Left-Brained Science

The Australian Academy of Science has a new chief — a woman with no PhD but, rather, the sort of credentials that so often these days seem prerequisites to head any body demanding taxpayer “investment” in its members’ pet causes and passions: Labor staffer, warmist and beat-up artist

arabia mugThe Australian Academy of Science has a new chief executive, veteran Federal Labor Party adviser and activist Anna-Maria Arabia (left). It seems unlikely that she will do anything to arrest the Academy’s decade-long slide into green/Left hokum.

Arabia, whose role starts on October 24, has been director of policy/principal adviser to Bill Shorten for the past three years, earlier spending half a decade as adviser to Kim Beazley and Anthony Albanese. Pre-Shorten, she was  CEO of Science & Technology Australia (STA).[1] On June 20, 2011, she led a war party of 200 STA members  on an anti-science crusade to parliamentarians, her  message being that “political leaders must put a stop to the misinformation campaign” by skeptics of the catastrophic global warming hypothesis, whom she bizarrely labelled “climate deniers”. Maybe she mistook federal parliament for the Reichstag.

In any event, elected members have declined to implement her wished-for legislative program against those who don’t believe human-caused CO2 emissions since 1950 have caused more than half of the subsequent minor and wholly beneficial global warming.

In this lock-em-up category you could put half of the American Meteorological Society (AMS), whose  professional members were surveyed  in 2013 with the results  coming out 52% warmists, 48% sceptic. A further survey of 4092 AMS members published last May  found a third did not support the warmist agenda. Maybe Arabia’s first job at the Academy of Science will be to organize its first-ever survey of its Fellows on warmism – or would that be too dangerous to the official 97% narrative?

Arabia succeeds Dr Sue Meek, who stepped down in July, 2016, after eight years as Academy CE. Arabia is described by the Canberra Times as “a qualified neuroscientist”.She has a B.Sc (Hons) but did not complete the Ph.D.  candidacy she started at Melbourne University. A publication search shows one paper from 1998 — she was among  three authors — on inducing depression in rats with chemical injections.

How much influence the Academy CE has vis a vis the Academy’s office-bearers (drawn from its 491 Fellows) is hard for an outsider to say. The Academy has never disclosed that useful indicator, the CE’s salary.[2]

As for the Academy’s love affair with green foolishness, here are some examples.

  • In 2014 the Academy sponsored and part-funded a conference  at UNSW for zero-growth lunatics, titled   “Addicted to Growth? How to move to a Steady State Economy in Australia.” Some of the eco-loons cited there actually wanted a 90% cut in economic output as part of their anti-capitalism agenda. No speaker was invited to put a contrary view, e.g. that a switch, even to a zero-economic growth regime, would make the 1930s recession look like a picnic. Whether sponsoring this farrago was CE’s Sue Meek’s idea or top-down from the board, I don’t know. The Academy hoped its zero-growth sponsorship would  be forgotten when it clamored to politicians last December for more science funding to promote economic growth.[3]

If new CE Arabia organizes another zero-growth conference will someone please remind her of her statement when appointed last August 31: “Particularly in straitened economic times, Australia must benefit from science which is a key driver of the knowledge economy.”

  • Arabia also pledges to promote science education for students. The Academy’s official curriculum unit for students on global warming, which was recently and mercifully terminated, shilled for green activism for 16 year olds.The Academy advised teachers, in all seriousness, to “ask [15-16 year old] students if they have ever taken action or advocated for a cause. Do they know of anyone who has?”…  Key vocabulary: advocacy, campaign, champion, environmentalist.” 


In the   Year 10 “Big Scale” module, the modestly-named In search of the truth section suggests work on  “advocacy and campaigning (e.g., produce a blog)”. The material added, threateningly, This activity could be used for an assessment task – see assessment overview.”   

Teens were grilled in ‘Activity 6.4 Climate change champions’:

“Which is more effective, science awareness or advocacy, when it comes to generating 
community action? What cause would you sign up for?”

Other features of the Academy’s student curriculum included virulent anti-mining and anti-fossil fuel messages, Hollywood celebrity endorsements in  lieu of data examination, and advice to ignore all contrary evidence regarding warming catastrophism.

  • Attuned to magical green solutions, the Academy’ has a policy for Australia to move to zero net emissions by 2050Germany, the UK and our own South Australia are belatedly discovering that green energy magic doesn’t work because renewables come at huge cost for an unreliable output..
  • The Academy hit peak posturing last year when President Andrew Holmes (a chemist) announced to a conference in Hobart that the Academy had divested fossil-fuel stocks – maybe $5 million worth – from its $40 million investment portfolio. His office would not elaborate to Quadrant on whether Academy Fellows are also abandoning their fossil-fuel-powered electricity security and their fossil-fuel powered runabouts, but as virtue-signalling the  president’s announcement went down a treat with his green audience.

At the same event in Hobart, Holmes continued to bang on indignantly about our grant-pampered climate scientists getting rude emails from the public. His office at the time declined to tell Quadrant whether these are new rude emails or whether Holmes was just reviving the Academy’s  “death threat” nonsense from 2011.

One “death threat” from a “sniper” was nothing more than a mis-overheard third-party conversation about kangarroo culling in the ACT. Of 11 purported death-threat emails to ANU climate scientists over six months, an official inquiry prompted by skeptic  blogger Simon Turnill found ten were not death threats and one was “possibly intimidating and its highest perhaps alluding to a threat” [4].

arabia tweetIf you say so, Ms Arabia

On the  day  in 2011 that Arabia’s anti-science crusade to Parliament started, she upped the ante and told the ABC she had received an emailed death threat that very morning! That was a stretch. A serial internet pest in Seattle boasted the next day of having sent the email. “I Googled for her email and did my usual Nazi Bitch Whore litany, like I do every day. My usual litany includes, ‘When the Grand Jury is done with you, I’ll enjoy watched (sic) them string you up.’”

This missive was indeed abusive and, as Arabia said, totally unacceptable, but it was not a death threat, just a cut-and-paste diatribe. If jelly-livered climate scientists want to know what a real death threat looks like, they could consult Dutch politician Geert Wilders (round-the-clock bodyguards) or The Australian’s cartoonist Bill Leak, who has gone incognito after intercepted Islamist chatter about detaching his head ASAP.

We can live in hope that Arabia will bring in more discipline to Academy procedures. It would be worthwhile, for example, to have tighter pedigree checks on fellowship nominees.  Among the Academy’s Fellows is Tim Flannery, elected in 2012, who is the catastropharian 2004 prophet of Perth and Sydney becoming waterless ghost cities.  Flannery has some culpability for Australia’s multi-billion investments in idled desalination plants. Some of his views put him closer to the crackpot camp than the Academy one. I’m thinking here of his 2010 prediction that during this century “the planet will have acquired a brain and a nervous system that will make it act as a living animal, as a living organism”.

Arabia could also bring more practical relevance to the Academy’s climate work. For example, she might initiate an Academy fact-finder on whether Pacific islands’ claims to be drowning amid rising seas is a load of bollocks, as peer-reviewed findings by Auckland University’s Professor Paul Kench have demonstrated. An Academy white paper of that nature could save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign aid for bogus purposes…

There has never been a more exciting time to be Academy Chief Executive.

Tony Thomas’s new book of 40 Quadrant essays, That’s Debatable – 60 Years in Print, is available here


[1] In a bit of ‘musical chairs’, the Academy’s PR Kylie Walker has moved across to become CEO of STA.

[2] The CE role is a bit mysterious as she/he is  neither on the 17-member governing council nor the executive committee.

[3] The Academy: “More than three decades of exponential growth in Australia’s per-capita GDP is tapering, and if nothing changes Australia will fall out of the G20 within 15 years.”

[4]  Typical alleged ‘death threats’ included

• “There will be a day of facing the music for the Pitman type frauds … Pitman you are a f**king fool!” [This refers to Dr Andy Pitman of UNSW]

• “If we see you continue, we will get extremely organised and precise against you. We will not do so if you rightfully argue against our points from a science view. But we will if you choose to stray into attacks on us as people or as a movement. The institution and funders that support you will find the attention concerning.”

• “F**k off mate, stop the personal attacks. Just do your science or you will end up collateral damage in the war, GET IT.”

COMMENTS [11]

  1. Ian MacDougall

    Oh, I dunno. There’s static (growthless) growth, and then again there’s the dynamic variety.
    The first could happen if everyone took in everyone else’s washing. A huge rate of growth, but only for a limited time.
    ;-)

  2. whitelaughter

    “In this lock-em-up category you could put half of the American Meteorological Society (AMS), whose professional members were surveyed in 2013 with the results coming out 52% warmists, 48% sceptic.”

    If you *read* your own link, you will see that the breakdown is:
    Is GW happening? If so, what is its cause?

    52 – Yes; mostly human
    10 – Yes; equally human and natural
    5 – Yes; mostly natural
    20 – Yes; insufficient evidence
    1 – Yes; don’t know cause
    7 – Don’t know if GW is happening
    4 – GW is not happening

    referring to that as “48% skeptic” is deliberately deceptive. And makes me uninclined to bother checking other links.

    • Ian MacDougall

      From that link:

      (A) “Climate science experts who publish mostly on climate change and climate scientists who publish mostly on other topics were the two groups most likely to be convinced that humans have contributed to global warming, with 93% of each group indicating their concurrence. The two groups least likely to be convinced of this were the nonpublishing climate scientists and nonpublishing meteorologists/ atmospheric scientists, at 65% and 59%, respectively. In the middle were the two groups of publishing meteorologists/atmospheric scientists at 79% and 78%, respectively.”

      By way of contrast, Tony Thomas says (B) “In this lock-em-up category you could put half of the American Meteorological Society (AMS), whose professional members were surveyed in 2013 with the results coming out 52% warmists, 48% sceptic. A further survey of 4092 AMS members published last May found a third did not support the warmist agenda.” [ie meaning 2/3 did. -IM]

      It strikes me that there is a severe disconnect between (A) and (B).
      I frankly have not a clue how this could possibly have arisen.

      • Salome

        1/3 is a lot more than just a couple of isolated nutjobs. It means that there is still a serious debate to be had–needing both sides to be articulated.

      • Tony Thomas

        Easily reconciled. Nearly all skeptics agree that humans have “contributed” to warming. The crucial point is that the orthodoxy or ‘consensus’ is that humans have contributed to more than half the past century’s observed warming. This ‘more than half’ is the disagreement. A skeptic may for example agree only that humans have contributed a miniscule fraction. The onus is on the orthodox to produce evidence – other than unvalidated models – for the ‘more than half’.

    • Tony Thomas

      I defined non-warmists in the para immediately above:
      “those who don’t believe human-caused CO2 emissions since 1950 have caused more than half of the subsequent minor and wholly beneficial global warming.”
      I guess my term ‘skeptic’ for the 48% maybe would be better as “non-warmists”.

  3. en passant

    AAS = All the Academic Shills

  4. Keith Kennelly

    Hey whitey

    Warmist nut jobs believe warming is caused by human manufactured co2 emissions. They believe anyone who questions or has doubts about that are sceptics.

    The above figures show that 48% do not agree with the warmest nutjob fantasy.

    Where is you deception? Probably from the same manuel as the infamous 97 %. Mind you you could always homogenise the figures …

    • Ian MacDougall

      Keith: I think you mean “hide the decline.” As in Climategate
      Mind you, the world’s one ocean disagrees with your position on AGW:
      GMSL Rates
      CU: 3.3 ± 0.4 mm/yr
      AVISO: 3.3 ± 0.6 mm/yr
      CSIRO: 3.3 ± 0.4 mm/yr
      NASA GSFC: 3.2 ± 0.4 mm/yr
      NOAA: 3.2 ± 0.4 mm/yr (w/ GIA)

      http://sealevel.colorado.edu/

      • ianl

        > “Oh, I dunno”

        The only accurate statement you’ve made. Have you answered any real questions yet ? I thought not.

        When did the miniscule sea level you keep quoting actually start ? That needs a date with hard, empirical evidence ?

        What empirical evidence is there that isostasy/eustasy (geologically longstanding processes with varying rates and signs) is caused only by increasing atmospheric CO2 by 4 molecules in every 10,000 ?

        Ignoring these issues simply underscores your ignorance; quoting irrelevant links that you haven’t read emphasises it.

