At the ABC, Fact Phobia Strikes Again

Race hatred is soaring in the US and Donald Trump is to blame — that was the gist of a 7.30 report which went to air on March 14, two weeks after the perpetrator of one such attack was arrested. No Trump fan, he was a black, left-wing Muslim journalist. The ABC has not bothered to correct the record

pinocchioOn March 14, 7.30 ran a fake-news piece whose intent was to stitch up President Donald Trump for inciting a wave of  anti-Semitic bomb threats and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries in the US. Compere Leigh Sales intoned: “Some people blame Donald Trump’s incendiary rhetoric for unleashing people’s worst impulses, something Trump backers of course dispute.” You can view the report here.

The show’s US correspondent Conor Duffy then interviewed a conga-line of Democrat activists to ramp up the 7.30 narrative which amounted to ‘the disgusting Trump incites cemetery vandalism, race hate and bomb threats’.

On the ABC news website the same day, under the nakedly-propaganda banner “Trump’s America”, Duffy’s story included pictures of desecrated Jewish headstones and the header, “Shootings, bombings, desecrated cemeteries and racist graffiti — minority groups in the United States say the number of race hate crimes are spiking in President Donald Trump’s America.”

On the evening’s 7.30 report, Sales and Duffy proffered no evidence whatsoever connecting Trump to the anti-Semitic  upsurge. As professional journalists, Sales and Duffy must already have been aware that black, Muslim anti-Trumper  Juan M. Thompson, 31, had been arrested at least 10 days earlier and charged with making multiple bomb threats against synagogues. His motive was not anti-Semitism but to frame a white ex-girlfriend for the calls, as revenge because she’d ditched him. If neither knew by that stage about Thompson’s arrest, they are incompetent. If they did know, they are liars by omission. You can read the FBI charge sheet hre, and do notice the date — March 1, almost two weeks before 7.30‘s beatup.

As time passes, others parties are now named and charged over the wave of anti-Semitism. They include Andrew King, 54, a Jewish man in Schenectady, N.Y. King claimed on  Day 21 of the Trump administration that someone defaced his home with three swastikas. He’s now in the slammer, convicted of having sprayed the swastikas himself and making false reports to police.

And last week US police charged Michael Ron Kadar, 18, an American-Israeli Jewish dual citizen living in Israel, with making 245 threats against Jewish institutions in Florida between January and March.[i] The youth, who may be mentally disturbed, allegedly earned $310,000 in the internet currency bitcoin from his worldwide on-line threats and extortions.

Trump, when condemning the anti-Semitic upsurge, suggested that there could be false-flag elements: “Sometimes it’s the reverse, to make people – or to make others – look bad,” he said. This comment set off leftist and media hysteria that Trump wasn’t taking anti-Semitism seriously.[ii] For example, The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, an anti-discrimination non-profit with a record of anti-Trumpism[iii], said:

Mr. President, have you no decency? To cast doubt on the authenticity of Anti-Semitic hate crimes in America constitutes Anti-Semitism in itself, and that’s something none of us ever dreamed would disgrace our nation from the White House… you owe the American Jewish community an apology.”

Well, Trump was right and his accusers, including Sales and her 7.30 report, are wrong. The scorecard of those arrested for the anti-Semitic upsurge now reads: Anti-Trump elements, 1; Jews, 2; Trump supporters, zero.

In view of the ABC’s statutory charter for impartiality, I hope Leigh Sales, Conor Duffy and 7.30 are  preparing an update and apology for their March 14 slander of the US President.

Tony Thomas’s book of essays, That’s Debatable – 60 Years in Print, is available here.


[i] Israeli police last week also accused him  of making nearly 600 threats of violence against Australian schools, hospitals, airlines and the Sydney Jewish Museum during the past year. On a single day he allegedly disrupted 64 schools.

[ii] Trump has a daughter, son-in-law and three grandchildren who are all Jewish

[iii] “The anti-Semitism coming out of this administration is the worst we have ever seen from any administration,” Steven Goldstein, executive director of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, complained in February. He also said Trump’s allegedly weak condemnations were “a Band-Aid on the cancer of Anti-semitism that has infected his own Administration.”

COMMENTS [8]

  1. Bran Dee

    Tony Thomas has caught out the ABC doing its obnoxious smears from its Green Left government funded security. Pauline Hanson wants to cut millions from the ABC budget and must therefore force the hand of the government’s principal friend of the ABC, our Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

  2. Bill Martin

    “In view of the ABC’s statutory charter for impartiality, I hope Leigh Sales, Conor Duffy and 7.30 are preparing an update and apology for their March 14 slander of the US President.” Dream on Tony.

  3. Warty

    The ABC are not in the habit of apologising: it is simply not part of their mandate: I don’t know where Tony got such an idea. Their statutory charter for impartiality was in full operation with regard to the Don Dale youth detention centre, as you all well know. Their objectivity reemerged when they got their lawyers to prevent a report, besmirching the ABC over their gross lack of impartiality, from being published. Their attempts obviously failed, because their attempts were discussed on the Bolt Report, revealing a failure to report the fact that most of the incidents had been investigated long before the report came out; that significant changes had been made; that sordid details regarding Dylan Voller’s lengthy criminal record, were entirely covered up; and that Malcolm Turnbull revealed his centre left credentials by calling a Royal Commission within 10 hours of the report. This was mischief making on the part of the ABC that would warrant the defunding of our tax payer funded institution, one that ought to be representing the voices of all Australians, not just those living in inner city Sydney and Melbourne.

  4. Jody

    Just don’t watch or listen to the ABC. I gave that up some time ago and certainly feel much better. Instead I read “The Australian”, The IPA Review, “Quadrant”, “Spiked”, “The Spectator” and occasionally “The Conversation” when I want to find out about institutionalized delusion.

    I agree with Sam Crosby who said the other night on “Paul Murray Live”..”if Peta Credlin decided to run for parliament she’d provide a significant threat to the Labor Party”. The ABC would then have plenty to fear from this straight-talking woman. It will happen, sooner rather than later.

  5. gardner.peter.d

    Just out of interest as the ACMA ever been known to up hold a complaint against the ABC for this sort of biased reporting? Anyone know?

  6. Doubting Thomas

    Jody, your reading list matches mine pretty closely, at least for the Australian bits. I also browse the New York Times for comic relief, like the story in today’s or yesterday’s issue that effectively makes Ann Coulter the villain of the Berkeley farce. I like the Christian Science Monitor and, for deeper analysis, Commentary magazine, the New Criterion, and City Journal are excellent. There are a wealth of American blogs worth reading and anyone even slightly interested in the climate debate, Anthony Watts’ “Wattsupwiththat” is a must read as are his links. Our own JoNova is peerless. Just for fun, and for serious comment on foreign affairs, the Diplomad 2 is priceless.

  7. Doubting Thomas

    Further to my last, I disagree about Credlin going into parliament. She’s much too valuable where she is. Sensible, informed, conservative political commentary is very rare in this country, and I’d much rather have her as a loose cannon than bound by party discipline. She’s the conservative equivalent of Mark Latham, Graham Richardson (in his current persona) and the too rarely heard Michael Costa. Can anyone think of an equivalent Liberal ex-politician worth listening to? I can’t.

Warmists Fight Their Own Nuclear War

Forget North Korea’s  threat to make Australia a lake of irradiated glass because such an attack would be as nothing in comparison with the civil war amongst tax-supported catastropharians. What set them off? One side’s footnoted paper that renewables can’t hold an organic candle to atomic power

green men fightFights within the climate-alarm community are vibrant entertainment for sceptics. There’s  the fun factor as rival climate alarmists  kick shins and yank each others’ hair. And they deride each other’s extreme and foolish arguments, which saves sceptics some work. Moreover, the unedifying fights reduce the credibility of so-called climate “science” in the eyes of important onlookers like politicians.

A splendid fight-in-the-family broke out this month with the publication of a paper by four advocates of the nuclear-power route to emissions reduction. Their paper,Burden of proof: A comprehensive review of the feasibility of 100% renewable-electricity systems,” is published in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews,  edited by Lawrence Kazmerski, who visited Australia in 2010 and played a small, proud part in forcing up electricity prices to their current obscene levels.)

The study mercilessly exposes the nonsense of the wind and solar advocates, who imagine a world of 100% electricity from renewables by 2050. These fantasists have induced Australian state and federal governments to set unrealistic renewable energy targets, much as mad dogs infect bystanders with rabies. (The Victorian government, for example, last February passed its Climate Change Act with a net zero emissions target by 2050).

There is the added piquancy that all four authors exposing the technical impossibility of wind/solar regimes established their academic profiles in South Australia, where blackouts have made the state a global cautionary tale against moving to 50% renewables (let alone any  higher percent).

The lead author is Ben Heard, PhD candidate at Adelaide University, the co-authors being Professors Barry Brook (U.Tas), Tom Wigley of National Center for Atmospheric Research at Boulder, Colorado, and Corey Bradshaw (Flinders U.) All are nuclear-power advocates, which enrages their wind/solar-loving peers.

