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Pulling apart Andrew Bolt’s anti-Islam crusade

You could have seen this coming. When Andrew Bolt runs a series of blog posts over a few days on a certain theme, he’s often testing his arguments ready for a column in the newspaper. His arguments will then get distilled down, his presentation of evidence – which is usually pretty scant in his posts, particularly when the source doesn’t actually say what he claims it says, inevitably gets whittled to almost nothing for print publication – and the end result is a distillation of his claims and misrepresentations with little to back them up. And here it comes:

On choosing Julia’s “right kind of migrant”

MY excuse for this column is Julia Gillard. She’s the one who says we need to bring in “the right kind of migrants”.

More importantly, our new Prime Minister says she wants us to talk frankly at last about boat people – and, I presume – other immigrants.

“I’d like to sweep away any sense that people should close down any debate, including this debate, through a sense of self-censorship or political correctness,” she declared.

I hope she means it, because here are some facts of the kind that normally invite screams of “racist” and an inquisition from our shut-your-face human rights tribunals.

And away we go, with a string of misrepresentations, the goal of which appears to be to inflame opposition to Muslim immigration, and to chide anyone who dares to criticise “Australian” culture, whatever that is.

You definitely could have seen this coming. And if you look back at where it came from, you can see how flawed this effort is.

I’m not going to document every fault in Bolt’s column and where it comes from – I simply don’t have the time. But I’m going to highlight a few clear and egregious misrepresentations. If you find more, add to them in the comments.

Let’s start with this claim:

The latest example is a new guide to teaching Islam in schools, published by Melbourne University’s Centre for Excellence in Islamic Studies.

It barely mentions the Islamist terrorism that is the main cause of what it dismisses as our “racism” towards Muslims, and refers to al-Qaida, the killer of so many of us, as merely one of several “famous names”.

Terrorism is brushed off as one of the “constant reminders of this distrust” between the West and Islam, for which the West is blamed most.

Only one reason is given for high Muslim unemployment – “underlying discrimination and prejudice towards non-Europeans in Australia”.

Bolt’s “analysis” of this work started in this post from last weekend. He is commenting about this document – a 120-page paper that aims to serve as an educational resource about Islam, both in terms of teaching to Muslim students and teaching about Islam as part of recognising the make-up of our society and the nations in our region. It’s ironic that Bolt’s entire perspective seems as rigid and dogmatic as he claims the view presented in the guide is – while the guide itself seeks to recognise the extreme views while noting they are not accepted by all and encouraging teachers to challenge those beliefs.

Some examples:

  • Bolt claims the guide “barely mentions” Islamist terrorism. It’s hard to know how much coverage would satisfy him, given that he seems to regard terrorism as the unique, defining feature of Islam, but consider this. The document has a section (p. 95) comparing the moderate and fundamentalist perspectives among Muslims, and noting that “between these two groups lie a plethora of Islamic viewpoints and worldviews.” This is where Bolt gets the “famous names” and “constant reminders of this distrust” quotes. Several pages later (p. 100), the guide addresses the claims that “Islam condones terrorism and the killing of innocents” and that “Muslims are potential terrorists and a threat to national security” as “myths and misconceptions”. Among other things, this section notes that:

    Islam absolutely prohibits the killing of non-combatants, including women, children and the elderly. Muslims who commit acts of terror believe that the ‘ends justify the means’. However, in traditional Islamic law, both the objectives and the means must be in accordance with Islamic principles.

    It acknowledges that some Muslims do condone terrorism, but also makes clear that these beliefs are not consistent with Islam. That might be a view Andrew Bolt seems incapable of accepting, but the fact that they haven’t addressed the issue to his liking does not mean they haven’t addressed it. Terrorism is also mentioned in several other parts of the guide.

  • Bolt simultaneously claims that the “racism” against Muslims in Australia comes about because of terrorism and dismisses any claims of discrimination and prejudice as significant factors affecting Muslims. He says that discrimination is the only reason given for “high Muslim unemployment” – in fact, the guide acknowledges that “the reasons for this are numerous” and only warns that “underlying discrimination
    and prejudice towards non-Europeans in Australia may be a factor”. And in claiming that all this talk of racism is undermining Australia and masking the fact that we should be scared about Muslims because of terrorism, Bolt neglects to mention the learning activity that the guide refers to in support of its point (pp. 61-62) – a description and discussion of the ANU field experiment [PDF here] that showed people with ethnic names need to submit more CVs to secure a job interview.
  • In the original blog post, Bolt launched into a bunch of other criticisms as well, typically relying on selective quotations or no quotation at all. For instance, he told readers that according to the guide:

    the Crusades are presented largely as noble Muslims defending holy lands from barbaric Christians. You’d never guess that Christians thought they were recapturing holy lands from Muslim armies that had overrun them militarily.

