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Sandpit

September 9th, 2015

A new sandpit for long side discussions, idees fixes and so on. Discussions about climate policy and related issues can be posted here, along with the usual things.

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  1. Sancho
    September 9th, 2015 at 19:29 | #1

    For the sandpit I have Jefferson Smith’s c. 2009 piece, Why Conservatives Are Always Wrong, which AFAICT isn’t hosted in full anywhere on the internet any more.

    It’s a polemic, as the title suggests, but IMO a very good one. Touches on a lot of Corey Robin’s themes, but a bit punchier, and while it describes American conservatism, there’s more than a little crossover with the local variety.

    Presumably an essay-length post will go into moderation automatically, so JQ can decide if he wants to host it here.

    Some formatting edits made to preserve readability through the transition from HTML.

  2. Ikonoclast
    September 9th, 2015 at 19:38 | #2

    According to stats I have looked up, the USA’s GDP is about 15 times Australia’s GDP. However, the USA’s Gross National Income is about 25 times Australia’s GNI. I wonder, why the difference and what does it mean? Any takers on giving an answer?

  3. Ikonoclast
    September 9th, 2015 at 19:44 | #3

    In support of Sancho’s post there is this.

    http://billmoyers.com/2014/07/17/scientists-are-beginning-to-figure-out-why-conservatives-are%E2%80%A6-conservative/

    I hope someone will answer my little question too.

  4. Sancho
    September 9th, 2015 at 19:46 | #4

    Ozblogistan is unhappy with such a massive cut/paste, and fair enough. I’ll wait on JQ to give the go-ahead or not, and perhaps email it through.

  5. Sancho
    September 9th, 2015 at 19:54 | #5

    @Ikonoclast
    Further to that is Jonathan Haidt’s book on the subject.

    If we’re going down the why-are-they-that-way rabbit hole, there’s the interesting finding that American politicians believe voters are much further right than the really are, and this marvelous piece about authoritarians playing resource-management games.

  6. September 9th, 2015 at 19:57 | #6

    I haven’t seen Alfred around these parts much lately (haven’t been around much myself) but I saw this and thought of him.

    He’s probably seen it already but for anyone who hasn’t, do take a look – it’s really funny (what happened to the singer isn’t really funny though).

    Harperman
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/aug/28/canadian-scientist-suspended-folk-song-stephen-harper

  7. September 9th, 2015 at 20:00 | #7

    Sorry I didn’t realise that the sandpit was for stuff related to Bernie Fraser’s resignation. Still it’s not too far a stretch to see connections.

  8. Megan
    September 9th, 2015 at 20:20 | #8

    @Ikonoclast

    Re: GNI & GDP and the US empire:

    I wonder, why the difference and what does it mean? Any takers on giving an answer?

    I’ll have an inexpert, and generalised, go: Maybe it’s because the US (especially via Wall St banksters and the infamous global corporations) is a massive money-hoover?

  9. Ikonoclast
    September 9th, 2015 at 20:31 | #9

    @Val

    Yes, how dare the citizens speak up, or even sing up for that matter. What do they think Canada is? Some kind of free-speech democracy? Where did they get that notion?

    Harper and/or the people who made this decision have forgotten one thing. Citizens have a right to free political speech in their own time in an open democracy. Being a government worker does not sink this right.

  10. Megan
    September 10th, 2015 at 00:04 | #10

    Here’s some serious weird (with the caveat that I have a very low opinion of Leigh Sales and the half-past seven show). Quotes from tonight’s episode:

    When Labor left office, unemployment was at 5.8 per cent, it’s now 6.3 per cent,” presenter Leigh Sales said.

    “Growth was 2.5 per cent, it’s now 2 per cent, the Australian dollar was 92 cents, its now around 70 cents, the budget deficit was $30 billion when you took office, and now it’s $48 billion.

    “How do you explain to the Australian people that you were elected promising, in your words, to fix the budget emergency, yet in fact Australia’s economic position has worsened under your leadership?”

    Mr Abbott responded: “I don’t accept that.

    “The boats have stopped…”

    The media and political class falling over each other to praise Dutton and Abbott for picking a few refugees out of the available millions while continuing the torture and indefinite detention of a few thousand refugees of our own, is extremely weird.

    We have just effectively declared war on Syria. That is bound to work out well for us and the Syrian people. Not.

    Sadly, I’ve been banned from criticizing the ALP here – but others can look into that side of things and decide for themselves where we’re heading. It isn’t looking good.

  11. September 10th, 2015 at 00:27 | #11

    “Liberalism is the ideology of Western suicide.”


    James Burnham 1964

  12. Megan
    September 10th, 2015 at 00:36 | #12

    I just watched the whole thing. Terrifying!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ze5Bv3hox60

    I counted 5 “stop the boats” and 6 “death cult”.

  13. Megan
    September 10th, 2015 at 00:40 | #13

    I suppose, in this context, it’s reasonable to suggest that fascism is the ideology of ‘Western’ longevity.

  14. Megan
    September 10th, 2015 at 01:05 | #14

    Psycho:

    LEIGH SALES: We have Syrian refugees in our own detention centre on Manus Island. Why do those people not deserve a chance at refuge in Australia?

    TONY ABBOTT: Well we don’t want to reward people smugglers and we don’t want to reward people smuggling. So, we are very much going to go to people who have sought asylum, sought refuge on the borders of Syria, in Turkey, in Lebanon, in Jordan. We’re not particularly going to go and look for people who have used the services of people smugglers to get into Europe, because the last thing we want is to add to the problem of people smuggling, the last thing we want is to reward people smugglers and their clients. What we want to do is help people who really, under these circumstances, are never able to go back to their ancestral homes.

    So, the people who managed to get the furthest away from the “death cult” are the least deserving of our compassion and assistance. And, by extension, the people who have travelled the furthest are the most able to return to “their ancestral homes”.

  15. jrkrideau
    September 10th, 2015 at 04:48 | #15

    @Val
    Thanks Val.

    I had heard/read about the song, etc, but had not tracked down the video. Unfortunately the song is an extremely accurate summary of Mr. Harper’s career as PM. I can see it being used as a crib sheet in current affairs or history classes. I think it touches on some/most of the high points of his time in office.

    He is petty, extremely controlling, and vindictive. These, by the way, are his good points.

  16. jrkrideau
    September 10th, 2015 at 04:59 | #16

    @Ikonoclast
    As an add-on, Louise Arbour’s daughter, Emilie Taman, requested a leave-of-absence from the Justice Department to run for the New Democratic Party and was denied. Madame Taman is now being referred to as Former prosecutor Emilie Taman in at least one paper.
    Madame Arbour is some annoyed.

    Madame Arbour whttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louise_Arbour

  17. jrkrideau
    September 10th, 2015 at 05:16 | #17

    @Megan
    I believe your PM gets along well with ours, Harper. We’ve had ten years of ours. Good luck.

    An excellent interviewer.

  18. rog
    September 10th, 2015 at 07:01 | #18

    Michelle Grattan claims that Bernie Fraser quit the CCA due to ongoing hostilities with Minister Hunt.