Here’s the gist of the  Heard paper:

“Our sobering results show that  100% renewable electricity supply would, at the very least, demand a reinvention of the entire electricity supply-and-demand system to enable renewable supplies to approach the reliability of current systems.  This would move humanity away from known, understood and operationally successful systems into uncertain futures with many dependencies for success and unanswered challenges in basic feasibility.”

They reviewed 24 scenario studies supporting 100% renewables as the way ahead and found not one passed the technical-feasibility test – let alone any commercial tests. On the Heard scale for technical feasibility, with a top score of 7 , they found only one study that even achieved a score of 4.

Four studies scored zero – these included, of course, the propaganda screeds presented as practial plans by WWF and Greenpeace. Another seven studies scraped up scores of just 1. Among those scoring a mere one out of seven  was a scenario co-authored by the Climateworks (Monash University/Myer Foundation) crowd, headed by Labor’s  John Thwaites, who was once Victoria’s deputy-premier. The Australian Academy of Science relied on that half-baked Climateworks exercise in its 2015 submission to the federal government endorsing the magic zero emissions solution to global warming by 2050.

The Heard paper notes the folly of such targets, remarking that

  • The  100% renewables scenarios depend on vast consumptions of biomass.  “The British scenario is a typical example; even with the assumption of a 54% reduction in primary energy consumption, biomass requires 4.1 million [hectares] of land to be committed to the growing of grasses, short-rotation forestry and coppice crops (17% of UK land area).”  (My emphasis)
  • A WWF scenario demands up to 250 million ha for biomass production for energy, along with another 4.5 billion cubic metres of biomass from existing production forests to meet a scenario of an absolute reduction in primary energy from today.
  • “To meet a target of 80% renewables in Europe by 2050 would demand an additional 228,000 km of transmission grid extensions, a +76% addition compared to the base network.”
  • Long-distance interconnector capacities may need to be 5.7 times larger than current capacities. [i]

 The authors said,

The realization of 100% renewable electricity (and energy more broadly) appears diametrically opposed to other critical sustainability issues such as eradication of poverty, land conservation and reduced ecological footprints, reduction in air pollution, preservation of biodiversity, and social justice for indigenous people.”

The Heard paper stuck it but good to the wind/solar mob, but it has its own foibles. It cites 151 footnotes, including, to my  utter surprise, Footnote 30 — a 2010 article from Green Left Weekly about then-garden variety MP Malcolm Turnbull and former NSW Premier Bob Carr  helping to launch a “Zero Carbon Australia Stationary Energy Plan”. Green Left Weekly reported “the technology required to move Australia to a 100 per cent renewable energy future within ten years [i.e. by 2020] is already commercially available…and the cost is not prohibitive.”  That our current and for-the-moment Prime Minister should have associated himself with this Melbourne University-led insanity is a worry, quite apart from academics’ reliance on Green Left Weekly in their peer-reviewed publications.

That’s not the only oddity about the Heard paper. It opens with resounding claims, “The recent warming of the earth’s climate is unequivocal (1, 2)…with 2016 confirmed as the warmest year on record.” Heard certifies his “unequivocal” warming[ii]  (Footnote 1 of 151)  partially on the strength of  the notoriously-flawed John Cook “97% consensus” paper, comprehensively rebutted by a peer reviewed paper which found that, on the authors’ own analysis, the true consensus was well below 1%.

As for 2016 being a “record” warm year, sorry, Ben: the increase over 2015 was within the margin of error of the data.

Heard’s co-author Corey Bradshaw exemplifies academic life in the Green-Left cocoon. On his blog he refers to Tony Abbott “seizing power in the 2013 Australian election”, as if voters had wanted someone else. Bradshaw advises fellow-scientists to promote international diversity in their labs:

“Let the right-wing populist xenophobes2 vomit their racist bile all they want while you quietly get on with the job of making the world a smarter, more innovative, multicultural, understanding and collaborative place.”

frog with thing that grew on its bottomBradshaw’s potty-mouthed Footnote 2 here refers incoherently to “2Agent Orange, Marine le Pue, Pauline Han-cock, Nigel Fukstick, …” (I assume “Nigel Fukstick” refers to Brexit’s Nigel Farage). This is, perhaps, what can be expected of a senior academic who wears a frog for a hat.

Bradshaw’s screed on the Flinders University website says, “I joined Flinders University as the new Matthew Flinders Fellow in Global Ecology. I am also a Chief Investigator in the new ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage.” Perhaps Flinders U could get him to run a new Centre of Excellence for Obscenity and Political Derangement.

Bradshaw’s latest book, with the catchy title Killing the Koala and Poisoning the Prairie: Australia, America and the Environment is co-authored with none other than the world’s greatest living wrongologist Paul Ehrlich, the only environmentalist on the planet who has surpassed Tim Flannery in wildly wrong predictions. For example, Ehrlich in The Population Bomb (1968) said that the battle to feed humanity had been lost and 65 million Americans  would starve to death between 1980-89. By 1999, the US population would decline to 22.6 million, he predicted. He said in 1971, “If I were a gambler, I would take even-money that England will not exist in the year 2000.” Fortunately for Ehrlich he is not a bookmaker.

Co-author of Heard and Bradshaw, Tom Wigley, was director of the  Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia until 1993. The Climategate emails reveal him adopting a novel approach to data analysis. He wrote to a later director Phil Jones (27/9/2009) about a problem with sea surface temperatures,

“So, if we could reduce the ocean blip by, say, 0.15 deg C, then this would be significant for the global mean – but we’d still have to explain the land blip.”

Another email (24/4/2003) also revealed him organising to stop sceptic scientists from having their work published.

“One approach is to go direct to the publishers and point out the fact that their journal is perceived as being a medium for disseminating misinformation under the guise of refereed work. I use the word ‘perceived’ here, since whether it is true or not is not what the publishers care about—it is how the journal is seen by the community that counts.”

However, a number of the Climategate emails show Wigley adopting a more ethical stance than the climate cabal led by Phil Jones. Mind you, Wigley remains an enthusiast for spending truly vast amounts of other people’s money on his obsessions.

“What we need is (sic) policies that put a large amount of money into developing appropriate, carbon-neutral technologies, be it renewable energy, methods for storing carbon dioxide in the ground and so on… We need to be putting, you know, ten to 100 times more money into developing appropriate technologies to reduce the magnitude of global warming.” (My emphasis).

These criticisms of mine about the paper’s authors seem rather mild compared to what Heard’s fellow-warmists dish  out.

Economist John Quiggin (Qld University ) was until last month a member of the federals’ Climate Change Authority. He ripped into the Heard paper on his blog, without even having read it – the   abstract alone enough to make his head explode. Heard wrote to him, sarcastically, “Given how easy it is to reach me, I am amazed that anyone would write a review of a paper without actually reading it.
John, would you like a copy?”

Warmist fans of Quiggin’s blog posted this sort of stuff about the Heard team:

  • They make the three stooges look like three highly skilled experts.
  • I  really wonder at the “green” credentials of the “greens” pushing this. Honestly, I reckon they have been infiltrated by an alt-right 5th column pushing their spurious nonsense.
  • Pro-nuclear advocacy is sliding into the territory of Velikovsky[iii] and the anti-vaxxers.
  • Your [Heard’s] paper is a poor quality opinion piece masquerading as science. I repeat that I am amazed it got through peer review.
  • I think it’s kind of sad. They really really really want a nuclear playset for xmas. Poor things.

The parties on both sides of the fracas give respectful mentions to dark-green spruiker Ted Trainer, 76, Honorary Adjunct Associate Professor in Social Work at UNSW.

Trainer gets three citations in the Heard paper and, indeed, it was Trainer who alerted Quiggin to Heard’s publication. Trainer is an advocate for 90% cuts in Western living standards to help save the planet:

“(P)resent rich world levels of consumption are grossly unsustainable and we will probably have to reduce them by something like 90% if we are to achieve a sustainable and just world. Most people concerned about the state of the planet don’t seem to realise how huge the changes would have to be.”

According to Wikipedia, Trainer lives in a makeshift house at a swampy Pigface Point settlement near Sydney, where he engages in barter and a subsistence lifestyle and his house uses 98% less than average electricity.

That’s great for Ted, who I’m sure won’t starve on his academic super, but he seems somewhat dubious company for anyone trying to solve our electricity problems.

Summing up, the Heard paper provides a searing critique of the wind/solar propaganda, notwithstanding its naivete on ancilliary issues. Sadly, Heard doesn’t  check what difference any reduction in Australian emissions  – even to zero – would make to planetary temperatures. The answer: effectively zero.

Tony Thomas’s book of essays, That’s Debatable, is available here.

 


[i] A similar leap – not mentioned in the Heard paper – would be required for wind turbine installations. To achieve the Paris Agreement’s goal of under 2degC warming, Texas A&M researchers have calculated that, just for wind power, an annual global installation of 485,000 5MW wind turbines would be needed by 2028, compared with an equivalent of 13,000 in 2015.

[ii] Warming in fact started in the 19th century in a rebound from the Little Ice Age, long before any CO2 anomalies

[iii]Velikovsky wrote a best seller in arguing that Earth suffered catastrophic close contacts with other planets (principally Venus and Mars) in ancient times. He became a by-word for pseudoscience.

