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Monday message board

December 3rd, 2007

It’s time, once again, for the Monday Message Board. Civilised discussion and no coarse language, please.

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  1. December 3rd, 2007 at 08:31 | #1

    The fourth in “The Poll that Counts” series is online. John Howard makes his concession speech after losing both the general election and his own seat of Bennelong. People in the National tallyroom in Canberra watch, triumphant or defeated.

    Like his cricketing idol, Don Bradman, Howard made a duck in his last innings. In fact by losing his seat it’s probably a golden pair.

    There has been a lot of discussion about the role of the web during the election and the future of so-called citizen journalism. I suspect that citizen is a synonym for unpaid. The range of alternative media in the tallyroom media centre was impressive. My blog”Labor View from Broome’ mentions some of them. Click my name for more.

  2. gandhi
    December 3rd, 2007 at 09:27 | #2

    Mark Steyn has an outrageously racist piece today in the GG.

    … a dependence on immigration is always a structural weakness, and should be addressed as such. At a time of unparalleled prosperity and peace, the majority of developed nations have chosen, in effect, to give up on the future….

    The West’s demographic weakness is merely the physical embodiment of a broader loss of civilisational confidence. Australia should never have had a “department of immigration and multicultural affairs”, but, given that it did, Howard was right to rename it the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. Government should promote citizenship, not multiculturalism.

    The Coalition was all but unique in understanding the three great challenges of the age – Islamism, demography, civilisational will – that in other parts of the West are combining to form the perfect storm.

    Tosh and nonsense from someone who admits he doesn’t really know what he is talking about (“As a distant observer of Australian affairs, I had some small personal contact with Howard and co. over the years.”)

    This article in the GG is an extract from the December issue of the Institute of Public Affairs Review in Melbourne. If followed the link to their website http://www.ipa.org.au and was suprised to see that they are offering PhDs in Environmental Science at the University of Queensland!

    * Are you concerned that public policy on environmental issues is increasingly driven by moral crusading, rather than by objective science or need?
    * Are you prepared to undertake investigative research into contentious issues in environmental management?
    * Are you determined to take an evidenced based approach to research, with a view to critically evaluating current policies?
    * Do you want your work to have influence?

    “Influence” = get published by people like Murdoch, get your claptrap pushed by Big Business financiers.

    Question to Prof Q: Why is UQ supporting such crap?

  3. Katz
    December 3rd, 2007 at 10:33 | #3

    “Civilisational will”, eh?

    Gosh, I wonder if one tripped over “civilisational will” one would recognise it.

    What does it look like, this “civilisational will”?

    Steyn reckons he knows:

    And that brings us to the Coalition’s next great strand of strategic clarity. At his 2006 education summit, Howard called for “a root and branch renewal of Australian history in our schools, with a restoration of narrative instead of what I labelled the ‘fragmented stew of themes and issues”‘.

    As [Howard] explained at the Quadrant 50th anniversary celebration: “This is about ensuring children are actually taught their national inheritance.” The absence of a “narrative” and an “inheritance” is a big part of the reason that British subjects born and bred blow up the London Tube, why young Canadian Muslims with no memory of living in any other society plot to behead their own prime minister.

    You can’t assimilate immigrants and minorities unless you give them something to assimilate to. It’s one thing to teach children their history “warts and all”, quite another to obsess on the warts at the expense of all else. The West’s demographic weakness is merely the physical embodiment of a broader loss of civilisational confidence. Australia should never have had a “department of immigration and multicultural affairs”, but, given that it did, Howard was right to rename it the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. Government should promote citizenship, not multiculturalism.

    There’s your answer!

    Western folks aren’t rooting enough, or at least they aren’t rooting enough with fecund intent, or if they are, they aren’t taking their foetuses to term because:

    a. they haven’t been taught history


    b. they haven’t been taught the right history


    c. they’ve been taught the wrong history.

    Shorter Steyn: “Good” history = viagra.

    Steyn has achieved a literary landmark here: the self-satirising article.

  4. December 3rd, 2007 at 10:35 | #4

    The education debate between Andrew Norton and Andrew Leigh should be a hoot.


  5. Persse
    December 3rd, 2007 at 12:05 | #5

    Mark Steyn is a professional stirrer. And thats it. His statements never stand up to analysis. His predictions are invariably wrong. He offers a stream of ill informed drivel that is designed to massage the prejudices of a rightwing audience. Like any any fulltime troll he is completely impervious to counterargument. His quest is to find the words for snide strawman attacks on perceived ideological opponents.
    Sometimes he makes me laugh. As when he wrote once that no one stands second to him, in his admiration of Hillary Clinton’s ruthlessness. He may as well have said that her ‘mother smells of elderberries’.
    I agree that the opening paragraph you quote on the criteria for scholarship application is troubling. But the IPA is not the phd referees. Either the UQ is competent and capable of producing quality phd’s or not.

