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Driving through Northern NSW today, I switched on the radio, surfed the AM band looking for the ABC and chanced upon the unmistakable cadence of John Laws. I was amazed he was still on the radio. Here’s how it went:

The Ignominious Lalal Tax

Laws: Rolf. What’s on your mind ?
Rolf: John, Islam specifically states that anyone who is not Islam is an infidel and should be beheaded.
Me: Awesome start!
Laws: Yes, I know. But look Rolf, The Bible has beheadings in it too. An eye for an eye and all that.

Within seconds the conversation had entered the realm of hyper-reality. The Koran does not say that infidels should be beheaded. That punishment is reserved for Apostates and for opposing forces during Jihad. And The Bible has no beheadings anywhere. Rolf and John were like two galaxies of ignorance locked in mutual inspiralling orbit. Fascinated and aghast I wondered what horrible energy would be emitted when they finally collided. I dialled up the volume a little more.

Rolf: And Islams have put a Lalal Tax on our food. How can they do that ? Can we take them to the High Court ?
Laws: Eh ?
Me: Stalemate. Laws found Rolf incomprehensible.
Rolf. Lalal. How can Islams do it to us ?
Laws: Oh. Ha. You mean Halal. Rolf, Halal.
Rolf: Yes, Lalal. Halal.
Laws: Well the Tax Officials have decided there can be such a Tax. It’s no different to the Heart Foundation Tick Of Approval. I think we’ve demolished your arguments, Rolf.

Wow. Does Laws really think the ATO have permitted Muslims to levy a tax on Australian food ? This was fantastic. I settled in behind the wheel and dialled up the volume a little more.

Rolf: Are you an Islam, John ?
Me: !!!!!
Laws: Er… No.
Rolf: Then you have to be…
Laws: Beheaded. I know. Thanks for your call, Rolf. [Dumps Rolf]
Laws: Heh, heh. Rolf is a good old bloke, but Lalal !? What can you say heh heh.

I had overestimated the energies of Rolf. Laws had simply consumed Rolf whole and regurgitated him as a mockable titbit.

Pauline Hanson

Laws: Next caller is Anthony. What’s on your mind, Anthony ?
Anthony: Aw, G’day John. I saw Pauline Hanson speak at The Commercial Hotel in Inverell last night. She’s tidy.
Me:  Pauline Hanson! I had hit the Mother Lode !
Laws: Oh yes! She’s a great bird! What did Pauline talk about ?
Anthony: Oh. Er…like…er…cutting immigration and common-sense things like that…and…er…lots of things. I bought her a VB.
Me:  Could this get any better ???
Laws: Oh well. Pauline is a great bird, but she’s a bit extreme on some things you know.
Anthony: She’s got the body of a twenty year-old.
Laws: YES! YES! I KNOW !! SHE’S A GREAT BIRD !!!
Me: Now screaming with laughter I narrowly avoided a head-on with a 26-wheeler Semi. I punched the station co-ordinates into permanent memory.
Laws: [Panting Softly] …but a bit extreme at times. Thanks, Anthony.

Rolf Reprise. Frank Cops A Blast.

Laws: Got a text here from Geoff of Glenn Innes ‘Just went to the supermarket and asked for Lalal Food. [pause] They said they didn’t have any so I informed them I would take their supermarket to the High Court.’
[pause] Heheh Rolf What have you started ? Lalal. Hehehe.

Laws: Now, Frank, stop texting me will you ? You’re just a nark. Malcolm Turnbull’s tax havens and the Panama Papers are COMPLETELY UNRELATED.
[Laws then played a sudden one-second highly amplified blast from his show’s theme music. It cut like a buzz-saw. The effect was curiously psychedelic.]

Laws: Besides which Michael Pascoe from The Australian, a good man, was just with me yesterday saying Malcolm has done NOTHING ILLEGAL.
[Another psychedelic blast]

Me: Confirmation Bias (CB) is the sine qua non of Talkback Radio epistemology as Laws brilliantly demonstrates in just two sentences above. Note how CB also bonds Laws with his audience as they absorb the legitimacy of understanding truth through pre-existing bias and also discover just who can be trusted [The Australian and News Ltd] and who should not be trusted [Frank and other critics of the LNP / Malcolm Turnbull]. This is how Talkback hosts train their audiences how (not) to think. And thus also why Scott Morrison thought that being The Minister for 2GB was worth bragging rights in the LNP Party Room.

Laws: Keep your texts coming 1300-654-813. Steve says ‘Shorten should get out of Canberra, do a pub crawl with Barnaby Joyce and meet some real people for a change. Then maybe he’d have some idea on how to run the country’. That’s good advice, Steve.

Me: My mind reeled at the thought of what kind of manifesto for Australia would emerge from the collective unconscious of the drunken, sexist racists strewn across Joyce’s rural electorate...

Laws: And keep sending the emails to me at THE.FORTRESS@LAWS.COM.AU

Me: …not a particularly welcoming one apparently.

Laws: But always the best way is the phone. Yes, Barry. What’s on your mind ?

Barry: Fruit Bats. They bloody stink. The Quirindi Bicentennial Park is full of them. They foul the ground and strip the trees. They’re just flaming Flying Rats !

Laws: And they’re protected! Yes I know. Look you can’t kill them. But how about blasting off a few shells from a 12-gauge ? The sound should disperse them.
Barry: Yeah, well, I can smell them from the car.
Laws: I recommend a box of 12-gauge. Always worked at our place.

Me: Barry then told a good joke about an Irish bag-snatcher. He’s in the line-up with six other guys, jumps forward and says ‘Yes. That’s her!’ 🙂

Laws: Imagine if you said that about a Muslim ! Thanks Barry. That’s a beauty ! Enjoy your day and get somewhere away from the smell.

Me: Would the Midday News report the apprehension of some maniac in Quirindi Bicentennial Park blasting into the air with a gross of shotgun cartridges ? Crying children ? A SWAT team ?

Local Warming

But I was warming to Laws. The program was a community. They understood and liked each other. They told jokes. It was kind of…nice. And Laws was able to hold nuanced views on Muslims and Immigration. I was feeling reasonably at home in the asylum.

Laws: Jasper. What’s on your mind ?
Jasper: (Lisping heavily) Hewwo John. I have two suggestions for you.
Laws: [Suspicious Pause] Are these suggestions I would enjoy, Jasper ?
Jasper: [Sounding like Christopher Pyne]. Oh yes! I think so !
Laws: [Understandably Cautious] Go on.
Jasper: I am still cowwecting all your Solo Vocal Albums and could you pwease pway more of your own songs on your pwogram pwease ?
Laws: [Brightening Considerably] Oh yes. Sure !
Jasper: And you should visit the Slim Dusty Museum in Kwempsey. I have just been two times. Do you wike it ?
Laws: SLIM. A Great Australian. Do we have anything, Commander-In-Chief ??

With cyborg-like speed, Laws’s producer locates and cues a Slim Dusty track which appears to be entitled G’Day G’Day. In a career spanning seventy years and ninety-seven albums this Slim Dusty Classic is lyrically and musically identical to the first song Dusty penned as a four-year old. Laws can be heard singing and humming along off-mike.

Dusty: …G’Day G’Day G’Day G’Day Ten to one an Aussie will say G’Day G’Day.G’Day G’Day G’Day G’Day Ten to one an Aussie will say G’Day.
Laws: Ah. I’ve always said that song should be our National Anthem.
Me: At least the words will be easy to remember
Laws: It just makes you feel good, doesn’t it !?
Me: I have to agree. It does 🙂

You know what ? I think John Laws broadcasting in rural Australia is a force for good. He is more educated than his audience but relates to them very well. His views on Muslims and Immigration are more nuanced than his listeners and he can thus act as a brake on their more reactionary and bigoted tendencies. He’s a bridge to reason.

But for now, as Paul Kelly said in his [OK maybe not] classic Australian track, Bradman,

Now shadows grow longer and there’s so much more yet to be told
But we’re not getting any younger, so let the part tell the whole

John Laws – I was glad I was there.

You made my morning.

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ABC’s The Drum on 16 July this week had a very good panel including ALP strategist Greg Turnbull, the ABC’s Maurice Benson and Deputy Editor of The Australian Peter Fray.

All of the contributors were excellent, including Fray, who was quite balanced throughout except for his assessment about how impartial and responsible and accountable blah blah blah The Australian is in relentlessly striving for truth, honour and freedom.

I was just a bit taken aback by Fray during the segment on the effect of Clive Palmer’s PUP on the government. Around 16:50 into the programme Fray says that the ALP is using the obstruction engendered by Palmer to claim that the LNP cannot govern. Fray says around 17:05

What I think needs to happen from the Coalition’s point of view we have got to cut through all that rhetoric and get on with business because this country isn’t being governed.

That WE instead of THEY seemed to just blur the distinction between The Australian and the Liberal Party. Look out for some positive reinforcement from The Australian over the next few weeks saying how marvellously effective Abbott, Hockey and Cormann have been.

Or maybe I’m being too conspiracist.

I’ll just have a lie down and take a couple of the red pills, yes the red pills not the blue ones yes the red ones NOT THE BLUE ONES I SAID THE RED ONES UR UR URGH better now

Andrew Blot just called.

The winning distance in Olympic Men’s Long Jump has been in decline since 1968. The cooling trend proves that money spent on Long Jump for half a century is a complete waste, not to mention a self-loathing anti-human Green-Left conspiracy which is destroying the minds of our children.

The data is incontestible

Such a policy would constitute a unilateral type of measure that we do not support.
– Marty Netalagawa, Indonesian Foreign Minister 15 July 2013

Rudd got precisely what he wanted from his recent trip to Indonesia, namely an official communique from the Indonesians stating that the Coalition policy of Towback is unacceptable to them.

This comminique was signed by the Indonesian President.

The rejection of Towback is no more than what the Indonesians told Morrison and Abbott back in October last year when Morrison, soundly chastised, admitted as much and then said that the Coalition would commit to prevent refugees entering the entire region of South-East Asia (thus not coming to Indonesia); a policy which could be summarized as Visualising World Peace.

So the Coalition Towback policy has been explicitly rejected at the highest levels of Indonesian government: by President Yudhoyono himself and by Foreign Minister Natelagawa.

But while Rudd has succeeded in outing Indonesia’s rejection of the Coalition’s Towback policy and correctly stated the inevitability of conflict with Indonesia at the diplomatic level (which of course could have ramifications for Cattle Exports or other trade matters), I do not believe that this will transfer votes to Rudd.

Australians could not care less about Indonesia’s preferences, could not care less if Indonesia carries 100% of the refugee burden for our region, could not care less if refugees drown in the Timor Sea, could not care less if all so drowned were women and children and would indeed support a policy of mandatory drowning for asylum seekers.

For a long time I thought that the utter brutality of the Coalition policy would disgust a certain percentage of the swinging voter cohort such that they would abandon the Coalition in revulsion. Even 0.5% would be helpful. But it seems there is no lower limit to the contempt and fear that the electorate will self-justify toward asylum seekers when encouraged to do so by their leaders.

And on reflection, that is the obvious lesson of history in all cultures at all times.
Its what causes sectarian violence and genocide. Its as natural and as palatable as mothers milk.

