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Monday Message Board

July 15th, 2013

It’s time for another Monday Message Board. Post comments on any topic. As usual, civilised discussion and no coarse language. Lengthy side discussions to the sandpits, please.

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  1. July 16th, 2013 at 20:10 | #1

    Kevin Rudd finished his “community cabinet” in Rockhampton tonight with a hint that he intends to be less disgraceful toward refugees:

    It’s a problem for the world…you have to have sympathy for people who have languished in hell-holes for years

    I believe that there is a significant slice of the voting public who want this country to be more humane, less racist, less xenophobic, less bed-wetting, more sensible and simply compassionate toward refugees – like every other country in the grown-up world.

    This comment, at a fairly public forum, doesn’t make sense if we’re suposed to believe that this election is going to be about nothing more substantial than how to “Stop The Boats!!”

    Despite the screaming from the Establishment Media about refugees, the refugee ‘debate’ and ‘problem’, this could be enough to get Australia back into pre-Tampa sanity.

  2. Mel
    July 16th, 2013 at 21:10 | #2

    According to a Lowy Institute survey:

    – 58% of Australians somewhat or strongly support offshore asylum seeker processing,

    – 22% are strongly against offshore processing, and

    -74% are concerned about asylum seeker boat arrivals.

    Also note that 61% of Australians support US bases in Australia while 82% think the Australia-US alliance is important.

    I think the majority is right on each of these issues.

  3. July 16th, 2013 at 23:23 | #3

    Well, if the Pond’s Institute says so…

    That’s good enough for you.

  4. Mel
    July 17th, 2013 at 11:34 | #4

    The Lowy Institute poll findings reflect other poll findings.

    I don’t see what you’re whingeing about. You’re the one who keeps saying pollies should consult the public.

    The public has made its wishes very clear- stop the boats- offshore processing – a strong Oz-US alliance.

    That is all.

  5. Julie Thomas
    July 17th, 2013 at 11:49 | #5

    @Mel

    The public can only make its wishes clear through the questions that are asked on the questionnaires that they complete. Questionnaires often ask questions that people cannot answer in a way that actually expresses their ‘wishes’. Questionnaires can be structured so that the outcome is what the pollster wants to hear.

    In my experience and I meet a lot of ordinary people in the volunteer work I do and I talk to them without any political agenda. I find that these people – the public – have many wishes about ‘the boats’ and the people who come on them and what to do about the problem.

    I’d say that most are confused about what the situation really is and what options are available, and that most people who are not right wing asshats want to do the most humane thing we can do in the circumstances.

  6. Fran Barlow
    July 17th, 2013 at 12:37 | #6

    @megan

    While you may suppose that I share your general sentiment on the asylum seeker question, I don’t agree that one can simply characterise the Lowy people as a front for some political or commercial interest. While I take Julie Thomas’s point that questions in polls can predispose a particular answer to questions, it seems unlikely that the Lowy Institute would wittingly push poll. It seems to me that the political context around terms such as “offshore/onshore processing” and concepts such as “concern over asylum seeker boat arrivals” probably causes people to appear to declare hostility and angst towards asylum seekers using irregular marine passage as their means to seek protection.

    That said, I’ve no doubt that there are very substantial numbers of people who simply are ignorant and fearful about “those who come on boats”. There has always been (since about 1850) a very large number of people of in this country who fear being swamped by foreigners — especially those of other than ostensibly European descent. Given that both the major parties are openly touting for votes from such folk, it’s hardly surprising that they register strongly in polls.

    Let’s face it — if IMAs including children are seen as such a threat to authentic Australia that they need to be held in terriotory excised from Australia’s migration zone, and behind razor wire, what are your low-information and angst-ridden folk to make of them but that their arrival is a cause for concern. These people have been presented by the spivs who make policy as being part of a criminal enterprise with “a business model” and as likely to bring crime or disease or internecine conflict to Australian shores. The ubiquity of this underlying animus and the perceived need to win the votes of such folk has priompted some who are squeamish about the bigotry and want of compassion attendant to resort to cognitive dissonance, hiding behind faux concerns for the “drownings” or “Australia’s fragile environment”. Once you give those who don’t like bigotry in the normal course of events to make common cause with open bigots, you do have a problem.

  7. Mel
    July 17th, 2013 at 14:16 | #7

    Fran:

    Let’s face it — if IMAs including children are seen as such a threat to authentic Australia that they need to be held in terriotory excised from Australia’s migration zone, and behind razor wire, what are your low-information and angst-ridden folk to make of them but that their arrival is a cause for concern.

    Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev were taken in by the United States as refugees when they were children. They thanked the American public with pressure cooker b0mbs laced with nails. Apart from the small number of deaths, a couple of dozen Americans ended up with amputated limbs, fingers, hands, eyes and other body parts.

    Hundreds of terror!sts convicted in the West since 9/11 arrived as child refugees or are the children of refugees. This is well documented but unfortunately a taboo subject in the left-liberal media.

  8. Mel
    July 17th, 2013 at 14:38 | #8

    test

  9. Troy Prideaux
    July 17th, 2013 at 15:48 | #9

    I voted Green at the last election, I supported their policies on boat arrivals and that of Rudd’s changes to a more humane treatment and processing of boat arrivals. I considered the Coalition’s policies inhumane and rhetoric of the right to be effectively racist and xenophobic or at least naive to what was happening. Hell, that’s probably still right to some degree, but unfortunately, it’s brutally clear that we have lost control of boat arrivals and the numbers making the treacherous journey from South Asia. Something significant has to be done. The evidence is unambiguous. Maybe we need to increase our asylum seeker quota even more… dunno, but we have to stop these boat journeys.

  10. Fran Barlow
    July 17th, 2013 at 16:42 | #10

    @Troy Prideaux

    Hell, that’s probably still right to some degree

    It either is or it is not. What if anything has changed since 2007 about attitudes to ‘boats’?

    it’s brutally clear that we have lost control of boat arrivals

    “We” have never had control of ‘boat arrivals’.

    Something significant has to be done.

    Yes. We have to begin acting like humane beings.

    but we have to stop these boat journeys.

    The regime could stop them almost immediately, if it were so minded, either by extreme brutality, or simply processing them expeditiously in the major aggregation points. The regime would love the first option but probably doesn’t have the stomach for it, and the second option is risky for the first mover, in political terms, given the corner they have painted themselves into.

  11. Mel
    July 17th, 2013 at 17:04 | #11

    Fran:

    Let’s face it — if IMAs including children are seen as such a threat to authentic Australia that they need to be held in terriotory excised from Australia’s migration zone, and behind razor wire, what are your low-information and angst-ridden folk to make of them but that their arrival is a cause for concern.

    Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev were taken in by the United States as refugees when they were children. They thanked the American public with b0mbs laced with nails. Apart from the small number of deaths, a couple of dozen Americans ended up with amputated limbs, fingers, hands, eyes and other body parts.

