not, the war on Covid may have only just begun.
    The editorial in The Saturday Paper outlines the information revealed this week and declares that “the sequence of events describes the central failure of the Morrison government. It is a failure of urgency and humility. The government has done everything it can to obscure it and nowhere near enough to correct it.”
    Zoe Daniels writes that our leaders are using COVID to divide us, and she says we should not keep taking the bait.
    A year into the pandemic, the advances have been incredible, but the head of the Doherty Institute says there will be more challenges awaiting, reports Rachel Clun.
    The Government’s merging of the Family Court with the Federal Circuit Court will complicate the family law system over time, writes Graham Perrett.,15499
    Bianca Hall reports that some ultra-Orthodox Jewish worshippers have been gathering since March last year during repeated lockdowns, to the frustration of police, Victoria’s Department of Health and the wider Jewish community.
    Police say some demonstrators arrive with only one plan: to try and fight cops. “Why else would someone turn up at an anti-mask rally wearing a mask and goggles?”, writes John Silvester in this article about the way Police Commissioner Patton is managing the force.
    Karen Middleton reflects on the 20 years after 9/11.
    The average NSW mortgage has climbed more than $200,000 in two years. But it may have come at a cost to the nation’s long-term living standards, explains Shane Wright.
    Karen Middleton explains how government agencies worked against each other in the Kabul evacuation.
    The SMH editorial pushes back against Education Minster Alan Tudge, saying that it is important to give students not just nationalistic propaganda but a nuanced view of our history with all its tragedies and its successes.
    Zoe Samios tells us that News Corp Australia’s executive chairman Michael Miller has told local staff the company’s commentators such as Andrew Bolt and Rowan Dean will not be “muzzled” as part of a company-wide editorial project focused on climate change and reducing carbon emissions.
    Despite government promises to increase funding during the pandemic, Australian experts are identifying a mental health emergency for young people, writes Santilla Chingaipe in The Saturday Paper.
    Peter Dutton has reaffirmed the elite status of Australia’s Special Air Service Regiment, overruling a Defence plan to strip it of its ability to select its own recruits, reports Ben Packham.
    As the ACCC pursues BlueScope in court over alleged price-fixing, the regulator’s chair is pushing for far-reaching reforms to merger laws, explains John Durie.
    “What if the US response to 9/11, with all its multiplied hatreds, had been different?”, wonders Paul Daley.
    Even as school principals face more onerous workplace demands, they are receiving less support, leaving many burnt out and disillusioned – and some under investigation, writes Jane Caro.
    Dear old Gerard, like Old Faithful, has another vomit at the ABC.
    Biden is channelling the sentiments of the majority of Americans who are fed up with the unvaccinated. He’s picking his fights wisely, writes Matthew Knott who says Biden is resetting his presidency.
    A federal judge ordered Apple to dismantle part of the competitive barricade guarding its closely run app store, threatening one of the iPhone maker’s biggest money makers. Nice work, Mr Judge.
    On the eve of its 48th anniversary, documents just declassified by the Australian National Archives show the extent to which the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) worked closely with the CIA in the lead-up to the Coup-d’état in Chile in September 1973. Story by Peter Kornbluh and Clinton Fernandes.
    Prince Andrew was served with papers at the Royal Lodge, Windsor on the morning of August 27, according to a witness statement filed in Manhattan federal court.

    Cartoon Corner

    Peter Broelman

    Andrew Dyson

    David Rowe

    Alan Moir

    Jim Pavlidis

    Matt Golding

    Jon Kudelka

    Mark David

    Mark Knight

    Matt Davidson

    John Shakespeare


    From the US

  24. Today is the second-last day of pressers from the NSW government, so what does BinChicken do?

    She takes the day off, because it is Saturday.

    You would think she could have summoned up the energy to appear, seeing as she gets to stay home and put her feet up after tomorrow.

    She refuses to re-open NSW parliament, she will no longer do pressers. She will do anything, it seems, to avoid difficult questions being asked about her relationship with Daryl Maguire and what she knew about his corrupt activities.

    The woman should resign, immediately. Remember when Barry O’Farrell resigned over a gift bottle of wine? Standards were different in those days. Now a premier can sleep with a politician on the take and indulge in pillow talk about what scams he is involved in and all the media will do is jump to defend her.

    In case you were wondering, there are 1599 new cases in NSW (a new record) and 8 deaths. No wonder she is hiding under her doona.

  25. Jonathan Pie –

    Bill Maher – (new rules44:15)

    Rachel Maddow – (watch first 3 mins of first vid then switch to second vid)

    Chris hayes –

    Brian Tyler Cohen –

  26. THEIR ABC !. This morning while out driving I heard the 8:00 am news on RN. Lead story , a run through of the covid situation in Victoria. Second item, a run through of the covid situation in Queensland. Third item,……………….Afghanistan developments. Binchookistan ? Nah , nothing happening there.

  27. What a prat! (I’m being polite, I could not possibly say what I really thought on this family-friendly blog)

    Former prime minister Tony Abbott has received a $500 fine for not wearing a mask after being snapped in Manly without one earlier this week.

    According to reports, Abbott told reporters today he believes he was still within the rules, but will not waste police time by challenging it.

    He reportedly also said he doesn’t think dobbing is part of the Australian character.

    I never thought dobbing and snitching was part of the Australian character.

    I think as soon as we can leave this health police state mindset behind us, the better for everyone.

    Worth remembering when he was PM he launched a “dob in a dealer” hotline, and public servants were also encouraged to dob in their colleagues for social media posts critical of the government

    It is not the first time Abbott has been accused of breaching quarantine rules. Last time he got off, this time he wasn’t so lucky.

  28. Looks like they bullshitted to the world.

    Evidence Disputes U.S. Claim of ISIS Bomb in Kabul Drone Strike

    The U.S. military called it a “righteous strike” — a drone attack last month against a vehicle that officials thought was a threat to troops in Kabul’s airport.
    But a Times investigation raises doubts about the U.S. version of events and shows how the military launched the attack without knowing whom it was hitting.

  29. You might have seen Twitter claims about 72 being the age at which life support will be refused to patients should they present to a hospital with Covid.

    It is NOT a rumour.

    It is from Rick Morton’s article this morning in The Saturday Paper –

    Plans have already been drawn up for a worst-case scenario in the health network. In NSW, doctors and nurses have been told by hospital managers that life-saving support may not be provided, or potentially even be withdrawn, for those with a median age of 72 during the “overwhelming” phase of the current Delta outbreak – which is forecast for late October and early November

    So now those of us over 70 know exactly where we stand – at the very bottom of the heap.

    • Make no mistake, if you are directed toward ICU with covid and end up intubated your next address (if you survive) will be neglected in aged care nursing home.

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