    The tension with the minister apparently wore Fraser down.

  19. rog
    September 10th, 2015 at 07:16 | #19

    Whilst it is easy to isolate and condemn Bolt for misrepresenting the father of the drowned boy Aylan Kurdi as one who put his family in mortal danger for the want of a good dentist, its hard to see how so many Australians can reasonably support his position.

    Bolt, Abbott and all the others are quite happy to bomb civilians, for whatever excuse, but are unable to deal with the consequences of their actions.

    Currently Turkey has 1.7M Syrian refugees.

  20. Ikonoclast
    September 10th, 2015 at 07:23 | #20

    Yes, Western politics is descending into farce. It is becoming farcist as Megan would say.

    “Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.” – Karl Marx.

    One might think this explains the world-historical appearance of fascism followed by the world-historical appearance of farcism. In fact, it points to the truth of another well known saying from Hannah Arendt namely “the banality of evil” and to the point where we are in the cycle.

    Human evil is banal. It is farcical. It is rooted in the rankest stupidity. Living through the cycle of evil as it rises and falls, one notes first its farcical nature, then later tragedy ensues. In retrospect the tragic aspect looms large in our history and at the beginning of the next farcical cycle none can credit where it might lead once again. Thus it is first experienced as farcical and merely appearing to be repeating tragedy as farce. In fact, farce is the precursor of tragedy.

  21. Julie Thomas
    September 10th, 2015 at 07:24 | #21

    @Ikonoclast

    From the article.

    “There is by now evidence from a variety of laboratories around the world using a variety of methodological techniques leading to the virtually inescapable conclusion that the cognitive-motivational styles of leftists and rightists are quite different.”

    It’s not a dichotomy of cognitive-motivational styles, people in any ‘population’, if the measurement tool allowed for this level of discrimination, would align on a continuum from left to right and would not look like two separate groups of people who are irretrievably different.

    It’s has always seemed to me that it would be better or more functional, if we could re-name these differences yin and yang rather than left and right. These names are not so ’emotional’ and so it would provide for the possibility of understanding ourselves more objectively,

    And I haven’t thought about the article much but I can’t see why, even if “conservatism is positively associated with heightened epistemic concerns for order, structure, closure, certainty, consistency, simplicity, and familiarity, as well as existential concerns such as perceptions of danger, sensitivity to threat, and death anxiety. ” that this means these cognitive emotional styles cannot be made less extreme – less yin or yang – and more like the ‘other’.

    It’s just a correlation.

    The yang? tendencies are based on the genetic endowment but they are encouraged when and if the family, the society, and the wider environment values individuality and the set of behaviours that go with that ideology. If individuality, creative personalities and expressing oneself is valued, children are not encouraged to moderate their differences in response to the needs of others and they are not encouraged to see how fitting in is ‘better’ than remaining sensitive to threats and uncomfortable with new experiences.

    I can’t see any support for the claim that conservatives or right wingers can’t change. Motivational theories abound and Norman Doidge has a lot of evidence for the plasticity of even older brains and our capacity to change.

    But because they are such sensitive fearful people, we have to be gentle with them if we want them to see the light and develop any motivation to change.

  22. J-D
    September 10th, 2015 at 07:47 | #22

    @Megan

    Here’s some serious weird (with the caveat that I have a very low opinion of Leigh Sales and the half-past seven show). … The media and political class falling over each other to praise Dutton and Abbott …

    Possibly Leigh Sales praised Dutton and Abbott in the part you didn’t quote, but there’s no praise by her in the part you did quote.

  23. Ikonoclast
    September 10th, 2015 at 08:10 | #23

    @Julie Thomas

    Interesting thoughts. I am not sure of the proper translation of yin and yang from the Chinese. I think in translations of Chinese terms we might often get poetic and spiritual images from too-literal translations when the Chinese in fact intend something much more empirical and rooted in this world. An example I came across was from the military theorist Sun Tzu. One translated sentence is sometimes rendered like this, “Consult Heaven before your operations.” The literal word is heaven but it means the skies in this context. So the sentence does not mean consult Heaven (and the Deities) before your operations, it means “look at the skies to see what season it is and what weather is coming” which makes a whole lot more practical sense.

    “Heaven signifies day and night, cold and heat, times and seasons. Thus, Heaven signifies the broader environment of a conflict, regardless of the nature of that conflict.”

    In a similar style I think we need to ask what “yin and yang” really signify to the Chinese. It might be difficult to impossible for monolingual English speakers (like me) to ever really comprehend what yin and yang mean (unless one goes ahead and learns Mandarin and Chinese philosophy). I am fairly strongly convinced that our language limits in turn limit what we can conceptualise.

  24. rog
    September 10th, 2015 at 08:43 | #24

    Ying and Yang could be as described by Newton – for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction

  25. Julie Thomas
    September 10th, 2015 at 09:23 | #25

    @Ikonoclast

    “In a similar style I think we need to ask what “yin and yang” really signify to the Chinese.”

    I’ve spent a lot of time and effort reading about this and I don’t think it we need to understand what ‘they’ mean; it’s not that difficult to conceptualise these terms as end points of a normal curve, and a normal curve as the distribution that should describe all ‘populations’.

    There isn’t just one definition of yin and yang; other cultures not only the Chinese, are familiar with this way of explaining the universe and how it works as a conceptualisation of opposing ‘forces’ that should be reconciled as part of a whole rather than peace being a matter of one side winning over the other. We could even use the language of dynamics and attractor states.

    It would be a good thing for this country, if we did want to understand how the Chinese civilization conceptualised the human nature problem and if we thought about what there is in Chinese thinking – and other cultures – that we can use to take advantage of the human diversity that exists in the world rather than seeing it as a threat.

    The specific definitions of yin and yang vary between and among the various sects. The important part of this ‘theory’ is that it is the balance between the two forces – however they are named – that is the thing to be worked out or understood and manipulated to achieve peace. The point is that what seems on the level of observation that we are accustomed to use, to be dichotomous and irreconcilable, will look different if you look from a different level and it is possible to see that the two parts are part of the one whole.

    It wasn’t difficult for a couple of my neighbours to understand the concept as I explained it in the most simple form, a couple of days ago, as the difference between male and female tendencies – not the difference between a particular man and a particular woman – and that it is only possible to understand how we should ‘be’ and live or what our famous “way of life” should be by creating a balance between any two groups and not by domination of one type of person over the other type of person.

    I think that we could easily assimilate these abstract concepts into our culture by re-telling the story in our own language.

  26. September 10th, 2015 at 11:29 | #26

    Megan, I was meaning to respond to your post of September 7th, 2015 at 00:43 on Monday Message Board before comments were closed.

    The striking thing about Syria is that it has withstood an invasion by proxy terrorists of the U.S. and its allies from almost every corner the globe for more than four years now, but at a terrible cost – over 220,000 dead so far. What other country has been able to withstand such extreme adversity and yet continue to maintain its culture and essential services (including free medicine, housing, shelter for Palestinian refugees and the 1.3 Iraqi refugees who fled the wars and sanctions in which Australia shamefully partcipated since 1990). Even Australia’s achievement in 1942 seems modest in comparison.

