Author Archives: tonythomas061

The Serpent’s Egg

… a serpent’s egg,
Which, hatch’d, would as his kind grow mischievous.
Julius Caesar, Act II, Scene I

May Issue, Quadrant 2012

In June 1988, US Senators Tim Wirth and Al Gore invited a noted climate scientist to brief their committee on global warming. Dr James Hansen, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, told the senators: “The earth is warmer in 1988 than at any time in the history of instrumental measurements … The greenhouse effect has been detected, and it is changing our climate now.”[1]

It was a day of fierce summer heat in Washington. The USA in 1988 was in the grip of heat, drought and potential crop failure comparable to the 1930s “dust bowls”. Hansen gave the media a new angle on the heatwave, and they ran with it. Thus the warmist show for the masses got on the road. “The show” is correct because the hearing itself was a piece of stagecraft. Senator Wirth, with pride, told all to the PBS Frontline special in April 2007:

Timothy Wirth: We called the Weather Bureau and found out what historically was the hottest day of the summer. Well, it was June 6th or June 9th or whatever it was [actually, June 23]. So we scheduled the hearing that day, and bingo, it was the hottest day on record in Washington, or close to it.

Deborah Amos: Did you also alter the temperature in the hearing room that day? 

Timothy Wirth: What we did is that we went in the night before and opened all the windows, I will admit, right, so that the air conditioning wasn’t working inside the room. And so when the hearing occurred, there was not only bliss, which is television cameras and double figures, but it was really hot … The wonderful Jim Hansen was wiping his brow at the table at the hearing, at the witness table, and giving this remarkable testimony.[2]

Hansen’s one-time NASA supervisor, the atmospheric scientist John S. Theon, wrote in 2009 that Hansen “embarrassed NASA” with his alarmism: NASA in 1988 knew little about any human-caused warming. Theon himself was responsible for all NASA weather and climate research, including Hansen’s.[3]

Hansen’s later activism included being arrested in 2009, 2010 and 2011 during his anti-coal-mining demonstrations. In 2007, in testimony to the Iowa Utilities Board, he likened coal trains to “death trains”, saying they would be “no less gruesome than if they were boxcars headed to crematoria, loaded with uncountable irreplaceable species”.[4] Hansen has also called for chief executives of big fossil fuel companies to be tried for “high crimes against humanity and nature”.[5]

Enough of Hansen, typically described as “one of the world’s leading climate scientists”. This article will go back further to see how the warming crisis originated, and where the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) has taken this issue by 2012.

The theory that human-caused carbon dioxide warms the planet goes back to the Swedish scholar Svante Arrhenius in 1896. He thought this would be wonderful:

By the influence of the increasing percentage of carbonic acid in the atmosphere, we may hope to enjoy ages with more equable and better climates, especially as regards the colder regions of the earth, ages when the earth will bring forth much more abundant crops than at present, for the benefit of rapidly propagating mankind.[6]  

However, he hugely underestimated how long the doubling from pre-industrial levels would take: he thought 3000 years; we now think it is likely to happen between 2050 and 2100.

The next big Swede was Bert Bolin. He should be (but isn’t) a household name as the man who galvanised the modern world about carbon dioxide. Bolin pioneered computerised weather forecasting (using the original ENIAC electronic computer) and was quick to endorse the then-sketchy hypothesis that carbon dioxide “pollution” from fossil fuels was a threat to civilisation.

The computerised climate models of those days were ineffably crude—even today, after billions in research funding, climate models are still conceded by the IPCC to have serious flaws and limitations. However, the time was ripe for this new environmental cause. The scare de jour was the Club of Rome’s “limits to growth”; but catastrophic global warming went one better on the angst scale.

Bolin led the science effort, through his chairing from 1964 of the International Council of Scientific Union’s (ICSU’s) key committee on the atmosphere. This high profile led him to chair conferences, become lead editor for reports, and chair successor bodies run jointly with the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) from 1967. From there he vaulted to the inaugural IPCC chair (1988–97).

He propagated modelling results predicting that doubling carbon dioxide would boost warming not by the accepted 1 degree Celsius but by as much as 5.5 degrees through hypothesised “feedbacks”. The attention-getter was that this would occur within the time of one’s grandchildren—from around 2030.[7]

Bolin’s able supporter was Mostafa Tolba, Egypt’s head of the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) from 1975 to 1992. Tolba’s landmark success was the Montreal Protocol on CFC chemicals and the ozone hole in 1987. He also took up the cudgels against acid rain, which turned out to be localised glitches.

The carbon dioxide politicisation got under way at a key conference at Villach, Austria, in 1985, run by the ICSU, the UNEP and the WMO. Even the conference’s title specified that carbon dioxide was the villain in warming, although this had yet to be demonstrated. One hundred scientists and bureaucrats attended the conference by personal invitation and in their personal capacity. They were encouraged to make their resolutions without accountability to parent bodies.[8] The ICSU had prepared a dire, model-based climate report. After a single day’s discussion, the report was officially adopted, although attendees agreed to tone down the top warming estimate from 5.5 degrees to 4.5 degrees to make it more politically saleable. They also cut the upper limit of the forecast sea-level rise from 165 centimetres to 140 centimetres, for the same reason (hence science by consensus). A fly in the ointment was that the WMO declined to affirm that carbon dioxide was causing global warming, so the report had to be equivocal on that.[9] This Villach science report became the received text for similar environmental conferences and reports that followed, such as the 1987 Brundtland Report (Our Common Future), assembled under the guidance of Bert Bolin.

The UNEP’s style under Tolba was to go over the heads of national politicians direct to green lobbies and the media. This forced the politicians into action. Momentum came to a head at the June 1988 “Toronto Conference on the Changing Atmosphere”, which brought together the governmental, scientific and activist communities. Incidentally, three months prior to this conference Bolin was already calling for a carbon emissions tax.[10]

Of the conference’s 341 delegates (mainly bureaucrats), fifty were green groupers from forty-six countries, and only seventy-six were physical scientists.[11] As for the media, “extra press rooms had to be added to handle the hordes of descending journalists”, according to the late Dr Stephen Schneider, the same media-savvy scientist who told Discover magazine in 1989: “To capture the public’s imagination … we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have.”[12]

The thirty governments formally represented at Toronto pledged to cut their carbon dioxide emissions voluntarily by 20 per cent (from 1988 levels) by 2005, to head off warming and sea-level rises. They also set their seal on the creation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), with Bolin as first head. The IPCC’s pre-foundation brief was to encourage and sum up the science as guidance for governmental policy decisions—no mention there of “human-caused” climate change. Technically, this was a neutral agenda.[13] In practice, as Tolba put it to the first IPCC session, the IPCC should “bravely inform the world what ought to be done”.[14] In the event, the IPCC charter in 1988 hardened up. It said the goal was to assess “the scientific, technical and socioeconomic information relevant for the understanding of the risk of human-induced climate change”.[15]

Among the embryo IPCC’s keenest backers was the think-tank TERI in New Delhi, run by the IPCC’s future chair, Dr Rajendra Pachauri. TERI ran a manifesto in 1989 which for its tone shocked even IPCC chair Bert Bolin:

Global warming is the greatest crisis ever faced collectively by humankind. Unlike other earlier crises, it is global in nature, threatens the very survival of civilisation, and promises to throw up only losers over the entire international socio-economic fabric. The reason for such a potential apocalyptic scenario is simple: climate changes of geological proportions are occurring over time-spans as short as a single human lifetime.[16]

The newly formed IPCC rushed out its first report by 1990—in two years instead of the later reports’ five or six years—with the intention of making it a key document for the 1992 conference in Rio de Janeiro. This first report was based heavily on the findings of the 1985 Villach conference and on the Brundtland report. To its credit, the 1990 report was moderate in tone. Its key tract was in the Executive Summary of the human-attribution chapter: “The fact that we are unable to reliably detect the predictive [carbon dioxide] signals today does not mean that the greenhouse theory is wrong, or that it will not be a severe problem in the decades ahead.” In Bolin’s memoir he pointed out that “The IPCC conclusions were carefully worded and did not say that a human-induced climate change was under way.”[17] He complained: “It was non-government groups of environmentalists, supported by the mass media, who were the ones exaggerating the conclusions that had been carefully formulated by the IPCC.”[18]

