December 31, 2003


List all your predictions for 2004 in comments. Categories: politics, sport, music, journalism, and whatever the hell else. Bets between readers are encouraged (a percentage of all gambled monies will be made payable to this website). I’m now going to turn off the computer, go downstairs, and sit in contemplative silence for two days like some kind of monk. Happy New Year!

Posted by Tim Blair at 02:12 PM | Comments (153)


The United Nations has declared 2004 to be the International Year of Condoleezza Rice.

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:54 PM | Comments (16)


Consider, if you dare, the mindset of an individual able to form this thought, let alone decide to publish it under their own name:

Al Gore's endorsement of Howard Dean was a momentous event.

Paul Krugman is terrifying.

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:24 PM | Comments (17)


James Lileks on the Great Divergence of '03:

We live in an era of non-contiguous information streams. I believe one thing; someone else believes another – and the bedrock assumptions are utterly contradictory. This is what drives me nuts about discussing current events with some people. It’s like discussing the Apollo program with people who think it was all faked, or discussing archeology with those who believe the world is six thousand years old. I think the Iraq Campaign was part of a broad war against Islamicist fascism and the states that enable it; others think it’s all about oil and Halliburton jerking the strings of a Jeebus puppet. No. Middle. Ground.

Read. Entire. Thing.

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:13 PM | Comments (10)


Following a post here a couple of weeks ago anticipating Time’s selection of the American soldier as Person of the Year, reader Ron Hardin observed:

I can't tell if one of them is a woman. If not, it's not the real cover.

Ron (who was looking at a thumbnail image) knows well the rules of modern politically-correct magazine publishing. But even though there was a woman on the cover, Katie Couric didn’t notice.

Posted by Tim Blair at 08:46 AM | Comments (39)


Remember Warbloggerwatch? No? Well, it’s no big deal. Chief watcher Philip Shropshire doesn’t even remember if Australians fought in Iraq:

Didn't you guys not fight in Iraq? No contracts for you I guess. I guess your sacrifaces in Afghanistan were meaningless..


Posted by Tim Blair at 08:23 AM | Comments (41)


Reuters reports:

People with "Bush for President" bumper stickers were three times more likely to order meat-topped pizzas than "Dean for President" drivers.

Posted by Tim Blair at 08:10 AM | Comments (13)


In the wake of certain incidents a couple of years ago, the US now treats visa irregularities seriously. You’d think most people -- especially journalists -- would anticipate this. Those who don’t may find themselves nightmarishly annoyed:

Sue Smethurst enjoys traveling. “It’s one of the things about my job that I absolutely love,” says the 30-year-old Australian, who works as an associate editor for the women’s magazine New Idea. She doesn’t even mind flying. “It’s one of the great pleasures of the world to be able to turn off your cell phone and be where no one can annoy you.”

But when her Qantas flight from Melbourne, Australia, touched down at LAX around 8 a.m. on Friday, November 14, Smethurst found herself nightmarishly annoyed — by the Department of Homeland Security.

A month and a half later, Smethurst is still going on about it.

(Via Brian)

Posted by Tim Blair at 08:05 AM | Comments (35)

December 30, 2003


Midway through his preview of The Dukes of Hazzard Reunion in this week’s Sydney Morning Herald TV guide (no link) SMH television writer Doug Anderson yields to one of the darker personalities shrieking inside his head:

All around us is abundant evidence of poisoned minds. The people who design landmines, those who concoct children’s cartoons, who sully the blue sky with corporate messages. The sickos who invent step ads and illuminated signs on taxis; freaks who put promotional messages on train tickets, postmarks, petrol pump nozzles and deface the grass at football stadiums; the stroppy little entrepreneurs who spray-paint the name of their fledgling dot-com outfits on the footpath; the spammers and mobile-phone spruikers clogging public space with their wares, jamming our mailboxes with fibs, drivel and flannel from the government ...

They will rot in hell, of course ...

I kind of get the feeling Doug doesn’t much like advertising. Funny, then, that on the facing page to this rant is an advertisement for, among other things, mobile phones. Those poisoned minds pay your wages, Doug!

Doug’s mind is worse than poisoned, by the way. He literally doesn’t know what day it is. The Dukes reunion airs on January 1, a date most of us know as “New Year’s Day.” Here’s another extract from Crazy Doug’s preview, published on the January 1 listings page:

Boxing Day is, after all, a day when the effects of massive self-indulgence are being felt and when many people are prepared to suspend all critical faculties and surrender to total passivity. What could be more appropriate for a such a day than The Dukes of Hazzard Reunion.

Boxing Day falls on December 26.

UPDATE. Iowahawk has a cure for Doug, in comments.

Posted by Tim Blair at 12:59 PM | Comments (21)


Latest column by me in The Australian is on cricket, socialism, and market-based economies. Non-cricketing US readers may find it slightly difficult to follow. Then again, it may be just as difficult for scholars of the game; I once ran some similar ideas by Richie Benaud, and he said, after a few amused moments of consideration: “Hmm. Wouldn’t know about that.”

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:41 AM | Comments (33)


John Weldon is a Melbourne writer. That is a known known. But there are many things John doesn’t know:

I heard a speech by a man that made me realise that my quest to discover how humankind - being so unsuited to the rigours of this world - had managed to survive and prosper, was pointless and irrelevant. That man was US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld and what he said was this, in relation to his country's failing search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq: "There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things we know we don't know. But, there are also unknown unknowns. These are things we don't know we don't know."

When exposed to a mind like Mr Rumsfeld's the question of how we survived loses all import. In its stead looms the much more important and ultimately more troubling question of why.

John doesn’t know that the question asked of Rumsfeld was not about any search for WMD, but about evidence of any WMD sales by Iraq to terrorist organisations. I don’t know why Weldon doesn’t know how to conduct elementary research, and I don’t know why The Age doesn’t know how to find any people who do.

Another thing: Rumseld’s excellent formulation won him the the Plain English Campaign’s 2003 Foot in Mouth Award. But how come Rumsfeld won for a line from February 2002? Under the rules of plain English, wouldn’t such an award by definition be presented for something said in 2003? The same organisation’s 2002 award, for example, went to Richard Gere, for a comment made after Rumsfeld’s. Plain confusing.

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:20 AM | Comments (26)

December 29, 2003


The Quotes of 2003 are now available at a single link. Click and reminisce.

UPDATE. More 2003 quotey highlights from Gerard Henderson and the Media Research Center.

Posted by Tim Blair at 11:45 PM | Comments (4)


Where’s Robert Fisk when you need him?

Widespread looting is hampering international aid efforts in the Iranian city of Bam following the earthquake in which 30,000 people are feared dead.

Locals blamed the looting on villagers from surrounding areas unaffected by the quake hoping to cash in on the disaster.

(Via contributor J.F. Beck, last seen headed to Bam with a bag over his shoulder.)

Posted by Tim Blair at 10:52 PM | Comments (41)


Pity the poor Howard Dean supporters. What will they do? Where will they go?

Howard Dean said Sunday that the hundreds of thousands of people drawn to politics by his campaign may stay home if he doesn't win the Democratic presidential nomination, dooming the Democratic Party in the fall campaign against President Bush.

"If I don't win the nomination, where do you think those million and a half people, half a million on the Internet, where do you think they're going to go?" he said during a meeting with reporters. "I don't know where they're going to go."

Back to work at the drive-thru, maybe. Meanwhile, John Kerry has his own problems:

That's one tightly-managed campaign Kerry is running. Here's a Dean Update, from the The LA Times:

When Howard Dean appeared on NBC's Meet the Press, the reviews were scathing, with most pundits calling the interview earlier this year a disaster. But others saw it differently. Traffic on Dean's Web site soared, and he collected more than $100,000 in the next 24 hours.

Stumbles, such as Dean's remark about Confederate flag-wavers, and factual misstatements, such as his assertion that no other candidate was discussing race before White audiences, have not only failed to slow his momentum but redoubled the commitment of Dean supporters.

Whenever he fumbles in the eyes of so-called experts, it makes him all the more attractive to disaffected Democrats scornful of institutions like the major media.

All of which spells certain doom. Nobody can win the Presidency on the power of the “disaffected Democrat” vote.

Posted by Tim Blair at 04:53 PM | Comments (23)


I believe this is commonly referred to as the crushing of dissent:

Alain Hertoghe believes that in covering the Iraq conflict, French newspapers recreated "the war they would have liked to have seen." That meant concentration on the Vietnams and Stalingrads that didn't take place, he said, and so many more accounts of U.S. difficulties rather than advances that it was "impossible to understand how the Americans won."

For making assertions like these in a book called "La Guerre à Outrances," subtitled "How the press disinformed us on Iraq" and published by Calmann Lévy, Hertoghe was fired this month from his post as deputy editor at the Web site of La Croix, a respected Roman Catholic daily newspaper.

The newspaper's management justified the dismissal, Hertoghe said in an interview, by contending that the book demonstrated his opposition to La Croix's editorial line, damaged the reputation of the newspaper and the authority of its chief editors and questioned the professional ethics of some of the paper's staff members.

The rest of the piece is fascinating. Turns out France is just like Australia! Well, media-wise, anyway.

UPDATE. Instapundit covers the German angle.

Posted by Tim Blair at 04:29 PM | Comments (14)


Mark Steyn reviews his punditry, predictions, and pokes-in-the-eye of 2003. Highlights abound, including this:

If we have to have an incoherent, self-loathing “peace” movement, then women showing off their hooters in support of a culture that would stone them to death for showing off their ankles is about as good as it’s gonna get.

Posted by Tim Blair at 09:59 AM | Comments (15)


In this Texas Observer column from September, leftoid Molly Ivins wrote:

One problem I have with Arnold Schwarzenegger is that he looks like a condom stuffed with walnuts.

One problem I have with Molly Ivins is that she’s a goddamn joke thief. And not just once, but twice. In October the Texan gag bandit repeated her crime on CNN:

I went out to California to look at this race and came back saying, oh, Gray Davis makes Mr. Rogers look like he was on steroids, and Arnold Schwarzenegger looks exactly like a condom stuffed with walnuts. This was not the most profound observation I have ever made about serious public affairs, but it's irresistible.

Irresistible ... to steal! Ivins lifted “the observation she made” from Australian writer Clive James. It’s at least a decade old. Resign, you shameless, dishonest, joke-pinching she-beast!

Molly’s plagiarism -- first published, apparently, at AlterNet in August, and repeated all over the place since -- was noted earlier at Romanesko, which you can read about via Dog’s Life; it deserves wider reporting, because Sunday’s Below the Beltway column in the Washington Post again credits Ivins with the lifted line.

Oh, and by the way, Molly? Clive is a conservative. And he supported the war. The least you could do is limit your stealing to your own team.

UPDATE. As many are aware, this is not Molly’s first offence. She earlier lifted some material from writer Florence King. Salon described this episode tamely:

In a 1995 article for Mother Jones on Southern manners and mores, she extensively quoted, with affectionate attribution, statements from Florence King's book "Southern Ladies and Gentlemen." But for some careless reason Ivins still fails to comprehend, she left the attribution off a few King statements. In other words, she plagiarized. This, needless to say, is the ultimate no-no for a writer, and has cost many scribes their jobs. But considering the fact that Ivins' guilty passages were mixed in with many other cases that were attributed, her crime did not seem too horrible; she apologized to King and that was the end of it.

This report records a less conciliatory outcome:

The formidable Florence King has convincingly demonstrated that another Southern writer, Molly Ivins, has lifted her material without attribution, and changed material that she does attribute to Miss King. "If we had the right kind of laws in this country," said Miss King, "I'd challenge her to a duel over this." Miss Ivins, to her credit, has fessed up and apologized. Miss King is not entirely mollified.

She sure isn’t. And here’s yet another Ivins plagiarism claimant, although the reliability of this guy is open to question ...

Posted by Tim Blair at 03:55 AM | Comments (68)


If it weren't for the fantastic diversity provided by the Fairfax media group, our nation would collapse. Or so we're told.

Let's take a look at that diversity. Here’s John Howard the Gollum in today’s Melbourne Age:

And here’s John Howard the Gollum in today’s Sydney Morning Herald:

You can't ask for more diversity that that. Incidentally, both Fairfax newspapers regularly whine about Howard’s slavishness to the US. But where have we seen this brilliant Gollum idea before?

Posted by Tim Blair at 02:31 AM | Comments (8)


Fairfax circulation barrier Robert Manne likes to keep things simple, so he carefully limits the amount of information to which his readers are exposed:

While it proved relatively easy to remove Saddam Hussein, to introduce even the foundations of democracy proved a considerably more difficult task. With the abolition of the Iraqi army and police force, law and order simply broke down. Largely because of robbery, rape and murder, 94 per cent of Iraqis surveyed said they now felt less secure than they had under the gruesome regime of Saddam.

Manne cited that same figure in an earlier piece:

In a recent Gallup poll, 94 per cent of Iraqis said they felt more insecure now than under Saddam; 86 per cent said they or their families felt fearful about leaving their homes at night.

Gallup’s poll wasn’t all that recent when Manne first mentioned it on November 17; it had been conducted between August 28 and September 4. More significantly, it didn’t reflect the broad views of Iraqis, as Manne has twice claimed. This USA Today item explains:

The 1,178 in-home interviews were all in Baghdad, so the results are not a scientific glimpse of all Iraqis' opinions.

Omitted from Manne’s latest column is the same survey’s finding that “most Baghdad residents thought getting rid of Saddam Hussein was worth the hardships they are enduring.” In fact, 67% of Baghdad residents surveyed thought Iraq will be in better condition five years from now than it was before the US-led invasion.

The number that expected things to get worse? Just eight per cent. Another early survey found a similarly tiny number wanting to return to life under Saddam:

We pressed the issue a little further: “If you HAD to choose, would you rather live under Saddam or the Americans?” The good news is that very few want Saddam back – just 7 per cent.

”Good news” is Manne’s least favourite phrase. He claimed in his November 17 piece that, according to the Gallup poll, “only 40% believe democracy can work in Iraq”. But that’s not what Gallup itself found:

Respondents were most supportive of those systems that would seemingly provide the most public participation: either a multiparty parliamentary democracy, or a system based on the Islamic concept of shura (whereby leaders work through a process of consultation and public consensus) ... A follow-up question asked respondents to identify the one form of government they would most like to see established in Iraq. There is no clear leader, but the largest segment, 39%, prefers multiparty parliamentary democracy. A system based on the Islamic concept of shura comes in second, with 29% in favor.

Manne seems to have interpreted “39% prefer multiparty parliamentary democracy” to mean “only 40% believe democracy can work in Iraq”. Moreover, Manne declined to mention that 53.1% of those surveyed would find a multiparty parliamentary democracy “acceptable”.

A broader, more up-to-date survey (involving 3,000 respondents across Iraq) reveals an even greater desire for democracy:

Asked to choose the form of government Iraq needed now, 90% of those interviewed - in their own homes - said an Iraqi democracy, and overwhelmingly rejected the idea that democracy was only for Westerners and would not work in Iraq.

Deal with it, Robert. People like democracy. They tend to prefer accurate information, too.

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:55 AM | Comments (11)

December 28, 2003


If people haven’t worked out by now that the turkey wasn’t plastic, it kind of disqualifies them from opining on more complex subjects, wouldn’t you say? Here’s Saul Landau writing about Realism and Fanaticism:

Almost ten months after Bush invaded Iraq, seven months after his "mission accomplished" speech-photo op on the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln, and one month and many deaths after his Thanksgiving plastic turkey pose in Baghdad, the President faces serious problems.

A useful working definition of fanaticism might be the absolute refusal to believe this turkey is genuine. What roast conspiracy do Landau and the other plastic fanatics expect from Bush next Thanksgiving?

Professor Landau reveals Bush’s 2004 stealth turkey

UPDATE. Two-time offender W. David Jenkins writes:

Once again, just like the Lynch story or the plastic turkey stealth mission - things aren't always what they seem.

On the contrary, W. Dave. The turkey seemed real -- and it was. And from an unknown Charlotte Sun-Herald fact gobbler:

From his jumpsuit landing on an aircraft carrier to serving a plastic turkey to the troops in Baghdad, President Bush was never far from a photo-op.

Posted by Tim Blair at 05:14 PM | Comments (10)


Display -- or conceal -- your punky Howard Dean endorsement with a Punk for Dean junior thong.

Posted by Tim Blair at 02:24 PM | Comments (7)


AFP reports:

An Egyptian man has been jailed for seven years after being found guilty of manslaughter in the deaths of 353 boat people off Australia in 2001.

A Cairo criminal court sentenced Moataz Attiya Mohamed Hassan - also known as Abu Quassey - to five years for "homicide through negligence" and another two for aiding illegal migration, court officials said.

This will be deeply confusing to the propagandists who were convinced that the Australian government was responsible.

UPDATE. SIEV-X believer Tony Kevin writes in comments that he is “not confused at all” and asks: “The interesting question now is - will your website print this response?”

Well, I guess it already has, seeing as Tony’s already posted the same comments four times. No crushing of dissent! And here’s a link to Tony’s site, for what it’s worth.

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:52 PM | Comments (25)


The death toll in Iran is impossible to quickly comprehend. As Michael Totten points out, the latest estimate (40,000) is equal to two-thirds the number of Americans killed in the Vietnam War. (To provide a local point of reference, Australia lost 40,000 in World War II.) Not that Iranians require any measure outside of their own tragic history -- an earthquake in 1990 killed 50,000.

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:13 PM | Comments (22)


Ricky Ponting is closing in on 200. If he can get twenty-five more runs, he would become only the eighth batsman to score two double-centuries in the same series. And, as the Nine commentators just mentioned, he’d be only the fifth to reach 200 in consecutive Tests, after South Africa’s Graeme Smith.

UPDATE. Got it.

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:07 PM | Comments (0)


Wha-hey! Sydney’s beer wenches are back:

(Via Gnu Hunter)

Posted by Tim Blair at 10:22 AM | Comments (11)


Murray Waldron previews 2004’s worst books:

Conflict of more recent times disquiets Bob Ellis, whose Night Thoughts in a Time of War (Penguin, August) canvasses migration, refugees and international conflict.

Bob, of course, predicted Armageddon in Iraq, wrote that Osama bin Laden most likely didn’t cause 9/11, and claimed John Howard’s xenophobic bigotry led to the Bali bombings. Hey, maybe all of those were just stupid “day thoughts”, and Bob’s “night thoughts” will be completely accurate.

The web-blogging Margo Kingston gets down and dirty in a political way in Not Happy, John: What We Can Do to Save Our Democracy (Penguin, April).

Imagine being the tragic Penguin editor put in charge of this. Imagine the corrections, the fact-checking, the confusion. Imagine a typical email from the editor to the author: “Margo, could you make this chapter just a little bit less fucking insane?

Denise Leith interviewed the likes of Robert Fisk, Monica Attard, John Pilger and Steve Brill for Bearing Witness: The Lives of Photojournalists and Foreign Correspondents (Random House, May).

At least the title is accurate. Oh, wait ... it says Lives. Didn’t see the ‘v’. My mistake.

Hans Blix details the search for weapons of mass destruction in Disarming Iraq (Bloomsbury, March).

Borders fun: hide all of Blix’s books, then tell the staff you can’t find any. Send them all on a storewide search. Repeatedly ask if they “need more time”. If they get close to your hiding place, deny them access.

Australian philosopher to the world Peter Singer scrutinises The President of Good and Evil: The Ethics of George W. Bush (Text Publishing, May) via his policies and actions.

Singer’s main complaint: Bush didn’t kill enough retarded children.

Arundhati Roy deconstructs the US argument for war in The Ordinary Person's Guide to Empire (Flamingo, February), exposing "errors in its thesis, (and) the hypocrisy and false ideology behind the rhetoric".

You want some crap rhetoric, look no further. Roy is the master.

Acerbic commentator Kevin Phillips has The Bush Dynasty: How a Clan of Rich Boys, Oilmen, Fakes and Fat Cats Became the Most Powerful Family in America (Allen Lane, February).

Acerbic faux-conservative Phillips is best described here:

For more than 20 years, he has been writing books making the same tired argument about how the rich are running everything, getting richer by the day off the sweat of the working man's brow, and that they will soon be brought down by a populist revolt. Republicans are the handmaidens of the rich in Phillips' various diatribes, and will reap the whirlwind unless they become Democrats, he repeatedly asserts.

Looks like 2004 is another year we won’t have to bother buying books. Lucky I’ve already got my copy of Unless I’m Very Much Mistaken, the autobiography of British philosopher, linguist, and orator Murray Walker.

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:49 AM | Comments (23)


Trust an anti-Australian Brit like Andrew Sullivan to relegate hard-working Aussie headcase John Pilger to a mere second place in his 2003 Sontag Awards. Beaten by Margaret Drabble? Oh, yeah. Right. Sure, she’s got the crazy eyes and the bowl haircut of the tragically concerned, but Drabble’s work in the fields of paranoia and delusion are as nothing compared to Pilger’s.

Admit it, Andrew. It’s because she was born in Scabsborough or Sewershire or some other upper-class British area, isn’t it? This sort of ugly prejudice makes me sick.

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:40 AM | Comments (30)


The Washington Post reports:

In less than three weeks, registered Democrats and Statehood Green Party members in the District will get a chance to cast their ballots in something called a Presidential Preference Primary Election.

The sample Democratic ballot, though reduced in size by no-shows, contains some names that should be familiar to local party members. FormerVermont governor Howard Dean's name is first on the list of 11 candidates. Democrats will also find the names of the Rev. Al Sharpton, Rep. Dennis Kucinich and former senator and ambassador Carol Moseley Braun. Lyndon LaRouche, listed number nine, has chosen this year to run as a Democrat. The last name on the Democratic list is that of Vermin Supreme, a candidate about whom we have heard and know nothing.

One way to find out about people (or vermin) is to type their names into a search engine.

(Via contributor J.F. Beck, who hears and knows all.)

Posted by Tim Blair at 12:44 AM | Comments (7)


Martian Professor Colin Pillinger (below, right) may have lost his space Beagle, but the rest of humanity is delighted to locate the best sidebeard since The Fast Show’s Bob Fleming:

Posted by Tim Blair at 12:02 AM | Comments (8)

December 27, 2003


Howard Dean, the Great Clarifier, is at it again:

New Hampshire's Concord Monitor reported that Dean said he would not state his preference on a punishment for bin Laden before the al Qaeda leader was captured and put before a jury.

"I've resisted pronouncing a sentence before guilt is found," Dean said in the interview. "I will have this old-fashioned notion that even with people like Osama, who is very likely to be found guilty, we should do our best not to, in positions of executive power, not to prejudge jury trials."

Now comes Dean’s daily clarification:

Dean told the AP in a phone interview that sentiment doesn't mean he sympathizes in any way with the al Qaeda leader. "I'm just like every other American, I think the guy is outrageous," he said.

"As a president, I would have to defend the process of the rule of law. But as an American, I want to make sure he gets the death penalty he deserves," Dean told the AP.

Add that clarification to the rest of Dean’s bulging Clar-i-File:

Asked later how each candidate has reversed course, Dean clarified his remarks, saying only Kerry and Gephardt had changed their tunes.

Dean clarified Thursday that finding Saddam was a "good thing" because the former Iraqi dictator started wars with his neighbors and killed hundreds of thousands of his own people, including by chemical weapons attacks.