    Surely the resilience shown by Syria owes much to the fact that Syria is not run according the neo-liberal dictates of bodies such as the IMF and the World Bank.

    Why do even some of those opposed to war with Syria repeat media lies against its democratically elected President?

    Most unfortunately for the anti-war movement, even some who oppose Australian military intervention in Syria, including Greens member of Parliament Adam Bandt, accept the claim that President Bashar Al-Assad is a brutal dictator guilty of murdering many tens of thousands of his own people. [1]

    In fact, Bashar Al-Assad was re-elected President on 4 June 2014 by an overwhelming majority of Syrians. See Syria’s press conference the United Nations doesn’t want you to see with embedded 52:45 minute YouTube video. [2] This report is of a press conference at the United Nations in New York on 19 June 2014. At that press conference five international observers testified that the elections were conducted fairly. Not one of the journalists present took the opportunity to challenge that testimony. Those, who had reported before and since that Bashar al-Assad was a corrupt and hated dictator, was torturing and murdering his own people, was dropping ‘barrel bombs’ on civilians, was poisoning Syrians with chemical weapons, etc., etc., etc., seem to have lost their voices on that day, or were absent.

  27. David Irving (no relation)
    September 10th, 2015 at 11:44 | #27

    @Megan
    If I’d made a drinking game of Our Tony’s performance last night, I would’ve died of acute alcoholic poisoning. As it was, I got nearly angry enough to Elvis my tv set.

    Sales didn’t even have to break a sweat to make him look like a complete tool.

  28. Julie Thomas
    September 10th, 2015 at 13:13 | #28

    About the prediction in that article Ikon linked to above, that right wingers can’t learn to use a left wing cognitive style, I’d agree that someone like Tony Abbott couldn’t change his ‘mind’, ever or maybe a death bed confession would be within his capacity.

    Hoping for people like Tony and other types of ‘rusted on’ rwnj’s to have an epiphany or some sort of remorse for their choice of ideology is not going to work out well. I have to remind youngest son when he is in the mood to Elvis the tv in response to right wing stupidity, that he is supposed to be learning the counselling psychologist cognitive style which is ‘unconditional positive regard’ which does not involve strings of invective and that sort of behaviour.

    From wiki, “Unconditional positive regard, a concept developed by the humanistic psychologist Carl Rogers, is the basic acceptance and support of a person regardless of what the person says or does, especially in the context of client-centered therapy.[1] Its founder, Carl Rogers, writes:

    “The central hypothesis of this approach can be briefly stated. It is that the individual has within him or her self vast resources for self-understanding, for altering her or his self-concept, attitudes, and self-directed behavior—and that these resources can be tapped if only a definable climate of facilitative psychological attitudes can be provided.[2]”

    So a clinical psychologist or any psych who deals with people has to learn to use this cognitive style even if the client is a Tony Abbott.

    But I have to admit that I’m not really familiar with the specifics of Elvising the tv. 🙂 I get the general idea though.

  29. J-D
    September 10th, 2015 at 14:56 | #29

    @James

    In the closed Monday Message Board I asked you ‘Why do you trust this source?’ and you responded ‘Which source?’

    I was asking about the only source mentioned in the only comment of yours that I linked to. I hope that’s not too difficult, but do let me know if I can be of any further assistance.

  30. J-D
    September 10th, 2015 at 14:58 | #30

    @James

    And now I will ask you a separate question: Why do you trust those five international observers?

  31. September 11th, 2015 at 01:26 | #31

    If the mainstream media claims about Syria were true …

    J-D wrote on September 4th, 2015 at 09:54 on the (now closed) Monday Message Board of 24 Aug 2015 :

    Why do you trust this source?

    J-D wrote on September 10th, 2015 at 14:56 :

    In the closed Monday Message Board I asked you ‘Why do you trust this source?’ and you responded ‘Which source?’

    I was asking about the only source mentioned in the only comment of yours that I linked to.

    I had not realised that you had linked to the post you were referring to. I am not in the habit of linking to other posts as I prefer to use the one link allowed by the forum software for JohnQuiggin _dot_ com to link to other sites, usually my own.

    I trust that video, because it is consistent with everything else I know about Syria. Of course, I cannot know for certain that the whole video, including crowds of supporters of President Bashar al-Assad, was not staged, but, if it was, the actors they must have hired seem to have done an extremely good job. So too, must all the many thousands of other actors in the almost innumerable other videos now available which show hundreds, if not many thousands of Syrians greeting President Bashar al-Assad wherever he goes in Syria.

    J-D wrote on September 10th, 2015 at 14:56 :

    And now I will ask you a separate question: Why do you trust those five international observers?

    If the mainstream media claims about Syria were true, then what those observers told the press conference must have been a pack of lies. Any competent journalist would have had no trouble in tearing to shreds the claims made by those observers. The fact that none of the observers’ claims were challenged shows me that either :

    1. The journalists, who had been reporting elsewhere that Bashar al-Assad was a brutal mass murderer, were grossly negligent in not having put that to the observers, or

    2. Those journalists knew that the ‘reports’ they had written about Syria were untrue and that they would be shown up for the liars that they were if they had attempted to present that narrative to the press conference.

  32. J-D
    September 11th, 2015 at 11:53 | #32

    @James

    Thank you for the response.

    In both instances, the reason you give for trusting the source is not a good reason.

  33. September 11th, 2015 at 12:39 | #33

    Please explain, J-D.

    The Syrian Girl video: #RefugeeCrisis: What the media Is hiding

    Below is of the start the transcript of the above 13:24 minute video “#RefugeeCrisis: What The Media Is Hiding, Help #SyrianRefugees Go Home” by Mimi al Laham, also known as “the Syrian Girl”.

    This is Syrian Girl. The media’s painting the refugee crisis as an acute issue, but the Syrian war and refugees had been there for four years and Aylan [Kurdi] wasn’t the first child refugee to drown. Last month an eleven year Syrian girl old drowned off the coast of Egypt. So, why is there such a media push now? Well, it’s just in time for when France, Britain and Australia were asked to join the US’s war on Syria. In fact, the US asked Australia to join his coalition a week before Aylan died. So, they’re using sympathy for this child’s death to drop bombs on more children while crying crocodile tears over them as they run from those bombs.

    Just look at this headline from the Sun: “BOMB SYRIA” “FOR AYLAN”. You’d think they’d make themselves less obvious. This is the city that Aylan comes from. The area was blown to smithereens by the US. Rupert Murdoch couldn’t even wait for Aylan’s body to go cold before he started exploiting it for more war on Syria. …

  34. Tim Macknay
    September 11th, 2015 at 13:08 | #34

    @James
    I take it you don’t accept the view that the Australian government actually prompted the request from the US to assist in bombing Syria, in an effort to improve the government’s polling?

  35. J-D
    September 11th, 2015 at 16:55 | #35

    @James

    The explanation of my statement is as follows.

    In the first instance you write that you trust the source because it is consistent with everything else you know about Syria. This is not a good reason, because the fact that a source agrees with you is not a good reason for thinking it to be a reliable source.

