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.

The Clintons and Their Corruptocrats

In Hillary’s term at State, wealthy crooks, influence-seekers and tyrannical governments rushed to donate millions to the Clinton Foundation, its spin-offs, Bill Clinton personally or  vague combinations of all/any of them. Figuring large on the donor list, Australia’s taxpayers

bill sleazeAustralian governments’ $85 million aid to the Clinton Foundation is a bit surprising, given that ex-President Bill and presidential candidate Hillary are synonyms for financial and personal sleaze. That total sum was paid by both Coalition and Labor governments over the past decade. Coalition and Labor have also despatched and committed $460m to the Clinton-affiliated Global Partnership for Education,  chaired by our ex-PM Julia Gillard. Abbott’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop threw Gillard’s show a lazy $140 million of taxpayer money in 2014, no questions asked. That aid was in the teeth of Gillard’s lusty presidential campaigning for Hillary against Trump.

Ostensibly charitable, the Clinton Foundation is the centerpiece of the couple’s amassing of a vast personal fortune.  Bill was president from 1993-01. Hillary was Secretary of State for Obama from 2009-13.

In Hillary’s term at State, every variety of wealthy crook, influence-seeker and tyrannical government rushed to “donate” millions to the Clinton Foundation, its spin-offs, Bill Clinton personally or  vague combinations of all/any of them. Lots of those crooked donors later scored disgrace, convictions and/or gaol on unrelated matters. Amid the sleaze, of course, the Clinton Foundation did manage to do some genuine charity work.

The Australian’s Greg Sheridan reported last February that the Coalition and Labor governments aided the Clinton foundations by more than $75 million in the past decade. The aid was via partnerships with the Clintons’ outfit as ‘technical implementing partner’. There are still three deals involving the foundations aiding Indonesia, PNG and Vietnam. Australia appears to be the biggest single foreign-government source of Clinton Foundation funds, he said. Annual aid has ranged from $6.5 million to a peak $10.3 million in 2012-13, the final Labor year.

However, Sheridan and/or his US source overlooked $10 million in a direct donation by a Rudd government entity to the Clinton Foundation in 2009-10. Rudd in 2008 set up the Global CCS Institute for research into carbon capture and storage with $100 million of taxpayer money. “The Institute provided AU$10 million to the Clinton Foundation to support the work being conducted through the Clinton Climate Initiative to accelerate key ‘early mover’ CCS projects around the world,” the Institute said.

According to the ABC, Rudd’s little venture actually involved a further commitment of $215m, at the rate of $100m a year. Other countries were supposed to tip in money too but by 2012 that amounted to a tiny $4.5m from the US and EU. The Institute itself had no idea what to spend its money on, actually complaining to the ABC that “the Rudd Government funding was too much, too soon.” After two years, Rudd’s institute had spent $7.4 million on travel and meetings, $11.3 million on contractors and consultants, and almost $6 million on administration. It had donated only $37m to carbon capture projects around the world but had $145m sitting idle in the bank. The $10 million thrown  to the Clinton Foundation appears to be part of the institute’s desperate attempts to spend its piggy bank. Carbon capture of course has proved to be a total turkey.

Part 1: Cheque Mates: Gillard, Bishop & Hillary

Rudd’s prodigious waste of public funds is a story for another day. Let’s get back to Bill and Hillary.

There are tough US laws against bribery.  But there is no law against giving millions to the “charitable” causes of an ex-President, who just happens to be first-spouse to the Secretary of State and always tipped as a President-In-Waiting. You might want Bill to give a speech to your organization or add lustre to your daughter’s society wedding. Bill’s token fee is typically $US200,000 or so.

In August 2013 even the left-leaning New York Times ran an expose of the Clinton Foundation:

“For all of its successes, the Clinton Foundation had become a sprawling concern, supervised by a rotating board of old Clinton hands, vulnerable to distraction and threatened by conflicts of interest. It ran multimillion-dollar deficits for several years, despite vast amounts of money flowing in.” With Hillary and daughter Chelsea now running it, “efforts to insulate the foundation from potential conflicts have highlighted just how difficult it can be to disentangle the Clintons’ charity work from Mr Clinton’s moneymaking ventures and Mrs Clinton’s political future.”

The stakes were high  for smooching up to Secretary of State Hillary by tipping a few million into Bill’s foundations or pocket. During Hillary’s term as Secretary, the State Department authorized $US165 billion  in commercial arms sales to 20 nations that had donated to the Clinton Foundation. They included Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Algeria, Kuwait and UAE, whose human-rights records had all been slated by the State Department itself. There was another $US151b of military-authorised arms sales to 16 nations that donated to the Clinton Foundation  which needed Hillary’s official sign-off.

The Clinton’s ‘charity’ spending used the term loosely. In 2009, the so-called charity Clinton Global Initiative bought actress Natalie Portman (Star Wars, Black Swan) a first-class ticket for herself and her Yorkshire terrier to attend its conference at Texas University, Austin.

The Clinton Foundation spent $US12 million on air travel in 2011 alone, with Bill Clinton personally racking  up a million dollars of that sum. If used for normal travel, the $US12 million could have financed 33 trips a day that year. Travel costs for the decade to 2013 came to $US50 million.