Dean came under fire recently for backing much tougher standards - U.S. labor standards. Lieberman said the country would fall into the "Dean depression" if that were to happen. Dean, however, quickly clarified that he supports only ILO standards.

Dean later clarified in a letter to the head of the Anti-Defamation League that he unequivocally supports Israel's right to be free from terror, and that he used the word"soldier" to justify the Israeli policy of assassinating Hamas leaders.

Dean’s clarification of his remarks stated that although he may have used bad analogies and judgment, he did sincerely attempt to reach out to disenfranchised conservative poor white Southerners to return to the Democratic Party fold.

Dean has come under fire for calling for an "evenhanded" approach in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a statement he clarified later by saying he meant that the United States must act as an honest broker in the peace process.

Country Store has more.

Posted by Tim Blair at 06:00 PM | Comments (3)


Is any fraud worse than Internet lobster fraud? I don’t think so.

Posted by Tim Blair at 05:58 PM | Comments (5)


James Lileks has helpful New Year resolutions for Bush-haters:

I resolve to consider that not everything Bush says is a lie. Example: If Bush says that "two plus two equals four," I will not spit, "Oh, that's Enron math," and spend the rest of the day rebalancing my checkbook in Base Eight.

Likewise: I resolve to entertain the idea that he has his own ideas. He is not motivated by a Halliburton-built ankle bracelet that delivers powerful shocks when he strays from the Zionist-Oilman agenda.

I resolve to grasp the absurdity of appearing on national talk shows to insist that our freedom of speech has disappeared.

I resolve, as a purely abstract philosophical matter, to consider the possibility that France may not have America's best interests as the guiding principle of its foreign policy.

UPDATE. Democratic Underground ponders Bush’s involvement in the Iranian earthquake. Well, after pulling off that plastic turkey stunt, I wouldn't put it past him.

Posted by Tim Blair at 05:56 PM | Comments (14)


Australia’s fielding during the first day of the Third Test was widely condemned. Here’s Robert “Crash” Craddock in the Herald Sun:

Australia has been exposed as an occasionally ponderous fielding team that, at times, has to hide three or four players.

And from India’s News Today:

Uncharacteristic fielding lapses and indisciplined bowling let the hosts down badly while the Indian batsmen capitalised on them to move to a position of strength.

Trevor Marshallsea in the SMH agreed:

Waugh's hopes of scoring a victory here to save the series were looking as shabby as the half-demolished members' stand at Australia's biggest cricket ground.

Not after today, they weren’t. India fielded like amputees, and Australia ended the day in a position identical to one held by India yesterday: 3/317. This match is swinging Australia’s way -- for now.

UPDATE. Peter Roebuck in The Age now says the match is Australia’s to lose:

India played poor cricket on the second day of this match and will be hard pressed to avoid a heavy defeat. Faults hidden in Adelaide and on Boxing Day returned to haunt a side whose mood changed dramatically in the course of 24 hours.

Ever since Virender Sehwag's audacious innings ended with a boundary catch, the Indians have been falling back. At a crucial time the tourists lost their way. Reprieved, Australia has played stronger cricket and is well placed to square the series.

Mind you, that’s coming from the same man who predicted that Graeme Hick would be the player of the ‘90s and Abdul Qadir would be the last influential wrist-spinner. This game ain’t over. Tony the Teacher has lots more on what is becoming a brilliant, teasing contest.

Posted by Tim Blair at 05:53 PM | Comments (4)


Rolling Stone reports:

Bonnie Raitt and Tish Hinojosa have joined the lineup for the January 3rd fundraising concert for Democratic Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich in Austin.

What? No appearance from the freakish half-alien baby?

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:05 AM | Comments (14)


Already excluded by the Americans, the French are now being shafted by the Shiites:

A Shiite cleric called Friday for an Iraqi boycott of French products in protest at France's decision to ban Islamic headscarves and other religious insignia from schools.

"We condemn the French government's decision prohibiting the Islamic veil and we demand the liberty that France says it embodies," Sayyed Amer al-Husseini told some 10,000 worshippers in the Shiite-populated Baghdad Sadr City district.

"We encourage a boycott of French products and call on Muslims in France to continue wearing the veil," he said in a sermon at the main weekly Muslim prayers.

They lost the war, they lost the peace, and now -- to quote Kucinich-supporting Ms. Raitt -- they’re three time losers.

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:03 AM | Comments (4)


In his John Halfpenny obituary (no link available) printed in Friday’s The Australian, Labor member of Parliament Lindsay Tanner attempts a brave historical revision:

Since the '50s, the wealth of our society has increased enormously. It is because of people such as Halfpenny that ordinary workers have managed to obtain a share of that increased wealth.

Halfpenny was a communist trade union official (he quit Australia’s Communist Party in 1979). If it had been up to him, Australia would never have seen the wealth increases subsequently obtained by so many. It is despite people such as Halfpenny (could Dickens himself have come up with a better name for a wealth-slicing commie grandstander?) that ordinary workers are no longer ordinary workers, but share market investors, home owners, and happy.

Posted by Tim Blair at 12:39 AM | Comments (6)


"In the midst of plenty," writes Sydney Morning Herald misery editor Adele Horin, "Australian children go hungry because their parents cannot afford enough food, a new survey shows." She continues: "Some children miss food for an entire day while their parents regularly skip meals, or do without themselves." And furthermore:

The survey is part of a continuing investigation into "food insecurity" in NSW. It showed two-thirds of respondents went hungry at least once a month because they could not afford enough food. Asked if their children had ever gone hungry, 40 per cent of parents said they had.

Almost one-quarter of the adults had gone without food for a whole day every month in the last year. As well, nearly 8 per cent reported their children had not eaten for at least an entire day within the past year because the household had run out of food.

To which survey does Adele (whose story ran at the top of page three in yesterday’s SMH) refer? This one:

The survey was conducted in October and November by Anglicare Sydney, the Anglican church's welfare arm. Interviews with 133 people were conducted at Anglicare's three emergency aid centres in Marrickville, Rooty Hill and Wollongong.

So out of 133 poorest-of-the-poor in some of NSW’s poorest areas seeking emergency aid over two months (evidence in itself of the extent of Australia's poverty "problem"), 60 per cent said their children had never gone hungry, three-quarters of adults hadn’t gone without food for a whole day every month, and 92 per cent reported their children had eaten every entire day within the past year because they hadn’t run out of food. Adele Horin doesn’t know good news when it’s standing right in front of her, screaming at her uncomprehending face.

Posted by Tim Blair at 12:08 AM | Comments (14)

December 26, 2003


The purpose of the war against terrorism, Malcolm Knox seems to be saying, is to secure the re-election of conservative governments:

War against an abstract noun; war which cannot, by definition, be won or lost; war whose purpose is to convince the public that they must, in these dangerous times, stick with the devil they know.

It would be interesting to learn what Knox would propose to do about terrorism. Nothing, presumably.

Posted by Tim Blair at 04:42 PM | Comments (10)


Verandah Segway is destroying the Australian bowlers at the MCG. He’s now on 137 -- in an Indian total of 1/219. Rahul Dravid (who scored 300 in Adelaide) is now with him. Tendulkar still to bat. 600 may be a possibility.

UPDATE. Who said Segways were slow? With an hour to play, he was on 174 and India 2/282. If India does make it to 600, it’ll be only the 14th time this has been achieved against Australia, only the sixth time in Australia, and the first time in Melbourne. Here’s the complete list of 600+ scores by Australia's opponents:

England 903-7d 1938 The Oval
England 658-8d 1938 Nottingham
India 657-7d 2000/01 Kolkata
England 636 1928/29 Sydney
India 633-5d 1997/98 Kolkata
England 627-9d 1934 Manchester
Pakistan 624 1983/84 Adelaide
South Africa 622-9d 1969/70 Durban
South Africa 620 1966/67 Johannesburg
West Indies 616 1968/69 Adelaide
England 611 1964 Manchester
West Indies 606 1992/93 Sydney
India 600-4d 1985/86 Sydney

UPDATE II: On your bike, Segway! He's out (to a lame Katich full toss) for 195. India now 4/311, having lost three wickets in eight overs.


SATURDAY MORNING UPDATE: Way to collapse, India. Three wickets down in 37 minutes, including two in two balls. 7/353.

FINAL UPDATE: All out for 366. Funny game, etc.

Posted by Tim Blair at 02:30 PM | Comments (10)


The Queen doesn’t go in for any of that politically-correct images of peace nonsense:

The Queen's annual Christmas Day message to the Commonwealth served as an uplifting reminder of all that is best in our national life. It was a paean of praise to the virtues of duty and service in the Armed Forces and in the voluntary sector — as was highlighted by the innovative choice of backdrop in the shape of armoured fighting vehicles at Combermere barracks in Windsor.

God bless her. You can view or listen to the message here. In other royal news, Her Majesty could have used one of those armoured fighting vehicles yesterday:

The royal family's Christmas has started disastrously with one of Princess Anne's dogs fatally savaging one of the Queen's favourite corgis.

Dotty, one of the princess's two bull terriers, launched the ferocious attack within moments of arriving at Sandringham in Norfolk, east England.

UPDATE. Peter Fray in the SMH sneers up a storm.

Posted by Tim Blair at 02:19 PM | Comments (19)


Seasons greetings to the Gnu Hunter, Donnah’s Florida Cracker (“Wail on, Skydog!”), Mike Jericho, and z9.

They join Midwest Conservative Journal, Stephen Pollard, and Roger Bournival in the cumbersome, unwieldy, non-alphabetical list at left. Check ‘em all out.

Posted by Tim Blair at 02:14 PM | Comments (2)


Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell is one hell of a bitter man. War didn’t work out the way you would’ve liked, Steve?

Posted by Tim Blair at 12:26 PM | Comments (17)


Mentioned in my latest column for Sydney’s Daily Telegraph (actually, the first column I’ve done for the Telegraph in three years): Danny Green, Peter Beattie, Peter Batchelor, Mark Latham, Safety Dance Day, Phillip Adams, Alan Ramsey, George W. Bush, a plastic turkey, the baby Jesus, Kerry O'Brien, Saddam Hussein, Michelle Withers, Judy Finch, and Screaming Bloodshed Torture Mayhem Day.

There's more in the print edition, including: "Remember: a pet is for life, not just for Christmas. So go back to the lake and get those puppies out of that sack right now."

Posted by Tim Blair at 10:54 AM | Comments (14)

December 24, 2003


• "I say to Osama and the boys, bring it on." -- Rolling Stone Keith Richards pre-empts a Presidential one-liner

• "He completely lost the plot. He stormed around all day screaming at everyone, even the £5-an-hour bar staff, telling them how we were all conmen and useless. Then he went on stage and did it in public." -- a member of the stage crew at Michael Moore’s London show

• "He is the shambling, wide-eyed, compassionate person in all of us." -- James Norman in the Melbourne Age doesn’t share the crew member’s opinion

• "For me, I hope last year was the last when anger, frustration and despair ruled my professional psychology." -- Margo Kingston speaks too soon

• "As John Howard tours Canberra's charcoal suburbs, I wonder if the unsigned Kyoto agreement pricks his conscience." -- Sydney Morning Herald letter-writer Warren Tindall believes a global warming protocol would halt Australian fires

• "Why won't Labor and the Australian Left call for the removal of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein on human rights grounds alone?" -- Jim Nolan questions his fellow leftists

• "My SUV, assuming Hummer comes out with a model for those who find the current ones too cramped, will look something like the Louisiana Superdome on wheels. It'll guzzle so much gas as I walk out to my driveway there will be squads of Saudi princes gaping and applauding. It'll come, when I buy it, with little Hondas and Mazdas already embedded in the front grillwork." -- David Brooks

• "With Australia and the UK standing beside my nation in times of trial, I neither need nor want anyone else." -- Stephen Den Beste

• "Heed that greatest of Middle East correspondents, Robert Fisk, who warns in The Independent of London that truth already lies adying." -- Sydney Morning Herald columnist Mike Carlton

• "I really haven't researched him. He's not an interest of mine." -- Iraq-bound Australian human shield Gordon Sloane knows all he needs to know about Saddam Hussein

• "What has happened to the kind people of Australia that I knew and loved when I immigrated here eight years ago? Now all the Australian people seem to have for me is hatred and scorn and bigotry. By the way, I'm not a Muslim from the Middle East; I'm a Jew from the United States." -- SMH letter-writer John Burnett

• "We're not yet at a stage of cultural maturity where we even know what racism is." -- The Age’s Malcolm Knox

• "I never got the memo telling me that 'cowboy' is an insult. And if someone wants to try to convince me that being a cowboy is something to be ashamed of, I say, 'Let's take this discussion outside and settle it.'" -- reader Polly Bolton

"I am not anti-American." -- Margo Kingston

Posted by Tim Blair at 05:58 PM | Comments (20)


• "Idiots!" -- Ivory Coast rioters, to "ducking, crouching" French troops

• Get your tits out
Get your tits out
Get your tits out for Iraq
-- reader David Griffin composes a catchy tune for naked anti-war protesters

• "Last week's column about Osama Bin Laden's State of the Union address was one of the most pathetic, tacky, puerile and offensive bits of copy ever published in an Australian newspaper." -- takes exception to my mild opinions

• "I am eclectically left-leaning in politics, but I cannot comprehend how the left can blithely leave the Iraqi people in the hands of one of most monstrous regimes imaginable." -- The Age’s Pamela Bone

• "I hope the attempt by the French and German governments to find a peaceful solution to the Iraq crisis will be successful in order to avoid senseless killing of humankind. I and many other Germans will never forget the American terror bombings of German cities during WWII and the mass slaughter of women, children and the elderly for years on end." -- Age letter-writer Karl-Heinz Walter forgets certain other events in wartime Germany

• "So Osama's voice is back, reminding us once again that the bloke the world bombed Afghanistan to get got away. He's the voice guaranteed to get world-wide coverage, and the voice says attack when the US attacks Iraq. Attack Saddam, and the enemy of Osama's enemy becomes his ally. Thanks, George." -- Margo Kingston

• "after reading your site for an hour even i could see you were a troubled young help tim buy a travel book or even take some heroin and watch a documentry on dolphins then you can come join us.your missing out tim,when your lying on your deathbed gasping for your final breath your gonnae think of all the things you never done and your gonna cry,your gonna cry like a baby tim,and your final words will be ‘can i start again please daddy’ then its lights out tim." -- reader Anne M.

• "In the few weeks of peace left to us, we are seeing a calamitous global failure of American diplomacy" -- SMH columnist Mike Carlton

• "This weekend could be one of those ‘turning points’, where suddenly the earth moves, the mood shifts, and politics is transformed in an instant ... Howard's very legitimacy could be at stake if he defies public opinion to join a unilateral strike." -- Margo Kingston gets excited about anti-war protests

• "Imagine my horror when I realised we were sharing our romantic evening with 100,000 angry extras from Mad Max II. Aside from the obvious annoyance of having dancing skeletons and filthy fat 'angels' outside our window all night, every time I opened my mouth to say 'I love you' in my most handsome tone, the words that appeared to come out were 'Peace in our time!', courtesy of some megaphone-fondling fuckwit a few yards away." -- Jack Marx’s attempt to celebrate Valentine's Day with his wife is ruined by protesters

• "We believe that in the wake of September 11, the only sane foreign policy for the US and all its allies to pursue is to examine just what caused that level of extreme hate, and act in a manner which will reduce it." -- SMH columnist Peter FitzSimons plans his Islamic conversion

• "It's not up to any head of state to bring a leader to fall, no matter who he is. It is the task of the people." -- human shield Judith Menson

• "My friends call drunken fast food 'thwapugh' because one guy was so loaded, he went into a Burger King and that was all he could say." -- Juan Gato

• "Dripping with Ivy League degrees in international relations, an accomplished classical pianist, speaking elegant French, monumentally self-assured, Condy knows everything and nothing." -- SMH columnist Mike Carlton is unaware that Condi Rice has no Ivy League degrees

• "I have an uneasy feeling that many on the intellectual left are fearful that America will lose its next war amid massive casualties – but are even more fearful that America may win with minimal casualties." -- Robert Fisk, on his readers

• "We have NO mainstream newspaper to speak for the 40% of Australians who don't want any war at all. There is no paper here like the London Mirror." -- David Marr demands a circulation-shedding Pilger rag in Australia

• "Could anything be more pathetic than the Arab demonstration against war? What on earth is it with the Arabs? Of all people, they – and they alone – are likely to suffer in this American invasion of their homeland. Yet, faced with catastrophe, the Arabs are like mice." -- Robert Fisk urges resistance

• "The next time I'm tired of listening to my wife's crap, I'm going to tell her, 'you've lost a good opportunity to keep quiet.'" -- Howard Owens takes a cue from French diplomacy

• "I am unimpressed by the grandstanding of certain European leaders." -- Jose Ramos Horta, East Timor's minister of foreign affairs and cooperation

• "He smoked cigars, drank beer and ate greasy food. He was an amazing man." -- Lisa Saxton, granddaughter of Florida’s John McMorran, who died at 113

• "Wherever you are, Osama bin Laden, I love you, brother and I do it for you and I pray for you because to me you're just a spiritual warrior standing up for Islam and propagating freedom around the world." -- Khalid, an Aboriginal Muslim interviewed on SBS-TV

• "I wouldn't say I was part of an anti-war campaign." -- Robert Fisk

Posted by Tim Blair at 05:54 PM | Comments (8)


• "I don't want to satirise George Bush and his puppeteers, I want to vaporise them." -- ex-satirist Tom Lehrer

• "It's worse than you think. I believe in it." -- Tony Blair explains to peaceniks the terrible truth about his views on the war

• "May I just single out for salutations, on the ‘anti-war’ side: Pop Stars For Appeasement, Dancers Against Democracy, Actors For Apathy, Fashionistas For Fascism and Jugglers For Genocide. All of them united under that flaccid flag of convenience, Show-Offs For Saddam." -- Guardian columnist Julie Burchill

• "I am ashamed to be leaving you at this time of need, but I'm going out of pure, cold fear." -- human shield Godfrey Maynell tells Iraqis he’s heading home

• "You want to really annoy the conservative warmongering powers that be? Work your ass off to pump up the vibration." -- SF Chronicle online columnist Mark Morford talking about ... well, who the hell knows?

• "It is too harsh. It is unacceptable. That's why we have released no pictures." -- General Amir Al-Saadi, special aide to Saddam Hussein, is saad about the destruction of Iraq’s Al Samoud missiles

• "Could you please let the president know that most Australians don't approve of his obsession with bombing the bejesus out of Iraq, and we think he should stop trying to boss the United Nations around like a schoolyard bully." -- Age columnist Sian Prior leaves a message at the White House

• "One has to wonder what the anti-American campaign to save Iraq from liberation really wants to achieve. Perhaps the baby boomers facing ageing and death just want to ensure that nothing better follows them." -- SMH columnist P.P. McGuinness

• "I'd like to say, Mr Howard please, please, please do what you can to stop a military attack on Iraq. These people do not deserve to be attacked. These are now people with names and faces. These are children I've played with." -- human shield Donna Mulhearn

• "Shut up you minion, you (U.S.) agent, you monkey. You are addressing Iraq. You are insolent. You are a traitor to the Islamic nation." -- Saddam aide Izzat Ibrahim to a Kuwaiti delegate at an Islamic summit

• "It would be unlikely France and Germany would come to our rescue." -- Portugal’s foreign minister Antonio Martins da Cruz explains why his country sides with the US

• "On each side of the war against war, hopes soar, hopes dive, hour by hour now. Resignations abound, timetables slip, and the world waits, mesmerised. I'm off to Melbourne to record an arts chat show." -- Margo Kingston

• "I'm a young actor in Hollywood. My few friends who agree with me that we should be going to war, and I, call Jessica Lange, and her ilk, the ‘syndicate.’ Of course, we do so in hushed tones, and in fear of reprisals." -- Anonymous, of Los Angeles

• "Watch how the propaganda unfolds once the bombing is over and the Americans are running Baghdad and their spin machine. There will be the ‘discovery of Saddam's secret arsenal,’ probably in the basement of one his palaces." -- John Pilger

• "We cannot create a gutter press, Anglo-Saxon style. French people are too well educated for there to be any readership for such a publication." -- French member of Parliament Olivier Dassault

• "To me the question of the environment is more ominous than that of peace and war ... I'm more worried about global warming than I am of any major military conflict." -- Hans Blix confirms doubts about his suitability as a weapons inspector

• "I've just puyblished a detaioled comments on his answers to the quesytions.Stadn d by my interpretation. etation." -- late night email from an opinionated Australian journalist

• "John Howard has lost it." -- Margo Kingston

• "I think he is so disturbed that it doesn't even enter his consciousness. Maybe he was abused as a child." -- antiwar campaigner Helen Caldicott analyses Paul Wolfowitz

• "There was a machine designed for shredding plastic. Men were dropped into it and we were again made to watch. Sometimes they went in head first and died quickly. Sometimes they went in feet first and died screaming. It was horrible. I saw 30 people die like this." -- Iraqi witness statement supplied to the organisation Indict

• "The blood of Australians, if and when it is spilt, is on this Prime Minister's shoulders." -- Greens leader Bob Brown

• "I am a conservative. I voted for George W. Bush and I simply agree with most everything he has said." -- Lenora Tomalin, mother of ultra-leftoid Susan Sarandon

• "A Frenchman built the Chevrolet." -- Michael Moore. Louis Chevrolet was Swiss

• "There are many questions that beg to be asked. Some are being asked rhetorically by many journalists, including a great writer at the New York Times by the name of Daniel Friedman." -- Sheryl Crow loves great writers, but can’t remember their names

• "There will come a time. A time when historians will look back on this day and try to gauge just what the mood of the Australian people was on the eve of the invasion. To those historians I say, 'Welcome to our nightmare'." -- SMH columnist Peter FitzSimons

• "This is the day you've been waiting for." -- Iraqi state radio, after US forces hacked into broadcasts at the commencement of bombing

• "I think these people don't understand what they are talking about. They are supporting Saddam emotionally." -- Gafoor Muhamad of the Australian Kurdish Community Association, on antiwar protesters

• "I wish we'd had politicians in the 1930s with the guts of Tony Blair and John Howard ... Because then I'd have a lot more relatives." -- talkback radio caller Jill, in tears

• "I think John 'Coward' should just grow up." -- actor Heath Ledger

• "I'm shaking my head in desperate sorrow for you, you pitiful creature." -- Australian foreign minister Alexander Downer to Labor leader Simon Crean

• "Your names will be recorded as heroes in the bright lists of history. You will help restore the weeping face of humanity with your good deeds." -- Iraqi refugee Hadi Kazwini sends a message to Australian troops

• "At Baalbek Nuts I bought pistachios from the Lebanese owners, who answered my request for their thoughts on the war with the typically Lebanese response of ‘no problem’. It's a lie, as we all knew." -- Robert Fisk

• "Well the Nazis used to call it ‘blitzkrieg’ when they did it prior to the Second World War, a softening up process. The Americans are calling it 'shock and awe'." -- the ABC’s John Highfield

• "The Mother of all Armageddons is waiting to tell him how wrong he is." -- Bob Ellis predicts disaster for George W. Bush

• "They would commit suicide if American bombing didn't start. They were willing to see their homes demolished to gain their freedom from Saddam's bloody tyranny. They convinced me that Saddam was a monster the likes of which the world had not seen since Stalin and Hitler." -- former peacenik Kenneth Joseph admits a visit to Iraq "shocked me back to reality"

• "Yes, civilians will die. My cousins will die. Maybe. Allah forbid. But here is a certainty that you do not understand in your simplistic Nickelodeon diplomacy, is that you are guaranteed to have civilians die under Saddam. So now you try again to answer my question without playing the ping-pong: How does leaving Saddam in power promote peace and justice in Iraq?" -- Iraqi caller Mohammed confronts United For Peace and Justice spokesperson Andrea Buffa on US radio

• "How will the hate-filled zealots of the anti-war movement who bombard me daily with violent emails react to the joy of the liberated Iraqi people? With silence, most likely, having learned nothing." -- SMH columnist Miranda Devine

• "Support our Troops--but only those who Frag their commanding officer." -- poster at Indymedia

• "I can't comment on articles that appear in American newspapers. The information we give you here is factual." -- Australian air marshall Angus Houston responds to issues raised in The New York Times

• "The questions they ask usually in the polls is: do you support the President's attempt to overthrow the government of Saddam Hussein? ... If you ask a question like: do you support the dropping of powerful explosives upon the heads of totally innocent men, women and children, demolishing their homes and their schools and their hospitals, are you in favour of that? That would change the answers, I think, quite a bit." -- US writer William Blum, interviewed on the ABC

• "Speak for yourselves, appeasers. Many Iraqis who dare to defy Saddam Hussein and his secret agents are trying to tell you they support this war." -- Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt

• "Hug the Fuck out of 'em Philippe!" -- Ray Smuckles

• "An American soldier, Saddam in his sights, has a picture of a naked, buxom woman on his dashboard, an obvious affront to Muslim sensibilities." -- Margo Kingston

• "I saw the entire place stand up and applaud." -- Michael Moore’s alternative history of the Academy Awards

• "A bombing with so many civilian casualties that Robert Fisk could personally visit them all." -- National Post columnist Andrew Coyne

• "'Open the doors of the chambers of your hearts'? Um, those would be valves. These people appear to be advocating bacterial endocarditis as part of the peace process." -- blogger Dr Alice dissects peacenik lyrics

• "American marines shot up a CNN television crew, killing at least one and most likely three journalists." -- SMH columnist Tom Ramsey gets CNN confused with ITV

• "I think the best way to answer that question would be to rip this podium out of the ground and then smash it over your head." -- Donald Rumsfeld, as imagined by Frank J.