        Now for the sounds of cowardly silence …

        • Ian MacDougall

          ianl (or whatever your real name is):
          And a merry Christmas to you, too.
          When did the ‘miniscule’ (!) rate of rise start?
          A rate of 3.3 mm/yr is 33 mm per decade, 330 mm per century and 3,300 mm (3.3 metres per millennium world-wide). That can only be due to glacial ice melt and/or thermal expansion of ocean water, not to weird events like comets falling into it or anything like that. How ‘miniscule’ depends on how long you are prepared to wait.
          “What empirical evidence is there that isostasy/eustasy (geologically longstanding processes with varying rates and signs) is caused only by increasing atmospheric CO2 by 4 molecules in every 10,000 ?”
          Well as far as I know, isostatic processes, crustal movements and such are completely independent of the composition of the atmosphere. Of course, the heat content of the atmospheric/oceanic systems is another matter.
          Nor can sea level rise have been going for long, otherwise it would have been noticed world-wide by historians, harbour authorities, and damn near everyone else: even your ‘sceptical’ self. This suggests rather strongly that the mainstream climatologists are right, and that it is anthropogenic: ie since the Industrial Revolution got started, around AD 1750; presumably accelerating from that year on.
          Take that as 1750 AD. Roughly.
          I may be wrong, but there is a faint echo of one Senator Malcolm Roberts in what you write. So, ianl or whatever your real name is, have a read of http://www.desmogblog.com/malcolm-roberts
          And Marry Christmas again.

Memories of a Bolshevik Baritone

The world didn’t know it and neither did I, but Paul Robeson’s free concert at the Perth’s Midland Railway Workshops was one of his last performances. Today, all these years later, even his affection for Stalin cannot diminish my affection for that rich, deep and wonderful voice

robesonPaul Robeson’s Australasian concert tour in late 1960 was not a high point of his career. He didn’t want to come – he preferred Ghana. He came only because concert promoters promised him $US100,000-plus for about 15 concerts over two months, equivalent to about $A1.3 million  today. His wife, Essie, wrote that they could “clean up some fast money, and then he can retire, and do only what he wants to do.”

For youngsters under 60 and unfamiliar with Robeson, he was the son of a one-time slave, an All-American football player, actor, singer, orator and activist for Negro emancipation. He was also a Communist love-struck for the Soviet Union. For many people, his  adulation of Russia and Stalin took the gloss off his prodigious voice (“carpeted magnificence”) and talent.

Robeson’s finances had been wrecked when the US government withdrew his passport from 1950-58, confining him to the US and blacklisting him as a performer. Before the ban he’d been earning a princely $US100,000 a year; after the ban he was lucky to make $US5000.

I heard Robeson sing on the last leg of his tour, on December 2, 1960 at the Midland Railway Workshops, 18 km north-east  of  Perth. I think this was the second-last concert of his long career, the last being his formal concert at the Capitol, Perth next evening.

My only other Robeson involvement was a month ago, when I found in Perth’s Battye Library a tape of Robeson giving a long private talk to the Perth branch of the Australian Peace Council.   I spent a few hours transcribing it for other researchers.

Listening, I got a real feel for his personality and philosophies, especially as he wasn’t self-censoring. Even in prose, his voice was full of music and he had an actor’s ability to make his anecdotes about his punch-ups on the football field come alive.  Sometimes, to illustrate a point, he’d break into snatches of song. These qualities disappeared as I reduced his performance to mere text on a page.

He told the Peace Council, “I was asked to go out at lunchtime to see the railway workers, sing to them, I said I would, it would be pretty rough to be in WA  and not go to the workers. I came from toiling laboring people. On the backs of my forebears was built the primary wealth of America, from which everything else had to flow.”

The chair of the Peace Council reception seemed to be a  church minister, judging by his Biblical allusions .[1] At least three ASIO agents were present to file reports. One table comprised Communist stalwarts, such as author Katharine Susannah Prichard, CPA (WA) secretary Sam Aarons and wharf leader Paddy Troy. Robeson joined their table briefly to chat with Aarons, whom he first met in pre-war Spain during the civil war.

Former Tasmanian Labor Senator Bill Morrow (1888-1980) had invited Robeson to Australia when they met at top-level soiree in Moscow of the World Peace Council in 1959. At least one of the two — Robeson — was a secret Communist Party member. Morrow, originally a railways worker,  faithfully followed the Communist line, but membership was never proved.  A 1951 speech of Senator Morrow against Western intervention in the Korean war was re-broadcast by Radio Moscow. As with Robeson, the government withdrew his passport. A bio-essay for the Senate by Audrey Johnson says Morrow met “outstanding figures in the peace movement” including  Zhou Enlai (peace-loving Mao’s offsider) and in 1961 Morrow won the   Lenin Peace Prize. Morrow also helped organize Robeson’s concert for construction workers at the embryo Sydney Opera House, where “huge, burly men on the working site were reduced to tears by his presence and his inspiration”. A high-quality film of the event is available on youtube.

Robeson came to Australia fresh from being lionized in East Berlin. He told the press there,  “The very basic thing to consider is what forces want peace and who the people are that say, ‘Get your bases out of here, you folks from the Pentagon…Let’s sit down with Khrushchev, we know that he is honest when he says, ‘We want disarmament in the world.’ Two years later, Khrushchev was deploying nuclear missiles in Cuba.

robeson germanThe  GDR gave him the German Peace Medal , an honorary doctorate,   honorary membership of the Academy of Arts, and the Robeson-only Order of the Star of International Friendship.  When the GDR’s top man, Walter Ulbricht, pinned it on his chest (left), “a mighty storm of applause broke out” and the  5000 in the hall joined in singing, “One great vision unites us.”[2]

Robeson’s Australian tour, in contrast, started badly when he got into verbal stoushes with eastern states reporters who queried his support for the Soviet crushing of the 1956 Hungarian revolt. He replied that the revolt was by ‘fascists’:

The Russians would ‘hammer out the brains’ of any country, including America, which took arms against them,  he said. In such a conflict, he would side with Russia. Wife Essie lamented that Paul ‘is angrier than ever  and it makes me shudder, because he is so often angry at the wrong people, and so often unnecessarily angry.’ He told an Australian friend that he was afraid to walk the streets in Australia – “He didn’t believe that the people here loved him”.  Essie gave her own interviews, taking pains to be gracious and friendly. But she wrote, “He resents everything I do, no matter what. So, I’m up to here. Period.”

A concert in Hobart was cancelled by sponsors. His promoters were in a panic that his interviews could alienate  wealthy concert goers and jeopardise returns. However, the NZ leg of the tour went smoothly after promoters asked the NZ press to avoid politics. The rest of the Australian tour, especially Adelaide and Perth, also went well.

By the tour’s end in Perth he was exhausted, though he pledged to return to Australia to take up the cause of his black brothers, the Aborigines, subjected to discrimination “in its most loathsome form” and even “extermination”. Arriving back in London from Perth he was so depressed that he took to lying on the bed in a darkened room with the curtains drawn. At one point the phone rang, with Fidel Castro on the line, and Robeson said he couldn’t come to the phone. A few weeks later Kennedy launched the Bay of Pigs invasion.

In March, 1961, Robeson abruptly departed London for Moscow — and slashed his wrists about 3am after a rowdy party in his hotel room. There were indications that some young people at the party had begged him to intercede for loved ones in the Lubyanka Prison, requests which could have put him into insoluble conflict. Other accounts reject that he was disillusioned with the Soviets. His son, Paul Jr (1927-2014), rushed to his bedside, but after 12 days  in Moscow, Paul Jr had a nervous breakdown of his own, hurling a big chair through the hotel window and nearly throwing himself after it. Paul Jr blamed CIA poisoners for the father-and-son breakdowns.

Robeson returned to London, where psychiatrists subjected him –  inexplicably –  to no less than 54 electric-shock treatments. Alarmed friends moved him to East Berlin, where he improved under a more humane treatment regime –  rather the reverse of  UK/East German stereotypes. He died of a stroke in his US home in 1976.

The above account provides some context for his Midland, Perth, concert. (The non-public-record intimacies are drawn from Martin Duberman’s  excellent but somewhat uncritical 1995 biography[3]).

The Midland workshops floor conditions were Dickensian, such as absence of safety gear amid the noise, smoke and dirt.  Key union reps were Communists, elected for their professionalism rather than their politics. Despite the odd fracas, management-union relations were not too bad, both sides doing a bit of play-acting.

My schoolmate from Perth Modern School, Mick Thornber, was a cadet there in the chemistry labs.  He says there was an attractive culture of good fun mingled with a can-do approach to difficult tasks — the tradies could do jobs, from making a split pin to reconditioning of a Crossley diesel loco’s 10-metre crankshaft.

“When the engine drivers marched through 100-strong to stop-work meeting, we in the lab would go outside and cheer,” he says.

A senior design clerk roasted his troops for unauthorized use of the photocopier to print sheet music. He blamed an accordion player because the paper that had jammed the machine emerged in concertina pleats. Similarly, a turner called Ron filled out a form to borrow a two-wheel trolley, reason “Moving house on weekend”. He got a rejection back: “A two-wheeled trolley would not be large enough for such a task.”

When Robeson came, Mick was working with fellow chemistry cadet Bruce Laffer, also from my school year. I was a third-year cadet at The West Australian (and CPA member 1958-62).  We were all 20.

Mick says, “Bruce was looking out the window of the lab which overlooked the entrance where Robeson arrived. He recognized Robeson there at the gate and said ‘Wow’ and was jumping around  stirring up everyone in the lab. We hurried out to see what was going on, and my first surprise was to see my friend  Tony Thomas in the crowd, probably with his notebook out [actually, I was off-duty that day]. There were only about 20 present initially, mostly management types who’d been forewarned about Robeson’s arrival.

“Then he cupped his hand to his right ear to get his pitch right and started to sing. That’s what I won’t forget, his voice was so powerful and it carried over the fence right into the workshops. The guys inside heard this singing and downed robeson midlandtools and poured out of the workshops.   Some of the Dockers’ barrackers can let go with the decibels but nothing like the power of Robeson’s voice.

“I do seem to remember he started by standing on a wooden box . The move to a truck tray must have followed that. (right)

“We thought it was funny as hell, Robeson mocking the management, who were actually reasonable fellows.”

Bruce Laffer adds, “We were too young and immature to get any sense of the workplace politics.”

So why wasn’t Robeson allowed inside?  The order came from the chief mechanical engineer, Bill Britter. He was within his rights, as the government had laid down that visitors could only speak inside if they were candidates for an imminent election. The unions had recently been taking liberties by inviting ad hoc Communist speakers, and Britter seems to have banned Robeson to re-assert his authority.[4]

We three all got some key memories wrong. Robeson did have a loudspeaker set up on the truck and he did have a pianist – although his contract specifically forbade accompaniment to ensure concert ticket sales weren’t undermined. Robeson told the crowd that they would get for free what wealthier Perth people would be paying high prices for at the concert at the Capitol Theatre on Saturday night. He may have reasoned that the tour was virtually over and the contract restrictions didn’t matter.

The key organizer of the meeting was unions rep Colin Hollett. I don’t  know what his politics were, but he was a long-time Robeson fan. He knew of Robeson’s penchant for worksite concerts and was angling for management approval for a fortnight before Robeson’s arrival. Hollett went to the Robeson’s hotel the day they arrived, but Paul was out and he asked his wife Essie, whose formal name was Eslanda, if Paul could sing for the Midland workers. She said, “He’s busy now, but I’ll mention it to him later.” Colin went home, and at 2 am he rang Colin and said he’d love to sing that day.”

In a splendid feat of organization, Hollett immediately got a telephone ring-around under way. But Britter maintained his ban, so Hollett had to launch a second ring-around  at 9am for the noon event.

They lined up a truck, public address system and facilities for the massive turnout, and the Mayor of Midland, Wal Doney, agreed to join Robeson on the truck and take him to a civic reception afterwards, a rare example on the tour of official endorsement. Robeson, in turn, must have organized his illicit piano and pianist, Larry Brown. “Half of Midland came and there were thousands there,” Hollett said.

Perth was still a sleepy city – the Pilbara boom was still five years from inception. Visitors of Robeson’s global stature were not frequent, and it seemed to me newsworthy that he gave his Midland concert from the back of a truck to an audience of about 2000. Maybe half were the workshop workers.  (The whole population of Midland was then 9000, now 4000 – the Workshops shut in 1994). However, my employer The West Australian, chose to give red-ragger Robeson only a pic and five bland paragraphs on page 14 next day. Sixteen years later, The West ran a respectful US-sourced, 25-paragraph Robeson obituary across three columns, saying his career “was virtually destroyed in anti-communist witchhunts of the 1940s and 1950s.” Today he is an icon for the liberal media, which airbrushes out his Stalinist pieties.[5]

As I write this, I have a Robeson CD playing, to remind me of what really counts about Robeson – his glorious voice celebrating the sufferings of his people.

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

 

[1] The Australian Peace Council had invited Robeson to Australia in 1950 but the passport ban made it impossible. The parent World Peace Council, of which Robeson was a member, was outed in the Mitrokhin archives in 1999 as an anti-Western disinformation vehicle  90% financed by the Soviet Union

[2] “Days with Paul Robeson” – GDR booklet, 1960, in  Battye Library’s Robeson box.

[3] Duberman, Martin, Paul RobesonThe New Press, 1995

[4] The visit is outlined in a 2006 history of the workshops. The history drew in turn on Fremantle Labor MLA Simone McGurk’s radio interviews of the key participants when she was a media student at Murdoch University in 2002.