The IPCC’s 1990 report was of course unsatisfactory to the green movement, from top level (UNEP) down. Putting the political cart before the science horse, the UN drew up its “Framework Convention on Climate Change” (UNFCCC) treaty, which asserted human causation in no uncertain terms, and foreshadowed a regime of emission controls. At the famed “Earth Summit” in Rio in 1992, 154 states signed on. In somewhat Orwellian fashion, the “Earth Summit” redefined the term “climate change” to literally mean “human-caused climate change”. Natural climate change was then re-defined as “climate variability”.[19] Additionally, according to Rajendra Pachauri, the IPCC charter was modified to explicitly state that it was to support the UNFCCC.[20]

What is missing from my dry tale is the emotional punch generated during that Earth Summit. The pre-summit ceremonies included the “Declaration of the Sacred Earth Gathering”:

The responsibility of each human being today is to choose between the force of darkness and the force of light. We must therefore transform our attitudes and values, and adopt a renewed respect for the superior law of Divine Nature.

The sacred earth drummers maintained a continuous heartbeat near the conference centre, “as part of a ritual for the healing of our Earth to be felt by those who are deciding Earth’s fate”.[21]

The next IPCC report, scheduled for 1995, could hardly maintain the 1990 report’s “neutral” stance, given the Rio and UNFCCC anti-carbon-dioxide politics. In the event, the 1995 all-important summary for policy makers said: “The balance of evidence suggests that there is a discernible human influence on global climate.” This itself was a compromise, watering down the draft’s wording of “appreciable” human influence. Bolin says he also ensured that the conclusion was qualified with a phrase, “fully recognising the uncertainty”, but media, lobbies and governments subsequently ignored it. He also complained that many other points in the summary should have been qualified for uncertainties, but were not.[22]

Given that the 1995 summary gave an elephant stamp to the carbon dioxide pollution story, what (if anything) underpinned that summary? Frederick Seitz, president emeritus of Rockefeller University and chairman of the George C. Marshall Institute, Washington, claimed critical caveats in the 1995 body text were deleted to permit the activist summary. Bolin denied this and said there were merely normal reviews of drafts. The deleted passages cited by Seitz included:

No study to date has positively attributed all or part [of the climate change observed to date] to anthropogenic causes …

None of the studies cited above has shown clear evidence that we can attribute the observed [climate] changes to the specific cause of increases in greenhouse gases …

Any claims of positive detection of significant climate change are likely to remain controversial until uncertainties in the total natural variability of the climate system are reduced …  

Seitz, a former president of the US National Academy of Sciences and of the American Physical Society, said he had never witnessed “a more disturbing corruption of the peer-review process than the events which led to this IPCC report”.[23]

Bolin himself let a cat out of the bag. He revealed that the chapter heads Ben Santer and Tom Wigley had claimed, after inspecting the reviewed draft, that new evidence had arrived in the literature justifying a stronger conclusion on human causation.[24] The chair of the science group, Sir John Houghton, thought this summary-strengthening was warranted and the bulk report was retrospectively amended. Human causation thus became scientific orthodoxy. But tangling the web that way offended some delegates, “who emphasised more the need to safeguard the credibility of the assessment process”, as Bolin put it.[25]

Houghton was highly influential in the IPCC’s first decade. He had been Professor of Atmospheric Physics at Oxford and chief executive of the UK Met Office before leading the IPCC’s hard-science Group 1 team for the 1990, 1995 and 2001 reports. A devout church-goer, he told the London Sunday Telegraph in 1995:

If we want good environmental policy in future, we’ll have to have a disaster. It’s like safety on public transport. The only way humans will act is if there’s been an accident … God tries to coax and woo, but he also uses disasters. Human sin may be involved; the effect will be the same. [26]

He also quoted approvingly in 2002 a study estimating there would be 150 million “environmental refugees” by 2050. This was even scarier than UN’s original “climate refugees” scare of 2005, predicting 50 million by 2010.[27] (When the 50 million failed to show up by 2010, the UN discreetly substituted “2020” for the originally forecast “2010”.)[28]

Melbourne IT expert John McLean, who has studied Houghton’s role in this souping-up of the conclusions of the 1995 report, says that the “new evidence” involved was a five-page draft paper submitted to Nature but not yet reviewed, let alone published. And who co-wrote this draft article? The chapter heads Ben Santer and Tom Wigley, along with about seven authors of the IPCC chapter and five other names.

Sherlock Holmes would conclude that the chapter team, lacking evidence to back up their desired post-review rewrite, had written a paper and sent it off to Nature specifically so they could cite it for the IPCC report. The paper itself was clubby, thirty-two of its fifty-nine references involving papers by the chapter members, according to McLean. Four of the fifty-nine references were not even published work, and eight referred to IPCC documents. Of those, three were circular, referring to the impending 1995 IPCC report itself![29] The Nature paper was not published till July 1996. It was of the “state-of-the-art models suggest” kind, and it concluded rather weakly, “It is likely that this [warming] trend is partially due to human activities, although many uncertainties remain, particularly relating to estimates of natural variability.”[30]

Somehow this conclusion had justified the 1995 IPCC summary: “The balance of evidence suggests that there is a discernible human influence on global climate.” The saga was prolonged when several of the paper’s authors were selected as authors of the 2001 report, which in turn cited the Nature paper approvingly.

With human causation now “consensus”, the 2001 and 2007 reports toughened the language, upping the causation from “likely” (2001) to “very likely” (2007), on the basis of further modelling. The 2001 report also splashed in seven places the now-discredited Michael Mann “hockey stick” graph showing current temperatures to be at their highest for a thousand years. It is not quite true that the hockey stick disappeared in the 2007 IPCC report but the one reproduction there is accompanied by discussion about its validity.[31]

Governments have various ways of pressuring IPCC authors about what they write. For example, the UK Department for Environment (DEFRA) briefed the first scoping meeting for the science section of the 2007 IPCC report:

There is general consensus, presented in the TAR [2001 IPCC report] and widely accepted, that climate change in the latter half of the twentieth century, is due to anthropogenic forcing, and the emphasis for WG1 [the science section] should be on anthropogenic change rather than shorter term variability.

This document went on to urge that the 2007 report writers play down paleoclimate information—how the earth’s climate has behaved over recent geological periods, which is something sceptics like to cite.[32]

The IPCC’s current role, apart from supporting the UNFCCC climate treaties, includes 

to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation.

Note that human causation is a given, and that the charter does not encourage the IPCC to investigate potential natural causation. Such processes could be solar cosmic rays seeding clouds and influencing temperatures, and the mystery mechanism driving the Pacific Decadal Oscillation cycles (which correlate well with the temperature record).[33] [34]

The IPCC charter has instead generated a circular process. Research funds pour into the human-attribution issue. Non-human causation has become the Cinderella of science, starved of funds and likely to kill your promotion prospects. Such research could put the IPCC out of business, and evaporate a lot of the science and technology funding (of which something like $80 billion has been spent since 1989 by the USA alone).

The IPCC’s melting-glacier scandal of 2010 and the “Climategate” e-mail scandals (2009 and 2011) have arguably forced the IPCC into a more disciplined approach, with the determination not to be further caught out on scientific bias. The fruits of this new approach emerged in November 2011 with the IPCC’s special draft report on extreme weather events.[35] Thanks to anodyne IPCC press releases, the mass media (which avoids non-summarised material) failed to notice a bombshell finding. Translated from long-winded science-style language, it says:

  1. for the next twenty to thirty years, man-made warming effects on climate extremes will be swamped by natural climate variability;
  2. the man-made warming may even be beneficial by reducing the number of extreme events; and
  3. neither IPCC models nor emissions forecasting are good enough to forecast extreme weather events up to the end of the century.