Multi-million donors to the Clinton Foundation include Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Saudi Arabia ($US10 million plus). Individual seven-figure donors include Issam Fares, former deputy-PM of Lebanon and supporter of Hezbollah and Syria’s President Bashar Assad.

Bill Clinton was personally paid at least $US26 million in speaking fees by entities that were also Foundation donors,  according to the Washington Post. This suggests how closely Clinton money and Foundation money intertwined.

The Clintons departed the White House in 2001 self-professedly broke. That was largely because of $US10 million or so in legal bills fighting earlier scandals (Whitewater, Lewinsky, etc) and paying off Clinton’s female victims (e.g. $US850,000 to harassee Paula Jones). Their earnings from speeches, books, consulting and whatever in the next 14 years raked in $US230 million-plus. Bill was asked two years ago about being paid up to half a million for speeches for companies and trade associations that were also lobbying the State Department while Hillary was Secretary of State. That total was $US2.5 million. He replied, “I gotta pay our bills. I spend a couple of hours a day just doing the research. People like to hear me speak.”

US documents show that BHP-Billiton paid Bill Clinton $US175,000 to address the board in Australia on June 20, 2012. At the time BHP-Billiton was lobbying the State Department about “mining interests in Gabon”. In previous months, Gabon had been considering switching control of its largest iron ore deposit, Belinga, from a Chinese company, CMEC, to BHP-Billiton. Belinga, near the Congo border, was a potential 30-million tonne per annum mine and 500km railway/port project. A political problem was that Belinga is inside Gabon’s Ivindo National Park, home to rainforest gorillas and chimpanzees. Whatever hopes BHP-Billiton may have had from Clinton’s influence, they came to nought.  (Or maybe BHP-Billiton regularly pays celebs $US175,000 to address the board. If so, I’m available at  short notice). Amid corporate belt-tightening, BHP-Billiton pulled out of Gabon altogether in 2013.

The Clinton Foundation began modestly in 1997 to fund the President Clinton Memorial Library. But Bill  became a global brand while his Foundation adopted whatever charitable cause was fashionable at the moment. Wall Street analyst Charles Ortel combed the Foundation’s reports and concluded that Bill Clinton had “developed a methodology of exploiting epidemics and natural disasters to raise hundred of millions in ‘charitable donations’ that in a relaxed regulatory environment could be diverted to personal gain, funding Hillary’s political campaigns and supporting Democratic Party causes.”

Ortel noted that substantial funds went missing from the Clinton charitable funds donated for the earthquake relief in India. Total Clinton Foundation fraud runs to hundreds of millions of dollars, he said, “with diversions for political purposes and personal enrichment likely to exceed $US200 million.” Ortel also cited the American India Foundation as “a false front that attracts donations, allows unknown sums to be diverted and then manufactures deductions for cronies.”

Case studies of crooks smooching the Clintons could fill a book – indeed have filled two books. One is Partners in Crime: The Clintons’ Scheme to Monetize the White House for Personal Profit by two-times New York Times No 1 best-selling author Jerome Corsi. (Corsi is an anti-Democrat gadfly but Clinton scandals surface regularly by the liberal US media as well). Corsi says the vast sums donated to the Foundation to help earthquake victims in India and Haiti and HIV/AIDs sufferers, mostly enriched the Clintons. The donations also added $US 2b to the Clinton Foundation and raised $US 1b  for Hillary’s second run for the presidency. He says some of the funds paid off those with first-hand knowledge of Bill’s long history of errant sexual behavior. Bill Clinton also secretly established ‘pass-through’ bank accounts to hide kickbacks from Clinton Foundation donors and sponsors that only enrich the Clintons themselves.

The latest book is Clinton Cash, by Peter Schweitzer, which unfortunately, with its 635 end-notes, is not Kindle-ready until late this week. But you don’t need books. Seeking out Clinton sleaze is to be buried by an avalanche. A few samples:

  • In 2013 Canadian Uranium One executives were trying to sell off their US uranium projects to Russian interests. While successfully lobbying the State Department for permission, during Hillary’s tenure as Secretary of State, they donated $US2.35 million to the Clinton Foundation, which  the Foundation failed to disclose. Bill Clinton also picked up a $US500,000 speaking fee in Moscow  – one of his highest — from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock.
  • The US-approved uranium deal gave the Russians a fifth of US uranium capacity, under their Rosatom masthead. Hillary had earlier pledged to notify Obama about all donors to the Foundation but the uranium-interest donations only came to light through a Reuters reporter’s discovery. The Clintons then had to re-file five years of tax returns on  how they were reporting donations.[i]
  • Gulnara Karimova, eldest daughter of Uzbek dictator Islam Karimov,  co-sponsored a June, 2012, Clinton Foundation fundraiser in Monaco. A US Embassy cable from Tashkent remarked that she was “hoping that a connection with him will allow her to establish good relations with the Secretary of State” — who was Hillary Clinton. The embassy explained, “Most Uzbeks see Karimova as a greedy, power-hungry individual who uses her father to crush business people or anyone else who stands in her way . . . She remains the single most hated person in the country.”
  • Another Bill Clinton pal and donor (up to $US500,000) was Rajat Gupta, who also gave Bill’s daughter, Chelsea, a six-figure consulting job, despite her tender years (23) and inexperience.Rajat in 2012 got two years gaol for insider trading.