    In fact, the history curriculum section includes a learning sequence (pp. 29-32) that starts by noting that:

    This learning sequence explores the Crusades from the perspective of the Muslim world. It is designed to complement a unit of work on the Crusades.

    The very first activity is to:

    Ensure that your students are familiar with the Crusades and understand the motivations of the Europeans in embarking on the Crusader campaigns. Familiarity with the extent and timelines of the various Crusades is also helpful.

    The sequence then involves giving students quotes from Muslim writings on the Crusades and having a class discussion about questions such as:

    Why do we usually explore events from our own cultural perspective? What are some reasons that make it difficult to explore alternative perspectives? Is it important to explore both sides of the story? Why or Why not?

    It’s not proposing an indoctrination of the Muslim perspective, but merely exposing the students to the fact that “our” history tends to have been written from one side. All of which is predicated on the idea that students are also aware of what the Christians thought they were doing. And the sequence concludes by highlighting the link between these historical perspectives and some modern views about Western incursions into Muslim nations — again, inviting the students to consider to what extent they agree or disagree with it.

I suspect I could go on and on with more examples — every time Bolt provides a fragmentary quote or trails off with an ellipsis, it seems to be concealing the fact that the guide says something that contradicts his description of it. Anyone who reads the guide and finds more examples should feel free to share them. But of course, the first post served to claim that the Islamic community failed to confront their own failings. Another post was needed to build the case about those failings – and it came yesterday:

The latest religious news

The “news” was a set of links to acts of violence associated in some way with Islam. It was exactly the sort of oversimplified bigotry he seems to demand in reporting on Islam, but which of course would be an unconscionable smear if a similar approach was taken toward any other religion. This post has already had a good round-up in our open thread, including some of the charming comments that have been published by the Herald-Sun in response to it. Just as Julia Gillard would have wanted it, I suppose.

And that gave Andrew the material he needed to put together a whole column that boils down to arguing that Islamic culture is synonymous with terrorism, that they refuse to deal with this and that therefore we should be talking about blocking Muslim immigration. The amazing thing is that after working so hard to build this argument, Bolt still seems to have no problem demonising a different group on the same day. Matthew of Canberra does a good job of summarising the problems with that “claim” about Tamils and the alleged vindication of Uncle Ironbar, and I’ve noted a similar pattern before, but it’s great to see that Bolt isn’t troubled by the inconsistency of arguing that Islam is a unique threat and then bringing an entirely different group up as a danger who must be blocked.

But of course, his claims that the “racism” against all the Muslims who live in the world is only because we’re (quite understandably, you see) deathly afraid that they will all start blowing us up is only half of the attack. The other half is to condemn those of us who criticise Bolt, or his commenters, or anyone else who disparages an entire religious or ethnic group because of the extremists who pervert that group’s views, because we’re undermining Australia’s values and pride. I thought one of our values was judging each individual on their own merits, accepting different views and beliefs and being free from dogma – Andrew Bolt’s approach to the efforts for dialogue and education about Islam don’t seem to reflect any of those things. And frankly, I could feel a bit more pride if I didn’t see such base and baseless arguments as such a regular part of our media and our politics.

(NB: Thanks to Matt and the other readers who contributed information that went into this post. More input is welcome in the comments.)

UPDATE (July 16): The Punch has run a pair of articles on Bolt’s anti-Islam column. Tory Shepherd takes issue with Bolt’s column, saying it “fuels racist thinking” and “sets one society against another”. Bolt responds by claiming that Shepherd has misrepresented his argument. Rather than create a new thread, discussion of those articles is welcome here.

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  • 1
    Angra
    Posted July 14, 2010 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    Bolt is perpetuating the dangerous right-wing myth that Islam somehow promotes terrorism. What are the facts?

    Europol publishes an annual report entitled EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report. On their official website, you can access the reports from 2007, 2008, and 2009.

    http://www.europol.europa.eu/index.asp?page=publications&language=

    The results are stark, and prove decisively that few terrorists are Muslims. In fact, a whopping 99.6% of terrorist attacks in Europe were by non-Muslim groups; a good 84.8% of attacks were from separatist groups completely unrelated to Islam. Leftist groups accounted for over sixteen times as much terrorism as radical Islamic groups. Only a measly 0.4% of terrorist attacks from 2007 to 2009 could be attributed to extremist Muslims.