• "I was gobsmacked to hear, in a set of headlines today, that the coalition was suffering 'significant casualties'. This is simply not true. Who dreamed up the line that the coalition are achieving 'small victories at a very high price?' The truth is exactly the opposite." -- Qatar-based BBC defence correspondent Paul Adams, in an memo to his London editors

• "With no sign that the regime will collapse it seems that, one way or another, slaughter is coming." -- Guy Rundle in the Melbourne Age

• "Do those who have written this tripe ever dare to go back and see how wrong they were last time?" -- Christopher Hitchens

• "The harassment, arrest, detention and frustration of those who are against the war is becoming routine." -- The Guardian’s Gary Younge describes life in Bush’s America

• "Don't you understand this is a peace rally?" -- screamed by an unknown girl at a Sydney antiwar demonstration, as the usual violence erupted

• "Just as Iraq was invaded by the viral Republican administration, I have been invaded by these viral Republican conditions." -- Bay Area peacenik Deborah Dashow Ruth blames Bush for her shingles, ulcer, and throbbing head

• "First we'll coax Saddam out of his bunker with a trail of delicious candy. Then, once his belly is full and he's all sleepy and happy, we'll calmly explain that we don't approve of what he's been doing and it's not very nice and we wish he'd stop. And he'll be like, ‘Whoa, I never thought of it that way. You guys are my friends! I like you!’ And then everybody will hug and cry, and then get a little embarrassed about crying, and then make some jokes to cover up being embarrassed. And then a beautiful rainbow will appear, and a shy unicorn will walk down it, and Saddam will ride it to the North Pole, and he'll spend the rest of his life helping Santa make wonderful toys for all the good little girls and boys, and there'll be hot chocolate, and, and, and nobody will ever ever die again for any reason ever." -- Jim Treacher

• "if i ever see someone so much as looking at my car in a funny way i will fuckin kill them i swear to god." -- blogger Snow Bunnie

• "No matter how scared and vulnerable our troops may be, their anxiety is nothing compared with the suffering of the Iraqi people terrorised by the bombing and shelling. The allied soldiers, though obliged to follow orders, have joined the military of their own free will, and are well paid and fed." -- SMH columnist Adele Horin

• "I'm the f***ing Prime Minister!" -- Tony Blair

• "Contrasting British servicemen and women with the appeasers, it is hard not to laugh. Are these two sides even the same species, let alone the same nationality? On one hand the selflessness and internationalism of the soldiers; on the other the Whites-First isolationism of the protesters. Excuse me, who are the idealists here?" -- Guardian columnist Julie Burchill

• "I didn't see a single person booing." -- Michael Moore revisits Oscar night

Posted by Tim Blair at 04:50 PM | Comments (9)


• "If Australia is attacked, it's no longer terrorism. We have invaded Iraq. Iraq, or its new allies, have every right to attack back." -- Margo Kingston

• "No country can hope to beat the Yanks off with conventional weapons - they've got air, sea and land completely covered. The only recourse is chemical, biological and nuclear weapons (the Yanks used them in Vietnam, and have not ruled out using them in this war)." -- Margo Kingston

• "Plastic shredders? We used to dream of 'aving plastic shredders. When I were a lad, we 'ad to get oop at three o'clock in t'morning and work 27-hour day at secret police headquarters, rending dissidents with ordinary garden rake. But tell that to yer yoong war protestors today, and they won't believe you." -- reader Paul Zrimsek reacts to news that Uday Hussein has a Yorkshire accent

• "Being against the war was yesterday's argument: today the only question is whether you are for or against victory." -- Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt

• "A too-swift and easy coalition victory may substantially increase the risk of future wars." -- Fairfax columnist Robert Manne

• "Please kill Saddam Hussein." -- Iranian-born cafe owner to US tourist Mike Gerhardt

• "I do believe this city is freakin' ours." -- Capt. Chris Carter of Watkinsville, Georgia, arrives in Baghdad

• "Rupert Murdoch's vast newspaper empire has waged a relentless pro-war propaganda war before and since the war began." -- Margo Kingston

• "Anyone who doubts that the Iraqi Army is prepared to defend its capital should take the highway south of Baghdad. How, I kept asking myself, could the Americans batter their way through these defenses?" -- Robert Fisk. With Fisk that day was SMH columnist Paul McGeough, who later reported: “Robert gets a bit windy from time to time."

• "That war can brutalise those left behind is an old lesson of history and we're getting worried about The Sydney Morning Herald's Miranda Devine, who's starting to write about humans as vermin." -- Media Watch’s David Marr complains about Devine describing terrorists as “cockroaches". Media Watch had earlier used the same word to describe Sydney radio commentators

• "So much is being lost and destroyed in this war. Lives. Ideals. Dreams." -- Margo Kingston laments the end of Saddam Hussein’s dreams

• "It is an appalling military adventure mounted by appalling people with the certainty of appalling consequences for years to come, not only for the Iraqi people." -- but also for SMH columnist Alan Ramsey

• "Imagine the damage being done to the children of Iraq. For those who escape physically will, inevitably, be mentally maimed, haunted for the rest of their lives." -- Phillip Adams

• "They stand, they fight, sometimes they run when we engage them. But often they run into our machine guns and we shoot them down like the morons they are." -- Brigadier-General John Kelly on non-Iraqi Muslims fighting outside Baghdad. He continued: "They appear willing to die. We are trying our best to help them out in that endeavour"

• "I have this delightful fantasy of left-wingers throughout the Western world putting their hands up and saying: ‘Well, actually we got that a little bit wrong.’" -- British columnist Janet Daley in Melbourne’s Age

• "Well, dawn has broken over Baghdad, welcoming day one of the new freedom, but if this is liberty, then it's far from perfect." -- the ABC’s John Highfield

• "The Americans ‘liberated’ Baghdad yesterday, destroyed the centre of Saddam Hussein's quarter-century of brutal dictatorial power but brought behind them an army of looters who unleashed upon the ancient city a reign of pillage and anarchy." -- Robert Fisk

• "I am happy to be wrong about the fall of Baghdad." -- John Quiggin

• "GO HOME HUMAN SHIELDS YOU U.S. WANKERS." -- banner carried through Baghdad by jubilant Iraqis

• "This is no time for gloating. Saddam has fallen. Many Iraqis are relieved. But the world is no safer." -- SMH columnist Adele Horin

• "One unpalatable consequence of victory in Iraq is that we are about to be offered a toxic brew of moral smugness and self-righteousness." -- Fairfax columnist Hugh Mackay

• "I am here now to tell you, we do not have any scud missiles and I don't know why they were fired into Kuwait." -- one of Iraqi information minister Muhammad Said al-Sahhaf’s greatest hits

• "Donna Mulhearn can't reconcile the images of cheering Iraqis greeting the toppling of President Saddam Hussein with the blood on the streets of Baghdad." -- Australian Associated Press reports a human shield’s confusion

• "This must have been Saddam's love shack." -- US Army sergeant Spencer Willardson locates a townhouse featuring a mirrored bedroom, lamps shaped like women, airbrushed paintings of a topless blonde woman and a moustached hero battling a crocodile

• "It is not just the vulgar, premature bawdiness of pro-war triumphalists which I find revolting. It is that they accuse anti-war people of being uncaring about the people of Iraq, and the lack of concern that these proponents of war show for the bodies of the killed and those maimed and injured by their invasion." -- The Independent’s Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

• "What we do not want is a situation of instability and the basis for terrorism off the back of this so-called victory, and it's the longer-term consequences, the humanitarian aid, how are we going to put in effect the new political system." -- Simon Crean, eloquent as ever

• "Make me dinner. Iron my shirt." -- sign carried by a representative of NO MA’AM during feminist protests at Augusta National

• "Although it would be foolish to predict what will happen in Iraq now, the apocalyptic predictions of as many as 500,000 civilian deaths (from a widely quoted leaked UN report) have so far proved exaggerated." -- The Age’s Gay Alcorn

• "Doctors at a Kuwaiti hospital on Wednesday began treating an Iraqi child who touched hearts around the world after he lost his arms." -- Reuters

• "Make no mistake, if the US can't find those chemical weapons in Iraq, it'll smuggle some in and plant them." -- Phillip Adams

• "The National Library and Archives - a priceless treasure of Ottoman historical documents, including the old royal archives of Iraq - were turned to ashes in 3,000 degrees of heat." -- Robert Fisk. Readers were quick to point out that Fisk may have been out by as much as 2,000 degrees.

• "At the first moment, with support of other coalition forces, our people crossed the border into Iraq and made a significant dash by night to our operating area. On the way we encountered several dozen Iraqis, whom we dealt with." -- Australian General Peter Cosgrove

• "Media Watch is wrong, Media Watch knows that it is wrong, and Media Watch's viewers know that Media Watch is wrong." -- me getting it wrong, wrong, wrong

• "I hope you die you c---. I notice you daily blather of bile and shite gob right wing evil crap has disappeared. I hope it is because you are terminally ill with a painful debilitating disease which will kill you slowly and spread to all those dear to you." -- a contented reader

• "I was wrong about the war." -- Hardball host Chris Matthews

• "I was just following orders." -- Iraq air defence force commander Muzahim Sa'b Hassan al-Tikriti

• "It's not healthy." -- Ted Turner believes too few people own too many media organisations

• "He's my man; he was great." -- George W. Bush is a Muhammad Said al-Sahhaf fan

• "He was very passionate. He had learned some Spanish and he would say things like, 'I adore your body', and, 'You make me fly like a bird when I touch you'." -- Judy Lonchan Lopez, George Galloway’s Cuban love toy

• "Dyareckon he would take that view if the personal blog was filled with 'My boss is God. He is the bestest boss. Lovelove for Boss.'?" -- the Wogblogger on a Hartford Courant editor who banned a journalist from blogging

• "APRIL 28, IT'S YOUR BIRTHDAY YOU LOSER!" -- a sign placed next to a donkey in Iraqi on Saddam Hussein's 66th birthday

• "If we have used the word 'liberate' in our own journalism, as in 'such and such a place had been liberated by allied forces', that's a mistake." -- the BBC’s Mark Damazar lays down the law

Posted by Tim Blair at 04:37 PM | Comments (3)


• "Twenty-five pieces is not the same as 170,000." -- Colonel Matthew F. Bogdanos corrects a certain "looted museum" rumour

• "I was wrong. The flag that was draped over the statue of Saddam did not come from the Pentagon." -- me, to Media Watch

• "There's only one solution to preventing him taking the civilised world down his own private S-bend - take him out immediately; one bullet through the forehead at point blank, and all of a sudden the gene pool will be that little bit cleaner." -- a contributor to The Sydney Morning Herald’s online forum

• "Only the state can buy the things that make people happiest.” -- The Guardian’s Polly Toynbee

• "Iraqis of all faiths, ethnic backgrounds and political persuasions were liberated by young men and women who came from the other side of the world -- from California and Wyoming, from New York, Glasgow, London, Sydney and Gdansk to risk their lives, and for some to die, so that my people can live in dignity." -- Iraqi poet Awad Nasir

• "We don't want biased news over here." -- editorial, The Guardian

• "Not so long ago, I dreaded this. And now, I have to admit, I was wrong." -- The Age’s Joanna Murray-Smith revises her opinion of the war

• "Fuckin' no-brainer, kid." -- Dennis Miller responds to a fan’s comment on his support for George W. Bush

• "Australians, Americans, whatever - they are all white people." -- Bali bombmaker Ali Imron on his intended victims

• "My favourite spectator sport is watching people who should know better searching for something (and often claiming to find it) where it never could be. Women claiming to find feminism in Islam is a good one." -- Julie Burchill

• "There was the president, landing on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln, stepping out of a fighter jet in that amazing uniform, looking - how to put it? - really hot. Also presidential, of course. Not to mention credible as commander in chief. But mostly 'hot,' as in virile, sexy and powerful." -- the WSJ’s Lisa Schiffren

• "It's a huge black eye." -- Arthur Sulzberger Jr., publisher of The New York Times, on a scandal involving a black reporter who may have been hired because he was black, promoted because he was black, and whose errors may have been overlooked because he was black

• "WHO the F-CK is that man? He's a f-cking traitor. Get his ass off the stage. Oh, F-CK him. Who IS that fat f-ck anyway?" -- Joan Collins critiques Michael Moore's Academy Award speech

• "Yesterday's budget continues the trend to turning Australia into a less caring and sharing society, into a country of individuals." -- SMH columnist Adele Horin

• "The Government should introduce programs to help all those unfortunate enough to possess arts degrees ... Re-education cafes could be set up with courses in basic psychology, science and economics. We need cheap, large-type anthologies of Adam Smith to show the baby boomers there is life after Noam Chomsky." -- The Daily Telegraph’s Michael Duffy

• "The other day they burned a Walgreens Drug store because the candy aisle had Pixie Stix. Why, you ask? Because they rhyme with Dixie Chicks! That's how bad it's gotten." -- James Lileks

• "Palestine, the home of the Jessica Lynch family, is not 'a hellish war-torn wasteland filled with a million stories of pain and suffering at the hands of murderous Zionists.' It is a small farming community in West Virginia." -- Randal Robinson tries his hand at a New York Times-style correction

• "The people who run the New York Times are insane. Really insane, like those bums who stagger down the street making chicken noises while their filthy pants slide ever downwards." -- Ken Layne

• "It has always been easy to oppose a war, but this time I realised that people were really suffering under [Saddam]. I've been in the German prison camps, and you could fit all of the combined concentration camps just into Abu Ghraib." -- former opponent of the war George Gittoes changes his mind after visiting Iraq

• "My first car was a doggy doo-doo brown 1972 Ford Pinto - the model US consumer advocate Ralph Nader infamously dubbed 'unsafe at any speed.'" -- The Australian’s Susan Maushart doesn’t know her Pintos from her Corvairs

• "Only last week George W. Bush was boasting that al-Qaeda was on the run, 'not a problem any more'." -- SMH columnist Mike Carlton recycles Maureen Dowd

• "They come here, people such as Americans, the Jews and their allies. They want to colonise, not just to play. They want to control Muslim people. They make us weak and they take our people to bars." -- Bali bomber Amrozi

• "When OJ Simpson was chased through Los Angeles, it was in a Lincoln Navigator." -- The Guardian’s Gary Younge doesn’t know his Navigators from his Broncos

• "You tell the big lie by carefully selecting only the small, isolated truths, linking them in such a way that that advance the bigger lie by painting a picture inside the viewer's head. The Ascended High Master of this Dark Art is Noam Chomsky." -- Bill Whittle

• "Bin Laden's upbringing in Saudi Arabia as one of 50 children of a wealthy Yemeni builder, his brief dalliance with a western life, his discovery of piety, his growth as a leader and finally his turn to anti-western terrorism, all add up to a great story." -- the SMH’s Bernard Zuel

• "Surprised to see you crawl from under the debris so quickly." -- ever-charming Media Watch executive producer Peter McEvoy

• "Gun, gun for you. Don't forget (this is a) terrorist country. Life for life. Soul for soul. I am a killer for you.” -- Bali bomber Imam Samudra

• "I'm a symbol of is what's wrong with The New York Times. And what's been wrong with The New York Times for a long time." -- Jayson Blair

• "This eulogy owes nothing to artifice or chance. It has ripened inside me since childhood. From the bottom of my pockets, stuck to the back of my smock, hidden in the corner of abacuses, poetry gushed out." -- French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin

• "[Robert Byrd’s] admirable background stands in splendid contrast to the slippery neo-conservative spivs and silver-spooners who infest the Republican Administration of George W. Bush." -- SMH columnist Mike Carlton, forgetting that Byrd’s admirable background includes membership of the KKK

• "When Amrozi himself explains he just wants Westerners ‘finished’ for something as trivial as drinking in a bar on a Hindu island, or for being Jewish, then it's time to stop negotiating and start shooting." -- the Herald Sun’s Andrew Bolt

• "Australia joined in separating East Timor from Indonesia." -- one reason why Bali bomber Imam Samudra hates Australia

• "I'm from Chicago." -- Donald Rumsfeld explains why he doesn’t get modern dance

• "I'd do Tim just to say thanks for all of his Margo Kingston posts." -- comment of the year, from Jackie D

• "The Bush administration is the most radical - in a positive sense - in its approach to Africa since Kennedy." -- Bob Geldof

• "Dickhead. Next question?" -- The Mirror’s Sue Carroll, asked for her opinion on fellow Mirror columnist John Pilger

• "Now that you’ve tasted it, you’re one of them." -- SMH economics writer Ross Gittins, after I drank wine offered by the ABC’s Jennifer Byrne

Posted by Tim Blair at 03:22 PM | Comments (2)


• "Britain and Australia have public broadcasters that enhance their nation's intellectual climate while the US, lacking a similar body, has hundreds of broadcasters and none worth tuppence." -- SMH columnist Adele Horin

• "I am going to a Regimental Reunion in Wagga Wagga in August - you might like to drop in and explain to the blokes of my Infantry Battalion what you mean by 'lying bastards'." -- Ken Gillett offers an invitation to ABC current affairs boss Max Uechtritz

• "Hatred and aggression and murderous ambitions are ... our friends." -- George W. Bush is put through the Dowdifier

• "The senator seems to think the media's duty in time of war is to fall meekly into line with the government of the day." -- Max Uechtritz and Martin Hirst fall meekly into line with each other, writing the same defence of the ABC

• "I think he should be just taken away, shot in the back of the head and buried in a ditch with just no mark and so basically just wipe him out of existence." -- Randall Lee, whose two brothers and sister-in-law were killed in the Bali bomb attack, on Imam Samudra

• "I know you are Irish, but what is your question?" -- Professor Niall Ferguson, to a "shamanistic poet" who interrupted his lecture

• "Just about the only person criticising Bush in the US media is Sean Penn." -- The Guardian’s Gary Younge

• "I subscribed to your newspaper for 22 years. I believed every word and then I learned the truth: that you hire retarded people because of the government programs, and these people are made to write things they did not write, for reasons they did not know. First there is the one boy, then the older man with diabetes, then the 'columnist' who jokes with lies about every little thing, and when would it end?" -- Larry Jonestowne, in a letter to the New York Times

• "George W. Bush, the US President, has used his weekly radio address to again steal his nation." -- ABC radio transcript

• "I was unaware that Byrd had indeed worn the pointy hood for two years from 1942. Plainly, that renders his background considerably less than admirable." -- SMH columnist Mike Carlton

• "Associating with Arabs has brought us nothing but shame and heartache." -- Seyf al-Islam Kaddafi, son of the Libyan dictator

• "Hay Bush wepon masterucshin? Their it is weight no just Irak babie no leg." -- Puce

• "I do not see, in the light of those mass graves, how it is now possible to say this war should not have been fought." -- The Age’s Pamela Bone

• "I will not pay. I'll do the time." -- Danish pizzeria owner Aage Bjerre, fined $1200 for refusing to serve French and German tourists

• "People have no respect for bicycle riders." -- English professor and cyclist Luis Rodriguez, scared off the road by North Carolina drivers

• "I'm happy to eat crow." -- Phillip Adams, after museum looting stories were discounted

• "When a rock-tossing amateur athlete can spend less than 15 minutes on the web confirming a writer's humiliating legacy of bias, after reading one of his stories for the first time, then ya gotta know the jig is up." -- Olympic curler George Karrys

• "Media Watch is a program about the media and journalism that promotes a number of principles, including free speech. The phrase ‘nigger in the woodpile’ is a colloquialism, which means a hidden or unacknowledged problem. Some people may feel it's in bad taste, but we wouldn't pick up someone for using the term in context." -- Media Watch executive producer Peter McEvoy.

• "He’s the only client I ever fired in writing. He was the most difficult human being I’ve ever met. There was no one who even came close. Michael Moore would never withstand the scrutiny he lays on other people. You would think that he’s the ultimate common man. But he’s money-obsessed." -- Michael Moore’s former manager

• "They missed a good opportunity to shut up." -- Silvio Berlusconi, after French criticism of his refusal to meet Palestinian leaders

• "The culture and the values which they will force us to accept will be hedonism, unlimited quest for pleasure, the satisfaction of base desires, particularly sexual desires. Our way of life must be the same as their way of life. Asian values do not exist for them." -- Malaysian Prime Minister Mahatir Mohamad sticks it to the west

• "I was a walking contradiction. Was I a conquering capitalist or a socialist activist? I still don't know." -- deep-thinking Friends star David Schwimmer

• "Let’s look at it simply. The most important difference between North Korea and Iraq is that economically, we just had no choice in Iraq. The country swims on a sea of oil." -- Paul Wolfowitz, as misquoted by Robert Fisk

• "Karl Marx was right: in the end, the politicians in a liberal, capitalist democracy are the messengers, couriers and enforcers for their corporate owners." -- The Age’s Terry Lane

• "Adams has rewritten the information sufficiently so that he isn't using Schuessler's manner of expression." -- Peter McEvoy lets Phillip Adams off the hook

• "I haven't talked about it. People might misunderstand it." -- British Labour MP Ann Clwyd on her secret friendship with the hated American neo-cons

• "You're a f---ing dog, mate, you're going to die, you f---." -- Bali bomb survivor Jake Ryan, to Imam Sumudra

• "I'll chip in on the beers." -- commenter Bryan J., sparking the Jake Ryan Beer Fund

• "I will never forget when one of my cousins actually burst into tears when I said out loud "I am a Republican" at a Thanksgiving dinner." -- blogger Mapchic

• "As a Muslim, I am very glad and proud of what Bali bomb victim Jake Ryan did, even if it breached the official conduct in court. Good on you Jake – that Imam Samudra extremist deserves to be shouted at with the worst of language and even more." -- Shamsul Khairuddin

• "He didn't bother to order anything to eat, he just asked for a VB." -- publican Shane Able, after Benjamin O’Connor walked into his bar following five days lost in the desert

• "Most people probably know what my goal was." -- Louie Zervos, whose sister and two cousins were murdered in Bali, on why he had attended the bombers’ trials.