Rajat and Vinod Gupta had collaborated to form the Bill Clinton-chaired America-India Foundation for earthquake relief, supposedly to raise $US50m for re-building 100 villages.

Vinod was CEO of data-base company InfoUSA, which paid Clinton $US3 million as an adviser in 2001. Clinton collected another $US3.3 million from 2002-08 for advising Vinod, who also gave the Clinton family free personal use of his fleet of corporate jets. Alas, Vinod was charged by the SEC in 2008 with misappropriating $US9.5 million from InfoUSA to fund his own lavish lifestyle, including 20 cars. He settled with the SEC for $US7.3 million. InfoUSA shareholders resented Gupta’s use of their money to brown-nose Clinton, and the company had to settle with them as well, for $US13 million.

  • June, 2015: Britain’s Serious Fraud Office accused Clinton Foundation ex-trustee Victor Dahdeleh of paying Bahreini officials UKP25m  to win sales contracts for Alcoa US. Dahdaleh was jailed twice pre-trial but ultimately acquitted. Alcoa pleaded guilty to the affair and settled with the Justice Department for $US384 million.
  • Sikh hotelier Sant Chatwal was another Foundation ex-trustee, Hillary campaign supporter, multi-million donor to the Foundation, and multi-million hirer of the Clintons for speaking engagements. In 2001 he was arrested for allegedly defrauding the Bank of India of USD9 million, posted bail and fled to Vienna. In 2014 he pleaded guilty in the US to conspiracy, witness tampering, and having “funneled more than $US180,000 in illegal contributions between 2007 and 2011 to three federal candidates,” including Hillary. He got  three years’ probation, a $US500,000 fine, and 1,000 hours of community service.
  • Sant’s son, Vikram, known as the “Turban Cowboy”, had Bill Clinton as star guest at his 2006 wedding in India. Vikram helped marshall donations for Hillary’s 2008 presidential campaign. In 2013 Vikram was arrested at Fort Lauderdale airport with a half gram of cocaine and six grams of heroin in his underwear. He avoided jail by completing a one-year drug rehabilitation program.
  • Indian legislator Amar Singh was at the head table at a Clinton Global Initiative gala in 2005, then dined with the Clintons at their home. He donated as much as $US 5million to the Clinton Foundation, a large slice of his net worth (perhaps more than 100%). In 2011 Singh was arrested for allegedly bribing three Indian MPs during a crucial vote on a US-India nuclear agreement. He was never tried but was expelled from his party.
  • Claudio Osorio, a Florida builder, was a big backer of Hillary’s 2008 campaign and of the Clinton Global Initiative. While Hillary was Secretary of State he scored a $US10 million federal loan to build 500 homes in Haiti, but was convicted of pocketing the money instead, and got 12 years jail. 
  • Gilbert Chagoury, front-man of late Nigerian military dictator Sani Abacha, was accused by a Nigerian prosecutor of funneling more than $US4  billion from Nigeria to offshore bank accounts. He was at the Clinton’s 1996 White House Christmas Party but in 2000 was convicted by the Swiss of assisting in billion-dollar money laundering of stolen Nigerian funds. The Clinton Foundation accepted at least $US1m from him along with a pledge in 2009 for $US1b, no less. In the same year 2009, the Clinton Global Initiative   gave his Chagoury Group a prize for “sustainable development.”
  • The 2010 Haiti earthquake  killed 160,000. The Clinton Foundation spent $US600m on rehab work there, with little to show for it. However, Tony Rodham, Hillary’s brother, was a director of a company VCS Mining that got prime access to Haitian gold deposits. Another VCS Mining director was former Haiti Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive, who co-chaired the Haiti rescue effort with Bill Clinton.
  • Canadian energy billionaire Frank Giustra knows how the influence game is played. He has donated to the Clinton Foundation and offshoots for many years; joined the Foundation board in 2007; and from 2007 co-sponsored the “Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative”. Bill Clinton has lobbied foreign heads of state who are crucial to Giustra’s business interests.

For example, Clinton and Giustra in 2005 flew on a Giustra jet to Almaty, Kazakhstan,  to meet with the feared Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev and endorse the president’s bid to chair the Organisation for Security & Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

The OSCE, among other things, verifies the fairness of elections among member states. Nazarbayev somehow enjoyed  Soviet-style election support of 90% plus.[ii]  It also didn’t bother Clinton that Kazakhstan is rated by Transparency International as among the most corrupt countries in the world. In 2007 the US officially backed Kazakhstan’s bid and the benighted country got the OSCE chair in 2010.

So what was in it for billionaire Giustra? President Nazarbayez, two days after the Clinton/Giustra visit, helped Giustra beat out better-qualified rivals for a bargain-priced stake in the country’s uranium mines worth  $US350m. Giustra   promptly donated another $US31m, ostensibly to the Clinton Foundation, and then a further $US100m in June 2008.[iii] (The Foundation’s filed accounts were vague and there are queries about how much Giustra money stuck with Clinton personally).

Bill Clinton initially lied to the New York Times that he had not met with Giustra and Kazamtomprom uranium executives at his New York home in February, 2007.  But he changed his story when the reporter acquired photographs of the meeting.