    Similar figures are presented by the FBI concerning terrorist attacks in the US. Only 6% of terrorist attacks on U.S. soil from 1980 to 2005 were carried out by Islamic extremists. The remaining 94% were from other groups (42% from Latinos, 24% from extreme left wing groups, 7% from extremist Jews, 5% from communists, and 16% from all other groups).

    http://www.fbi.gov/publications/terror/terrorism2002_2005.htm

    On these figures we should be much more frightened of ‘Christian’ and ‘Jewish’ terrorist outrages than any committed by Muslims.

  • 2
    Matthew of Canberra
    Posted July 14, 2010 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Go here

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrorism_2010

    Search for northern ireland. 10 so far this year.

  • 3
    Matthew of Canberra
    Posted July 14, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    Blast. Make that 6. There seems to be a bit or argey going on with that page about what constitutes terrorism

  • 4
    sunnyboy
    Posted July 14, 2010 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    The mainstream media are the ones to blame for the division in society, where are the facts bolt? Try not to get so personal next time and back it up with objective data without letting your real emotions on the topic take hold of your article.

  • 5
    Lee Harvey Oddworld
    Posted July 14, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Bolt constantly invokes alarm about this country’s Muslim population statistics. In reality, he’s terrified that Muslims might become a real political force — in an (ostensible) democracy — and somehow counterbalance the might of the Israel lobby. Not sure he has much to worry about at the moment, though, with Julia and Tony both proxy Likudists.

    In the meantime, Muslims are the new {n-word} — you can say what you like about them in the MSM and no one blinks an eye.

    {NB: I know you were using that word for effect, LHO, but would prefer not to create a precedent for its use. A standard which hopefully fits with the argument you were making. Tobby}

  • 6
    shepherdmarilyn
    Posted July 14, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    And of course don’t forget that car bombs were first used in New York by an Italian and then in Palestine by jewish terrorist organisations like the Stern and Irgun.

  • 7
    Posted July 14, 2010 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    I’m sure Bolt has a sound understanding of the scholarly literature of the Crusades, which is why I’m sure he knows that Amin Maalouf’s brilliant ‘The Crusades Through Arab Eyes’ was published in 1984. Examining the Crusades from an Arab point of view isn’t even a new or novel approach, yet here is Andy screaming about the corruption of our education system.

  • 8
    mulga mumblebrain
    Posted July 14, 2010 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    The first problem we encounter with this type of Islamophobic hatemongering is the definition of ‘terror’. For the Right ‘terror’ only exists when hated minorities or detested victims fight back. Therefore, by definition, the Western mainstream media ignores the vastly more destructive Western state terrorism that has killed millions in the Islamic world since1947.
    This state terror in the region commenced with the Nakbah in Palestine,when 700,000 Palestinians were ethnically cleansed by the Israelis (not Moslems) with scores of massacres and many individual murders used to stampede the population. Israel has committed numerous acts of state terrorism since, the most infamous the murders of prisoners-of-war during the1956 and 1967 wars, the USS Liberty attack, Qibya, Sabra and Shatilla, Qana (twice) Jenin and Gaza, but {Bolt} et al never preach that Judaism is a terrorist threat. One need not ponder why for long.
    However the greatest proportion of Western state terror in the region has been carried out by the US and its stooges, which means us, tragically. Apart from CIA subversions, such as the overthrow of the democratically elected Mossadegh Government in Iran, the US has installed and maintained numerous fascist despots throughout the region, monsters all, whose corrupt regimes have tortured and terrorised their populations into submission. Then there has been the direct terrorism,of military aggressions (the ‘supreme crime’ in international law) launched against Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, with Iran clearly targeted. In these terrorist crimes, the US-led West has caused the deaths of millions. Not to forget the over one million killed by the supremely vicious sanctions inflicted on Iraq during the 1990s, that caused 500,000 deaths of children under 5, which horror Madeleine Albright the US Secretary of State said was a price that was ‘worth it’. Apparently, according to {Bolt} that’s not ‘terrorism’.
    We need here to utilise Chomsky’s useful definition of ‘worthy’ and ‘unworthy’ victims.The ‘worthy’ victims who get the status of human beings, are those killed by our enemies.In the case of Islamic terrorism,they amount to a few thousand. Then there are the ‘unworthy’ victims, those killed by the Western state terrorists. They number in the millions, but being Islamic untermenschen,propagandists like {Bolt} ignore their fate, or tell untruths about it. Typical was the Right’s Holocaust denial over civilian casualties in Iraq. While the world’s leading epidemiologists were putting the death-toll over and over again as more than one million, the Rightwing denialists, aided, as usual, by the Rightwing media propaganda system, insisted on risible estimates of tens of thousands. It’s just like saying that the Nazis killed a few hundred thousand Jews, rather than six million, but for the Right it was standard operating procedure.
    Finally we must contemplate just who ‘al Qaeda’ and the Islamofascists are.We know that al Qaeda was created by the US, by the CIA working with UK intelligence, the Saudis and Mossad. We know that the US used al Qaeda in Afghanistan,Bosnia, Chechnya and Kosovo, then,like Saddam, another US ‘asset’, they became more useful as enemies. We know that the Taliban were created by the Pakistani ISI, the intelligence service that is a CIA asset and whose leader is subject to Washington’s veto when appointed. We know that Hekmatyer, the Talib’s ally, is a long-time US favourite, from the days when Reagan described him and his ilk as ‘the moral equivalent of our Founding Fathers’.
    The reason for the current,particularly vicious upturn in hatemongering against Islam,particularly in the Rupert Molochg gulag, and led, as ever, by Zionists like Melanie Phillips, is pretty easy to discern. Apparently the Zionist stooge in the White House and his ally Netanyahu, have decided to ‘obliterate’ (in Hilary Clinton’s nice turn of phrase)Iran, and therefore the Western public needs to be raised to a fever-pitch of xenophobia and race and sectarian hatred, with a propaganda campaign of lies and vilification just like that conducted against Iraq before its crucifixion.It’s very crude, in places completely alike to the Streicherian filth directed at Jews in Germany in the 1930s. The historical irony would be lost on our present-day peddlers of hate and accessories before the fact in genocide,but they are, in my opinion, truly wicked individuals, so immune to moral reflection.