The Coalition’s belief that it has certainty of a winner on this Indonesia-conflict issue is again confirmed by Scott Morrison in today’s UnAustralian whose headline states Jakarta won’t dictate on boats: Coalition.

Right-thinking people immediately recognize that of course Indonesia will not dictate to us. We, Australia, will dictate to them. Because as our glorious departed Ayatollah former Prime Minister John Howard has famously dictated: we decide who and under what circumstances who comes to Australia – International Law and regional co-operation notwithstanding.

This enunciates a one-way relationship very acceptable to Australians who are not accustomed to co-operating with yellow-skinned persons, particularly in receipt of additional brown-skinned persons to their neighbourhood. Rejection of any request of our Anglospheric ally, the United States is a foolish, security-demeaning and borderline traitorous act. But Indonesia ? Who gives a stuff ? Bomb them if necessary.

Meanwhile Julie Bishop is running the parallel contradictory line that Towback will only be done with agreement of the Indonesians who in any case have privately assured her they are sweet with the idea. Thus the thinking redneck is satisfied by Bishop, while the core constituency and fearful are emboldened by Morrison.

Now Julia Gillard was correctly criticised for her East Timor mega-gaffe , prematurely stating that she would gain approval for an asylum seeker detention centre in that country without having first cleared that policy through the Timorese executive. She relied instead on a single personal phone call with Jose Ramos Horta , the East Timorese president, in which Gillard raised the matter but nothing was discussed or agreed.

For this Gillard was derided as an immature dilletante in foreign affairs, a rather embarrassing school girl out of her depth in the top job.

Unlike Gillard, Abbott does not even have a zero level of acceptance for Towback in Indonesia. Towback has been specifically rejected by Indonesia’s Prime Minister and Foreign Minister. Plainly Abbott’s attitude toward Indonesia is reckless and threatens to disrupt any and all agreements we have with them including Cattle Export.

Abbott coolly destroys whatever is in the way of his ambitions. Being so personally unpopular he can only succeed by dragging opponents down to his level of opprobium as he did with Gillard and Thompson, or by destroying them through legal machinery as he did to Pauline Hanson, Thompson and Slipper (and tried to engineer with Gillard).

Disrupting the successful bilateral relationship with Indonesia (ironically well cultivated by his idol, mentor and predecessor in John Howard) is merely another transient impediment to Abbott’s own success.

A Contrary View

Professor Greg Fealy of the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific School of International, Political and Strategic Studies says that Abbott’s Towback will not imperil the bilateral relationship, indeed that it is absolutely outlandish to think so:

“I don’t think any serious observer would regard that as a likely prospect,” he said, because the Opposition’s policy had two caveats – one being that boats would only be turned back if it were safe to do so; the other being that Indonesia agreed to take boats back

Great. Can someone please quickly tell Scott Morrison that he is not accurately disseminating Opposition policy ? In the meantime Morrison can be judged on his words and so can Abbott who does not correct Morrison, but rather endorses him.

Morrison, Thatcher and Hadley

Just on Scott Morrison, I have been struck (though not smitten) by the similarity in vocal expression between Morrisson and Ray Hadley the Alpha shock-jock of 2GB. Both exhibit the same snarling persona, contemptuous tone and self-righteous manner.

I wonder if Morrison, marketing professional , has Thatcher-like, modelled his presentation on Hadley for better acceptance amongst his target audience of self-identified hard-done-by Western Suburbs decent Australians, decency having the understood connotations of xenophobia and specifically targeted misogyny within the shock-jock mental universe.

Why Morrison, apparently a born-again Christian would choose to project himself as a shock-jock is mysterious to me. I suspect Morrison is concerned about what he perceives as the creeping Islamisation of Australia by strategy of refugee asylum and so feels justified to raise community alarm. Morrison himself denies this motive but I find it otherwise impossible to reconcile his noxious utterances on asylum seekers – for example his citizen-informer policy that asylum seekers are so dangerous they require extra policing and conformity to Mandatory Behavioural Protocols to be supported by the vigilance of decent citizens – with his confession of faith as a Christian and follower of Jesus Christ.

And just on Hadley, I was amazed to learn on Australian Story that Hadley is the dominant figure in Sydney (and therefore we can probably say Australian ) broadcasting, having won his morning rush-hour timeslot continuously for years on end.

I naively though that such a distasteful persona could have only limited appeal and that Hadley was a fringe dweller of acceptance only to those suffering from ravaging hatreds.

Horribly, it appears Hadley is the face and voice of much of Western Sydney and therefore many typical swinging voters.

Mike Carlton, a rival broadcaster and by no means a paragon of nicety himself, describes Hadley’s program as a temple of hatred.

I think he’s nailed it.

Readers interested in Bogans and Boganism should turn in the first instance to Things Bogans Like, which has been fearlessly dissecting the Bogan phenonemon for some 255 blog entries now (as of last count).

This post is a small contribution to the field of Boganism which I hope will be received as a discussion paper by the wider Boganologist community. In it I would like to propose the concept that like Autism, Boganism should be viewed as a spectrum which may be inhabited at many point rather than a canonical syndrome of specific morbidity and then I go on to discuss the corrosive effects of Boganism on the political and social culture of Australia.

I Am, You You, We All Are (To Some Extent)

Holidaying with my wife’s family and primary school age children at a famous Australian family resort this summer, we all went down for the splurge Buffet Breakfast. As we ate, the carpet under the breakfast table (no we were not eating the actual carpet you nong) began to accumulate a film of semi-masticated scrambled egg. Indeed, it was only the deposition of my own contribution to that revolting layer, which spilled out of my gob during a pertinent observation on our souvenir’s value-for-money ratio, which caused me to even notice said film.

Disgusted by what I found under the table I felt a stab of self-awareness, especially as my subconscious recalled to mind the Kath and Kim episode set at a similar resort with certain dining room behaviours now horribly amplified.

Are we…? flashed my egg-empowered cortex…

Elation

Just then my Nephew returned to the table, elated at his mastery of the automatic Hot Chocolate dispenser. He was a little unlucky. As he approached the table a little too quickly, a woman with a particularly huge butt suddenly pulled her chair out in front of him. Young Daylon had no chance to dodge. He gloriously tripped over the woman’s chair and/or buttocks, fountaining what seemed like seven litres of foaming Hot Chocolate over himself, the chairs, the floor, but miraculously not butt-woman, who merely grunted and lurched off toward the Custard Croissants.

Now sitting not only in the residue of scrambled eggs but also a shallow lake of warm milky chocolate accompanied by an hysterical sobbing primary schooler, the unavoidable conclusion seared me.

I too was am a Bogan.

Not Really A Bogan ?

Now I know what you are thinking, you’re thinking ‘Bogans lack any concept of self-awareness, and any willingness or ability to self-reflect ipso facto you are not and cannot be a Bogan.’

Thanks for your kindness, but the evidence is obvious if not overwhelming. I am on the Bogan Spectrum, along with all my other fellow Australians in that dining room, and I supect most of everyone who wasn’t. Peruse the Things Bogans Like list of 255 Bogan Markers right now. If you don’t identify with at least five, you’re not trying.

So, I propose Boganism should be viewed as a spectrum with your Tribal Tattoo-sporting sufferers smack in the middle with zero chance of rehabilitation, through to those operating at the high-end Asperger-like such as Richard Wilkins (weird, but able to inhabit non-Bogan social constructs) and my own family who seem to have picked up elements of Boganism from environmental exposure.

Welcome To Post-Decent Australia

The entrenchment of Boganism as the central engine of Australian civic culture is correlated to higher incomes earned by Bogans due to the extended China-generated Australian resources boom and overlaps the following parallel social and political phenonema:

The rise of the Aspirational / Bogan-suburb voter bloc, the decline of Unionism (hence political consciousness), the decline of churches and other institutions inculcating social values, the corresponding rise of a nihilistic and naive radical individualism (selfishness), the determination of huge corporations to construct self-obsessed, reflexive and insatiable consumers (advertising), the availability of gargantuan amounts of easy credit, the obsessive use of corporate marketing methods by the major political parties and the corresponding nullity of meaningful political discourse in the mass media.

Now, to cut to the chase, Bogans at their core are completely self-obsessed, are complete puppets of advertisers and do not in the least care about any other individual on the face of the planet. Political parties like this, advertisers like this, Richard Wilkins likes this (as Bogans are his total audience) and Bogans like this. Its a win-win-win-win.

But the consequence is that Australian mass media has created in tandem with its allies ( the major political parties), is seeking to increase and is pandering to an ever growing proportion, now numbering 64% of Australians, who do not give the proverbial about anyone else apart themselves, their pit bulls and their jet ski. Welcome to Post-Decent Australia where those shocked by Road Rage assault just need to harden up.

Its Their Fault And Its Their Fault Too

At this point I would like to insist that you read Andrew Catsaras’s brilliant short article ‘Take Me To Your Follower: Into The Leadership Void’ which describes how the major political parties use corporate mass marketing methods to create, manipulate and (ironically) pander to Bogans.

Catsaras is the House-regular polling wonk on Insiders and a man of depth, which I infer from the fact his soul is alive to the beauty and wonder of Creation and that Catsaras has enough humility to be awestruck by it. Catsaras is also a highly-trained Strategic Marketing Consultant, which becomes obvious from the clarity with which he conveys, applies and explains strategic marketing to the Australian political context. Now go to his blog and Like it. Thx.

Catsaras discusses how Laberal use the marketing tool of Focus Groups, which is to ask Bogans what they want and then promise (or pretend to promise) to give the Bogans exactly that:

If we researched a group of young children and asked them what it is they wanted, many would most likely respond with: stay up late, don’t go to school, and eat chocolate and ice cream at every meal.

Now which responsible parent would agree to any of that?

Yet often the politicians [do exactly that] They would follow the marketing doctrine to the letter, that is, to give the customer what they want. They would agree that the child’s wishes were very reasonable and would proceed to develop policies that would support them.

Philosopher Kings

Now this would be OK if Focus Groups were populated with philosopher kings. But they’re not. They are populated by swinging voters, especially from Western Sydney, which means Bogans. Laberal are now dedicated to discovering what Bogans want and giving it to them ASAP.

So, what about things Bogan’s don’t want. Like Asylum-Seekers ? Well naturally Laberal promise Bogans they will never hear, see, share with, smell, look at, touch, give up a parking spot for or stand behind in a queue at Maccas anything remotely resembling an Asylum seeker. Says Catsaras:

Similarly, if we were to research what it is that children feared the most, a common response might be fear of the dark, especially when they were alone in their bedroom at night.

Again, the responsible parent would not allow such an irrational fear to overwhelm their child.

Yet our politicians again would often follow the marketing doctrine to the letter. Rather than try to dispel these irrational fears, they would legitimise them by suggesting that such fears were reasonable and acceptable regardless of the truth. There would be no attempt to educate the child.

Let me repeat and highlight Catasaras’s last statement: There will be no attempt to educate the child Bogan-voter-public.