A parallel Clinton-esque episode delivered to Giustra control of Columbia’s largest oilfield via Columbian then-President Alvaro Uribe. That leader’s well-known links to Columbian drug cartels, e.g. the Medellins, didn’t prevent Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gushing about him (contrary to strong advice from the US Embassy there)  in mid-2010 when she met him in Bogota in company with Bill and Giustra.[iv]

  •  Chinese billionnaire developer Ng Lap Seng was arrested and gaoled without bail last year pending FBI charges of conspiracy to bribe the late recent UN President John Ashe (Antigua/Barbuda) with at least $US500,000 to assist Ng’s property wheeler-dealing.[v]Ng in the Bill Clinton/Al Gore 1996 Presidential campaign used a proxy to pour more than $US1 million into the Clinton campaign.  Ng had been favored with 10 visits to the White House, including an elevator ride with Hillary Clinton. Ng’s proxy went to prison, but Ng escaped criminal charges. He allegedly has ties to the upper levels of the Chinese government and possibly its intelligence services, carted a total $US4.5m in suitcases of undeclared cash to the US during ten visits in 2013-15. These  mysterious  cash imports have drawn additional FBI charges.
  • For chutzpah, you can’t beat the Clintons’ tax-exempt charity’s move in 2010 to steer funds to a private commercial interest, the for-profit Energy Pioneer Solutions operated by Clinton pals. Matthew Whitaker, a former federal prosecutor who heads ethics watchdog group Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, had this to say: “It really stinks. It is very highly suspicious on its face. This is a company serving products and services, not a charitable purpose”Julie Tauber McMahon, part-owner of Energy Pioneer, is a Chappaqua neighbor and friend of the Clintons. She is also the daughter of Joel Tauber, a millionaire donor to the Democratic Party. Other owners of the firm, which was formed to insulate homes in rural America, include Democratic National Committee Treasurer Andrew Tobias and former Democratic congressional candidate Scott Kleeb.

Maybe our $85 million  aid to the Clinton charities was well spent, including the dollops from the Howard/Abbott/Turnbull governments. I wouldn’t say every aspect of the Clinton enterprises was corrupt. Still, there are other international charities available with impeccable records and non-partisan politics. Think Red Cross or Rotary Foundation. Why would our Coalition government in particular, choose to add support  with the Clinton’s reeking stew?

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

 

 

 


[i] The detective  work was done by Schweizer in Clinton Cash. The New York Times “broke the story” after getting an advance copy.

[ii] In a December 2005 letter to Nazarbayev following one of his landslide victories, Bill Clinton wrote: “Recognizing that your work has received an excellent grade is one of the most important rewards in life.”

[iii] Giustra had earlier told the New Yorker, “All of my chips, almost, are on Bill Clinton. He’s a brand, a worldwide brand, and he can do things and ask for things that no one else can.”

[iv] Hillary described Uribe as an “essential partner to the United States” whose “commitment to building strong democratic institutions here in Colombia” would “leave a legacy of great progress that will be viewed in historic terms.”

[v] Ashe died accidentally last month before trial. He was UN President in 2013-14.

Napoleon’s Dynamite

It’s one of the oddest films ever to come out of Hollywood, an extended exercise in the gently bizarre that has been on near-permanent rotation in my DVD player, so much so that my wife now suspects an unhealthy obsession with a gawky, mega-awkward teen

napoleonFor the serious tourist, it is disappointing to pass through a major historic site without being aware of it. I had that experience in Idaho two years ago.  My host merely slowed the Dodge Charger  through  Preston (pop 5000), with its farm-machinery sheds and neat homes with nary a front or side fence – unlike Aussie home-owners who barricade their blocks. I asked, “Why no fences?” and he said, “Because we own guns”. 

We’d come 27 miles north from Logan, Utah, to lunch on fried shrimp,  twice-baked potatoes and honey-buttered scones at the Deer Cliff Inn, which sits by the Cub River canyon. Opposite is a cliff with an 80deg slope. The Shoshone, until virtually wiped out in the Bear River Massacre nearby (1863), used to stampede  deer herds over the cliff, heedless of environmental impacts.

Last week my host, a Perth classmate who went native in Utah, emailed me and mentioned that he’d not given me a “Napoleon Dynamite” tour of  landmarks in Preston, the setting for the film of 2004. I hadn’t seen the flick but the very next day I was in an op shop to buy toys, and there on an otherwise empty shelf was the DVD, price $2. It could not have been coincidence.

I have since watched it three times and according to my spouse,  have developed an unhealthy obsession with mega-awkward teen Napoleon, his weedy brother, Kip (32), Kip’s unlikely black lover LaFawnduh and Tina the family’s llama.

The houses, farms and especially Preston High School are now sacred sites for Napoleon Dynamitetragics, attracting pilgrims from as far afield as Korea and New Zealand. Even Tina has her cult, though cynics claim the original llama has passed and visitors are patting a look-alike.