    Most low information types would be well aware of this.

  12. Tim Macknay
    July 17th, 2013 at 17:06 | #12
  13. Mel
    July 17th, 2013 at 17:08 | #13

    Moreover hundreds of terror!sts convicted in the West since 911 arrived as child refugees or are the children of refugees.

    This is well documented but unfortunately this subject is deemed unnewsworthy by the left-liberal media.

  14. Jim Rose
    July 17th, 2013 at 17:56 | #14

    @Fran Barlow

    “We” have never had control of ‘boat arrivals’.

    There was a period under howard when there were few boat arrivals.

    I have not seen an explanation of why howard’s way would not work now, but I assume it is in game theory.

    we are now in an arms race with a high-arrivals equilibrium.

    when hardly any boats came after Howard’s introduced offshore processing, no one wants to be first on a boat to test a new regime, so few boats come

    when boats arrive every week, it is a safe bet that a claim will be upheld, and you will not be made an example off. plenty of people are willing to test the process.

  15. kevin1
    July 17th, 2013 at 17:56 | #15

    Does anyone know of a mainstream Australian film, completed, planned or in progress, about asylum seekers, their motivation, journey and fate? Either documentary or “faction”? I was out of the country for a couple of years and may have missed something. I thought there was one planned on SIEV X but maybe it didn’t come to pass.

    It has been said in the past that Australian authors and screenwriters tend to ignore topical and political issues. I thought of this after seeing the film “The other son” about a switched-at-birth event between a palestinian and a jew, and the identity issues and family consequences. Using the power of film to grab people’s attention seems a useful way to convey empathy and complex ethical problems to a broad populace.

  16. July 17th, 2013 at 19:06 | #16

    @kevin1

    Probably depends on how you define “mainstream”, in the context of your enquiry that’s probably oxymoronic! The first one that comes to mind is:

    “Devil and The Deep Blue Sea”

    Or look on youtube for the panel discussion about 2 weeks ago with Malcolm Fraser and Sarah Hanson-Young. It is seriously rivetting.

    As Fraser pointed out: We had this “problem” after we participated in an earlier insane bloodfest called Vietnam. His government recognised that it wasn’t fair on Malaysia to tell them to deal with all the refugees so we (and other countries) agreed to a lot of funding and personnel to house refugees in humane conditions as we processed them as quickly as possible and brought them here in the tens of thousands.

    If anyone really cares about people dying on crappy boats OR breaking evil people smugglers “business model” the easiest solution to both is to do something like Fraser did in the late ’70s early ’80s – just go and get them. No more boats, no more business model.

    It’s so simple, and it’s been done before and it works.

    Mel’s “refugees are terrrrsts” comment is just silly. All Vietnamese are in heroin drug rings and crime gangs. All Italians are in the mafia. All Lebanese are also in heroin drug rings and gangs. It’s just like the old days!

  17. July 17th, 2013 at 19:38 | #17

    @Mel

    Trevor Aaronson, author of ‘The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terrorism’, dug into these supposedly dastardly plots and found that they are much less than meets the eye.

    “For the purposes of my book, I used the 10 years after 9/11 as the area that I was going to analyze data in, and what we know is that in the 10 years after 9/11, there were a little more than 500 defendants who were charged with federal crimes involving international terrorism. About 250 involved people who were charged with things like immigration violations or lying to the FBI and who are somehow linked to terrorism.

    Their charges did not involve any sort of terrorist plot. Of the 500, you have about 150 who were caught in sting operations; these operations that were solely the creation of the FBI through an FBI informant or undercover agent providing the means and the opportunity, the bomb, the idea and so on.

    Then if you’re really being generous, you can find only about five people of the 500 charged with international terrorism who were involved in some sort of plot that either had weapons of their creation or their acquisition or were connected to international terrorists in some way. These include Najibullah Zazi who came close to bombing the New York City subway system, Faisal Shahzad, who delivered a bomb to Times Square that fortunately didn’t go off, and then you have Jose Padilla—the dirty bomber—the underwear bomber and the shoe bomber, for example.

    Being generous, those are the five that you can point to in the decade after 9/11 who seemed to pose a significant threat. Fortunately, none of them were successful. That’s a handful compared to the more than 150 who were caught in these sting operations, and in these sting operations the men never had access to weapons; it was only the FBI that provided it as part of the sting operation that they were controlling from beginning to end.”

    So of the 5 only 3 fit your description of refugees or children of refugees. Notably, one of them was the child of a high ranking fighter pilot well regarded by the “West” for his role in the Pakistan military.

    The world is not a Murdoch headline.

  18. July 17th, 2013 at 19:50 | #18

    My mistake.

    Of the five: one was a child of a ‘refugee’, one was the son of the fighter pilot, one was a US citizen born in the US, one was the son of a wealthy Nigerian banker and one was an Englishman with a history of petty crime.

    99% of these “plots” were FBI/MI5 frame-ups using entrapment techniques.

  19. Mel
    July 17th, 2013 at 20:08 | #19

    “Mel’s “refugees are terrrrsts” comment is just silly.”

    I didn’t say that, thicky.

  20. Mel
    July 17th, 2013 at 20:27 | #20

    The British situation:

    Between 11 September 2001 and 30 September 2012, 312 individuals have been convicted of terrorism-related offences, including murder, illegal possession of firearms and explosives offences. 2,291 people have been arrested under the Terrorism Act during this period. As of 30 September 2012, 107 prisoners were classified as terrorists.

    The cost of trying to prevent terrorist acts runs into many tens of billions of dollars that could be put to better use in hospitals and schools.

  21. July 17th, 2013 at 20:34 | #21

    @Mel

    I paraphrased you:

    Moreover hundreds of terror!sts convicted in the West since 911 arrived as child refugees or are the children of refugees.

    Thicky? What are you, 5?

  22. Mel
    July 17th, 2013 at 20:47 | #22

    Megan, you verballed me just like some bogan police officer in some 70s B-grade cop show.

    I’ve just read an Aaronson article in Mother Jones. The guy is a complete shonk.

    Aaronson starts his article by complaining about how a Bangladeshi student in the US called Nafir was set up by the Feds but admits that Nafir (and I quote):

    wanted to wage jihad in the United States, that he enjoyed reading Al Qaeda propaganda, and that he admired “Sheikh O,” or Osama bin Laden.

    And

    wanted to bomb the New York Stock Exchange

    Nafir sounds like the Boston bombers, young men who loved puppies and were incapable of hurting a fly according to everybody who knew them. I’d be much more worried if creeps like Nafir were left on the streets.

  23. Fran Barlow
    July 17th, 2013 at 21:34 | #23

    @Jim Rose

    There was a period under howard when there were few boat arrivals.

    That’s no more evidence of “control over boats” than a period of drought (which we also had under Howard is “control over rain” or a minerals price boom (also under Howard) was “control over mining super profits”. The push factors at the end of the Afghan War declined for a time.