• "I simply say in relation to the BBC story — it is a lie." -- Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair’s communications director

• "I accuse John Pilger of cheating the public and favouring a dictator." -- BBC special correspondent John Sweeney

• "With the Imperial War Machine in town this past week, it's been tempting to exercise a democratic freedom and make some lame but satisfying gesture, such as vomiting on a marine's fatigues." -- the SMH’s Malcolm Knox

• "The insider's story of a White House fixed in its ways after the Reagan-Bush years is told with wit and grace ... Some see Living History as the opening shot in the Hillary 2008 campaign. For what it’s worth, I think they’re right and I hope she wins." -- The Australian’s Stephen Romei, on Hillary Clinton’s crap book

• "There's a dork out there running the most powerful country in the world without a qualification to his name." -- Dmitri Piterman, president of Spanish soccer team Racing Santander

• "I'm sure you will find another lab if you look around." -- British professor of pathology Andrew Wilkie, in a letter telling Amit Duvshani that he and other Israelis aren’t welcome at Wilkie’s university

• "He can roll up his sleeves all he wants at public events, but as long as we see that heart tattoo with Neville Chamberlain's name on his right forearms, he's never going anywhere." -- Dennis Miller on Howard Dean

• "I don't know how Harry scrubs up at 15 but Judith Torzillo isn't bad for 11." -- the ABC’s Kerry O’Brien

Posted by Tim Blair at 03:07 PM | Comments (0)


• "In a sense, it's his ignorance that gives him invincibility, whereas his critics, so eloquent and articulate, achieve invisibility." -- Phillip Adams on George W. Bush

• "The media are all over it like flies on pieces of a Hamas bomber." -- blogger Meryl Yourish

• "Could you provide a name(s) of any ancient Australian philosophers or educators pre-200 B.C.?" -- email sent to Australia by a US librarian

• "If you came to Melbourne from Mars, you'd buy the Age out of curiosity but you'd read the [Herald Sun] to find out what's going on." -- an Age staffer trashes his paper in a note to Professor Bunyip

• "In every sense of the word." -- Prime Minister John Howard

• "I teach my students that of course communism must be seen in a negative light, but the goal of Nazism was to kill people, and the goal of communism was to unite them." -- Italian high school teacher Giuseppe Costantino

• "Pastries, all $1! Fresh, healthy, and good for you. Eat up! That should please your cynical heart." -- sign outside a Sydney bakery

• I was harvesting rice the day Mama informed on me
So I continued laboring valiantly to meet my production quota
But before I could draw a giant-letter poster denouncing her
She got run over by a danged old tractor.
-- Paul Zrimsek writes a Chinese peasant-and-eastern song

• "Somehow, Bush manages to balance his reputation as the most belligerent president the US has ever produced with his claim to be a born-again Christian ..." -- somehow, Hugh Mackay was still at this point writing columns for the Fairfax papers

• "She seems to have let quite a few people down." -- a BBC spokesman after reporter Jane O'Brien ran off to marry an FBI agent she met while covering the war in Iraq

• "The Australian Association for the Teaching of English is meeting at the University of Melbourne, and I’m thinking of gatecrashing to tell them what a terrible job they are doing." -- blogger Andrew Norton

• "A lot of us are better off. Our houses are bigger, our cars newer and roomier. Our interest rates are lower, and that's not to be sniffed at. And yet it hurts to see the way John Howard has changed this country." -- the SMH’s Mark Sawyer

• "We want an end to politically conservative appointments to classification boards, so the decisions are made by competent people with no axes to grind and with some understanding of Australia as a country of diverse communities." -- freedom of speech advocates Christina Andreef, Martha Ansara, David Marr, Jane Mills, Margaret Pomeranz, and Julie Rigg demand less freedom of speech

• "With increasing frequency and growing vehemence, you hear people saying they are ashamed to be Australians." -- Hugh Mackay

• "The obnoxious garlic-breathed drunken homosexual concentration-camp bullfighter who's into organised crime." -- Mark Steyn devises a Single European Stereotype

• "He certainly wasn't a leader with 100 per cent electoral approval, as he claimed, but then in a free election he'd still likely have won more votes than the 24 per cent of Americans who voted for George Bush." -- Malcolm Knox, on Saddam Hussein

• "Often things we don't like are in fact good for us." -- Bali bomber Amrozi urges people to look on the bright side

• "Might I offer a couple of small suggestions to those British citizens who would prefer not to stand trial in military tribunals where the punishment for some crimes can be execution? Don’t join terrorist organisations that fly planes at skyscrapers, and don’t dedicate your life to mass murder." -- Stephen Pollard

• "North Korea is carefully monitoring all Australian behaviour." -- Kim Myong-Chol, of the Centre for Korean-American Peace

• "A declaratory policy could be devised based on the threat of retaliation if an attack occurs in the West by nonstate actors using the Arab way of war. In such a circumstance, there could be a strategy of instant, graduated response: nuclear strikes against several of the capital cites of the Middle Eastern nations." -- Australian navy captain Peter Layton

• "I've never felt so proud. I'd do it again." -- an Australian Navy serviceman, just returned from Iraq

• "Does 'ennui' fit the bill?" -- blogger Tim Dunlop seaches for a way to describe reaction to Delta Goodrem's cancer diagnosis

• "How can I carry on writing for a publication I view as contemptible? The answer is that I can't, and I've written to tell them so.” -- Stephen Pollard severs ties with the leftist New Statesman

• "On behalf of many people in Cape York Peninsula including Noel Pearson, I urge you to stay as Prime Minister." -- Cape York Land Council chairman Richie Ah Mat, in a letter to John Howard

• "They want the park, they want open space, they want homeless people, they want community facilities." -- Sydney Greens politician Silvia Hale knows what inner-city residents want

• "She's not saying we deserved this atrocity. She's saying bigots and xenophobes in Asia THINK we deserve it. There's a difference." -- David Marr defends Bali beer blowhard Alison Broinowski, who never said any such thing

• "So they are dead. Or are they?" -- Robert Fisk, following the deaths of Ubie and Queesy Hussain

• "The Goth phase tends to naturally end in the late teens. This is because Goths get tired of constantly being told that they 'look like idiots' and 'are annoying' and 'can't work the Drive-Thru if they keep dressing like Dracula's Knob-wipe'." --Ray Smuckles

• "We almost wouldn't have an industry if we didn't have the regulations we have and I wouldn't have a job. I wouldn't be earning a living." -- cultural Hansonite Claudia Karvan wants to protect Australia from awful foreigners

• "The secret of Howard's success is, as always, his enemies. No one likes a bully, and the cowardly, unimaginative pack-bullying practised by what passes for intelligentsia in urban Australia, whether they are writers, artists, academics, journalists, John Hewson or Paddington wives, whether you call them the left, or elites, as David Flint has in his new book, is particularly repugnant." -- the SMH’s Miranda Devine

• "Come on, gobble, gobble." -- J-Lo

• "Every day, on my way to the theatre, I pass the General Motors headquarters in Fifth Avenue." -- Phillip Adams shifts GM’s HQ from Detroit to New York

• "They are all very gifted storytellers, or full of crap. Depends on how you look at it." -- my sister, on the Irish

• "We have been destabilised by too many changes coming too quickly; we're tired of 'issues', disappointed in our leaders and disturbed by our own sense of powerlessness ... we have taken refuge in the celebration of our ordinariness, our normality, our domesticity ... we're scared, so we've switched off." -- Hugh Mackay, losing his mind

• "You'd need some DNA. There’s a good way to do it. Take a machete, and whack off his head, and you'll get a bucketful of DNA, so you can see it and test it." -- CIA veteran Cofer Black explains how Osama bin Laden might be identified

• "As we now know, almost everything we were told about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein was false." -- Fairfax columnist Robert Manne

Posted by Tim Blair at 02:53 PM | Comments (0)


• "Guts, limps, spots, humps, corns, boils, scars, tics: these are marks that distinguish the species." -- Lloyd Evans on British socialists

• "Canadians can't quite believe it: Suddenly, we're interesting." -- Naomi Klein

• "Coming to Baghdad has helped me to confirm in my own mind we did our job properly and that the whole effort was worthwhile." -- Coalition bombing advisor Major Penny Cumming

• "If I had been in the president's place I would not have gotten the chance to resign. I would have been lying in a pool of my own blood, looking up and listening to my wife ask, 'How do you reload this son of a bitch?'." -- Congressman Dick Armey, whose comment was declared "quote of the year" by the SMH’s Peter FitzSimons. Armey spoke those words in 1998

• "What the hell are those vehicles? They look like the footstools you'd stand on so you could reach the running board of a real automobile." -- James Lileks reacts to Chris Textor’s range of possible car purchases

• "Here is my porn collection. Here are my divine sex toys and my lubricants and my leather strappy things and my collection of happy open-minded perversions and my active account at and my tattoos and piercings and love of massage oil and vibrators and things that go ooooh in the night. Come on over, Mr. Ashcroft, I have something to show you." -- SF Chronicle self-abuser Mark Morford

• "'Whats the matter, Mr squaresville? Am I FREAKIN YOU OUT!?' You certainly would be, dipshit, if it was 1957." -- commentator Amos responds to the above

• "Let's shoot Sharon, Bush, Blair, and Howard instead. We would all be so much better off believe me." -- Mikey F's contribution to The Age's Your Say page

• "Arnold, Arnold." -- chant that greeted Arianna Huffington at the launch of her California governor campaign

• "Buy wiping out Israel and dooming millions of Jews into the sea in one gigantic push, you the Palestinians will Dumbfound Western leaders by collapsing 'Israel' in a couple of days." -- message at the taxpayer-funded Virtual Palestine website

• "Somewhere along the line, the idea took hold that, to be an intellectual, you have to be against it, whatever it is. The intellectual is a negator. Affirmation is not in his or her vocabulary." -- Jean Bethke Elshtain

• "You should remember what was done by Australia and its allies over two years, or do you agree with the aggression against East Timor, that removed it from Indonesia." -- Bali bomber Imam Sumudra. Well, do you, John Pilger?

• "They give me books here and I am held in a clean place. The food is tasty. I want for nothing but freedom. Good people are sat around me." -- Gitmo resident Andrei Bakhitov

• "One time I had a girlfriend dress up as a grateful homeless woman. That was one of the hottest nights of my life." -- Ray Smuckles

• "Despite all our differences, we have to learn to sing the same songs, in tune and in harmony." -- Phillip Adams opposes diversity

• "After a couple of miserable terms, a few of us ambushed the bully and gave him what's what. He sobbed, abdicated power, shook our hands and the playground became a better place." -- pacifist Richard Neville failed to learn from his childhood lesson

• "The negative media portrait of the situation in Iraq doesn't correspond with what I've seen. Indeed, we were treated as liberating heroes when we arrived four months ago, and we continue to enjoy amicable relations with the local populace." -- US Marine John R. Guardino

• "Don't be afraid. Just bring the pen down here, then across here, and he's finished." -- Fuad Hussein assists teachers crossing out images of Saddam in Iraqi schoolbooks

• "A public already panicked by the war on terror will be conned and wedged into a debate that we don't need to have – and shouldn't be having." -- Phillip Adams opposes free speech

• "In Iraq, we can just kill the bastards." -- Ralph Peters explains the benefits of fighting terrorism abroad, rather than at home

• "I now have second thoughts about opposing the death penalty for terrorists. Why should taxpayers pay for the rent, meals, electricity bills and medical care of a convicted terrorist who kills, maims, destroys and takes away the lives of the innocent?" -- East Timorese foreign minister Jose Ramos-Horta

• "Now that rebels are bombing the UN, water mains and oilfields belonging to the Iraqi people, where are all the human shields from Western countries who volunteered to sit on these structures to protect them from the evil Americans?" -- Peter Kennedy, in a letter to The Australian

• "The Herald is one of only a few news organisations to have interviewed members of the resistance." -- Paul McGeough finds a new word for "Ba’athist scum and their death-dealing fundamentalist pals"

• "Education and research are the 'twin-carburettors' of economic expansion." -- Labor’s Mark Latham hasn’t looked under a bonnet for decades

• "That would be the worst tragedy in the history of California." -- Cybill Shepherd looks forward to Arnie’s election

• "Other than the bombs they strap to their chests, I’ve got no idea what makes the Palestinians tick." -- Dennis Miller

• "The Huntington thesis seems to have been remarkably prescient in the light of recent world events." -- extract from the newspaper piece that got ABC presenter Stephen Crittenden suspended

• "These terrorists killed the wrong people. They killed the good people." -- incoming Tasmanian governor Richard Butler, following the bomb attack on the UN’s Iraq base

• "I want to thank the Australian people who supported our cause when they demonstrated against the policies of George Bush." -- Bali bomb builder Sawad

• "Four months after the first US tanks rolled into Baghdad airport, the quagmirists are coming out to play again, having learned no lesson when their dire predictions about the second Gulf War proved to be as foolish as the triumphant pronouncements of Comical Ali." -- SMH columnist Miranda Devine

• "As this is written, a Dixie Chick sits in a dark cell, living on peckings, uncertain of her fate, while Janeane Garofalo hasn't been given the opportunity to co-star in a shit film since literally the start of the so-called 'war on terror.'" -- blogger Emily Jones

• "Defeating the Republican Party is not more important than defeating terrorism. Your enemies are those who are trying to kill you. Make the proper distinctions. Get your priorities straight." -- blogger Michael Totten

• "He saved us from Saddam and that's why we named our son after him." -- Iraqi Nadia Jergis Mohammed following the birth of George Bush Abdul Kader Faris Abed El-Hussein

• "Frankly, I don't give a toss what some murderer thinks of my opinions and I'm not particularly inclined to adjust my behaviour according whatever twisted logic such a sicko comes up with. I don't need to ‘bear in mind’ anything terrorists say." -- blogger Tim Dunlop, a few months after writing that we should "consider what role our actions might have played"

Posted by Tim Blair at 02:36 PM | Comments (0)


• "Be careful eating lunch now today, don't want you choking on a chicken bone do we." -- troll Big Hawk makes his usual point

• "Every fact in the film is true." -- Michael Moore. It’s only the lies that are false

• "Face it Tim you are a fraud to intellectual thought and a chickenhawk in the extreme. You send other people's sons and daughters to fight your wars and call anyone who doesn't agree with you a coward, a traitor or any other term of abuse you can come up with between your endless long lunches." -- Big Hawk, again

• "I've been a member of Amnesty International for nearly two decades, but comparing the relative effectiveness of the methods used for actually DOING something about human rights, I think I'll send my donation next year to the US Republican Party instead." -- Uncle Milk

• "The challenge remains for the big brave Tim Blair to put his big balls where his big mouth his and get down to Pitt St bright and early where he can present himself to the ADF recruiting office and sign up. But of course he won't be doing that, he's got another long lunch to attend to today." -- Big Hawk, yet again

• "Bush was, of course, aided and abetted by the judicial activism of Supreme Court judges appointed by Dad – and the candidate who’d lost the popular vote got the glittering prize." -- Phillip Adams. Contributor J. F. Beck quickly pointed out that Bush Sr. appointed two Supreme Court judges, whose votes cancelled each other out

• "You've got to hand it to those cows, they know how to bag themselves up." -- blogger Natalie Solent

• "The time has come to leave wolves in peace." -- Bill Clinton’s new, suckworthy version of Peter and the Wolf

• "These days, wealth is increasingly uncommon, something to be enjoyed by our visionary business leaders and their fortunate families." -- Phillip Adams, ignoring data that shows wealth in Australia has increased by 40% in the past decade

• "You truly excel yourself Tim. Where's lunch today." -- guess who

• "The President will make a dramatic U-turn on Iraq in a TV broadcast tonight to try to salvage his hopes of re-election amid Americans' growing hostility to the casualties and chaos." -- a prediction from The Guardian

• "If someone needs shooting, shoot him. If someone doesn't need shooting, protect him." -- Major General James Mattis

• "When someone attacks Australia I'll fight, but I doubt Tim will. He'll be too busy pretending how important he is eating lunch." -- still more diet advice from old Horkie

• "Ignorance, self-delusion, free-floating disregard for the facts and an unswerving belief in its own infallibility: such are the hallmarks of today's America." -- The Independent’s Andrew Gumbel

• "They didn't even try to catch them." -- puzzled comedian Ewan Campbell, after he’d pelted an audience with Minties. He later learned the audience was blind

• "The economy has juddered to dead slow, steam hissing from the radiator." -- SMH columnist Mike Carlton, days before the ABC reported that "every indicator, every survey, has pointed to an economy building up an impressive head of steam"

• "Simon Crean has painstakingly built a platform for a potentially devastating assault on Howard's fitness for office." -- Margo Kingston. Crean was removed as Labor leader within a couple of months

• "The use of sexual toys to enhance foreplay is permissible on condition that these toys do not cause any harm or contain any forbidden ingredients. Similarly, these toys should not be inserted into the female private part, except in the case of dire necessity." -- The Imam

• "It's time we Americans came to terms with something: France is not just our annoying ally. It is not just our jealous rival. France is becoming our enemy." -- Thomas "Daniel" Friedman, in The New York Times

• "The same people who accuse America of coddling dictators are sputtering with bilious fury because we actually deposed one." -- James Lileks

• "I will avenge these prankdoers, mark my lips, I will smoke these filthy evilsters. Whoever you are, we will catch you. Remember: I never sleep." -- George W. Bush, as quoted in Viz magazine

• "Big money, big Liberal Party politics and big media are trying to get rid of us, of course, by letting Packer take over Fairfax - a media-only company. But we're hanging in there and doing the best job we can for our readers while we can." -- Margo Kingston, pretending she works for Indymedia

• "We have people from every planet on Earth in this state. We have the sons and daughters of every of people from every planet of every country on Earth." -- terminated California governor Gray Davis

• "He has been a trenchant critic of Bush's ill-planned invasion and occupation of Iraq, with its hubristic, neo-conservative assumptions that America can order the world to its whim." -- SMH columnist Mike Carlton praises Wesley Clark, presumbly unaware of Clark’s earlier view that George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair "should be proud of their resolve in the face of so much doubt"

• "I do think it would be helpful to get the United Nations in to help write a constitution. I mean, they're good at that." -- George W. Bush finds something for the UN to do

• "Tell George Bush to come and get rid of the mullahs for us." -- an Iranian cab driver, to a "shocked" Canadian

• "What a success not just for Greenpeace but for the people of Mexico. We did it for the campesinos. For the future of the children of Mexico." -- Greenpeace activists after blocking a shipment of GM corn. The vessel returned within hours and successfully unloaded its entire cargo

• "Don't believe those who say they aren't there just because we haven't found them. Saddam Hussein had WMDs. Iraq certainly did have weapons of mass destruction. Trust me. I held some in my own hands." -- Richard Butler, who earlier had said: "We need to know what the facts are to know whether the WMD justification for the invasion was real or not"

• "The MV Cormo Express has become the Tampa of the live sheep export trade." -- The Age’s Michelle Grattan

• "I've known Wes for a long time ... Wes won't get my vote.” -- a ringing unendorsement for the Clark campaign from Retired General H. Hugh Shelton

• "I'm returnin' that Noam Chomsky video you made me rent from you. I only watched like six minutes of it so I guess I should get like at least a partial refund." -- Roast Beef

• "I will smash you like the bug you are." -- an artificial intelligence conversation robot answers the question: "Will Collingwood win tomorrow?"