    In the second instance you do not encapsulate your reason for trusting the source with equal succinctness, but it is apparent from what you write that you trust the five international observers because when they made their claims they were not contradicted on the spot by their audience of journalists. This is not a good reason, because it is not the case that claims are reliable whenever they are not contradicted on the spot.

  36. September 11th, 2015 at 21:25 | #36

    Australia’s war is illegal and against the people of Syria

    J-D

    I note that you have yet to provide even one source to substantiate your own views on the Syrian conflict.

    Presumably, I was right to say that you are arguing that the video that I linked to on September 4th, 2015 at 02:16 on the “Monday Message Board” of 24 August 2015, and innumerable others like that video were staged and that many thousands of very good actors were hired to stage those videos. Presumably you also think that the many more Syrians, whom we are told by the MSM, oppose President al-Assad have been hidden away from the view of all the local and international journalists who recorded those scenes.

    J-D on September 11th, 2015 at 16:55 wrote:

    … you trust the five international observers because when they made their claims they were not contradicted on the spot by their audience of journalists.

    You are attempting to make my views seem crude and simplistic in order to be able to parody them. What I wrote on September 11th, 2015 at 01:26 was:

    If the mainstream media claims about Syria were true, then what those observers told the press conference must have been a pack of lies. Any competent journalist would have had no trouble in tearing to shreds the claims made by those observers. The fact that none of the observers’ claims were challenged shows me that either :

    1. The journalists, who had been reporting elsewhere that Bashar al-Assad was a brutal mass murderer, were grossly negligent in not having put that to the observers, or

    2. Those journalists knew that the ‘reports’ they had written about Syria were untrue and that they would be shown up for the liars that they were if they had attempted to present that narrative to the press conference.

    Given that the Syrian conflict was so much the focus of the news at the time, how do you explain the complete failure of the media outlets that had so demonised President Bashar al-Assad to even utter a word at that media conference, let alone report it?

  37. September 11th, 2015 at 21:44 | #37

    @Tim Macknay wrote:

    I take it you don’t accept the view that the Australian government actually prompted the request from the US to assist in bombing Syria, in an effort to improve the government’s polling?

    This reminds me of the book “War for the asking” (1981) by Michael Sexton. That book shows that the Australian government invited itself into the Vietnam. It’s hard to be sure whose idea Australia’s entry into the illegal war against Syria originally was, but whether Australia or the United States took the initiative, the Australian government like nearly government of Western Europe, remains a vassal of the United States.

  38. J-D
    September 11th, 2015 at 22:08 | #38

    @James

    You raise several different points. I can respond to any of them, or to all of them if you wish, but I feel that to attempt to do so in a single comment would make it inordinately and confusingly long, so I would appreciate it if you could select the points you think should have priority for discussion.

    If left to myself, the points I would give priority to are these: that whatever the other significance of your remarks, nothing in your most recent comment provides a good reason to trust your sources; and that each of the assertions you have made about me specifically is substantially mistaken.

  39. Megan
    September 12th, 2015 at 00:34 | #39

    @J-D

    I have some questions:

    Which of his sources don’t you trust?

    Why don’t you trust them?

  40. J-D
    September 12th, 2015 at 08:00 | #40

    @Megan

    You have misunderstood the discussion.

    I have not written that I don’t trust James’s sources. I have expressed no view about their trustworthiness.

    This is not a discussion in which James and I have expressed incompatible views about the trustworthiness of James’s sources and what is at issue now is which of our views is better supported.

    This is a discussion in which I have asked why James why those sources are to be regarded as trustworthy, and what is at issue now is whether James can supply any good reason for trusting them.

    If you trust James’s sources and can provide good reasons for doing so, I am eager to see them.

  41. Megan
    September 12th, 2015 at 10:09 | #41

    @J-D

    You have misunderstood the discussion.

    Not at all. It’s your signature style.

  42. J-D
    September 12th, 2015 at 10:31 | #42

    @Megan

    Possibly; but even if it is my signature style, it’s also possible that you misunderstand my signature style. It wouldn’t surprise me.

  43. Ikonoclast
    September 12th, 2015 at 13:13 | #43

    Please Mr Abbott…. we don’t wanna go… to Syria.. or anywhere else.

  44. Megan
    September 12th, 2015 at 15:59 | #44

    ALP supporters must be proud to have their refugee policies praised by UKIP’s Nigel Farage:

    We must be mad to take this risk with the cohesion of our societies. If we want to help genuine refugees, if we want to protect our societies, if we want to stop the criminal trafficking gangs from benefitting as they are, we must stop the boats coming as the Australians did…

  45. Nicholas
    September 12th, 2015 at 17:13 | #45

    If Jeremy Corbyn adopts an economic policy based on Abba Lerner’s Functional Finance, he’ll deliver full employment at current prices. Sadly, he shows no sign of questioning the neoliberal framework. He rabbits on about the need to reduce the government deficit. His badly named People’s Quantitative Easing is really Overt Monetary Financing, which is consistent with Functional Finance and would be extremely good for employment, incomes, and output. Unfortunately he has chosen to co-opt the term “quantitative easing”, which is about shuffling the wealth portfolio of banks (replacing bonds with reserves), not increasing aggregate spending in the economy.

  46. ZM
    September 12th, 2015 at 20:09 | #46

    “So, why is there such a media push now? Well, it’s just in time for when France, Britain and Australia were asked to join the US’s war on Syria. In fact, the US asked Australia to join his coalition a week before Aylan died. So, they’re using sympathy for this child’s death to drop bombs on more children while crying crocodile tears over them as they run from those bombs.”

    I think it is possible that Europe is expecting a much greater flow of refugees now due to the plans of bombing, as everyone will be trying to leave Syria to escape being bombed. So this expectation of greater flows of refugees to Europe has led to more efforts to work on the refugee crisis.

    I think I read Germany said it would take 800,000 refugees this year or a high figure like that

  47. Megan
    September 12th, 2015 at 21:11 | #47

    Despite a concerted campaign by the political establishment and particularly the UK Labour elite against him, Corbyn has won the leadership vote in the first round by a landslide 59.5%.

    Tom Watson won deputy spot after three rounds but with a large primary vote.

    This alone may prevent the UK from killing more Syrians as Cameron said he wouldn’t join in the slaughter without broad parliamentary consensus.

    Corbyn said in his speech that one of the first things he will do as leader is attend the pro-refugee rally this afternoon in London (it’s midday there at the moment).

    Sadly, I don’t believe a Corbyn is a possibility in Australia’s ALP because it is too tightly controlled by the faceless people.

    In this country, our ‘Corbyn’ will have to come from outside the establishment parties and that will be a long road.

  48. September 12th, 2015 at 21:16 | #48

    ZM on September 12th, 2015 at 20:09 wrote:

    “In fact, the US asked Australia to join his coalition a week before Aylan died.”

    As Mimi al Laham, the Syrian Girl, pointed out in the video I linked to above on September 11th, 2015 at 12:39, an 11 year old Syrian girl drowned of the coast of Egypt in the month prior to when Aylan drowned, but this attracted little coverage in the mainstream newsmedia.