[5] On Stalin’s death in 1953, Robeson obituarised, in To You Beloved Comrade: “Forever will his name be honored and beloved in all lands. One reverently speaks of Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Stalin — the shapers of humanity’s richest present and future.  Yes, through his   deep humanity, by his wise understanding, he leaves us a rich and monumental heritage. … How consistently, how patiently, he labored for peace and ever increasing abundance, with what deep kindliness and wisdom.”

COMMENTS [7]

  1. Geoffrey Luck

    Tony continues to surprise us with his important contributions to the historical record. Journalists of today: Note the detail, the lack of “unnamed sources.”

  2. Richard H

    Perhaps it is because I am from a younger generation (born after the events described in this article), but I find there is something quite distasteful about this kind of misty-eyed reminiscence of a celebrity apologist for a mass-killer.

    As the article mentions, Robeson was the son of a one-time slave. This makes all the more repellent Robeson’s praise for Stalin and a system dedicated to the enslavement of all humanity.

    • Jody

      The singing of Robeson seemed to become a clarion call for the oppressed. Not for him the sonorous choirs of the Welch mining valleys or the plaintive chants of country and western; he blended music with politics but, in so doing, revealed his profoundly reckless naivete.

  3. johnhenry

    “I said I would, it would be pretty rough to be in WA and not go to the workers”

    Just wondering: Might that tape of Robeson speaking with the Australian Peace Council have been a bit scratchy? Could he have been referring to the WPA, the Works Progress Administration (later renamed the Work Projects Administration) established by the Roosevelt government c.1935?

  4. a propos

    Paul Robeson’s rendition of the”ol’ man river” from the “Showboat” was sublime.His political naïveté was something else entirely. Just to illustrate – here’s an anecdote from one of his visits to the then USSR, where he agreed to perform. He presented a program , including Negro spirituals as well as some Hebrew songs. The latter were declined with some alacrity by the organisers, people with “clean hands and warm hearts” as KGB was described at the time. Robeson was suprised at the ban and, after asking for the reason, was explained, in the best traditions of the Soviet obfuscation that there are no Jews in The USSR. “How many negroes do you have?” – Robeson wanted to know. THe answer is unknown.

  5. en passant

    Excellent article that balances Robeson’s talents with his failings.
    By all means condemn the bad, but celebrate the good.
    After all, Heydrich had a very dark side but was quite a virtuoso on the violin …

  6. denandsel@optusnet.com.au

    Without wanting to be too pedantic, Bolshevik bass would be more accurate than Bolshevik baritone because Paul Robeson had a bass voice rather than a baritone voice. He voice was magnificent, but his politics were as base as his voice was bass.

When Climateers Fall Out

Always good for a laugh, Australia’s high priests of the catastropharian faith have been peppering acolytes with missives about each other’s motives, competence and acumen.  If someone hasn’t called a lawyer, they’re even sillier than the current contretemps suggests

green fistEmeritus Professor of Climate Catastrophism at the ANU Will Steffen and his Climate Council team appear to have belatedly realized that they are not immune from the law of libel.  On September 6, Steffen sent out an urgent missive that re-wrote his email circular of September 5. “Please delete our previous email,” he begged.

The two emails were headed, “Breaking ranks”. From the email’s wording, I’d say a heading “Breaking banks” would be more appropriate as far as Steffen’s and the council’s finances are concerned.

Steffen’s two emails were despatched to a big contact list of “Friends”, including myself, from the Council’s computer and in Steffen’s capacity as a Councillor.

Steffen, famous for his ‘death threat’ panic in 2010 after an overheard conversation about kangaroo culling, blathers on in the email about an alleged dissenting report to the official Climate Authority’s   report on how Australia should meet its obligations under the Paris climate agreement.[1]

Apart from the naughty bits of the email (which I’ll get to eventually), the “dissenting report” itself has been disowned by the Authority. In a website posting on September 5, headed, “Clarification—misleading report”,  chair Wendy Craik AM says,

“The Climate Change Authority is aware that a report released on 5 September 2016 incorrectly purports to be a minority report to the Authority’s third and final report of its special review, Towards a Climate Policy Toolkit . The report released this morning was not released or endorsed by the Authority, and has no status as an Authority report.”  

How odd that Steffen and the Council, set up to tout the alleged “facts” on climate change, can’t get even their own basic facts right.

Today the Authority’s chair, Craik, added further:

“Firstly, the suggestion that the Authority secretariat staff are inexpert or incompetent is manifestly false.  The staff have a truly impressive depth of knowledge on all aspects of climate policy and have worked tirelessly, with a high degree of professionalism, to produce a high quality report under difficult circumstances.  The Authority acknowledged this great effort by the secretariat staff in our report: Towards a Climate Policy Toolkit.

I also reject strongly any suggestion that the Authority has been politically influenced or motivated by political considerations in its work on the special review.    In preparing Towards a Climate Policy Toolkit , the Authority exercised its independence in recommending a set of policies that we believe can chart a sustainable, durable and scalable course for Australia’s climate change response in the years and decades ahead.  To suggest otherwise is both offensive and untrue.

With the move to Canberra, the Authority looks forward to taking its place amongst a number of other independent agencies, including the Productivity Commission and the Clean Energy Regulator.”

But back to the chatty Steffen email, which continues:

“Sounds good in theory – but in reality the report’s plan for emissions reduction is woefully inadequate, and completely disregards the science.[2]

Now, two of the Authority’s 10 members are speaking out. Climate scientist David Karoly[3] and economist Clive Hamilton have released a dissenting report highlighting their disagreements with the Authority’s recommendations.”

In the original email there follows a paragraph deleted from the revised email of the following day. That paragraph includes an abusive reference to some individuals on the Authority:

“It’s not the first time there’s been dissent in the ranks either – many of the original Climate Change Authority members resigned after they weren’t being listened to, and were replaced by members who were strong on political connections but short on scientific expertise and understanding.” (My emphasis).

He continues with blather

“A strong, independent voice for science is more important than ever. If you believe the public deserve to hear the facts, then please help fund the Climate Council’s ongoing work by chipping in $10.,,If you’re as angry and disturbed by all this as I am, let’s all chip in to keep standing up for science. Thank you.” [His emphasis].

So who could those people be whom Steffen describes as “strong on political connections but short on scientific expertise and understanding”?

Well, the background is that the Gillard government set up the Climate Commission in February, 2011, headed by non-climate scientist Tim Flannery, who pocketed a taxpayer-funded salary of $180,000 for three days work a week. This Commission included Steffen.

The devilish Abbott government, demonstrating its indifference to both Gaia’s torments and certain catastropharians’ yen for the spotlight, abolished the Commission, which had been costing $1.6 million a year. The sacked Commission members,  including Flannery, Veena SahajwallaLesley HughesWill Steffen and Gerry Hueston, then went crowd-funding to set up the private-sector Climate Council, which they did in October, 2013. It raised $1 million in the first week and has been obliged to rattle the tin for donations ever since, given that its expenses run to about $1.7 million a year.

Flannery initially pledged that the Council would not go in for politics:  “We won’t be running any political campaigns, we won’t be running any agendas.” Yeah right.

He also announced at inception that councilors, including himself, would provide their invaluable services gratis. But what Flannery calls the “titanic struggle” to save the planet is important work deserving emoluments, so six months later the Council changed its mind and rewarded itself with fees-for-services, amounts undisclosed.[4]

A second official climate body, the Climate Change Authority, was set up by Gillard in July, 2012, to advise the government on emissions targets and reductions. The Abbott government wanted to abolish the Authority as well, but this needed parliamentary approval — thwarted by Clive Palmer in the Senate –  whereas the Council’s abolition could be done by executive order. Four Authority members resigned, followed by the chair, Bernie Fraser, in September, 2015. The Authority has lingered on as a lame-duck entity ever since.

The authority’s original board at establishment by Gillard  in July, 2012, was John Marlay, Elana Rubin, Prof Ian Chubb (government chief scientist),  Bernie Fraser, David Karoly,  Heather Ridout, Dr Lynne Williams, Clive Hamilton and John Quiggin.

Its current board comprises Dr Wendy Craik (Chair), Stuart Allinson, Kate Carnell AOProfessor David KarolyProfessor John QuigginProfessor Clive Hamilton, The Hon. John SharpDr Alan Finkel and Danny Price. A tenth member, Andrew Macintosh, sits as an associate member until the conclusion of the Special Review. Dr Finkel is an ex officio member of the Authority as Australia’s Chief Scientist, replacing the former Chief Scientist Ian Chubb.

I won’t go into exactly which members Steffen has described as “strong on political connections but short on scientific expertise and understanding”, but they’ll know who they are. And even though they are sadly deluded in imagining that dams will never fill again, the Great Barrier Reef is in mortal peril and small children need to be terrified by tales of drowning puppies, they are no doubt smart enough to know where to get the best legal advice.

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

 

 

 


[1] The agreement commits China and India to   issuing pious statements about their emissions intentions, while they in fact work towards increasing their emissions  by 50% and 300% respectively by 2030.

[2] In fact, “the science” includes 280 peer reviewed papers in 2015 alone that were skeptical about the predicted climate catastrophe.

[3] Karoly’s earth-shattering 2012 paper on an Australasian version of Michael Mann’s debunked Hockey Stick reconstruction of the past millenium’s climate, had to be ignominiously withdrawn

[4] From the council’s website: “8. Are the Councilors volunteers or do they get paid for their time?

When the Climate Council was first set up, all Councilors committed to volunteer their time for six months, to ensure we could continue to produce authoritative, independent information about climate change following the abolition of the Climate Commission.

After the first six months, our Board decided that Councilors would receive remuneration for time spent on Council activities. This ensures we can continue to draw on the knowledge and experience of world-class experts to provide Australians with the best possible information on climate change.”

COMMENTS [3]

  1. ianl

    So Quiggin and Hamilton survived the (Authority) cut.

    Not well known for adherence to strict scientific method, either of them. So I wonder …

    But I am pleased that Ridout didn’t. These professional quango jumpers really don’t add much to the sum of life.

  2. Doubting Thomas

    What a shower. Who wouldn’t cross the road to avoid them?

  3. Jody

    I always have had a huge laugh at the ‘progressives’ lament’ – accusing Conservatives of “moral panic”. Yeah, that’s certainly got a ring of irony to it.

At the ABC, Pantsdown and Proud of It

As Pauline Hanson’s return to Canberra became clear, the national broadcaster whipped up a faux ‘news’ story to promote its favourite academic drag queen’s sexist denigration of One Nation’s leader. The complaints department says this is a fair use of taxpayer money

“I will call out misogyny wherever I see it”
–  Julia Gillard, defending the mussel-averse Peter Slipper in Parliament by attacking Tony Abbott

pantsdownThe ABC complaints department chief, Denise Musto,  thought it was OK for the ABC to depict The Australian’s Chris Kenny raping a dog  under the caption “Chris ‘Dog Fucker’ Kenny”.[1]  No surprise, perhaps, to learn she also thinks it’s fine for the ABC to fawn on an LGBTI activist  Simon Hunt (left), the drag queen and academic who satirizes Pauline Hanson as “Pauline Pantsdown”. No surprise, either, that Hunt has been a University of New South Wales media lecturer for 15 years. [2]

On July 3, a day after the election, the ABC TV News website ran a story by ABC reporter Kristian Silva: “Election 2016: Will Pauline Pantsdown return after Pauline Hanson’s success in the Senate?”

Silva’s story was an industrial-strength beat-up that speculated  Hunt might or might not resurrect his Pauline Pantsdown sexual satires of Hanson, circa 1997-2000. [3]    These had involved the ABC itself heavily promoting two songs, Back Door Man and I Don’t Like It, which Hunt created by splicing Hanson voice clips. Based on Hunt’s non-response to the question, Silva and the ABC were able to post , and revel in, side-by-side pics of Hanson and her drag-queen simulacrum along with a YouTube of Hunt and I Don’t Like It.[4]

I complained to the ABC on July 4  as follows:

Baseless sexual innuendo about a woman politician by ABC news staff
:  This photo montage falsely implies that Ms Pauline Hanson is promiscuous or in other ways operates with “pants down”. There is no basis whatsoever for such a smear and for such disrespect to a female.

Could you please let me know what are the ABC guidelines on respectful treatment of females, especially avoidance of gratuitous references to sexual behaviour (in this case, also false). Can you also tell me whether the pic montage above complies with such ABC guidelines, and if not, what remedy you intend, and whether the ABC will make a public apology to this female politician.

On August 25 the ABC’s Musto replied, after apologizing for the delay:

High profile public figures such as politicians are frequently the target of satire.   As explained in the ABC News online story, in the late 1990s the satirical character Pauline Pantsdown achieved some popularity with the release of two satirical songs about Pauline Hanson.  There was some speculation in the Australian media on whether Simon Hunt, a media lecturer and LGBTI activist who created ‘Pauline Pantsdown’, would reprise the satirical character following Ms Hanson’s successful return to Canberra.

Audience and Consumer Affairs are satisfied that the image was not in contravention of ABC editorial standards.  There was news value to this story, ABC News Online readers would recognise the satirical nature of image, and many would remember the character ‘Pauline Pantsdown’: they would not interpret the name of this character as  being a direct comment on the Ms Hanson’s sexual behaviour as you suggest. Nonetheless, please be assured that your concerns are noted.