The Utter Shame of Obama’s Iran Deal

Donald Trump has delivered bombs to the West enemies. Obama shipped pallets of cold, hard cash to Iran in a ransom deal that will do nothing to crimp the mullahs’ mischief while further heightening Israel’s jeopardy. Guess which president the media paints as the wise and heroic leader?

cashSo President Trump bombed Syria’s Shayrat air force base on April 7 with 59 cruise missiles. Compare and contrast with President Obama’s “bombing”[1] of Tehran in  January, 2016,  with pallet-loads of  European banknotes totalling $US1.7b. There was $400 million in Swiss franc notes and $1.3b in Euro notes.

Obama had organized the swap of US government dollars for the banknotes. He had a technical difficulty with the $1.3 billion because a long-standing US government rule limited payout to $1 billion. So he used his initiative and split  his $1.3b request into 13 separate requests of $99,999,999.99 and a top-up of  $10,390,236.28.[2]

The pallets of banknotes materialized at Geneva airport on January 3 ($400 million in  francs), and January 22 and February 5 ($1.3b in Euros – some accounts say that other hard-currency notes were included). Each time, the treasure was ushered into a waiting, unmarked Iranian cargo plane. The plane took the money to Tehran and only the Iranians know where it went thereafter. Let us hope not on weapons and salaries for terrorists.

It’s a racy story but what’s it all about? It’s about a weekend’s work by Obama on January 16-17, 2016,  where he consummated the anti-nuclear pact with Iran,  did a prisoner swap of four Americans in Iran for seven Iranian-American sanctions-violators in the US, and settled a debt to Iran dating back to 1979 when the populace overthrew Shah Pahlavi. All three aspects involve murky stuff which has gradually trickled into the public domain, and which I’ll try to explain.

Obama’s main goal (jointly with five other world powers) was  to thwart Iran’s rapid progress to the nuclear-bomb club.

In brief, Iran signed up that weekend to switching its deeply-buried Fordo nuclear plant to “a centre for science research”; to making its Arak plutonium-capable plant inoperable; and to halving its U235 bomb-capable uranium centrifuges at Natanz from 10,000 to 5,000. Enrichment is to stop at 3.7%, compared with the current 20% (bomb-capable is 90%). It has also promised to cap its stockpile of low-enriched uranium to 300kg (insufficient for an A-bomb upgrade) for 15 years.

Great stuff, but even the Obama-loving New York  Times expressed concern that Iran would make monkeys out of the International Atomic Energy Agency scrutineers, given “Iran’s history of evasions, stonewalling and illicit procurements.” But assuming Iran behaves itself, the US will lift sanctions against arms sales in five years, and sales of ballistic missiles in eight years.

The Iran legislators and their street mobs have responded to the nuclear deal by retaining their No 1 slogan   of “Death to America!” and re-iterating their ambition to nuke Israel as soon as feasible.

The Israeli government rated the Iran deal as  a repeat of Munich in 1938, a licence for a second Holocaust, and a sop to a global terrorism. It repeated these views last August, when Obama  claimed, improbably,

“Israeli military and security community acknowledges this [deal] has been a game changer…The country that was most opposed to the deal. By all accounts, it has worked exactly the way we said it was going to work.”

In reality, Iran the previous year had violated a 2010 Security Council resolution banning it from nuclear-capable missile tests. It did a further missile test in January, 2017, which exploited a loophole in a successor Security Council resolution.[3] The update inexplicably changed the wording from “shall not” test nuclear-capable missiles (emphatic) to Iran being “called upon” not to test such missiles (translation: utter, non-binding waffle).

The next issue is why the US owed Iran $1.7b. During   Shah Pahlavi’s US-backed  regime, he paid in advance for purchases of US military gear but was overthrown by the   populace in February  1979. The Democrat’s President Jimmy Carter  chose not to deliver the arms – including part-built destroyers –  to the new anti-US regime, but kept the cash.[4]

Iran’s leaders in November 1979 permitted the invasion and plundering of the US Embassy  in Teheran by an organised mob, a reprisal for the US giving the deposed Shah asylum for heart treatment. The regime then held hostage 52 US diplomats and citizens for 444 days. Obviously, The US could   have walked away from its debt.[5]

But President Carter  compounded the crisis in  April, 1980, with his disastrous decision to send 100-plus special forces to storm the embassy  and rescue the hostages. At the troops’ first staging post in the night-time Iranian desert, amid   logistical bungles,  one of the helicopter fleet collided with a C-130  freighter. Eight airmen were killed and the mission precipitately aborted, leaving helicopters behind for use by the Iranian air force. In the debacle’s wake, Carter in the November 1980 election lost  to the Republican’s Ronald Reagan. Carter’s bungling   left him open to Iranian blackmail. [6] Minutes after Carter’s term ended on January 20, 1981, the Iranians released the hostages, but   on Iran’s own financial terms.

Last year – 35 years later – it was déjà vu on hostages (or prisoners – the distinction is politically important). The four alleged US spies included The Washington Post’s Tehran bureau chief (grabbed in 2015), a former marine and a pastor.

US law forbids official ransom payments for US captives. [7] This makes sense –  otherwise it would be open season for kidnappers. Obama  insisted   that the prisoner swap was entirely separate from the initial payment to Iran of $400m on the same day, which was merely settlement of the old 1979 debt.

Republicans, including Trump, accused Obama of illegally paying ransom. They argued that the prisoner release by Iran was in fact conditional on the cash materialising.  Cue liberal media outrage.  But the facts back Trump more than Obama.[8]

Evidence for “ransom”:

  • Justice Department top officials (cited by the Wall Street Journal and including the head of the national security division, Obama-appointee John Carlin) objected to  Obama’s weekend deal  because it would be viewed, by Iran especially, as a ransom payment. Justice was over-ruled by the State Department.
  • One of the US prisoners in Iran, Catholic pastor  Saeed Abedini, said on Fox News that  he’d been told at Mehrabad Airport by a police officer that the 20-hour delay in their take-off via a Swiss plane had been because ‘We are waiting for another plane, so if that plane doesn’t come, we never let [you] go.’
  • Conversely, the Americans wouldn’t permit the money plane to depart Geneva until the prisoners were aloft, according to the WSJ (paywalled). Obama’s team continued to insist that the cash and the swap were organized by separate   diplomatic channels in both the US and Iran. However, officials did concede that Iran wanted a ransom-like form of words so that its  citizens wouldn’t think the alleged US spies were being released with no benefit to Iran.
  • # The clincher – after such strenuous official denials – was last August 18 in a report by The New York Times. It quoted John Kirby, the State Department spokesman, briefing on August 13 that the US “took advantage of the  [cash] leverage” it felt it had that weekend in mid-January to obtain the release of the hostages and “to make sure they got out safely and efficiently.”

Next issue is the reason for the money deal being in foreign cash. US law forbids   US-dollar   payments to Iran. So Obama’s team deposited the $400m capital debt in dollars with the Swiss National Bank, which organised the Geneva payout to Iran in francs.

Sounds a bit dodgy, eh? More so, in respect of the $1.3b interest. That required sign-off by the US Treasury guardians of the government’s “Judgement Fund” after verifying a host of conditions. These included that the payment serves the US best interests. In particular, amounts over $1b are not allowed. So guess what, the Obama team split the $1.3b into 13 separate tranches of $99,999,999.99 and a top-up of  $10,390,236.28. This extraordinary payment schedule went to the Dutch National Bank which disbursed it in Euros  to an official of the Bank of Iran.

On the January 17 Sunday, Obama mentioned the financial settlement with Iran but didn’t give figures. He merely described the settlement as a terrific discount  for the US compared with what the Hague international court on debts might have in future specified.[9]

Obama’s Secretary of State, John Kerry, in a press conference the same day, did mention the amounts. But neither mentioned   cash airlifts of foreign banknotes.

The mainstream media had bigger fish to fry concerning the   nuclear agreement and  the  prisoner-swap. It was not until seven months later, in August, that the payment issue and its many  weirdnesses blew up electorally.[10]

The   Obama team’s   obfuscation  and somersaults   were treated with respectful tolerance by most of the liberal media.  The affair got scant coverage in Australia, especially as it messed with Obama’s halo.

The mainstream media narrative today is that Obama brought the US sound, scandal-free government, while Trump is wrecking the joint. In just one example here described, Obama’s Iran nuclear deal has not only exposed Israel  to  a new order of nuclear hazard, but was accompanied by financial shiftiness on a billion-dollar scale and a miasma of half-truths and cover-ups.

Tony Thomas’s book of essays, That’s Debatable, is available here.


‘[1] The quote-marks serve the same purpose as Trump’s twitter claim on March 4, with quote-marks, that Obama had “wire tapped” him in Trump Tower. We are  not being literal.

[2] A retired Australian senior bureaucrat comments, “Breaking up a transaction into smaller components to avoid regulatory oversight is one of the oldest tricks in the books. Our Department of Finance would go berserk if that were tried here, even for chicken-feed amounts. Our Auditor General would also go for the jugular.”

[3] That re-write was  a companion to the new nuclear deal’s framework, but not part of it.

[4] It was supposed to be put in an interest-bearing account for Iran, but this was not done.