• "It is worth stating the obvious, so momentous is it: For the first time in almost half a century, Iraq has no executions, no political prisoners, no torture and no limits on freedom of expression." -- Julie Flint, in the Lebanese Daily Star

• "Tim Blair ... is always looking down his nose at working class pastimes like rugby league, the track and club-life. The Australian should not allow people to write about sport unless they know something about it." -- Mark Latham

• "Palestinians regard Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as major obstacles to peace and have regularly attacked them." -- Reuters

• "Are you sure it’s not a demon?" -- James Lileks, on learning that his daughter had an imaginary friend

• "The frontrunner Democratic candidate for president, General Wesley Clark, revealed last week that he refused requests from the Bush administration to publicly link Iraq with S11 within days of the attack on the World Trade Centre because there was no evidence of a link." -- Margo Kingston. The revelation to which she refers was from last June rather than "last week", and was denied by Clark in August

• "The US line on defending Australia remains the same, and our efforts in Iraq have not changed it. In Sydney on August 13, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage made that clear, saying 'your system is yours to defend'. If there were a future problem involving Indonesia, he added, Australian leadership would be 'essential'. In other words, unless American interests are threatened, we're still on our own." -- Alison Broinowski, twisting Armitage’s speech beyond recognition

• "Abbott is a good man to fix up messes and make new policy work ... If he gets it right - and Howard will back him with big bucks - Abbott could clean-up his image and restore his appeal as a future leader." -- Margo Kingston, reversing her view in August that "Tony Abbott has just said goodbye to ever being Prime Minister ... the Australian people will never trust Abbott again"

• "As we know, the White House has essentially an oil regime in power, and the OPEC governments were very opposed to Kyoto." -- Jeremy Leggett, unbiased expert, during an ABC interview

• "This channel will promote a French vision that is more necessary than ever in today's world." -- French Prime Minister Jean Pierre Raffarin announces his nation’s answer to Fox and CNN. Reader Mark from Monroe’s suggested name for the new network: "Le Jazeera"

Posted by Tim Blair at 02:22 PM | Comments (2)


• "Mary, help!" --General Wesley Clark

• "In front of us right now is the greatest leader Australia has ever had and the greatest leader in the world." -- Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin, on John Howard

• "Do you have a favorite store in Kabul? Maybe the best prices, range or service. Let us know & we will let others know as well!" -- Kabul’s ARMAN FM

• "Herald staff shall avoid any prominent activity in partisan public causes that compromises, or appears to compromise, the journalist or the newspaper." -- the Sydney Morning Herald’s code of ethics, apparently unread by Margo Kingston

• "All eyes were on the newest runner - former general Wesley Clark. Anticipation mounted. And a few moments into the general's speech there was an almost audible sigh of relief from the hundreds of party faithful in the audience. That sigh said one thing - here was a man who could indeed beat Mr Bush in the presidential race." -- the BBC’s Jonathan Marcus, detecting inaudible voting signals

• "We'll get the bastards who did this." -- John Howard, to Phil Burchett, stepfather of Bali bombing victim Jared Gane

• "Instead of rounding up suspicious Arabs, why don't we say, 'Oh my God, a multi-millionaire killed 3,000 people! Round up the multi-millionaires! Throw them all in jail! No charges! No trials! Deport the millionaires!!'" -- millionaire Michael Moore

• "I am also sure that upon hearing the news, Al Franken spronged sufficient wood to knock the table over." -- James Lileks, on Franken's likely response to Rush Limbaugh's drug hobby

• "Cancun. The World Trade Organisation. Free trade. It's too hard. That's how the big players like it - too complex for us poor sods who have to wear the pain and surrender our democratic rights in its service and so secretive we're don't get the chance to work it out even we we wanted to." -- Margo Kingston

• "Five thousand years ago, Moses said, 'Hitch up your camel. Pick up your shovel. Mount your ass. I will lead you to the promised land.'" -- ancient joke John Kerry revives an ancient joke

• "Yes, Hussein was a monster, but ..." -- Phillip Adams

• "WEll it just shows how ridiculously stupid americans are it bad enough chosing a retarted president who is a pupet but now they go a chose a movie star when will that country learn and then they wonder why the world hates them???" -- Peter Pritchard, in the SMH’s online forum

• "Schwarzenegger, who, like Hitler, is a native of Austria ..." -- CNN

• "Women supported him, which is amazing." -- University of California professor Elizabeth Garrett analyses Arnie’s vote

• "The excuse used by Bush, Blair and Howard to invade Iraq was the imminent threat posed by Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. This claim now appears to have been untrue." -- The Age’s Kenneth Davidson, whose claim about the claim is untrue

• "Listen, friends, you have to face the truth: you are never going to be rich. The chance of that happening is about one in a million." -- Michael Moore

• "Americans are stupid and uninformed. This is very important because in order to win we must understand the way the average American thinks. I'm afraid WE have nothing in common with them." -- poster at Democratic Underground

• "CNN? Oh, that's that network with Larry King, who, like the Son of Sam, is a native of Brooklyn. Used to be owned by Ted Turner, who, like the Cincinnati Strangler, is a native of Cincinnati. Now part of Time Warner, founded by the Warner Brothers, the oldest of whom, Harry Warner, like many Auschwitz guards, was a native of Poland." -- Mark Steyn

• "A died in the wool left-winger". -- The Age farewells dyed in the wool lefty Jim Cairns

• "It seems to me that most of the response is essentially media and Government-generated hype. An example of collective self-indulgent narcissism." -- Age letter-writer John Forth, on the anniversary of the Bali attacks

• "The Australian Government's enthusiasm for al-Ghozi's death bordered on the ghoulish." -- the ABC’s Greg Jennett is offended at reaction to a terrorist’s offing

• "He is obviously well enough to keep fighting the good fight." -- the ABC’s Peter Cave reassures listeners about Yasser Arafat’s health

• "This government frightens and outrages me. I smell Nazism every day." -- Webdiary reader K.E., in an email to Margo Kingston

• "Next year I'm publishing a collection of essays, columns and cartoons about the Bush Administration. I'm entertaining several possible titles, but to tell the truth I'm none too thrilled about them. That's why I'm turning to you for help." -- Ted Rall. Among reader suggestions:

Point and Laugh: The Fine Art of Making Fun of Widows
BUSH STOLE THE ELECTION: and Karl Rove Keeps Moving My Furniture While I'm Away
Scribbly Scribbles and the Scribbling Scribblers Who Scribble Them
Daddy? Where Did You Go, Daddy? How the Trauma of Parental Abandonment Robbed Me of the Ability to Draw Faces, Hands, and Pretty Much Anything Else
Everybody Dies: So Shove Your Grief Up Your Ass, I'm Making Money and Screwing Hairy Uptown Chicks
The Pleasure of My Company: A Fantasy by Ted Rall

• "Those 'amendments' did not originate with me, and I should not be credited with them." -- James Randi, after his friend Phillip Adams had credited them to him

• "Well, it must be his charisma. He married well, and he's smart." -- George W. Bush explains John Howard’s popularity

• "They invented and successfully promoted socialism, communism, human rights and democracy so that persecuting them would appear to be wrong, so they may enjoy equal rights with others." -- Malaysian Prime MinisterMahathir Mohamad, on those wily Jews

• "I'll be speaking and signing books at next week's Vegas Valley Book Festival in Henderson, NV, a stone's throw from Sin Strip." -- Ted Rall. Observed reader Scott H.: "He seems to be mixing up 'Sin City' and 'The Strip' into some mutant hybrid. Can't wait for his trip to New York: 'The Apple that Never Sleeps'."

• "They're creating a world in which they wield absolute power. In America, George's thugs are making sure of that by rigging the voting system with the help of his big corporate mates." -- Margo Kingston

• "We have got to free our minds to use the brains." -- Margo Kingston

Posted by Tim Blair at 02:03 PM | Comments (2)


• "I want a new liver." -- James Lileks

• "As far as Muslims are concerned, it makes no difference because it is not a religious breach whatsoever. It might be a breach of local health requirements, but they should do more homework on halal dietary laws before they do this." -- Mohamed El-Mouelhy, chairman of the Halal Certification Authority, after animal rights activists fed pork to sheep in a bid to render them unsuitable for export to the Middle East

• "A growing proportion of the media are behaving as propagandists, not as journalists." -- Margo Kingston

• "Ultimately it comes down to this: splitting the nation in two and picking up the bigger half." -- Craig Emerson, Australian Labor Party spokesman for industrial relations, attempts to define wedge politics

• "We treat these people with scorn and contempt." -- Foreign Minister Alexander Downer responds to an al-Qa’ida threat

• "The Australians paid the price for the alliance with Bush in Bali." -- Robert Fisk has never heard of East Timor

• "We really do need our own stories for our own wellbeing as a nation, and in order to keep us what we are." -- David Williamson, slave to the status quo

• "In their terminal irrelevance, the depraved left has now adopted the old slogan of Cold War realpolitik: like Osama and Mullah Omar, Saddam may be a sonofabitch, but he's their sonofabitch." -- Mark Steyn

• "Film stars are notoriously ill-educated and ignorant - their opinions are worthless." -- P.P. McGuinness

• "I think Islam has had a really positive effect on my life. It's made me more tolerant, more philosophical and much more calm. I feel far healthier and more confident." -- former Sunday Express reporter Yvonne Ridley, who converted to Islam after being imprisoned by the Taliban

• "The US Government and its lackeys have become the lackeys of Zionist Jews and extreme Christians.” -- Jemaah Islamiah spiritual leader Abu Bakar Bashir

• "Consider the reality of the woman at whom one is gazing. If she does not groom herself or apply perfume for one day, she will look dreadful and stink." -- The Imam

• "It's really unfortunate that we share a language with them, because it makes it so much easier for them to take over." -- Australian television actor John Wood on the imperialist Americans

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:50 PM | Comments (0)


• "Mark Latham as leader of the federal Labor Party? That would be a diverting nine months." -- NSW Premier Bob Carr

• "It is probably no exaggeration to say that the invasion of Iraq amounts to the greatest act of aggression by any Western nation since the days of Hitler's Germany." -- John Valder

• "Who is Mark Latham, and what does he stand for?" -- Mark Latham

• "The Light of Freedom cannot be extinguished as long as it is inside of us." -- Dennis Kucinich

• "Nearly everyone who meets Latham is immediately impressed by him. He has gravitas. He knows what he thinks and says it. And as everyone recognises now, he has passion." -- Craig McGregor, in the SMH

• "The key, I believe, to Iran is pressure through the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union is supplying much of the equipment that Iran, I believe, most likely is using to set itself along the path of developing nuclear weapons. We need to use that leverage with the Soviet Union and it may require us to buying the equipment the Soviet Union was ultimately going to sell to Iran." -- cold warrior Howard Dean

• "The bones in the mass graves salute you, Avenger of the Bones." -- Iraqi blogger Alaa

• "He looks like a chimp. He grins like a chimp, pouts like a chimp, walks like a chimp and even talks like a chimp would if chimps could talk." -- Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell disses the Avenger

• "He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of history and of politics. He's brilliant and I really feel that he just has a wonderfully penetrating, inventive mind and I was thrilled that he now is going to be the leader of the Australian Labor Party." -- Dick Morris on Mark Latham

• "They tell me he's one of those genetically-modified because of the criminal ancestry he derives from." -- Robert Mugabe on John Howard

• "The president never took a knife to the bird he held for the cameras. It may not even have been edible." -- The Guardian

• "As I write, Kim Beazley has the numbers and the game looks over." -- Margo Kingston

• "What on earth was the man who called John Howard 'an arselicker' of George Bush doing on Thursday grovelling before the American flag? Why did our new, very green alternative prime minister feel the need to humiliate himself so publicly? ... I mean, what a grovel? What a truly snivelling statement three days into the 'new dawn' of Labor's 'new beginning'?" -- SMH grouch Alan Ramsey

• "As George W. Bush sinks slowly in the West ..." -- Phillip Adams, in the same week that Bush's job approval rating rose to 61%

• "Violence towards one person is violence towards all humanity ... we need to address it on an individual level." -- Australian Democrats leader Andrew Bartlett

• "He must fully realise right now his own natural and easy response to our future responses to feeling his intimacy with him." -- Robert Bosler on Mark Latham

• "The bird was the kind of model used by butchers and Hollywood set-dressers." -- turkeygate conspiracist Mark Lawson, in The Guardian

• "There is a large, seething majority out there against what Bush is doing to this country. This administration is as fundamentalist as the Islamics." -- Vanity Fair publisher Graydon Carter

• "You should be fired and turned into a hobo ... I hate you nin hundred zillion plus one." -- letter from a Melbourne student to Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone

• "We have to get this piece of living, breathing s - - - out of the office." -- comedian Judy Gold on George W. Bush

• "I'll be in Washington on January 20, 2005 when President Dean is inaugurated. This is a must do for me. It's not a nice to do, it is a must do!" -- SMH Webdiary contributor Harry Heidelberg

• "The man most likely to be the next US president." -- SMH book reviewer Megan Gressor, on Wesley Clark

• "Most of the leftists I know are hoping openly or secretly to leverage difficulty in Iraq in order to defeat George Bush. For innumerable reasons, including the one I cited earlier, I think that this is a tactic and a mentality utterly damned by any standard of history or morality. What I mainly do is try to rub that in." -- Christopher Hitchens

• "I'd better call my lawyer." -- George W. Bush, following suggestions that banning Germany, France, Russia and Canada from bidding for Iraqi contracts might violate international law

• "We now learn Howard took this country into war at the bidding of a US President who makes a complete goose of himself by 'feeding' American troops in Baghdad a plastic Christmas turkey. Yes, really." -- Alan Ramsey, the Sussex St Gobbler, in the SMH

• "You guys are utter filth. May the lot of you rot in hell. You are fat, bloated and fucked, rotting with smugness. I hope the shit you people peddle returns to you in spades. Enjoy your ignorant lives. Wallow in them. You'll die like everyone else and i hope its in a very lonely place." -- jolly troll Miranda Divide

• "Saddam Hussein has gone. But so has sanity in international affairs.” -- Phillip Adams

• "I actually spoke in an African-American church yesterday." -- Howard Dean

• "I don’t need you, and even if I did, I won’t ask your help, we’ve had enough of it. Go somewhere else, go to Africa, and relieve your conscience by donating some pennies to the poor, starving people there, and don’t bother how their dictators will use the money, and don’t even bother asking why they are so poor. I will stay here and fight for freedom and democracy with the good and brave Americans (yes..the good and brave.. Eat your hearts), and with all the honest soldiers and people of the coalition." -- Iraqi blogger Omar, to opponents of the war

• "I'm not sure that I know about that specific episode, that demonstration that you just referred to." -- New York Times chief diplomatic correspondent Steven Weisman didn’t know about the anti-terror marches in Iraq

• "I was not aware of that." -- neither did NYT Washington bureau chief Philip Taubman

• "Ladies and gentleman, we got him." -- Paul Bremer

• "Death to Saddam!" -- Iraqi journalists viewing tape of the captured beardo

• "I had a horrible feeling in my stomach when I saw that Hussein had been captured." -- poster at Democratic Underground

• "We are very, very happy. I hope they strip the meat from his body and cut into small, small pieces." -- Sakina al-Amein, who left Iraq for Australia 14 months ago

• "2003 came to us dressed as a salesman, ladies and gentlemen. Not the harmless salesman selling us the harbour bridge, it was a deceptive salesman, a dangerous salesman because it wasn't selling us the harbour bridge, it was selling the desert of Iraq. The salesman came all dressed the part but it came selling the desert of Iraq." -- Webdiarist Robert Bosler, jabbering

• "Until the outbreak of the war against Iraq, the strongman sent millions of dollars to Palestinians killed in the conflict with Israel." -- the ABC’s Jane Hutcheon is referring to suicide bombers

• "President Bush sends his regards." -- US soldiers answer Saddam Hussein’s request: "I am the president of Iraq and I want to negotiate."

• "It was a prop turkey, a pretend turkey. Just as ketchup replaced blood for violent scenes in movies, and mashed potato substituted for ice cream in Happy Days (to prevent its melting under the studio lights), the President had taken a plastic turkey - one used for gourmet magazine shoots - to the mess hall." -- Phillip Adams, making it up as he goes along

• "December 17 2003 is the centenary of the world's most effective killing machine." -- The Guardian’s George Moonbat curses flight

• "When I saw the close ups of the tyrant I thought of his accessories, did you?" -- Margo Kingston

• "Saddam is in our jail." -- a US soldier answers chants of "Saddam is our hearts!" and "Saddam is in our blood!"

• "I would like to express my deep disgust at the recent television coverage of Saddam Hussein undergoing a medical examination." -- SMH letter-writer Michelle Withers

• "The last thing we expected was to be the first to publish anything about the protests. It felt both good and awful at the same time. Good for scooping Reuters, AFP, AP, and other wire services and media stations. And awful for the people that depended on these services for their news. I'm telling you there were reporters from every station in the world at the demos that day and yet only a few mentioned them at all." -- Iraqi blogger Zeyad

• "Fear grips that proportion of the Iraqi people that doesn't necessarily support the resistance." -- the SMH’s Paul McGeough

• "I will do whatever the Americans want, because I saw what happened in Iraq, and I was afraid." -- Col. Gaddafi, in phone call to Silvio Berlusconi

• "In his public life he opposes border protection, safe in the knowledge that asylum seekers are unlikely to settle near his Paddington terrace. In his private life, however, he is a strong supporter of laneway protection, even to the point of preventing a 90-year-old woman in a wheelchair from accessing his property so that she might have Christmas lunch with her son." -- Mark Latham, on Phillip Adams

• "And now this week, for the Americans at least, some good news – the capture, unharmed, of a beaten, dishevelled Saddam Hussein." -- the ABC’s Hamish Robertson

• "Dubya secretly flew to Iraq a few weeks back to spend 2.5 hours pretending to serve a fake, inedible plastic turkey." -- Mark Morford joins the turkey team

• "Only someone who believes that the end justifies the means will think the liberation of the Iraqi people from Saddam's murderous dictatorship, the creation of a democratic state in Iraq, or even the flowering of democracy in the entire Middle East, will justify the killing of tens of thousand of Iraqis." -- academic Raimond Gaita

• "To broadcast the scene as a humiliated and broken old man was being so personally examined by an American doctor shows abuse of power and absence of compassion." -- SMH letter writer
Judy Finch

• "I hear that one of Saddam's main torture techniques involved giving the victim a standard medical exam and then showing it on TV." -- reader dang

• "I would say to the Europeans, I pledge to you as the American president that we’ll consult with you first. You get the right of first refusal on the security concerns that we have." -- Wesley Clark


So, we’ve made it through another year ... which is more than Ebay or Qwerty Hussain can say. Highlights of 2003: taking Baghdad within three weeks (very impressive, considering all the quagmires); the accelerated unravelling of the far left; new media in Afghanistan and Iraq; and the Paris Hilton video.

Lowlights: taking three weeks to get through airport security; the accelerated morphing of the far left into an anti-trade, anti-liberty authoritarian right; old media in Sydney and London; and most everything about Paris, France.

Anyway, Merry RamaHannuKwanzMas to all, especially to Andrea Harris for hosting this site, and readers who’ve contributed stories, tips, and cash. Without you, I’d be ... well, I’d be doing much the same thing, except the posts wouldn’t be as interesting, and I’d be poorer.

Here’s to further entrenching the global hegemon in 2004. Party on, hegemonsters!

-- Tim

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:43 PM | Comments (40)


So we’re at Miranda Devine’s Christmas party yesterday, which is an annual fun highlight, and I’m introduced to a charming woman named Margaret. She’s clever and funny and informed, and we chat for about 15 minutes before I learn who she is.

She’s Margaret Cunneen, the Crown prosecutor who sent gang rapist Bilal Skaf away for 55 years.

Margaret is a pure force for good. Somehow our conversation drifted to Not-So-Olden-Days-Australia, when women weren’t allowed in bars, and were restricted to ladies’ lounges. Margaret felt this to be a grave injustice, especially because beer cost more in the chicks-only zone.

But she’s not that old. Surely Margaret had no personal experience of such discrimination? “Well, I may have been underage,” she admitted. “The Girl Guide uniform probably indicated that.”

Posted by Tim Blair at 03:27 AM | Comments (24)

December 23, 2003


The New York Times says it like it’s a bad thing:

As he enters the final year of President Bush's current term in office, while refusing to address the question of whether he would serve during a second term, Mr. Powell says, however, that he is more determined than ever to counter the perception that diplomacy in general — and his own role in particular — have been marginalized in an administration obsessed with war and terrorism.

I understand from history books that FDR was also preoccupied by war. Possibly because, at the time, the world was fighting one. Kind of like now.

(Via email warrior J. F. Beck)

Posted by Tim Blair at 11:43 PM | Comments (14)


I’m still receiving Wesley Clark campaign spam (“Your participation in the democratic process counts! Together we can turn America around”). Reaching out to people not able to vote in the US is an innovative approach, but Clark isn’t exactly playing to his Australian audience:

I would say to the Europeans, I pledge to you as the American president that we’ll consult with you first. You get the right of first refusal on the security concerns that we have. We’ll bring you in.

What about us, Mr. General Dude? Are Australians to be relegated to some sub-French consultation category under your bigoted “first refusal” system? Any more of this and I’ll seriously consider not voting for you.

Posted by Tim Blair at 07:56 AM | Comments (59)


Plastic beer alert:

The Prime Minister has visited the Solomon Islands today, to pass on his Christmas greetings to soldiers and other Australians serving there and deliver beer.

He told the soldiers, sailors, police and other Australians there that they had helped the country overcome law and order problems.

"I want you to know that your country is aware of the sacrifice you're making, aware of the separation from your families and is very appreciative of your efforts," he said.

To help the troops and others celebrate Christmas, Mr Howard's plane delivered beer donated by two Australian breweries.

That announcement was greeted by strong applause.

While we’re talking about plastic, turkey specialist Alan Ramsey is hailed by SMH reader Charles Bailey:

I always read avidly Alan Ramsey in the Herald. I carefully note the nasty bits, the character assassinations, the language. Then I decide. Whichever politician Alan hates, I vote for. Whichever politician Alan loves, I avoid like the proverbial plague. It's a wonderful system, and has never failed me yet. How does he do it? More power to Alan's typing fingers - he's a national treasure.

Posted by Tim Blair at 07:06 AM | Comments (5)


Your fully-funded friends at Radio National send a Christmas message of merriment. Phillip Adams doesn’t look very happy, though. Maybe his subscription to The New York Review of Books has lapsed.

UPDATE. Destroy all elves.

Posted by Tim Blair at 07:00 AM | Comments (12)


Judy Finch feels sorry for Saddam:

To broadcast the scene as a humiliated and broken old man was being so personally examined by an American doctor shows abuse of power and absence of compassion - the very values which were absent in Saddam's own regime.

Iraqi writer Kanan Makiya begs to differ:

The capture, says Makiya, and the humiliating TV pictures of Saddam being checked for lice, 'are a very big shock for all the Arabs - a shock in a good way'. They showed the dictator shorn 'of the bombast and nationalism' of his rule.

Makiya has established the Iraq Memory Foundation in Baghdad, planned as a memorial and a vast information resource. His hope is that 'truth can help heal a society that has been politically brutalised'.

The foundation has amassed millions of files from Baathist government agencies, including the intelligence service and Special Security Organisation, the brutal network led by Saddam's late son, Qusay. One of the most dramatic finds came last month, when Makiya unearthed a web of tunnels, whose entrance lay beneath the tomb of Baath party founder Michel Aflaq, inside the Coalition Provisional Authority headquarters. It contained three million files with new insights into the regime's repression and depravity.

'There is a blacklist of schoolchildren, a register of every schoolchild in Iraq, listing their relatives and their supposed political affilitations. If a file recorded that a brother or an uncle had been executed for political reasons, that child was blighted. There was a special intelligence department that collected rumours, and tried to track their source. And we have files on the mass graves - including documents which show how the regime tried to fabricate a claim that they contained not its victims, but Baathists killed in the Shia and Kurdish uprisings of 1991.'

(Via contributor J.F. Beck)

Posted by Tim Blair at 06:49 AM | Comments (8)

December 22, 2003


You can’t see it online, but in the print edition of today’s Sydney Morning Herald artist John Shakespeare credits his Last Supper-style illustration of the ten most important Australians as “after Michelangelo”.

The Last Supper was painted by Leonardo da Vinci.

Posted by Tim Blair at 12:32 PM | Comments (57)


Raimond Gaita, professor of “moral philosophy”, writes:

Only someone who believes that the end justifies the means will think the liberation of the Iraqi people from Saddam's murderous dictatorship, the creation of a democratic state in Iraq, or even the flowering of democracy in the entire Middle East, will justify the killing of tens of thousand of Iraqis.

That’s me! Actually, it’s less to do with anything Machiavellian than with simple mathematics. Fewer Iraqis died in the liberation of their country than would have died under Saddam’s continued rule. Only someone who believes in impotent, pathetic inertia will think the perpetual enslavement of the Iraq people justifies the killing of tens of thousands of Iraqis in Baghdad alone.

UPDATE. Piers Akerman writes:

Will someone send Mr Gaita to Iraq and give him a soapbox in one of the more than a hundred newspapers which have opened since Saddam took to his rathole? Or just let him speak his mind in the streets of Baghdad, which he can now do with the disappearance of Saddam's feared secret police.

Posted by Tim Blair at 02:32 AM | Comments (95)


The Australian Greens, who eternally request that we demonstrate toxic levels of tolerance and love and harmony, are presently rent apart by hate and rivalry and bitterness:

Co-founder and leading Senate candidate Drew Hutton was accused by his former campaign director of being a Labor stooge ... Peter Pyke, himself a former Labor MP, quit his crucial post three weeks ago after falling out bitterly with Mr Hutton ... Mr Pyke said Mr Hutton's close relationship with the ALP had been "diabolically" damaging to the Greens ... Mr Hutton hit back angrily, branding Mr Pyke clueless and disgruntled ... in a November 19 email - in which he admitted that "I don't particularly like Peter" - Mr Hutton dismissed as ludicrous the accusation by Mr Pyke "that I am trying to sabotage the state campaign.”

Guys, please. It’s Christmas, or Kwanzaa, or Bonza, or some kind of peace-drenched Festivus thing happening this week. Try to end the hate.

Posted by Tim Blair at 02:13 AM | Comments (15)


Thanks to the successful war in Iraq, inspiring Libya’s instant fright-attack, so many seething terrorists can soon expect to be toast:

Libya has provided intelligence on hundreds of al-Qaeda and other Islamic militants, and renounced attempts to develop weapons of mass destruction, in an effort to end its pariah nation status.