    The best way to end the refugee crisis is for the United Sates, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel, Turkey, France and The United Kingdom to cease giving weapons to the tens of thousands of terrorists who have been attempting to invade Syria since March 2011.

    On the illegality of Australian intervention in Syria

    Senator Ludlam has called for War Powers reform and the obligation that all decisions on war involvement must be taken only in consultation with parliament. David Macilwain argues that the matter of Australian intervening militarily in Syria without Syria’s permission should be pursued in the Senate and with the attorney general, George Brandis, because it is in breech of international law.

  49. September 12th, 2015 at 22:00 | #49

    @J-D

    All you have done is make this value judgement that all the video and printed evidence I have provided about Syria is not good enough for you:

    In both instances, the reason you give for trusting the source is not a good reason.

    … but have failed to give an example of what sort of evidence you would accept as justifying, as examples, Australia’s decisions to go to war against Syria in 2015, Iraq in 2003 and 1990, Afghanistan in 2001, and Vietnam in 1965.

    Allegations of the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government? Iraqi WMD’s? incubator babies? the Gulf of Tonkin incident? 9/11?

    When you give an example of what you would consider valid evidence contrary to the evidence I have given above, this debate can proceed.

  50. Donald Oats
    September 12th, 2015 at 22:17 | #50

    The whole region (Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Afghanistan, etc) is in a state of flaring civil wars, and in the midst of that, a geographical shake-up thanks to the ISIS entrant. Since we have no clear objective beyond remote control fighting with ISIS in that region, it seems that all we will do by taking further remote control action is to damage the local population’s infrastructure, unintentionally yet inevitably kill and injure hundreds of civilians, and alienate even more of the population, even as they flee the conflagration for the relative safety of western countries.

    The western countries have had a terrible recent history of failed war objectives in the Middle East; as far as I can see, virtually all of the wars since the late 1990’s have resulted in a bigger mess than before the war(s) in question. Furthermore, with the states being fairly arbitrary borders drawn by colonial invaders at various times throughout the previous 150 years, sooner or later a group like ISIS was going to crop up; if ISIS hadn’t made a thing of goading the US and western countries by beheading their citizens, chances are the west would have been ignorant of ISIS until it had achieved its goal of an independent caliphate, or run out of steam and just become another semi-tribal group with their own militia. Given the number of such groups scattered across the Middle East, ISIS would have looked no different to the west, and probably have been ignored.

    We cannot defeat ISIS in any meaningful sense, unless we are willing to take troops onto the ground, hunt down every last ISIS supporter and lock ’em up/kill them, and then somehow magically reinstall the stable power bases which existed prior to the ISIS upheaval. Since there isn’t a snowflake’s chance in Hell of a coalition forming and doing just that, since there will always be significant numbers of ISIS supporters left after we finish air-bombing them, we cannot achieve a meaningful military objective, nor a meaningful political one, by merely sending a few jets and armed forces over there. Why are we there, especially as we know that air-strikes kill a lot of the wrong people, and just make a very bad thing worse.

  51. biancadog
    September 12th, 2015 at 22:32 | #51

    Testing

  52. biancadog
    September 12th, 2015 at 22:47 | #52

    I would also like to know what evidence J-D would accept to justify James’s stance on Syria. Maybe James is being too logical for J-D. I agree that Syria is being torn apart by foreign sponsored forces which have used the crudest of campaigns to blacken its government. I have watched the report by the witnesses to the June 2014 Syrian election and found their testimony very moving. Furthermore, they were the only external observers there; no-one else went, although invited. I find Australia’s latest ‘intervention’ in Syria profoundly disturbing. It is hard to think what could be more disturbing. Equally disturbing and illogical is the western press’s failure to expose what our great ally, Saudi Arabia is doing to Yemen; they are literally bombing it to oblivion, with US approval. So we have on the one hand a very unlikely tale of a ‘brutal dictator’ in Syria, who ‘must be removed’ and, on the other hand, the Saudi leader, who is behaving like a kind of Randall Flag (see Steven King’s the Stand) using American cluster bombs, each more amazing than the next to incinerate Yemen, who is our friend and Murdoch’s presumably: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ruiKa1GQ9jo More like this on the same youtube page.

  53. September 12th, 2015 at 23:54 | #53

    Thank you, biancadog for your words of support and, also, for drawing our attention to the invasion of Yemen by the Saudi Arabian dictatorship that is being ignored by our ‘news’ media. What the Yemenis must be going through at the hands of bombardment by the Saudi Air Force and land forces,as shown on that video, must be horrific.

    Donald Oats wrote about Syria on September 12th, 2015 at 22:17 :

    … if ISIS hadn’t made a thing of goading the US and western countries by beheading their citizens, chances are the west would have been ignorant of ISIS until it had achieved its goal of an independent caliphate, …

    The reality is:

    America’s Phony War on the ISIS. Washington Recruits, Arms, Funds, Trains and Directs the “Islamic State” Terrorists (11/9/15) by Stephen Lendman | Global Research

    On September 10, 2014, Obama lied claiming his intent “to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group known as ISIL” – adding “these terrorists could pose a growing threat beyond that region, including to the United States.”

    He wilfully misled the US public saying he “ordered our military to take targeted action against ISIL to stop its advances…These strikes…helped save the lives of thousands of innocent men, women and children.”

    Washington recruits, arms, funds, trains, and directs them the same way it used Mujahideen fighters in the 1980s against Soviet Russia in Afghanistan, as well as Al Qaeda and other likeminded takfiri groups today.

    They serve US imperial interests, used against independent governments Washington wants toppled – replaced by subservient puppet regimes. Terror bombing Iraqi and Syrian targets has nothing to do with degrading and defeating them – everything to do with destroying vital infrastructure in both countries, balkanizing them for easier control and ousting Assad.

    As shown above, ISIS was set up by the United States to fight against the Syrian government. In doing so, ISIS has also, conveniently for the United States, become a grotesque bogeyman to provide a pretext for the United States and its Australian vassal to invade Syria under the pretense of fighting ISIS. In reality, the goal of the invasion is to help ISIS, al-Qaeda, the al-Nusra front, etc. overthrow the democratically elected government of President Bashar al-Assad.

  54. Megan
    September 13th, 2015 at 01:14 | #54

    Reuters report:

    Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann criticized Hungary for its handling of the refugee crisis in a German magazine interview published on Saturday, likening Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s policies to those used by the Nazis during the Holocaust.

    “Sticking refugees in trains and sending them somewhere completely different to where they think they’re going reminds us of the darkest chapter of our continent’s history,” Faymann told Der Spiegel in a reference to the Nazis’ deportations of Jews and others to concentration camps.

    On Sept. 3, migrants boarded a train in Budapest in the belief that they were heading to the border with Austria but the train was stopped some 35 km (22 miles) west of the capital in the town of Bicske, where Hungary has a camp for asylum seekers.

    Riot police forced some to disembark but others refused to leave the train, shouting “No camp, no camp!”