And that’s where we are folks. A Bogan-led society ostensibly ruled by politicians pandering to Bogans. Bogans are prized by Laberal because Bogans do not think, which makes them easy to fool, wedge and bribe. Bogans love being bribed provided they are simultaneously told that they are being bribed for the good of the country or that it is their just recompense in order to amerliorate the existential agony of trying to survive on an income of 150K per annum.

How Bogans Vote

During the artificial moral panic generated by The Australian and the Liberal/National Party Coalition over the above-mentioned ALP decision to restrict Baby Bonus to those on incomes under 150K, The weekend Daily Telegraph printed an absolute ripper of a cartoon. It was entitled ‘Your Own Australian Voter’ and presented the Aussie voter, typified as a mildly overweight Anglo Male Adult dressed in a blue singlet vest and baggy shorts, in four panels.

The text showed the voter as a kid’s toy with two settings: ‘Whinge’ and ‘Vote’. The owner of the Aussie Voter toy is instructed to initially set the voter/Bogan to ‘Whinge’ whereupon the voter/Bogan bends, pretzel-like, from the waist, its head going down between its legs then upwards where it disappears into a tiny cavity in its posterior (if you get what I mean). Every three years, the text goes on, flick the switch to Vote whereupon the voter/Bogan stands up looking grizzly and unhappy and sticks out its hands for a govt. bribe / incentive / statutory free Pit Bull protein supplement then toddles off towards the polling station.

It was a beautiful encapsulation of the all-encompassing sense of entitlement, ingratitude, selfishness and vacuity of the Australian polity, political parties included.

Bogans, for their part, are at fault for the nullity of the political discourse by demanding that political parties pander to Boganism.

We are getting the country we deserve.

The Collapse Of Post-Decent Australia

Now a society ruled by Bogans in which no-one gives two hoots about anyone else, where selfishness is a virtue, where fears of our neighbour are encouraged and validated, where Laberal promise more more more to Bogan/voters, where education is intentionally ignored … that society must collapse.

And that’s where Laberal are taking us, via strategic corporate marketing in their accursed focus groups. Laberal are being led by Bogans while intentionally setting out to create more Bogans.

The preferred outcome of a Bogan society is maxxtreme Road Rage and govt. guaranteed and subsidised parking allocations for Jet Ski’s outside every Maccas.

An Alternative Story

May I suggest the following as an alternative to Boganized domination of Australian political and social culture which is told here (with some minor modifications made by me) by a Man I respect very much:

“There was once a man travelling from Sydney to Melbourne. On the way he was attacked by thugs. They badly beat him up, flogged his wallet, credit card and iPad and went off leaving him half-dead. Luckily, a priest was on his way down the same road, but when he saw him he angled across to the other side. Then a religious bloke showed up; he also avoided the injured man.

“An Asylum Seeker travelling the road came on him. When he saw the man’s condition, his heart went out to him. He gave him first aid, disinfecting and bandaging his wounds. Then he lifted him into his car, drove him to a hotel, and made him comfortable. In the morning he took out a hundred bucks and gave it to the owner, saying, ‘Take good care of him. If it costs any more, put it on my bill—I’ll pay you on my way back.’

“What do you think? Which of the three became a neighbour to the man attacked by thugs ?”

“The one who treated him kindly,” the religious bloke responded.

Jesus said, “Go and do the same.”

Watching a fishing program called ‘Big Fish Small Boats’ featuring three blokey blokes trolling for Mako Sharks, I was amazed to hear the presenter suddenly eyeball the camera and issue a climate change dogwhistle. The presenter, Al McGlashan, said (to paraphrase):

‘The Labor Government recently tried to ban fishing for Mako Sharks based on false science, but the results of the tag and release program showed the Mako are still in plentiful numbers. Now we can continue to enjoy wonderful fishing expeditions such as these.’

What the..? False science ? That sounds just like the denialist phrase ‘Junk Science’ and coupled with the reference to the ALP and tied in with activities directly based on interaction with the natural environment…He’s not dogwhistling is he ?

He is.

Al McGlashan was No.2 on the NSW Senate ticket for the Shooters and Fishers Party in the 2010 Federal Election. Here’s how he went, with S&F gaining the highest primary vote of the minor parties, finally excluded on count 32 of 35 and pushing the Liberal Party candidate into a quota.

The Shooters and Fishers are AGW denialists. Their pamphlets and platform papers are full of references to deep-green climate alarmist extermists. In fact, their election materials mention the Greens as much as they do the S&F itself. The S&F could just as well be named “The Anti-Green Party” as that is largely how they present and publicize themselves and their objectives.

McGlashan described his decision to stand for the Senate in the Sydney Angler forum:

Basically guys I am running as a fishing rep for the Shooters and Fishers becuase I am sick having my rights to fish being eroded away by radical greenies who sit eating canned tuna talking about how bad fishing is!

The Proposed Mako Ban And Reprieve

As Fishing World reported in November 2009, the Mako Shark was added to the species listed in Appendix II of the international Convention for the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS). Under laws introduced by the LNP Howard Government any species listed in either Appendix of the CMS was automatically banned from catch in Australia.

RecFish, the national organisation representing recreational fishermen, along with commercial operators, then lobbied the ALP government to rescind the ban which was duly done by Environment Minister Peter Garrett in January 2010.

The rationale for overturning the decision was that the listing in the CMS was on the basis of severely reduced Mako numbers in the Mediterranean Sea but that Mako in Australian waters do not migrate to the Mediterranean and therefore the reason for the listing was irrelevant to Australian Mako.

As a spokesman for Garrett put it:

“Noting the lack of evidence suggesting that Australian populations of these shark species face the same threats as other parts of the world, the government will be moving to make legislative changes to address the ongoing uncertainty for recreational fishers”

No False Science

Which leaves me wondering what McGlashan was on about. The CMS ban on Mako was not based on false science and was not based on ALP legislation. Mediterranean numbers were indeed down so the scientific basis was sound. Garrett listened to RecFish, took into account the Australia scientific data and lifted the ban based on that data.

McGlashan’s claim that the Mako ban was based on Labor shenanigans enabled by false science was itself false in both of its premises. Garrett’s department simply enacted the laws on the books, laws created by the Liberals uner John Howard. Garrett then modified those laws in the face of popular representation and scientific data. Isn’t that really a textbook example of the ALP behaving in responsible democratic fashion ?

McGlashan is close enough to the issue to understand the reality of what transpired and why but chose to be fast and loose with his telling of the story: anything the better castigate the deep-green extremist alarmists, even to injecting some anti-AGW, anti-Green dogwhistles into his otherwise highly entertaining television program.

Andrew Bolt is an intelligent, sensitive and highly informed
columnist.
Many of his articles are meticulously researched and rich in detail.

They are also designed to delberately misinform his readers.

It takes an especially perverse mind to devote a career to concealing truth. In this short post I will offer an explanation as to why Mr. Bolt is so dedicated to misinforming his readership.

In my view there are three motivating forces behind Bolt’s systematic and deliberate dedication to obscuring truth:

1) His dedication to a higher cause, namely the protection
of decent society from the Green movement, which Bolt believes wishes to enact a totalitarian Communist anti-human One World Government

2) His assimilation and adoption of systematic deception and
propagandist techniques
learnt while an employee of Graham Richardson
in the infamous ANiMaLs section of the ALP.

3) His personal emotional and psychological history as a victim
of bullying.

Bolt The Animal.

As is now more widely known, Bolt had two periods of employment working for the ALP including the infamous aNiMalS or National Media Liason Unit, sometimes described as the ALP’s ‘fearsome attack machine’.

It was during those engagements Bolt was first exposed to – and soon intoxicated by – the journalistic dirty tricks, disinformation and propaganga tactics employed by professional political parties.

Bolt immensely enjoyed these jobs working inside the soulless ‘whatever it takes’ political machine created by Graham Richardson and has ever since dedicated his own efforts as Richardson did, to the achievement of political goals irrespective of truth.

Revealingly, Bolt describes an emotional satisfaction and moral justification in defeating one’s enemies through lies and distortion.

Says Bolt:

“It was just really intoxicating and it was the first time I got that real buzz you get from politics which is really dangerous.

You know, that space where you’re so convinced that your side is right and
in those conditions the other side is immoral and therefore you’re excused
all sorts of things.

You start thinking:
“they’re immoral so why should you be nice to them? Why should you follow all the rules?’’’

Spin

Because Bolt has a personal and moral commitment to distortion, because Bolt’s primary mode of opertion is to distort the arguments of his opponents, then naturally he sees distortion (a.k.a. ‘spin’ in the propaganda/marketing
speak of the well trained aNiMaL) in all the utterances of his opponents.

A search for the word ‘spin’ on Bolt’s own Herald-Sun Blog finds many hits, not merely in the copy of his Blog posts but in the very titles. Spin is constantly uppermost in Bolt’s mind; he therefore decorates his Blog journalism with the name of his god.

Ergo:

Calculating ABC spin May 22, 2008
blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/…/calculating_abc_spin

How the Age drowned its readers in spin
blogs.news.com.au/…/index…/how_the_age_drowned_its_readers_in_spin/

G20 spin unspun 31 Mar 2009
blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/…/g20_spin_unspun/

Big boat comes in to spoil Gillard’s spin 20 Jul 2010 …
blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/…/big_boat_comes_in_to_spoil_gillards_spin/

Spin overboard 21 Oct 2009
blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/…/spin_overboard1/

How will Garrett spin this? 4 May 2009
blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/…/how_will_garrett_spin_this/

The lie in Gillard’s population spin 23 Jul 2010
blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/…/column3/

Smith demands better spin doctors to hide the kind of damage he’s …17 Apr 2011 blogs.news.com.au/…/smith_demands_more_spin_merchants_to_clean_up_his_mess

Tanner unleashes on Gillard and Rudd’s spin .24 Apr 2011
blogs.news.com.au/…php/…/tanner_unleashes_on_gillard_and_rudds_spin/

The essence of spin 30 May 2008
blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/…/the_essence_of_spin/

Tanner spins Labor’s obsession with spin May 2011
blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/…/tanner_spins_labors_obsession_with_spin

Rudd gets 1000 to help him spin Feb 2008
blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/…php/…/rudd_gets_1000_to_help_him_spin/

Rudd’s spin unspun
blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/…/rudds_spin_unspun/

Another leak exposes Gillard’s spin 2 Aug 2010
blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/…php/…/another_leak_exposes_gillards_spin/

So much spin 21 Mar 2011 .
blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/…/so_much_spin

Rudd spin makes Ferguson ill
blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/…/rudd_spin_makes_ferguson_throw_up/

Ellis on Gillard’s cold spin 19 Dec 2010
blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/…/index…/ellis_on_gillards_cold_spin/

How Rudd’s spiders spin 17 May 2008
blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index…/how_rudds_spiders_spin/

Rudd can’t say “billion”, Oakes can’t say “spin” 30 May 2009
blogs.news.com.au/…/index…/rudd_cant_say_billion_oakes_cant_say_spin/

New spin needed
blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/…/new_spin_needed/

Let the part tell the whole. Spin is an instrinsic and instinctive part of Bolt’s thinking and modus operandi; He is continuously producing it, continuously ascribing it to his opponents and continuously genuflecting to it in his Blog Post titles. Spin simply pours out of Bolt.