The cult film cost a paltry $US400,000 to make during 23 days shooting. That included a $US1000 salary for the star, Jon Heder. It made $US 40million at the box-office, although it’s so off-beat that none of Hollywood marketers’ algorithms could cope with it. Writer-director Jared Hess himself went to Preston High. He parceled all the weirdness of his adolescent world into the film. The plot is typical revenge-of-the-nerds, but the underwhelming characters are quirky bordering on surreal. There is no profanity, no sex, and no grossness. The Mormon ambience is obvious only to initiates. Preston also happens to be the second-most Republican-voting town (93%) in the US.

Much of the sly comedy can slip by  un-noticed. You will also learn new meanings of boondoggle (in Idaho, plaited nylon keyring add-ons) and Tater-Tots (dice-sized cubes of potato, hash-brown style). The politically-correct class claim the film mocks the disabled and Mexicans. Napoleon Dynamite, as his name doesn’t suggest, is a 16-year-old carrot-topped misfit. His jaw sags, his eyes stay half-shut and he can barely manage a sentence. He pals up with a sluggish exchange student, Pedro from Juarez, with even less vocabulary and animation. One exchange goes:

Napoleon: How long did you take to grow that moustache?
Pedro: A couple of days.

The film is set in 2004 but abounds in 1980s anachronisms such as VCR players. For some reason Napoleon has no parents but is looked after by his grannie, Carlinda, who has trysts with boyfriends on quad-bike outings. Napoleon’s brother, Kip, is a 5ft, live-at-home weakling who is still getting his teeth straightened. Kip says,  “Napoleon, don’t be jealous ’cause I’ve been chatting online with babes all day. Besides, we both know that I’m training to become a cage fighter.”

Napoleon invites regular buffetings from class bullies.

[Sports jock] Don: Hey, Napoleon. What did you do last summer again?
Napoleon: I told you! I spent it with my uncle in Alaska hunting wolverines! [similar to a small bear].
Don: Did you shoot any?
Napoleon: Yeah, like, fifty of them! They were surrounding my cousin! What the heck would you do in a situation like that?
Don: What kind of gun did you use?
Napoleon: A friggin’ twelve gauge, what do you think?

In grandma’s absence (dune buggy pile-up), middle-aged Uncle Rico minds the pair. Rico’s a door-to-door con-man selling plastic-ware and breast enhancement kits. Nostalgic for his glory days at school football, he buys a time-machine kit on-line, which Napoleon and Kip try out. Napoleon just gets electric shocks and exclaims, “It’s a piece of crap, it doesn’t work!” as if any other verdict were possible. In a typically weird twist, the pathetic Kip invites his Detroit chatroom girlfriend, LaFawnduh, to Preston by bus. She turns out to be a tall, lascivious-looking black woman (think Hugh Grant’s kerbside carnal consultant, Divine Brown), but in fact she’s a nice gal and genuinely smitten with Kip.

The  outdoor marriage takes place after the film’s closing credits – I overlooked it first time around – when Napoleon gallops to the ceremony on what he claims is “a wild honeymoon stallion” he has tamed. The odd couple piggybacks into the sunset.

Pedro tells Napoleon he has a talent for sketching warriors and ‘ligers’ – a fantasy lion/tiger hybrid. Napoleon gives attractive classmate Trisha a horrifically crude portrait, with the promise, “There’s a lot more where that came from, if you’ll go to the dance with me.” Trisha’s expression says it all.

The sullen Napoleon does manage to pair with gauche classmate, Deb, after despairing of success: “I don’t even have any good skills. You know like nunchuck skills, bow-hunting skills, computer-hacking skills. Girls only want boyfriends who have great skills!”

His pick-up line to Deb, sipping milk, goes: “I see you’re drinking 1%. Is that ’cause you think you’re fat? ‘Cause you’re not. You could totally be drinking whole if you wanted to.”

In one vignette of Preston’s bucolic life, Napoleon takes a vacation job in an 8000-chook shed. “Do the chickens have large talons?” he asks owner Lyle, in real life Dave Critchlow, who steals many scenes with his part-paralysed face and personally-improvised  lines.[i] At one point Lyle is  preparing to shoot an attractive cow front-on (as farmers do). Just in time, the passing school bus blocks our view, but exposes it instead to the horrified kids. Lyle caters to his teen workers, exhausted from feathery exertions, with a lunch of eggs, egg sandwiches and egg drink.

The film is not much about nothing much, but for entertainment, it sure beats Australian politics.

Tony Thomas’s new book That’s Debatable – 60 Years in Print, can be bought here.


[i]  Officiating at Kip’s wedding, Lyle ad libs: “When an argument arises, if you go outside and take a nice walk, you’ll calm down and then you can come back and it won’t be an argument. And you’ll find that helps your health. All that fresh air and exercise will do you a lot of good.”

 

Cheque Mates: Gillard, Bishop & Hillary

Julia Gillard lavished an unprecedented $292 million in taxpayer dollars on the Clinton-dominated Global Partnership for Education, where she was later appointed chair. Imagine the howls if Tony Abbott had underwritten a Bush-backed charity and saw his career similarly prosper

hillary and juliaAustralian governments, both Labor and Coalition, have thrown more than half a billion dollars in foreign aid over the past few years at a pair of “charities” associated with US Democrat powerbrokers and acolytes.