These IPCC authors won’t be thanked for giving the IPCC modellers a hotfoot. But the 2001 IPCC report, in a bit of buried text, had said something similar: “The climate system is a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”[36]

Indeed, the IPCC report in 2007 pulled the rug from under its own models. It said that in terms of sixteen major climate forces, the “level of scientific understanding” was less than “medium” for thirteen of them, and for five, it’s “very low”.[37] It is remarkable that IPCC scientists can build climate models—and trumpet the outputs—when they don’t understand climate. But as things now stand, the modellers will nearly all be retired or dead by the time their new grace period of twenty to thirty years is up.

Doubts about modellers’ outputs wouldn’t matter if this was all just a morning tea debate among Kevin Rudd’s “humourless scientists in their white coats who go around measuring things”. One wishes it were only that.

Tony Thomas, a retired journalist, worked for thirty years with the Age and BRW. He contributed “The Fictive World of Rajendra Pachauri” in the March issue.

[6] Worlds in the making: the evolution of the universe, p63 Harper, 1908.

[9] Franz op cit p10

[10] “Introduce a tax on Carbon Dioxide”, Bert Bolin & Mans Lonnroth, in Dagens Nyheter newspaper, 24/3/1988

[11] Wendy Franz, op cit., p25

[13] Bolin, Bert: A history of the Science and Politics of Climate Change, Cambridge UP, 2007, p51

[14] McLean, John, Climate Science Corrupted. SPPI, Nov 20, 2009, p7.

[16] Bolin, A history op cit P55.

[17] ibid p63

[18] ibid p112.

[20] Laframboise, Donna, Delinquent Teenager, Avenue Press, Toronto, 2011, p41

[22] Bolin: A History op cit p112-113

[24] Bolin, A History, op cit p113

[25] Bolin, A History, op cit p114

[29] McLean, John, We have been Conned – an independent review of the IPCC, p30-32.

[31] (Box 6.4, WG1).

[32] Op cit McLean, Climate Science Corrupted, p17. The quote is from p36 of the un-numbered pdf file cited

[36] P771, chapter 14, TAR.

[37] Table 2.11, p 201, Chapter 2, WG1, IPCC 4AR.

Andrew Bolt attacked – Thuggery in Carlton in daylight


Tony Thomas, on hand to record the fascist left’s latest attack on those with whom it disagrees, describes the assault in Lygon Street, Melbourne, today on Andrew Bolt:

Andrew Bolt was ambushed and assaulted by a trio of thugs at 11.55am today as he entered Il Gambero Restaurant in Lygon St, Carlton to speak at the launch launch of Quadrantcontributor Steve Kates’s new book.

Bolt was unhurt.  Two of the thugs wore ‘hoodies’ to conceal their faces, according to witnesses, and one was filming the ambush.  The thugs came off worse. Bolt, who is tall and strongly built, told his audience shortly after about his self-defence: 

“It is important when you have a chance, if you don’t mind, because I am an alpha male. You need to assert your masculinity even in times like these. It is important to smash one of the f*****s in the face (audience laughter) and when you have knocked him down, to kick him in the balls.

“I should not have said that word, I hope it goes nowhere…Western civilisation after all. They would hold it against Trump too, wouldn’t they?” 

He continued, “I beg them to release the video they were making of it , release all of it.” 

Bolt wore a white shirt with sleeves rolled up. On his left sleeve he had a tennis-ball sized patch of pink  color  and on his collar, a smaller patch of blue from the dye the thugs sprayed on him.

He said, “They hope, by punishing someone symbolic, they will silence and intimidate the rest of us. It didn’t work on Donald Trump and it shouldn’t work on anyone here. It’s important to keep going.”

He told Quadrant, “They’d been waiting half an hour for me. When I arrived they shouted something and one came at me from behind over my shoulder. I punched one in the head and he fell over. I turned to face the other and the first scrambled up and I kicked him between the legs. Two came up to me to fight – it’s a bit blurred in my mind – one tried to hold me tightly and then they all ran off.”

Bolt says their operation was similar to that of the Antifa (Anti-Fascist)   group.

Bolt was interviewed half an hour after arrival by a male and female police member.

“It was frightening,” says Phoebe M., who was about to enter the restaurant with her husband at the same time. “I saw people attacking this man and there were outdoor chairs and tables flying about and I thought it might be a terror attack.” 

Her husband Michael M., who was closer to the action, said the two attackers wore black hoodies, rather than masks Bolt thought. “They were swinging blows at him but Bolt landed more on them. I can’t remember whether he knocked one down.”

Phoebe said, “I shouted to them, ‘Get out of here, leave him alone’. After, I asked the staff if Bolt was all right and they said he had gone  to the washroom to clean himself up.”

The incident is likely to have been caught on security cameras nearby.

Bolt on his blog this afternoon wrote, “Police are now looking for a Left-wing fascist with a big bruise on his face and another between his legs. They also want to speak to a tubbier protester once he’s stopped running.” 

Bolt was calm when he came to the stage on the upper floor to introduce economist Steve Kates and Kates’ book of blog entries he made while covering the US election, “Donald Trump: The Art of the Impossible”.

Bolt began, “Thanks Steve for inviting me. Next time I hope to get a better sort of reception. We are facing something     that is what it  pretends to oppose. It is the new fascism I met outside the door.

“This is, unfortunately, Melbourne today. The same sort of people have attacked at a number of other (conservative) meetings.

“We had to cancel my  own Melbourne book launch because of such threats. Groups had put up inciting posters all around the city. The police told us they could only offer to deploy one to three police to defend us because they were committed to a massive police operation to provide security at the annual South Sudan beauty pageant, which had involved extreme violence three times.

“That is where Victorians are today.

“Last night there was another attack by a refugee only a couple of weeks after the ASIO director said there was no connection between refugees and such events. There’s been four attacks in a row involving Muslim refugees. If you point this out you yourself  face violence in the streets from people who are against the freedoms we have, especially free speech. Without that freedom you can’t defend any  other freedom. 

“Laws are also being used to make it almost impossible to express dissent on some issues without being sued or risking physical attack. That’s poor and very sad.”

This, he said, was under a supposed “Liberal” government practising Labor-style finances, Labor-light social policies and looking for bi-partisan global warming policies. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop had appointed a committee to better locally enforce UN treaties on our business leaders about  “human rights”, and Bishop had appointed ex-ACTU President Jennie George to help advise her.

“We don’t have a Liberal government any more, this one has no stomach for a  fight,” he said.

For more, visit Andrew’s blog via the link below.

Continue reading…


Bolt Attack – Tony Thomas reports

Over at Quadrant Online (be sure to subscribe) Tony Thomas describes the aftermath of the attack on Andrew Bolt:

Andrew Bolt was ambushed and assaulted by a trio of thugs at 11.55am today as he entered Il Gambero Restaurant in Lygon St, Carlton to speak at a book launch.

Bolt was unhurt.  Two of the thugs wore ‘hoodies’ to conceal their faces, according to witnesses, and one was filming the ambush.  The thugs came off worse. Bolt, who is tall and strongly built, told his audience shortly after about his self-defence:

“It is important when you have a chance, if you don’t mind, because I am an alpha male. You need to assert your masculinity even in times like these. It is important to smash one of the f*****s in the face (audience laughter) and when you have knocked him down, to kick him in the balls.

“I should not have said that word, I hope it goes nowhere…Western civilisation after all. They would hold it against Trump too, wouldn’t they?”

He continued, “I beg them to release the video they were making of it , release all of it.”

Astonishing – a politically motivated attack on a journalist in broad daylight on the streets of Melbourne. And yet – no twitter coverage, no stories in the media. Nothing. Contrast that with the immediate confected outrage against our good friend Roger Franklin last week.

Update: Tim Wilms reports:

It was Midday and we were all awaiting Andrew’s arrival which we had been informed was minutes away. I was very nervous myself as MC for the event, as I wanted to put on a good show for the attendees as well as for the speakers. Then all of sudden a familiar face at these events rushed up to me to tell me Andrew Bolt had just been attacked on his way in by two assailants and had thrown punches at him.