  • 9
    Posted July 14, 2010 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    Great post, Tobby.

    BTW, Bolt’s trick of posting snippets from a swag of selected news stories that prove the evility of Islam is not new. Fringe right-wing bloggers like Matthew K of the hate site A Western Heart have been doing it for years. Group think.

  • 10
    Angra
    Posted July 14, 2010 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    I am so incensed by this nut-job Islamophobia that I am going to make a point in developing much closer contacts with my local Muslim community and do everything possible to counter the likes of the Bolt mindset. I suggest like-minded people do the same. One of my best friends when working overseas in a difficult country was a Muslim, one of the most honest and genuine people I have ever met. Sadly no longer with us, so I wish to respect his memory.

    Here’s are some places to start –

    http://www.speednet.com.au/~keysar/aboutifaa.htm

    http://islamicfriendshipevents.blogspot.com/

  • 11
    baloo8
    Posted July 14, 2010 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    This man is gold. How he manages to keep a straight face doing this stuff amazes me. Surely he’s just an ego using xenophobia and ignorance to further his career with no real care for social commentary at all.

  • 12
    Posted July 14, 2010 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    ELSEWHERE: I’ve been getting the impression, both here and on Twitter, that I’m not the only one left with a pretty sour taste at this sort of smear offensive on such a large number of people. If you want to read about an actual Australian person’s actual encounters with an actual Islamic culture, check out Scott Bridges’ account of his arrival in Iran over at Back in a Bit.

  • 13
    Angra
    Posted July 14, 2010 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    The truth is, Bolt is anti-Semitic…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semitic

    The racist!

  • 14
    confessions
    Posted July 14, 2010 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    Actually it’s funny that you linked that as I was just thinking about Iran, given I work with an Iranian muslim woman, and the masses of Iranian people who put their lives and the lives of their families on the line by protesting the Iran elections in the name of genuine democracy. Do Bolt and his fanboys fear these people? Or do they just ignorantly assume that all muslims are hate-preaching fundamentalist clerics?

    I think the main problem for Bolt and people like him is they don’t actually know any muslims so it becomes easy for them to be portrayed as ‘other’, as a threat to ‘us’, much like the way in which they demonise aboriginals. Perhaps GetUp could shame Bolt into spending a day with a muslim Australian as a part of much needed cultural awareness development for Andy.

  • 15
    confessions
    Posted July 14, 2010 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    Oh, and in relation to the foul comments left on the ‘religion’ post, whatever happened to the handwringing dilemma over how to best moderate the blog in the wake of the Hungry Beast segment? Or was that all just an act?

  • 16
    Captain Col
    Posted July 14, 2010 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    I for one don’t want increased Muslim immigration and would prefer fewer. I know I am in the majority in the Australian electorate. I know none of my friends on both left and right want more Muslims or unauthorised boat arrivals. For the most part, Islamic culture is not sufficiently compatible with Australian culture and it’s not our responsibility to change ourselves to accommodate foreigners.