The latest give-away was $140 million, announced by Abbott’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in June, 2014. The $140 million pledge went  to an amorphous, scandal-plagued US-based education and gender-parity charity chaired since February,  2104, by none other than our ex-PM Julia Gillard,[1] concurrently a prominent member of Hillary Clinton’s official Presidential campaign. The charity is  called Global Partnership for Education (GPE).

The Abbott government did not object to Gillard’s appointment to this multi-billion charity. It could have, given Gillard’s unusual behaviours, personally and in her legal capacity, at Slater & Gordon,  while for four years in the early 1990s de facto  partner of legal client Bruce Wilson, an alleged fraudster ($1m cited) of both employers and unions. The Royal Commission into Trade Union  Corruption urged charges against Wilson but described Gillard’s work on  his legal facilitation documentation as only “a lapse of professional judgement”. Commissioner Dyson Heydon had harsh words about Gillard’s style of testimony. Both Gillard and Wilson strongly deny wrong-doing.

Why Julie Bishop shifted taxpayers’ $140 million to Gillard’s GPE is a mystery. Was Bishop preparing the way for her own translation in due course to a well-remunerated international sinecure? She has as one template: ex-NZ Prime Minister Helen Clark stepping up to run the United Nations Development Program as Administrator in 2009. Clark was the first woman in that job, which she got a year after her nine years as PM. Many super-top jobs now have “Woman’s turn next” written on them in invisible ink.

Whatever was in Bishop’s mind, how did she get a tick from Abbott for such a huge gift to GPE? Abbott had a huge PM’s Department precisely to alert him against doing dumb stuff. And if his office watchdog Peta Credlin was so astute and all-controlling, why didn’t Credlin raise a literal red flag?[2] Even if Gillard’s on-going politicking in the US escaped Credlin’s attention, surely  our Ambassador in Washington, Labor’s Kim Beazley,  was taking note and sending home despatches about it?

GPE is one Clinton/Democrat-oriented charity the Coalition has backed.  The other is ex-President Bill Clinton’s murky Clinton Foundation, closely entwined with GPE. The Clintons left the White House broke in 2001 (thanks largely to legal bills and  payouts to women  Bill manhandled; Donald Trump hyperbolically calls Bill “one of the worst abusers of women in U.S. history”). Today, the Clintons have hundreds of millions in their personal bank accounts, with Hillary running a billion-dollar presidential campaign.[3]

Centrepiece of their financial recovery is the Clinton Foundation “charity” and its spin-offs.[4]

And here’s the best bit: just as Australian governments (Labor and Coalition) donated $460m in total to the Global Partnership for Education, so also did Australian governments (Labor and Coalition) deliver $75m to the Clinton  Foundation and its satellites in the past decade.  That is, our political masters have shipped well over half-a-billion dollars of our foreign-aid money to a couple of high-living US charities run by the Democrat “progressive” set.

I can imagine the howls from the ABC and Fairfax if the Coalition had donated half a billion to “charities” run by the George W Bush camp.  But I can’t imagine any Labor government providing any funding to any Bush-entity charity whatsoever.

Our annual aid to the Clinton Foundation began with John Howard in 2006 pledging $25 million over four years. That was in the Bush era. Our aid was to be matched by the Foundation and used for HIV/AIDS work in PNG, Vietnam and China. Funding peaked at $10 million in 2012-13 and continues. Australia is the single biggest foreign-­government source of   Clinton Foundation funds.

I’ll document the Clinton Foundation in a further article. Back now to Gillard’s Global Partnership for Education…

Fittingly, our new $140 million commitment to GPE was made at a five-star EU-hosted jamboree in Brussels for 800 freeloaders from 91 countries.   Other donors included the Islamic Development Bank ($US400m).  We all know how keen orthodox Islam is on girls’ equity and intellectual empowerment.[5] A new private donor is “Dubai Cares” – and maybe it does, but under sharia law, unlucky women in the United Arab Emirates[6] get flogged 80-200 lashes lashes for premarital sex. A half-dozen unluckier women in the UAE   have been stoned to death for  adultery during the past decade.

But never mind. As Julie Bishop put it, “GPE is Australia’s largest multilateral partner in education. It works in 59 countries to help children attend school, increase primary school completion, lift literacy and provide incentives for developing countries to increase their own domestic education funding.”  GPE funds involve pooling of funds and implementation by partners ,“with the partner country in the driver’s seat”. These partners are largely kleptocratic African Islamic hell-holes.

GPE has an unwieldy membership[7] of 65 basket-case countries coyly described as “fragile”; First World donor states, such as Australia; NGOs; “professional teacher bodies”, and private donors and foundations. It has spent $US4.5 billion on aid in the past decade. GPE’s stated aim is to raise funds to educate 57 million out-of-school kids from poorest nations and 250 million illiterate kids. (There’s plenty of those in Australia, no thanks to teachers’ unions.)[8]

Juila Gillard, as PM,  had already tipped in $22m to GPE in 2010-11 and followed up in late 2011 with a gargantuan $270m four-year pledge. This pledge dwarfed those from a host of comparable Western donors, combined. GPE’s grateful CEO Alice Albright, daughter of President Bill Clinton’s Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (1997-01), successfully lobbied for Gillard as honorary  chair of GPE in late 2013.