As a wise man once said “From the overflow of his heart, so a man speaks”;
or more prosiacally “The fox detects his own stink first”.

Bolt’s treasure is spin. His mind and heart therefore continually attend it.

Higher Truth

Bolt is a moral man. His dedication to distortion is justified because it serves a higher truth; namely the salavation of Australia from TEH LEFT and most particularly The Greens.

Bolt is an Independent Advisor to the hilariously misnamed “Galileo Movement”, an AGW denialist group whose patron is the spittle-flecked Alan Jones.

The Galileo Movement’s semi-rational manifesto has five planks of which four (by discarding ‘protect the environment’) can be taken seriously and two of which reveal the slightly nutty character of the typical One World Government conspiracist.

These latter two are:

– Protect freedom – personal choice and national sovereignty;
– Protect people’s emotional health by ending Government and activists’ constant destructive bombardment of fear and guilt on our kids and communities.

The reference to ‘national sovereignty’ is a dog-whistle for ‘escape the clutches of the evil United Nations and IPCC’ while the second is the polemical paranoic utterance of persons too much acquainted with Ayn Rand and Frederick Hayek, where dwell the modern under-read Libertarians, Cold War dinosaurs and careerist, knee-jerk reactionary anti-Leftists (Bolt is in this category) for which revilement of TEH LEFT and GREENS is as merely automatic and as reasoned as the tribal hatreds bedevilling suburban football fans.

A quick Google for ‘Fear Guilt Left’ on Bolt’s Blog easily shows how Bolt shares with the Galileo Movement the nuttiest fifth plank of its manifesto, while reading his posts on The Greens (e.g the Hamilton one below) soon show that he considers them innately totalitarian in agreement with the polemic associated with the Galileo Movement’s first plank.

The posts also contain elucidations of various other anti-left/Green memes including

– How the Left (surely typified by the Greens) encourage disprespect for
institutions and engender societal sickness and therefore violence and thus are
seeking its ultimate collapse (in order to institute a totalitarian
Communist Green dictatorship);
– Are rampantly hypocritical and morally sick.
– Are Anti-Human
– Poison the minds of children

Here’s “Fear Guilt Left” from Bolt’s Blog

Hamilton stands for Greens – and for fear and less democracy …23 Oct 2009 .
blogs.news.com.au/…/hamilton_stands_for_the_grees_and_for_fear_and_less_democracy/

Attacking what they no longer respect or fear 14 Feb 2011
blogs.news.com.au/…/attacking_what_they_no_longer_respect_or_fear

The Left vs Israel 9 Aug 2006 ..
blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/…/the_left_vs_israel

The ABC of spreading baseless fear 4 Aug 2008
blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/…of…fear/…/P20/

Better left unsaid | 12 Aug 2009 .
blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/…better_left…/P20/

This “good” racism of the Left is killing black children .9 Nov 2010

Bullies of the Left 3 Sep 2007
blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/…of…left/asc/P20/

Save the planet! Hurt people! 14 Mar 2009
blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/…/save_the_planet_hurt_people

Earth Hour bores 28 Mar 2010 … Messing with children’s minds
by installing a sense of guilt and fear over …. From
blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/…/earth_hour_bores

This is the real Australia 1 Jul 2011 … As someone so aptly said today,
‘white guilt is heroin for the left’.
blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index…/this_is_the_real_australia

Why David Marr dances 9 Nov 2010 …
Guilt and fear were instilled in young people from an early age. … Marr is an act, this ultra left, ultra permissive, contrarian view on every …
blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index…/why_david_marr_dances/

Arnie gases on about “sexy” greens 13 Apr 2007 …
You know the kind of guilt I’m talking about: Smokestacks belching pollution and …
blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/…php/…/arnie_gases_on_about_sexy_greens/

This is why Bolt has no compunction about misrepresenting his enemies. Bolt’s enemies are evil. They do not deserve truth or fair play. They deserve only defeat and preferably destruction.

To reprise Bolt’s own words about his experience as a political apparatchik:

“You know that space where you’re so convinced that your side is right and
in those conditions the other side is immoral and therefore you’re excused
all sorts of things.”

Bolt joyously inhabits that dangerous space. In fact, the article in which he made those statements is, in my view, a confessional. Bolt is telling the world that truth is irrelevant to him because his enemies do not deserve it.

Revenge Of The Nerd.

Bolt has an extremely poor self image and was an outsider at school,
an experience he did not enjoy.

This explains his constant projection of victimhood, his hurt at people
apparently trying to victimize or silence him for no good reason apart from their innate bullying or their own farcical self-confidence at being part of the
brainless clique/mob of conformists/insiders.

Maybe at times Bolt was derided or the victim of name-calling or other anti-social acts directed at he, Bolt, the quiet, shy Dutch boy not fiting in.

Bolt’s first published piece was a poem he wrote at 13 years of age about
his abhorrence at bullies and at becoming a bully himself in order to fit in.

Bolt’s sense of victimhood is eternally fresh. Always present, it has been
conspicuosuly on display somewhat pathetically twice. Once when Bolt asserted
that he was in physical danger of mob violence agitated by an obscure (but brilliant) political blog, and most recently when whinging and moaning at his finding of guilt by the Federal Court of Australia for Racial Discrimination.

David Marr succintly skewers Bolt’s nonsense here. detailing how Bolt simply ignored inconvenient facts while penning the articles which led to his conviction

Robert Manne here notes the side-splitting insanity of Bolt who has a newspaper column and a blog in a wide-circulation national newspaper, his own TV program and a regular Melbourne radio slot claiming that his views are muzzled and that being held accountablee for untrue and racially-based slurs is an unfair prohibition on his free speech.

David Penderbethy here describes the embarrassment his colleague, Bolt, embodies to serious journalists and journalism ans also notes the imbecility of Bolt’s claims to be silenced or otherwise victimized.

I see Bolt’s articles and certainly his persona as strongly informed
by those boyhood experiences. The ‘mob’ is transmuted into his poltical enemies, The left/Greens, but now the power relationships are inverted.
Bolt has freedom to excoriate ‘the mob’ protected by the financial resources
of his attack dog newspaper, and as his boyhood poem prophetically stated,
Bolt has become the attack dog and bully himself.

The well-spring of Bolt’s rage, as all emotional hurts are, is inexhaustible.
As an adult Bolt is now able to channel that rage into excoriating the left/Greens dressing it in the fig leaf of moral justification since the Greens themselves are irredeemably evil and therefore deserve it.

Bolt’s articles are the revenge of the hurt boy.

Bolt’s Fundamental Motivation

So, in the end, what motivates Bolt ? To answer to this question I believe one must look to where Bolt expends most energy: Aboriginal Affairs and Climate Change.

Bolt came to prominence as a Poison Pen for the Right on the back of the ‘Stolen Generations’ issue which was the centrepiece of the ‘History Wars’ in Australian Politics from 1996-2007.

Bolt engaged in an extended public debate with one of Australia’s leading public intellectuals, Robert Manne, over the Stolen Generations. The question is why would Bolt bother to expend such energy on this particular issue ? That question has added salience now that Bolt has been found guilty of Racial Discrimination by accusing nine prominent part-Aboriginal Australians of falsely claiming or duplicitously emphasizing their Aboriginal heritage merely for financial benefit. What is it about Aboriginal issues that engages Bolt to such a degree ? Why does this issue in particular motivate him to write with such passion ?

Bolt gave a significant clue in an article of his ‘Why I Wont Change’ which appeared in the Herald-Sun in Feb. 2004.

In the article Bolt cites a plea for help from a Year 12 student seeking accurate information about the Stolen Generations. The student sent Bolt a Stolen Generations ‘Fact Sheet’ supplied by the school which Bolt typifies as full of ‘luxurious falsehoods’ and says:

I admire that girl for already knowing that what matters is that she first be told the truth, before she’s taught what to feel about it. I admire her for demanding the right to exercise her own conscience, rather than mimic her teacher’s. How can we tell lies to such a young woman — however noble our motives — and have such contempt for her perception, her reasoning and her moral sense?

So Bolt claims his motivation is the defence of the minds of Australia’s youth from the fear/guilt propaganda inflicted on them by TEH LEFT via the education system. i.e. Bolt is standing up for the fifth plank of the Galileo Movement manifesto:

Protect people’s emotional health by ending Government and activists’ constant destructive bombardment of fear and guilt on our kids and communities

.

For Bolt, the Stolen Generations history is a myth invented by the Left to poison the minds of children, presumably to engender mistrust in our institutions in order to foment leftist revolution.

Ironically, of course, the Stolen Generations is a true history; but like former Prime Minister John Howard, Bolt prefers the received myth of Australia’s white settlement, that it was concluded largely without violence and without racism expect for some limited and unfortunate mistakes made only in the best interests of Aboriginal persons by those trying their best at the time.

Bolt styles himself as a truth crusader. On Aboriginal issues, however, he is in reality a myth crusader. His recent conviction for Racial Discrimination has bought out that Bolt ignored facts inconvenient to him when compiling his dossier on prominent Australian ‘false Aboriginals’. His previous conviction, for Defamation in 2002 also showed that Bolt ignored facts known to him when writing an article containing defamatory untruths regarding Magistrate Jelena Popovic. Simply, Bolt prefers myth to fact and falsehood to truth as he serves his Higher Truth.

As Emile Durkheim noted, the function of myth is to validate, explain and preserve an established belief or authority system.

The question then becomes ‘what Higher Truth is Bolt serving’.

I submit that Bolt’s Higher Truth is the salvation of Australia from Leftists and Greens. The battle is fought on ideas. Therefore no Leftist idea, Stolen Generations or otherwise, must be allowed to survive. Leftists ideas must be defeated and, as Bolt learned as an aNiMaL, truth is the first casualty of this war. Lies must be mobilized to preserve truth. The minds of Australian youth must be fortified with good Right-wing lies in order that evil left-wing lies be defeated.

In short Bolt has adapted a Vietnam War dictum: The minds of Australians must be destroyed in order to save them.

The Utility Of Andrew Bolt

Bolt is allowed his privileged safe haven at the Herald-Sun because he serves the interests of power. His strident and duplicitous vocalisation of anti-Left, anti-Green propaganda buttressed by his sneakily adduced statistics provides a superficially authoritative denunciation of the Left/Green perspective.

Bolt’s passionate advocacy provides a pseudo-intellectual justification for the rejection of progressive reforms and entrenchment of the privileged status quo.

Bolt is a useful tool for entrenched privilege. So the Herald-Sun is prepared to pay well to keep Bolt’s megaphone open. Which is why the Herald-Sun is gritting its wallet to pay Bolt’s legal fees and keep Bolt’s misogynistic, homophobic, counter-factual and anti-scientific diatribe page open…for business.

Here’s a piece I wrote as a personal response to an article by Paul Kelly which was critical of Mark Latham’s viewpoints on the Australia – US Strategic Partnership.

At the time Latham was Opposition Leader and having a good run. At that point he was regarded as a serious threat to unseat John Howard as Prime Minister.