    I have my own example of Islamic “tolerance”. I have Iranian friends who have been here for a year. They are a young married couple. They had to flee Iran in fear of their lives, first to Turkey, then here. He was a university graduate, Airbus First Officer and Muslim. The crime … he married a non Muslim and converted to her faith. Authorities (when they heard of his intentions) confiscated his bank accounts, flying log and all qualifications (essentially his identity), refused to acknowledge he’d ever worked for the airline, and would have executed him had he not fled overland to Turkey. He’s now starting university again naturally without proof of qualifications. His wife is completing a high school course.

    Great religion eh? Yes I want more like my friends, but not people who think their religion of Islam is the only way to govern a country.

    More power to Bolt for pointing out the problems and indeed to PM Gillard for encouraging a guilt-free debate.

  • 17
    peter de mambla
    Posted July 14, 2010 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    @5

    “In the meantime, Muslims are the new {n-word} — you can say what you like about them in the MSM and no one blinks an eye.”

    Hmmm. Qui bono, I wonder? I reckon them Likud Olami you talk about — Greater Israel and all that. Insures our support (or at least that of the bogans) and keeps our troops over there. At the expense of our Muslims. At the expense of civic nationalism (to be replaced with white ethnic nationalism). At the expense of Waleed Aly, who’s not the “right kind of immigrant”. At the expense of us all. Bastards.

  • 18
    Matthew of Canberra
    Posted July 14, 2010 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    TZ @12

    What I’d like to see is a few ACTUAL conservatives – you know, the old fair-go sort – see the sort of commentary that conservative press has been doling out, and how error-ridden it is.

    mulga mumblebrain @8

    It would be extremely inconsistent of me to have a go at Bolta, and highlight the nastiness of some of his comments, without saying something about your latest posts.

    That one @8 is just rambling nonsense. Sorry, but it’s that simple – it’s ridiculous. In future, when you make claims of fact, how about putting in some effort and supply some credible references. If you can’t find any, maybe take that as a hint. From my (admittedly not SUPER-SUPER-TOP-SECRET) standpoint, I’m pretty sure the US did not create al Quaeda, and did not “use” them anywhere. They also didn’t create the Taliban. Obama is not a “zionist stooge”. While I’m the first to criticise israel for some seriously stupid moves over the years – I think you’re overstating the case for “acts of state terrorism” somewhat.

    This post:

    http://blogs.crikey.com.au/purepoison/2010/07/12/open-thread-july-12-16/comment-page-2/#comment-31236

    Is pretty dubious. If you have evidence of an Australian resident having been complicit in war crimes, then take it to the police – heck, I’ll drive you there. Meanwhile, how about not smearing all Jews (or even Israeli citizens) because you don’t like the policies of Israel. A heck of a lot of Americans don’t like the policies of their government, a lot of Australians didn’t like the invasion of Iraq. Are you holding us all responsible for the actions of Blackwater? I can absolutely assure you that NOT all Israelis agree with the policies of their state.

    Those posts are no different in tone and factual content from some of the dross that gets published “over there”. They’re just coming from a different angle.

  • 19
    Rena Zurawel
    Posted July 14, 2010 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

    Can we suspect some media people of promoting ‘hate speech’?
    Prior to invasion on Afghanistn we hardly ever heard about radical Islam and never about islamist terrorism.
    Mr. Bolt knows very little about Islam and even less about history.
    He tries to make us believe that i. e. indigenous people of Central America are all cannibal suspects because of Mayas’ religious rituals and practices.
    I think some {Snip – We can’t allege that – Dave} should be sent back to school and read some more recent history. According to German propaganda Poles were terrorists; well, all Slavs and Gypsies subhumans and only them, good Christian Aryans were perfect.
    Got mit Uns!

  • 20
    Rena Zurawel
    Posted July 15, 2010 at 12:01 am | Permalink

    By the way, has Andrew ever heard about Avicenna, Omar Khayyam, Hafez, Firdausi and many, many others, great humanitarians who greatly contributed to our civilisation..

  • 21
    mulga mumblebrain
    Posted July 15, 2010 at 12:56 am | Permalink

    Good God, Matthew,if you are ignorant of the fact that the US created al Qaeda, financed and trained it to fight the Soviet in Afghanistan,then flew al Qaeda fighters to Bosnia and Kosovo to serve there ends there, then you are invincibly ignorant.You have no excuse either, because all these FACTS are on the record and freely available with a simple Google search. So, please, spare me your risible pontifications.