  6. sona
    December 3rd, 2007 at 13:25 | #6

    Can someone please explain rationally the notion of a Crhristian Socialist as our PM claims to be. The phrase strikes me as an Orwellian oxymoron.

  7. December 3rd, 2007 at 13:28 | #7

    Outrageously racist? Something that goes beyond “ordinary” racism?

    Which race is this Mark Steyn getting stuck into?

    Not one word of that piece is laying the boot into anyone on the basis of their race.

  8. gandhi
    December 3rd, 2007 at 14:10 | #8

    Steve at the pub,

    Aside from the particulars, Steyn’s piece is outrageously racist because of its basic assumption that “Western civilisation” must necessarily fear and be in conflict with Islam and other cultural groups on this planet.

    John Howard’s government was outrageously racist for exactly the same reason.

  9. December 3rd, 2007 at 14:16 | #9

    Name a race he is saying is inferior.

  10. December 3rd, 2007 at 14:18 | #10

    roll on tuesday

  11. gandhi
    December 3rd, 2007 at 14:23 | #11


    Would you prefer the word “bigoted”? Or “xenophobic”?

    If you want to defend Steyn’s arguments, go ahead…

    Oh, but of course the racists know they cannot be straightforward with their prejudices in public, so they just blow the dog whistle as loud as they come. And – look! – the dogs come running…

  12. Ian Gould
    December 3rd, 2007 at 14:37 | #12

    SatP, is correct.

    Mark Steyn hates Muslims regardless of their race.

  13. observa
    December 3rd, 2007 at 14:56 | #13

    It’s a helluva lot better than wanting to behead female teachers that allow their 7 year old pupils to call a teddy bear Mohammed but perhaps sexism doesn’t rate anymore these days?

  14. observa
    December 3rd, 2007 at 15:07 | #14

    Yeah, yeah, I know! Education revolutions and all that lefty, postmodern stuff, we old trogs will never dig.

  15. John Greenfield
    December 3rd, 2007 at 15:13 | #15


    You have now posted three times and none of us is the wiser, about what you meant in your OP. Hopefully, this means that SATP’s perfectly straightforward inquiry has made you rethink your rash outburst.

    If so, the discussion would benefit immensely from your sharing with us in what way your outburst was wrong, and perhaps some insight into why you think you made it, and what you have learnt.

    If SATP’s inquiry has not led you to rethink your OP, perhaps you could have one (or as many as you need) more go at justifying your bizarre outburst.

  16. Ian Gould
    December 3rd, 2007 at 16:06 | #16

    “It’s a helluva lot better than wanting to behead female teachers that allow their 7 year old pupils to call a teddy bear Mohammed but perhaps sexism doesn’t rate anymore these days?”

    Yeah wanting the US to launch a nuclear strike on Iran and kill another million or so people is vastly preferable.

  17. Ian Gould
    December 3rd, 2007 at 16:08 | #17

    By the way, where were you (and Steyn) when Christian missionaries were being murdered by Hindu fundamentalists and when thousands of Burmese Muslims were killed because someone allegedly through a stone at a statue of the Buddha?

  18. Hermit
    December 3rd, 2007 at 16:35 | #18

    Some number puzzles; Rudd has just signed Kyoto http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,22861676-29277,00.html
    but he is using the metooist line that we are just 1% over our target, despite others (Hamilton et al IIR) saying it’s more like 25%. Then he says will cut emissions over the years 2000-2050 by 60%. Does that mean now after 7 years we need immediate cuts of 8.4% to catch up?

    I sense the onset of another trick from the Howard book, changing some definitions when they don’t suit.

  19. observa
    December 3rd, 2007 at 16:55 | #19

    Yeah Hermit, but at least he’s a devout practising greeny like Howard, unlike those phoneys, Hawke and Keating- http://www.news.com.au/business/story/0,23636,22860297-31037,00.html

  20. Ian Gould
    December 3rd, 2007 at 17:01 | #20

    Hamilton Iif that’s who it was)got that figure by ignoring the reduction in emissions from land clearing.

    Seeing as there’s a section of the Kyoto Protocol known as the Australia clause which specifically deals with land-clearing, I’d say its Hamilton who’s changing definitions to suit himself.

  21. Ian Gould
    December 3rd, 2007 at 17:24 | #21

    Apart from predicting that George Bush would win the 2000 presidential election in a landslide, Steyn said at regular intervals that Osama bin Laden “will remain dead�. Weeks after the invasion of Iraq he assured his readers that there would be “no widespread resentment at or resistance of the western military presence�; in December 2003 he wrote that “another six weeks of insurgency sounds about right, after which it will peter out�; and the following March he insisted that: “I don’t think it’s possible for anyone who looks at Iraq honestly to see it as anything other than a success story.� I miss him, too.�


    But hey I’m sure Mark’s entirely right about the Muslims conquering western Europe within the next twenty years.