Latham made a speech to the Lowy Institute which prompted a full-barrell assault from Kelly using the most hypocritical of logic.

In my view Kelly revealed himself at that time as a Howard/Liberal partisan. Usually Kelly is very considered and equitable in his comentary but just occasionally, when he smells blood in the water, he drops his guard and shows his true allegiances.

This was one occasion when he did so:

Paul Kelly: The Innocent Extremist

Paul Kelly, Editor-at-large of the Murdoch-owned “The Australian” newspaper is an Australian patriot and strongly pro-American. Befittingly, he is a member of the Australian-American Leadership Dialogue, a selective association of high-profile business and political leaders and journalists. Kelly has a vision for an Australia which is militarily capable, economically dynamic and secure from foreign threat. He wants Australia to take positive steps to maintain its middle-power status, achieve real and increasing influence in international affairs and guard against the slide which has, in his view, seen New Zealand fall to the bottom levels of influence amongst Western nations.

For Kelly the primary determinants of a nation’s strength and influence are population, GNP and technology (especially military technology) supplemented by participation in regional and global economic and political forums. Underpinning all this for Australia in Kelly’s strategic model of Australia’s international political economy is a close relationship with the USA. This special relationship provides Australia access to advanced military technology and influence-by-association.

Kelly does not emphasis a direct guarantee of security as a product of a close bilateral relationship with the US, rather stressing that insider access to sophisticated US military technology makes Australia capable of military self-reliance. Self-reliance incorporates Australia’s capacity to defend itself in its own right and ability to act as a metropolitan power within the Australia-US ANZUS alliance, itself located and operational within the logic of a US hegemonic world order.

Kelly therefore describes a layered approach to the way in which Australia should approach its foreign policy. He believes Australia should pursue multilateralism through the UN alongside regionalism within ASEAN simultaneous with honouring and protecting the bilateral US alliance. He sees these bilateral, regional and multilateral layers as synergistically reinforcing each other producing an Australia capable of playing a constructive role in world affairs.. For example, close bilateral relationship with the USA gives Australia credibility with and thus potentially greater entrée into ASEAN and the ears of regional leaders most importantly China and Japan, but influence in ASEAN and regional nations simultaneously makes us more useful to the USA as a holder of insider influence within Asia. This expert status on Asian affairs gives rise to the possibility that Australia may successfully advise the USA on wise Asian policy and (non) interventions.

While Kelly advocates that Australia participate fully within the UN and maximize its opportunities for influence there, he sees the WTO as the more important world body. Kelly believes that thorough-going adoption of the WTO “free-trade” proscriptions will vitalise Australia’s economy, drive up our GNP and hence increase Australia’s international standing in a far more direct way than the slow and patient accumulation of influence through constructive negotiation.

Kelly believes the Unites States is a far better guarantor of international security than the “fragile” UN which “need[s] … U.S. security policy leadership” but is eager that the US remains within it. He wants the USA to work within the UN for two reasons. First, without the US, global institutions would be “crippled” leading to a breakdown in worldwide political and economic structure and stability; Secondly and patriotically, Kelly sees it in Australia’s interest that the US work within the UN since if the US turned its back on the UN to intervene unilaterally and arrogantly in world affairs, Australia’s regional standing with South-East and East Asia would be compromised.

This follows because of Australia’s strong, perhaps over-strong, identification as a US agent within East and South-East Asia. Kelly identifies a worst-case scenario for Australia in regard to arrogant US unilateralism for Australia where Australia could be barred or expelled from Asian regional forums if Australia is seen merely as an agent of US global power, the US’s “deputy sheriff”. Kelly supports America’s status as global hegemon and organiser of the global trade regime, but he wants the USA to be a “prudent hegemon” (Kelly, Australian for Alliance, The National Interest, Spring, 2003) working within the UN and sensitive to regional alliances and sensibilities.

Ultimately, however, Kelly always preserves and valorises the US prerogative for unilateral military intervention and places the onus on the UN to accommodate and legitimise US unilateralism.

“This is not an argument against all [US unilateral] military action. It is an argument for more attention to the tone of U.S. policy, and for legitimizing military action by law and through coalitions whenever possible.” (Kelly, Australian for Alliance, my emphasis)

Kelly believes that UN accommodation and legitimisation of US hegemonic power is the only way that the UN can survive as a credible organisation. The rights of the US to be global hegemon and take unilateral actions in its own interests are not questioned. Writing in the Weekend Australian (7-8/9/02) Kelly said:

“If the US does return to the Security Council, that will become a decisive moment in world history. It is when the main powers must decide whether they will allow the US to solve its problems within a UN framework or whether they confirm for the US that the unilateralists were right all the time and that it [the US] must commit to a new go-it-alone phase.”

Kelly is so pro-US that he is even somewhat antipathetic toward Western Europe which he sees as being prisoner to a consensus model of international affairs to the detriment of decisive and warranted interventions.

Australia therefore does not want an America so imprisoned by the search for consensus that it is paralyzed from taking military action….Indeed, nothing would cause more dismay in Australia than seeing the European Union prevail within [the UN and other multilateral] institutions at the cost of those institutions’ ultimate viability.

Kelly’s overall views lead him to advise the US to tread carefully in the world, surely to wield hegemonic power but prudently and constructively so as to encourage open world trade and, therefore, mutual weal. But Kelly also believes that the US is entitled to act unilaterally where warranted. In relation to Al-Qa’aida, Kelly is clear that US action is not only warranted but necessary.

In Kelly’s view the “transforming impact of September 11” , when Al-Qa’aida smashed those aircraft into the World Trade Centre, has changed the world. To Kelly, Al’Qa’aida represents a barbaric movement at war with civilisation itself. September 11 in Kelly’s view was “an attack on universal values” . Negotiation with this atavistic force is “folly” since “appeasement would usher in a new dark age” . Al-Qa’aida must be destroyed. In these circumstances the US is legitimised by moral imperative to act as the “prudent hegemon” to preserve order and peace.

In this transformed world Kelly notes a transformed mood of the US towards its allies. America now expects more action and more obedience from its allies.

“The US is less interested in historical allies and more interested in allies that perform, a point John Howard knows. Its sense of being the “indispensable nation” is in play again. Driven by both fear and resolve, the US is making harsher judgments about its friends.”

In Kelly’s view the US’s unswervable determination to intervene in Iraq makes it impossible to ignore the US call to arms since to do so would imperil the ANZUS alliance so crucial to Australia. It would amount to national suicide to ignore US the at a time when it is willing to demote non-performing allies, in particular who fail to provide political support for non-UN authorized intervention through participation in America’s Coalition of the Willing.

Thus Kelly speaks of Australia being “hostage” to the US “regardless of the quality of the arguments the President makes or fails to make” that Latham’s call to withdraw Australian troops from Iraq is not only wrong but “chilling” because it will “enrage the Bush administration” and is “at odds with the US political spectrum from George W. Bush to John Kerry”. Surely, Latham is “asking for trouble from Washington”. In Kelly’s view Australia has “no choice but to join an Iraq war” “anything less would imperil the 50-year US alliance” and he believes that Australians understand this instinctively knowing it to be “the Australian way of war”.

For Kelly the parameters of Australia’s freedom in foreign policy engagement are delimited by the mood and dictates of the United States. This is why “September 11 has created a new strategic challenge for America’s allies”. America is demanding more of its allies and Australia is beholden to deliver even where other relationships, whether regional security or trade, are imperilled. ,12

The tension between Australia’s relationship with the US and our regional relationships and security is a special concern of Kelly which he discusses regularly in his columns and speeches. For some time Kelly insisted that Australia’s participation in the Iraq invasion should be contingent on sanction through the UN in view of the danger of alienating Indonesia, the single most significant Islamic nation in Australia’s orbit. Kelly’s view, shared by a respectable cohort of Defence commentators, is summarized as follows

“Australia’s security will be determined by its ability to promote the dominance of moderate over radical Muslims in Indonesia. Accordingly we cannot afford to generate resentment among Indonesian Muslims by siding with the US in any invasion of Iraq not sanctioned by the UN.”13

But Kelly’s commitment to the UN is skin deep. Writing a few months after the preceeding article appeared Kelly made explicit that the value of the UN is that it provides “a cloak of respectability” for US unilateralism sufficient to deflect “anti-Americanism”. Even if “anti-Australian sentiment” generated by participation in US military ventures “fans hatred among [Indonesian] Muslim radicals…this is not a conclusive argument against Australia’s participation in Iraq or other U.S.-led coalitions if such participation is justified on its merits”. 14

It can be seen then that Kelly’s support for the US is near total and his support of the position that Australia should militarily support the US on-demand is likewise near total. The only hypothetical brake Kelly would pull on Australian participation in US-led military ventures is when that participation would compromise Australia’s inclusion in regional economic forums or severely harm Australia’s trade with China. At that point Australia’s support for the USA could only be “declaratory” as in a hypothetical US war with China over Taiwan.15

Even so, in the real world Kelly is prepared to tolerate major disruptions to Australia’s trade in order to appease the US. On July 29 2002, The Australian Finiancial Review noted with concern that Iraq halved a one-million tonne wheat order, perhaps jeopardizing the $829 million per year wheat contract with Australia’s second-largest wheat customer. This Kelly dismissed as a “short-term commercial cost” in support of the bilateral relationship.16

Kelly, then, notwithstanding increased security risk to Australia, marginalisation of the UN and hence international law, the damage of trade and regional relationships and his concession that “[the Iraq] war is not essential but war by choice of the US”17 is in favour of the invasion of Iraq and Australian involvement in it.18 It is, apparently, “justified on its merits” which can only be the need to avoid imperilling the ANZUS alliance.19 The only element that Kelly remains true to in his so-called layered approach to Australian foreign policy is the bilateral relationship with the US. Everything else is discardable. This tells us the truth about what Kelly really believes. Despite his projection of a moderate, layered, foreign policy viewpoint, Kelly’s views,in truth, are better presented as “All the way with LBJ”.

Intertwined with his nuanced public views on the relationship between Australia, the US, the UN and Asia, Kelly reproduces many of the statements from the Howard, Blair and Bush governments which argue for continued involvement in what Kelly knows is a US war of choice. Kelly has repeated for example, that Western nations must stay on to rebuild the Iraq they destroyed in order to prevent the legacy of a failed state (“A Misinformed Curtin Call”. March 31, 2004), that to withdraw from Iraq will encourage terrorist action against the West (“Jihadists keen to repeat Spanish effect”, March 24, 2004), that “Iraq is a decisive theatre in the war on terrorism” (“Howard Plays The Man”, April 3, 2004), that Australian involvement in Iraq does not increase Australia’s security risk – contradicting himself on many previous occasions – (“Spanish-style backlash for PM?”, March 17, 2004), that French and German caution in the UN is an impediment to effective world security and that Al-Qa’aida represents a vandal’s attack on civilisation itself which the West would be as foolish to ignore as Rome the Visigoths (see note 9)

Given his significant agreement with government propaganda some wonder if Kelly is shifting politically to the right following a trend in accordance with perceived management directive of the Murdoch newspaper group. In support of this one can also note an apparent hardening or contradiction of Kelly’s previously held views: that Australian involvement in Iraq does not increase security risk, that American militarism must be legitimized by the UN and that the Australia-Indonesia relationship must balance the Australia-US relationship

In my opinion Kelly’s fundamental political viewpoint has not shifted much, if at all, for years. While his columns shed crocodile tears for the UN and the negative effects of US unilateralism on Australia’s regional relationships, Kelly’s heart lies firmly with the US. In his pieces which explore the meaning of his support for the UN, Kelly is quite straight-forward that he expects the UN to be subservient to his preferred hegemon, free even from the “paralyzing” effect of other Western democracies. Kelly’s published opinion has hardened as the US demands on its allies harden. This is to be expected within Kelly’s framework of pre-suppositions about the world. Quite likely, Kelly’s support of the US is independent of that of Murdoch’s.