  • 22
    mulga mumblebrain
    Posted July 15, 2010 at 1:05 am | Permalink

    Matthew, as to Obummer being a Zionist stooge,just look at the evidence. Like all US Presidents he follows orders or else.JFK learned what happens if you annoy Israel. I suggest you Google the ‘Chicago Jewish News’, October 24, 2008, and read the article ‘Obama and the Jews’ which outlines, in great detail, how Obama was talent scouted by a Zionist professor at college, then financed all the way by Zionist ‘patrons’ on his rise. These people do not invest millions without expecting obedience. Then he appoints Rahm Emanuel as his Dick Cheney. You’ve got to be joking. No-one can be so ignorant, surely. As to Israeli crimes being committed by Australian Jews, just check the reports from the Gaza flotilla. Australians present recognised the accents of some of the pirate-murderers as unmistakably Australian. Crimes by the IDF are so universal that the chance of Australian Jews serving in that giant death-squad not being involved are miniscule. It’s a very bad look to attempt to minimise crimes against humanity and exculpate the perpetrators, solely on the basis of their religion, and attempt to vilify those who oppose such crimes, a very bad look.

  • 23
    mulga mumblebrain
    Posted July 15, 2010 at 1:16 am | Permalink

    col, how amazing to find that a climate change denier is also a xenophobe. Your tale,if true,is lamentable, but judging a whole religion or country on the basis of one case, and thereafter universally condemning them, is lunacy. I could come up with innumerable incidents committed by Christians, Jews, Hindus and atheists that are lamentable, but to condemn all those groups on the basis of one,or several, wrongful acts is simply bigotry. Islam,like all the monotheisms,is not my cup of tea, but I’m mature enough to know that it has its good points and its bad points. The same goes for Iran, a state not perfectly to my liking, but, in my opinion,immeasurably superior to the US and Israel in not so widely spreading misery and terror. I suspect that the universal stereotyping that your type of Rightist is so fond of, is a pathetic and transparent attempt to justify simple hatred, in particular race hatred and generalised xenophobia, which, as we know, are the two most prevalent character traits on the Right.

  • 24
    Rich Uncle Skeleton
    Posted July 15, 2010 at 1:21 am | Permalink

    All Mulga’s posts are rambling nonesense. They make Iain Hall look like Gore Vidal.

  • 25
    jakemanning
    Posted July 15, 2010 at 1:37 am | Permalink

    Andrew Bolt has many negative things to say about some migrant groups to Australia such as they have high levels unemployment and so forth. What Bolt fails to recognise is that the disadvantage caused by the racist White Australia Policy (only abolished by the Whitlam Government) still lingers within Australian society. Bolt talks about conforming to Australian society as though multiculturalism has been abolished and it was back to the old days of assimilation and integration. WHAT AN IDIOT. We as a nation have moved on since the dark old days. Guess he blames Aboriginal Australians for statistically having higher unemployment and higher levels of incarceration, forget the brutality of stolen generations of even the fact that the constitution had to be changed in 1967 through a referendum to allow Aboriginals to be recognised as citizens. Bolt seems to believe that true Australian culture is some kind of European centred Anglo Celtic culture when it is not this at all. Australia is made up of many different cultures, religious and political beliefs all blending together to form a better society. Bolt talks about the unwillingness and inability to conform. Does this apply to Aboriginal people on Native title land living as close to an Indigenous lifestyle as they can? Just because somebody believes in a different political structure does not believe that they are ‘lees Australian than anyone else. Bolt is probably unaware that Menzies tried to ban the Communist Party in Australia but failed in two referendums. Bolts continual attacks on Muslims in Australia who are a small minority are outrages. Muslims have contributed a great deal to Australia starting with the Afghan Cameleers 1860’s-1930’s but Bolts racism and ignorance probably means that he is unaware of this fact. Muslim arrival in Australia predates European arrival and Muslim Indonesian sailors, Macassens peacefully traded with Aboriginal Australians for the Trepang sea cucumbers found in the Northern parts of Australia. Macassen Muslims and Aboriginal Australians also intermarried. {Snip – We can’t make those assertions about someone – Dave}

  • 26
    peter de mambla
    Posted July 15, 2010 at 4:36 am | Permalink

    @ 8 mulga mumblebrain “Apparently the Zionist stooge in the White House and his ally Netanyahu….”