    And if he isn’t I’m sure Observa will be bitterly disappointed.

    Isn’t if funny how people who complain about others hating America or hating the west, hate so much about the west themselves?

  22. Ian Gould
    December 3rd, 2007 at 17:29 | #22

    Venezuelan voters have rejected Hugo Chavez’s bid for more power.

    And it looks as though Chavez is accepting that decision.


    I dislike Chavez and disapprove of many of his polices but despite the frequent claims that he’s a dictator he does seem to have some, grudging respect for democratic principles.

    In theory, he will now have to leave office in 2012 when his current term of office expires.

    In theory.

  23. Jill Rush
    December 3rd, 2007 at 22:46 | #23

    Has the Labor Government managed to show control over the new superministry or has the same department that developed and spun Workchoices won an important battle with the in-coming government.

    If DEWR has become the senior partner of the new DEEWR will its culture of bullying become entrenched in the new department and will it be able to water down changes to the education and workplace relations agendas?

  24. observa
    December 3rd, 2007 at 23:33 | #24

    This is the continual game that stinking mediaeval doctrine plays with the woolly headed Carters of the world Ian http://fallbackbelmont.blogspot.com/2007/12/sudan-pardons-teddy-bear-teacher.html
    It’s the same game every authoritarian creed has played with the dilettantes and Chmberlains of the world.

  25. gerard
    December 4th, 2007 at 11:16 | #25

    Ian, I saw this gem on the Smirking Chimp http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/11221


    Enough is enough – the man is simply off the chain and somebody needs to reel him and his assistants in and do something about the damage he has wrought on his country.

    The mere mention of him just makes me livid. We have to get this man out of power. He is simply wreaking havoc in the world.

    I don’t know where to begin, but it all begins below.

    He is a tyrant of the worst sort.

    He has taken control in his country through hotly debated elections, the recounts of which were stopped by his court system allowing him to come to power in the first place.

    He and his ruling party have virtually destroyed the country’s economy, oil and gas prices are at record levels, tens of millions of poor people and children are without any assistance with healthcare. The safety net has been savaged by the budget ax.

    And for what? He attacked a non-threatening nation, basing this attack on lies and deceit of the worst sort. And he is waging a chemical war against Colombia that we seldom ever notice here, its so far under the radar.

    He oppresses his people: especially the poor. He and his party have worked day and night to shred their constitution, once considered one of the finest Constitutions ever.

    He taps their phones, tracks their cell phones, has surveillance drones flying over their villages, his agents snoop through people’s mail.

    His police break up peaceful demonstrations with violent outbursts of teargas, rubber bullets and batons.

    He has engaged in a massive power grab and has authorized torturing people. He comes up with fancy new words and with a wave of his hand he says it’s all good, but everybody knows its torture.

    His agents fly into and out of other countries undeterred “rendering” people for torture and harsh interrogation intended to break their spirits. His political party openly discusses torture right in their own government meetings! And the “opposition party” goes along with it! Like it’s even remotely OK to do these things to people. It’s just ghastly.

    He has even got concentration camps built by a former company of his 2nd in command.

    And he has it made. He’s untouchable. He’s got his wealth and protection – he can do what he wants with impunity. Even the UN won’t say anything about his horrid conduct.

    His party has the opposition trained like dogs so there is, in fact, nothing stopping him. The oppositions leaders refuse to even discuss trying to topple him. The people are aghast and the abuses roll forward unchecked.

    He is an abomination, a criminal, and an affront to humanity.

    If there was ever a need for a country to have an abrupt regime change, that would be his country.

    He has to go!

  26. observa
    December 4th, 2007 at 15:26 | #26

    Halelujah and the Lord be praised! http://www.news.com.au/story/0,10117,22863160-401,00.html?from=public_rss
    The Sudanese President in his infinite mercy has spared Ms Gibbons from the lash or a beheading.

    ‘Sudan’s influential Council of Muslim Scholars yesterday urged the government not to pardon Ms Gibbons, saying it would damage Khartoum’s reputation with Muslims around the world.

    Hundreds took to the streets of the capital on Friday, many waving swords and Islamic flags, calling for her death.

    “Retracting this light sentence would wound the sensibilities of the Muslims in Sudan,” Council Spokesman al-Sheikh Mohammad Abdel Karim said.

    “This is not a matter to be settled politically. This is a matter which goes to the very core of Muslims and their sensibilities.”‘

    The very core indeed!

  27. Katz
    December 4th, 2007 at 16:16 | #27

    I blame the Teddy Bear.