    I have not seen an explanation of why howard’s way would not work now,

    Then you have been averting your eyes and covering your ears. It won’t work because, in part, the push factors are greater — there are now 15 million refugees, apparently — and people have worked out that Nauru and Manus and Christmas Island are only a delay between arrival and eventually refugee status, assuming they qualify.

    What I am yet to hear is any strong reason for thinking that the arrival of “boats” is a policy problem for the Australian government. It’s asserted all the time — and even tonight Abbott asserted, that like “the budget” it’s a national emergency, when it’s even less an emergency for us than is the condition of the budget.

    I concede it’s an emergency for asylum seekers most of whom have fled intolerable circumstances and are now being brutalised so that some people here can feel as if the regime is doing its level-best to keep the wrong kind of foreigners from our shores.

  24. July 17th, 2013 at 23:47 | #24

    @Mel

    Sorry if I took you the wrong way.

    What was your purpose or point at #7, #11 and #13 of using “refugees” and “terrrsts” together?

    Did I misunderstand?

  25. July 18th, 2013 at 00:01 | #25

    @Mel

    Jeez you’ve got the guns trained on your feet tonight haven’t you?

    How does he become a “complete shonk” for making the point that the FBI deliberately target disaffected youths when pretending to prevent fake “terrrrrst plots” (which were never going to happen anyway, if it wasn’t for the FBI doing all the recruiting, planning, funding, logistics and – fake – weaponry)?

    For an apparently intelligent person you really are weird.

  26. kevin1
    July 18th, 2013 at 06:07 | #26

    @Megan #3
    Ridicule of this type is not funny, it just dumbs down this blog. Reasoned argument is what we’re here for.

  27. Julie Thomas
    July 18th, 2013 at 07:02 | #27

    Mel

    “Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev were taken in by the United States as refugees when they were children. They thanked the American public with b0mbs laced with nails. Apart from the small number of deaths, a couple of dozen Americans ended up with amputated limbs, fingers, hands, eyes and other body parts.”

    But why did they ‘thank the US’ in this way? Was it inevitable that they would grow up to be bad or mad? Or is it possible that this behaviour resulted from some set of events that happened as they grew up in the country that ‘took them in’?

    Does the sequence of cause and effect not matter? Is there no hope of understanding the reasons that people turn out to be bad, mad or sad?

  28. alfred venison
    July 18th, 2013 at 08:27 | #28

    maybe they were bullied at school, like timothy mcveigh. -a.v.

  29. Troy Prideaux
    July 18th, 2013 at 08:29 | #29

    Fran Barlow :
    That’s no more evidence of “control over boats” than a period of drought (which we also had under Howard is “control over rain” or a minerals price boom (also under Howard) was “control over mining super profits”. The push factors at the end of the Afghan War declined for a time.

    That’s flatly wrong! Yes there are push factors, no doubt, that provide an influence, but the numbers can’t lie Fran, not when they’re this clear. Unambiguously clear that policy had by far the most significant influence.

  30. Julie Thomas
    July 18th, 2013 at 09:53 | #30

    @alfred venison

    lol good point. Have you seen the Rolling Stone cover discussion?

  31. alfred venison
    July 18th, 2013 at 20:55 | #31

    yes, i have, Julie Thomas and i’m not much impressed & not surprised. obviously, a lot of people have invested emotionally in the rolling stone cover as a pop icon pinup suitable for teens young & old. obviously, its the same photo that’s appeared everywhere else accompanying articles asking questions; but on the rolling stone cover its controversial. i get it, but i’m not outraged. i am startled & exasperated, though, when people use superficial associations to equate specific forms of villainy with specific ethnic groups.

    here’s a listing, courtesy of the southern poverty law center, showing active patriot groups in the usa last year. warning: use the side bar or the page down key, don’t scroll with the wheel, you’ll sprain your finger:- http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2013/spring/active-patriot-groups-in-the-united-s
    a.v.

  32. Mel
    July 19th, 2013 at 17:04 | #32

    Julie Thomas:

    Or is it possible that this behaviour resulted from some set of events that happened as they grew up in the country that ‘took them in’?

    No, it isn’t possible. No “set of events” by themselves lead placing pressure-cooker b0mbs in public places. If they did we’d see a lot more of them.

  33. Julie Thomas
    July 19th, 2013 at 18:08 | #33

    Mel what is your hypothesis?

  34. July 19th, 2013 at 18:25 | #34

    @Megan

    I have to admit I got that spectacularly wrong. (See, Bolt? That’s how you do it.)

    Channel 7’s Mark Riley nailed it just now on the news when he said:

    Kevin Rudd said he wouldn’t ‘lurch to the right on asylum seekers’. Well, he’s lurched so far to the right that if he went any further he’d fall off the edge.

    Howard ‘got tough’ on ‘boat people’ by sending them to Manus and Nauru or locking them up in desert camps behind razor wire – while their claims were processed. Many of them had recourse through the legal system and in the end something like 90%+ eventually ended up being granted asylum and residency here. He was reviled by real and fake ‘lefties’ for the cruelty of the TPV system which allowed people to stay in the Australian community but under great uncertainty.

    Rudd has just announced that any refugees who arrive by boat will never be allowed into Australia. Never, ever. They will be sent to Manus and Nauru, locked up behind razor wire and then eventually sent to PNG to live out their days.

    Not a lefty in sight, real or otherwise. Astonishing.

    This will not end well for these refugees, and who knows what will happen to PNG society when their local Murdoch mono-media gets started up on bashing the “refos”.

    In a stroke of pure genius Kevin Rudd has destroyed the “Abbott would be worse” meme.

  35. Alan
    July 19th, 2013 at 18:43 | #35

    It’s really quite hard to see how this can be described as a lurch to the right.

    It’s quite close to the alleged Malaysia Solution. There is no refoulement There is no limit on numbers like the absurdly small cap of 800. The refugees’ Convention rights are preserved. PNG’s human rights record is vastly better than Malaysia’s and PNG’s failings tend to be issues of capacity, not tyranny.

    According to Rudd’s announcement all refugees will be sent to PNG which tends to suggest the Nauru camp will be closed. There are obvious problems,like the PNG capacity issue but that can be worked through by the government and indeed Australia’s capacity issue when it comes to providing humane facilities at Manus.

    The problem of deaths at sea, if it is ever to be solved, will be solved by small carefully-worked out steps like Indonesia’s moves on Iranian visas. The great big solutions advocated by Abbot are security theatre purely for domestic consumption.

    The wider problem of worldwide refugee movements is only going to be solved by peace and human rights in the source countries, and I don’t think anyone has a quick solution to that.

  36. Jim Rose
    July 19th, 2013 at 19:25 | #36

    @Fran Barlow there are more boat people because of rising living standards in developing countries.