[5] The original debt was more than $400m but George H.W. Bush  repaid $200m in 1990.

[6] The Iranians had even threated to execute the hostages as spies.

[7] The US did relax the ban somewhat in 2015 by saying it wouldn’t prosecute relatives who made ransom payments.

[8] Much as the facts in Sweden have backed his recent Twitter claim of dire Muslim problems there. Car-torching riots a   night or two later, a Stockholm truck terror rampage last week with 19 casualties. Not that all his tweets are rational.

[9] According to the Obama team, Iran wanted $10b, the adjudication was likely to award $4b, and the actual private settlement of $1.7b was thus a bargain.

[10] The trigger   was a leak from a congressional aide who’d been in a briefing with Obama   officials.

COMMENTS [5]

  1. en passant

    Tony,
    They can no longer impeach the execrable Obama (as Bill Whittle said about St Obama “If he kidnapped Shirley Temple at age 6 and blew her brains out on national TV he would not be impeached …”, but they can prove he broke the law and convict him. That will be a happy day indeed.

  2. gary@erko

    There’s a silver lining. Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and UAE have realised they have very vital security interests in common with Israel. And business interests – Israel has offered a rail link from Haifa via Jordan to the Emirates. The new Middle East isn’t only failed Arab Springs and all in massacres in Syria.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/israel-transportation-jordan-idUSL5N1HD3CX

    • Don A. Veitch

      Silver lining? Pull the other one gary!
      The dark ages Saudis – they root of 9/11 and are now being sued in civil courts. They fund/facilitate the worst terrorist death squads.
      You ‘vital security interests’ is for that mob to kill-off modern, secular nation states that are an embarrasment to theocratic based states.
      This is Project De-civilisation in the Middle East, now boosted by Trumps (aka ‘The Snowman’) apparent, (who can tell what his position is on anything) default,- using fake news,- to the old mad neo-con line.

  3. Tony Thomas

    A friend in Utah writes,
    “But Obama’s mischief runs even deeper.
    His deal with the mischievous Mullahs relies on trust.
    More wise international leaders would suggest “Trust but Verify”.
    Obama’s Iran deal inexplicably excluded international oversight and verification.
    Under Obama’s deal the Mullahs get to do their own “verification”.
    Iran gets to report its own compliance to the international community.”

Aunty’s Spoiled Nephews and Nieces

There is no surprise that Q&A stacked its panel with groupthink luvvies going the big spit on Bill Leak’s grave. It is the pay, retirement packages and perks the national broadcaster lavishes on the wretches responsible that is both shocking and, to the detriment of taxpayers, all too typical

their abcABC boss Michelle Guthrie is a whimsical lady. Last October she was  throwing comfort money at her minions — 2% p.a. compound pay rises for 2016-19, plus extra perks contrary to government guidelines. These included back-dated pay rises to July 1,  seven days “domestic violence leave” (huh?), and an extra fortnight on maternity leave (now 16 weeks) and two-to-four weeks partner leave.

But now she’s throwing between 150 and 200 management types out the door by July 1 to generate $50 million to spend on content-making.

That’s ta-ta to about 20% of ABC managers, with considerably more than 20% departing from “support areas”.

It’s high time the ABC’s make-work  management is culled. The ABC spends only half its budget on programs, compared with 80% plus spent by Sky News, for example.

But I’m a caring soul and my first reaction was human sympathy for those to be culled – their mortgages, their grocery bills, their repayments on the Prius and weekly direct debits to GetUp and the Climate Council.

But then I remembered something about the ABC’s uber-generous redundancy payout regime and my welfare concerns for these guys  evaporated.

The   2016-19 Enterprise Bargaining Agreement  says there’ll be a severance payment of four weeks’ pay for each of the first five years’ service, and then three weeks’ pay per year’s service up to a maximum of 24 years. So a 20-year manager would get a total 65 weeks pay.

In addition, there’s the issue of notice. Guthrie wants everything clinched by July 1, so she may well pay out the stipulated five-to-six weeks notice in cash. That would take our 20-year exec’s cheque to 70 weeks’ pay.

The redundancy calculator is unchanged from the ABC’s 2013-16 enterprise deal. The ABC’s union negotiators stuffed up by campaigning (successfully) for family violence leave in the EBA, instead of trying to improve the redundancy clauses. But maybe ABC staffers are plagued at home by spouse-bashers.

So what sort of screw are ABC management types on? We need that data to assess redundancy payouts. Naturally, the ABC is loathe to disclose. But in the case of the BBC, which might give us some guidance here, it is a simple exercise to discover individual managers’ pay. I’ll go into a little detail just to show how far out of line the ABC is with transparency and open governance. The BBC:

Listed below are staff whose salaries and remuneration are published quarterly by the BBC. In 2009 it was agreed with the BBC Trust that the BBC would publish the salaries, total remuneration, Declaration of Personal Interests, expenses, gifts and hospitality for all senior managers who have a full time equivalent salary £150,000 or more or who sit on a major divisional board.” [That’s about $A245,000 equivalent].

These BBC people are listed by name, about 140 of them. Just click the name and up comes the pay, the job description, the biography and most amazing of all, the expense claims and justifications thereof, along with gifts and hospitality accepted and outside roles accepted.

Here’s the first BBC chap on the list, Gavin Allen, Controller, Daily News Programmes.

Total remuneration: £144,500 ($A234,000) at September 30, 2016.

Mr Allen, despite his high pay and onerous responsibilities,[1]  always finds time to put in a  claim for the equivalent of a tram ticket. On March 3, 2016, for example, he successfully claimed a £3.10 train ride, and on March 24, he had a £4.10 “drink on flight” at the expense of BBC licence payers. His tiniest claim (Feb 25) was £2.8 for a taxi (it must have travelled all of 200 yards). But for half the month, his tummy was operating at subsistence levels – he put in 15 claims that quarter for ‘subsistence’ at about £9 a time, after having worked more than five hours, presumably in a state of meal-less famishment. As for gifts, Mr Allen lists in one quarter a dinner hosted by the Barclays chairman, another freebie dinner at the Garrick Club, and tickets to the soccer at Wembley.

The disclosures even extend to “personal interests” of managers, such as outside company roles, shareholdings and “external business interests or relationships with customers/suppliers/direct competitors of the BBC.”  It’s a wicked thought,  but in the ABC context such a clause might force disclosure of the lavish speaker fees ($5000-10,000 a time) showered on ABC talent like Tony Jones, Emma Alberici, Fran Kelly and Barrie Cassidy.

I then had a thought: surely the BBC isn’t disclosing all the intimate pay and expenses details about their very  Director General, Tony Hall? Yes indeedy, the BBC does just that! Apart from being paid £450,000, he claimed in the first quarter, 2016-17 items including a £7 train ticket, and £85 worth of whatever at the Sheraton,  Edinburgh. He takes very few gifts, but in April, 2015, accepted two tickets to a play, The Vote. He lists  close to 20 outside positions, including the House of Lords  and something called Go ON UK.[2]

So Go ON, Michelle Guthrie! Total disclosure is good enough for the BBC Director-General, let’s see you lead from the front at the ABC on manager pay and perks disclosure.

Perusing the 2016 ABC annual report rewards with only thin gruel. [3]

About 320 ABC types were all on higher than $145,000 pay. The ABC has 2856 “content makers” who are somehow looked after by 632 admin/professional helpers and no fewer than 325 “senior executives”.

We learn the bare names and titles of about 85 executives. Elsewhere the report provides the useless aggregate detail that 16 directors and officers got $4 million.

We once did get an indication of management pay from the ABC’s infamous own goal  when a staffer accidentally leaked a spreadsheet of top ABC pay in 2011-12 to Family First Senator Robert Brokenshire. Rikki Lambert, one of Brokenshire’s staffers, in turn leaked the data to The Australian in late 2013. The media’s focus then was on the ABC talent like Tony Jones ($356,000 in 20011-12) and the commercial types were ignored. So let’s take a look at a sample of them. Actually a high proportion of persons listed with those roles have since quit or retired from the ABC so I’ll delete the names.

Assuming a compound rate of increase of 2.5% p.a. for the following five years, the positions today would be paying 13% more.[4] This  list showed

  • “Director ABC International”,  on $301,000 (adding 13%, $340,000).
  • “Director Business Services”   on $260,000 ($294,000)
  • “Director ABC Resources”   on $234,000 ($264,000)
  • “General Manager Sales & Distribution” on $221,000 ($250,000)
  • “Head Entertainment”   on $219,000 ($247,000)
  • Director People and Learning, $255,000 ($288,000).

The median pay on the top 100 list was about $200,000, so let us use that figure for our redundancy doodling. In addition, we’ll assume the main ABC EBA applies, and that the person’s tenure at the ABC was (a) 10 years or (b) 20 years.

Applying our EBA formula, the redundancy payout is 35 weeks for a ten-year veteran, or $135,000; and for 20 years, $250,000. Plus, possibly, $20,000 in lieu of notice.

To further keep the wolf from the door, there’s the gorgeous super deals that ABC types wallow in. The most generous of the schemes involves an effective 20% annual contribution from our ABC, more than double the private-sector norm of 9.5 %.