    It should be crucified.

  28. Sam
    December 4th, 2007 at 16:45 | #28

    Has anyone seen Caroline ‘slugger’ Overington’s latest effort? That women has lost the plot!

    I came upon this via Possum’s blog: http://todaysapatheticyouth.blogspot.com/2007/11/caroline-overington-rings-vtay.html

  29. Andrew
    December 4th, 2007 at 17:00 | #29

    IG #17

    Religion has got a lot to answer for hasn’t it? How many people have died throughout history because my religion is better than yours?

    Islam does itself no favours with this over-reaction to what at worst is a cultural faux pais. But christianity, buddhism and Hinduism all have their dark histories as well.

    I don’t consider myself Christian – I think I’m probably agnostic (but I’m not sure whether to believe that or not) – but I’d probably defend ‘modern’ Christianity as having grown out of its medieval barbarism. Islam will probably get there too – but there’s more water to go under that particular bridge. In the meantime there’s enough ammunition to keep the bigots like Steyn going.

  30. jquiggin
    December 4th, 2007 at 17:24 | #30

    Gandhi, I didn’t know about the IPA scholarship. As mentioned above, I’d trust they don’t have a say in selection and research supervision, which are not things the university should be contracting out.

  31. Ian Gould
    December 4th, 2007 at 21:43 | #31

    “The Sudanese President in his infinite mercy has spared Ms Gibbons from the lash or a beheading.”

    You know she was facing six days in prison, correct?

    Oh and you do realise the logical inconsistency between using this case to prove how primitive and irrational the Sudanese are AND citing it as proof of an elaborate (and successful) scheme on their part to extract concessions from Britain?

  32. observa
    December 5th, 2007 at 14:33 | #32

    Well Ian I’ll Izzat Majeed, a Pakistan writer and businessman, who bravely wrote in the Pakistani daily The Nation, explain all about primitive irrationals:

    ‘We Muslims cannot keep blaming the West for all our ills . . .the embarrassment of wretchedness among us is beyond repair. It’s not just the poverty, the illiteracy and the absence of any commonly accepted social contract that defines our sense of wretchedness; it is rather the increasing awareness among us that we have failed as civil society by not confronting the historical, social and political demons within us . . . For more than a thousand years Islam has stood still because the mullahs, who became de facto clergy instead of genuine scholars, closed the door on ‘ijtehad’ (reinterpreting Islam in light of modernity) and no one came forward with an evolving application of the Koran….The last thing (Muslims) need is the growing darkness in your (bin Laden’s) caves….jihad today is not in the hijacking of planes, but in the manufacturing of them.’

    Some good advice for failed, primitive and irrational leftists there too, but maintain the rage old son, maintain the rage.

  33. Katz
    December 5th, 2007 at 15:03 | #33

    Jeez, those Mullahs sound a lot like Creationists.

    Now remind me, are most Creationists Leftists or Rightists?

  34. observa
    December 5th, 2007 at 17:00 | #34

    Like leftists, those equally failed mullahs aren’t much interested in creating anything but trouble nowadays Katz. It’s why they have a certain empathy for each other nowadays you’ll notice.

  35. Katz
    December 5th, 2007 at 17:36 | #35

    It’s why they have a certain empathy for each other nowadays you’ll notice.

    I haven’t noticed this, actually.

    But I have noticed that religious fanatics of different stripes share the same illiberal, narrow, punitive, bigoted, obscurantist attitudes to others despite, or because of the fact that they are certain that their counterparts in the opposing faith are going straight to hell.

    They can’t all be right. Who is going to hell?

  36. Ian Gould
    December 6th, 2007 at 15:48 | #36

    Obsewrva- guess who else is a big fan of ijtihad and direct interpretation of the Koran without the intercession of clerics?

    Osama bin Laden.

    It’s how he justifies throwing out centuries of Islamic law and selectively seizing on those bits of the Koran which he can misinterpret in isolation to support his actions.

  37. Peter
    December 8th, 2007 at 01:34 | #37

    While Australian government is very critical about the treatment that the minorities are getting under Mugabe in Zimbabwe, they seem not to care when minorities are treated badly in Malaysia and elsewhere in East Asia. Why this double standards ?

    What is happening in Malaysia against minorities is anti-democratic. Hindu temples are getting destroyed and minorities are getting a rough deal. And the Australian govenment is quiet.

    Well, minorities are also getting a raw deal in Australia. Australian government wants to push English language down the throats of the minorities. It seems they want monoculture just as the Malaysian government wants to convert all of its populations into Islam.

    Howard government has brought citizenship test to suppress the minorities from participating in the democratic process of voting. And ALP is also party to this legislation. Even in the 21st century Australia has a highly discriminatory migration policy.

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