    People can save enough to pay the smugglers. Real wages are higher in destinations so they can repay loans back home.

  37. Mel
    July 19th, 2013 at 19:35 | #37

    Julie Thomas:

    Mel what is your hypothesis?

    I think young folk have always been prone to copycatting, for example a spate of youth suicides followed Kurt Cobain’s suicide. Crime is already known to be subject to copycatting.

    Currently we have a very power a meme in our culture aether about disgruntled Muslims turning to terrorism to solve some perceived problem and the mere existence of that meme is enough to induce a small but significant minority of Muslims, especially youth, to live the meme.

  38. Mel
    July 19th, 2013 at 19:39 | #38

    Oops, i forgot the link re copycat crime.

  39. Fran Barlow
    July 19th, 2013 at 19:55 | #39

    @Jim Rose

    there are more boat people because of rising living standards in developing countries.

    Carr is saying the opposite — that the refugees are economic migrants. On PM tonight, the difficult circumstances of the Iranian economy, hit by sanctions from, inter alia Australia, was said to be predisposing some departures.

    People can save enough to pay the smugglers. Real wages are higher in destinations so they can repay loans back home.

    One suspects these ‘loans’ are usurious since the risk would be high. Accordingly, conditions in the home country can’t be that good or people would simply save the money, unless of course they really did fear for their lives.

  40. July 19th, 2013 at 19:57 | #40

    @Alan

    Under Rudd no refugee can be granted asylum in Australia unless they come by plane, essentially.

    No matter how vile the treatment they are fleeing, he has said “F-ck Off! We’re Full!”

    Even the ridiculous Malaysia solution purported to take refugees from here and stick them at the ‘back’ of the imaginary ‘queue’ in Malaysia – and then take five times their number from the ‘front’ of that ‘queue’. They notionally stood a chance of coming to Australia, eventually.

    Under Rudd it’s NEVER.

    How can this NOT be the most extreme right refugee policy this country has ever had (at least since 1951)?

    We have repudiated the UN Refugee Convention. Disgraceful.

  41. sdfc
    July 19th, 2013 at 20:04 | #41

    Jim Rose :@Fran Barlow there are more boat people because of rising living standards in developing countries.
    People can save enough to pay the smugglers. Real wages are higher in destinations so they can repay loans back home.

    Are there many refos from China, Vietnam etc?

  42. Mel
    July 19th, 2013 at 20:38 | #42

    Why the racist attack on PNG?
    A genuine asylum seeker should be happier than a pig in sh!t if allowed to settle in PNG.

  43. kevin1
    July 19th, 2013 at 20:42 | #43

    @Jim Rose #36

    there are more boat people because of rising living standards in developing countries…People can save enough to pay the smugglers. Real wages are higher in destinations so they can repay loans back home.

    Fran shows she’s a thinker – being from the Left. So instead of just making your comfortable assertions, can you fire up the “brain” boiler and give us some evidence? And I don’t mean quotes out of context from Niskanen/Hayek/Posner. I mean your intellectual production

    Or does it just “feel” right?

  44. July 19th, 2013 at 20:49 | #44

    @Mel

    Good point.

    Rudd’s argument says: “The boats will stop because PNG is a sh’t-hole and we’ll send refugees there (after a lengthy stint behind razor wire in an island gulag).”

    By the way, there has been a riot, breakout and at least 8 explosions (attributed to burning vehicles) on Nauru in the last few hours – ongoing – but info out of Nauru is sketchy and the Establishment Media aren’t interested, obviously.

  45. kevin1
    July 19th, 2013 at 20:56 | #45

    @Megan

    Can you give me a ref for the Nauru info?

  46. Fran Barlow
    July 19th, 2013 at 20:57 | #46

    @Alan

    Gosh …

    There is no refoulement

    No, but there is punitive rendition — refugee capture and storage isn’t a bad description.

    The refugees’ Convention rights are preserved.

    Laughable. One of the rights is not to have one’s form of passage adduced against their claims. One might add that 7(1) which provides that refugees shall be treated no more harshly than aliens is also breached. There’s also article 17 on wage-earning employment, Articles 21 and 22 on housing and education, Article 26 on Freedom of Movement, Article 28 where a party issues valid travel documents for travel outside their territory …

    I could continue … but why bother?

    It’s scandalous what tribal politics does to the judgement of people.

  47. Mel
    July 19th, 2013 at 21:00 | #47

    The PNG Solution is a ruddy masterstroke. If this policy works, only genuine political asylum seekers rather economic rent seekers will try to make it to Oz because PNG is a developing country. This should cut the numbers by about 90% if my hunch is correct.

  48. July 19th, 2013 at 21:14 | #48

    @kevin1

    Clint Diedenang (on Nauru) & others on twitter and I see ABC news “just in” and “news radio” are just starting to report it now – poorly.

    About 15 guards have apparently been injured and about 400 local men have been recruited into an unoffical posse to bash refugees by the privatised Australian mercenary forces.

    Locals just now reported to be attacking a prisoner transfer bus with iron bars.

    Beware what you believe from DIAC. They have a record as far as truth and refugees go. Look into “Mark Davies” and his report on SBS on Manus.

  49. Mel
    July 19th, 2013 at 21:20 | #49

    Megan:

    About 15 guards have apparently been injured and about 400 local men have been recruited into an unoffical posse to bash refugees by the privatised Australian mercenary forces.

    Resident lunatic who thinks fluoridated water makes your teeth drop out now makes racist attack against Nauruan men just moments after her racist attack on Papuans.

  50. July 19th, 2013 at 21:33 | #50

    Apparently Nauruan locals are allowed, and currently encouraged, to turn up at the police station to be deputised and given policing powers.

    PR people for the rent-seeking businesses operating on Nauru are reporting that “everything is under control” – they would say that, wouldn’t they.

    Well done ALP. It costs us $400,000 p.a. per person to keep these people there. Why not just buy them a house in regional Australia and give them $50,000 cash? It would be cheaper and more beneficial for our society. (No, I don’t mean that seriously. But why don’t we have a discussion about the more than $1Billion we give annually to the foreign owned Serco to run our gulags?).

  51. July 19th, 2013 at 21:35 | #51

    @Mel

    Come on, you know that’s “Flouride”! Remember?

  52. July 19th, 2013 at 21:54 | #52

    For those who are new or have forgotten, I love it when Mel attacks me about fluoride – the spelling is important.

    It allows me to wheel out this old gem from my site, purely in self-defence of course (this is where he got the idea that I’m a “resident lunatic”, ahem.):

    Flouride is a harmless and non-existent chemical which isn’t added to Queenslanders’ taxes every year as an off-book expense. Weirdos, conspiracy theorists and ignorant journalists with crazy agendae often confuse flouride with the various molecular manifestations of the 9th element on the periodic table, fluoride.

    HAVE YOUR SAY: Do you feel stupider than usual because of the flouride, or do you feel just as stupid as you were before?