My heart sunk, this was not the welcome I wanted Andrew Bolt to have to our event. After our initial reaction of shock and horror we learnt that Andrew was fine and that the event would proceed as planned. Andrew emerged after cleaning himself up, he had been doused with red and blue die. But undeterred, like he has been for his entire career he emerged to give his speech almost unflustered.

We soon learned that it was his attackers who came off second best, Andrew courageously fought back and sent the cowards running. We also learned that there was a third person who was there to film the attack for the assailants, it was clearly a well-planned ambush. Andrew commented after he fought back that whichever group arranged this attack they would dare not release for fear of their members being exposed as weaklings who can dish it out but can’t take it.

Update IISky News clip. If you can identify those individuals call police – 8379 0800

Update III: Andrew has a short note at his blog:

Luckily the cameras do not capture me kicking one between the legs. I cannot have my children see me acting like a thug.

Never mind his children – I suspect kicking someone in the nuts would be an excessive use of force in self-defence. Mind you, we’re yet to plumb the UK’s “Run, Hide, Tell” level of surrender-monkeyism.

HAL G.P. COLEBATCH: A Master Craftsman Journalist. Review of my book


A Master Craftsman Journalist

That’s Debatable: 60 Years in Print
by Tony Thomas
Connor Court, 2016, 246 pages, $29.95


Tony Thomas is either a born journalist or has worked to make himself a consummate master of the craft, or, as I suspect, both. One way or another he has a master’s touch seen too rarely nowadays.

Not only does his investigative work burrow far deeper than that rewriting of press handouts which often passes for journalism today, but like all masters of difficult skills, he makes it look easy. Further, he has a heavy battery of that often overlooked weapon, common sense.

He is, in fact, near the ideal of what a journalist ought to be and, perhaps, more often used to be. What has struck me most about his writing over the years, apart from the knowledge and research behind his work, is his gift for packing an enormous amount of information into the absolute minimum of words, while making the piece witty and entertaining (my mother used to paste some of his best features in a scrapbook). His piece on Biggles, unfortunately not included here, was one of many that could be called a classic of its kind.

Thus his great strengths are a rapier-like flashing wit, a professional’s taut style, and, backing up all his pieces when necessary, assembled heavy legions of facts—a great combination that we see far too rarely today. I cannot recommend the pieces in this book too highly as models for any aspiring journalist.

I first met Tony when I was a cadet reporter on the West Australian, and he, in addition to reporting assignments, was turning out a stream of feature pieces almost it seemed daily, all entertaining, all written with consummate skill. It is a pity that some more of these West Australian pieces, such as an interview with gorilla-like wrestlers and one on the kangaroo-paw souvenirs sold at the airport—both kangaroo-paw flowers and the chopped-off paws of kangaroos made into bottle-openers—have not been included.

He was always ready to share tricks of the trade with us cadets (we never saw the editor, Griff Richards, and probably wouldn’t have recognised him if we had). When I had my first major assignment—interviewing a senior visiting admiral—Tony went through my prepared list of questions with me, rephrasing them so as to encourage the most newsworthy answers (unfortunately, when the time came the admiral was incapably drunk).

Although now a thorn in the side of the Left, and particularly the greenies and eco-nuts, with his savage and unanswerable pieces in Quadrant and Quadrant Online, Tony came from a communist family and was a Young Communist in adolescence. I used to see his mother, still a red-hot red, at the West Australian Writers’ Fellowship, and though we were poles apart politically I respected her seriousness of purpose and her readiness to help young writers.

We were surprised when he left the West Australian to be an economics writer for the Age. The job seemed too dry and uncreative for his talents.

This book is a collection of pieces he has written over many years but of course the most topical are those he has written since his retirement for Quadrant and Quadrant Online. However, the earlier pieces on growing up red and of the Australian communist world of the time are of real historical interest.

He recalls from his Age days attending one lecture by Jim Cairns, who was then the federal Treasurer. With Junie Morosi squatting at his feet, gazing adoringly up at him, the Treasurer seriously proposed abolishing money, which would be replaced with love as the medium of exchange between human beings. The story was never filed because, Tony thought—probably correctly—no one would believe it.

A major theme of seven of the later pieces is the debunking of climate doom-mongers, with their panoply of scare-tactics and bad science. There are four pieces on the mythologising of Aboriginal life and especially the ghastly reality that Aboriginal women have endured. There is a probing investigation into “The Naughty Nation of Nauru” with its kleptocratic leadership, and the squandering of both its phosphate-derived wealth and Australian aid.

Tony’s years as an economics writer may have been valuable in tackling the anti-mining, anti-growth freaks and the bizarre energy-less utopias they prescribe, though it is truly alarming that, fake Nobel Prizes and all, many are taken seriously not merely in the media but in academe. “The Joy of Yurts and Jam-Jar Glassware” is truly Swiftian in its slashing demolition of pseudo-academic Luddite lunacy. As one who loves the Barrier Reef I was pleased to read his article putting its many predicted deaths in their place.

A quite alarming piece is on the feminisation of the military, and the feminist push to have women in front-line combat roles, so they can come home to their children in body-bags. Tony is, of course, able to quote a list of cases where this has already happened. Since women do not, as a rule, have the upper-body strength required for serving heavy guns or lifting wounded in a hurry out of burning tanks and aircraft, with 100 per cent failure-rate on some tests, required standards of strength are being lowered so women can pass. One British officer has described modern unisex infantry training as “aggressive camping”. I don’t think we have reached the point reported from Britain, where recruits are given cards to produce if their delicate nerves are jangled by drill-instructors bawling at them.

Mentioned briefly is the 2016 Australian of the Year, General David Morrison, with his transsexual aide, who seems more interested in promoting “diversity” than combat efficiency in the armed forces (Wikipedia indicates that this “hard-as-nails warrior”, who joined the army several years after Vietnam, may not have heard a shot fired in anger in his entire career). This essay goes with George Orwell’s observation that civilised men can only be civilised as long as rough uncivilised men guard them.

Thomas casts an informed, dispassionate eye on his own youth, growing up in a committed communist household, and the now-available documents of ASIO and the Communist Party (one ASIO agent infiltrated a party branch of just three members). It complements the memoirs of some disillusioned ex-ASIO agents as to the Keystone Cops element, hopefully now left behind, of the early days of the organisation. Yet one also gets the impression, reading this insider’s account, that the Communist Party, despite elements of farce and Carry On bedroom antics, at times had more real power and influence than any except perhaps its natural enemies on the Right gave it credit for.

What might be called the far Right gets a hammering too, with his account of covering police behaviour at a demonstration in Bjelke-Petersen’s Queensland. The collection concludes with a nicely balanced and objective piece on his travels in America and the American conservative showman Glenn Beck.

Hal G.P. Colebatch lives in Perth. His book Australia’s Secret War: How Unionists Sabotaged Our Troops in World War II (Quadrant Books), shared the Prime Minister’s Prize for Australian History in 2014.

Conscripting Babies in the Culture Wars


Red nappies, green nappies — that’s how the progressive Left grooms its social justice warrior babies, a process that begins, as one kiddie-book author asserts, ‘fresh out of the womb’. Join us now at storytime and learn that  ‘A’ is for ‘Activist’, ‘L’ for LGBTQ and ‘T’ stands for for ‘Trans’

radical baby suit IIProgressives are concerned about the “indoctrination gap” which leaves many kids untouched by Green Left ideology. This gap involves the important demographic from birth through to three- and four-year-olds.

From four onwards, the kids are safely captured by state interventions, such as the Victorian Labor government’s political and gender-bending education down to pre-school and kindergarten level. For example, Premier Dan Andrews is now rolling out a $3.4 million program for 4000 educators to eliminate four-year-old boys’ “hegemonic masculinities”.

Closing the gap is under way through radicalising picture-books for toddlers. These include those board-books with hefty cardboard pages. Traditionally their content was of the “My First Colours” kind; the new authors fill them with images of their better society.