What was that about the war on terror “uniting Middle East opinion against the US”?

UPDATE. David Aaronovitch writes:

Libya is good news. It is the consequence of a long and patient diplomacy which belies the accusation that the Yanks are just phallic missilophiles and Blair is their jerk-off buddy. It does show, as the PM said, that things can be achieved 'through more than purely military means'.

For the Iraqodox this was not supposed to happen. Following the April invasion attitudes in the region were going to harden dangerously, and agreements would be more difficult to make. Here again the Prime Minister, while probably wrong on extant Iraqi WMD, was probably right on the political consequences of removing the Saddamite dictatorship.

UPDATE II. The good news just keeps getting gooder:

Several hundred people had been detained in Iraq in a sweep against insurgents using intelligence obtained following the capture of Saddam Hussein, General Richard Myers, head of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said today.

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:11 AM | Comments (26)

December 21, 2003


Time magazine is obsessively secretive over its annual Person of the Year selection. This year’s choice is due to be announced in the US on Monday. But if you click here, you’ll see this:

US troops are the People of 2003 -- and someone in Time’s online imaging department will be looking for a new job in 2004.

UPDATE. Time’s Person of the Year announcement is scheduled for 1 pm Sunday (GMT) in Europe and late Sunday (ET) in the US. Their site has pre-empted the announcement by at least 19 hours.

UPDATE II. Confirmed.

UPDATE III. Via Ryne McClaren, Time reports on an individual soldier who deserves the Person of the Year award.

Posted by Tim Blair at 04:02 PM | Comments (66)


Please welcome The Nation's Matt Taibbi, The San Francisco Chronicle's Mark Morford, and author A.L. Kennedy to the Gullible Order of Bush-Bashing Leftist Evangelicals. Here's Morford's qualifying paragraph:

It was a proud moment in American history. Almost as proud as when Dubya secretly flew to Iraq a few weeks back to spend 2.5 hours pretending to serve a fake, inedible plastic turkey to that handful of carefully selected, prescreened soldiers.

Comically, Morford's link takes you to the original Washington Post story, which contains this disproving information: "A contractor had roasted and primped the turkey to adorn the buffet line." Morford is, of course, a well-known idiot.

The best online columnist of 2003 joins G.O.B.B.L.E.'s stellar list of polymer Meleagris gallopavo fantasists: Adam Porter, W. David Jenkins III, Phillip Adams, Kasha, Nico Pitney, Alan Ramsey, Daryl, and Mark Lawson.

Add lightbulb-headed, vegan-looking Scottish author A.L. Kennedy, too, thanks to her column in today's Guardian, which accuses Bush of:

... using fake Thanksgiving photo ops involving a "model" turkey dinner - perhaps because a real one would have been too heavy and caused George's arms to shake.

Interesting theory, scrawny chick. Matt Taibbi, a New York Press columnist and contributing writer at The Nation, secured his membership with this interview:

MATT TAIBBI: It was a plastic turkey.

AMY GOODMAN: Was it actually plastic?

MATT TAIBBI: Yes. Apparently it was a plastic turkey.

AMY GOODMAN: It was plastic?

MATT TAIBBI: Yes. That was actually reported in the -- in another part of The Nation, in the daily outrage column online. But, yeah it was a plastic turkey, apparently. Which is even funnier. The famous shot where he's holding the big turkey, apparently that's a plastic turkey.

Actually, Matt Bivens' Daily Outrage column only describes a phony or fake turkey -- although an earlier mention of the Bivens story records the headline as The Plastic Turkey Presidency, so perhaps Bivens has subsequently covered his plastic turkey-tracks.

Matt's membership is delayed, pending investigation.

(Kennedy nomination via Peter Briffa)

UPDATE. Heather Wokusch (below, left) and Ian McNamara join the Coaltion of the Gobbling.

Real people ... or mindless plastic replicants? Nobody knows.

UPDATE II. Via J.P. Sopel in comments, add Gregg Easterbrook.

Posted by Tim Blair at 02:39 AM | Comments (74)


Al-Qaeda is in deep denial:

Arabic television al Jazeera today aired an audio tape purportedly from al-Qaeda's second in command Ayman al-Zawahri, saying his group was chasing Americans everywhere, including the United States.

"America has been defeated (by) our fighters despite all its military might, its weaponry ... With God's help we are still chasing Americans and their allies everywhere, including their homeland," said the speaker, believed to be Zawahri.

Anyone in the US been chased lately? No? I was over there recently, and recall very few pursuits myself. Maybe I just wasn’t paying enough attention. Because this is a Reuters report, the following isn’t all that surprising:

"How can we excuse you after all the warnings that we gave you. You reap what you sow," he said, addressing the American people. Al-Qaeda has repeatedly urged Americans to oppose the policies of President George W. Bush.

Yeah. Like Osama bin Laden really dug Bill Clinton's healthcare plan and supported the United Nations' Iraq inspection initiatives. Reuters is revolting.

Posted by Tim Blair at 02:19 AM | Comments (23)


"This is my last column for the year," writes Margo Kingston, "and I dedicate it to Australians who took a stand for what's right against overwhelming odds."

Hmm. Could’ve used a comma after "right", to remove some ambivalence. But, given how often Margo faces overwhelming odds -- the odds that some day she’ll make sense, or attract a non-zombie audience, or keep her job in 2004 (rumours abound) -- perhaps the comma lapse is appropriate. Continue gibberish:

A bouquet to Andrew Wilkie, who walked away from more than 20 years of military and intelligence service, his mates, his super, his security - his life really - to tell the truth as he saw it about whether Iraq had WMDs ready to turn on the West. Sacrifice doesn't get much bigger than that, especially with a vindictive, whatever-it-takes Federal Government like the one we've got now. He's broke, has no job, and spends a lot of time travelling the country talking to Australians who want to know what's really going on.

The truth as busted, unemployable Wilkie saw it was as follows:

Yes, it might be a short and successful war. It might be. But it might not be as well.

My main concern is that Saddam could engineer a humanitarian disaster for any of a number of reasons. We all know of his program to co-locate his sensitive assets in civilian areas, next to schools and so on. He's also got a number of options up his sleeve. Three main ones come to mind:

He creates a humanitarian disaster to overwhelm coalition forces. Just totally overwhelm them, with thousands of casualties, hundreds of thousands of refugees, internally displaced people, trying to move through their lines. That would play all sorts of havoc for the coalition military.

He might create a humanitarian disaster to cause such outrage in the international community as to force the US to stop.

He could create a humanitarian disaster as part of a scorched-earth policy once he realises the game is up. He's on the record as saying during the Iran-Iraq war when it looked like Iraq could lose that he would leave nothing of value for the invading army. That, I think, is an awfully important insight into the way this evil man thinks.

He could do it with weapons of mass destruction. He's already used chemical weapons against the Kurds, and he could do the same again.

Andrew Wilkie couldn’t predict a freakin’ sunrise. By the way, what was Margo’s artist Martin Davies getting at with this image from October, depicting John Howard with a big yellow star on the left side of his chest?

Margo pretended to instantly recognise the theological issues raised by George W. Bush’s use of the word "crusade" in 2001 ("I'd just lifted my head out of my hands after hearing the leader of the free world announce he was leading his allies into 'a crusade' - the Christian term for a holy war") so it’s remarkable that someone so sensitive and aware would allow this image to be published. Surely Margo knows ...

A decree, issued on September 1, 1941, issued badges to Jews within Germany as well as occupied and incorporated Poland. This badge was the yellow Star of David with the word "Jude" ("Jew") and worn on the left side of one's chest.

Oh, well. Maybe it was just another "nigger in the woodpile" moment.

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:52 AM | Comments (32)


The BBC has told its Stalinoid staff to describe Saddam not as a dictator, but as the former leader of Iraq. BBC management apparently believes this to be "neutral language".

Via Andrew Sullivan, who also observes: "How gay is Apple."

UPDATE. The London Sun rounds up opinion on the BBC’s decision:

Labour MP Kevan Jones, of the Commons Defence Select Committee, said: “This shows the crass naivety of the BBC. Such political correctness will be deeply hurtful to many of our servicemen serving in Iraq.

“It amply demonstrates elements of the BBC have got a clearly anti-war and anti-Government agenda.”

Labour MP Ann Clwyd, who chairs the Indict group which has dossiers on the crimes of Saddam, his sons and henchmen, was astounded at the BBC’s stance.

She said: “It’s frankly ridiculous. Saddam Hussein is a despot, a murderer and a torturer. He will have to answer charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.”

Tory Party chairman Liam Fox also slammed the Beeb — which was accused during the war of giving too much weight to Iraqi propaganda.

He said: “To afford this level of politeness to a tyrant, torturer and murderer is deeply offensive to the Iraqi people.”

John Pilger, striding boldly along Delusion Avenue, believes the BBC’s coverage was too pro-war.

(Sun link via NZ Pundit)

Posted by Tim Blair at 12:13 AM | Comments (8)

December 20, 2003


ABC News’ The Note thinks this is noteworthy:

No rest for the folks over at this holiday season. No, siree, they are staying mighty busy. Today they will release a 60 second flash animation titled "Lord of the Right Wing" to what they say are the more than 50,000 members of the list-serv. Other backers and allied groups will be receiving the bit of flash as well.

ABC (that’s the American ABC) provides a link, so you can see for yourself the single suckiest, most voter-alienating, no-talent animation ever to hit the Net.

(Pathetic animation hunted down and viewed more than once by brave correspondent J. F. Beck)

Posted by Tim Blair at 11:10 PM | Comments (19)


Richard Neville seems to be seriously suggesting that the liberation of Iraq killed more people than died under Saddam Hussein’s rule:

No matter how you look at it – the US army doesn’t – it adds up to a lot of blood. More blood than ever filled the swimming pools of Saddam Hussein.

As previously noted, Neville is sick. Luckily, Dr. Tex is here to help.

Posted by Tim Blair at 10:54 PM | Comments (5)


The ABC’s Hamish Robertson sums up recent events:

And now this week, for the Americans at least, some good news – the capture, unharmed, of a beaten, dishevelled Saddam Hussein.

For whom was Saddam’s capture bad news, Hamish? Besides Ba’athist murderers and the ABC, I mean.

Posted by Tim Blair at 10:32 PM | Comments (3)


People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has a nice sideline in the Unethical Treatment of Children:

Animal rights advocates will single out small children at performances of "The Nutcracker" in the next few weeks by handing out fliers saying "Your Mommy Kills Animals" to youngsters whose mothers are wearing fur.

The fliers include a color drawing of a woman plunging a large bloody knife into the belly of a terrified rabbit. The fliers urge kids to "ask your mommy how many dead animals she killed to make her fur clothes.

"And the sooner she stops wearing fur, the sooner the animals will be safe. Until then, keep your doggie or kitty friends away from mommy - she's an animal killer."

My mother (pictured above) actually was. She grew up on a farm, and learned how to trap and skin rabbits before she was ten. These are skills you don’t lose; if PETA has any spare bunnies lying around, a demonstration could be arranged. By the way, you don’t stab them to death, because that damages the pelt. You break their necks.

(Image via Eye on the Left)

Posted by Tim Blair at 02:25 PM | Comments (56)


Unlike the people he smuggled, this guy is going to remain behind bars:

Palestinian national Keis Abd Rahim Asfoor, 32, was yesterday found guilty in the Western Australia District Court of smuggling up to 1700 people to Australia aboard fishing boats from Indonesia.

See you in a couple of decades, parasite. A few may be unhappy at Asfoor’s jailing -- he was only helping people find a better life, etc -- but Mark Latham won’t be among them. Here’s a letter from Latham rejecting the arguments of Labor for Refugees:

Groups like Labor for Refugees look at atrocities such as the Woomera riots or the payment of money to people smugglers and declare, "the people who did this need help." The first priority for a just society is to help needy people within the collective boundaries of the law. The first priority of your organisation is to find excuses for people who break the law.

The best example of this abstract process is Phillip Adams. In his public life he opposes border protection, safe in the knowledge that asylum seekers are unlikely to settle near his Paddington terrace. In his private life, however, he is a strong supporter of laneway protection, even to the point of preventing a 90-year-old woman in a wheelchair from accessing his property so that she might have Christmas lunch with her son.

As the Bunyip writes: "Whatever else is wrong with Latham, if he detests Phillip Adams, he has at least one good point."

(Via Meryl Yourish)

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:56 PM | Comments (8)


From Silvio Berlusconi’s interview with The Spectator, in September:

I cannot say which country he was from, but someone telephoned me the other day and said, ‘I will do whatever the Americans want, because I saw what happened in Iraq, and I was afraid.’

That “someone” was Libyan leader Col. Gaddafi, and he really meant what he said. Arab News columnist Dr. Muhammad Al-Rasheed is with the program, too:

America, for this brief moment at least… is a liberator and not an occupier. I can't help being smug, since what I saw gave me back some confidence in the possibility of justice in this world. I had almost lost hope. It took George Bush to give me that back. I don't agree with him on many things, and while many Americans share my stand, I'll give the man his due. He will go down in Arab history as the liberator of Baghdad, even if the whole mission in Iraq comes to nothing more than this.

… The reality we have to face is the fact that it took Americans to relieve Baghdad of its dictator. Arab impotence recorded a new low. I might sound naive but I would like to ask where the 'freedom fighters,' 'the resistance,' 'the strugglers for the freedom of Iraq' were when that man ran amok. Having delivered Saddam, the Americans will have to deliver Iraq. Shouldn't we now be wise enough to give them at least a chance, if not a real helping hand?

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:00 PM | Comments (15)


Relative to the rest of humankind, how stupid is The Guardian’s Polly Toynbee? Well, just consider how many people you know who’ve been conned by Nigerian mail scams.

UPDATE. Iowahawk sends Polly a secret offer of opportunity:





Posted by Tim Blair at 05:29 AM | Comments (44)


Mark Steyn is in a gambling mood:

You want to put ten thousand bucks on Wes Clark?

Megan Gressor might be after a piece of that action. It’s easy money, Meg! After all, Clark is “the man most likely to be the next US president”. Expect Margo Kingston to throw some cash around as well:

Maybe tough old General Wesley Clark, who opposed the Iraq war and is standing as a Democratic candidate for the US presidency, will help Americans recapture the vision.

The thought strikes: Margo writes a great deal about the US. I wonder how much time she’s spent there. Not much ... I bet.

Posted by Tim Blair at 04:02 AM | Comments (13)


Tony Parkinson, the last sane man at The Age, writes:

The greatest irony here is that many of the same people who were insisting that intervention against Saddam was a breach of Iraq's sovereignty are now saying the dictator must not be tried within Iraq's jurisdiction, and that justice can only be served by taking the process outside Iraq.

In a tone of some outrage -- imagine Parkinson’s life, surrounded by Saddam-pitying Age cottonheads -- he deals with some spectacular hypocrisy:

One of the more galling contributions along these lines came from leading Middle East commentator Fawaz Gerges, who told CNN: "Many Arabs would not take a trial in Iraq seriously."

Where was Gerges when Saddam's Baathists were hanging Jews in Liberation Square? Where were the cries of alarm as tens of thousands of Iraqis were summarily executed?

Why weren't Gerges and others hammering down the doors of Baghdad's Palace of Torture? More recently, where have been the international protests over the many violent attacks on senior judicial figures in Iraq by Saddam's loyalists?

In short, the critics were nowhere to be seen or heard. Suddenly, as if by magic, they have rediscovered a sense of indignation.

They’re more worried about Saddam’s video health exam than they ever were about Saddam’s victims.

Posted by Tim Blair at 03:27 AM | Comments (5)


Professor Bunyip predicted back in October a Johnny Weissmuller reference from living-in-the-past Phillip Adams. As foretold, Phillip delivered. And, despite the fact that most of his audience has no idea who he’s talking about, Adams continues to use as a cultural touchstone a man now dead for nearly twenty years:

As the election of Johnny Weissmuller as Governor of California reminds us, the evolutionary imperative favours leaders that look like leaders ...

We’ll have to wait another two decades before Adams corrects last week’s plastic turkey story. Longer, possibly. Adams never corrects anything. While we're future-gazing, Marian Wilkinson’s predictions aren’t to be trusted:

With pictures of a beaten Saddam dominating their TV screens, Americans are more accepting of these casualties. This week Mr Bush's approval rating climbed to 58 per cent - about where they were after Saddam was toppled. But this could soon drop if most Americans think soldiers are being killed and injured in Iraq for no great purpose.

She wishes.

UPDATE. The Wisconsin State Journal might be closer to the mark:

It's still early in the campaign season, but it does indeed look bad for the Democrats. Their frontrunner is a dissembling mess. The Iraq war is not currently a winning issue. Wisconsin voters, and citizens across the nation, appear unenthusiastic about any of the nine Democrats when compared to President Bush. National party leadership is divided between angry insurgents and impotent stalwarts.

Add one more factor - a likely landslide loss to the Republican incumbent next November - and the self-immolation of the Democratic Party should be at full flame.

Posted by Tim Blair at 03:05 AM | Comments (7)


The Sydney Morning Herald’s Paul McGeough despairs over Saddam’s “humiliating videotaped medical examination”, claims that anti-Saddam Iraqis hate Americans even more, hints at devious Vietnam-era tactics from the imperialist invaders ... it just goes on and on. This is especially noteworthy:

The number of attacks against the US is down, but this doesn't mean that the security situation is any less fraught. While the American forces are poised defensively, like a coiled spring, and while fear grips that proportion of the Iraqi people that doesn't necessarily support the resistance, it is impossible for the US to pull Iraq out of the social and economic chaos that makes many Iraqis hunger for what they remember as the day-to-day orderliness of Saddam's Iraq.

Oh, for the day-to-day orderliness of women beheaded in the street and their bodies hauled away in plastic bags. When McGeough writes of Iraqi people who don't necessarily support the resistance, it should be remembered that he didn’t write a single word about the anti-terrorism demonstrations. Sydney Morning Herald readers possibly don’t know they ever took place.

UPDATE. The New York Times explains why it didn’t cover the anti-terror marches: nobody told the paper they were happening.

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:54 AM | Comments (12)

December 19, 2003


Via Spartacus, the full text of Iraqi Foreign Minister H.E. Mr. Hoshyar Zebari's speech last Tuesday to the UN Security Council:

One year ago, this Security Council was divided between those who wanted to appease Saddam Hussein and those who wanted to hold him accountable. The United Nations as an organization failed to help rescue the Iraqi people from a murderous tyranny that lasted over 35 years and today we are unearthing thousands of victims in horrifying testament to that failure. The United Nations must not fail the Iraqi people again. After eight months of liberation, Iraqis are slowly beginning to get back on their feet with the help of their allied friends, and they are eagerly awaiting the help of the international community, led by the United Nations. And so we ask you today: please put aside your differences, pull together and work with us and all those who have contributed and sacrificed so much, to realize our shared objectives of a sovereign, united and democratic Iraq.

Jay Nordlinger writes that Zebari’s speech was a stirring example of speaking truth to power:

We should be awed and stimulated by Hoshyar Zebari. His clear words of truth cut through the fog of the U.N. — whose specialty is fog and moral fudging — like an angry, just sun.

But the New York Times, which covered Zebari’s damning remarks a couple of days ago, has since decided to downplay them:

The interim foreign minister of Iraq, Hoshyar Zebari, told the Security Council on Tuesday that the United Nations could not render effective aid from outside the country. He asserted that Iraq could provide protection for returning United Nations workers, but he offered no details of how, and the claim made little impression on Security Council thinking.

Stupid newspaper. And here’s the BBC’s latest UN-friendly wimpishness:

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari told the session that Saddam Hussein had to be made to answer to the Iraqi people, so that they could begin what he called the long-overdue process of reconciliation.

Mr Zebari said he wanted to see an expanded role for the UN in Iraq that could not be delivered from outside the country.

"The United Nations must not fail the Iraqi people again," he warned.

Posted by Tim Blair at 12:50 PM | Comments (6)


The Sydney Morning Herald’s Alan Moir depicts Saddam Hussein's joyous reunion with Robert Fisk.

(Via reader Rob S.)

Posted by Tim Blair at 12:16 PM | Comments (23)


Minor Muslim PR problem:

One of the 13 Palestinians deported from the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem in May 2002 was arrested Tuesday in Belgium on suspicion of participating in a number of robberies in which more than $250,000 were stolen. Khalil Mohammed Abdullah al-Nawara received asylum in Belgium following the siege on the church.

Major Muslim PR problem:

Michael Jackson last night became a member of the Nation of Islam.

(Via contributor John Beck and reader Jim R.)

Posted by Tim Blair at 11:55 AM | Comments (28)


It’s acceptable to float crazy conspiracy rumours so long as you don’t believe them, according to Howard Dean:

Dean, for instance, recently spoke of a "most interesting theory" that Saudi Arabia had "warned" Bush about the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Although Dean said he does not believe Bush was tipped off about the assaults that killed nearly 3,000, he has made no apologies for raising the rumor.

"How is what I did different from what Dick Cheney or George Bush . . . did during the time of the buildup of the invasion of Iraq?" the former Vermont governor said Tuesday night aboard his campaign plane. "There were all these theories that they mentioned. Many of them turned out not to be true. The difference is that I acknowledged that I did not believe the theory I was putting out."

Ozzy Osbourne has his bats, Ann Coulter has that darn "convert them to Christianity" quote, and forever more Howard Dean will have his pre-warned 9/11 line. And he didn’t even believe it. Just don’t get him started on bike paths.

UPDATE. "Empowered by the American people, I will work to restore the legitimacy that comes from the rule of law, the credibility that comes from telling the truth ... "

Posted by Tim Blair at 11:47 AM | Comments (8)


Avert your eyes from the above image, showing Saddam Hussein enjoying some floor talk with Ahmed Chalabi, lest you die from sadness:

A 70-year-old woman was overcome by grief at the capture of ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and died of a heart attack after seeing pictures of the humiliating event, Jordan's Al-Rai daily said on Thursday.

Yet more blood on W’s hands.

(Via Treacher, J., and Beck, J.)

UPDATE. Referring to the above image, The Australian reports:

A startling new photograph of a sick-looking Saddam Hussein suggests he is being drugged or given strong medication by his US captors.

Poor little murdering bastard.

Posted by Tim Blair at 11:13 AM | Comments (18)


They’ve done it! Those wily, web-aware Democrat activists have tricked Google into listing George W. Bush’s biography at number one whenever anyone searches for "unelectable". Which, as we all know, people do all the time.

Still, I can’t help but feel that this might backfire somehow. Picture your typical Republican voter, just returned home via limousine from a day’s stockmarket plundering. His Halliburton investment assured, he affixes a monocle and searches the Internet for yet more easy millions. Accidentally typing "unelectable" when he intends to type "I want to kill all minorities", he happens upon the Democrats’ crafty Google ploy. "My God!" he mutters."This won’t do. This won’t do at all!" Soon all of the servants are summoned and sent out to corrupt voting machines across the state, to help illegally re-elect the evil Bush regime.

Now consider the likely response on election day of a typical Democrat voter. Exhausted from the previous night’s child raping, he nonetheless forms a mid-afternoon thought as the heroin drains from his bloodstream: "Wasn’t I supposed to vote today?" But, what the hell, he figures, Bush is unelectable. Nobody needs me to vote against the unelectable madman! Content that, at last, he’ll soon be allowed to voice his dissent, our Democrat voter tips anthrax spores into an envelope and addresses it to "Repiglican Party Headquarters, Military Industrial Complex, Washington DC".