The gold-plated schemes, closed off to new entrants in 2005, are the   defined-benefit schemes paying lifetime indexed pensions with reversion to spouse on death for the remainder of his or her lifetime. This generosity to the public service in general led to an abyss of a funding shortfall, hence ex-Treasurer Peter Costello’s Future Fund requiring $140 billion by 2020 to finance future payouts.

The ABC makes its own provision for the liabilities. Last year the ABC’s bill for straight salaries was $366 million. To this was added $34 million for the defined benefit liability and $33 million for the defined contribution liability. A defined-benefit employee would need to have at least a dozen years tenure, so a small number  of staffers seem to be racking up what represent very large liabilities.

From the government’s super ready reckoner, our $200,000 discharged exec, aged say 50 with 15 years service, goes out on a lifetime indexed pension of 18% ie., $36,000. On death the spouse continues the lifetime benefit, at the rate of $24,000 to $31,000 (67-85%).

The sacked guy or gal’s pension figures are supplemented by  a payout  based on his or her own contributions (5-10% of salary), plus an employer top-up of a 3% annual “productivity component” (don’t laugh!) for all CSS  super members, plus earnings.[5] That separate payout can involve combinations of  lump sum and non-indexed pension.

Despite super like that, ABC execs also enjoy the special tax breaks for government, non-profit and charity workers, via the ABC’s  flexible salary packaging arrangements.

The ABC directs its employees to  “Smart Salary”, which handles the ABC packaging. Inputting myself as a hypothetical $200,000 ABC person, I discover eligibility for a juicy array of tax-reduced goodies, including novated car leases, child care and airport lounge membership. Inputting $10,000 for child care and $510 for Qantas lounge, I find myself $4974 better off.  It’s a mystery why an ABCer deserves special tax benefits denied to private sector toilers.

As with all the public service, ABC enterprise bargains have lots of minor perks too, though even the ABC has nothing to equal the “DECA Day” leave provision at the Defence Department, “to enable an employee to be absent for a non-specified reason”.

I must say you’ve read a lot by now but aren’t much the wiser about payouts to axed ABC types. That  of course is how the ABC wants it.

Tony Thomas’s book of Quadrant essays, That’s Debatable – 60 Years in Print, is available here.


[1] Gavin oversees all of the daily radio and television news programmes, including Radio 4′s Today programme, World at OneVictoria Derbyshire, as well as the News at Six and Ten.

[2] The BBC is also committed to disclosing the pay of its on-air stars from this year.  Theresa May’s government is amending the BBC’s charter to force the BBC to reveal the pay of all on-air talent getting more than £150,000 ($A240,000). There are about 110 of these high-fliers whose pay will  have to be disclosed in £50,000 bands; after that the bands will narrow.

[3] I was momentarily distracted by the half page glamour pic (page 116) of staffer Marieke Hardy. Ms Hardy earlier wrote in a hate-speech exercise on the ABC’s The Drum that Liberal Minister Chris Pyne was Australia’s most-loathed person globally. She opined that his appearance on Q&A  had caused the nation to “silently pray for him to get attacked by a large and libidinous dog”. After an indecent delay, the ABC (Charter: Impartial) pulled the article off The Drum and apologized to Pyne. Marieke is now not merely forgiven but lauded in the annual report.

[4] The 2013 EBA provided for pay rises of 2.5-2.6% compound p.a.

[5]  In terms of that ABC employer “Productivity Component” of 3% per annum, try this ABC slice of life from Louise Evans about the cadre of ‘lifers’ there in 2013:

“a pocket of predominantly middle-aged, Anglo-Saxon staff … who were impervious to change, unaccountable, untouchable and who harboured a deep sense of entitlement.

They didn’t have a 9-5 mentality. They had a 10-3 mentality. They planned their work day around their afternoon yoga class. They wore thongs and shorts to work, occasionally had a snooze on the couch after lunch and popped out to Paddy’s Market to buy fresh produce for dinner before going home.

They were like free-range chickens, wandering around at will, pecking at this and that, content that laying one egg constituted a hard day’s work…

 Taxi dockets were left in unlocked drawers for the taking and elephantine leave balances had been allowed to accumulate. When programs shut down for Christmas, staff would get approval from their executive producers to hang around for a week or two “to tidy things up”. One editor asked for his leave to be cut back by a week because he’d need to pop into work during the holidays to “check emails”.That constituted work.”

An interesting practice in 2016-17 is the ABC Media Watch team of nine departing for their holidays on November 21 last and the program not returning until February 6. The team comprises Presenter, Executive Producer, Director, Story Editor, Supervising  Producer, three researchers, and a coordinator.

Facts? They’d Ruin the Best ABC Stories

Work for our unsupervised national broadcaster and it seems you can peddle any politically twisted falsehood that strikes your fancy. Case in point: 7.30’s shock! horror! reporting on the wave of hate crimes Donald Trump is said to have unleashed. It’s all rubbish, total and unmitigated nonsense

lies r usThe ABC’s daily campaign to discredit the Trump presidency is swinging along, but could I suggest that you ABC people be a bit more subtle about it?

The ABC’s statutory charter of impartiality is of course a dead letter. But I just think that your Trump-hate would be more effective were it  based on even a skerrick of fact  and logic.

Take, for example, the item on last Tuesday night’s ABC TV 7.30, presented by Leigh Sales and compiled by US-based Conor Duffy (the ABC’s former environment correspondent). Unidentified persons in Pennsylvania damaged 100 tombstones at Mt Carmel Jewish cemetery last month. There have also been a spate of bomb hoaxes to Jewish institutions. These were the salient facts in the 7.30 item.

But as Leigh Sales unctuously introduced the segment: “Some people blame Donald Trump’s incendiary rhetoric for unleashing people’s worst impulses, something Trump backers of course dispute.”

Some  people also blame Leigh Sales for  bayonetting new-born kittens, something Leigh Sales backers of course dispute.

The same Trump-trashing material was published on the ABC website the same day, under the banner “Trump’s America”. A lead para states that “race hate crimes are spiking in President Donald Trump’s America.” (Obama’s America, by contrast, involved unicorns grazing on coast-to-coast flower-beds).

Somehow the inflammatory rhetoric spewing from the Democrat camp is not on the ABC’s radar. On March 4, Obama’s former Attorney General, African-American Loretta Lynch, made an impassioned video plea for more marching, blood and death on the streets – a video that was later posted on the Facebook page of Senate Democrats as “words of inspiration.” Maybe I need to repeat this – Obama’s former Attorney-General wants anti-Trump rioting, blood and death on the streets.[1]

In her video Lynch says people are experiencing “great fear and uncertainty” over Trump.

“I know it’s a time of concern for people, who see our rights being assailed, being trampled on and even being rolled back. I know that this is difficult, but I remind you that this has never been easy.   It has been people, individuals who have banded together, ordinary people who simply saw what needed to be done and came together and supported those ideals who have made the difference. They’ve marched, they’ve bled and yes, some of them died. This is hard. Every good thing is. We have done this before. We can do this again.”

But Leigh Sales and Conor Duffy know that Trump, not Obama’s henchpeople, is responsible for any and all hate crimes in the US, because he’s used inflammatory rhetoric.  The TV presenters don’t want to say so themselves, because they’re such professionally-objective journalists. But they seek out third-party talking heads to deliver their message. Here’s their line-up:

  • Allen Hornblum,  whose dead relatives suffered tombstone damage. Hornblum blames Trump hot and strong. A quick check reveals that Hornblum is a “political organiser” who thinks George W. Bush escaped jail for invading Iraq because of his money and power. Hornblum is  ex-executive director of Americans for Democratic Action, a Democrat-oriented think-tank.

Omitting to mention Hornblum’s affiliations, the ABC’s Duffy lets him say, “I think some of this (desecration)  can probably be tied to the national political scene and some of the statements by Donald Trump.”

  • Pennsylvania Attorney-General Josh Shapiro, who according to Duffy is  touted as a potential leader of the Democrat Party. Well, Shapiro would relish a free kick at Trump, wouldn’t he.
  • Tarek El-Messidi, a nice Muslim cooperating with Jews to get the damage repaired. He sounds off about “the rhetoric of the campaign” and “an eco-system of hate”.

The item did show Trump’s spokesman Sean Spicer condemning the incidents.

The stuff about Trump being responsible for all race hate is Left-liberal media derangement. For example, the FBI has caught one of the alleged anti-Semitic bomb hoaxers in St Louis, Missouri. He’s Juan Thompson, 31, an African-American journalist and anti-white racist alleged to have made at least eight of the threats. Was he inflamed by the toxic campaign rhetoric of evil Donald Trump? Er, no. Thompson had been allegedly stalking a  former white girlfriend. From January he was making bomb threats in her name and concocting other threats to make it look as though she was trying to frame him.  He went to some lengths to defame her as anti-Semitic (and a VD-infected user of child porn etc) but so far there is no evidence that he is personally anti-Semitic. The SMH to its credit reported on his arrest on March 4.