    Hitler’s Nazis occupied Hungary in 1944 after finding that their former World War Two ally was in secret peace talks with Washington and London and Hungarian authorities then helped them to deport hundreds of thousands of Jews.

    Many of the refugees and migrants now arriving in Hungary, an eastern outpost of Europe’s passport-free ‘Schengen area’, want to avoid being registered there for fear of being returned to Hungary later as they travel on to richer countries in western and northern Europe.

    Faymann said Orban was deliberately pursuing a politics of deterrence and added that he was acting “irresponsibly” by suggesting that every migrant was an economic refugee in pursuit of a better life.

    Some countries in eastern Europe, including Orban, have expressed concern about the large numbers of the refugees – many of them fleeing Syria’s civil war – being Muslim rather than Christian.

    Australia stands condemned (and correctly likened to Nazis) by our treatment of refugees.

    There are many reasons we need to stop doing this, such as simple decency or self-interest.

  55. Megan
    September 13th, 2015 at 02:02 | #55

    Speaking of the “N” word and all things farcist:

    Australian Border Force officials have secretly transported an Iraqi man to the Christmas Island detention centre despite a Melbourne magistrate granting the man bail while he awaits trial on drugs charges.

    The man, who has lived in Australia on a humanitarian visa since 1998, was reporting to police as part of his bail conditions when he was detained by officers from Australia’s new paramilitary immigration agency. His family and lawyer were not told he had been taken to the offshore camp.

    The decision to incarcerate the man on Christmas Island comes after Immigration and Border Protection Minister Peter Dutton was given the power in December to unilaterally deport suspected and convicted criminals following sweeping changes to the Migration Act.

    Minister Dutton and his newly formed paramilitary agency, the Australian Border Force, have used the powers to detain 366 people in the past eight months.

    In May, he announced the high-security Christmas Island facility would be used to house criminals who were “on a pathway to exiting our country”. …

    This is ridiculous.

  56. J-D
    September 13th, 2015 at 06:51 | #56

    @James

    There are/were no good reasons for Australia to go to war against Syria in 2015, Iraq in 2003 or 1990, Afghanistan in 2001, or Vietnam in 1965. That does not constitute a good reason for trusting your sources. You still have given no good reason to trust your sources.

  57. J-D
    September 13th, 2015 at 07:02 | #57

    @biancadog

    You want me to give a justification, not for my position, but for somebody else’s position? That makes no sense. People who make that kind of challenge are giving away the weakness of their position.

    Maybe James is being too logical for J-D.

    Maybe you don’t understand logic.

  58. September 13th, 2015 at 10:28 | #58

    J-D,

    You’re entitled to your own opinion, but, as I said before:


    When you give an example of what you would consider valid evidence contrary to the evidence I have given above, this debate can proceed.

  59. biancadog
    September 13th, 2015 at 13:27 | #59

    J-D, I think you need to go to a troll sandpit. You are just recycling the same non-sequiteurs here and wasting peoples’ energy. You have given no good reasons for Australia’s intervention in any Middle Eastern country you have mentioned.

  60. J-D
    September 13th, 2015 at 16:01 | #60

    @biancadog

    I did not give any good reasons for Australian military intervention in any Middle Eastern country because there are no good reasons for Australian military intervention in any Middle Eastern country. Are you trying to have an argument with somebody who thinks there are good reasons for Australian military intervention in Middle Eastern countries? because that person is not me. Don’t confuse what I’m writing with what you imagine I’m writing. Obviously it’s much easier to win an argument if you get to decide the other side’s position as well as your own, but it’s cheating. My position here is not ‘Australia should intervene militarily in the Middle East’. My position here is ‘James has given no good reasons to trust his sources’. You haven’t either.

  61. J-D
    September 13th, 2015 at 16:06 | #61

    @James

    And that goes for you too. You don’t get to decide what position I’m taking. If you want to discuss other sources of information apart from the ones I you have cited and I have questioned, you are free to do that, but it doesn’t affect my position, because my position has nothing to do with the validity or otherwise of any other source of information. I’m not going to try to give evidence for some other position just because you imagine it’s my position. My position is just this: ‘James has given no good reasons to trust his sources’. My evidence for that consists of your comments so far, none of which contains any good reasons for trusting your sources. You may have good reasons, bad reasons, or no reasons at all for the other things you have written, but when it comes to my question ‘Why do you trust those sources?’ you have not yet given any good answer.

  62. Megan
    September 13th, 2015 at 20:59 | #62

    You don’t get to decide what position I’m taking.

    I reckon he does.

    He posts some comments with links to sources, you come along questioning the sources – impliedly questioning their trustworthiness without explicitly doing so – and want him to explain to you why he trusts those sources.

    When he responds you judge that as not a “good answer”.

    You explicitly, when directly asked to identify the sources you don’t trust and say why, refuse to reveal any position on the sources or their trustworthiness.

    IMO he has every right to presume or deduce your position.

  63. Megan
    September 13th, 2015 at 21:41 | #63

    If anyone wants a good laugh. I mean a really good laugh, have a look at this opinionating from Fairfax on Corbyn’s (massive popular) win in the Labour leadership election.

    The whole thing needs to be read to get the full effect of the out-of-touch-ness of the ALP machine, but the tone is:

    Make no mistake, Corbyn’s win is a disaster for Labour in Britain. Former prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown have declared him unelectable. The unanimous view of political professionals and everyday Britons I spoke to this week is that Labour will now spend a very long time in opposition.

    The arrogant, pompous, farcist clown who wrote this is someone called Nicholas Reece. His bio at the end of the column explains a lot:

    Nicholas Reece is a principal fellow at Melbourne University, a former Victorian secretary of the Labor Party and policy adviser to Julia Gillard, Steve Bracks and John Brumby.

  64. Uncle Milton
    September 13th, 2015 at 22:56 | #64

    @Megan

    … farcist …

    hmmm….

  65. Megan
    September 13th, 2015 at 23:30 | #65

    @Uncle Milton

    There’s some history to the term.

    It’s a bit of an “in” joke.

  66. Megan
    September 14th, 2015 at 01:00 | #66

    Apparently having an actual ‘opposition’ in a democracy means not only that it can’t operate but much, much worse (from the UK ‘Independent’):

    Jeremy Corbyn is a “threat to national security”, David Cameron has claimed.

    The Prime Minister said the mild-mannered Islington MP, who was elected Labour leader yesterday, would undermine the UK’s defences.

    The push is part of a new strategy by the Conservatives to define the new Labour leader with their own terms early on.

    Yesterday Defence Secretary Michael Fallon criticised Mr Corbyn’s foreign policy, highlighting his commitment to nuclear disarmament.

    “Labour are now a serious risk to our nation’s security, our economy’s security and your family’s security,” he said.

    The soiling-of-the-trousers at the highest levels makes we small minions of subjects smile pleasantly.

    Teh, heh, heh.

  67. Megan
    September 14th, 2015 at 01:25 | #67

    I’ve just been searching and can’t find any results anywhere indicating that anyone from the ALP has congratulated Jeremy Corbyn on his election to leader of UK Labour.

    Very ungracious – and yet completely predictable.