    The peak body for advocating the fluoridisation of SEQ water, the “Fluoride Users Coalition Knowledge Yes-men Obfuscation Unit” (F.U.C.K.Y.O.U.), released a press release from an unsourced source attributing the leak of information to a faulty component of their failsafe PR department.

    Spokesperson, Ms Ima Shameless-Shill, said that the leak was probably due to the reporting requirements imposed by the completely harmless legislative and regulatory scheme “governing” the industry, and was quick to point out that there were no real threats posed to either corporate journalism or government departments by the completely safe failure of the anti-spin protection device.

    “F.U.C.K.Y.O.U. spells this out,” said the spokesperson.

    The appropriate Minister was quick to agree, and the intern from the Brisbane branch of the Ponds Institute, who has been appointed to monitor the Queensland Government’s promises of safety over the issue was quick to add some scientific support saying, “it’s all good. I have a clipboard, trust me. I spent three years doing a degree at a Uni. I did the new Science/PR degree which is all the rage at the old sandstone unis because it brings in the most funding and corporate and media attention. I even met that guy who invented warts for girls, he was so cool and he even got a medal or something, and he was on TV”, she added, mindlessly ignoring the possibility that thousands of Queenslanders are probably getting stupider by the minute thanks to the “Flouride Scourge Outrage: Fury”.

    The Opposition Fang Doctor and the Blighty were extremely quick to agree with each other that this is so totally a non-issue and that everything is OK.

    In related news, the Government is rumoured to have devoted $1 million in the upcoming budget toward the promotion of a Tori Spelling Bee to raise awareness of issues.

  53. July 19th, 2013 at 22:26 | #53

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  54. kevin1
    July 19th, 2013 at 22:39 | #54

    @Megan #49
    I have googled “clint diedenang” Nauru and got 2 references from Nov last year. You’re giving us a lot of facts about Nauru. I like to check the info people give me. Where do you get your facts?

    The link to SBS program on Manus Is (Dateline: What’s really happening at Manus Island?28 May 2013) was useful – thanks for that. It shows secretiveness by Aust govt in Canberra and Moresby, but PM O’Neill and local administrators and community on Manus very open about allowing scrutiny by journalists.

  55. Mel
    July 19th, 2013 at 23:50 | #55

    Megan, are you back on the turps? Your website is infested with conspiracy theories including all manner of space cadet nonsense about fluoridated water.

    On this thread you had a massive brain-felch about fluorosis. No matter how much I tried, I couldn’t get it through your custard-apple like head that fluorosis in its mild form is not considered a disease state, that severe fluorosis has nothing to do with fluoridated water and that fluoridated water is not a Zionist conspiracy to make people’s teeth fall out.

  56. Mel
    July 20th, 2013 at 00:00 | #56

    Meanwhile the increasingly drug-addled Greens want to waste tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars on a pointless public inquiry into fluoridated water.

    This comes after Christine “I’m with stupid” Milne’s hardening of the Greens opposition to GM crops.

    One of the Great Lies of the modern Left is the claim that it is only the Right, with its dopey denial of the dangers of anthropogenic climate change and ocean acidification, that is an enemy of science while the Left is all modern and lab-coated. Well, that’s just BS.

  57. July 20th, 2013 at 00:01 | #57

    @Mel

    fluoridated water is not a Zionist conspiracy to make people’s teeth fall out.

    Who is fixated on fluoride, you or me?

    My site has been running for ten years and I wrote about 4 pieces critical of the way the Qld Govt. introduced fluoridation without public consultation. I recall recently you managed to get “Paul Walter” permanently banned from here just for questioning whether you may have had some commercial interest in fluoridation.

    I don’t believe that you do, for the record. But your fixation is disturbing.

    Please link to anything on my site about “Zionist conspiracy” – otherwise apologise for misrepresenting me and my site, yet again, here.

    Or don’t, as is your wont.

  58. July 20th, 2013 at 00:21 | #58

    @kevin1

    Sorry, it’s “Deidenang”.

    If you’re not on twitter you won’t be able to find his latest “tweets” presumably.

    The key here is: don’t trust me, don’t trust the ABC, and certainly don’t trust the phone hacking scum Murdoch press. But be vigilant about where you get your info.

    I just wasted about 30 minutes watching “Australia’s 24 News Service” ABC24 and, apart from some tidbits on the bottom of the screen, they ignored this story.

    Some people are trying to link the Nauru “riots” to Rudd’s announcement. This can’t be true because they have been protesting and hunger-striking about the lack of progress of their refugee claims for weeks.

  59. July 20th, 2013 at 00:29 | #59

    @Mel

    Here, I’ll save you the trouble:

    Your search – “springhillvoice” + “zionist conspiracy” – did not match any documents.

  60. Mel
    July 20th, 2013 at 00:40 | #60

    Lol.

    The Zionist conspiracy thingie was hyperbole, just like your smear about the Lowy Institute being akin to the Ponds Institute. Live by the sword etc.

    And while the voices in your head may be telling you that I had someone called “Paul Walter” banned, I can assure you this is not the case.

  61. July 20th, 2013 at 01:09 | #61

    Why so angry, Mel?

    You’re like a drunk in a pillow case. Clumsily lashing about, looking silly and embarrassing nobody but yourself.

    You conflated terrrrsts and refugees just a little earlier on this thread. Was that just hyperbole too?

    My jibe at the ‘Ponds Institute’ was based on the fact that it isn’t actually a genuine seat of learning or study. It is a lobbying outfit, didn’t you know that?

    You’ve accused me of having ‘voices in’ my head and being ‘back on the turps’.

    Those attacks could probably entitle me to ask the host to invoke the comment policy and have you banned, but I’m bigger than you are.

    And, by the way, I was wrong – and I apologise to Paul Walter – it was, of course Chris Warren you got banned (but you know of both of them from this thread):

    http://johnquiggin.com/2013/03/25/saving-the-senate/comment-page-1/

  62. Fran Barlow
    July 20th, 2013 at 07:01 | #62

    @kevin1

    And one might add, re @JimRose, …

    that he plainly styles himself as some kind of pro-capitalist libertarian. It’s hard to imagine how that paradigm could ground an impulse to use regulation to stop or even throttle back “the boats”. Indeed, if one were to accept his explanation that this was predisposed by rising living standards in developing countries and a rational economical calculus of migration, this would surely be a further exemplar of the wisdom of leaving such matters to market forces.

    Instead, as our esteemed Professor shows, the “neoliberal” crowd picks and chooses its causes — here liberal and there xenophobic populist in order to serve the greater goal of maintaining the kind of ignorant and angst-ridden coalition needed to protect the privileges of the wealthiest people against any development that might subvert them. Given that the wealthiest 300 people have more than the poorest 3 billion, this fight is a key to their politics.