    Actually, Obama is not a Zionist stooge because he is not a neocon but rather belongs to an opposing faction, namely the Zbigniew Brzezinski/Trilateral Group faction. It was this group that stopped the neocon’s last hurrah with that Rogue B-52 incident in August of 2007. Obviously, given the power of the Zionists, Obama has to doff his cap to them somewhat, such as having that Mossad guy as his chief of staff; but overall Obama’s faction does not believe the world revolves around Israel — Brzezinski has publicly warned that if Israeli fighter planes fly over US-controlled Iraqi airspace on their way toward bombing Iran that the Americans would stop them, humphing that “we’re not impotent little babies, you know”. So the faction of the American ruling elite that Obama represents does not ask “how high?” when Bibi says “jump!” Otherwise Iran would have been attacked by now. Having said that, it looks like the neocons are preparing for a return through a Petraeus run for president in 2012.

  • 27
    peter de mambla
    Posted July 15, 2010 at 5:22 am | Permalink

    If anybody’s having difficulty understanding what Andrew Bolt has in mind when he thinks of the “right kind of immigrant”, see here:

    http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/europes_changing_face/P0/

    It goes way beyond Muslims.

  • 28
    Angra
    Posted July 15, 2010 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    Never let the truth get in the way of a good story. Facts don’t matter to diehard believers.

    In a series of studies in 2005 and 2006, researchers at the University of Michigan found that misinformed people, particularly political partisans, rarely changed their minds when exposed to corrected facts in news stories. In fact, they often became even more strongly set in their beliefs. Facts, they found, were not curing misinformation. Like an underpowered antibiotic, facts could actually make misinformation even stronger.

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128490874

  • 29
    quantize
    Posted July 15, 2010 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    I stopped reading Col’s comment when he claimed he had friends ‘on the left’.

    Um no. I know not a single person who would tolerate the talkback gibberish that Col regurgitates. Perhaps he means retired unionists.

  • 30
    LacqueredStudio
    Posted July 15, 2010 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Does anyone else wonder if mulga mumblebrain is actually taking the piss with all these slabs of rambling nonsense? Come on — (s)he calls themself mumblebrain. Is that not a hint? Because if so, I’d say all that time and effort would be better spent writing a Twitter fake.

  • 31
    returnedman
    Posted July 15, 2010 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Col their experience sounds similar to those who suffered under the apartheid regime in South Africa. Did you feel the same way about white South Africans?

  • 32
    confessions
    Posted July 15, 2010 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Does anyone else wonder if mulga mumblebrain is actually taking the piss with all these slabs of rambling nonsense?

    Yeah, the thought crossed my mind.

  • 33
    Matthew of Canberra
    Posted July 15, 2010 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    CC @16

    “For the most part, Islamic culture is not sufficiently compatible with Australian culture”

    Now … how many times have we heard that before? John Howard and Pauline Hanson said it about Asians and some of my relatives used to say it about various European migrants. I don’t doubt that somebody’s said it about Indians. It seems to be a defining feature of whoever happens to make up the latest round of immigration.

  • 34
    Captain Col
    Posted July 15, 2010 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Why is everyone knocking poor old mulga, a fellow traveller from the left for most of the regulars here. He’s just saying what most of you are really thinking but just can’t put into writing. Anti US, anti Israel tripe has been the staple of even the best of you. As for the evil conservatives from the faaaaar right like me (and everyone in the main stream political parties), well it’s comforting to know he hates me too (just like quantize with his equally uninellectual – but shorter – ramblings).

    More power to you mulga. You are doing the left a real favour.

  • 35
    Matthew of Canberra
    Posted July 15, 2010 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    CC @34

    “He’s just saying what most of you are really thinking but just can’t put into writing”

    Er, no.

    “Anti US, anti Israel tripe has been the staple of even the best of you”

    A link, please. Just one.

  • 36
    quantize
    Posted July 15, 2010 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Actually we should thank you Cap, we can obviously tell the difference between extreme left and extreme right…you obviously do not. That’s why you’re thinking is so easily demolished on this blog repeatedly.

  • 37
    quantize
    Posted July 15, 2010 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    your

  • 38
    LacqueredStudio
    Posted July 15, 2010 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    That’s not true at all, Col.
    Mulga can’t write.

  • 39
    Posted July 15, 2010 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    OK, everyone has had a dig at everybody else now. I’d really welcome some discussion of the issues, thanks.

  • 40
    confessions
    Posted July 15, 2010 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    Great article by Tim Dunlop on immigration and asylum seekers, and racism vs leadership.

    http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/stories/s2953650.htm

  • 41
    Posted July 15, 2010 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    I’d really like to hear a decent reason why students shouldn’t seek to understand the Crusades from an Arab point of view.