  68. J-D
    September 14th, 2015 at 07:08 | #68

    @Megan

    If you mean that he is at liberty to misinterpret me, you are of course correct. I can’t stop people from misinterpreting me.

  69. Ikonoclast
    September 14th, 2015 at 08:00 | #69

    @Megan

    I agree. Typical arrogant attitude of the modern neoliberal apparatchik.

    “After all, the strongest argument against democratic reform of the ALP (or indeed the Liberal Party) was that it would mean the party members would elect left-wing (or for the Liberals, right-wing) leaders who are popular with the rank-and-file but who do not appeal to the mainstream. On the face it, this nightmare now appears to have played out for Labour in Britain.”

    The writer is against democracy in the party. The writer implies a democratic party will be out of step with the electorate and that two internally democratic parties, representing the two wings of politics, will also be out of step with the electorate if they are both internally democratic. It’s a strange assertion.

    This is classic “born-to-rule” arrogance. Only “we” the political establishment (the professional politicians and officials) know what the people want and need. We will tell them what they need and want and they should obey.

    They shouldn’t “fret” (his word) about inequality and globalization. So you know, the next time you see a homeless person tell them “now don’t you fret about lack of food and shelter, it doesn’t matter”.

    The insolent, farcist, arrogant tone of it all is almost beyond words to describe. How dare the people tell “the establishment” that they, the people, want changes. How dare the people rock the establishment’s boat; you know the current set-up that gives the establishment all the money and all the power.

  70. September 14th, 2015 at 08:40 | #70

    Thank you, Megan on September 13th, 2015 at 20:59, … September 13th, 2015 at 21:41, …

    We haven’t had Labor leaders in Australia comparable to Jeremy Corbyn since Gough and Don Donstan. In February last year on SBS Dateline, whislteblower Christopher Boyce (aka ‘The Falcon’) explained why.

    Retired ADF General blasts ‘strategically dumb’ move to bomb IS in Syria

    The former head of the Australian Defence Force, Retired General Peter Gration, has signed an open letter to the Prime Minister opposing bombing raids in Syria. The open letter suggests bombing IS targets could strengthen the organisation and divide the Australian community, while increasing refugees and civilian casualties.

    Transcript of Interview by David Mark originally published on ABC World Today, here on 4 September 2015:

  71. September 14th, 2015 at 09:47 | #71
  72. Megan
    September 14th, 2015 at 11:43 | #72

    Ikon #69, yes totally arrogant and out of touch.

    It reminded me of this episode of Clarke & Dawe where “Scott Morisson” says:

    “Now we’ve got 20 million people calling for change, there’s a word for that you know”.

    BRIAN: “Yes, it’s called ‘democracy'”.

    SM: “No, it’s called ‘bullying'”.

  73. J-D
    September 14th, 2015 at 18:40 | #73

    @James

    Christopher Boyce reports what (he says) CIA agents told him about the activities of the CIA. CIA agents are not trustworthy sources of information about the activities of the CIA; to rely on anything they say on that subject would be a mistake.

  74. September 14th, 2015 at 19:51 | #74

    @J-D

    Whether or not we can agree with everything that Christopher Boyce says, we now know a lot more about the removal of the Whitlam government in 1975 and subsequent Australian history because of his revelations.

  75. J-D
    September 14th, 2015 at 20:07 | #75

    @James

    No, we don’t. Christopher Boyce has not provided any greater knowledge about Australian history, because what he says on that subject all comes from reports of what (he says) CIA agents told him about the activities of the CIA, and it’s a mistake to rely on those. If CIA agents say that the CIA was involved in the removal of the Whitlam government, it’s a mistake to take their word for it; if CIA agents say that the CIA was not involved in the removal of the Whitlam government, it’s a mistake to take their word for it. If you want to find out anything about what the CIA has or has not done, you need better sources of information than CIA agents.

  76. September 14th, 2015 at 21:06 | #76

    J-D on September 14th, 2015 at 19:51,

    So, why do you think the producers of Dateline decided to broadcast that program on 18 Feb 2014, if nothing on that Christopher Boyce said can be believed?

  77. J-D
    September 14th, 2015 at 22:00 | #77

    @James

    I do not have any idea why the producers of Dateline decided to broadcast that program. Do you?

  78. September 14th, 2015 at 23:54 | #78

    I rest my case.

  79. J-D
    September 15th, 2015 at 06:32 | #79

    @James

    I accept your concession that you have no answer to my question.

  80. September 15th, 2015 at 06:53 | #80

    ?

  81. Collin Street
    September 15th, 2015 at 07:06 | #81

    If CIA agents say that the CIA was involved in the removal of the Whitlam government, it’s a mistake to take their word for it; if CIA agents say that the CIA was not involved in the removal of the Whitlam government, it’s a mistake to take their word for it.

    No, not really. I don’t have time to unpack this fully because I have work to get to, but the two aren’t symmetric.

    People don’t lie randomly, they lie in a manner that benefits them. It’s of benefit to not be seen as involved in wrongdoing, so claims “I was not involved in wrongdoing” convey no information, but there’s very little benefit from being falsely believed to be involved in wrongdoing, so claims “I did wrong things” are much less likely to be lies.

    Like I said, I’ve got work to go to; this is an edited highlights version. But it’s pretty important, and something I’m surprised you didn’t know.

  82. J-D
    September 15th, 2015 at 12:10 | #82

    @Collin Street

    Here’s an edited highlights version of my response (I too could expand on this subject).

    There are a variety of reasons why people might make statements when they know those statements are not true, or when they don’t know whether the statements are true, or when they think the statements are true but they’re not: in this particular instance, one strong possibility is braggadocio.

  83. J-D
    September 15th, 2015 at 12:10 | #83

    James :
    ?

    !

  84. J-D
    September 20th, 2015 at 13:12 | #84

    @James

    [From Monday Message Board]

    Much of the ‘discussion’ which has occurred above is not discussion I sought or wanted.

    I have to assume that the comments you posted are comments you wanted to post, or else you wouldn’t have posted them. It seems most likely that you mean that the comments I posted are comments you did not want me to post. I did not know that when I was posting them, but even if I had, I would not have refrained from posting my comments just because you did not want me to post them; that’s not a good enough reason.

    I intend to do whatever I can to stop things getting worse, hopefully with your help.

    I am curious about what kinds of actions you think will help to stop things getting worse — I don’t mean just actions by you, I mean actions by anybody.

  85. Megan
    September 21st, 2015 at 00:29 | #85

    Information is a very powerful thing to confront disinformation.

    So powerful in fact that it can stop wars.

    Spreading truth (particularly at a time when untruth and obfuscation are the tools of warmongers) is a noble thing.

    I listened last night, at a dinner given to Philip Gibbs on his return from the front, to the most impressive and moving description from him of what the war in the West really means, that I have heard. Even an audience of hardened politicians and journalists were strongly affected. If people really knew, the war would be stopped tomorrow. But of course they don’t know, and can’t know. The correspondents don’t write and the censorship wouldn’t pass the truth. What they do send is not the war, but just a pretty picture of the war with everybody doing gallant deeds.