  63. Fran Barlow
    July 20th, 2013 at 07:13 | #63

    @Mel

    If this policy works, only genuine political asylum seekers rather economic rent seekers …

    Oh yes … people coming here with a view to having the kind of life we have here are ‘economic rent seekers’. If Mel is right, Australia is a nation of tenants. Nobody is building anything.

    It seems that the notion of “rent-seeker” can now be applied as widely as a general term of abuse, “dole bludger” or “queue-jumper”.

    The reality is that if this measure “works”, it will mean that genuine asylum seekers continue to endure dangerous and squalid circumstances, aggravated in measurable part before and after the fact by the actions of successive Australian regimes while here, the apologists for such policies can spit their obloquy at them with the kind of fervour normally peculiar to fire and brimstone clerics.

  64. Julie Thomas
    July 20th, 2013 at 07:49 | #64

    @Mel

    That argument is somewhat ‘true’; but it is not true that all young people are influenced in a negative way by publicity of this kind. Some will be motivated to do good and positive things – what they judge to be a good thing anyway – for their community and the broader society.

    So what makes the difference do you think between those who respond positively and those who don’t?

    I thought that one really important point of the article – which I haven’t read – was that it challenges – some – people to examine their cognitive dissonance about lots of the assumptions that underpin their judgements about human behaviour. I hope it introduces some doubt about how useful it is – and pehaps the idea that it might be impossible – to categorise people as good or bad.

    If you focus on that part of the argument – the bit that confirms your existing judgements – and ignore all the alternative arguments that Rolling Stone magazine makes for their cover and article, surely that is demonstrating motivated reasoning and you are not making any attempt to be objective.

    Do you don’t think that in an alternative universe, both of those young men could have been ‘contenders’ – that’s sort of a quote from “On the Waterfront” – and contributed to their community?

  65. Alan
    July 20th, 2013 at 09:48 | #65

    @Fran Barlow

    Article 7 and the other articles you cite relate to the treatment of refugees after settlement. There is nothing in the convention that guarantees resettlement in any particular country or in a developed country as opposed to an under-develoepd country. The ban on refoulement is set out in Article 33(1):

    No Contracting State shall expel or return (“refouler”) a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.

    Your objections work if, and only if, PNG is a territory where the refugee’s life would threatened in terms of their race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion. On the other hand, if the articles that I say relate to people who have already been accepted as refugees apply, as you claim, to all refugees, then all Convention countries must accept, subject to the national security and public danger exceptions set out in Article 33(2), all refugees without exception.

    I think the economic migration argument is simply absurd and I wish the convention had an economic migration provision like Article 1(1) of the AU Convention Governing Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa:

    2. The term “refugee” shall also apply to every person who, owing to external aggression, occupation, foreign domination or events seriously disturbing public order in either part or the whole of his country of origin or nationality, is compelled to leave his place of habitual residence in order to seek refuge in another place outside his country of origin or nationality.

    But it doesn’t. It’s probably not feasible to persuade the international community to amend the convention to expand its coverage.

    I don’t accept the government’s claims about economic migration which are simply contrary to fact. I do accept that the problem of IMAs making a dangerous journey to Australia is getting worse and needs to be dealt with. Simply raising the number of admissions or providing safe transport would not resolve the problem. I accept what the UNHCR says about conditions at Manus and the government has to meet the demands in that reportor ensure that PNG meets those demands .

    There is some chance that resettlement in PNG will reduce the dangers to IMAs.

  66. Fran Barlow
    July 20th, 2013 at 10:52 | #66

    @Alan

    There is some chance that resettlement in PNG will reduce the dangers to IMAs.

    What drives this policy is not ‘the danger to IMAs’. This is just a political figleaf offered to those squeamish about beating up on vulnerbale people in order to underpin the ALPs electoral prospects amongst those suffering from existential angst to a greater or lesser degree. If 100% (or nearly 100%) of IMAs drowned in transit (ideally outside of Australia’s rescue zone), this would not be a political problem for the regime, because there would be no pictures on the Daily Telegraph front page. The penalty for boat journeys would in most cases be death, and self-evidently, few would try it and ‘boats’ could go back to describing a pleasant Sunday afternoon on a river, redolent of some place in England and the 100-acre wood.

    The problem is just the opposite. The vast majority of IMAs (something like 96%) make it here safely. That creates entirely unpleasant (for xenophobes) images for the Daily Telegraph to run against a regime whose leading figures have traded on xenophobia for more than a decade.

    The problem from a humanitarian (as opposed to an electoral) perspective is that the misery informing irregular passage is seen as rendering worthy the risks attending such passage. The IMAs have accepted the calculus of death. From their perspective, it is worth risking death and penury in order to preserve the hope of a dignified existence for themselves and their families. I’d say their calculus is at worst, entirely plausible, which is why the implication that our regime is forced to “be cruel to be kind” is mere cant.

    the other articles you cite relate to the treatment of refugees after settlement

    So still very much germane to whether their rights under the convention are preserved under the current trade by R**d. R**d has, with this policy, become a serious people trafficker in the region, trading not in money but votes. I doubt he’ll accept the ‘scum of the Earth’ description he applied to ‘people smugglers’ but they at least can claim that they were providing the people they conveyed something like the carriage they contracted.

  67. Jim Rose
    July 20th, 2013 at 11:11 | #67

    @kevin1 The number of refugees is subject to resource constraints.

    People need to buy passage by sea or air from the middle-east and South Asia. As developing countries become richer, more people have the resources to flee.

  68. Alan
    July 20th, 2013 at 13:40 | #68

    @Fran Barlow

    Do you now accept that Article 33(1) allows expulsion or return to territories other than those where a refugee’s life or freedom would be threatened on account of their race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion?

  69. Fran Barlow
    July 20th, 2013 at 14:35 | #69

    @Alan

    I always did. Hence my response on refouling:

    No, but there is punitive rendition — refugee capture and storage isn’t a bad description.

    Do you now accept that the trade in asylum seekers initiated by R**d breaches the specifications of the convention?

  70. Mel
    July 20th, 2013 at 15:30 | #70

    Well, we still haven’t come close to reaching the level of hatred shown to asylum seekers by the Left, including the socialist Left, during the Whitlam and Fraser era:

    These attacks on Vietnamese refugees came from the leaders of the ALP, including its most senior official figures and spokesmen. The remainder of the political Left joined in. Shortly after this, a relatively large fishing boat, the Song Be 12, which had escaped from Ho Chi Minh City after the crew had overpowered communist guards on it, arrived in Darwin. The secretary of the Northern Territory Trades and Labour Council, Terry Kincade, said of these refugees: “They’re pirates who have seized a boat from a friendly country. They should all be sent back.” Darwin Waterside Workers’ Federation leader “Curly” Nixon threatened a strike unless the Song Be 12 was returned, preferably loaded, as National Times writer David Leitch put it, with “reffos”.