Musto is arguing that the non-story had legitimate news value, that it was only satire, and “Pantsdown” has no sexual connotation (much as the assassin’s shout of  “Allahu Akhbar!” has no religious connotation).[5]

Musto’s boss and ABC supremo, Michelle Guthrie, is also a public figure, as is, say, ex-GG Quentin Bryce AC, ex-PM Julia Gillard and Labor MP Penny Wong. If it’s ABC-newsworthy for a drag queen to parody (or even  to consider parodying) Hanson as “Pauline Pantsdown”, is it also  ABC-newsworthy  if I, as an LGBTI activist, made up popular parodies about “Michelle Pantsdown”, “Quentin Pantsdown”, “Julia Pantsdown” and “Penny Pantsdown”?

Musto is being disingenuous to talk of “some speculation in the Australian media” about a return of the Pantsdown character, since the ABC’s July 3 story ran barely 24 hours after Hanson’s re-election was knowable. If there was indeed “some speculation” about a Pantsdown redux, Musto notably failed to provide a link that might support her bald assertion. Without that evidence, one is left with the suspicion that the ABC was whipping up the speculation to cue other media outlets. If so, it worked. The very next day, July 4, the SMH repeated the ABC’s non-story, of course with drag-queen pics and a YouTube link to the Simon Hunt, er, song.

The ABC’s love-in with Simon Hunt goes back all of two decades. ABC Triple-J repeatedly aired the Back Door Man parody of Hanson over 11 days, until Hanson successfully obtained an injunction in Brisbane on September 1, 1997 pending a defamation suit. She was then MHR for Oxley.

Here’s some of the  ABC-promoted snippets from Back Door Man quoted in the judicial findings:

Backdoor, clean up our own back door. We need to get behind and we’ll do trade with you. I still work and I worked the other night. I’m rostered on I think for next week. Now a gentleman came up and told me he said that other people don’t receive, they’ve got to accept it here inside… Yes it’s a little bit country of course… I’m a backdoor man for the Klu Klux Klan with a very horrendous plan. I’m a very caring potato.  [A ‘potato’ is gay argot for a receiving male partner, according to Hanson’s lawyers]… You must come out and be one of us. As long as children come across,
 I’m a happy person. 

Justice Ambrose commented,

There’s a political overtone to the whole exercise which seems to denigrate her personally by making assertions as to her sexual preference and her abnormal sexual attraction with respect to children and so on…I can’t imagine anybody listening to that production would not conclude that the assertion was that Pauline Hanson was a paedophile … or that she was a homosexual and rejoiced in the fact… I can’t imagine that one can avoid liability for injury to reputation… by simply prefacing it by saying, `Well, this is satirical, don’t take this seriously,’ and then playing it over and over and over again.

The ABC then spent more taxpayer funds appealing, only to lose again on September 28, 1998.

Chief Justice De Jersey  (now Queensland’s Governor) said,

Before the Chamber Judge, [Hanson] contended that the broadcast material gave rise to imputations that she is a homosexual, a prostitute, involved in unnatural sexual practices, associated with the Ku Klux Klan, a man and/or a transvestite and involved in or party to sexual activities with children. The [ABC] essentially contended that the material amounted merely to vulgar abuse and was not defamatory.

Interesting, that the ABC condoned and defended its “vulgar abuse” of politicians it dislikes. That abuse involved gratuitous sexual  aspersions as bad or worse than any taunts thrown at Julia Gillard by foul-mouthed bloggers. Remember, this is the taxpayer-funded ABC airing the sexual abuse, not some nutter on the internet.

De Jersey J continued,

These were grossly offensive imputations relating to the sexual orientation and preference of a Member of Parliament and her performance which the appellant in no degree supports as accurate and which were paraded as part of an apparently fairly mindless effort at cheap denigration.

But maybe Simon Hunt is some sort of comedic/literary giant whose output, though edgy, is worth the ABC’s sustained and dedicated attention? Here’s some material from Hunt’s own “Pauline Pantsdown story” listed among his academic credentials. This item is described as, wait for it, “an essay for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation”[6] to help it produce a documentary feature on himself.[7] The documentary was not completed. (Lately, Hunt has been working  on social media campaigns against homophobia):

At one night, I did a guest performance with [name redacted] of the organisers.  After getting ‘out of it’, she pretended to ‘fuck’ me with a dildo. I then ‘woke up’, pulled a dildo out of my mushroom, and ‘fucked’ her. This was all fully-clothed (albeit in drag), pantomime sex. The next year, she became one of my sound students at the College Of Fine Arts, and played a video of the performance as part of her work. The sight of the lecturer, in full little-girl drag, pretending to fuck one of the female students up the arse with a dildo, proved a little too much for one of the mature-age students, but it led to a vigorous class discussion.” 

As for Back Door Man, Hunt says Triple-J listeners voted it No. 92 on the “Hottest 100 [Songs] of all time”, an instance of faint praise.[8]

Hunt is particularly proud that 8-14 year-old-children enjoyed Back Door Man, to the evident satisfaction of their teachers.

Time and time again, school teachers and parents would tell me that their kids knew all the words to the song. I hadn’t counted on the nursery- rhyme factor — I had also become some sort of alternative Ronald McDonald for the 8-14 year olds.

In all seriousness, Hunt repeatedly compares Hanson with Hitler, but generously concedes that Hanson has not so far advocated use of gas ovens.[9] Hunt continues to castigate Hanson for her anti-Islamic views. He seems unaware that sharia-minded Islamists like to throw gays off high buildings.

Hanson has suffered other forms of  misogynist abuse. On March 15, 2009, while she was in her final week’s campaign as an independent for the Queensland state election, News Corp’s Sunday Telegraph, together with four other Murdoch tabloids, published nude photographs purporting to be of Hanson in 1975. The papers paid a paparazzo $15,000 for them. Hanson’s election bid was defeated amid taunts and mockery, but the pictures of “Hanson” were manifestly fakes. In May, Sunday Telegraph editor Neil Breen published a signed, three-paragraph apology to her saying, “We have learnt a valuable lesson”. She obtained an out of court settlement.

 

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


[1] Musto: “We note that the editorial purpose was comic and intended to satirise Mr Kenny’s criticism of the ABC, in particular his view given in the immediate aftermath of the election result that the Corporation’s funding should be reviewed.”

[2] “Since 2000 he has been working as a full-time lecturer at UNSW Art & Design, developing undergraduate and postgraduate Digital Media degrees while continuing to work as a sound designer and composer. His research interests are focused on global visions of sound practice that extend beyond traditional eurocentric visions to incorporate other centres of practice.”

[3] The author of the ABC’s non-story on Pantsdown, Kristian Silva, is also comfortable with vulgarity, retweeting another ABC reporter about some police scandal, “What a bunch of power-tripping jerk offs.”‪ Silva, judging by his tweets, also has a fixation about Cardinal Pell as an alleged child-abuser.

[4] “I Don’t Like It” was recently incorporated into a permanent exhibition at the Museum of Australian Democracy at ‘old Parliament House’, Canberra.

[5] ABC guidelines include that  “regardless of justification, it’s important to be aware of the power and 6 effect of discriminatory language. Even if there’s a reason to include it in our content,
doing so can normalise it, convey that it’s acceptable, or bring it to the attention of
audience members who might not have been familiar with it.”

[6] Journal Articles: Hunt SD, 2000, ‘I`m a Back Door Man: An Essay for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’, Perfect Beat: the Pacific journal of research into contemporary music and popular culture, pp. 34 – 44

[7] Hunt happens to be the son of former NSW Supreme Court judge and defamation expert David Hunt.

[8] According to the ABC’s Silva, Hunt “shot to fame in the 1990s” on the strength of the two songs. Silva sets his “fame” bar quite low.

[9]  Hunt: “While there are some differences between the politics of Adolf Hitler and Pauline Hanson — the latter has, for example, yet to present a comprehensive economic program — the two politicians share two areas of major focus…”

COMMENTS [2]

  1. en passant

    Tony,
    Shame on you for listening or watching their ABC at all!

    But don’t worry, Senator Mitch Fifield will soon be all over this and will defund their ABC once it starts criticizing Mal the Munificent.

    Alternatively, Pauline & Co. could vote down the ABC budget and the superannuation grab from the thrifty productive people so that there is no longer enough to pay Pollie Waffler Pensions.

    I have a dream ….

  2. Jody

    Actually, I found it offensive when the ABC aired a so-called ‘comedy’ called “At Home With Julia” during the Gillard government’s tenure. Not only was this personally insulting to the PM it also brought the office of the Prime Minister into disrepute. All for the sake of a laugh. Well, I never laughed because I found it shocking to see ‘Julia’ copulating with Tim under the Australian flag which was wholly demeaning to our first female PM and emasculating to the image of the ‘first bloke’. This went FAR BEYOND mere satire, which is historically clever, witty and powerful. “At Home with Julia” was none of those things, apart from misogynistic, sexist and humiliating to a female. I wonder why there weren’t people running with their pants on fire (cough) to the Discrimination Commissioner. I would have done so but I was busy living in Vienna at the time.

    ABC – shorthand for “Absolutely Bullying and Craven”.

The Maoist Malady Lingers On

Butchering millions of one’s countrymen should be achievement enough for one despot’s lifetime, but admirers of the Great Helmsman know better. When they gather in Melbourne and Sydney to hail their hero, medical miracles should not be forgotten

mao headphonesSydney’s mayor, Clover Moore, and her Melbourne counterpart, Robert Doyle, are being petitioned about September town hall concerts next month to honor the late Mao Zedong. China’s late leader, perhaps the greatest mass murderer since Ghengis Khan, will be so honoured to mark the 40th anniversary of his death on September 9, 1976.

The concerts’ promotional material says that Mao led China’s democratic revolution  and brought 76 years of peace and development to his nation, recovering its international status as a great country: “The concert will commemorate the great leader, as well as (inspire us) to further glorify the Chinese spirit, and expand our dreams. It will illustrate Mao Zedong’s humanitarian personality.”

The two cities’ councils each insist they are doing no more than hiring out their town halls, which they swear are available to all comers. If people don’t like them being used for Mao-worship, they can just suck it up.[i]

The Mao concerts are sponsored by developer Peter Zhu, who came to Australia from China in 1989. He would doubtless argue that Mao was truly loved by his subjects, as proved by contemporary records from the Chinese media. I have a sample from China Reconstructs, published somewhere around October, 1968, which certainly suggests that all criticism of Mao is misplaced.

The first-hand report is by Mr Liu Jun-Hua, a layman who enabled a deaf-mute boy not only to hear but to  shout, “Long live Chairman Mao!” The full story is heart-warming. Mr Liu was leading a village in the singing of a Chairman Mao quotation set to music when he noticed a 14-year-old boy staring straight ahead without opening his mouth.

“The meeting started and everybody was talking enthusiastically about what they had learned in studying Chairman Mao’s works. But I just couldn’t get this boy out of my mind. How he must feel!  How he must long to sing Chairman Mao’s quotations and cheer, ‘Long live Chairman Mao!’ with everyone else!”

Mr Liu was determined to cure the unfortunate lad. The chief problem was that he didn’t know anything about deafness. So he turned to a relevant “thought” of Chairman Mao for inspiration, and discovered thereby, “We can learn what we did not know.”

He rushed off to the doctors who did acupuncture. He found there was a tiny spot in the ear worth jabbing, but it could only be found by trial and error. But deaf-mutes wouldn’t be able to tell him he’d found the right spot. It looked like he’d have to experiment on his own ear. That would hurt!

“Did I have the proletarian feelings to undergo all this for my class brother? This was a test for me,” Mr Liu wrote. Gritting his teeth, he got a friendly comrade to wield the needle.

“I felt a sharp pain, my head seemed to burn like fire, and I broke into a sweat. He chose another point, and a third, without success. By then I was in such pain that everything was going dark  before my eyes. I knew my body couldn’t take it much longer, so I stopped.”

He arranged another jabbing session next day, and the next, but his hearing seemed unaffected and his ear was getting mighty sore. Should he give up? Did he have the ear-marks of a quitter? But then he thought of that deaf boy, staring straight ahead while all the swingers at the commune were crooning numbers such as Sailing the Seas Depends on the Helmsman. The lyrics of Helmsman go,

Fish can’t leave the water,
Nor melons leave the vines.
The revolutionary masses can’t do without the Communist Party.
Mao Zedong Thought is the sun that forever shines.

Alas, those few lines don’t convey the loving gusto with which the communards toom up their hymn to the Helmsman. The clip below might better convey their adoration.

But back to the story of Mr Lui’s unique approach to Mao-inspired medical research. Thirty more ear-raids followed, until poor Mr Liu’s ear was looking like a cheese grater. Then…

“A comrade stuck in the needle. I felt a sudden numbness, a sharp tingling, an ache and a swelling sensation. I had found the right point. I was so happy, I forgot all the pain of the tests completely.”