It’s kind of obvious when you think about it. Latest polls, by the way, are yet to be influenced by the clever Google tactic.

UPDATE. Google has defused the election-skewing “unelectable” campaign. Now the first item to appear refers to Howard Dean. Clearly, Google is controlled by right-wing zealots. Incidentally, only minutes after posting this, I began receiving Wesley Clark spam:

My Fellow Americans,

My name is Wes Clark. I'm running for President because I love this country and want to see us fulfill our great promise as a nation. I'm running to restore leadership to the White House, to revitalize our economy, and to reclaim our role as a respected leader of the free world.

Your country needs you. Please join me today.

Sure thing. You good for the airfare, Wes?

Posted by Tim Blair at 02:57 AM | Comments (35)


Iowahawk locates the sneer quote of the year, in the Chicago Tribune:

The "capture" of Saddam Hussein is being hailed as a great victory for President Bush.

In other Chicago Tribune news, I did not "forget" to put out the "garbage" last night, and this did not lead to an "argument" with a certain beautiful woman with whom I share my life, and she did not threaten to "kill" me. Also, the Tribune has not "covered" the recent visit to "Sydney" of Texas-based "Dan Hilldale", who took several "photographs", one of which features a pair of "very hot" high heels, and a stupid-lookin' "journalist".

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:01 AM | Comments (18)


The Australian reports:

Delirious with dehydration in the insufferable summer heat, the hunger-striking asylum-seekers on Nauru are reported to be fading fast.

These people, already judged by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to have no refugee claims, may at any time accept the Australian government’s offer of assistance to return them to their country of origin.

With the protest entering its second week, more detainees were stretchered to hospital yesterday after collapsing from lack of food and water.

These people, already judged by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to have no refugee claims, may at any time accept the Australian government’s offer of assistance to return them to their country of origin..

Fourteen protesters have spent time in hospital since the strike began last week, with eight still under medical supervision.

These people, already judged by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to have no refugee claims, may at any time accept the Australian government’s offer of assistance to return them to their country of origin.

Two have discharged themselves twice and returned to the protest each time.

These people, already judged by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to have no refugee claims, may at any time accept the Australian government’s offer of assistance to return them to their country of origin.

Refugee advocates claim many of the men will never recover from the trauma they have inflicted on themselves in a desperate bid to avoid repatriation to turbulent climes in Afghanistan or Iraq.

These people, already judged by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to have no refugee claims, may at any time accept the Australian government’s offer of assistance to return them to their country of origin.

The already controversial protest attracted more criticism yesterday with accusations some of the 100 children in Australia's detention centre in Nauru were being told to join the 35 hunger strikers.

These people, already judged by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to have no refugee claims, may at any time accept the Australian government’s offer of assistance to return them to their country of origin.

Afghanistan's ambassador in Australia, Mahmoud Saikal, urged protesters to give up.

These people, already judged by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to have no refugee claims, may at any time accept the Australian government’s offer of assistance to return them to their country of origin.

Howard Glenn, a spokesman for refugee group A Just Australia, said people would die unless the Government acted.

These people, already judged by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to have no refugee claims, may at any time accept the Australian government’s offer of assistance to return them to their country of origin.

Posted by Tim Blair at 12:37 AM | Comments (25)


Jim Treacher's 2003 Top Ten. Riding high: Removing Saddam Nonviolently: A Tale, although Garofalo to Be Lowered into Shredder, among others, is also worthy. But why no Puce?

Posted by Tim Blair at 12:00 AM | Comments (6)

December 18, 2003


Via reader J.F. Beck, news of dissent uncrushed:

Bjorn Lomborg, the author of a controversial book attacking the environment movement, was cleared yesterday of "scientific dishonesty" by the Danish science ministry.

The ministry overturned a ruling in January by the Danish committee on scientific dishonesty (DCSD), part of the Danish Research Agency, that Mr Lomborg's book The Skeptical Environmentalist was "clearly contrary to the standards of good scientific practice".

Mr Lomborg hailed yesterday's decision as "brilliant". It provided confirmation that freedom of speech extended to the environmental debate, he said.

Michael Crichton had something to say back in January about the persecution of Lomborg. This decision will remove a stupid "conviction" from critics’ weaponry. And here’s more from the Financial Times:

How can they have been so stupid? In a nutshell, this was yesterday's official verdict on the Danish committees on scientific dishonesty.

With imperious hauteur the committees had ruled in January that Bjorn Lomborg's book The Skeptical Environmentalist was "objectively speaking . . . scientific dishonesty". Purely based on the evidence of articles in the magazine Scientific American, the Danish environmental optimist became the scientific equivalent of a flat-earther and the cause of an almighty dispute about the science behind global warming. "The publication is deemed clearly contrary to the standards of good scientific practice," the ruling added.

Yesterday it was damningly overturned by the Danish Ministry of Science, which found that the committees had not discovered any bias in Mr Lomborg's choice of data and that criticism of his working methods was "completely void of argumentation". The criticisms continue. The committees used sloppy and emotive language that - perhaps deliberately - obscured the fact that they had in fact cleared Mr Lomborg of gross negligence and an intent to deceive. They failed adequately to assess whether they had proper jurisdiction over the book. They used improper procedures. They failed to assess whether Mr Lomborg's work had been peer reviewed. They had not offered Mr Lomborg a chance to respond.

Posted by Tim Blair at 11:31 PM | Comments (8)


Attention, leftists! Janet Daley has compiled a helpful guide to assist your bitching and moaning no matter what good news emerges from the capture of the Cow of Ad Dawr:

What To Say If:

• Saddam refuses to co-operate with his interrogators.

The arrest of this man is a sideshow. He clearly knows nothing about the current state of resistance and has played no role in the planning of insurgency. His trial will simply be an exercise in vengeance with no constructive outcome for Iraq.

• Saddam sings like a canary, identifying the perpetrators of insurgency.

Saddam is obviously being tortured by his American captors. Or else, they are lying about his testimony and justifying their own persecution of innocent Iraqis on the basis of his alleged "confession".

• Saddam admits to having had weapons of mass destruction all along and gives a detailed account of a) where they can be found, b) how and when he destroyed them.

If a) then switch the focus immediately to the role that America (with particular reference to Donald Rumsfeld personally) played in the past in allowing Saddam to develop these arms. Avoid if possible any tactless references to the much more recent contributions of our European partners in building Saddam's armoury. If b), float the idea that Saddam is lying - simply telling his captors what it would suit their political purposes to hear, in the hopes of cutting a deal for himself.

• If Saddam's trial is conducted by Iraq without outside interference.

This is nothing more than a kangaroo court: a lynch mob bent on tribal vendetta, licensed and abetted by America, which has, typically, waged an irresponsible war and then walked away, washing its hands of the consequences.

There’s more. Print out the whole list and tick off the talking points as they appear in various op-ed pages. Leftist spin is so predictable that, to use a cricket term, you can detect it out of the hand. I'm waiting for the first pundit to accuse the US of treating Saddam like a plastic cow.

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:11 PM | Comments (17)


Skippy patriarch Ed Devereaux has died in London, at 78.

Devereaux grew to dislike his association with the series, but everybody else loved it; in Germany, Skip was known as Das Busch-Känguru. It’s now available on DVD.

Ed’s finest role: Joe, in They’re a Weird Mob.

Posted by Tim Blair at 12:41 PM | Comments (7)


Which Democrat candidate does George W. Bush most fear? You might be surprised.

Posted by Tim Blair at 12:38 PM | Comments (24)


A reader letter to Joanne Jacobs, from small-town Texas:

My kindergarten daughter was informed that in the song "We Wish You a Merry Christmas," her class was to sing: "We Wish You a Merry Hissmas."  This prompted her young mind to ask me what holiday Hissmas was, among other questions.

Some kind of serpent festival? International Cindy Brady Lisp Day? Joanne continues:

The mother told her daughter to tell the teacher that the family celebrates Christmas, not Hissmass. The teacher told the girl she could sing "Christmas," but to sing quietly.

Remember when Tipper Gore used to complain about Satan in popular music?

UPDATE. Dave’s wife writes: "If one can have Hissmass and Spanksgiving Day, can one also celebrate Kiester?'

Posted by Tim Blair at 03:22 AM | Comments (33)


It’s an old-fashioned Google hunt! Your quest: To locate people who before the war argued that regime change was an issue only for the Iraqi people -- and who now argue that Saddam’s trial should not be held in Iraq.

The first reader to supply examples of three different people expressing both opinions (Australian Greens senator Bob Brown might be the place to start) will win an authentic Australian spider preserved in genuine Southern Hemisphere plastic. For your own home spider hole!

Duke it out in comments. To recap: you’re searching for three people who wanted to leave it all up to the Iraqis before the war, but who now think Iraqis shouldn’t run Saddam’s trial. The contest will continue until we have a winner, or until the spider wrenches free of its transparent encasement and runs away.

• Placegetters may receive free hair and mouth examinations. If they’re cute.

UPDATE. As noted in comments, and via email, the SMH is running a far more challenging contest. They ask that you provide a caption for this:

My entry: "Hi, everybody. I’m Michael Dukakis, Democrat candidate for President, 1988. What the hell am I doing in this cartoon? I belong in a tank."

Posted by Tim Blair at 03:07 AM | Comments (33)


Saddam’s only been in custody a few days, and already the French and Germans have become oddly compliant:

Germany and France have agreed to a US request to write off a large part of Iraq's huge $US120 billion debt ($A162 billion).

President Jacques Chirac, of France, and Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, of Germany, reached a deal in separate talks with President George Bush's new envoy in Iraq, James Baker. The decisions were taken in spite of anger felt in both countries over Mr Bush freezing out French and German companies from the $US18 billion in construction contracts in Iraq, apparently as punishment for opposing the war.

”In spite” of anger, but “because of” ... what? Saddam’s trial is awaited with interest.

UPDATE. In other shocking Saddam developments, Lawrence Haws spies something in Robert Fisk’s latest column:

This was the occasion when Saddam drove my colleague Tony Clifton into central Baghdad in his own Range Rover and challenged him to find a single man who opposed his rule.

Fisk and Tony Clifton were colleagues?

Posted by Tim Blair at 02:01 AM | Comments (35)


Glenn Reynolds wrote the other day that Big Media is “losing its stranglehold over news.” The strange thing is, most Big Media people would probably agree with him, but for different reasons. A prevailing view among the Bigs -- and this dates back to the mid '90s -- is that they were always bound to forfeit some newscatching to these crazy innovative Interwebnet gophers, what with their speedy modems and all. Who can compete with laptop jockeys when you’re tied to print runs and broadcast schedules?

You hear this line a lot if you hang with the suits, as I sometimes do. (Jeff Jarvis has probably heard it more often than any living human). And it is wrong. As Zeyad noted in his coverage of the anti-terrorism demonstrations, Big Media was everywhere, and simply neglected to file:

As you can see in my pictures there were scores of reporters and cameras all over the place. And since the rallies ended in front of the Palestine hotel we thought that it would be impossible for the media to ignore this event. I felt a bit awkward walking along reporters carrying just a little digital camera while they had all the equipment.

The last thing we expected was to be the first to publish anything about the protests. It felt both good and awful at the same time. Good for scooping Reuters, AFP, AP, and other wire services and media stations. And awful for the people that depended on these services for their news. I'm telling you there were reporters from every station in the world at the demos that day and yet only a few mentioned them at all.

The issue isn’t tech; Big Media have Big Websites, and can upload text and pictures faster than any blogger in a Baghdad net cafe. The issue is, as always, news values. As Reynolds concludes, in the case of the anti-terror demonstrations, Big Media was shown up “for having what are, at best, rather skewed priorities in their reportage”.

And here, courtesy of Tom Perry, is evidence. CNN, you are so owned.

UPDATE. More Big Media hijinks: the BBC posts a comment asking for the death of Bush, then denies the posting ever existed, then blames it on workload.

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:48 AM | Comments (18)


Can someone please explain to me just why a simple health check is so disgusting and degrading? Sydney Morning Herald reader Michelle Withers -- a doctor herself, so presumably she’s participated in far more invasive procedures -- is all enraged and furious, but doesn’t actually reveal what’s so damn wrong about it:

I would like to express my deep disgust at the recent television coverage of Saddam Hussein undergoing a medical examination. These pictures, broadcast repeatedly around the world, violate the most fundamental principles of human rights and the doctor-patient relationship. To so degrade this man, whatever his crimes, belittles us all.

Withers must’ve wigged out completely when Katie Couric shoved a camera up her butt in the name of colo-rectal research. Maybe that’s next for Saddam (in which case I vote for a sturdy Hasselblad H1). In fact, hasn’t Saddam served a Couric-like purpose with his health-care tape, helping to remind psychopathic dictators everywhere that, hey, those teeth and gums aren’t going to take care of themselves, you know? Better go lie down in a spider hole until a doctor shows up.

The SMH’s Miranda Devine shares my puzzlement:

After all, being videotaped with a tongue depressor in your mouth seems less grim than being hung upside down and beaten on the soles of your feet, or having bits of your body cut off, or just living each day in fear of capricious arrest.

Also via Miranda, the SMH finally publishes something correcting Gobbler Ramsey’s plastic turkey story:

The Australian's Phillip Adams and the Herald's Alan Ramsey were the most gung-ho local propagators of the myth. Adams devoted an entire column to it: "It was a prop turkey, a pretend turkey ... the President had taken a plastic turkey - one used for gourmet magazine shoots - to the mess hall."

Imagine if Saddam had been forced to pose with a Thanksgiving turkey. Michelle Withers would be outraged at this clear violation of the chef-diner relationship. It belittles us all.

UPDATE. Mark Steyn, published in The Australian, also takes on the turkeys:

I was saddened to see my old friend Mark Lawson of The Guardian falling for the canard that Bush served up a "plastic turkey" for Thanksgiving (a mistake that The Sydney Morning Herald's Alan Ramsey and The Australian's Phillip Adams also made) and deducing from this that the President was in desperate fear of being a one-termer. No doubt he's already moved on to mocking the pathetic attempt to serve up Hussein's lice-infested head on a platter to the gullible American public just in time for Christmas.

Posted by Tim Blair at 12:04 AM | Comments (22)

December 17, 2003


Margo Kingston is currently writing a book. Her publicists should use Saddam Hussein’s proven sales method:

Zabibah and the King was badly received, although once word of who was behind it spread, sales soared.

Abdul al-Jabouri, a Baghdad shopkeeper, said: "Everyone bought it just to see what was on the president's mind. Most people concluded he was mad."

Posted by Tim Blair at 11:26 PM | Comments (10)


Jim Treacher corrects the current imbalance of smug right-wing jokery:

Since Saddam's capture, White House officials have avoided public gloating...

Yeah, they've got Fox News for that! Seriously, Brit Hume was so overjoyed, he almost moved his face. I haven't seen Bill O'Reilly this giddy since Krystallnacht. Ohhhhhh! Hey, Hannity, is that a banana in your pocket, or did they just catch the guy who didn't have anything to do with 9/11? Shepard Smith hasn't drooled this much since that one time his CPU crashed. Laurie Dhue smacked her lips so hard... er... she's got big lips for a Fox News babe, right? Um... So hard it blew out the burning cross in the lobby? I don't know.

It’s all part of Treacher’s new “equal time” policy. Fill that quota, Jim!

Posted by Tim Blair at 12:54 PM | Comments (15)


Spleenville usually generates about the same amount of traffic as (and way less than US lefty site Bartcop) but look at the difference since Saddam was captured ...

Posted by Tim Blair at 11:52 AM | Comments (20)


"Well, that Vietnam-style quagmire seems to be getting worse, doesn't it?" wrote Mark Steyn the other day. It sure is:

The reputed head of the Iraqi insurgency surrendered to US forces at dawn yesterday, Al-Arabiya television reported last night.

The reported surrender of Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, the highest ranking member of the former regime still at large, follows the arrest at the weekend of two leaders of the insurgency along with Saddam Hussein.

This "resistance" isn’t very resistant. A new noun is required. Oh, and before I forget, the UN can go to hell:

"The UN as an organisation failed to help rescue the Iraqi people from a murderous tyranny of 35 years," said [Iraq's foreign minister Hoshyar Zebari]. "The UN must not fail the Iraqi people again."

Kofi Annan, who publicly opposed the US decision to launch the war after failing to win the support of the Security Council, said it was "no time to pin blame and point fingers" over the past.

"I think the UN has done as much as it can for Iraq," Annan told reporters. "So quite honestly I don't think today is the time to hurl accusations."

If not now ... when?

UPDATE. Kofi Annan has "shown the courage of his organisation's internationally civilised convictions."

Posted by Tim Blair at 10:50 AM | Comments (19)


Via Little Tiny Lies:


Every girl's crazy 'bout a lice-checked man! And from Eye on the Left:

Update: image no longer on server.

Ha! Meanwhile David Aaronovitch reports the reaction of a US soldier to pro-Saddam demonstrations:

A small crowd had gathered to demonstrate support for the captured dictator. "Saddam is our hearts!" they shouted, "Saddam is in our blood!" To which the American apparently quietly replied, "Saddam is in our jail!"

Reader Dan H. sends some helpful information for prosecutors, should Saddam be tried in Iraq:

In Baghdad, some business men accused of dealing in dollars had their right hands surgically removed at the wrist and their foreheads were tattooed with an “X” mark. Again, this was to mark them as money traders, to make an example of them.

Shockingly, this was not an arbitrary decision, but done in accordance to the dictator’s laws.

Saddam was found with $750,000. Stick out that hand.

Posted by Tim Blair at 09:56 AM | Comments (8)


Yahoo News reports:

A top Vatican official said Tuesday he felt pity and compassion for Saddam Hussein and criticized the U.S. military for showing video footage of him being treated "like a cow."

When, of course, he should’ve been treated like an exotic underground spidercow.

Cardinal Renato Martino, head of the Vatican's Justice and Peace department (alert! alert!) and a former papal envoy to the United Nations (DOUBLE ALERT! DOUBLE ALERT!), told a news conference it would be "illusory" to think the arrest of the former Iraqi president would heal all the damage caused by a war which the Holy See opposed.

"I felt pity to see this man destroyed, (the military) looking at his teeth as if he were a cow. They could have spared us these pictures," he said.

Robert Hinkley writes: "They looked at his teeth! Oh, the inhumanity. Looking at his teeth ... that's almost as bad as smashing his teeth out and then electrocuting him, right?"

The news conference was called for Martino to present the World Day of Peace message ... (MAXIMUM TOTAL ALERT! MAXIMUM TOTAL ALERT!)

Posted by Tim Blair at 03:17 AM | Comments (142)


Usually the residents of Sydney’s ultra-sensitive Balmain would never dream of imposing their brutal western values upon sainted Muslim immigrants. There comes a point, however, when a line must be drawn:

To all Iraqi Australians, even toy guns are inappropriate as symbols of celebration here in Australia.

Bill Moore, Balmain, December 16.

We await Bill’s thoughts on other unacceptable cultural practices, such as sewing mouths shut.

Posted by Tim Blair at 02:24 AM | Comments (11)


Iowahawk. A personal friend, possessed of more cool than is healthy for any human. Conclusion: he is from deep space. You know those redneck haikus you've giggled at for years? He wrote 'em.

Vikki McNaughton. Ferocious conservatism from a young Australian babe. Prisoners will not be taken, although you really should take Vikki's Mark Latham poll.

God It Sucks. Specialises in pungent movie reviews. Sample: "Has Sandra Bullock ever been in a good movie? No, but if there's any better reason to become an alcoholic than actually realizing you just wasted 2 hours of your life on '28 Days', I can't think of it."

Posted by Tim Blair at 02:05 AM | Comments (17)


Paul McGeough in The Age identifies the latest unfixable crisis to engulf US forces in Iraq:

Jubilation over the arrest of Saddam Hussein is fast being overtaken by international wrangling over how the man accused of killing hundreds of thousands of his own and other people should be tried.

Big deal. As Natalie Solent noted days ago, it's a luxury problem.

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:35 AM | Comments (4)


The NY Post examines Saddam Hussein’s post-capture mood:

"While he's talkative, he's provided nothing substantial. His comments are self-serving, lengthy rationalizations of his behavior, and he punctuates a lot of it with wise-ass and deflective remarks."

This bearded newbie is aiming to rip me off! Execute him at once.

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:14 AM | Comments (9)


"Sick of the triumphalist pap that passes for commentary on Saddam's capture in most Australian media?" writes Margo Kingston. Well, no, as it happens. But please continue:

When I saw the close ups of the tyrant I thought of his accessories, did you?

Now that you mention it, yes I did! Saddam could really have used a few accessories. Where is Queer Eye for the Murdering Bastard Guy when you need it?

Who will join him when he's tried for crimes against humanity? Which multinational companies and which western politicians?

Place your bets in comments. Bonus points for entries written entirely in French, German, or Russian. On the subject of pap and the Sydney Morning Herald, no correction yet for Alan Ramsey's Turkeygate swill, either from Ramsey or in the letters pages. They're determined to bury this. Here's Al's office email address. The Australian, however, runs several letters today setting Phillip Adams straight, the first from blogger Alan Anderson:

Phillip Adams's latest delusional rant is premised on lies. The Bush Thanksgiving visit's plastic turkey myth has been comprehensively debunked, as Adams would have discovered through minimal research.

So, coincidentally, has the "Bush stole the election" lie, with a media-funded recount finding that Bush would have won Florida anyway, even had a court decided to re-enfranchise voters who cannot understand the instruction "Make sure the chad is completely removed".

Just last weekend, Adams gloatingly quoted Bush Sr saying that capturing Hussein was "probably impossible".

Adams and reality just don't seem to get along.
Alan Anderson
Carlton, VIC

It appears that Phillip Adams, by virtue of his sense of moral superiority, feels he is not obliged to get his facts straight. The facts surrounding "turkeygate" have been widely reported by reputable international media outlets, but Mr Adams, in his role as a propagandist, sees fit to ignore these in the interest of some petty point-scoring against his bete noir.
Tim Smith
Lyneham, ACT

On December 4, The Washington Post reported that the turkey pictured with the turkey in Iraq was real.

I don't care for George W. Bush much, but I do care about accurate reporting.

Phillip Adams was wrong: GWB was not carrying a plastic turkey.
Peter Demonk
North Fitzroy, Vic

When will the SMH acknowledge Gobbler Ramsey's errors? According to the newspaper's ethics code: "Material errors in the paper and its related publications will be corrected or clarified publicly as soon as is practicable."

Ramsey's piece was published Saturday.

Posted by Tim Blair at 12:49 AM | Comments (18)

December 16, 2003


Seeking the truth about Iraqi reaction to Saddam’s capture, the ABC interviews unbiased former human shield Donna Mulhearn:

She says there has been a mixed reaction from the Iraqi people.

"Some were very excited, many were not very excited," she said.

"Some were very sad, some were very angry, most are very sceptical. Most feel 'well okay one man has been captured but nothing has really changed for us'."

Donna bravely shields a hallway. And an indoor plant.

Actually, according to Donna’s earlier wartime reports, a great deal has changed:

"The Iraqi people are very, very angry ... they now are fully, fully supportive of the Iraqi government."