What is initially unexpected from Kelly though, is the energy and negativity of his reaction to Mark Latham’s recently enunciated views on Australian foreign policy. In reviewing Latham’s speech to the Lowy Policy Institute For Foreign Affairs, “Labor And The World”, Kelly branded Latham “radical on the US alliance”, representing a “generational leap beyond The Hawke-Keating-Beazley era” which “was genuinely pro-American”. Kelly said Latham instead sees “an America for which [he and the ALP] has scant regard” representing the”visceral hatred” of the ALP towards America.20

Latham was in fact very complimentary to the US which he described as “a great and robust democracy and committed Labour to “the Alliance with the United States” which he described as “a Labor legacy of which we are very proud.” noting that “[The Alliance] has been strong in the past. And it will be strong in the future”

Far from being a radical, Latham utilised language that marked him as being unopposed to the prudent use of US hegemonic power noting that “[The US] has assumed the ultimate responsibility: global leadership for the purpose of global cooperation and security.” He is comfortable in using the US-sourced term for its current foreign policy “the war on terror” which Latham believes “will be long and sustained.” since “the dangers terrorism presents have to be addressed on many fronts”. Latham is not opposed to “humanitarian intervention or pre-emption under Article 24 of the UN Charter”, one of the pretexts for the American invasion.

In fact Latham’s foreign policy viewpoint maps very closely to Kelly’s own oft-repeated views. Latham described Labor foreign policy as being based on “three pillars…” support for the United Nations and multilateral institutions, our alliance with the United States and our engagement with Asia”. This is identical in tone to Kelly’s own layered approach. Like Kelly, Latham makes special reference to China in foreign trade calculations and again like Kelly, Latham carries special regard for an open economy based around WTO guidelines – in Latham’s words “Labor believes in multilateralism, most of all through the WTO”.21
Given that Latham’s views so well overlap with Kelly’s it is superficially unexpected that Kelly is so opposed to Latham’s viewpoint and so unfair in his characterization of Latham’s supposed “hatred” of the US. Latham’s mistake of course, and what makes him “chilling” to Kelly is that Latham really does seem to believe in a semi-autonomous, layered foreign policy for Australia not dictated by shifts in American mood or demand.

This makes Latham “dangerous”. He opposes the American doctrine of pre-emptive war – not the UN definition – which is the ideological lynchpin for the war on terror, does not support the Iraq invasion and favours a “Defence of Australia” military posture rather than an expeditionary force posture. Clearly Latham’s views carry the possibility that Australia will not provide troops for subsequent US pre-emptive invasions. This risks the rage of the Americans and a possible downgrading of the bilateral relationship. For Kelly this represents national disaster, hence his hostility toward Latham.

Kelly’s criticism of Latham extends to odd lengths. Kelly writes

“[Latham’s Lowy’s Institute speech] says nothing about the value of the US role in
the world or the US as a force for good. Nothing.”

By “a force for good” Kelly presumably means that the USA is devoted to foreign policy goals incorporating the furtherment of democracy and human rights around the world, the relief of suffering, humanitarian aid and so on. In contrast, in the same article Kelly considers China to be something less than a force for good and chastises Latham and the ALP for

“a touching innocence about China that seems devoid of
critical assessment.”22

But who is the innocent: Latham or Kelly? Is the US really “a force for good”? Since Kelly’s article on Latham was written in the broader context of Latham’s call to return Australian troops from Iraq I will restrict my comments to recent US policy and actions there.

Kelly is apparently unaware that the US actively supported the murderous Saddam Hussein during the period of his worst crimes including his mass killings of Kurds by gas attack.

Throughout the 1980’s the US provided military equipment to Saddam along with strategy advice and intelligence, acted decisively to prevent Iranian victory in the Iraq/Iran war, donated billions of dollars in financial aid, sold Saddam chemical agents including VX Nerve Gas and Anthrax and underwrote his Ballistic weapons programs. The CIA even calibrated Saddam’s Mustard Gas weapons for use against Iran.

The USA blamed Iran, not Iraq, for the notorious Halabja gas attacks knowing the truth to be different. Even after a U.S. delegation travelled to Turkey at the request of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee in mid-late 1988 and confirmed that Iraq “was using chemical weapons on its Kurdish population” the State Department was urging closer relations with Saddam. In Sept. 1988 the Reagan administration overturned its own Senate’s “Prevention of Genocide Act” which would have made Iraq ineligible to receive U.S. loans, military and non-military assistance, credits, credit guarantees, and items subject to export controls. In Oct. 1989 President Bush signed National Security Directive 26 providing Iraq with a further $1bn in aid amongst further significant support. 23

The US was not in the least concerned about the mass killings of Kurds under Saddam. The US at the time was pro-Saddam in order to prevent the rise of Iran as a regional hegemon. The Kurds were completely expendable in the face of the Iranian threat to the greatest strategic asset in the world, namely, Middle East oil.

The US committed numerous atrocities during the first Gulf War including cluster bombing in civilian areas, deliberate withholding of medicines and medical equipment from hospitals, destruction of civilian water supplies and the use of radioactive weapons.24

Contrary to US and British claims, the No-Fly zones instituted after the first Gulf War were not designed to protect the Kurds or the Marsh Arabs, Turkish troops and aircraft regularly entered the northern no-fly zone covering Iraqi Kurdistan to bomb and kill while the US and British stood aside.

Similarly, in the Southern zone, Iraqi troop movements were not prohibited, not even Iraqi military helicopters, only Iraqi jets. Hence, US and British planes circled overhead or stayed grounded while Saddam marched in with customary brutality to crush the 1998 rebellion. Entire towns were leveled, mass summary executions ordered and historic Shia shrines and mosques bombed. It is estimated that Saddam’s forces killed 100,000 Marsh Arabs in the five months ending September 1998. American troops were ordered not to prevent the mass killings. The extra concession to allow Iraqi military helicopters into the Southern No-Fly zone but not the Northern was obviously made to facilitate Saddam’s murderous rampage 25

The trigger for the latest US invasion of Iraq was the infamous 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre, not concern for democracy or human rights. The US Administration moved quickly to make political capital out of the sorrow and anger amongst the public to blame the attacks on Iraq in a knowing untruth and so justify their invasion.

Bush Administration claims in regard Iraqi WMD’s “’dangled in front of [the media] failed the laugh test,’ the editor of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists commented, ‘but the more ridiculous [they were,] the more the media strove to make whole-hearted swallowing of them a test of patriotism.’ (Linda Rothstein, editor BAS, July 2003) But they served their intended purpose. Quickly a majority of Americans came to believe that they were present targets of Iraqi WMDs. Foolsd by their own government who knew otherwise, almost fifty per cent of Americans linked Saddam Hussein to the World Trade Centre tragedy. All this helped Bush and his insiders drum up support for the Iraq invasion. 26

In September 2002, Donald Rumsfeld repeated these untruths to the Senate Armed Services Committee:
Senator Mark Dayton: “What is it compelling us now to make a precipitous decision and take precipitous actions?”
Defense Secretary Rumsfeld: “What’s different? What’s different is 3,000 people were killed.”
The CIA analyst Kenneth Pollack summarized the effectiveness of the Bush administration’s propaganda assault against its own people like so:
‘The real difference was the change from September 11th. The sense that after September 11th, the American people were now willing to make sacrifices to prevent threats from abroad from coming home to visit us here made it possible to think about a big invasion force.’ 27

Western power is not committed to democracy in Iraq. In calling for the “people of Iraq” to overthrow Saddam following the first Gulf War, President Bush was really calling for a military coup – another Saddam, but an obedient Saddam. This is admitted by the US itself and seconded by the British:
“We clearly would have preferred a coup. There’s no question about that,” – Bush’s national security adviser Brent Scowcroft Interview on ABC News, 26 June 1997 30
‘I don’t recall asking the Kurds to mount this particular insurrection ….We hope very much that the military in Iraq will remove Saddam Hussein” – British Prime Minister John Major, ITN interview, 4 April, 199128
“..for very practical reasons there was never a promise to aid an uprising. While we hoped that popular revolt or coup would topple Saddam, neither the U.S. nor the countries of the region wished to see the breakup of the Iraqi state. We were concerned about the long-term balance of power at the head of the Gulf.” – President Bush and Brent Scowcroft, Time Magazine, 2 March 1988

In summary the US is willing to countenance mass killings including the extermination of a half a million children32, use radioactive weapons, cluster bomb in civilian areas, destroy civilian water supplies, deprive civilians of medicines, sell Nerve Gas and Anthrax, build the Ballistic weapons program of a megalomaniac dictator, back military coups and lie to its own population and the world community. And that’s just in Iraq.
Latham has excellent reasons for not eulogizing the US as a force for good. It is Kelly that is the innocent, but I am not certain that this innocence is “touching”.

Kelly is a very influential journalist with access to a large newspaper readership and appears regularly as a mainstream commentator on national TV. His views on US, Iraq and Australia reach into every home. As such his views on the proper attitude of Australia politicians toward US policy (rhapsodic praise) have the potential to influence the entire polity. It is therefore alarming that Kelly’s naivety is so far removed from the truth about US realpolitik and imperial ambitions.

Kelly does not settle for a lack of criticism or even quiet agreement in regard to US foreign policy. The proper attitude for Australian politicians in regard to the USA in Kelly’s view is unrestrained applause. Latham didn’t describe the US as a ‘force for evil’ or less emotively, ‘an outlaw terrorist state’. He just didn’t say they were a force for good. Does Kelly expect Australian politicians as a matter of obligation or respect for the Australia-US alliance to repeat US propaganda verbatim regardless of what they may or may not believe?

Kelly is able to discover that China is sometimes worthy of criticism, presumably due to its repression of democracy in Tiannemen Square, in Tibet and of the Uighur of Xinjiang, but he is apparently not able to discover the facts about American invasion and support for repression in Iraq. This in incredible, if not frankly unbelievable, for a person of his experience and exposure to international affairs.

Paul Kelly is the radical on the Australia-US relationship, not Latham. It is Kelly who is prepared to risk increased security danger, trade reprisal, disrupt regional relationships, fan Islamic fundamentalism in Indonesia, fight non-essential wars of choice and turn a blind eye to the death of hundreds of thousands to remain in the good graces of the USA.