He seized the deaf boy, Chiang Pao-chuan, by the ear and without hesitation got in four jabs.

“A smile suddenly lit up his face as I put my watch beside his ear. He gestured happily – he could hear for the first time!”

The reader will now be inclined to sit back, bathed in a warm glow and imbued with hope for the betterment of all mankind. But this is premature. Worse agonies are in store. To make a newly-cured deaf person speak, you have to also jab at the right spot in his neck.

“If the needle is not administered correctly, or if it goes a fraction of an inch too deep, it could kill a person. Faced with this, I suddenly thought of the rotten revisionist philosophy of China’s Khruschev – ‘Save your own skin, think only of your own life’.[ii] But Chairman Mao’s words broke through: ‘Whereever there is struggle there is sacrifice, and death is a common occurrence’.

If I were in Mr Liu’s shoes, I’d settle for the rotten revisionist philosophy of China’s Khrushchev, and lay down the needle while my neck was still whole, even at the expense of being labeled “Melbourne’s Khrushchev”. But back to the story as Mr Liu experiments on his own neck…

“The needle in one hand, feeling for the right acupuncture point with the other, I inserted the sharp point. I kept pushing it slowly. Nothing happened at the ‘danger’ point. I pushed it deeper and deeper. All the while, I kept repeating to myself Chairman Mao’s quotation: ‘Be resolute, fear no sacrifice and surmount every difficulty to win victory’.  I administered the needle two more times at the back of my neck.”

Mr Liu spares us an account of his agonies on these occasions. Enough that his self-experiment succeeded and then he needle-necked the 14-year-old mute. Here’s the climax of Mr Liu’s tale:

Chiang Pao-chuan looked up one day at the portrait of Chairman Mao on the wall and with a thumbs-up gesture, cried, ‘Long live Chairman Mao!’ Peasants and other patients all crowded around, tears of joy in their eyes. An elderly woman exclaimed, ‘I’ve lived for over sixty years but I’ve never heard of a deaf-mute being able to speak! It is our beloved Chairman Mao who has given such happiness! Only an army led by Chairman Mao could serve us former poor and lower-middle peasants so whole-heartedly!”

But a terrible thought strikes me. What if young Chiang Pao-chuan was merely feigning deafness to get out of singing Our Hope is Placed on You and other catchy Maoist anthems? In that case, would his famous ‘thumbs-up gesture’ to the portrait on the wall have been a complimentary one? If so, and were he to have found his way in the interim to Sydney or Melbourne, we can only imagine the curses and imprecations he will be carolling with other disgusted protesters outside those town hall galas.

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


[i] Strange, but when Dutch anti-Islamic politician Geert Wilders came to Australia in 2013 and 2015 for  speaking tours – Wilders himself being long subject to Islamist death fatwas – councils and state governments fell over themselves to deny him civic halls for meetings. In Melbourne he was able to speak in 2013 only at the privately-owned Mirage Reception Centre at Somerton, 30km north of the city.

[ii] “Liu Shao-chi, the Number 1 capitalist reader in China until he was yanked down from his throne during the great storms of the Cultural Revolution. Saboteur of socialist revolution and socialist construction. Mortal enemy of Chairman Mao Tsetung and everything he stood for and fought for.”

Hillary’s Shameless Media Shills

Two political conventions, two grieving parents, two very different presentations of their respective stories. Khizr Khan used the death of his son to lambast Donald Trump and was hailed for his bravery. Patrica Smith directed a similar change against Hillary and was attacked for her partisanship

hillary boredThe mainstream media, let alone the ABC, no longer even pretends it is providing an unbiased coverage of the presidential quests of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

As a case study in partisan journalism, this piece will look at media coverage of Khizr Khan, the Muslim father whose soldier son, Humayun, was killed in Iraq in 2004 while defending his squad. Then, by way of contrast, I’ll  examine the attention given to bereaved mother Patricia Smith, who opposes Hillary Clinton’s bid for the White House. Patricia who, you ask? Exactly! You have likely never heard of her, as she is definitely not part of the media narrative — despite, or because — her son was killed by terrorists who attacked the US diplomatic compound in Benghazi in 2012 during Hillary’s term as Secretary of State. So here we go…

There are not many positive things the media can find about Hillary. Number one, she’s the first female presidential nominee. Second, horrible people call her names like “bitch”[i] and “lock her up”. Third, err, see 1 and 2.

Her term as Obama’s Secretary of State from 2009-13 was marked by endless disasters, such as the premature US pullout from Iraq (2007-11),  IRS targeting of conservatives for tax audits (2010-12), and Al Qaeda’s sacking of the US consulate in Benghazi. Her successes? Hmm. I’ll get back to you.

As icing on Hillary’s rancid cake, there was her use of a private email server for State business and her official connivance in the money-making corruptions of husband Bill, who has enhanced the couple’s wealth by  $US150 million-plus since 2001 (such as taking $US500,000 from Moscow for a speech in 2010 concurrent with Hillary’s department approving a Russian takeover of US uranium resources). By a further coincidence, Hillary clean forgot her undertaking to Obama to disclose $US2 million-plus  gifts to the Clinton Foundation from those uranium interests.

Hillary’s record is therefore of no interest to the mainstream media. Instead they focus on the latest gaffe or infelicity of her Republican rival, Donald Trump. Trump is dubbed a racist, violence-promoting, dangerous fool.  Like the magicians who distracts his audience’s attention with a waved handkerchief, the object is to distract the audience — America’s voters — from what’s actually important.

This month the story was all about how Trump, on July 30, disparaged the parents, particularly the silently grieving mother, of the  (genuinely) brave  Captain Humayun Khan. ABC TV continues to wallow in Schadenfreude about Trump’s boorishness. Cut to visual of Captain Khan’s headstone in Arlington cemetery. Cut once again to father Khizr Khan giving Trump that serve at the Democrat National Convention in mid-July. Hillary would never sink so low as to disparage the parents of a dead patriot, was the ABC’s unstated premise.  And yes, even conservative ABC viewers probably found Trump’s behavior (as distilled by the ABC)  indefensible, ungracious and discomfiting.

But it’s never smart for conservatives to drop their guard. The media’s specialty is removing the context and failing to tell the whole truth, even when not telling actual, outright lies.[ii]

So let’s unpack the Trump vs bereaved Muslim parents controversy, and see what really emerges.

About 100,000 Muslims immigrate to the US each year. After the  San Bernardino shooting of 36 people by an Islamist couple last December, Trump proposed a temporary ban on Muslim would-be immigrants “until we can figure out what the hell is going on”. He subsequently and continually refined the idea of allowing re-entry of obviously “good” Muslims, such as US servicemen and those hailing from US allies such as the UK, and he redefined the proposed ban to involve only immigrants from nations “tied to Islamic terror” or those with a “proven history” of anti-Western terrorism. Grey areas include countries like France and Spain with their large Muslim populations. Note that Trump targets new  Muslim would-be  immigrants and has never proposed retrospective action against existing Muslim immigrants now resident in the US.

Two years ago a plan such as Trump’s would have been highly controversial, but Islamic barbarities in the West have escalated — the recent mass slaughter in Nice and throat-slitting of an elderly priest near Rouen last month being the but two of the most recent examples. Hence Trump’s proposed banning new Muslim arrivals, [1]pending a tougher screening regime, is no longer beyond the pale as a rational response to terror.

However, “progressives” have distorted Trump’s idea to mean that he would have excluded every decent/innocent Muslim ever to immigrate in the past.[iii] The argument is like saying that someone in early 1939 who called for the banning of German (including Nazi) immigrants, would have banned and/or expelled all German immigrants of the 1920s and 1930s.

Bereaved  father Khizr Khan not only waved his son’s shroud to assembled Democrat conventioneers, but did so in the context of a fiery attack on Trump and a call to elect Hillary as the candidate of love, amity and decency.

Khan told the convention,

“Tonight, we are honored to stand here as the parents of Capt. Humayun Khan, and as patriotic American Muslims …

Hillary Clinton was right when she called my son “the best of America.” If it was up to Donald Trump, he [Humayun] never would have been in America.

Donald Trump consistently smears the character of Muslims…. He vows to build walls and ban us from this country.

Donald Trump, you are asking Americans to trust you with our future. Let me ask you: Have you even read the U.S. Constitution? …[In fact, the constitution does not bar the US from discriminating against would-be immigrants based on their religion].

Have you ever been to Arlington Cemetery? Go look at the graves of the brave patriots who died defending America — you will see all faiths, genders, and ethnicities.

You have sacrificed nothing and no one.

We can’t solve our problems by building walls and sowing division. We are Stronger Together.[iv]

And we will keep getting stronger when Hillary Clinton becomes our next President.” 

Khizr Khan concluded by imploring all US immigrants to vote for Hillary, “the healer, not the divider”.

Thus provoked, Trump responded,

  • “I’d like to hear his wife [Ghazala Khan]  say something” (implying that such Muslim women are kept subservient – Ghazala responded that she was too grief-stricken to speak);
  • Khan’s speech was scripted by the Democrats (Khan denied that);
  • He, Trump, had made sacrifices for the country as a business person employing thousands; and
  • Radical Islamic terrorism requires counter-measures.

Trump honored the dead soldier and included respectful remarks about Khizr: “He looked like a nice guy to me,” but pushed back against Khizr’s accusations. Mainstream media went into paroxysms of indignation at Trump, omitting the context that Khizr Khan had done his utmost to offend Trump and promote Hillary.

At the start of this piece I mentioned pro-Trump Mrs Patricia Smith. She’s the mother of Sean Smith, one of the four  US embassy staffers who were murdered in Benghazi.  Hillary, as I noted, was Secretary of State at the time and ultimately responsible for the safety of US staff abroad. The run-up to the Benghazi assaults is not easy to summarise but includes

  • Despite President Obama’s clear orders to deploy military assets, nothing was sent to Benghazi, and nothing was en route to Libya when the last two Americans were killed almost 8 hours after the attacks began.
  • A US Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team (FAST) sat on a plane in Rota, Spain, for three hours, and changed in and out of their uniforms four times.
  • With Ambassador Stevens missing, the White House convened a two-hour meeting at 7:30pm, which resulted in “action items” — the spin fed to the press — that focused on a locally-made anti-Islamic YouTube video.[v]

This was all unfortunate, but what is Patricia Smith’s specific beef with Hillary? Well, her accusation was that Hillary was not just responsible for Sean’s death. But standing by the son’s very coffin, Hillary had lied to the grieving mother that the video had provoked the Benghazi mob. These hotheads, Hillary claimed, spontaneously rioted against the US installations in Benghazi. Smith’s case is that Hillary knew at the time, as proved by a subsequently revealed email to  daughter Chelsea on the night of the attack, that the waves of assaults were planned and executed by al Qaeda-like forces.

Moreover, Hillary’s lie beside Sean Smith’s casket was overheard by other parents who lost children in Benghazi. So Smith took the stage at the Republican convention a week before Khizr Khan’s appearance at the Democrats’ gathering, and, in tears, had this to say:

“…The last time I talked to Sean, the night before the terrorist attack, he told me, ‘Mom, I am going to die.’

All security had been pulled from the embassy, he explained. And when he asked why, he never received a response.

Nobody listened. Nobody seemed to care.

The very next day, he was murdered by radical Islamic terrorists…

That night, we lost sons, brothers, fathers, and husbands.

We lost four brave Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice for the country they chose to serve.

And, the American people lost the truth.

For all of this loss, for all of this grief, for all of the cynicism the tragedy in Benghazi has wrought upon America, I blame Hillary Clinton.

I blame Hillary Clinton personally for the death of my son.

In an email to her daughter shortly after the attack, Hillary Clinton blamed it on terrorism.

But when I saw Hillary Clinton at Sean’s coffin ceremony, just days later, she looked me squarely in the eye and told me a video was responsible.

Since then, I have repeatedly asked Hillary Clinton to explain to me the real reason why my son is dead. I’m still waiting.

Whenever I called the State Department, no one would speak to me because they say I am ‘not a member of the immediate family.’…

How could she do this to me? How could she do this to any American family? 

Donald Trump is everything Hillary Clinton is not…And, when it comes to the threat posed by radical Islamic terrorism, he will not hesitate to kill the terrorists who threaten American lives…This entire campaign comes down to a single question. If Hillary Clinton can’t give us the truth, why should we give her the presidency?”

So how did Hillary respond to Smith’s accusation? She more or less called Smith a liar (emphasis added).

CLINTON: “… I certainly can’t even imagine the grief that she has for losing her son, but she’s wrong. She’s absolutely wrong. I and everybody in the administration… we were scrambling to get information that was changing literally by the hour, and when we had information, we made it public. But then sometimes we had to go back and say we have new information that contradicts it. So I testified [to congressional inquiries] for 11 hours… and when it was over, the Republicans had to admit they didn’t learn anything…[vi] And this is not the first time we lost Americans in a terrorist attack…At no other time were those tragedies politicizedInstead people said, let’s learn the lesson and save lives. That’s when I did.” (My emphases).

