How surprised by this are you?

obama you let the whole world down

From Drudge:

‘We can live together’…
Netanyahu, Abbas attend Paris mass rally…
Largest in French history…
KISS-OFF: USA represented only by ambassador?
Officials skipped Washington ‘Charlie’ rally, too…
Gunman appears in chilling video, declares loyalty to Islamic State…
WIRE: Both brothers had weapons training in Yemen…
Afghanistan rally hails attackers as ‘heroes’…
FEINSTEIN: Terrorist sleeper cells are in USA…
FBI Assuming Larger Surveillance Role…

MEANWHILE BACK IN AUSTRALIA: This is titled, Our Gutless Surrender, is written by Roger Kimball, is published at PJ Media in the US, but begins:

The Melbourne-based journalist and television commentator Andrew Bolt is celebrated and reviled by all the right (i.e., all the left) people throughout his native land. He’s been threatened, sued, and otherwise harassed by the politically correct establishment that, despite the great Tony Abbott in the prime minister’s seat, holds sway in Oz. Along with the writers associated with Quadrant magazine in Sydney, Bolt is one of only a handful of people who have effectively challenged the sclerotic orthodoxy of establishment opinion on all matter of issues, from the Aborigines and immigration to the virtues of free-market economics to the cesspool of hatred that is the ideology of radical Islam.

It does require a special kind of brave, which unfortunately not everyone has.

Bolt is back

Actually, he is still in Holland. But in case you missed them, there are two new posts up at his blog. The first is, No, you are not all Charlie. Here is the whole thing:

I am in Holland and the other night, in Groningen, passed one of those demonstrations now held all over Europe in support of the magazine Charlie Hebdo and the journalists murdered this week by Islamists. Many people held up the sign seen at all these demonstrations: Je suis Charlie. I am Charlie.

Pardon me, but those signs are just not true. Charlie Hebdo was selected by al Qaeda for attack precisely because almost no one else was Charlie Hebdo. It was almost alone in newspapers and magazines to mock the ideology that so many other journalists fear. That is why it was the target, and, say, The Age, The Guardian or the New York Times not.

And I suspect this attack will work. There will in fact be fewer Charlie Hebdos than ever. More on this in tomorrow’s Sunday Herald Sun, once the lawyers have carefully checked what I am permitted to say under our already absurd laws against free speech.

The second is his column in the Herald Sun today, Are we really all Charlie? No, no and shamefully no. Here are the first two paras:

PROTESTERS around the West, horrified by the massacre in Paris, have held up pens and chanted “Je suis Charlie” — I am Charlie.

They lie. The Islamist terrorists are winning, and the coordinated attacks on the Charlie Hebdo magazine and kosher shop will be just one more success. One more step to our gutless surrender.

UPDATE: Perhaps more than just a one-week wonder: French Premier Declares ‘War’ on Radical Islam as Paris Girds for Rally:

Prime Minister Manuel Valls declared Saturday that France was at war with radical Islam after the harrowing sieges that led to the deaths of three gunmen and four hostages the day before. New details emerged about the bloody final confrontations, and security forces remained on high alert.

“It is a war against terrorism, against jihadism, against radical Islam, against everything that is aimed at breaking fraternity, freedom, solidarity,” Mr. Valls said during a speech in Évry, south of Paris.

We’ll see. Check back in about a week.

OK you cowards at the ABC – why don’t you invite him?

Now here’s a Q&A that would get a record audience. As Andrew Bolt has asked, Margaret, why didn’t you invite me?. The invitations that were extended come 58 seconds into the presentation, saving you more than an hour of tedium. Here is Andrew’s comment:

Margaret Simons, head of Melbourne University’s journalism course, introduces ABC boss Mark Scott by noting that News Corp people had declined to debate him.

Funny, I didn’t get an invitation. Nor did Simons mention I’d invited Scott to put his case on The Bolt Report and he has refused.

Now this would be a heavyweight division contest. My suspicion, though, on why Andrew wasn’t invited is because they know that one-on-one and over the course of an hour he would absolutely take Scott to the cleaners even with Tony Jones in the chair.

Separating political comment from bigotry

What an excellent government we have. Its ability to see clearly and understand the need to protect free speech and political debate while at the same time protecting individuals from vilification in the public sphere is exceptional. I discussed this in a post on Andrew Bolt and Mark Liebler. This is what I concluded then:

Free speech is about allowing the freedom to say whatever one believes in the midst of political discourse. If an acceptance of racist rants is defended as examples of free speech then the very notion of free speech will be discredited by these very claims in the eyes of anyone who wishes to live in a decent society where individuals are protected from the kinds of racist abuse that has no part to play in a civilised community which seeks to promote peace, order and good will.