This being so Paul Kelly is a dangerous man. Kelly knows, but will not directly state, that the US is committed to preserving its global political, economic and military supremacy through raw power35 as described in its National Security Strategy delivered in Sept. 2002 34. Since we are “hostage” to the US in its present mood in Kelly’s view and “have no choice” except to agree with our ally, Kelly is therefore committed to endless war as long as the US is prepared to wage it.

True, Kelly expects the direct costs to Australia to be very small.33 But as for the costs borne by Iraqis under aerial bombardment, showered by radioactive dust from American depleted-uranium warheads, for the children playing in ruined cities amidst unexploded cluster bomblets with their homes, hospitals and water supply smashed to oblivion – well they are irrelevant.

It can be expected that Kelly will use his position of influence within the electorate to continue to argue for loyalty to the US regardless of how many the US chooses to kill in advancement of its economic and political goals. He can also be expected to energetically argue against those, such as Latham, who will not stomach being associated with such slaughter.

Kelly apparently attended the recent Cancun conference for Murdoch editors and commentators addressed by Bush’s National Security Adviser, Condaleeza Rice. A directive to present the US as “a force for good” sounds like just the sort of “editorial guideline” one would expect to appear in an internal memo or media briefing paper. Unfortunately the results of Kelly’s appalling ”innocence” impact disgracefully on Australian’s ability to make informed voting choices about our association with US foreign policy and hence the practice of our democracy.

The Touching Innocence Of Paul Kelly

Paul Kelly’s piece in The Australian, 10 April-2004 entitled “Damage In Isolation” contains an odd criticism of Mark Latham’s foreign policy speech to the Lowy Institute made on the 7 April previous. Kelly writes

“[Latham’s speech] says nothing about the value of the US role in the world or the US as a force for good. Nothing.”

By “a force for good” Kelly presumably means that the USA is devoted to foreign policy goals incorporating the furtherment of democracy and human rights around the world, the relief of suffering, humanitarian aid and so on.

In contrast, in the same article Kelly considers China to be something less than a force for good and chastises Latham and the ALP for “a touching innocence about China that seems devoid of critical assessment.”

But who is the innocent: Latham or Kelly? Is the US really “a force for good”? Since Kelly’s article on Latham was written in the broader context of Latham’s call to return Australian troops from Iraq I will restrict my comments to recent US policy and actions there.

The US actively supported the murderous Saddam Hussein during the period of his worst crimes including his mass killings of Kurds by gas attack.

Throughout the 1980’s the US provided military equipment to Saddam along with strategy advice and intelligence, acted decisively to prevent Iranian victory in the Iraq/Iran war, donated billions of dollars in financial aid, sold Saddam chemical agents including VX Nerve Gas and Anthrax and underwrote his Ballistic weapons programs. The CIA even calibrated Saddam’s Mustard Gas weapons for use against Iran.

The USA blamed Iran, not Iraq, for the notorious Halabja gas attacks knowing the truth to be different. Even after a U.S. delegation travelled to Turkey at the request of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee in mid-late 1988 and confirmed that Iraq “was using chemical weapons on its Kurdish population” the State Department was urging closer relations with Saddam In Sept. 1988 the Reagan administration overturned its own Senate’s “Prevention of Genocide Act” which would have made Iraq ineligible to receive U.S. loans, military and non-military assistance, credits, credit guarantees, and items subject to export controls. In Oct. 1989 President Bush signed National Security Directive 26 providing Iraq with a further $1bn in aid amongst further significant support.

The US was not in the least concerned about the mass killings of Kurds under Saddam. The US at the time was pro-Saddam in order to prevent the rise of Iran as a regional hegemon. The Kurds were completely expendable in the face of the Iranian threat to the greatest strategic asset in the world, namely, Middle East oil.

The US committed numerous atrocities during the first Gulf War including the following:

• Cluster bombing in civilian areas
• Deliberate withholding of medicines and medical equipment from hospitals
• Destruction of civilian water supplies
• Use of radioactive weapons

Contrary to US and British claims, the no-fly zones instituted after the first Gulf War were not designed to protect the Kurds or the Marsh Arabs, Turkish troops and aircraft regularly entered the northern no-fly zone covering Iraqi Kurdistan to bomb and kill in the Northern zone while the US and British stood aside.

Similarly, in the Southern zone, Iraqi troop movements were not prohibited, not even Iraqi military helicopters, only Iraqi jets. Hence, US and British planes circled overhead or stayed grounded while Saddam marched in with customary brutality to crush the 1998 rebellion.

The consequences were devastating. Hussein’s forces levelled the historical centres of the Shiite towns, bombarded sacred Shiite shrines and executed thousands on the spot. By some estimates 100,000 people died in reprisal killings between March and September. Many of these atrocities were committed in proximity to American troops, who were under orders not to intervene. The extra concession to allow Iraqi military helicopters into the Southern No-Fly zone but not the Northern was obviously made to facilitate Saddam’s massacre of the Marsh Arabs. (Peter W. Galbraith, “The Ghosts of 1991”, http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A10874-2003Apr11?language=printer”)

The trigger for the latest US invasion of Iraq was the infamous 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre, not concern for democracy or human rights. The US Administration moved quickly to make political capital out of the sorrow and anger amongst the public to blame the attacks on Iraq in a knowing untruth and so justify their invasion.

Many of the charges about supposed Iraqi WMD’s “dangled in front of [the media] failed the laugh test,” the editor of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists commented, “but the more ridiculous [they were,] the more the media strove to make whole-hearted swallowing of them a test of patriotism.” (Linda Rothstein, editor BAS, July 2003).

The propaganda assault had its effects. Within weeks, a majority of Americans came to regard Saddam Hussein as an imminent threat to the US. Soon almost half believed that Iraq was behind the 9/11 terror. Support for the war correlated with these beliefs. (Noam Chomsky, “Preventive War ‘the Supreme Crime’: Iraq invasion that will live in infamy”, http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=4030)

In September 2002, Donald Rumsfeld explicitly tied the need to invade Iraq to the 9/11 bombings in this testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee:

Senator Mark Dayton: “What is it compelling us now to make a precipitous decision and take precipitous actions?”
Defense Secretary Rumsfeld: “What’s different? What’s different is 3,000 people were killed.”

Former CIA analyst Kenneth Pollack got enormous media exposure in late 2002 for his book “The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq.” During a typical CNN appearance, Pollack explained why he had come to see a “massive invasion” of Iraq as both desirable and practical:

“The real difference was the change from September 11th. The sense that after September 11th, the American people were now willing to make sacrifices to prevent threats from abroad from coming home to visit us here made it possible to think about a big invasion force.”

Western power is not committed to democracy in Iraq. In calling for the “people of Iraq” to overthrow Saddam following the first Gulf War, President Bush was really calling for a military coup – another Saddam, but an obedient Saddam. This is admitted by the US itself and seconded by the British:

“We clearly would have preferred a coup. There’s no question about that,” – Bush’s national security adviser Brent Scowcroft Interview on ABC News, 26 June 1997

I don’t recall asking the Kurds to mount this particular insurrection ….We hope very much that the military in Iraq will remove Saddam Hussein” – British Prime Minister John Major, ITN interview, 4 April, 1991

“..for very practical reasons there was never a promise to aid an uprising. While we hoped that popular revolt or coup would topple Saddam, neither the U.S. nor the countries of the region wished to see the breakup of the Iraqi state. We were concerned about the long-term balance of power at the head of the Gulf.” – President Bush and Brent Scowcroft, Time Magazine, 2 March

In summary the US is willing to countenance mass killings including the extermination of a half a million children, use radioactive weapons, cluster bomb in civilian areas, destroy civilian water supplies, deprive civilians of medicines, sell Nerve Gas and Anthrax, build the Ballistic weapons program of a megalomaniac dictator, back military coups and lie to its own population and the world community. And that’s just in Iraq.

Latham has excellent reasons for not eulogizing the US as a force for good. It is Kelly that is the innocent, but I am not certain that this innocence is “touching”.

Kelly is a very influential journalist with access to a large newspaper readership and appears regularly as a mainstream commentator on national TV. His views on US, Iraq and Australia reach into every home. As such his views on the proper attitude of Australia politicians toward US policy (rhapsodous praise) have the potential to influence the entire polity. It is therefore alarming that Kelly’s naivety is so far removed from the truth about US realpolitik and imperial ambitions.

Kelly does not settle for quiet agreement or even a lack of criticism in regard to US foreign policy. The proper attitude for Australian politicians in regard to the USA in Kelly’s view is unrestrained applause.

Latham didn’t describe the US as a ‘force for evil’ or less emotively, ‘an outlaw terrorist state’. He just didn’t say they were a force for good. Does Kelly expect our pollies as a matter of obligation or respect for the Australia-US alliance to repeat US propaganda verbatim regardless of what they may or may not believe?

Perhaps as Editor-at-large of The Australian Kelly is beholden to his employer, Rupert Murdoch, to toe his line in political articles. Did Kelly attend the Cancun conference for Murdoch editors and commentators addressed by Bush’s National Security Adviser Condaleeza Rice ? A directive to present the US as “a force for good” sounds like just the sort of “editorial guideline” you’d expect in an internal memo or media briefing paper. Unfortunately the results of this appalling ”innocence” impact disgracefully on our ability to make informed votes and hence the practice of our democracy.

PostScript
Turning now to the actual use of the phrase “the price is worth it,” we come to U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s reply to Lesley Stahl’s question on “60 Minutes” on May 12, 1996:

Stahl: “We have heard that a half a million children have died [because of sanctions against Iraq]. I mean that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And–you know, is the price worth it?”

Albright: “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price–we think the price is worth it.”

Sources:

Paul Kelly, “Damage in Isolation:, The Australian, April 10, 2004, http://theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,9233174%255E12250,00.htmlLast Accessed, Apr-21-2004-04

Eric Herring, “The No Fly Zones in Iraq: The Myth of a Humanitarian Intervention*, via http://uk.geocities.com/dstokes14/Eric/eric.htm, Last Accessed 15-Apr-2004
Sarah Graham-Brown, “No-Fly Zones: Rhetoric and Real Intentions”, http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/issues/iraq/2001/0220nofl.htm, Last Accessed Apr-15-2004
Norman Solomon, “Exploiting Anxiety: The Political Capital of 9/11”, http://www.counterpunch.org/solomon09112003.html, Last Accessed Apr-15-2004
Peter W. Galbraith, “The Ghosts of 1991”, http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A10874-2003Apr11?language=printer”, Last Accessed 15-Apr-2004

Center For Co-Operative Research, “US Support for Iraq in the 1980s”, http://www.cooperativeresearch.org/globalissue/usforeignpolicy/iraq1980scontent.html, Last Accessed 15-Apr-2004-04-15

Noam Chomsky, “Preventive War ‘the Supreme Crime’: Iraq invasion that will live in infamy”, http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=4030, Last Accessed 15-Apr-2004

George Bush Sr. and Brent Scowcroft, “Why We Didn’t Remove Saddam”, Time 2 March 1998, posted on http://www.thememoryhole.org/mil/bushsr-iraq.htm, Last Accessed Apr-15-2004

Rahul Mahajan, :”’We Think the Price Is Worth It’: Media uncurious about Iraq policy’s effects- there or here”, http://www.fair.org/extra/0111/iraq.html, Last Accessed Apr-15-2004

When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

Three threads over December 2009 -January 2010 on Lavartus Prodeo (here’s number two) addressed the issue of assaults on Indian Students, mostly in Western Melbourne, but also other parts of Melbourne and Western Sydney.