    The various communist parties of Australia then in existence—the CPA, the CPA (Marxist-Leninist), and the Socialist Party of Australia—all attacked Vietnamese refugees on the grounds that they were capitalists and enemies of liberation and also that they were cheap labour, the last-named ground having also been a major plank of the White Australia policy.

    The CPA national newspaper Tribune announced in a headline in its issue of December 7, 1977, that WHARFIES STOP WORK OVER FAKE REFUGEES. The refugees were, it said, “in fact, from the privileged classes … If they didn’t have money they wouldn’t be here”.

    And yes I know Quadrant is usually barking mad but the points made in this article are true but strangely airbrushed out of history by today’s Left and the MSM.

    I don’t for one second that nearly all of the left-wing fops who today cry crocodile tears over the plight of asylum seekers would have agreed with the Trade Union, Socialist Party of Australia and Communist Party of Australia assessments of VN refugees if they’d been politically engaged in that era.

  71. John Quiggin
    July 20th, 2013 at 15:31 | #71

    Please no more rehashes of the fluoride debate. Mel, as you seem to have initated this round, I advise that any further mention of your debate with Megan will lead to a ban. If I post on fluoride or some related topic, you can comment, but don’t attack other commenters. Megan, please no further responses or discussion of this.

  72. July 20th, 2013 at 15:35 | #72

    Ben Saul has a piece in “The Conversation” about the legality of the PNG Final Solution – in a nutshell he doubts it will survive challenge.

    But even if it does, that doesn’t make it right – it just makes it legal.

    The High Court upheld the legality of WorkChoices.

    ALP die-hards trying to justify a crueler refugee policy than anything Howard did are disgusting amoral hypocrites with double standards.

  73. Mel
    July 20th, 2013 at 15:40 | #73

    good lord.

    When a Shell tanker, the Entalina, rescued about 150 people from a sinking boat and brought them to Darwin, watersiders threatened to put black bans on any Shell ships that made further rescues. Particularly disgusting was the role played by several clergymen left over from the communist “peace” fronts, at least one of whom claimed the skull pyramids left by the Pol Pot regime were fakes. Attempting to meet at the Waterside Workers’ Club in Brisbane, Vietnamese guest speakers were drowned out by watersiders chanting: “You dirty, greasy little worms” and “You’re not human!”

    I suspect the revolutionary Left want to see one million Mahmuds and Abduls in Australia because, in their feverish imaginations, the resultant clash of cultures could sow the seeds that destroy our economy and political system and thus create an environment ripe for revolution.

  74. Alan
    July 20th, 2013 at 15:47 | #74

    @Fran Barlow

    Okay, I’ve shown you the language. Not much point in continuing this, is there?

  75. Fran Barlow
    July 20th, 2013 at 16:00 | #75

    @Alan

    As I have shown you. Integrity would imply a specific admission, but I’ll leave that to you.

  76. Ron E Joggles
    July 20th, 2013 at 20:11 | #76

    The asylum seeker issue remains the most difficult, especially for Labor, and as a sympathetic person my instinct is to let any boatful stay – but what would be the consequences of such a welcoming policy? – something the Greens and other proponents don’t want to elaborate on.

    It’s not reasonable to insist that people fleeing imminent danger can traverse a series of countries and then settle here because that is their preference – it’s not equitable that criminal organizations and corrupt officials in Indonesia can facilitate the dangerous voyages of those with a little cash while equally deserving families struggle to survive in deplorable conditions – it’s not responsible to advocate a policy that will surely result in even more rotten overloaded hulks setting out for Christmas Island.

    And Bob Carr is right to point out that many of those arriving are economic migrants who did not flee persecution.

    If we were to be as liberal as the Greens suggest, how many should we take – 100,000? 500,000? a million?

    I think we should substantially increase our refugee intake, but that they should come entirely from the transit camps, and none at all by informal boat arrivals – I think that is the only way to stop this awful, cynical trade – and that appears to be the intent of Rudd’s deal with PNG.

    The alternative (and one we may yet face) is to elect Tony Abbott, and see how he deals with this issue – the Greens have the luxury of being able to advocate policies without the risk of having to implement them, but Labor must be pragmatic, and choose the battles it can win – this is not something to die in a ditch over.

  77. July 21st, 2013 at 01:02 | #77

    I have nothing but pure contempt for the ALP and all its ‘travellers’ and apologists, mind you I hold the LNP in identical contempt.

    Kevin Rudd (“Faith In Politics”: The Monthly [the journal that will excuse absolutely anything the ALP does, and they really will abide anything, scary] – 2006):

    Another great challenge of our age is asylum seekers. The biblical injunction to care for the stranger in our midst is clear. The parable of the Good Samaritan is but one of many which deal with the matter of how we should respond to a vulnerable stranger in our midst. That is why the government’s proposal to excise the Australian mainland from the entire Australian migration zone and to rely almost exclusively on the so-called Pacific Solution should be the cause of great ethical concern to all the Christian churches. We should never forget that the reason we have a UN convention on the protection of refugees is in large part because of the horror of the Holocaust, when the West (including Australia) turned its back on the Jewish people of Germany and the other occupied countries of Europe who sought asylum during the ’30s.

    I am coming to the view that we, as a democracy and a purportedly humane society, would actually be better off with Abbott.

    At least an Abbott government would have some balances (such as Turnbull). The ALP has a lock-step insanity drive where all that is allowed is the occasional hypocrite like Cameron to whinge about the wrongness of some policy and then vote for it anyway.

    Vomit.

  78. Fran Barlow
    July 21st, 2013 at 07:59 | #78

    People sometimes ask if the ALP will ever become the party of the left-of-centre imagination, or at least, no longer a party ethically and politically indistinguishable from its major centre-right rival.

    The short answer is no. This is because those who favour such a course are willing to vote ALP despite the lack of interest in the ALP in doing so, or, these days, even winking at the left. As an old and repurposed aphorism runs: why buy the cow when you can have the milk for free?

    Until the ALP needs left|sts to support it in order to defeat its rival centre right party, it will happily accept free and unconditional left-of-centre support in defeating that party.

    The problem lies with us left-of-centre folk. We say we want progress, but what are we willing to live with to get it? Are we willing to withhold our effective preferences and see the ALP defeated until the ALP is forced to deal with us. Will we continue to do that until the ALP sees that being a progressive party is a necessary (though perhaps not a sufficient) condition of success? Do our principles imply anything substantive at all? Do they bind us to act?

    It seems to me that there is only one adequate warrant for advocating that someone exercise authority and discretion over public policy — and that is that in some measurable way, the triumph of that person will approach, at optimum speed in all of the constraints, a condition in which policies that best serve the common good will be realised.

    Anything else makes one an accomplice to the very things one claims to oppose. Anything else is thus mere hypocrisy of one form or another.

  79. Jim Rose
    July 21st, 2013 at 09:56 | #79

    Megan :
    Ben Saul has a piece in “The Conversation” about the legality of the PNG Final Solution – in a nutshell he doubts it will survive challenge.