The gap-closing has gained momentum from the election of President Trump, to American progressives a near-unthinkable disaster. Some authors’ explicit goal is to raise a new generation programmed to avert any Trump lookalike in coming decades. “We’re going to have to start in utero,” one reviewer says.

feminist baby IIFeminist Baby is by New Yorker and BuzzFeed worker Loryn Brantz. It’s for babies “fresh out of the womb” up to two-year-olds, as she puts it. Published in April and “the perfect baby-shower gift for today’s new parents”, it’s flying off the shelves at Australian bookstores and libraries.

Brantz told Time magazine, “Why not start kids off right away? Hopefully if we raise a whole generation of kids with Feminist Baby and with older books for kids about feminism and activism, something like this [Trump’s election] will never happen again.” Brantz is marketing the book with comics aimed at adult buyers. In these, “Feminist Baby serves as an under-age heroine bent on smashing the patriarchy and subverting tired traditions like the ‘gender reveal’ [that is, binary male or female].” In one panel, Feminist Baby punches Trump adviser Steve Bannon, who is dressed as a Nazi.

Brantz started to write the book pre-Trump, but obviously, “his administration is complicit in oppressing women of all shapes, sizes and colors”, which is why her book is so very important. Feminist Baby “is decidedly the one we need right now”, says another reviewer. “She’s here smashing your patriarchy, speaking her truths, and not taking anybody’s crap.”

Feminist Baby’s first words (tongue in cheek) are “Gender is a social construct.” In Brantz’s world, the feminised cradle-dweller “lives how she wants and doesn’t let the patriarchy keep her down”:

Feminist Baby chooses what to wear
and if you don’t like it she doesn’t care! 

When it’s snowing, let’s hope she doesn’t choose sandals.

And do it tough, Dads. If you coo to Feminist Baby that she’s beautiful, the infant swipes back, “And I’m smart and capable too!”

Another reviewer says presciently that the book should “imbue your tiny tot with all of the important characteristics necessary for her (or him) to become a lifelong, probably insufferable, feminist”.

Brantz sees toddlers’ books opening a cot conversation about “intersectionality and feminism”. (No, I don’t know what intersectionality is either.)

Another such author is Innosanto Nagara, whose book for children up to three years old A is for Activist has sold 50,000-plus copies. He’s “calling children and parents to action” on things like social justice and immigration. His board book is “unapologetic about activism, environmental justice, civil rights, LGBTQ rights, and everything else that activists believe in and fight for”.

A is for Activist came out for in 2013 and was re-issued for over-fives last November. “I love reading this to my nine-month-old,” gushes one mum. Writes another, “Never too early to get progressive thoughts brewing in little minds.”

Nagara lives and works at an artists’ social-justice collective in Oakland, California, comprising five families. He helped raise seven children there before introducing his own infant to concepts like transsexualism. He had no experience with kids’ books, but crowd-funded $4000 for a home-brew edition of 3000 before Seven Stories Press took it up.

The typical family buyers are “unflinching progressives” who go on anti-war marches, and put up gay-marriage signs in their front windows. He says, “This family understands that even a two-year-old can appreciate a word like ‘camaraderie’ … It’s pretty awesome to hear a three-year-old saying ‘union power’.”

Nagara draws parallels between the oppression by the Suharto dictatorship in Indonesia in 1977 and “Trump’s America”. He’s had earnest discussions with his now six-year-old son about the presidential election “and what we’re going to do between elections, given the outcome”.

This essay appears in the current edition of Quadrant.
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A reviewer suggests that families that have endured war, discrimination, repression and hardship have had to find ways to talk to their children about their traumas. Likewise, Trump’s election is another “difficult subject” to relate to toddlers without generating fear and despair.

Nagara’s first draft included, for “A”, “Actively Acting Against Atrocities”. Atrocities are just what toddlers need to know about. “C” was “Comrades Countering the Corporate Vulture”, later toned down to omit the “Comrades” reference. “L” was also toned down from “Lesbian and Gay. We’re here to stay.”

A is for Activist is nothing short of a masterpiece for the newly literate, writes queer reviewer Lindsay Amer. Her bio says, “When she’s not completely overwhelmed by adulthood, she’s probably plotting ways to overthrow the patriarchy while playing her ukulele.”

Author Naomi Klein, who wants grass-roots campaigns to overthrow capitalism, proclaims the book “Full of wit, beauty, and fun!” Try “Q” for such wit, beauty and fun: “Q is for Question. Querying coercion. Querying Qualities counter false assertions.”

The book starts, “A is for Activist. Advocate. Abolitionist [?]. Ally. Actively answering A call to Action. Are you An Activist?”

“C”, as amended, reads: “C is for Co-op. Cooperating cultures. Creative Counter to Corporate vultures.” Any baby enjoys a debate about incorporated vulture-like entities versus unincorporated mutuals.

“D” mystifies me. “Little d democracy. More than voting, you’ll agree. Dictators Detest it. Donkeys Don’t get it. But you and me? We Demand equality.” The own-goal here is that the illustration shows a blue donkey butting heads with an aggressive red elephant. Nagara seems unaware that the donkeys (that “Don’t get Democracy”) signify Democrats and the elephants signify Republicans.

A second howler is at “N”, not a bad score for a small board book. “N is for NO. No! No! No! Yes to what we want. No to what must go. No! No! No!” All well and good, except the illustration shows one kid holding up a sign, “NO war”, and another kid, “NO justice. NO peace.” Some mistake, surely?

Gender arrives in execrable doggerel. “L-G-B-T-Q! Love who you choose, ’cuz love is true! Liberate your notions of Limited emotions. Celebrate with pride our Links of devotion.”

t pageBy “S” we have a plug for solar power, contrasted with “Silly Selfish Scoundrels Sucking on dinosaur Sludge. Boo! Hiss!” Then “T” is for Trans … Trust in The True. The he, she, They, That is you!”

“X” is a stretch for Nagara, who settles on Malcolm X (Nagara is totally fluent in English after decades in the USA). “Remember Parks. Remember King. Remember Malcolm. And let freedom ring!” Reality check: Malcolm X, at twenty-one, was sentenced to ten years for burglary. On release he helped launch a black Muslim separatist movement, which was riven by infighting. In 1965 he was shot fifteen times by three disgruntled members of the Nation of Islam. Toddlers may wonder at Malcolm X’s relevance to their daily round of Play School, naps and Teletubbies.

With “Z”, Ragara’s desperate solution is “Z is for Zapatista. Of course.” Of course, indeed. The illustration shows an angry young man in a black hood with a horizontal eye-slit. He looks more like a rent-a-rioter for Berkeley campus than a Mexican rebel. A balaclava wearer doesn’t seem a good note on which to settle in a two-year-old for the night.

Politicisation aside, Nagara’s book is incompetent in any literary sense. Rhymes don’t rhyme. Lines don’t scan. The language level and content baffle adults, let alone toddlers.

His latest book is Counting on Community. Number 8, for example, is “Eight picket signs showing that we care”.

Pity these people don’t care about their offspring. In all my explorations, not once did I find a progressive wanting to leave kids to be kids.

Tony Thomas’s book of Quadrant essays, That’s Debatable: 60 Years in Print, is reviewed in the June edition.


Australia Drawn — and Quartered

All this ‘Gonski 2.0’ money being stuffed into the nation’s schools, what does it buy exactly, apart from happy teacher unions? While we might hope for more and better teachers of physics, chemistry, mathematics and other ‘hard’ topics, what we’ll get is more green-Left agitprop like ‘Australia to Z’

indoctrinationEver wondered how intensive is green-Left indoctrination in the school system? One example: Australia to Z, a textbook for schoolchildren 12 and upwards, pushing a nakedly leftist agenda. The book is accompanied by the publisher’s massive and even more rabid  “Teachers’ Notes” which seeks to get the kids out on the streets and campaigning on fashionable Left issues.

Studying these tracts, I felt I was missing something. Then it hit me that the class environment must now  be so palpably green/Left that teachers see no need even for a token effort to offer kids a counter-view. “On the one hand” — but there is no other hand. Yet on first principles, roughly half those kids’ parents vote conservative and their taxes pay the salaries of these supposedly non-partisan government workers.