And it is exactly this distinction that has been made in the coming legislation.

The Government Party Room this morning approved reforms to the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (the Act), which will strengthen the Act’s protections against racism, while at the same time removing provisions which unreasonably limit freedom of speech.

The legislation will repeal section 18C of the Act, as well as sections 18B, 18D, and 18E.

A new section will be inserted into the Act which will preserve the existing protection against intimidation and create a new protection from racial vilification. This will be the first time that racial vilification is proscribed in Commonwealth legislation sending a clear message that it is unacceptable in the Australian community.

The coming debates in this country over the course of the next few years will be about political views that mascarade as religious or racial views. We now have legislation that will allow such debates to take place in public without spurious claims of racism being allowed to cloud the discussion. An exceptionally well thought out piece of work.

Joe McCarthy was not a McCarthyist

Joe McCarthy is a name so long gone into history that all that remains is that he was the bad kind of defender of our values against totalitarian tyranny. Yes, we are told, there were a few communist spies in the West but however bad Stalinism and communism might have been, what McCarthy did was much much worse. So if we were going to rate McCarthyism and Stalinism on the Political Richter Scale, Stalin would come in at around a 6 but Senator Joe would be a 9. A very handy scaling for the left since at various times when someone attempts to draw attention to what it does and where it aims to go, out comes the handy dandy McCarthyist tag. Sometimes it works better than other times, but since the conservative side of politics has adopted the left’s view of McCarthy, it is a very effective tactic. But it will only work if you think McCarthy was in the wrong.

McCarthyist tactics are, in fact, the preserve of the left. They are the experts in labelling others with some kind of tag that may or may not fit but does cause those they attack to retreat. A very interesting example of the effect such labelling can have may be found just the other day. Andrew Bolt put up a post which he titled, Called racist just once too often. To fight or to hide? and whose point may be found in the opening paras:

STRANGE, after all I’ve been through, but Monday on the ABC may have been finally too much for me.

You see, I was denounced on Q&A – on national television – as a racist. I watched in horror as Aboriginal academic Marcia Langton falsely accused me of subjecting one of her colleagues – “very fair-skinned, like my children” – to “foul abuse … simply racial abuse”.

Langton falsely claimed I was a “fool” who believed in “race theories” and had “argued that (her colleague) had no right to claim that she was Aboriginal”. I had so hurt this woman she “withdrew from public life” and had given up working with students (something seemingly contradicted by the CV on her website).

And when Attorney-General George Brandis hotly insisted I was not racist, the ABC audience laughed in derision. . . .

My wife now wants me to play safe and stop fighting this new racism, and this time I’m listening.

This time I was so bruised by Q&A that I didn’t go into work on Tuesday. I couldn’t stand any sympathy – which you get only when you’re meant to feel hurt.

Andrew Bolt is not a racist but the label does penetrate. Call him a racist and some of the mud will stick and it will undermine his willingness to take on the various issues he does. It will also tend to undermine his authority and ability to communicate. Andrew is unique in the country, not only for the clarity of his thought, but because of just how effective he is in bringing his message into the light. Shutting him up is a major aim of the left and calling him a racist is one of the ways this might be done.

Joe McCarthy was not a McCarthyist. Virtually every accusation he made has been established since his time. His interest was in the Roosevelt and Truman administrations and the government of the United States. Understanding the extent to which the White House was infiltrated with Soviet agents is still only in its infancy, with more revelations coming out year by year. That Senator McCarthy is bundled with the Democrats who ran the House UnAmerican Activities Committee (HUAC) is part of the way in which the issues are confused, again only to the benefit of the Democrats and the left.

I have an article at Quadrant Online that follows my January-February article, America – the Big Dumb Ox. The movie reviewer at Quadrant, whether because he was offended by my article or just as a matter of chance, decided to write a column attacking McCarthy in the usual leftist way. Having a spare few hours on a Saturday afternoon, I wrote a reply which you can read here. But what was particularly interesting for me was that his defence of McCarthy actually exposed the extent to which McCarthy was taken down by the usual media suspects of the left. Today we would see it for what it is, and there is the internet to defend those who stand up for our values. But McCarthy was the first to be exposed to this full frontal media attack and it was devastating. I therefore encourage you to read my post, and then if you are interested in such matters, to go on and read M. Stanton Evans brilliant Blacklisted by History. You will then see the world in a very different way.

The difference between left and right

Andrew Bolt has quite a neat list of what divides left and right, socialists and conservatives, progressives and small-l liberals, or however you might like to name and frame the differences between the two sides of politics. This is in answer to the ABC’s Jonathan Green who thinks that he, like the rest of the ABC, represents the middle ground. This is the list to which no doubt others might be added.