The GPE post has enabled Gillard to swan around the world in company with the elite mega-rich, exuding  compassion for the unfortunate. Other high-class global virtue-signallers about girls’ education (a good cause per se) have also taken up Gillard as speaker and cheerleader.  Only this month the new British government (Conservative) was quoting her endorsing their foreign aid for gender-equitable education.[9]

Instead of doing her best for unfortunate girls by staying clear of US partisan politics (why alienate Republicans?), Gillard last October was  featured fawning over Hillary in an official Hillary presidential campaign video about the Democrat aspirant’s turn as Secretary of State (2009-13), saying:

“She was determined to see that women take their place as economic partners in their community, and take their place as political leaders in their community.” [Hubby Bill’s pro-activity with the female sex went unmentioned]

Gillard also praises the “calibre” of Clinton’s intellect in engaging with the Asia-Pacific region. She was a “shaper of conversations, and that’s going to be remembered for many, many long years to come as a diplomatic breakthrough for the US”, Gillard tells the camera.

In a follow-on video for Hillary, she’s alongside Madeleine Albright (as mentioned, mother of GPE’s CEO Alice). Last December Gillard starred again in a Hillary pro-election video bagging Trump over his  Muslim policies, intoning,

“If I was an American I would want to see the reputation of my country always getting stronger and stronger and never at risk because of cheap and easy statements being injected into complex foreign policy debates.”

So let’s chart the action:

  • As Australian PM, she commits $A292m of our money into GPE, a hugely disproportionate amount, into what is supposedly a non-partisan US-based global charity
  • Ex-PM Gillard in early 2014 is installed by GPE as chair
  • While chair, and without any disclaimer re her GPE leadership, she takes further starring roles as Hillary Clinton backer for president and rubbisher of Hillary’s Republican opponent.
  • This compromises the GPE non-political brand as effectively as if the chair of the Australian Red Cross had fronted with Bill Shorten in Labor Mediscare election ads, bagging Malcolm Turnbull.
  • Gillard is enveloped in new status as global icon for the  “progressive” charity set.

On October 24, 2013, by the way, when Gillard was being lined up for GPE chair, she was a key speaker with Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and Al Gore in Washington DC for the Centre for American Progress (CAP). CAP was  founded and until 2014 chaired by John Podesta, chairman of Hillary’s presidential campaign, and who was earlier President Bill Clinton’s chief of staff and latterly an Obama counsellor. Gillard’s topic, you will be surprised to know, was “critical policy issues and the bold ideas needed to tackle them”.

Another Gillard gig after installation was to the “Sustainable Development Conference on Development Finance” at the UN in July, 2015. It was one of those polysyllabic festivals of nothingness capable of drawing up to 11,000 attendees from the ranks of LDC elites and producing multi-thousand-page manifestos, as Canadian blogger Hilary Ostrov has discovered. (You can bang on  from that UN podium about  educating girls amid crises, and about  UN interference with national tax laws, but President Obama had banned mention of terrorism, let alone Islamic terrorism. The T-word got three mentions anyway).[10]

Gillard as GPE chair also went  to the Qatar-run World Innovation Summit for Education in late 2015. The situation was beyond satire, as Qatar backs the full sharia law enforcing female subservience.[11]

Chief of Staff at GPE  (the No. 2 executive), Alex Palacios, began his stellar career in the US government after working on the Clinton-Gore Transition Team in 1992-93. In  late 2014, GPE joined a coalition led by the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) “Commitment to Action for Girls” and unveiled by Hillary Clinton and Gillard. CGI is an arm of the Clinton Foundation.

GPE’s reputation is none-too-flash, notwithstanding a Yes, Minister-style report card by our DFAT in 2012. Even so, DFAT rated GPE as “weak” when judged against the criterion “Plays critical role in improving aid effectiveness through results monitoring”.

GPE management promptly gave the lie to other DFAT positives. The US Government Accountability Project (GAP) discussed last February a pre-Gillard staff mismanagement episode at GPE in 2012, involving processes “tainted by irregularities” and non-transparency. However, under Gillard’s watch as chair in February, 2015, the senior executive culprit was promoted rather than punished. The GAP report found “there is abuse of authority, impunity and [fear of] retaliation”, saying:

What is the “value added” of an organization that rewards the misdeeds of its “Leadership Team?The ultimate victims, of course, are the intended beneficiaries of GPE: Rather than being provided with the best educational services the trust fund can offer, they must deal with an organization whose mismanagement at the highest levels needlessly saps resources and talent. This situation deserves serious attention, not only by the GPE Secretariat and Board, but by the Fund’s donors…”[12]

You might imagine that the GPE is somehow germane to Australia’s sphere of influence in the Pacific region, where wife-bashing and sub-standard education for girls is endemic (think Nauru for starters). But in 2014-15, 46 grants — more than two-thirds of the GPE total — went to Sub-Saharan Africa,  compared with 15 grants to three Asian regions, four to Latin America and three to the Middle East & North Africa.

The notoriously corrupt World Bank plays a major role in GPE as trustee and grant supervisor. The World Bank board includes the usual UN suspects, such as Venezuela (run on Communist lines and now so bankrupt it can’t even afford to print its hyper-inflationary banknotes). Djibouti and terror-promoting Pakistan also have plum roles on the board. The bank’s top priority, literally, is stopping climate change, never mind starvation and disease.[13] So don’t expect wonders from the World Bank supervision of GPE.