Sales and Duffy knew about Thompson’s arrest and background but didn’t mention it on 7.30. It would have spoilt their Trump race-hate  narrative.[2]

Next, let’s look at Trump’s “inflammatory rhetoric”. The 7.30 report re-played two Trumpisms. The first, from last June, was that Mexican illegal immigrants include criminals and rapists. Typically,  7.30 played that but snipped off his (non-inflammatory) words, “And some, I assume, are good people.”  In the second clip, from December, he called for blocking all Muslims from US entry pending full assessment of the security threat they pose.[3] Almost immediately, he began walking back from that position. He now seeks a temporary ban on immigrants from seven terror-infested countries while US authorities work out better security measures.

I don’t know why the ABC thinks that such comments should set off a wave of anti-Semitic threats. The fake-news brigade wants to stitch up Trump as an anti-Semite, notwithstanding that, for example,  his daughter, Ivanka, converted to Orthodox Judaism on marrying Jared Kushner, currently a key Trump adviser. The feeble evidence proffered of the anti-Semite Trump is that he was a day or two slow off the mark in condemning the cemetery attacks – but he has remedied that in full measure.

These fake-news narratives depend on withholding from the public relevant material, e.g. about Loretta Lynch’s call for riots and death and Obama’s manifest anti-Semitism. Here’s  items putting the Trump-as-anti-Semite narrative into a more balanced context.

  • One of President Obama’s last and most spiteful betrayals was to ensure the passing in the Security Council last December of   Resolution 2334, calling on Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.” This means prima facie that the Jewish state  has no claim on the Western Wall, the Temple Mount, indeed the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem, all of which the UN now says belong to Palestine. Israeli officials described Obama’s action as a ‘tailwind for terror and boycotts’.
  • On January 9, 2015, two days after the Charlie  Hebdo massacre, Islamic terrorist Amedy Coulibaly shot and killed four Jews in a kosher grocery. Obama insisted that this was  just a “random” attack on a bunch of “folks” in a “deli”. White House spokesman Josh Earnest maintained Obama’s charade at a press conference soon after, saying the Jews just had the bad luck to be in a Jewish deli when the terrorist began randomly killing people.  Obama dropped this inexplicable farce soon after.

Now it’s true that 7.30 does good work from time to time. But Tuesday’s segment illustrates, yet again, how the ABC’s Left-liberal line-up and groupthink dictate the handling of important political news.

Tony Thomas’s book of essays, That’s Debatable – 60 Years in Print, is available here.


[1] I could find no reference to this on the ABC.

[2] Incidentally, The Intercept, from which Thompson was fired for inventing literally fake news stories, happens to specialize in anti-Trump material, e.g. today’s headline, “Women and children in Yemeni village recall horror of Trump’s ‘highly successful’ SEAL raid.”

[3] While the ABC carries on about Trump race-hate, a 2015 poll of 600 US Muslims by the Center for Security Policy showed “25% of those polled agreed that violence against Americans here in the United States is justified as a part of the global jihad” and 51% of those polled, “agreed that Muslims in America should have the choice of being governed according to Shariah.” For similar results from polling of Muslims in the UK and Europe, see here.

COMMENTS [18]

  1. Doubting Thomas

    We can prattle on as much as we like seeking to hold their ABC and other left-colonised instrumentalities to account for their outrageously biassed behaviour, but it’s unlikrly to change anything. People like Leigh Sales, Jon Faine, and other ABC talking heads, Gillian Triggs and her henchpeople, university academics and the entire fly-blown steaming pile of intellectual ordure are immune to criticism. Why? Simply because they never see or hear it inside their hermetically sealed bubble. There they relax, even wallow, secure in the fulsome praise of their like-minded mates. Anyone outside that bubble is a non-person far beneath their notice.

    The only thing that might change them is for their dung-heaps to be comprehensively destroyed. Trump is setting out to do that in the US. It will need politicians of similar determination to privatise or defund the ABC and to defund the universities forcing them to compete in the marketplace for students who will soon demand something other than the PC pap they are currently being fed. Pigs might fly.

  2. Patrick McCauley

    Direct action – Take Ultimo first – send in the homeless to lie about and prevent activity – send in the unemployed and under-employed to demand jobs and housing – send in the misogynists and racists and homophobes to send out socially engineered statements to the people … ” we cannot change gender any more than we can change the climate’ … “The stolen generation were saved” etc. Once we have Sydney and Melbourne secured … move on the the HRC headquarters to build the ash foundations for the proposed Bill Leak sculpture. After that – the Universities must fall.

    • LBLoveday

      I was looking for an hour+ reading matter from a limited selection in a small newsagency and saw Time magazine’s cover “Beyond ‘He’ or ‘She’. The changing meaning of Gender and Sexuality”, and was reminded of why I stopped buying Time years ago. Bought Reader’s Digest thinking that should be safe enough – jokes, short stories, diet/medical fads – but no, even there I suffered an article on changing the climate, written as if there is no question change is due to man and man alone. One suggestion was to cut down all the trees in Siberia so the exposed snow would reflect more of the sun’s rays and cool the earth.

    • Warty

      I don’t see anything changing in Australia any time soon. The Coalition is as ideologically divided as ever it has been, and no amount of platitudes about it being a ‘broad church’ will hide the fact that they are white anting themselves even more rapidly than little Billy Shorten can outwit them on penalty rates; a Royal Commission into banking; the energy crisis; and a parliamentary vote on SSM.
      Shorten’s policies have nothing going for them, but he has energised union support combined with the CFMEU foot soldiers: GetUp and a few bikie gangs. So the ABC and the equally awful SBS can continue doing what they are doing (or not doing) with impunity, because they know the senate won’t lift a finger to help the Coalition, but even better, there are enough of the PC brigade within the Coalition itself to blow any hostile moves towards our beloved Aunty, before such thoughts even filter up towards the mythical light of day. There is no longer any light of day registering in the darkened recesses of their party room though processes.
      The non functioning Coalition somehow brings to mind the Monty Python skit about Polly, the deceased Norwegian parrot.

      • Jody

        I don’t know whether you’ve noticed the increasing numbers of gay MPs now in the Coalition. Quite a lot of them have more recently acquired seats, some of them very safe seats like Berowra and North Sydney. My own family tells me 50% of those in parliament house are gay now. That, or anything like it, is a staggering statistic and the opportunity to ‘progress’ their own agenda is now a living reality.

        • Warty

          Hmm, yes, living in Berowra as I do, I’m lumbered with one of them. Leeser is also opposed to changing s.18C. No matter, I abandoned ship way before the July election.

  3. gary@erko

    It’s such a relief for leftist progressives to finally have some good ole fashioned desecration of Synagoges and Jewish graves to hide behind, masking their own blatant antisemitism and racist identity politics.

  4. en passant

    Drain the Oz Swamp, but do not attempt it with pumps requiring wind or uphill hydro.

  5. Don A. Veitch

    Why does the ABC need to lie? Why make up facts? President Trump is, in fact, doing enough to discredit himself:
    backsliding on election pledges to Israel on Jerusalem;
    backsliding on détente with Russia;
    warmongering, expanding the war in Yemen, boots on the ground in Syria;
    sucking up to the dark ages government in Saudi Arabia;
    retreating on infrastructure promises;
    insults Germany (and Australia);
    bringing down a horror budget that betrays his core constituency;
    failing to drain the swamp;
    cowardly on Flynn versus ‘deep state’.

    President Trump aka ‘The Snowman’, he melts away when the heat is turned up.

    • Jody

      Have to agree with this and it was all totally predictable. Didn’t need the lefty media to tell us any of this.

    • Warty

      I suppose it’d be a bit much asking for evidence of his backsliding on opening up communications with Russia; going back on his promise to be a friend to Israel, or backing down on his promise to drain the swamp. Memory serves me he was inaugurated in January, just a couple of months ago, not four years ago. I’m impressed you feel he ought to have moved mountains in that short short time, but truth is he is only superhuman, not Christ. But you will of course support your accusations, won’t you, Don?
      Now, I may be wrong, but I don’t recall his ever promising to suck up Saudi Arabia (I certainly wouldn’t want them in my digestive system), nor do I remembering him promising ‘boots on the ground’ in Syria.
      I must say I was disappointed he went ahead with the dismissal of Flynn on a point of honour, because he was outmanoeuvred on that one.

  6. Keith Kennelly

    All this negative about Trump was reported in the unbiased leftie elite media of course.

    I heard one report on 4bc that showed Trump’s popularity is still very strong among those who voted for him and they think he was wired tapped and he’s doing what they want.

    Jody if you say he’s undermining himself then that’s most likely wrong. You’re always wrong about Trump.

    Recall your over excited ranting that he’d be ‘gone in days folks’.

    And you still haven’t given those odds for that bet.

  7. padraic

    One good thing arising from the ABC’s obsession on Trump and spouting the US “swamp’s” view of him on their radio and tv news outlets is that it reduces the amount of time they can devote to promoting their favourite activist themes and bashing the present federal government. However, they still manage to fit in those two local obsessions – for example – the daily TV program that appears in newspapers recently showed the following: “8.30 – Newton’s Law – Josephine defends a woman accused of smuggling an asylum seeker out of a local hospital” I think that says it all. The other morning on News Radio a political “commentator” had a crack at Bill Leak, condemning him with faint praise. When they are on an activist-themed roll they often accompany the story with music that suits the victim mentality. These offerings are usually accompanied by a commentary expressed in unctuous, patronising tones.