    Ben Saul spends most of his time discussing international law. That is of no moment unless that law is incorporated into immigration law.

    The last High Court challenge to the administration of the immigration laws succeeded because the minister’s declaration about Malaysia as a qualifying destination was faulty at law and because the minister has obligations under a separate Act to be the guardian of unaccompanied child migrants and to act in their best interests.

    At all times, the matter is of statutory interpretation. Can parliament express its wishes clearly enough to survive passive resistance by judges. That is the job of the courts: the slow the impassioned majority down.

    Plenty of asylum claimants are settled in third countries. Australia takes thousands who make asylum claims in other countries to the UN through its processes.

  80. Jim Rose
    July 23rd, 2013 at 19:18 | #80

    Fran Barlow :
    Instead, as our esteemed Professor shows, the “neoliberal” crowd picks and chooses its causes — here liberal and there xenophobic populist in order to serve the greater goal of maintaining the kind of ignorant and angst-ridden coalition needed to protect the privileges of the wealthiest people against any development that might subvert them. Given that the wealthiest 300 people have more than the poorest 3 billion, this fight is a key to their politics.

    know anyone who self-identifies as a neoliberal?

    In Neoliberalism: From New Liberal Philosophy to Anti-Liberal Slogan, Taylor C. Boas & Jordan Gans-Morse look to find anyone who self-identifies as a neo-liberal at http://people.bu.edu/tboas/neoliberalism.pdf

    They did not uncover a single contemporary instance in which an author used the term self-descriptively, and only one—an article by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman (1999)—in which it was applied to the author’s own policy recommendations.

    Digging their archives, they did find that while Friedman (1951) embraced the neoliberal label and philosophy in one of his earliest political writings, he soon distanced himself from the term, trumpeting “old-style liberalism” in later manifestoes (Friedman 1955).

    The paper is “Neo-liberalism and its Prospects.” Milton Friedman Papers, Box 42, Folder 8, Hoover Institution Archives. 1951. Hardly a smoking gun?

    They do find, based on a content analysis of 148 journal articles published from 1990 to 2004, that: the term is often undefined; it is employed unevenly across ideological divides; and it is used to characterize an excessively broad variety of phenomena

  81. July 27th, 2013 at 12:47 | #81

    HauteLook Brings Online Sample Sales To Facebook HautelookZone hautelook code I found a MAJOR deal on HauteLook http:
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  82. Jim Rose
    July 27th, 2013 at 20:24 | #82

    see http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/west/kitten-nearly-dies-from-vegan-diet/story-fngnvmj7-1226682108386?utm_source=Herald+Sun&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=editorial&net_sub_uid=10147177 for a picture of a cute kitten – an obligate carnivor – saved from the clutches of the force of anti-science. please adopt.

    The owners — who were believed to be vegan — had been feeding the kitten a strict vegan diet consisting of potatoes, rice milk, and pasta.

    After resuscitating the kitten with a fluid drip, she immediately fed the feline meat. After three days on a carnivorous diet, it completely recovered.

  83. Fran Barlow
    July 28th, 2013 at 07:11 | #83

    On Friday night I had to run an errand and when I hopped into Hubby’s car #theirABC was on covering the football. Normally I’d have switched stations, but on this occasion the commentary was different. Instead of the commentary being composed entirely of loudmouthed men trying to iterate their masculinity, there appeared to be a female commentator as well.

    I say “appeared to be” because I wasn’t entirely sure. “Her” voice was, at the very least, effeminate and rather reminiscent of the character in that episode of Blackadder in which a young woman contrives the most unimpressive of disguises to present as a young male soldier in the trenches in World War 1, complete with a fake low voice. This might have been “her” real voice, or perhaps “she” really was male.

    After a few minutes listening I was no closer to determining “her” sex-gender but “she” certainly was making an effort to bond with the blokes, doing her very best to appear engaged with the football and to share in the blokey humour that is de rigeur in these settings. Somehow though, it didn’t seem entirely authentic — rather an affectation or adaptation.

    Perhaps this was because those who were uncontroversially men gave an excellent impression of entirely resenting “her” presence. For the most part, they entirely ignored her contributions, or simply talked over the top of her. At one point after some footballer had apparently suffered an ankle injury she apparently specified the wrong ankle and they piled on to humiliate her. Clearly, this person was there on sufferance, the result, one inferred, of some PC-based whim of management to achieve gender inclusion in sports commentary.

    I’m still not sure if she was a man or a woman — (shades of the character in Lemony Snicket‘s book series A Series of Unfortunate Events!) — but the attutude of the men inclined me to think so. This is exactly how boorish men behave in the presence of women who are in places that the men think should be peculiar to men.

    It struck me that here was an excellent public example of the context in which the last PM attempted to go about the business of being PM. Yes the woman, if she was a woman, fluffed her lines and was unable to “sell” her commentary, but really, she was always going to have to jump a higher bar than any man because she was not regarded as having standing to be there. This is what misogyny often looks like in practice, and that will be true even if the commentator I heard actually was a male.

  84. Julie Thomas
    July 28th, 2013 at 08:33 | #84

    @Jim Rose

    Jim were you once scared by a ‘greenie’ and you are now suffering from PTSD?

    You do seem somewhat obsessed and very ‘concerned’ in a very weird way with the vagaries of this type of person.

    You also seem to mistakenly think that your ‘clever’ anti-ridicule of what is a ‘normal’ human response to the problems of living a life, provides some sort of evidence or justification for your neo-liberal worldview?

  85. Jim Rose
    July 28th, 2013 at 11:31 | #85

    @Julie Thomas do you know anyone who self-identifies as a neo-liberal? you would have neo-liberals killing kittens given half a chance.

    In Neoliberalism: From New Liberal Philosophy to Anti-Liberal Slogan, Taylor C. Boas & Jordan Gans-Morse look to find anyone who self-identifies as a neo-liberal at http://people.bu.edu/tboas/neoliberalism.pdf

    They did not uncover a single contemporary instance in which an author used the term self-descriptively, and only one—an article by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman (1999)—in which it was applied to the author’s own policy recommendations.

    Digging their archives, they did find that while Friedman (1951) used the neoliberal label in one of his earliest political writings, but he soon distanced himself from the term, trumpeting “old-style liberalism” in later manifestoes (Friedman 1955). The paper is “Neo-liberalism and its Prospects.” Milton Friedman Papers, Box 42, Folder 8, Hoover Institution Archives. 1951. Hardly a smoking gun?

    when the Left gets on its high horse and goes on about Hayek and Friedman running neo-liberalism, with Hayek as Friedman’s mentor, it is refreshing to remind how little they had in common on macroeconomics, and Chicago economics did not offer Hayek a job when he applied soon after the founding of the Mont Pelerin Society in 1947 despite an outstanding record at LSE since 1932.

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