Australia to Z by is Swiss-born artist Armin Greder. The publisher Allen & Unwin touts it as ideal for secondary schoolers. The alphabet-based picture book comprises 32 pages and 40 key words by Greder. But the  Teachers’ Notes by Queensland educationist Dr Robyn Sheahan-Bright run to 6000 words across 23 pages.  Readers can download the .pdf by clicking here. Flip to Greder’s letter “R”. It’s “R for Rupert”, a snarling, eyeless and jowly caricature of the global media tycoon. Sheahan-Bright prompts kids, “What features are particularly pronounced in this portrait? What does this portrait suggest about the subject?” rupertIt seems that Murdoch derangement syndrome is fertilised early. In Orwell’s 1984, Oceanians each day have to watch a film of the Party’s enemies and then do a “Two Minute Hate”. Maybe that’s what teachers are enforcing about Murdoch.

Sheahan-Bright writes, “The opening page features a child draped in the flag, and another hoisting it – both indicative of the fact that xenophobia, jingoism, extreme nationalism, and prejudice are learned at a parent’s knees.” Any mum or dad with patriotic leanings clearly has a lot to answer for. She urges kids to make their own nationalistic cartoons involving black humour or satire –   ruling out any lurking positivism.[i]

The book’s last page sets out the lyrics of Advance Australia Fair. But alongside, as Greder’s ironic juxtaposition, are drawings of a boat-people family greeted with a sign, “Go Back – We’re Full”; three bald, singleted yobbos chanting “Ozzy Ozzy Ozzy”; and another Ocker celebrating with a beer can. Sheahan-Bright views the page as “a salutary reminder that perhaps our founding values are not best served by the current [2015-16] political and cultural agenda.” Her verdict in the Teacher’s Notes is that Greder’s alphabet is  “a disquieting and potent” and “profoundly significant” work. “This is an extremely important text with relevance for readers of all ages. It is also destined to become a contemporary classic,” she rhapsodises.

grederSheahan-Bright urges teachers to discuss with kids “offshore detention of illegal arrivals and refugees and whether that represents a humane policy”. Another topic suggested is National Sorry Day about European settlement, qua “invasion”. Kids are urged to become after-school activists supporting or protesting an issue selected by the teacher (one can imagine the choices – I don’t think protests against Gillian Triggs would be one of them).

“Create a campaign with your class”, Sheahan-Bright urges teachers. But she adds in an arse-saving aside, “Note, though, that not all students may wish to become involved.” I imagine any such juvenile recalcitrants being herded into a ghetto for wrong-thinkers. Sheahan-Bright says a “concerned group” can do protests via public demonstrations, media advertising campaigns, billboards, and street graffiti. Kids are to research the legality of such modes – “sometimes graffiti artists become well-regarded and even famous for their protests”, she says. Internet sites she recommends include Chilout – Children out of Immigration Detention; “The Facts About ‘Boat People’ – the Government and media are Lying’; GetUp!; and “The 25 Greatest Australian Graffiti Writers”. No site that she lists puts the case for secure borders.

Alphabets are thought to be the province of young children, she writes, “but here the format has been used to engage with adult concepts and topics in a cryptic and powerful way”, referencing “our sometimes myopic foreign policy and our national insularity.” Greder includes drawings of tradies and laborers, whom Sheahan-Bright finds confronting. In S for Stubbies,  for example, there’s a tradie in a bar in shorts, with a stubbie of beer.  “What does the combined image suggest about our culture?” asks Sheahan-Bright,  fishing for negatives.

greder 2Y for Yakka shows a road-laborer type swinging a pick. Sheahan-Bright for some reason decides “this image has a threatening aspect to it. What does it suggest about work? Or about this worker?” Maybe she’s never met a laborer. As for Greder, he writes, “I am fortunate: I have a pension that keeps me afloat and saves me from having to waste time on what is commonly called work.”

For “N for Nationist” the workaphobic artist has  drawn a bald, fat, squint-eyed thug with beer can, draped in the Australian flag and wearing military boots. The preceding page, “M for Meat Pie” shows a juvenile version of the thug, about six years old, shoving a whole pie into his craw. As our teachers’ guider puts it, the adult thug is suggestive of “how this child may develop”. A pie is ominous food, apparently.

F for Footy” shows two thuggish players in a rugby tackle. “What does the body language suggest about the game of football?” asks Sheahan-Bright, clearly no fan of what she calls our “national obsession”. As “D for Digger”, Greder shows a Digger in a flag-draped coffin with a mourning wife and child, “potent symbols of war and nationhood”, says Sheahan-Bright. (My own take is that when Greder happened to be born,  in 1942, his neutral Swiss homeland was waxing fat while Hitler plundered Europe).

greder 3X for Xmas” involves an Ocker in shorts and singlet, wearing plastic antlers, who is about to slaughter a turkey with a knife. Sheahan-Bright wants kids to write a story interpreting the image, but hints at no countervailing Christian narrative.

Stepping back a bit. and in all fairness, the 75-year-old Greder is an excellent stylist in charcoal, in the tradition of Germany’s Kaethe Kollwitz or our own Noel Counihan. He arrived in 1971 and taught tertiary-level art for 20 years.  He has authored and illustrated many books – at least one involving a grant application – and he’s won prestigious awards. An earlier Greder book, published in Italy, was about what he calls the suffering of the Palestinian people at the hands of the Israeli government. He further glooms, “I am a pessimist, agreeing with the Spanish author Perez Reverte that the best of the twenty-first century is that we won’t be around when it ends.

According to Sheahan-Bright, his alphabet book shows “how we as a culture might appear to those from other cultures”. This is a bit rich: Greder’s cultural qualifications as an immigrant date from 46 years ago.  He now lives in Lima, Peru, from which remote outpost he opines on our Australian repugnancy.

Dr Sheahan-Bright herself is an icon of the national and Queensland  writers’ community, a former deputy chair of the Australian Society of Authors, former member of the Australia Council Literature Board and in 2012 was recipient of the Children’s Book Council’s  Nan Chauncy Award for Outstanding Services to Children’s Literature. She’s vice-president (Australia) of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) “which helps to build bridges to international understanding through children’s books.”  Australia to Z would build a somewhat rickety bridge, methinks.

Not content just with Armin Greder’s book, Sheahan-Bright recommends further alphabet-based agitprop to kids, namely “A is for Activism” and “ABC’s of Anarchy”. From those kids can learn that   “L is for Liberation Front”,  and “Z is for Zapatista”. My own thought: B is for Brainwashing.

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

[i] However, the cover of the Kindle version I am using merely shows one child straining to hoist the flag, with no perjorative element. I don’t know if the publisher has changed the cover or opener to tone things down.      


  1. Bill Martin

    This is outright treason! Reverse the situation, and all such people would end their days in the gulag for betraying the cause and rightly so. There is a saying in Hungary: “Repulsive is the bird that fouls its own nest.” So what of the ones who instruct young chicks to do just that?

  2. Ian MacDougall

    Well, after that rundown, and assuming it is an accurate portrayal of the book, it would appear to be such blatant political propaganda that it would create the conditions for a vigorous criticism of it.
    The most effective political propaganda is always subtle.

  3. Lacebug

    I would argue that the image of the yob portrayed by Greder is pretty damn accurate in many parts of Sydney. As one who detests the welfare state, McMansions, and Muslim immigration, I’d always thought I was of the extreme right, but perhaps I’m just a snob.

  4. ianl

    > ” … we might hope for more and better teachers of physics, chemistry, mathematics and other ‘hard’ topics …”

    Not a hope, there is no market for this knowledge except amongst children from the Asian groups. This has been increasingly evident for 20 years and together with many other outcomes has resulted in most of the population unable to know the difference between Watts and Watt hours. Nor is this considered important. An example only, but when people are told of (mythical) batteries with 100MW with the term MWh following in brackets, they feel comforted.

    The Disenlightment proceeds.