    British PM David Lloyd George to C.P. Scott the owner of ‘The Guardian’, December 1917.

  86. J-D
    September 21st, 2015 at 10:42 | #86

    @Megan

    In general, spreading information is good and spreading disinformation is bad. That makes it important to distinguish between them (which is important anyway). So it’s generally a good idea to consider, when one hears or reads a report about events, whether it’s likely to be true: how would the person who is the source of the report know? how much confidence should be placed in the reliability of the source? If you tell me something and don’t identify your source, I might wonder what your source is and how much confidence I can place in a report knowing only that you have passed it on. If you tell me something and do identify your source, I may be able to check the report at your source, but then I might wonder how much your source is to be trusted, what reasons you might have for trusting it, and where that source got its information from — the source for the source. In either case I might wonder whether the report can be cross-checked with reports from other sources, and if reports from different sources disagree I might wonder how to resolve the uncertainty that results from the disagreement of sources.

    That’s why I ask questions of those kinds, even though they seem to irritate you.

  87. September 21st, 2015 at 22:16 | #87

    @Megan,

    I read Philip Gibbs’ account of his experiences as a war correspondent decades ago. Whilst I am unable to confirm this with any searches, I believe the title was “Despatches”. I read it uncritically at the time, but I recall it being a sanitised account of that awful and pointless slaughter as your own citation confirms.

    Whoever was right or wrong at the outbreak of the war, there was no justification for the bloody slaughters of Verdun, the Somme, Passchendaele, the Nivelle Offensives, … with all and all the mass infantry attacks through barbed wire and mud against machine guns and artillery. In 1917, after the failed Nivelle offensive, French soldiers mutinied. They told their commanders they would defend their lines but not attack. Had this sensible policy been adopted by both sides early in the conflict, perhaps after the Christmas truce of 1914, the toll toll of the First World War would have only been a small fraction of the ten million who died in combat.

    Had the British learned the truth that David Lloyd George and Philip Gibbs had concealed from them, they would have made their government stop the slaughter.

  88. Megan
    September 21st, 2015 at 23:30 | #88

    @James

    Just today I learnt that nearly 100,000 Vietnamese (as subjects of the Imperial colony of French Indochina) were conscripted to fight for France in WWI.

    About 30,000 of them died, mostly in the Somme. Right beside, and defending, the soldiers of the nations who would kill millions of their brothers and sisters just a few decades later. That includes Australians. They helped us (as subjects of Imperial Britain fighting a war for the Empire) and later we helped kill them in their millions.

    By then we were killing them for standing up to the new iteration of the Empire (the US having taken over from the French) and demanding independence and sovereignty.

    It’s weird.

  89. Collin Street
    September 22nd, 2015 at 00:02 | #89

    > In general, spreading information is good and spreading disinformation is bad.

    If by “generally” you mean, ooh, 80% or a bit less, it only takes three “generallies” [A is generally B, b is generally C, C is generally D so A is generally D] to turn your final conclusion into a fifty-fifty bet.

  90. J-D
    September 22nd, 2015 at 09:48 | #90

    @James

    The withdrawal from a war of one of the combatant nations is not enough to bring it to an end. You’d need the same process to take place in all combatant nations.

  91. September 22nd, 2015 at 21:22 | #91

    J-D

    I never said that one side should have ceased fighting and not the other. Please read my
    previous post again :

    … In 1917, after the failed Nivelle Offensive, French soldiers mutinied. They told their commanders they would defend their lines but not attack. Had this sensible policy been adopted by both sides early in the conflict … the toll of the First World War would have only been a small fraction of the ten million who died in combat.

    @Megan

    I meant to add that the mutiny of 1917 was crushed and General Petain had 40-62 of the mutineers shot, according to Wikipedia.

  92. J-D
    September 22nd, 2015 at 21:46 | #92

    @James

    You wrote (and I quote your exact words):

    Had the British learned the truth that David Lloyd George and Philip Gibbs had concealed from them, they would have made their government stop the slaughter.

    It was those exact words that prompted my response; however, I framed my response not as a specific comment on that one specific instance but as an observation with a more general applicability. As a general observation, do you disagree with it?

  93. September 22nd, 2015 at 23:24 | #93

    Given that barely 21 years after the slaughter ended in 1918 an even more terrible global war, in which 60 million died, began, what do you think was achieved by the sacrifice of all those soldiers at Gallipoli, Verdun, the Somme, Passchendaele, the Nivelle Offensives and in the bloody battles of 1918?

  94. September 23rd, 2015 at 00:38 | #94

    J-D,

    Your “general observation” is the kind of justification that the leaders of all the belligerent nations gave for continuing the slaughter of the First World War. You have still not responded to the following:

    In 1917, after the failed Nivelle offensive, French soldiers mutinied. They told their commanders they would defend their lines but not attack. Had this sensible policy been adopted by both sides early in the conflict, perhaps after the Christmas truce of 1914, the toll toll of the First World War would have only been a small fraction of the ten million who died in combat

  95. J-D
    September 23rd, 2015 at 06:46 | #95

    @James

    They told their commanders they would defend their lines but not attack. Had this sensible policy been adopted by both sides early in the conflict, perhaps after the Christmas truce of 1914, the toll toll of the First World War would have only been a small fraction of the ten million who died in combat

    If every country adopts the policy ‘defend our lines but do not attack’, then there will probably be no wars; any few there are will be short and cause little damage.

    More specifically, if all belligerents in the First World War had adopted this policy at the end of 1914, the death toll would have been greatly reduced; and, what’s more, if all belligerents in the First World War had adopted this policy in the middle of 1914, the war could never even have started.

    None of this affects the observation I made earlier to which you object so strongly — I don’t know why exactly; you haven’t alleged that it’s false.

  96. J-D
    September 23rd, 2015 at 06:50 | #96

    @James

    Is that question directed to me? I don’t fully understand its meaning, and in order to explore my partial understanding and response would take a lengthy essay, too long to post as a comment here. Is there any chance you could rephrase it in a way that would make your meaning clearer to me?

    Or perhaps you could just explain why you want to ask me this question?

  97. Fran Barlow
    September 23rd, 2015 at 07:56 | #97

    Amusing parody of Catholic Repugs on climate change coinciding with Pope Francis visit to US.

    http://youtu.be/9LzAo-nA8VI

    HT DeSmogBlog

  98. September 23rd, 2015 at 08:11 | #98

    @J-D wrote:

    None of this affects the observation I made earlier to which you object so strongly …

    Is this:

    “The withdrawal from a war of one of the combatant nations is not enough to bring it to an end. You’d need the same process to take place in all combatant nations.”

    … your observation?

    If it is not, I am unable to work out what the “observation [you] made earlier” is. Can you please restate that observation?

  99. J-D
    September 23rd, 2015 at 08:48 | #99

    @James

    You’ve got it right. Your quote from me is exactly what I was referring to.

  100. Tim Macknay
    September 23rd, 2015 at 12:09 | #100

    @J-D

    If every country adopts the policy ‘defend our lines but do not attack’, then there will probably be no wars; any few there are will be short and cause little damage.

    I don’t think that’s q

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