  • 42
    confessions
    Posted July 15, 2010 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    What I’d like to see is a few ACTUAL conservatives – you know, the old fair-go sort – see the sort of commentary that conservative press has been doling out, and how error-ridden it is.

    PJ O’Rourke on Q&A last year was as good an example as I can think of. He absolutely gave it to Julie Bishop (I think it was her) over her party’s fear mongering on asylum seekers, saying wtte people who decide to risk their lives and those of their families to escape persecution possess all the qualities of endeavour and initiative that are valued and rewarded in our society.

    But he’s American, so we don’t get his views regularly in our media. The only other Australian conservative I can think of who feels similarly is Gerard Henderson, who has been a vocal pro-immigration advocate in the past. Don’t know what his views are now though.

  • 43
    Holden Back
    Posted July 15, 2010 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    @ confessions, Henderson expressed almost precisely that view on Insiders last Sunday, even to a preference for boat arrivals over people ‘sitting in camps’.

  • 44
    Angra
    Posted July 15, 2010 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    There’s an interesting article in today’s New Scientist called You Can’t Fight Violence With Violence. It’s about research into the psychological motivations which drive people to commit violent acts.

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20727684.700-you-cant-fight-violence-with-violence.html

    A couple of apt quotes…

    “The effects of trauma don’t just lead to tit-for-tat violence. They can radicalise ordinary civilians and can even lead to their engagement in suicide terrorism. It is important to understand that such action does not originate from religious beliefs per se; religion merely facilitates such acts by providing a meaning for self-sacrifice, such as martyrdom. …characterising adversaries as fanatics, religious extremists or terrorists hell-bent on destroying western values maximises public fear and prevents an understanding of the psychology behind acts of terror, thereby bolstering public support for war.”

  • 45
    sneakers
    Posted July 15, 2010 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Daniel @ 41. I couldn’t agree more; in fact, I’m reading the PDF right now. Granted, I’m only on page 15 but the more information available the better, eh?

    It’s a shame that upon seeing the words Muslim or Islam, certain people automatically think it’s got to be something bad.

  • 46
    Upyasmum
    Posted July 15, 2010 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    So let me get this right – the government has suspended processing refugee claims from Afghanistan and Sri Lanka because those countries are no longer considered dangerous. However, our problem seems to be a lack of a few actual fair-go type conservative commentators. And we need these guys because all the Left-leaning commentators can’t get any air-time in the conservative media to argue that these non-refugees should be able to come to Australia as refugees, which is what the anti-fair-go conservative commentators want.

    How’s this: Rudd designed a dog of a policy and Gillard has run with it.

    There’s your problem.

  • 47
    Matthew of Canberra
    Posted July 15, 2010 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    sneakers @45

    It’s actually quite a good little information package for teachers who might happen to be interested. I’m impressed that somebody thought to put it together. I was actually fairly astonished by how AB skewed it. The three quotes in the section on the crusades are quite well chosen, IMHO. They’re obviously selected to represent three very different muslim attitudes to their attack on jerusalem.

  • 48
    Matthew of Canberra
    Posted July 15, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    Upyasmum @46

    “the government has suspended processing refugee claims from Afghanistan and Sri Lanka because those countries are no longer considered dangerous. However, our problem seems to be a lack of a few actual fair-go type conservative commentators.”

    Actually, I asked what fair-go conservatives might think about the demonization of muslims, not about refugee policy.

  • 49
    Holden Back
    Posted July 15, 2010 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    @ Upsyamum Surely, the problem you identify is that the general public has been allowed to believe that the arrival of a tiny number of refugees is a major problem, and to demand nonsensical ‘solutions’ from either side of politics. A collective neurosis has been indulged and exploited for electoral advantage by both sides.

    Were I a serious conservative or a Christian, I’d be hopping mad at the mis-representation of the central tenets of my beliefs by the rabid right-wing pundits. Those of us with a strong grip on the western tradition are frequently left gawping at the claims they make in its name. Of course, it’s no secret that many of them have previously devoted their furious intensity to the incendiary Left. Now their skills previously used to further Trotskyist revolution are marketable commodities in the service of a sensationalist media. One can only hope they are as successful in the current endeavours as they were in that last one.

  • 50
    twobob
    Posted July 15, 2010 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Angra @44

    “characterising adversaries as fanatics, religious extremists or terrorists hell-bent on destroying western values maximises public fear and prevents an understanding of the psychology behind acts of terror, thereby bolstering public support for war.”

    Well who would of guessed that that was what it is all about eh? I’m gobsmaked!

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