Raise High the Bolshevik Dildo

We look at own tertiary institutions and wonder how someone like Safe Schools architect Roz Ward can ever have attained such prominence. Wonder no more. Australia’s monkey-see/monkey-do universities are simply aping the debasement of once-august institutions such as America’s MIT

red robot IIHow far has academia degenerated into Left-liberal indoctrination? The once-inspiring Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) provides a case study. MIT has spawned 87 Nobel Prize winners, according to its provost.[1] They include transistor-inventor Bill Shockley (1956), who kick-started Silicon Valley. Other MIT giants include physicists Richard Feynman (1965) and Hans Bethe (1967).

Today MIT, like UCal’s Berkeley campus, is  just another hotbed of liberal  groupthink and intolerance, as the Left completes in long march through academia.

MIT Press a month ago published “Communism for Kids”, a 112-page historico-literary travesty by a person MIT describes as a scholar, Ms Bini Adamczak, 37. She “works” in junk sociology and queer-sexuality theory in Berlin. Her book is a call to arms to kids to bring back Communism, in various idealistic guises of Adamczak’s own invention. No fringe effort, the book is well-ranked on Amazon and a hot seller to librarians.[2]

I predict that our ABC will shortly swoop on Adamczak and give her rostrums galore to preach Communist idealism to Australian kids, parents and superannuated fellow-travellers. She’s tailor made as a Q&A platformer, surpassing even feminist-Muslim Yassmin Abdel-Magied.[3] Michelle Guthrie, have I earned a spotter’s fee?

MIT Press has form.[4] It remains proud of its publication in 2009 of a theft, sabotage and assassination manual called The Coming Insurrection, by an anonymous French anarcho-Left syndicate of graduates calling for “the annihilation of police forces”. Some months earlier, most of the syndicate, now known as the Tarnac 9, had been arrested by French  police, using helicopters and dogs, on charges of having sabotaged electric cables on a high-speed TGV line, disabling 160 trains.[5]

MIT describes its  author of Communism for Kids as a

social theorist and artist who “writes on the past future of revolutions”.

No, I don’t know what that means either. But wait, there’s more. As she puts it in the  book,

“The hope is that the absurdity and unnecessary brutality of capitalist society will leap out to the people of future generations, the same way that the binary gender system or flatness of the earth seems crazy to us today.”

In another must-read essay, she claims to have invented a new sexual word “circlusion” whose meaning she illustrates with the phrase, “Her dick is being circluded.” As she puts it, “O workers of the anus and the mouth, of the vagina and the hand, I say to you: be aufdringlich! [pushy].”[6] The full quote is reproduced in the footnotes below, but the following gush of po-mo prose is worth mentioning in smaller extract as both an indication of Adamczak’s mental mettle and how low MIT has fallen in lending its imprimatur to someone who produces these remarkable insights

Practically everybody has an anus, but somebody who uses theirs sexually – in conjunction with a dildo, penis or hand – becomes a bottom, a sub, somebody passive. Almost everybody can afford a strap-on or a dildo, but a person who uses one sexually, as a rule, counts as a top or a dom – as active… It’s as if making use of these parts would have disempowering effects. Maybe not if they were confronted by a tongue, but definitely so if met with a dildo…

The internet is strangely blank about Adamczak’s personal and career history,[7] but I’d bet my house that she’s never been off the taxpayers’ teat. Her self-description includes,

Bini Adamczak works (preferably not too much) as an author, performer and visual artist. Like many girls in her position, she dreams about doing something ‘real’ or ‘with her hands’ – for example, to make a revolution.”

Adamczak has no problem with doing away with capitalists, Lenin-fashion. Her book says, “The overcoming of capitalism occurs through juridicial measures and state expropriation of the capitalist class, whereby the nonproductive elements of society are removed and all human beings become workers.” Note that she exempts herself from excessive toil – see para above.

She revels in her own superiority, despising  the “petty bourgeois idea of an integrated working class pacified with homes, televisions and cars…”

The book’s co-translator is Sophie Lewis of Manchester University, whose by-line says she’s “a queer communist and sometimes politics teacher.” Lucky Manchester students! Lewis says finding a publisher in English involved more than three years and 20 rejections, until MIT Press — presumably the bottom-of-the-barrel publisher — came to the rescue with its “beautiful little red and white edition”.

Keith Windschuttle: “You can see the future prospects for the study of Western civilisation at the University of Sydney in the calibre and interests of its rising staff members.”

MIT’s Marc Lowenthal, the acquiring editor  of  Communism for Kids , thinks it hypocritical to criticise Communism without also condemning capitalism “which has brought about colonialism, imperialism, endless wars, and even fascism and national socialism.” He adds, helpfully, “I don’t personally identify as a communist.” MIT Press,  he says, would certainly not publish a book called “Fascism for Kids”, and the interviewer forgot to ask if MIT Press would do a book on Jihad for Kids. As if.

Lowenthal, an anti-Trumper, agrees Stalinism was a horror. He continues,

“But to describe communism as a ‘murderous philosophy’ is simply ignorant, and to then link it to an actual murderous philosophy like fascism is irresponsible.” (My emphasis).

He professes to be amused that people would think an MIT book titled Communism for Kids would be targeted at kids. Even the cutesy drawings are more about feminist gender-bending than kid-fodder,  he says.

This defence tops out my BS-meter. The first two-thirds of the slim volume is written in infantile prose akin to fairy tales, laying out Adamczak’s child-friendly versions of a caring Communist state. As MIT’s gorge-rising blurb says, her tale is “accompanied by illustrations of lovable little revolutionaries experiencing their political awakening… It all unfolds like a story, with jealous princesses, fancy swords, displaced peasants, mean bosses, and tired workers – not to mention a Ouija board, a talking chair, and a big pot called ‘the state.’ ”

Actually, she twice refers not to a pot but to a “potty”, apt in regard to both insanity and faeces.

For the book’s final third, Adamczak  plunges into tortuous sociological jargon about Communism’s future triumph over immiserating capitalism.

Lowenthal is able to cite her couple of milk-and-water references to Communism’s past failure. But  another book quote supposed to get her off the hook, actually puts her on the hook: “To equate Stalinism and communism is wrong, and just a way of shutting down any radical critique of capitalism.”

I waded through the 110 pages, on Quadrant readers’ behalf, marveling that any tract could be so ignorant and poorly written. Adamczak defines Communism as the system that gets rid of “all the evils people suffer today in our society under capitalism”… Under capitalism, “we have to make things – guns, for example – whether we think they’re stupid or not”.

In her idiotic model of a capitalist economy, all output is from factories, which she simplifies as making  two items – steam irons and (wait for it!) pistols. She has steam irons being made from sheet metal and (wait for it!) nails. In one of her scenarios, those who forge nails into steam irons are rewarded with movie tickets. Some workers become “hungry as hell” and are “trying to turn their irons into a stew, but that’s proving pretty pointless.”

Another of her  versions of Communism[8] involves worker-owned factories where “every morning, the people sit down together in a big circle and discuss how they want to work that day. Each person can choose what they want to do, and everyone is allowed to do everything, except there are no boss persons any more…” The autonomous workers “become much, much smarter”, unlike Adamczak.

The sales revenue goes “into a little potty” to be shared equally among the workers. If there’s not enough money, some workers mooch off to a job at the adjacent pistol factory. I have to keep pinching myself that this tripe bears the imprimatur of MIT Press.

In another Adamczak scenario, the steam iron and pistol factories become wholly automated.

“The people shout, ‘Our whole lives, we’ve been workers. From now on, we’re pleasure seekers!’ Everyone feels rich…When they open their mouths, grape juice pours directly onto their tongues, and roasted pigeons made of tofu fall from the sky…They (the workers) are almost as dumb now as they were before, under capitalism. They all grab hammers and smash everything to little pieces…”

Thereafter they pick wild berries to fend off starvation.

The purported climax of her tale has her doll-like gender-bent cartoon figures coming to life and yelling, “Stop telling our story! We decide what happens next. Because this is our story now, and we’re making history ourselves.” Yeah right, it all makes sense, not.