Note that Hillary dismisses Smith’s accusation in blanket terms, dodging all the specifics and then going off on a tangent.

How did the media react to Smith? With a classic pack attack. She was guilty of “extreme overreach”, “scary” stuff, “really disturbing” [i.e. reprehensible]  and  “a new crossing of a line and an ugly degradation of a norm in American politics.” The Republicans, by promoting Smith, were being both “exploitative” and “irrelevant”.

Fact-checker Politifact rushed to defend Hillary, tweeting, “Smith has said Clinton lied to her about Benghazi, but it’s not completely clear just what Clinton said.” Politifact further claimed, “No one recorded these brief meetings behind closed doors. Family members and Clinton disagree on what was said. Especially given the emotional setting, memories — both Clinton’s and the families’ — might be fuzzy.”

Sorry, but Smith heard the words, as did several other bereaved Benghazi parents. Politifact then tried to argue that, even if Hillary did blame the video, she might have believed, genuinely believed, the video was the culprit. This meme is regularly run when Hillary is caught out lying; she just made (yet another) “honest mistake”.

This week Pat Smith and another bereaved Benghazi parent, Charles Woods, filed a wrongful death lawsuit  against Hillary Clinton. They claim that Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server contributed to the attacks by, highly probably, exposing Benghazi embassy routines to hackers. They also accuse her of defaming them in public statements.

FBI head James Comey, in announcing last month the findings of the FBI’s investigation of Clinton’s private e-mail server, said it was “possible that hostile actors gained access” to it but there was no direct evidence of that. A Clinton spokesman said that nine different Benghazi investigations had cleared Hillary Clinton.

By now readers should have a solid grasp of how the mainstream media is operating in this US presidential campaign, and how media “truthiness” is neither  truth nor the whole truth. The US public is wising up to the media spin, and that’s why Trump is getting a good shot at winning the presidency.

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

 


[i] Julia Gillard likewise gained victim-of-sexist-attacks status when her stature as Prime Minister fell to pieces

[ii] The ABC 7.30 footage of an Aboriginal child detainee in a spit-hood is a classic context-free message, as Prime Minister Turnbull has discovered to his embarrassment.

[iii] Pauline Hanson has been attacked thus for her similar proposed ban, with Q&A rabble-rouser Khaled Elomar, for example, demanding to know why his 11yo son is worried by Islamaphobia.

[iv] “Stronger together” is a Hillary  campaign slogan.

[v] The low-budget, amateur trailer entitled “Innocence of Muslims,”  for a never-shown film, portrays Muhammad as a womanizer who approved of pedophilia. The trailer’s author Mark Basseley Youssef,   an Egyptian-born Coptic Christian, was arrested and charged with violating terms of his probation, including making false statements regarding his role in the film and his use of the alias “Sam Bacile”.

He got  a year in prison.

[vi] The Republican-dominated report in fact concluded that Clinton and the Obama administration  should have realized how endangered U.S. outposts in Libya were and done more to protect them. Rep. Jim Jordan (OH) said:

“Obama Administration officials, including the Secretary of State, learned almost in real time that the attack in Benghazi was a terrorist attack. Rather than tell the American people the truth, the administration told one story privately and a different story publicly.”

COMMENTS [10]

  1. denandsel@optusnet.com.au

    The media is unlikely to ever be part of the solution to the political ailments of western society, it is the major problem. When Lenin quipped that – “when we come to hang the capitalists they will queue to sell us the rope” – he didn’t realise how accurate his ‘joke’ would be. The media in Australia [and most of the western world] is the ‘rope’ by which freedom and free people are being hung. The mock outrage at minor events gaining headlines when civilisation stopping actions are ignored is all too common in the media world wide which is dominated by leftists.
    For example, ISIS publicly beheading people, or killing people with a truck in Nice is less newsworthy than is worry about the ‘Islamophobia’ which might occur in Australia [but hasn’t occurred yet, and most probably won’t]. Remember how the media led by the ABC made Tony Abbott daring to look at his watch or speak publicly to people who are ‘non approved’ as being a bigger crime than mass sex attacks in Cologne or Rotherham [or numerous other places].
    If there was a method available of effectively taxing leftist hypocrisy in the media, then even Wayne Swan might have been able to deliver his mythical budget surplus.

  2. Ian MacDougall

    Trump or Clinton?
    Gee, that’s hard.
    A couple of days ago, Trump suggested that he expected that Hillary Clinton might be assassinated due to the threat she allegedly poses to the Second Amendment and the right it confers on all all US citizens to tote hardware for national and personal defence purposes.

    (CNN) It’s come to this. Donald Trump said on Tuesday that his opponent Hillary Clinton “wants to abolish, essentially abolish the Second Amendment. By the way, if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks.” Trump followed his claim, which was not supported by any source or proof, with a not-so-veiled suggestion, adding, “although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is.”
    For years fringe figures on the right have spoken of “Second Amendment solutions” in ways that leave little doubt they are talking about people using their guns to solve political problems… 

    (Note, this is from CNN; not the Guardian or some other suspicious source in need of delousing and depongification in the interests of informational purity.)
    In that speech, Trump set a new benchmark for political irresponsibility. I venture to suggest that if Clinton had suggested the same ‘solution’ for the problems posed by Trump, there would have been howls for her blood, posses and vigilante gangs forming up; and when the lead started to fly a whole lot of unintended victims of the national gun culture. Which of course, would have been nothing all that special.

    http://edition.cnn.com/2016/08/09/opinions/trump-second-amendment-falsehoods-dantonio/

    • Ninderthana

      Ian MacDougall does not seem to be aware of:

      http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/08/10/trump-rejects-claims-advocated-violence-against-clinton-with-2nd-amendment-comment.html

      quote:

      But Trump, in an interview with Fox News’ “Hannity,” denied he was suggesting this.

      “This is a political movement,” Trump said. “This is a strong powerful movement, the Second Amendment. Hillary wants to take your guns away. She wants to leave you unprotected in your home.

      “And there can be no other interpretation,” Trump said of his remarks. “I mean, give me a break.”

      • Ian MacDougall

        Ninderthana:

        Well, Trump is definitely wrong there: there can be at least one other interpretation, which is the one the media and the gentleman identified below have drawn.
        From your link:

        Michael Hayden, the former CIA director who has come out against Trump, also said on CNN: “If anybody else had said this, they’d be out in the parking lot in a police wagon being questioned by the Secret Service.”
        An agency spokesperson told Fox News, “The Secret Service is aware of the comment,” but would not say whether an investigation had been launched.

        The most generous interpretation is that yet again, Trump has shot himself in the foot thanks to his innate irresponsibility. With anybody else it is possible to give him the benefit of any doubt. But this is a man who seeks to become the most powerful man in the world, in charge of an arsenal capable of the total destruction of the whole planet.
        If he was running for local dog catcher there would still be problems, (dog catchers must retain a cool head as they go about their work) but they would be manageable.

    • MalW

      While I agree that the Guardian and many other suspicious sources are in need of delousing, the Clinton News Network has a strong reputation for untruth, injustice and the Leftist way.

      • Ian MacDougall

        So ‘MalW’: Can we take it that only those sources favouring Trump can be trusted? But a bit of a self-serving condition, wouldn’t you say?

  3. Homer Sapien

    Khan should apologize to Trump as I see it.

  4. Patrick McCauley

    Nevertheless ….. it does seem that the populations of America, Britain, Europe, Australia – the western world .. are profoundly divided. Apart from the violence and slaughter that is being perpetrated by the enemies of the western world ..we are also close to violence within. To many, it seems that we are approaching a point of no return – between ‘the progressives’ and the ‘conservatives’ – It may not be too long before someone from either side fires a gun over one of the many issues that divide us. Likely it will be over something really stupid (say, Safe Schools or a carbon tax) … or something existential .. like immigration or Islamic terrorism. In this tinderbox … Trump should choose his words carefully … and the media should be held responsible for its over interpretations.

  5. MalW

    Someone on WUWT pointed out that the US candidates are bad and worse (not dissimilar to our recent election). The key difference is that if Clinton gets in, the media will ensure that no amount of incompetence, nepotism, cronyism or lying, for which she is rightfully famous, will result in her impeachment. The Donald, on the other hand, can be given the flick after his first major stumble. Sounds like a better bet to me.

    • Ian MacDougall

      As ‘The Donald’ is unable to get through a day without a serious gaffe, “his first major stumble” will probably be in his inauguration speech: that is if he manages to flounder his way over the finishing line in this presidential contest.
      Q: What is he trying to hide in his tax return?

Young Heads Filled With Green Mush

Imagine being a pro-coal activist — or a climate sceptic, for that matter — and enjoying open access to Australia’s schools. Inconceivable, right? But if you’re pushing Oxfam’s green myths and downright lies, there is a welcome mat outside very nearly every classroom

oxfam logoOfficially-encouraged child abuse involves greens’ lobbyists brainwashing primary and secondary-school kids. A leading lobbyist is Oxfam Australia,  gearing up for  a renewed assault this month on our idealistic and gullible schoolchildren.

Oxfam this Term 4 is pushing “Hunger Banquets” for kids — “a fun, eye-opening (and mouth-watering!) interactive and experiential learning event centred on the issue of global hunger: and particularly food insecurity resulting from climate change.”[1]  Principals, teachers and their unions have put out the welcome mat[2]  for Oxfam’s zealots and their green-drenched propaganda.[3]  As Oxfam says, “The Hunger Banquets project is mapped to the Australian Curriculum (AC) cross-curricular priority of Sustainability. It is also accompanied by a whole heap of classroom resources, linked to AC Geography Yr 9, AC English Yrs 7-10, and AC Health.”

Oxfam Australia, the  $110 million local arm of the global $A1.5 billion international charity behemoth, will “help you [teachers] bring social justice into the classroom.”

“Social justice”  includes  Oxfam exhorting kids’ pocket money into its  own coffers:

Hunger Banquet money box: Download our moneybox template if you’re asking Hunger Banquet participants for a gold coin donation or raising money for Oxfam’s work in other ways. Handy tip: Sticking your printout onto a manila folder or old cereal box will make your moneybox more sturdy.”

It matters not that half our kids’ parents are conservative voters. There is no push-back from conservative politicians: parents have to suck it up. Moreover, Oxfam is hardly the sole green-left-socialist indoctrinator with entrée to classrooms. Come on in, Greenpeace, plus the Australian Conservation Foundation,  Youth Climate Coalition, GetUp, teams of Al Gore’s indoctrinators, the Australian Academy of Science, World Wildlife Fund, Cool Australia– each and every one promoting and cross-promoting[4] students with activist urgings. I asked a Liberal Party tactician what the party could do about all the brainwashed future greens voters emerging from high schools, and he said he had no idea.

Oxfam also  throws its weight behind the cross-gender-promoting and Marxist-inspired Safe Schools indoctrination, mandated in Victoria by CFMEUpuppet premier, Dan Andrews. Oxfam says,

We are proud to stand in solidarity with, and state our support for, Safe Schools Coalition Australia … as an ally in working towards a world that is more just, peaceful, harmonious and fair.”

No kid is too young to escape the Oxfam net. Oxfam wants to saturate schools at class-, year- and whole-of-school level, pegging “hunger banquets” in particular to World Food Day , October 16.[5]Oxfam’s Hunger Banquets involve kids sorting themselves into high, medium and low-income groups, corresponding to global regions. Most kids get only a cup of rice and water for the lunch, but the small group of First Worlders win a tummy-filling three courses that includes Italian pasta. Point made. Except that the point is a bucketful of Oxfam bull faeces: “Hungry for a fair climate? Climate change is the single biggest threat in the global fight against hunger.”

The reality is that over the past 50 years of sharply rising CO2, the extra produce grown by farmers runs to roughly $US274 billion for wheat, $US182 billion for maize and $US579 billion for rice. The current value of the carbon dioxide fertilisation effect on all crops is about $140 billion a year. The proportion of yield increases due to CO2 increase is estimated at 51% for cotton, 15% for soybeans, 17% for wheat, and 9% for corn. (Goklany, p19).

Once kids are suitably conditioned by Oxfam’s heart-wrenching videos and dodgy “science”, the charity steers  them towards directing email blitzes at local and senior politicians, plus us groupthink nostrums to “make this world hunger-free” and prevent governments and big businesses allowing climate change “to destroy the world we love”.

Oxfam exhorts kids to

  1. Email our political leaders telling them you’re looking for someone to step up and lead Australia on climate change.
  2. Get local for climate action! Get your friends together and visit your local Federal MP to talk climate.
  3. Join one of our local climate action teams.

Oxfam ramped up its anti-government campaigning among youngsters during the 2016 federal election campaign. Here’s a few Oxfam samples:

  • “The Australian Government has been shirking responsibility and acting in the interests of the big dirty polluters.”
  • “Our government is still failing the climate leadership test.”
  • “But while the energy revolution gathers pace, the Australian Government remains stuck down the deep, dark coal mine of the past…Captured by an ailing coal industry and urged on by conservative commentators, our government has delivered a series of bizarre and misleading pronouncements about the future of coal.”
  • “Dirty polluting companies are causing climate change to worsen, poisoning our clean air, and threatening our food, water and health.”