  8. Keith Kennelly

    There you go again name calling.

    Wrong again.

    I run three business. Two are marginal at present. The other is my retirement and my family’s legacy.

    I have a very balanced life and have sufficient power in my own not to have to put others down.

    You could learn from me.

  9. Keith Kennelly

    What? Don’t you like your ‘facts’ challenged?

    You are behaving like the educated elites … again.

    Name call and abuse the messenger when you are challenged on the things you say?

    You could really learn from me.

    First lesson.

    Be self critical.

  10. Keith Kennelly

    Second lesson: something I read in a quadrant article about truth, right and rationality.

    ‘Complete liberty of contradicting and disproving our opinion is the very condition which justifies us in assuming its truth for action: and on no other terms can a being with human faculties have any rational assurance of being right.’

    Robert Menzies.

    This is the very best explanation of why it so necessary to challenge opinions of those who express and think ‘fake news’ is fact.

The Natives Are Getting RETless

The Natives Are Getting RETless

According to the Prime Minister, it will take but a few more billions to perfect carbon-capture technology, protect Gaia and win the approval of those who will never vote Coalition come hell or ‘extreme weather’ high water. Alan Moran’s new book delivers the good kicking such thinking deserves

gore with ill-gotten gainsAs you might expect at the launching by Andrew Bolt of a book detailing the asinine inspiration and disastrous consequences of “green” energy policies, all present kept their clothes on at yesterday’s gathering in the inner-Melbourne suburb of Carlton. The surprise — although it isn’t really thatsurprising after all these years of the media’s dutifully parrotted warmist propaganda — is that so many of those who will scoff at Quadrant contributor Alan Moran’s Climate Change – Treaties and Policies in the Trump Era aren’t themselves laughingstocks for the stark-naked exposure of their lies and cause.

Bolt, of course, was citing Hans Christian Andersen’s tale of the emperor’s new clothes, casting himself as but one among the legion of rational and observant little boys who have yelled long and loud that the shortcomings of warmism’s priests and pardoners are on full display for all to see. What he can’t figure, he told his lunchtime audience, is why the greater public remains unmoved by the costly peddling of alarmist fantasies, lies, deceits and evasions, not to mention the imposition of unworkable solutions on a non-problem.

However there is hope, he said, as even the warmists’ altar boys in the media must be getting “a little nervy” that none of the prophesied climate catastrophes their breathless reporting so confidently endorsed have yet come to pass, nor do they appear ever likely to do so.

Click here to purchase Alan Moran’s
Climate Change: Treaties and Policies in the Trump Era

“Authorities said things would happen, like the onset of dengue fever and Tim Flannery’s dried-up dams,” Bolt noted. “Well the dams haven’t dried, [Melbourne’s are] more than two-thirds full. On the strength of that expert advice – Flannery is actually a mammologist – most capitals have spent billions to create idled desal plants.

“This suits the Greens, who don’t want new dams either. The Mitchell River catchment was created for a new dam and then was deliberately converted into a national park to thwart any dam,” he continued, referencing as his source Victoria’s former deputy-premier John Thwaites, a Labor man, who also served at Gaia’s altar as the minister for weather, akaclimate change.

Bolt also instanced the IPCC/UN prediction of 50 million climate refugees by 2010. “We’re still waiting to see them. One bloke has claimed climate refugee status and the NZ courts threw him out.”

The tall tale that polar bears would soon be extinct was all the rage a decade ago, he noted, with Al Gore’s omnibus collection of lies and distortions, An Inconvenient Truth, using animations of drowning bears to make its spurious point (and the failed presidential candidate a pile of money). That myth, only this week put to rest once and for all by the news that ursus maritinus is doing just fine, thank you, was inspired by nothing more than the observation from a low-flying plane of four drowned and floating bears that perished after a storm. Naturally the ABC, keen as always to push climate shock and horror, went big on the story at the time. Coca-Cola was moved to “raise awareness”, as they say, by putting polar bear images on cans and bottles, the scare culminating in George W. Bush putting the creatures on the endangered species list. The reality is that polar bear populations overall are thriving, but the non-story remains largely impervious to fact and reason. Indeed, even in December, as researchers were finalising the latest and most comprehensive paper to date on the robust health of polar bear populations, the ABC continued to feature its fake news about polar bears’ looming extinction.

Bolt noted that Moran’s book covers al the other massive fictions and scares, including acid rain, the health of the Antarctic ecosystem and whale numbers. The explanation for those myths longevity is quite simple: absent the panic, those armies of second-rate “scientists” and crusading academics, the rent-seekers, podium hogs and publicity hounds might have to find real work and other sourcs of income. There would be no more turning left when entering jetliners bound for all-expenses-paid international conferences and gabfests where hollow pieties, rather than facts, are the currency of participants. An astonishing 40,000 devotees of room service and free travel tripped to the Paris climate  jamboree in 2015, which makes one think admiringly of the Medici popes, who had the good sense not to parade their mistresses while preaching chastity. But climate “experts”, such as the high-school dropout Leonardo DiCaprio, see no such need as they instruct the world to cut emissions, then climb aboard private jets propelled no less by fossil fuels than their galloping hypocrisy.

morans bookThe reality is that the expensive green energy touted by such people will cause the poor and pensioners to endure unaffordable heating and cooling bills, potentially a lethal issue. As if to confirm Bolt’s point, that very same day Fairfax Media was exploring on its Domain website another aspect of the damage green theology is wreaking. Residents of high-rise apartments, Fairfax informed visitors to the site, will be hardest hit in a future plagued by inevitable South Australia-style power shortages. As if to confirm Bolt’s point about self-evident truths ignored, that same report went on to quote yet another, er, expert, Matt Mushalik of the Australian Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas, to the effect that people would be climbing endless flights of stairs because “few of the existing towers ever invest in renewable energy to make up for shortfalls”. The naked emperor wiggles his craggy bottom and, once again, his green courtiers acclaim cellulite as the richest and most exquisite royal velvet.

Not that apartment dwellers will be alone in their inconvenience, as the burden and imposition go well beyond the exertion of mounting 30 flights of stairs. BHP-Billiton, for example, has said South Australia’s excess energy costs have amounted to $US105 million at Olympic Dam alone, prompting a freeze on plans to expand operations at the site and the jobs that would have gone with it.

“Real money! Real jobs! Incredible!” marvelled Bolt. “Anti-warming measures have cost Australia far more than warming has ever done. Not just lost jobs and lost investment but the huge distraction of the government and bureaucracy from real issues like Aboriginal disadvantage. It’s been a shocking corruption of the public process.”

Yet even as the Liberal Party finally recognises that policies have to shift, it continues to make power systems more expensive while driving businesses to the wall. As today’s Australian Financial Review reports (paywalled):

Hardware manufacturer Alchin Long Group in Sydney’s west has had to agree to a near-doubling of its electricity price and may rethink plans to shift work back to Australia from China as a result, said Graham Lee, national operations manager. The price of the new two-year contract from Origin Energy has surged from $55.30 per megawatt-hour to $109.70.(emphasis added)

The Liberals’ addled ‘solution’ is to spend yet more taxpayer funds on subsidies in a bid to alleviate the ills sown by previous subsidies to green rent-seekers, which have made the production of baseload, coal-fired electricity uneconomic and unsustainable. If Victoria’s Portland aluminium smelter goes under as a consequence of soaring electricity prices, with the loss of 700 direct jobs and many indirect ones as well, official policy will have turned the now prosperous and pleasant Western District community into a second Moe, the Victorian town infamous for welfare dependency and social malaise. Thousands will be trapped there because house devaluations will prevent them re-buying elsewhere. Government reaction? More subsidies.

In the case of the Hazelwood power station’s imminent shuttering, the official ‘solution’ is to subsidise a skyhook technology, carbon capture and storage (CCS), which has worked nowhere else in the world. Unless Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who has endorsed the expenditure of yet more millions to develop CCS, and his ministers are entirely brain-dead, they will know in their private conversations that CCS is folly on gold-plated stilts. Yet none dare raise a public voice against such madness, for such is their fear of being branded abusers of Gaia. The supreme irony, the great testament to such cowardice and craven fecklessness, is that those inner-suburban green/left critics will never vote for the Coalition no matter what they do.

Mathias Cormann, for one, knows it is all rubbish and has argued against the renewable energy targets (RET), Bolt said. Yet people like the finance minister now argue that scrapping those mandated goals would raise the spectre of sovereign risk and, as a consequence, prompt a strike of overseas investment. The notion that a healthy, growing economy powered by cheap energy might more than compensate seems never to have occurred to them.

“The final insanity is that, even if CO2 warming were real and dangerous, all the vast spending on emission cuts, and plans to spend more, will achieve no detectable reduction of future warming,” Bolt said.

“If every emitting country adhered to its Paris non-binding commitments,[i] on the IPCC’s own formula, global temperature over the rest of the century would lower by a trivial 0.168degC. Is it worth it? If politicians think it is, I would like them to say so.

“They all know the emperor is naked,” Bolt concluded, “but not one of them has the guts to tell you so.”