Curiously,  GPE in November, 2013, appointed as its chief operating officer a certain Lisa Gomer, who resigned as general counsel at the U.S. Agency for International Development nine months earlier amid a Justice Department investigation of contract rigging. The Agency’s inspector-general alleged Gomer had helped design a $US155,000-a-year contract job to insure it would go to USAID’s chief financial officer, David Ostermeyer, who was retiring. The Justice Department reached a $US30,000 settlement with Ostermeyer soon after Gomer became GPE’s COO, but no charges were laid against Gomer. The GAP watchdog report said,

“There is a whiff of impropriety about this appointment, given the unresolved bid-rigging issues that affected USAID on Ms. Gomer’s watch and the apparent stealth with which she assumed her new position at the GPE.  Given the extraordinary importance of the GPE’s mission educating poor children in poor countries, the Chief Operating Officer for this fund must be above reproach.”

Gomer quit last August after boasting of her “Enhanced corporate governance by facilitating direct support to Board Chair (former Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard)”.

How far up the global totem pole will ex-PM Gillard and one-time de facto of the naughty Bruce Wilson be elevated, especially if we get a President Hillary Clinton? Will Malcolm Turnbull be supporting two Labor ex-Prime Ministers, Rudd for UN Secretary-General and Gillard for President (?) Hillary Clinton’s cheer squad?

Hat-tips: Hilary Ostrov for inspiration, Michael Smith’s blog, Greg Sheridan’s reporting.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


[1] Gillard is not paid as chair but gets a panoply of  travel and other perks.

[2] Gillard as a full-time law student in Melbourne worked part-time as co-administrator 1984-87 for the Socialist Forum think-tank founded and funded by the Victorian wing of the newly-defunct Communist Party. True but trivial.

[3]  

The Clintons’ solicitude for women’s welfare includes their $US3m wedding for daughter Chelsea in 2010. The length of Chelsea’s New York apartment stretches an entire city block.

 

[4] Now re-named the “Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation”

[5] July 18’s   honor killing of a feisty Pakistan woman by her brother is a case in point.

[6] Dubai is capital  of one of the seven UAE emirates

[7] E.g. from Africa — Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Cote d_Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Togo. From elsewhere: Afghanistan, Albania, Georgia, Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova, Sudan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Yemen. Asia-Pacific: Bhutan, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste, Vietnam

[8] The 2006 Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey (ALLS)   results were ranked on a scale from level 1 (lowest) to level 5 (highest). Level 3 was considered the minimum level required to meet the increasingly complex demands of a knowledge society. Almost half of all Australians aged 15-74 years had literacy skills below level 3 (46% had prose literacy skills below level 3 and 47% had document literacy skills below this level) and more than half (53%) had numeracy skills below level 3. I’m not blaming teachers for those who immigrated as  adults.

[9] Gillard: “I congratulate Secretary of State Justine Greening on today’s announcement and her pivotal leadership on girls’ education.”

[10] A UN body set up to combat terrorism in 1996 has so far not even succeeded in defining the word “terrorism”.

[11] Qatar ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women in 2009, but with reservations to Article 2 (equality between men and women); Article 9 (right to nationality); Article 15 (equality before the law); Article 16 (equality in marriage, family relations, divorce, guardianship of children). These reservations were made on the basis that the articles were inconsistent with the constitution and with Shari’a law.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[12] A 2012 DFAT report card on GPE included: “GPE’s Board prioritised the development of a strategic plan to … provide a strong platform for strategic management going forward. It remains to be seen whether these improved governance arrangements will significantly improve GPE’s strategic management and performance, but early indications are positive.”Nice try, DFAT, but no cigar.

 

[13]  Annual report, 2015:  “One challenge—climate change—transcends all others. It is a fundamental threat to people and the planet, and must be addressed if the goal of ending extreme poverty is to be achieved.”

 

COMMENTS [4]

  1. Jody

    To use one of Gillard’s own observations (when she met Frau Merkel), “The girls hang out”!!! She was classy, wasn’t she?

  2. en passant

    Tony,
    I found a small illiterate typo or grammatical error on your part: “… 250 million illiterate kids. (There’s plenty of those in Australia, no thanks to teachers’ unions.)’ It should read ‘There’s plenty of those in Australia, thanks to teachers’ unions.’ Today propaganda is in, literacy, education, thinking and learning are out. Learning and understanding are so passe!
    I have come to the conclusion that the theory that there are parallel universes must be true as this corrupt one cannot be all there is. As Michael Corleone said in the execrable ‘Godfather III’ (when he tried to turn his criminal mafia family into an honest business “The higher I go, the more corruption there is. It never ends until we reach the very top.”
    Yet the mob will pretend Bill was a good guy and Hillary and experienced one. As she told a Congressional Committee after the Ambassador to Libya and three others died due to her ineptitude “Why does it matter any more?” The Left cheered and she may still be voted in by the American sheeples and dead voters.
    Gillard is just treading a well known path followed by every political Narcissist before her.

  3. DRW

    Julia Gillard is an incompetent administrator and to have to sit one of her droning speeches would be hard.