There follows her score of pages of pseudo-philosophical ranting, e.g.

“If communist criticism aspires to move beyond its habit of bitter negation, then it needs to add a blueprint of desire to its toolbox of analytic scalpels and rhetorical dynamite. It needs to generate desire – communist desire.” 

Her conclusion, such as it is:

“The most effective protection against the return of fascism is not to preserve the world it ostensibly fights, but to create a different [i.e. communist] world.”

One commenter on the Amazon book site writes,

“I grew up in the communism (sic) and believe me, the idea of communism will never work. This idea is based on mass murder. My family didn’t do anything against regime, and this is why they was not killed, just imprisoned and abused every day. The police break into our home every week and made a mess and break our stuff – just for fun. And this is communism.”

The above sounds authentic, but may or may not be true. Another jokes: “Will sell like hotcakes in Venezuela. They need toilet paper.” And one more commenter:

“Really diminishes the efforts of Mao Zedong, Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot, Kim Il-Sung, Josip Broz Tito, Ho Chi Minh, Fidel Castro. But hey everybody! Let’s give it one more shot; probably won’t devolve into a murderous tyranny this time!”

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

[1] The correct number is actually 83, as MIT includes four purported Nobel PEACE Prize winners, and MIT’s even wrong about them. I was dumbstruck to find MIT claiming Nobel Peace status for the IPCC’s Susan Solomon and Wei Hao (“shared, Nobel Peace Prize”).  The IPCC explicitly forbids its contributors from claiming Nobel Peace Prize status.

[2] Touted as in the top ten in Amazon’s “Children’s Government Books” and in “Ideologies and Doctrines”.

[3] Doubtless, she will also be invited to roles at Melbourne University’s Sustainable Society Institute and UTS’s advanced journalism school.

[4] MIT Press says its list of published books is “based in science and technology,” and it works to publish “significant works by pioneering international authors.”

[5] The ‘terror’ element of the charges was withdrawn in 2015.

[6] This MIT Press-designated ‘scholar’ Adamczak continues,

Penetration exerts its disproportionate influence over the queer imaginary too. This is evident in contemporary mainstream porn but also in BDSM and so-called post-porn. The dildo and the penis function, almost unchallenged, as practical signs of power… Dommes/doms of all genders tend to express their affinity with the figures of the dildo, the penis, and erect fingers of the hand. Subs associate themselves with the mouth, the vagina, the anus. Sometimes the vulva or the anus. Practically everybody has an anus, but somebody who uses theirs sexually – in conjunction with a dildo, penis or hand – becomes a bottom, a sub, somebody passive. Almost everybody can afford a strap-on or a dildo, but a person who uses one sexually, as a rule, counts as a top or a dom – as active…” of a domme even appears as taboo. It’s as if making use of these parts would have disempowering effects. Maybe not if they were confronted by a tongue, but definitely so if met with a dildo…

[7] Although she wears a frock, her  baritone/bass-voice in this youtube (see, for example, at 33.40 minutes) hints towards a transgender history. If so, good luck to her.

[8] As she puts it, “Of one communism, many communisms bloom.”


  1. pgang

    Or let’s throw a rock into the air and hope that this time it won’t come back down again.

  2. ianl

    My degree is from M-I-T …

    assembled audience responds by singing the well-known kids’ tune:

    K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E

    MIT’s fall from high technical grace is genuinely, horribly distressing. As is the fall of UTS, Broadway, Sydney.

    • Jody

      I rather think the operative word here is “Broadway”.

      • ianl

        No, the precipitous drop in technical standards to those of the Arts and “Soc Science” (OMG) is what distresses me. There is a very good reason that most politicians and senior bureaucrats are Arts/Law and not Science/Maths/Engineering.

        • padraic

          I wonder what George Orwell would make of “Communism for Kids”? In “The Road to Wigan Pier” he wrote ironically and sarcastically about the loopy left academia of that period and postulated about a fictitious book produced by one of them – entitled “Marxism for Infants”. How perceptive is that?

          • Rob Brighton

            One could argue quite well I expect that Orwell’s writing ought be moved to whatever library shelves are used for omniscient writers, having re read Animal Farm and 1984 recently I found myself enlightened and depressed… is almost a how too

  3. pgang

    Here’s a $100k job being advertised at uni of Newcastle. Feel free to interpret into English for the benefit of the rest of us.

    “The Team Leader, Impact and Quality will develop and deliver timely, high-quality and insightful reporting and analytics to support research planning, quality assurance and decision making across key portfolio areas of the Research and Innovation Division’s operations underpinning delivery of the University’s Strategic Plan and vision for 2025.”

    • Rob Brighton

      Exactly the role my PHD laden sister in law holds at a Qld Uni. She informs me it is critical informaion and then argues for the wage gap, patriarchy and equality of results rather than equality of opportunity.

      Happily I live some 400klm away.

  4. pgang

    I think they’re looking for a statistician to do the work everyone else is too lazy to do for themselves.

  5. Real Oz

    Oh for Gawd’s sake stop it!!! My head hurts like hell.

  6. Bryce M

    I years to come it may be discovered that all the drugs this generation and the one before it are stuffing into themselves has typically caused brain damage to varying degrees. They seem to be stuck in a kind of perpetual childhood, which is very sad.

  7. LBLoveday

    Obama agrees that homosexuality is a matter of choice.

    In his book “The Making of Barack Obama”, David Garrow, who received a Pulitzer prize for a biography of Martin Luther King Jr, claims that “Obama wrote somewhat elusively” (to a girlfriend) “that he had thought about and considered gayness but ultimately decided that a same-sex relationship would be less challenging and demanding than developing one with the opposite sex”.

  8. en passant

    I am a manic (or is it maniacal?) reader. At any one time I am reading six books across a wide range of subjects which I pick up when the mood takes me. I complete about one book per week by reading roughly 200 – 250 pages. I won’t bore you with the names of any of my current ones, but four years ago I looked around at western society and (like Rob), I had an overwhelming need to revisit ’1984′ & ‘Animal Farm’. They are indeed a ‘how to’ manual for the anti-human totalitarians who infest academia. After all, deprivation (and depravity) will never invade their cocoon. That is for the little people of no account for whom they are doing all this. I withdrew from university in the third and final year of my ‘Arts’ course as it had become pointless. I was learning nothing of use, nor was I learning how to learn as I found that independent views, questioning the orthodox consensus, reading material not on the ‘approved’ list and contrarian thoughts were all treated with hostility. Pavlov would have approved of the curriculum and the drones it was designed to produce. Instead, I am far better educated than I could ever have been had I gritted my teeth and forced myself to chant the mantra of approved orthodoxy.

    As I was driving today I listened to the ‘Science Show’ Well, it was a show all right, but there was nothing scientific in the propaganda it espoused. The main ‘interviewee’ was a 15-year-old advocating the banning of meat-eating as 1kg of meat requires 15,000 litres of water and 6kg of plants to produce. In fact, having just finished a sponsored study tour our young scientist advocated that we obtain our protein not from eating sentient animals, but from the flesh of insects. As one who has lived in the bush I have hunted and killed my own food, eaten all sorts of things, including insects, snakes and the unspeakable. Having a 15-year-old diktat my diet resulted in my immediately feeling the need to rebel by pulling into a drive-thru and order a double meat and bacon burger.

    So, having read the madness Tony has identified that has taken a firm grip of our universities I feel an urgent need for the government to defund all but a tiny slice of their faculties. I suspect we would notice if the IT, medical, engineering or mathematics departments disappeared, but would I notice if gender studies, sociology, journalism, climate change and victimhood faculties never produced another unemployable graduate? Well, maybe I would as the quality of work at my local car wash might improve; but then again, probably not.

At the ABC, Fact Phobia Strikes Again

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  1. Bran Dee

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

  2. Bill Martin

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

  3. Warty

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

  4. Jody

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

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

  5. gardner.peter.d

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

  6. Doubting Thomas

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

  7. Doubting Thomas

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