– restrictions on free speech
– the retribalising of our nation
– changing the constitution to effectively divide us by race
– our high levels of immigration
– massive overspending on entitlements and welfare schemes
– workplace restriction which employers say cost jobs and investment
– government handouts to prop up companies from Qantas to car-makers, involving billions of dollars and thousands of jobs
– preventing illegal immigration, which under Labor was reaching levels approaching 40,000 people a year
– the global warming faith and its carbon tax, responsible in part for the loss of thousands of Australian jobs
– the Renewable Energy Target, who helps make electricity a luxury for the poor without doing anything for the environment
– the green bans on nuclear power and on dams to water our growing cities.
– appeasing or defying rising Third World or developing powers such as China
– surrendering elements of our self-government to multinational fora such as the United Nations
– limiting the reach and bias of our massive state media
– green restrictions on the use of our natural resources, costing possibly tens of thousands of jobs
– how to fight Islamist extremism, already responsible for the loss of hundreds of Australian lives

For more on these issues, there is an interesting article, naturally written by someone on the left, that deals with Are left and right a feature (or bug) of evolution?. It’s a review of two books that look at politics and evolution. You should read it all, but this I thought was precious:

Liberals and conservatives, conclude Hibbing et al., “experience and process different worlds.” No wonder, then, that they often cannot agree. These experiments suggest that conservatives actually do live in a world that is more scary and threatening, at least as they perceive it. Trying to argue them out of it is pointless and naive. It’s like trying to argue them out of their skin.

I, of course, see this in exactly the reverse way. It is the Candides of the left who see no danger and create havoc through their ignorance and blindness to actual problems they ignore. Every one of the issues raised on Andrew’s list is a minefield for which so far as I can see there is not a single realistic solution being offered by the left.

A reminder to lovers of reason

I don’t know why this is news to anyone – Bolt Report back – and bigger – but it has not gone unremarked amongst those who somehow find this displeasing. From Andrew Bolt:

The Twitterverse has exploded in rage, but I trust lovers of reason won’t be displeased:

NEWS Corp Australia columnist Andrew Bolt is being given more airtime with his Network Ten show to double in length to one hour when it returns on March 2.

The new-look The Bolt Report will include a new segment, called News Watch, which promises “to put the media under genuine scrutiny”.

The fun starts at 10am and 4pm on Sunday, March 2.

I believe this is meant to be a complaint, but I shall treat it as a request:

gerard mcdermott on bolt

Among the guests for the first show: Peter Costello, Michael Costa and Gerard Henderson. We have invited Bill Shorten to come on the show on the very near future, of course, and hope the old Labor ban is lifted. I did think it counter-productive.

I wonder what this was about

From Andrew Bolt:

People who airily deny that my free speech (and, by extension, yours) hasn’t been taken away in part by our courts should know that I have again been advised by my lawyers not to comment on a recent publication by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, or even to simply republish the DFAT item without comment.

This is far from the first time. Our laws against free speech are a disgrace. The effect is to allow people – in this case DFAT – to promote a certain point of view on a matter of great moral importance without fear of contradiction.

This post, then, is a bookmark to note where an article should have appeared.

Andrew Bolt and Mark Liebler

On my way to work in the morning as I walk over to the station I first pass a Jewish primary school and then turn the corner where I pass the Holocaust Centre. The Holocaust Centre is a memorial to the murder of six million Jews who are lovingly remembered and mourned by many still alive today. And what’s more, many of those murdered were in every way the same as the children who are found in the playground of the school. If you are a Jew, anti-Semitism is no small matter. It has been a life and death issue across the centuries and remains so to this day.

The leaders of the Jewish community constantly seek ways to ensure a Holocaust does not happen again. Mark Liebler seeks ways to ensure that it does not happen again. Hatred of Jews is just how it is in many parts of the world. One of the reasons Australia remains a great nation is that its record in accepting and defending people of Jewish origins is exemplary. No Jew living in this country is anything other than grateful for the not just tolerant attitudes of their fellow Australians but the full acceptance of Jews as an integral part of this community, an overwhelmingly Christian community. A Sir John Monash and a Sir Isaac Isaacson is unimaginable in any part of the world a century ago, but the first led the Australian forces in World War I and the second became Governor-General in 1930. If I am happy to call Australia home, this is part of the reason why.