Earlier, it directed students to its “Take Action” page (link now obsolete):

“Tell the PM [Abbott at the time] to be the Australian leader we need. Demand he goes to New York and commits in person to the new UN #‎Global Goals for Sustainable Development.”

Take Action also says, below a caricature of Abbott holding an umbrella against a cyclone, and alongside a political petition (sorry, another obsolete link):

“So far, the Abbott Government has absolutely failed the climate leadership test. Email our political leaders now. Tell them you’re searching for someone to step up and lead Australia on climate..

Tell them that Australians want a bold and visionary government that’s prepared to make the right choice. For everyone, not just for polluting vested interests. Take action now!”

Oxfam Australia spends about $4.5 million a year on pushing green political causes and other “public policy and education programs”, including $2 million for “community education”. This propaganda include shutting down Australia’s coal industry and keeping cheap electricity out of reach of the Third World’s poor. The Department of Foreign  Affairs and Trade doled out $29 million in taxpayer funds to Oxfam Australia last year (30% of Oxfam’s revenue), apparently unaware of Oxfam’s mission to kill our $40 billion a year coal-export industry.

Oxfam  International’s plan for 2013-19, integrating the 17 national bodies, tilts the charity’s humanitarian work even more towards political agitation:

“The proposed ‘worldwide influencing network’ aims to drive our shared agenda more powerfully within the broader global movement for change…. It marks a trend towards working more on influencing authorities and the powerful, and less on delivering the services for which duty-bearers are responsible.”     

Oxfam’s tax-exempt charity status requires it to be politically non-partisan. Rabidly anti-conservative Greenpeace in Canada was defrocked of its tax-exempt status by the Tax Office in 1989, partly because its timber-mill closing campaigns could drive people into poverty.[6] In New Zealand, the High Court in 2011 upheld Greenpeace’s 2010 loss of tax-exempt status, because of too great an involvement in politics and illegal activities, making charity work just a fringe activity. In the UK, Oxfam itself was warned by the Charities Commission about partisan political fusillades against the Conservative government’s austerity drive.[7] UK law requires tax-exempt charities to “remain neutral and should consider working with other parties to help ensure public perceptions of neutrality”. One Tory MP added, “This judgement should make all charities think very carefully about how the use the very generous donations by people when they are in ‘campaign mode’, rather than ‘poverty alleviation mode’.”

As if Oxfam Australia would ever give equal time to representatives of Australia’s 50% conservative-voting public. Indeed, its urgings of kids and others to do green-oriented email blitzes of politicians in the federal election run-up was cut from the same cloth that “appalled” Tory MPs in Westminster.

Our Charities Commission guidelines for tax-exempt status have grey areas in terms of permissible activism. They say that “promoting or opposing a political party or a candidate for political office” cannot be charitable (my emphasis), but that charities can still distribute information or engage in debate about the policies of political parties or candidates, “where these activities must be ways of achieving their charitable purposes.” It also lists a string of motherhood-style legitimate purposes, such as health and environmentalism, but adds, “If your organisation has non-charitable purposes and these do not further its charitable purposes, your organisation is unlikely to be registered as a charity.”  In the recent election’s run-up the charities commissioner further defined legitimate advocacy, in did so in ways that suggest, certainly to me, to me that Oxfam’s anti-government rhetoric is borderline illegitimate. Why not let the ATO decide?

India’s federal government of Narendra Modi a year ago deregistered Greenpeace’s 300-staff operation and froze its bank accounts, accusing Greenpeace of sabotaging India’s power development. The courts overturned the ban in an ongoing saga that includes Modi’s de-funding of 9000 other charities.  

In Australia, Oxfam’s schools campaigning is financed largely by donations from citizens who imagine the priorities, and their financial gidfs, are prioritised at ending the world’s hunger and want.[8] In fact, one in three Oxfam dollars   leaks to fund-raising (20%)  and administration (11%). At the top, CEO Helen Szoke was on a tax-concessioned $237,000 last year, significantly more than UK counterpart Mark Goldring ($A218,000 equivalent), who runs a six-times better-funded Oxfam organisation — $A700 million vs $A110m.  (As a contrast to Oxfam Australia, the $US950 million Rotary Foundation charity has only an 3.5% admin costs and 7.3%  fund-raising expenses, a leakage of only 11% from aid funds).

Apart from the government, our naïve banks and their staff have supported Oxfam only to get Oxfam’s smack in the face. ANZ for example put in $180,000 in 2012.  Westpac in the three years to 2012 was a massive Oxfam donor, including $250,000 in 2011 for Pakistan flood relief. Soon after, Oxfam was accusing them of  “backing companies that are kicking people off their land, destroying lives and leaving people homeless and hungry.” [9] The banks   by now  may have learnt not to finance their political foes.

Oxfam knows the world’s poor need more coal-fired electricity. As Federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan put it this week, coal is  a critical energy source for developing countries that want to lift their people out of poverty: “If [Third Worlders] decide that the best way to improve the lives of their people is to build coal-fired power stations and provide cheap electricity, I don’t think we’re in a position to deny them that right.”

Oxfam’s international parent concedes the impact of its assault on the Third World’s poor:

“Poorer developing countries …will inevitably have to move [develop] more slowly, especially as fossil fuels can play an important role in immediate social and economic needs…Rich nations should support them with public funds.” (My emphasis).

Curiously, Oxfam Australia board member Ann Byrne is a member of the Compliance Committeeof BlackRock Investment Management Australia Ltd. The US parent, according to The Guardian a year ago, led the list of asset management companies investing in top-50 listed coal companies ($US24.6 billion worth).  BlackRock’s strategy was to go contrarian and  invest in  “beaten- up natural resources equities as a hedge if US dollar strength fades.” A naughty interpretation is that the green alliance (including Oxfam) beats down the coal industry. Meanwhile, BlackRock invests to cash in on the low coal  prices.

Oxfam actually thinks stopping climate change, i.e. global warming, is the world’s number one priority for ending global hunger  (much as President Obama thinks climate change is higher priority than ISIS terror.[10] ). Mains electricity, clean water and disease control, fertilizer, education, cheap two-way freight, land and investment security, open markets, women’s equality, freedom from official corruption — these are also-rans in the Oxfam narrative.

Of course, boosting food production requires the expansion of cheap coal-based electric power. Oxfam instead proffers  costly and unreliable solar and wind. These power sources have already demonstrated their ability to wreck the South Australian economy, let alone the prospects of third-world peasants in grass huts.

Oxfam’s agenda is a 65% cut in Australian emissions below 2000 levels by 2030, and an economy-bankrupting zero-emissions target (including a 90% coal cut) well before 2050. Australia, Oxfam tells kids, must hand over $1.6 billion a year to Third World kleptocrats and UN corruptocrats as part of the first world’s $100 billion-a-year compensation for our past climatic vandalism.

Believe Oxfam and global warming is already devastating the land. “The warning bells are deafening. Take action now!” Oxfam says. “Smaller harvests mean farmers can’t feed their families or make a living. Even in Australia, climate change has affected the large-scale production of crops like wheat.” Pardon me, Oxfam, but don’t make stuff up. Australian wheat tonnages in the past decade have been around 24 million tonnes a year, far above the average of 1960-2000. (In the 1960s output was only  7-12 million tonnes).

“Climate change is already taking a heavy toll on poorer communities around the world,” says Oxfam, oddly since global warming has involved a mere 0.8degC in the past 100 years, a wholly beneficial emergence from the previous Little Ice Age to 1850. Global fertilisation by  increased CO2 has boosted plant growth by an area equal to twice continental USA, greening the deserts, according to new satellite recordings.

Never letting a catastrophe go to waste, Oxfam’s Helen Szoke presents that Cyclone Pam, which hit Vanuatu in 2015, was one of  climate change’s ‘devastating impacts’.

What we can see here is the massive impact of climate change, erosion of sea into what was once land, the impact of the cyclone on areas of this village that are still to be cleared. Why should Vanuatans have to bear the brunt of climate change? Let’s do something and actually make a difference  so climate change doesn’t continue to keep people in poverty and ruin their beautiful communities.”

The tide gauge at Port Vila has data for only 21 years, and this shows 25mm of sea rise, or a totally unalarming rate of 12cm (5 inches) per century, less than, say, Fremantle  1897-2010 (15.4cm or 6in). Szoke is making stuff up about these so-called “drowning islands”.[11]

I happened to be off a tourist boat in Vanuatu two year ago, pre-Cyclone Pam, and villagers showed us how, for generations, they have sheltered from similar cyclones inside the base of giant trees.

Similarly, Szoke denies the IPCC science that global warming does not cause extreme weather. The IPCC’s 2012 special report said warming may actually reduce extreme weather in the next 20-30 years.[12]

But Oxfam propaganda runs:

It’s not just the average temperature that is rising. [Satellites show insignificant atmospheric warming for almost two decades, and last year’s El Nino warm spike is reversing with startling rapidity]. With more heat and energy in the atmosphere and oceans, our weather is becoming more extreme and unpredictable. [As if weather was ever predictable, and extreme weather such as US land-falling cyclones have been on a decade-long low trend].

As leading satellite-monitoring scientist Dr Roy Spencer puts it, “There are no obvious changes in global hurricane activity,  heat waves, or droughts, and no decrease in snow cover.”  [13]

Oxfam shamelessly shoves at kids its music-enhanced videos of naïve Third World peasants parroting catastrophism. The kids feel the outrage, just as intended. For example, Oxfam quotes a struggling South African woman plot-tiller, a certain Yvette Abrahams, to push the worst-case IPCC scenario, which in her case will allegedly mean her tribal lands will get 4-6 degrees hotter. (The IPCC was actually talking year 2100).

“My family is meeting to discuss moving. We cannot stay… there will be nothing to feed our livestock soon. So the little [land] that we have managed to preserve through slavery, genocide, colonialism and apartheid, we are about to lose to climate change.”

Oxfam bleats that climate change will starve an extra 50 million people in 2050, with rising seas flooding another one  billion. In 2009 Oxfam was fibbing to Melburnians via billboards near Flinders Street Station that climate change was creating 50 million climate refugees. By mid-2016 the actual claimants to official climate refugee status total one – Mr Ioane Teitiota from Kiribati, whose claims were debunked by the NZ courts and who was later exposed for domestic violence and assaults.[14]

I have no problem with snake-oil vendors revving up teenagers outside of school gates. That’s democracy. But allowing them to proselytise uncontradicted from state classroom podiums is a travesty of education.[15] Would reps from the Coal Association or the Institute of Public Affairs be equally welcome to harangue primary grades? (That’s a rhetorical question). Some say the horse has already bolted. As one blogger wrote to JoNova last year:

I am somewhat despairing about what my grandchildren are reporting from school. Their talk is all about the horrors of European and English culture, about how we are destroying the earth through the climate and CO2, how we are to blame and it’s all about white privilege. When I attempt to counter some of it I get a disdainful, “the teachers wouldn’t be allowed to teach it if it wasn’t true.”

Kids might be more suspicious if they realised that teacher inflows now include the barely-literate and barely-numerate dregs of the tertiary cohorts. Of students with below-50 ATAR tertiary-admissions ranking[16] and entering primary and secondary education degrees, the proportion has almost doubled from 7.3% in 2013 to 14.3% in 2016. The Australian Council for Educational Research, blaming cash-cow-seeking university policies, says almost everyone who applies finds a place in a teacher education program.

Some rationalists despair that a mix of pro-and-con lobbyists to schools is now feasible. Instead, children should be taught logic, scientific method and the ability to see through propaganda from all areas of the spectrum. Given teacher standards, this may be whistling in the wind.

Hat-tips: Dennis Ambler, John McLean for help. My previous pieces on Oxfam are herehere and here.

Tony Thomas’s new book That’s Debatable – 60 Years in Print, is available from  Connor Court


[1] Email to local registrants, Looking for an engaging simulation activity? 25/7/16.

[2]  The other two cross-curriculum Trojan horses for Left propaganda are “Indigenes” and “Asia”.

[3] The 2013-14 Oxfam Australia annual report says more than 20,000 teachers used Oxfam resources to teach 100,000 students. And more than 6800 students in high schools and universities took part in 40 Oxfam workshops to help them become discussion leaders among their peers.

[4]  Oxfam: “You can send student leaders to the fantastic Australian Youth Climate Council Summit, 17-18 August, Trades Hall in Melbourne.”

[5] These “hunger banquets” date back to  Hollywood in 1991, when Dustin Hoffman, Whoopi Goldberg, Mel Gibson,  Desmond Tutu et al skipped a meal.

[6] Revenue Canada’s charities division says that the Greenpeace Environmental Foundation can’t be considered a charity because its activities “have no public benefit.”

[7] Oxfam UK had close personnel links with high-ranking Labor figures. The tragically murdered Labor MP Jo Cox  was earlier an Oxfam head of policy.