Its Racism

The question is,’ said Alice, `whether you can make words mean so many different things.’
`The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be master – – that’s all.’

The LP moderators who wrote or authorised the posts bluntly attribute the reason for these attacks to racism, despite the comments of Victorian Chief Of Police, Simon Overland, who said that while a number of the attacks were undoubtedly racist the bulk of the attacks were ‘opportunistic’

i.e. comprising robbery as the primary motive on the ‘soft targets’ of Indian students, mostly slight of stature, known to carry cash , iPods, laptops and mobile phones, walking or travelling alone to and from late night shifts as taxi drivers and service station and late-night convenience store attendants in low socio-economic area suburbs.

..which sounds to me eminently plausible.

Circumstances Are Irrelevant: Its Racism

While the LP moderators and contributors acknowledge the relatively risky profile of the work activities of Indian students they absolutely refuse to factor that circumstantial risk profile into their characteristaion of the attacks as racist.

Rather, the LP team say that the Indian students are forced to engage in high-risk jobs by a set of laws and practices which produce a disproportionately high incidence assault on Indian students. Since the Indian students self-evidently constitute a racial group and the attacks are concentrated on this racial group, the LP commentators state the set of laws and practices which cause these assaults are ipso facto racist.

Specifically, these laws and practices are an example of Structural Racism.

The Structurally Racist Laws Causing Indian Students To Be Bashed

Alice was too much puzzled to say anything, so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. `They’ve a temper, some of them — particularly verbs, they’re the proudest — adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs — however, I can manage the whole of them! Impenetrability! That’s what I say!’

`Would you tell me, please,’ said Alice `what that means?`

The supposed racist structures that cause Indian students to be bashed were enumerated by Mark Bahnsich
in this post

Mark enumerates the following: The 20 hr per week limitation on foreign students, the requirement of foreign students to fulfill work experience requirements in their courses, incomplete, misleading or poorly researched information propogated private colleges and (Indian) education agents, that only low-skill employment opportunities are open to foreign students despite the fact they may already have foreign qualifications, negligent regulation of the private education sector, the fact that Indian students come to Australia with little money, the fact that Indian students are unfamiliar with our legal and bureaucratic system, , the fact that Australian-run private educators and the fact that Indian students are unfamiliar with the cultural, safety and social aspects of Western Melboune or Sydney.

Reading through Mark’s list, it is apparrent that not one of these laws and practices is framed with racist intent or motivation, a fact readily acknowledged by the LP commentators. That fact, however, is regarded as irrelevant.

It does not matter to them that the set of laws and practices faced by Indian students is not framed with racist intent, only that the combined effect of such laws and practices forces Indian students to take low-paying jobs in risky socio-economic areas and thus they get exposed to thugs and criminals and get bashed.

For the LP commentariat Structural Racism can exist without racist intention or motivation.

For me this is a lunacy worthy of Humpty-Dumpty from Alice In Wonderland, who, you may remember, assigned meanings to words based on his own personal whim and preference and for his own transient enjoyment.

Miracle Cure For Racism Discovered

`Now you talk like a reasonable child,’ said Humpty Dumpty, looking very much pleased. `I meant by “impenetrability” that we’ve had enough of that subject, and it would be just as well if you’d mention what you mean to do next, as I suppose you don’t mean to stop here all the rest of your life.’

`That’s a great deal to make one word mean,’ Alice said in a thoughtful tone.

`When I make a word do a lot of work like that,’ said Humpty Dumpty, `I always pay it extra.’

`Oh!’ said Alice.

Mark Bahnsich and his supporters provide a number of solutions for what they consider the deeply-ingrained xenophobic gene in Australian society. They mostly boil down to one thing: give Indian students more money – then they wont have to take the aforesaid risky jobs and put themselves in the way of thugs.

Consequently the LP team recommend giving Indian students Cab Vouchers, providing subsidized or free student housing, ask or require them to bring more money with them, relax or abolish the 20 Hr per week work limitation and abolishing or amending their work experience requirements.

Its is a strange sort of racism that can be cured merely by providing money to the victims.

To my mind, this Miracle Cure indicates very clearly that the problem is not racism, but one of wealth. Its a poverty issue not atypical of that facing students of every nationality including locals, not a problem of racism which persists despite the persecuted group having money or not (e.g ‘rich Jew’ anti-Semitism).

If Its Not Racism Then What Is It ?

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

`That’s enough to begin with,’ Humpty Dumpty interrupted: `there are plenty of hard words there. “Brillig” means four o’clock in the afternoon — the time when you begin broiling things for dinner.’

Indan students are being attacked for precisely the reasons Vic. Police say they are: opportunistic attacks on soft targets icarrying valuable items in risky areas at risky times of night while travelling alone. What puts them in harm’s way is a their relative poverty. Therefore the problem is far better called ‘Structural Poverty’, not ‘Structural Racism’. The fact the problem can be cured by applying money is a clear indicator of its true cause.

Over Eager

`I see it now,’ Alice remarked thoughtfully: `and what are “toves”?’

`Well, “toves” are something like badgers — they’re something like lizards — and they’re something like corkscrews.’

Many on the left are over eager to identify racism. This is a result of the volumes of leftist literature that portray (Imperialist) Capitalism as inherently racist and sexist. This ideological inertia predisposes leftists to enthusiastically identify racism even where it does not exist.

Here follow two examples of leftist ideological polemic which illustrate how the understanding of the interconnection between Capitalism, Racism and Sexism is described in varying levels of correlation.

First, From CLASS STRUGGLE, CAPITALISM AND THE STATE by The Workers Solidarity Federation an Anarchist/Syndicalist organisation which believes in a revolution by the workers and the poor to establish Stateless Socialism.

Class struggle does not ignore sexism, racism etc.: insofar as the majority of people who are affected by these oppressions (and who are also affected the worst by these oppressions) are working class, insofar as these oppressions are rooted in the capitalist system, and insofar as the working class can only be united and mobilised on the basis of opposing all oppression, these issues are all class issues. It is impossible to mobilise the working class without dealing with all the issues that affect the working class. That is to say, the class struggle can only succeed if it is anti-racist, anti-sexist etc.

Second, from Defying corporations, Defining Democracy

In one sense, capitalism is not inherently racist or sexist – corporations are happy to exploit anyone in the drive for profit. But owners and managers have used racism to divide workers and solidify control, and sexism has been important in keeping certain jobs associated with women or “women’s work” (such as the expanding customer service sector) low paying. Those stories are also an integral part of the history of the corporation.

Examples could be easily multiplied.

Indian Students Are Divided As To Cause

While the LP moderators are insistent that Structural Racism is the cause of the attacks, a significant minority of Indian students, like Vic. Police, assign the cause to Opportunism.

Of course this does not contradict the Structural Racism hypothesis because Structural Racism is said to explain the preconditions for the attack, not the attack itself, which thus still permits the attacks to be bluntly described as racist even though robbery or thuggery may be acknowledged as the primary motive by Leftist analysts.

To my mind, this is a lovely way of having your explanation and eating it too as the emotive and unnuanced appellation of racism with all its accusatory power can be levied at Australian (Capitalist) society while the highly jargonized term of Structural Racism is employed as covering fire when the racist motivation is questioned.

Indian student Ruchir Punjabi, former President of the University Of Sydney Student Union, made the interesting comment that that portrayal of the attacks as racist was a distraction for the severe problems besetting private foreign education in Australia.

In this way he was drawing attention to many of the problems identified by Mark Bahnsich around the largely unregulated flow of under-resourced and under-advised Indian students into Australia which has led to a more than tripling of Indian student numbers in Australia between 2004 and 2009. As an informed Indian student national with intimate knowledge of Australian society and culture he has an unusually well-rounded perspective and does not cry ‘Racist!’

Anglos Are Largely Not Perpetrating The Bashings

Humpty Dumpty raised his voice almost to a scream as he repeated this verse, and Alice thought with a shudder, `I wouldn’t have been the messenger for anything!’

The testimony of the Indian students is that the attacks are largely perpetrated by Immigrant, non-Anglo groups. The attacks on Sydney’s Indian nationals are described by the victims themselves as coming from Lebanese youths:

Macquarie University student Mukul Khanna, called back home by his worried parents: “A lot of my Pakistani friends have left the place after being brutally attacked and robbed . . . Interestingly, the attackers are mostly not locals and are themselves people of foreign origin.

In Melbourne (same link as previous) This year between May 8 and August 2 there were 12 reported robberies on taxi drivers in Flemington, Moonee Ponds and Ascot Vale. “Police will not officially acknowledge any particular ethnic group is a target, or that any other group is carrying out the crimes. But in every case the victims told police their attackers were African . . .”

In The Guardian:

Pulok: The media is giving a false impression of this – it could have been any ethnic group that actually did this. Last year it was bunch of Somali guys smashing up an Indian shop in Sunshine [a suburb three kilometres to the west] and bashing the owner. But you see all kinds of people not in their senses on the street and they can be dangerous.

Rav: There are new migrants in this area from all over the place and not having much money is a big contributing factor. Indians usually find it much easier to find jobs (even if they’re not great jobs) than a lot of the African guys, so that probably causes some resentment.

While the fact that Anglo attackers are in the minority is acknowledged by the LP commentariat, this (fairly enough) is also regarded as irrelevent, but does not deter some commentators from explaining the racist nature of the attacks with reference to Australia’s Constitution, the White Australia Policy of 1908 (approx.) and pre-WW2 attitudes to Aboriginals and non-European persons in general as they hunt out teh various mainfestations of Australia’s ‘deeply-ingrained’ xenophobia

…all of which of couse is only germane to Anglo Australia and completely irelevant to the Lebanese youth gangs of Western Sydney, the Somali gangs of Melbourne or the mixed ethnicity cohorts of unemployed friends that are actually perpetrating the attacks with minority Anglo input.

Once again the predisposition to critique (White) Western Capitalist societies interferes with the ability of some leftists to discuss this issue objectively.

So What Should Be Done ?

In the short term I agree with the LP team. Give late-night workers Cab Vouchers, provide Student Accommodation, better policing, better lighting, everything possible should be done. We differ only on the description of the problem, not its severity or victims.

Its a poverty issue, not a race issue

In the medium-term, the repulsively negligent oversight of overseas student education should be addressed with primary attention on requiring overseas students to come to Oz with more money. The problem will then magically disappear and Australia will no longer be (structurally) racist.

I would retain the 20 Hr work week minimum as a sensible limitation on foreign students and also retain the work experience requirement for qualifications.

To conclude, more poetry from the incomparable Humpty-Dumpty:

I took a corkscrew from the shelf:
I went to wake them up myself.

And when I found the door was locked,
I pulled and pushed and knocked.

And when I found the door was shut,
I tried to turn the handle, but — ‘

There was a long pause.

`Is that all?’ Alice timidly asked.

`That’s all,’ said Humpty Dumpty. Good-bye.’