Tony Thomas’s book of Quadrant essays, That’s Debatable – 60 Years in Print, is available here.

 


[i] The Paris agreement allows China to raise emissions by 50%, and India to double emissions. The fourth-biggest emitter, Russia, is also permitted large increases.

Chicken Littles Clucking About Trump

TONY THOMAS

Swapping leftist absurdities over coffee is every fashionable nitwit’s democratic right, and fair enough too. What isn’t fair is that taxpayers must underwrite Geraldine Doogue’s faux profundities, not to mention those of her latest Saturday Extra guest

chicken microphone IIMirror, Mirror on the wall, who is the most ardent ABC Leftist of them all? What a tough question! Such a crowded field of candidates, parading their green-left credentials day and night!  The ABC Act (1983) does include the provision that our taxpayer-funded national broadcaster gather and present news and information impartially, but who cares about silly old legislation?

Anyway, I won’t keep you in suspense. My Captain’s Pick for ABC Leftist laurels is Geraldine Doogue, host of ABC Radio National’s Saturday Extra, who also hosts ABC TV’s Compass[1].

Her 15-minute 7.30am session last Saturday (Feb 25) was about what a fascist Donald Trump is.[2] Doogue’s interviewee was London University literature academic Sarah Churchwell[3], whose views of Trump-as-fascist were never contradicted and, indeed, sometimes topped by Doogue’s own hyperbolic contributions. In fact Doogue and Churchwell – billed by her university as “one of the UK’s most prominent academics” — spent their 15 minutes competing to paint Trump in direst hues.

Churchwell is still traumatised by the defeat of her idol, Hillary Clinton. As she wrote for the Guardian (UK), “Stop suggesting that Clinton failed us. The truth is, we failed her.”

Doogue sought out Churchwell because of another Guardian article headed, ‘It will be called Americanism’: the US writers who imagined a fascist future”. Churchwell had gone looking for literary references to fascist dictators (e.g. in Orwell’s 1984 and Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism) and claimed they all presaged the arrival of fascist President Trump.

Doogue lauded Churchwell’s lame attempt at a knife-job as both “fresh” and “clever”. Inspired, Doogue went looking herself for literary allusions to fascists and regaled her radio audience with them, sometimes giggling about the parallels with certain recent events (the Trump presidency is now all of five weeks old, let it be remembered).

Here’s a sample from Doogue’s Saturday Extra interview:

Doogue:   You look at comments including Vice-President Henry Wallace quoted in a 1944 article, about American fascism. Quote, “…a Fascist  is someone whose lust for money and power is combined with such intensity of intolerance towards other races, parties, classes, regions or nations, as to make him ruthless in his use of deceit or violence to attain his ends.” 

It’s a pretty devastating old quote. You don’t think Trump is a fascist though really?

Churchwell: Yes actually I think he is. I do, I do.

Doogue: Oh you do! OK!

Churchwell:  That description is a very good description. I think Trump is a fascist in the strict sense of the term, a lot more like Mussolini than he is like Hitler.

Doogue: (enthusiastically) or Berlusconi, it  is a very interesting comparison actually.”[4]

Churchwell:  Absolutely! Elements of plutocracy, elements of corruption, he [Trump] is  authoritarian, he has no interest or respect for democracy as a democratic process. He thinks anyone who disagrees with him is not a real voter, and should be in jail. That is a pretty good litmus test for fascism.

Churchwell then cites a checklist by author Umberto Eco about what constituted Italian pre-war fascism, and continues, re Trump, “Yes, reading through it, Tick!  Tick! Tick! Tick!”

Later, Doogue quotes meaningfully from a 2004 novel The Plot Against America by Philip Roth:

To have enslaved America with this hocus-pocus! To have captured the mind of the world’s greatest nation without uttering a single word of truth! Oh, the pleasure we must be affording the most malevolent man on earth!” 

Doogue had a little simper at that, then continued to encourage Churchwell:

Doogue: “You have a few examples of writers imagining the future where alternative facts — what we are told is fake news — sometimes basically outright lying, is at the centre of the rise of the autocrat. Again you say  we should not be surprised.

Churchwell: Yes I think that is right; people recognised that was why this was always going to  work — propaganda was crucial.

Churchwell wafted along to an obscure 1942 Katherine Hepburn film, Keeper of the Flame, in which Hepburn’s character marries a popular politician who is a covert fascist. One of his plots for a US takeover is planting fake stories in newspapers to stir up revolts. Churchwell says, This is the media. It  will be central to any (inaudible – either ‘fashion of’ or ‘fascist’ )  project”.[5]

Doogue respondsAnd the point is these were a few private individuals to whom money didn’t mean anything anymore but who wanted political power. Gosh I wonder who that sounds like, heh heh heh!

In her introductory riff about Churchwell, Doogue incorrectly attributes to a New York Timesreporter a 1938 warning, “When and if fascism comes to America, it will not be labeled ‘made in Germany’, it will not be marked with a swastika, it will not even be called fascism. It will be called, of course, Americanism.”

Doogue: “Now whatever your view is, one thing is certainly under way, millions of Americans and those beyond  are trying to discern what is the true nature of current developments in the US. Can literature help?  

Well, people are voting with their feet to some extent — 1984, Sinclair Lewis, Hannah Arendt, all apparently are back on the top reading lists as people search for answers and solutions.”

Churchwell: You go back and you look at some of the things they said in America during the rise of European fascism, that are terrifyingly apt, they could have been written today.

Churchwell cites the 1935 Sinclair Lewis novel It Can‘t Happen Here, warning how American democracy could give way to a fascist leader:

And again it looks like a lot of what was said in the novel could be written about Trump…That is an aspect of American fascism that was really important;  it has a corporate tinge to it, about providing government of the profit, for the profit,  by the profit.”

Churchwell is really clever, isn’t she![6] She then again quotes Sinclair Lewis

Churchwell: ‘When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross’, and as I was re-reading these novels, I think that it will also have a dollar bill. It is religion, it is patriotism and it is about saying  this will be all about  everyone getting rich.”

Doogue is not to be outdone and has a quote of her own from some Der Spiegel journalist “in  a very big article”, she says.  This think-piece on Trump adviser Steve Bannon was, Doogue says, “deeper than a discussion about current politics,  with a real sense of worrying about  the state of the Judeo-Christian ethic in the US among the cosmopolitan elites,  and actually aligning  with elements of purity and orthodoxy in Russia! Can you see that deeper strand running through any of the literature you have examined?”

After some waffle, Churchwell says,

“Fascism in America has always been recognised as something  that would come with a religious  cast, have an evangelical  flavor to it, which a lot of Americans have responded to…”

The two ladies then make much of Trump posing by a big portrait of himself after winning the Republican nomination. They agree, using their unique psychic powers, that Trump had been inspired by his favorite film Citizen Kane (1941). Director Orson Welles in turn was showing that Kane was in sync with past European fascists who used similar posters.

“People were appalled; why on earth would he [Trump] set himself up to look like a fascist?”Churchwell exclaims. Apart from big portraits now being a mainstay of political campaigning, this doubly-extended analogy seems a stretch.[7]

Doogue, winding down, thinks their analysis of Trump “makes for an interesting way of trying to examine what  is under way. We have not even talked about McCarthyism or Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale.”

This had me wondering to where Doogue would take an excursion into Trump and McCarthyism. As for the Handmaid’s Tale, it is “Set in a near-future New England, in a totalitarian theocracy which has overthrown the United States government. (The) dystopian novel explores themes of women in subjugation and the various means by which they gain agency.”

The ABC guidelines on impartiality run to a truly massive 4041 words. The bit I found eerily prescient (to use Doogue-speak) was the sub-head,  “Impartiality – what could possibly go wrong?”[8]

Tony Thomas’s new book of essays, That’s Debatable – 60 Years in Print, is available here.


[1] Doogue’s personal and subjective perspective is also a feature of Compass. As her September 4, 2016 show had it,

“Are the Brexit vote, the Trump phenomenon and the resurgence of One Nation all signs that democracy and capitalism are under pressure and failing to deliver? If so, what can we do to build a fairer more equitable system?” 

[2] The ABC blurbed it, “George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four; Sinclair Lewis’s It Can’t Happen Here and Hannah Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism are back on the top reading lists as people seek insights into to Donald Trump’s America.”

[3]  Churchwell  is professor of American Literature and Public Understanding of the Humanities, and director of the Being Human festival at the University of London.

[4] Silvio Berlusconi was scandal-plagued Italian prime minister from 2008-11. He was convicted of soliciting a minor for sex but this was overturned on appeal.

[5] The transcript is my own

[6] Churchwell was not referring to “prophet” because she had also introduced the word “profiteering”

[7] Churchwell seems to have visions of Trump-style concentration camps for intellectuals like herself.  She has re-tweeted,

Sarah Churchwell Retweeted Arthur Goldhammer

“Funny how many academics, writers, and intellectuals the Trump administration has already encouraged CBP [Customs and Border Police) to ‘mistakenly detain.’ ‪#resist

[8] Sure, Doogue’s next respectful interview on Saturday Extra might be with a die-hard Trump fan who also elaborates on the numerous reasons why Clinton is nicknamed “Crooked Hillary”. But I doubt it.