Andrew Bolt and Mark Liebler are now trying to clarify the issues that stand between them on free speech versus blood libel. Andrew Bolt was dragged through the courts over whether it was legal for him to make pointed remarks about the skin colour of individuals who identified with their Aboriginal descent. This is, moreover, not just a matter of skin colour but involves access to programs designed to overcome Aboriginal disadvantage which are being used by people who are in no way disadvantaged either by circumstance or origins. His point was a valid political point and on those grounds there should never have been a prosecution never mind a conviction. This is not what the law was intended for and was mis-applied. It was no more wrong for Andrew Bolt to point out how these programs are being exploited by those who are experiencing no disadvantage as it was for those to implement these programs in the first place. If we are going to overcome the uncontested existence of Aboriginal disadvantage, then a law that relates specifically to Aboriginals must be enacted which is a law based on racial identification. But if such programs are to exist it also means that they can be criticised on their own terms.

But I have been in this country long enough to remember when the first Aboriginal State Governor, Pastor Doug Nicholls in South Australia, went into a maddened frenzy because his wife had been insulted by someone using a derogatory term for an Aboriginal woman. And you know, I have only ever sympathised with Nicholls. It was an absolute disgrace, utterly indefensible on free speech or any other grounds. Not just impolite. Not just rude. Not just unkind. Not just boorish. It was full blown uncivilised, absolutely unacceptable and is rightly made illegal. People say things to each other in private about other racial and religious groups, but to make these kinds of vicious statements in public is more than just a tut-tut offence against good breeding. It should be a matter for the law.

But that would in no way limit the ability of governments to form policy on Aboriginal issues nor would it stop debate from occurring on any matter relating to Aboriginal policy. That is open and must always be open. But insults and threats, that is, insulting or threatening speech, is different. Here are two significant paras from the article by Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz which touched off this debate:

It would be difficult to have missed the recent campaign in these pages and elsewhere against section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, which makes conduct unlawful where it is done because of someone’s race/ethnicity and is reasonably likely to ‘offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate’ them. . . .

Most importantly, 18C does not make it unlawful to merely say something that might be construed as racist and hurt someone’s feelings. What is unlawful is doing something ‘because of’ the race/ethnicity of a person that is reasonably likely to offend them. The issue is not that anyone’s feelings are hurt; it’s that someone is targeted for harassment because they happen to be of a certain ethnicity.

The serious error in my view made by the author of the article was to suggest that those on the other side of this debate were “dishonest”. On this, he wrote:

If people genuinely think it should be legal for Australians to harass others on the basis of race, then they are welcome to make that argument. What’s troubling about the anti-18C campaign is its dishonesty.

The provision is made out to be an offence when it is not. The freedom of speech defences are ignored. It is purported to be a unique law against causing offence, when it is actually modelled on centuries-old breach of the peace laws. One controversial decision is focused on to the exclusion of almost 20 years of positive outcomes.

But then, being honest about 18C makes it harder to spin the provision as a threat to free speech, and nobody wants to openly defend racial harassment. Do they?

They were not being dishonest and it is pernicious for him to have said so. He doesn’t know what they think and has no idea what their motives were, but whatever they were, dishonesty was not amongst them. It is ridiculously wrong to apply motives to people of goodwill in every respect. Everything he wrote was all right to that point so why say it? It ruined the argument because it tried to convict Andrew Bolt and his supporters when the point of this article should have been to explain the way things are as seen by a representative Jew.

I don’t think it is dishonesty so much as bewilderment. The judge and the prosecutor misused the law in ways that have put this piece of legislation under deep examination. Andrew Bolt was not causing a breach of the peace, and it was worse than shameful – indeed utterly disgusting – for the prosecutor to have brought the Holocaust into his case. It made me personally very angry at the time because doing so desecrated the sanctity of the Holocaust memorial which should never be demeaned by being brought into the secular world in this way.

But I have Chinese friends who have been abused in public and there are real anti-Semites around who hate people for no other reason than because they are Jews. As a Jew I am with Shylock in asking, “If you prick us, do we not bleed?” But in Shakespeare’s own time, this was a laugh line that in no way was intended to raise sympathy for Shylock nor did it. Anti-Semites perfectly well understand that Jews will bleed since they have so often drawn this blood themselves. It is not a matter of free speech to deny racists the right to their rants, and it is not enough to think that the good people will make such expressions of hatred and ill will unacceptable in polite society.

That the modern practice is to be anti-Zionist, to say that I have nothing against Jews but I am blah, blah, blah about Israel is now the way it is done. Anti-Semitism is very much alive and I am content to have such legislation on the books because, while it is a weak reed, at least it is something.

Free speech is about allowing the freedom to say whatever one believes in the midst of political discourse. If an acceptance of racist rants is defended as examples of free speech then the very notion of free speech will be discredited by these very claims in the eyes of anyone who wishes to live in a decent society where individuals are protected from the kinds of racist abuse that has no part to play in a civilised community which seeks to promote peace, order and good will.