[8] Oxfam’s third-party fund-raisers cream off 90% or so from the first year of  someone’s annual public donation.

[9] The Youth Climate Coalition smacked down its big-bank donors by campaigning against them on behalf of Bendigo Bank,  which doesn’t lend to coal producers.

[10] Oxfam’s GROW campaign “identifies limiting climate change as the world’s number one priority if we are to end global hunger.”

[11] Szoke was previously Federal Race Discrimination Commissioner and Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner

[12] “ Projected changes in climate extremes under different emissions scenarios generally do not strongly diverge in the coming two to three decades, but these signals are relatively small compared to natural climate variability over this time frame. Even the sign of projected changes in some climate extremes over this time frame is uncertain. For projected changes by the end of the 21st century, either model uncertainty or uncertainties associated with emissions scenarios used becomes dominant, depending on the extreme.” P22-23

[13] A Guide to Understanding Global Temperature Data, July 2016. P21

[14] Oxfam Australia also claimed in 2009 that climate crises would harm 375m people by 2015, “threatening to overwhelm the world’s ability to respond”. Anyone notices these 375m?

[15] Meanwhile, NAPLAN literacy and numeracy levels in our schools stagnate

[16]  Out of 100,  the average ATAR rank is 70.  Some student teachers are being admitted with scores of 30.

COMMENTS [17]

  1. X

    Morrison should gather taxes, not from those who have sought to make themselves independent through their own contributions to their own superannuation funds, but from all organisations like these who have played Australian taxpayers for suckers for years, while pushing their agendas with religious fervor and polluting the minds of future generations of Australians at the same time.

    As for teachers – it will take generations to re-establish credibility for this lost profession.

  2. Warty

    A thoroughly comprehensive expose, but equally depressing.

  3. Ian MacDougall

    Then again, AGW is credible: more so than the opposition to mainstream climatology, and all it finds and stands for, as mounted by vested interests.
    For an alternative viewpoint, see the URL below.
    It is appropriate to alert the young to this issue, IMHO, as in the likely event of the science being right, our grandchildren and their children will have to deal with the consequences, good and bad. Global warming has been (appropriately) called The Long Thaw by the climatologist David Archer, in his book of the same title.
    Polar ice and alpine glaciers are melting, and the ocean is rising: according to satellite altimetry at 3.3 +/- 0.4 mm/yr (CSIRO). The safest assumption is that GHGs are responsible.
    Of course, it is also possible that on the way to a steadily warming irreversible and unsalvageable hellhole of a planet, we will pass through a bountiful greenhouse, where tropical and garden plants can be grown at ever higher latitudes. But as we are in completely uncharted territory, I suggest that making a transition to safe and renewable energy should be a priority.
    There is no book up there in the sky in which it is written that the future must inevitably be one of promise and abundance all round. Likewise there is little to be said for climate ostrichism, save as a very short-term coping strategy.

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/aug/02/environment-climate-change-records-broken-international-report#comment-80427316

    • Jody

      Honestly, I wouldn’t believe anything printed in “The Guardian”. It has ‘agenda’ written all over it (and has a reading age of about 11). Many of your comments I mostly agree with BUT school is not the place for propaganda and, unfortunately, in my last years as a teacher the curriculum was saturated with propaganda. My son’s children are now victims of pc and marxist propaganda and he’s constantly complaining to the Principal, who disappears whenever he spots my son. I’ve told him we’ll contribute to their education in the private sector because the state system is discredited by leftist teachers.

      I like your term “climate ostracism” but I also remember the river Thames completely froze in 1695 – the year of death of a favourite composer, Henry Purcell. So, yes, there has been a ‘long thaw’.

      • Jody

        Just to reinforce the ‘reading age’ issue; here is a site with a very mature reading age (as a comparison to the juvenile status of “The Guardian”) just as you get here at “Quadrant”:

        http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/the-moral-principled-case-against-the-named-person-scheme/18617

        • Ian MacDougall

          Jody:
          Thanks for the link re the human rights issue. I am very critical of the Australian HRC, and regard it as an artificial way to keep an assortment of ex-politicians and rent-seekers well and truly attached to the teat of the Public Purse for as long as possible. However, I found it hard to understand, as I only have a reading age of 10 and a half. ;-)
          BUT:

          Honestly, I wouldn’t believe anything printed in “The Guardian”. It has ‘agenda’ written all over it (and has a reading age of about 11).

          Does that mean that, say, if the Guardian was to publish stuff extolling Newton’s laws of motion and classical physics, then you would be agin it all on principle?
          As far as I am concerned, there is only one valid test of any proposition in science, philosophy or any other domain of knowledge: does it stand up to scrutiny? What are the arguments for and against, and based on what evidence?
          I cannot name a single doctrine, religion, philosophy or whatever that I have ever taken on Authority, or abstained from critical examination of, or simply accepted because it made me feel good, or I wanted to be a member of the crowd supporting it.
          So if some mystic comes out of a cave somewhere and says he was visited by the Angel Gabriel, or the Angel Moroni, or perhaps both of them together or seriatum, I would ask for a few more details before giving him/her support: qualified or otherwise.
          And ‘en passant’ or whatever you name is: ditto.

        • Warty

          An interesting article (your hyperlink) but replete with interesting oxymorons e.g. ‘today’s human-rights-based conservatism’. Perhaps one could replace this example with ‘the human-rights activism of the frenzied left’, or words to that effect. It is not unlike mentioning ‘The Spectator and The Guardian’ in the same sentence: a recipe for indigestion.

  4. en passant

    Ian,
    Good to see you are back again, as blind to reality as ever. Anyone who takes the Guardian as their source is, well, nothing more need be said. It is also natural that you would hijack the detailed point Tony made about the propagandising of education into your broken record. Thank goodness that (in retrospect) I had wonderfully sceptical education. In my case, it was not until university that conformity and controlled thinking were expected. No doubt you did well at University.

    Climate Change is ongoing and beneficial. Life proliferates in warm wet climates and the more CO2 the better. I have asked every pseudo-scientific charlatan to answer two questions:
    1. What is the optimum average global temperature we seek? and
    2. What is the optimum ppm of CO2 for the world?

    A Nobel Prize awaits you, but an ad hom from you will do instead of an answer.

    Tony,
    I pick up one of my grandchildren once a week from primary school. It takes me an hour to get him home. It simply not enough time to deprogram him as he KNOWS that we are killing all the trees, oil and coal are bad, the world is running out of food and the beachfront property I just bought that is 1.5m above the maximum of a king high tide will be under 10m of water when he inherits it (photos available on request). He finds it hard to believe that none of what he has been told is true. One day they will teach him to read and write as I have some good books he will never see in school.

    I have not donated $1 to any charity since I completed a pro bono consultancy to one in 1993. They lived well and the Clinton Kleptocrat’s could have learned from them.

    • Ian MacDougall

      ep: Please enlighten us, or at least me. What do you understand ad hom to mean?
      I ask this because where I come from ad hominem means attacking the arguer, not the argument. But it is not uncommon for people to have different understandings and nuances.
      If you think I have ever done it, please give me one instance of where and when.

      • en passant

        Ian,
        I did not say you had done ‘it’. What I said was that you would have to resort to something, anything rather than answer the questions I posed.

        Enlighten the world as the the ideal level of CO2 and the optimum average temperature, please.

  5. gray_rm

    I’m afraid it’s not just Oxfam – it’s the whole curriculum.
    I spent a parent/teacher night at my daughter’s school complaining about their ‘geography’ assignment that asks students to devise a protest/campaign on: why indigenous people need self determination, or why human rights are so important, or why land degradation (through mining etc.) is so awful.
    The teacher actually tried to argue that both sides of the argument would be heard – until I showed her the actual paper that demands all perspectives be of the negative (Green Left) position.
    It’s over. The entire syllabus is infected. Schools are being visited by Indigenous activists calling Australia Day Invasion Day, the kids are taught coal mining is evil, that Climate Change will kill them, and that being homosexual is a better lifestyle.

    • Ian MacDougall

      gray_rm:

      This gives your grandchildren an excellent opportunity to learn a bit about critical thinking. Examine the teacher’s case, and give an alternative: telling them to examine both sides, take nothing on Authority, make up their own minds, and be prepared to change them if better evidence or arguments appear.
      Coal mining is not evil: we need the coal reserves for road tar, and there is no cost-effective substitute in sight. But burning coal for energy is problematic.
      Australia was invaded: no other word for it. And the poor bloody invadees had no way to stop it. Lesson: ?
      Why is homosexuality a better lifestyle? Is the heterosexual majority wrong?
      And what comes next after same-sex marriage? Polygamy (perhaps for Muslims only?)
      Etc.

  6. Patrick McCauley

    “The entire syllabus is infected. Schools are being visited by Indigenous activists calling Australia Day Invasion Day, the kids are taught coal mining is evil, that Climate Change will kill them, and that being homosexual is a better lifestyle.”

    This is exactly the truth, gray-rm, Teachers in Primary schools have a narrow mono-political view of the world… and interestingly, Primary teachers are also single gendered- as in, over ninety percent are female. There also seems to be a significant and activist Gay lobby amongst Primary school teachers … in fact amongst secondary and tertiary teachers as well. So the entire life cycle has become entrenched … we have bigoted teachers who have been created by bigoted teachers – who have gone from school to university and back to school again having never experienced any life outside their protected bubble. … and it’s at least worth mentioning … they are ninety percent women with a ‘family friendly’ job that allows them to pick the kids up from school and work only 0.2 or 0.4 or 0.8 each week…. and our children, who are required to learn this syllabus full of lies … will only get to University if they are prepared to repeat the lies in their exams.

  7. Alice Thermopolis

    CLIMATE OSTRICHISM

    “But as we are in completely uncharted territory, I suggest that making a transition to safe and renewable energy should be a priority… Likewise there is little to be said for climate ostrichism, save as a very short-term coping strategy.” (Ian MacDougall)

    Another example of “climate ostrichism” appears at the end of a recent paper from the orthodoxy:

    “Unfortunately determining the equilibrium GHG concentrations compatible with any prescribed warming levels, either globally or over land, remains difficult. This is due to large model differences in estimates of planetary climate sensitivity.”

    Note “model differences” NOT actual physical measurements.

    We are indeed in “completely uncharted territory”.

  8. Alice Thermopolis

    Reference:

    Chris Huntingford, Lina M. Mercado. High chance that current atmospheric greenhouse concentrations commit to warmings greater than 1.5 °C over land.Scientific Reports, 2016; 6: 30294 DOI: 10.1038/srep30294

    http://joannenova.com.au/2016/07/is-that-news-new-science-paper-tells-us-air-over-land-heats-more-than-water/#comment-18224

  9. Keith Kennelly

    Why would anyone want a university degree. Many graduates cannot get work in their degree field.

    I met a 23 year old With a degree in GameDesign’.

    He was working forth edible in a Vinnies shop. I bought some second hand tables for my business. He complimented me on recycling and my environmental awareness.

    I pointed out the tables were manufactured where coal was the foundation of energy, where Marxist dogma allieed cheap wages and there was little environment protection and few regulations covering employment wh&s and a myriad of other aspects.

    He asked me where that was.

    My answer stunned him into silence.

    When I said China and that if I had the energy I’d probably head overseas with my manufacturing as well. This would lead to me paying less wages taxes and levies and would probably lead to his standard of living falling to the levels of the third world.

  10. padraic

    It is obscene that State Governments (and Catholic and Private Schools) allow their schools to be used for brain washing and fund raising for activist groups. There should be a core curriculum covering subjects needed to obtain employment after leaving school and cultural subjects such as history and geography etc that are presented in an objective manner. I agree with the article and the comments. Back in 2014 I wrote the following to someone who had an interest in modern education.

    As a grandparent who takes an active interest in my grandkids education at a State Primary School I can give you some examples of such experiences.
    – The other day I saw a news item on SBS which showed an employee of the Red Cross introducing a program into schools in WA to educate schoolchildren into supporting asylum seekers.
    – Another grandparent told me how he went to the end of year concert for his grandchild where the headmistress proudly told the audience how her school had raised funds for Greenpeace.
    – A few weeks back I was in Sydney when an eleven year old granddaughter was doing her homework on the computer. I asked if I could have a look and was surprised to see that her teacher had set her homework out of an ABC internet program called Reading Eggspress that required a password and other details. She was doing an essay on gold mining and the ABC crib notes told her basically that mining was evil.
    – My old school produces an annual magazine for its “old boys”. In the 2011 edition they had articles dealing with aspects of their curricula. One part of the program dealt with “social justice” which involved the boys in doing volunteer work and being involved in community groups, as well as looking at moral issues such as homelessness and COAL SEAM GAS!?

    The prime educators of children are their parents. They contract out to schools the subjects that require technical and some traditional input that help the children to think critically. Morality and social and political views are the preserve of the adult family members, not neo-Marxist totalitarians who believe that families are not capable of “thinking correctly” and hence must be undermined by the views of these arrogant ‘superior’ beings.