And now they’re not. That’s progress. Let’s not be too mean to Donna ... after all, she is one of the few on the antiwar left to come up with a feasible alternative plan to military intervention. Here it is, extracted from a postwar Mulhearn speech:

While those concerned about human rights welcome a regime change, we knew there was another path to such a change.

a path that was democratic
• a path that did not flout international law
• a creative, compassionate path
• a better path
• a peaceful path

A path that did not leave more than 5000 people dead and thousands more maimed, injured and devastated for life.

I challenge all media commentators to spend 24 hours in a Baghdad hospital ward.

You will leave asking - there must have been another way?

There was and there is!

And here it is, the Mulhearn Plan, in complete, exhaustive detail:

The other way is the way of peace.

If only George W. Bush had known.

(Via Paul & Carl.)

Posted by Tim Blair at 11:57 PM | Comments (15)


I hate models. No, that’s not right; I love models. What I hate are climate model projections:

If the climate model projections on the level of warming are right, sea levels will be rising for the next thousand years, the glaciers will be melting faster and dramatic increases in the intensity in rainfall rates and hurricanes are expected.

Predict away, Mr Predict-O-Matic! Michael Crichton -- yes, the writer guy -- hates this nonsense too:

Even if the models get the science spot-on, they can never get the sociology. To predict anything about the world a hundred years from now is simply absurd.

Let's think back to people in 1900 in, say, New York. If they worried about people in 2000, what would they worry about? Probably: Where would people get enough horses? And what would they do about all the horseshit? Horse pollution was bad in 1900, think how much worse it would be a century later, with so many more people riding horses?

Now. You tell me you can predict the world of 2100. Tell me it's even worth thinking about. Our models just carry the present into the future. They're bound to be wrong.

It’s a long piece, from a speech made several months ago. Worth reading.

Posted by Tim Blair at 11:30 PM | Comments (32)


What’s the point of electing Howard Dean if he’s simply going to defer authority to the United Nations?

Dean said he “would not have hesitated” to launch an attack on Iraq “had the United Nations given us permission and asked us to be part of a multilateral force.”

May as well hand the White House over to Kofi and be done with it. Look, I know Dean is out to secure the crazy Dem left, but has he any idea how devalued is the UN these days? Time was when folks imagined the UN running on pure Wisdom Juice sourced from a spiritual wonderworld fifteen levels above heaven, but one of the good things about the war (apart from, of course, the war) is that people now know exactly how the UN functions. They’ve read about it for days, weeks, months, and it creeps them out. “United Nations” now raises the same alarms among the centre-right as “Halliburton” does among leftoid conspiracy monkeys. Consider the reaction of that particular group on seeing something like this:

Bush said he “would not hesitate” to launch an attack on Syria “once Halliburton gives us permission and asks us to be part of a multinational oil company superforce, sieg heil!”

I mean, that would get my vote, but you’ve got to be careful not to alienate the moderates.

Posted by Tim Blair at 11:03 PM | Comments (8)


Damian Penny’s letter to Canada's Globe and Mail:

Sir - Ann Strickland-Clark says she's 'taking bets on a Jack Ruby-style incident' against Saddam Hussein before his trial, because he 'has a lot to reveal' that the U.S. government may find embarassing.

Considering the country where most of Saddam's weaponry and political support came from, any assassin will more likely be named Jacques Ruby.

Damian J. Penny, Corner Brook, NL

And in other Jacques related news ... if French lawyer Jacques Verges wants to defend Saddam Hussein, I say let him:

Verges has taken on tough cases before. Barbie, known as the "butcher of Lyon", was jailed for life in 1987 for crimes against humanity in Nazi-occupied France.

Carlos the Jackal, whose real name is Illich Ramirez Sanchez, is serving a life sentence in France for a string of deadly attacks in Europe in the 1970s and 80s.

Third time lucky. He’ll probably get Saddam sentenced to the guillotine.

UPDATE. This was predicted.

Posted by Tim Blair at 10:15 PM | Comments (7)


George Monbiot sees things that normal people just can’t see. And he writes things that normal people just can’t be bothered reading, like his latest column, which identifies flight as the Great Evil of our time:

At Kitty Hawk, George Bush will deliver a eulogy to aviation, while a number of men with more money than sense will seek to recreate the Wrights' first flight. Well, they can keep their anniversary. Tomorrow should be a day of international mourning. December 17 2003 is the centenary of the world's most effective killing machine.

Just look at the sinister apparatus. Pity the victims fed through that double-bladed mincing device. The number on its side? Confirmed kills.

Note that the machine must be tied down to keep its evil in check.

Commercial flights, like military flights, are an instrument of domination. As tourists, we engage with the people of other nations on our own terms. The world's administrators can flit from place to place enforcing their mandate. The corporate jet-set shrinks the earth to fit its needs. Those with access to the aeroplane control the world.

We’re ruled by pilots?

The men who attacked New York and Washington on September 11 2001 drove one symbol of power into another ... Those hijackers had turned the civilian product of a military technology back into a military technology, but even when used for strictly commercial purposes, the airliner remains a weapon of mass destruction.

Which is why US troops are based at Baghdad Airport. Suddenly, it all becomes clear ...

Flying is our most effective means of wrecking the planet: every passenger on a return journey from Britain to Florida produces more carbon dioxide than the average motorist does in a year. Every time we fly, we help to kill someone.

Britain to Florida takes, oh, about nine hours or so. Britain to Australia is much longer; it’s a voyage of mass death. Why wouldn’t George cite the longer flight?

Possibly because, only a few months ago, Monbiot himself participated in an act of homicide by openly flying to Australia. The question remains: should Monbiot be tried in England, or at The Hague?

UPDATE. Warren Smith continues the debunking of Flyboy George.

Posted by Tim Blair at 03:52 PM | Comments (66)


Measure a man not by how he copes when things are going his way, but by how he reacts when circumstances threaten or challenge. Saddam Hussein, the tyrant, pledged to die fighting; Saddam Hussein, the spider hole resident, begged: "Don't shoot!"

So it is with anti-Bush obsessive Phillip Adams, who, responding to news of Saddam's capture, devotes most of his column today to a sack of crap about the plastic Thanksgiving turkey of popular mythology:

George W. Bush - whose presidency promises to be a turkey - arrived in Baghdad carrying one. A turkey.

No, he didn't. The bird was already there.

Brought to Iraq in the strictest of secrecy, the President presented his nonplussed troops with the aforementioned chook - for the purpose of a spectacular photo opportunity.

Nonplussed troops? Not according to this account. Or according to any video or newspaper coverage.

Bush's Thanksgiving turkey, around which the beaming Bush and his happy warriors were grouped, was photographed and filmed from every angle.

No, it wasn't. The scene, which lasted only a few seconds, was recorded by a pool photographer.

But it turns out that this turkey shoot - and here I use the term in its photographic sense - was a right stuff-up, because it has been revealed that the turkey wasn't a turkey.

No, it has not.

It was a prop turkey, a pretend turkey. Just as ketchup replaced blood for violent scenes in movies, and mashed potato substituted for ice cream in Happy Days (to prevent its melting under the studio lights), the President had taken a plastic turkey - one used for gourmet magazine shoots - to the mess hall.

No, he didn't. As was reported weeks ago, "Bush picked up a decoration, not a serving plate ... A contractor had roasted and primped the turkey to adorn the buffet line, while the 600 soldiers were served from cafeteria-style steam trays, the officials said. They said the bird was not placed there in anticipation of Bush's stealthy visit, and military sources said a trophy turkey is a standard feature of holiday chow lines."

On Saturday the SMH's Alan Ramsey wrote his own plastic turkey fantasy, including the bizarre addition that the bird was a Christmas turkey. Lots of emails were sent to the SMH letters editor; none so far have been published. Nor have I received a response from Ramsey to my own email. These people aim to get away with this. For what it's worth, here's The Australian's email address. Hammer it. Totally hammer it.

UPDATE. Professor Bunyip has tons more on what might be the most error-loaded Adams column ever, including this:

There's one last reason why shouldn't pluck "facts" from between those cordoba leather buttocks of yours: You know your assertions are wrong (you are an old ad man, after all), but some senior citizens are easily gulled, and then go off and make even bigger fools of themselves than time and nature have already achieved -- Alan Ramsey (whose name you misspell), for example. When you had the old codger wheezing away as a guest on your show last week, you both had a good old chuckle about George W. Bush's "plastic" bird. And what did we see on the weekend? The Silly Moaning Hilmer's drooling old fool -- as opposed to all its purse-lipped young ones -- filled his own column with your misrepresentations.

(Cool turkey pic via Jessica’s Well. Check the clock ...)

Posted by Tim Blair at 02:41 AM | Comments (68)

December 15, 2003


CNN reports:

When the soldiers first found Saddam, he raised his hands above his head, military officials said.

"I am Saddam Hussein," he said, according to the officials. "I am the president of Iraq and I want to negotiate."

The U.S. soldiers reportedly responded: "President Bush sends his regards."

The only matter for discussion now is how and where Saddam should be tried. Kep Enderby, letter-writer to the Sydney Morning Herald, believes "no Iraqi court or tribunal should try him because it is said the Iraqis were the victims of his crimes ... It would be like having a victim of an alleged crime, and not a judge, decide the guilt or innocence of the person accused of having committed the crime. To meet proper standards of justice, any court or tribunal set up should be seen to be neutral and independent. Only the United Nations can do that."

Quite so, agrees Ron Mead:

I expect a number of people will say it's impossible for Saddam to get a fair trial in Iraq. Perhaps he should be tried by the UN, where there is a much greater understanding of the needs and aspirations of brutal dictators.

Ha! Canada’s leader, writes Mark Steyn, also prefers an international approach, although Bush seems to have pre-empted him:

President Bush discussed the capture of Saddam today with the Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom, Australia, Spain, Italy and Poland. Speaking to himself, Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin called for the Iraqi President to be tried by "a court of international jurisdiction".

The UK Telegraph's John Keegan wants Saddam to die. Australian Prime Minister John Howard would be content with that outcome, too. So would Labor leader Mark Latham:

If he's to be tried under Iraqi law I would expect the full weight of that law to be held against him, and if that includes the death penalty you won't find an objection coming from me.

Greens leader Bob Brown, who said back in March that the war in Iraq "is not our war ... This is George Bush's war and this Prime Minister is in the service of George Bush in this illegal war”, has now changed his tune:

It is important [Saddam] is tried by an international tribunal and not by a US tribunal because it is an international issue.

Wake up, enviroboy! Even the gentle creatures of the sea are supporting the US these days.

Posted by Tim Blair at 11:45 PM | Comments (28)


Behold, the sequel to red/blue America:

Pretty, isn’t it? And much easier to understand than the old red/blue model, which confusingly presented commie-hating Republican areas as red. The blue zones in this new map represent majority, or normal, America, while the splashes of urine-like yellow denote regions infiltrated by The Coalition of the Pissy. Specifically, they show where house parties are (correction: were) being organised to view Uncovered: The Whole Truth about the Iraq War.

Hit the link and run a cursor over the yellow stains to monitor the level of pissy activity in your area.

Posted by Tim Blair at 10:43 PM | Comments (31)


From way back in early May, here’s a Donald Rumsfeld known unknown:

Let there be no doubt, [Saddam] and his crowd are gone. They're either in a tunnel some place, or in a basement hiding. We'll find him, if he's alive.

Actually, that last bit might be a 'known known'. Or maybe the whole thing is. Speaking of Saddam's compact basement lifestyle, check out the new poll at left.

Posted by Tim Blair at 09:50 PM | Comments (0)


Michael Moore condemns Saddam Hussein for invading and menacing surrounding nations, possessing weapons of mass destruction, gassing Iranians and Kurds, and stockpiling deadly chemicals. Saddam, he writes, was “out of control”.

Moore's conclusion, therefore, doesn't make sense:

These bastards sent us to war on a lie.

They did? Hey, if Saddam was all the things Moore says he was, the invasion seems entirely justified. Who knew Mike was such a hawk?

Posted by Tim Blair at 04:57 PM | Comments (17)


In custody, Saddam explains his defiance of the UN:

Saddam was also asked whether Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. "No, of course not," he replied, according to the official, "the U.S. dreamed them up itself to have a reason to go to war with us." The interrogator continued along this line, said the official, asking: "if you had no weapons of mass destruction then why not let the U.N. inspectors into your facilities?” Saddam’s reply: "We didn't want them to go into the presidential areas and intrude on our privacy."

So he provoked a war ... over personal space issues?

UPDATE. Here’s more from Saddam the Believable. Strange how only the WMD quote is getting much attention:

Hussein insisted the chemical weapons attack on the northern Iraqi town of Halabja in 1988, in which an estimated 5,000 people were killed, was the work of Iran. And in response to a query about the invasion of Kuwait, he insisted that the tiny nation belonged to Iraq.

Asked about the mass graves across the country that contain the bodies of tens of thousands of Iraqis killed by his government, Hussein scoffed and called the victims "thieves, army deserters and traitors ... "

You know, if these are lies ...

Posted by Tim Blair at 11:59 AM | Comments (81)


Congratulations, Victorian taxpayers! Your money is helping two vandals cover the cost of damaging a building in Sydney:

Painting "No War" on the Sydney Opera House may have earned Dave Burgess and Will Saunders a legal conviction, but it's also brought them the odd prize.

The pair picked up the W.I.N.K. (Wired Innovative Naughty Kids) award for Best Subversion of the Dominant Paradigm.

W.I.N.K.? Wrong vowel.

The prize is a stylish lightbox and $2000 in cash.

"The money will go straight into paying the compensation that's been awarded against us," Burgess said. "We are both kids who have been taught to clean up our own mess.”

These kids are 33 and 42. Slow learners, I guess. Where did their $2000 prize come from? The W.I.N.K. awards are presented by the B(if)tek Corporation, a tax-leeching two-gal electronica outfit run by Nicole Skeltys and Kate Crawford. These chicks would have you believe the cash was drawn directly from their own freaky-cool, retro-hot, post-structuralist purses:

The best we can do with our humble bank account is to give our money away yet again to artists and activists whose deviant passions and visions make us whoop with glee.

Which would be fine -- whoop your gleeful heads off! -- if it was, in fact, their money. Which they assure us it is:

At this time of year, we go to the B(if)tek bank account and take out $2000 of our hard earned dosh to give away to the Most Deserving. That is, the individuals who have best defined cultural and media subversion for the year.

Girls, please. Lies make baby Jesus cry. Where did the money really come from? Let’s check the Victorian government’s list of Digital Culture Program Project Grants from April 2003:

Applicant: B(if)tek
Project: The WINK Awards
Amount: $2,000

By “our”, Nic and Kate mean “other people’s”. And by “hard earned”, they mean “given to us”. B(if)tek or B(ut)fuk or whatever the hell they call themselves are continually loading up on government handouts; their latest CD was funded by a $10,000 grant, and Nic recently scored $1,800 so she can visit Cologne, Berlin, and London.

Credit where it’s due: these technobodies know how to work the system. They’re experts:

Crawford lectures in media and communications at the University of Sydney while completing her PhD. Skeltys works in the public sector on financial policy in welfare.

With pedigrees like these, it's no wonder that B(if)tek received Australia Council funding.

And it’s no wonder they’ve previously donated taxpayers’ money to Indymedia. A final point ... B(if)tek played the Sydney Opera House just one month after B(ug)diks Burgess and Saunders successfully subverted the dominant paradigm by causing $150,000 worth of damage to the place. Crawford told the SMH that “the chance to perform at the Opera House will be a highlight of her career.” What a complete H(yp)ocrite.

UPDATE. Reader Stephen F. writes: "Crawford once eked out her living at the SMH. Which may explain a lot. Her profile at the University of Sydney Web site defines WINK as an award "for excellence in electronic arts". Makes perfect sense then that her research interest is 'online media ethics' -- Opera House painting is not online so it's probably ethical. Ponying up for this sort of stuff is depressing."

And from Brett Milner in comments: "Kate Crawford and Nicole Skeltys were recently on Triple J's 'Restoring the Balance' claiming the award money came from 'sheer hard work' and by saving '20c here and 50c there.' You can download a mp3 of their interview here."

Posted by Tim Blair at 10:48 AM | Comments (22)


The ABC’s Middle East correspondent, Jane Hutcheon, reminds us of Saddam’s good side :

Until the outbreak of the war against Iraq, the strongman sent millions of dollars to Palestinians killed in the conflict with Israel.

Yes ... killed by themselves. As reader Chris writes in comments: “How anyone - even at the ABC - can describe suicide bombers as ‘Palestinians killed in the conflict with Israel’ with a straight face is beyond me.”

It’s a lot harder maintaining a straight face while reading Puce's reaction. “WHynot comb his hare cut beerd aply Greashin Fromular make Sadam atractiv for world adianse? CREUL FASHISTS,” raves Jim Treacher’s indignant, ingenious invention. Not herting anybody!!!

UPDATE. Reuters has the same problem as the ABC: "The former Iraqi ruler was a hero to many Palestinians for his stand against Israel and its U.S. ally, as well as for helping families of Palestinians dead in an uprising."

Posted by Tim Blair at 10:38 AM | Comments (12)


Margo Kingston’s latest Webdiary freak act, Sydney artist Robert Bosler, writes a speech for Mark Latham:

This year has seen us named as a terrorist target. I'm here to tell it to you straight, ladies and gentlemen. That’s what we've become ... Were we ever really meant to be a terrorist target? Is that what Australia is supposed to be?

Tell us, Robert ... did you support the liberation of East Timor? Or would you have abandoned the East Timorese for fear of becoming a “terrorist target”? Oh, and I love this:

2003 came to us dressed as a salesman, ladies and gentlemen. Not the harmless salesman selling us the harbour bridge, it was a deceptive salesman, a dangerous salesman because it wasn't selling us the harbour bridge, it was selling the desert of Iraq. The salesman came all dressed the part but it came selling the desert of Iraq.

UPDATE. Mike in comments writes that “if Mark Latham had made that speech it would have to go down as one of the worst speeches given by an Australian politician.” Yes, it would -- and we can combine it with Margo’s brilliant campaign idea:

I reckon Abbott's invented the slogan for Labor at the next election, if Labor is brave enough to grasp the opportunity: "Honest Politics."

Run that slogan past any campaign adviser on earth and watch them recoil. Margo doesn’t know that the word “politics” is electoral poison ... as the Australian Democrats discovered a couple of years ago.

Posted by Tim Blair at 10:19 AM | Comments (14)


Turns out that when you open a heroin injecting room, it attracts heroin dealers somehow:

A police chief has admitted that there are now so many drug dealers around Australia's first supervised injecting room that his officers are powerless to stop them ... [police estimate] 800 heroin deals are carried out in the area daily despite promises when the injecting room was opened that it would not be allowed to become a "honey pot" for drug traders.

At least they keep out the real troublemakers. Light up a cigarette in this state smackhut and you’ll be asked to leave. It’s a healthy non-smoking heroin injecting room.

Posted by Tim Blair at 10:07 AM | Comments (8)


Andrew Bolt -- in sensational form lately -- predicts a Latham election win, on one condition:

That is, if only journalists are allowed to vote.

Journalists like The Sydney Morning Herald’s Mike Seccombe, who just can’t wait for The Lord of the Rungs to claim his rightful place in the Lodge:

Through the whole of question time, Latham sat impassively, not interjecting as the Government punched away to no end, just smiling a little at John Howard.

As if to say Is that the best you can do - old man?

Of course, Latham didn’t actually say that. But Seccombe wishes and wishes and wishes that he had.

Posted by Tim Blair at 10:05 AM | Comments (5)


Let’s set the tone with this photograph of celebrations in Nasiriyah. That same ecstatic mood is seen among Iraqis in Australia:

Mrs Sakina al-Amein, who lives in Shepparton after coming to Australia from Iraq 14 months ago, last night cheered the capture of Saddam Hussein.

"We are very, very happy. I hope they strip the meat from his body and cut into small, small pieces," Mrs al-Amein said.

And from the Sydney Morning Herald:

The capture of Saddam Hussein was a turning point for Iraq, said Abbas Boskany, an Iraqi Kurd who fled his country after the first Gulf War.

"I feel very, very happy and I'm shouting all over that Saddam Hussein is in the rubbish bin of history; he's finished. I'm buying drinks for everyone."

The president of the Iraqi Migrants Council, Kassim Abood, declared the capture of Saddam Hussein wonderful news.

"Its amazing, the best thing I've ever heard in my life."

The Age’s Tony Wright speaks for many:

One of the most perfidious regimes of the past century is now no more. Saddam is finished.

Long live the new Iraq.

And long live the new Sydney Morning Herald, which seems to have discovered an attitude that isn’t exclusively anti-American:

So close were the links between Paris and Baghdad that there have long been rumours that the Iraqi leader had been a regular contributor to Mr Chirac's various election campaigns, although nothing has been proved.

Paul McGeough, the SMH’s correspondent in Baghdad -- who opposed the coalition invasion -- says that things can only get better:

The US administration in Iraq will be anxious that his capture not become a rallying point for what it likes to dismiss as the regime "tail-enders".

It need not worry. In the coming weeks it is more likely Iraqis will be gloating at a Saddam brought to heel.

Since the fall of Baghdad on April 9 all the Saddam statues and portraits have been destroyed or defaced. It was kick-started by the US demolition of some of the statues, but now Iraqis are consumed by anger and hate for their former leader.

And Greg Sheridan in The Australian considers the effect of Saddam’s capture on other soon-to-be-run-down tyrants:

Perhaps most significant of all, the pictures of the captured and humiliated Saddam Hussein were being watched last night in Syria, Damascus and Pyongyang. Axis of evil dictators should know this is the end point of the defiance of US power.


Posted by Tim Blair at 03:57 AM | Comments (37)


As of now, at the official site of the Democratic National Committee, this is the only entry for December 13:

Congrats to Kicking Ass member Lance Collins, who was quoted by snarky right-wing columnist James Taranto in his "Best of the Web" column.

Keep those 'wingers frothing!

No other events of note worth covering, guys?

UPDATE. Howard Dean wants the American label to be taken off this war. Well, of course he does. It’s Dubya’s label.

Posted by Tim Blair at 03:33 AM | Comments (7)


Mark Steyn on the great sadness:

A captured Saddam with a tongue depressor in his mouth. His tongue can't be half as depressed as the French, John Kerry, Howard Dean, The Guardian et al. They've all been saving for months that the Coalition needs to hand over more power and authority to Iraqis. Handing over Saddam to be tried in Baghdad is an excellent start. Or do they now want him on a plane to the Hague?

That’s what Wesley Clark would do to Osama bin Laden. His reasoning isn't bad, actually.

Posted by Tim Blair at 02:38 AM | Comments (7)


The anti-war left has mixed feelings about a murderous dictator’s arrest:

"I had a horrible feeling in my stomach when I saw that Hussein had been captured."

By “mixed”, I mean a combination of loathing and idiocy.

Via reader Greg T. By the way, for excellent linkage on SaddamFest 2003, check out The Command Post.

UPDATE. Howard Dean’s supporters are distraught:

"Sigh. All I can think about is the effect of Saddam's capture on the Dean campaign! ... Somebody cheer me up, please!"

I'd love to, but I'm not licensed to prescribe psychotropic medication. Next:

"It is hard to believe this adminstration about Saddam when they are prone to lying about Thanksgiving TURKEYS...and what was that about BA pilots see Airforce One which was also a lie."

It was a plastic Saddam! Canada can evidently expect an influx of peace tards:

"todays events makes me pity our country even more....not that I like Hussein,but that now his capture seems to make us righteous in our invasion to somehow.....I feel the US will sink to newer lows and unprecedented actions globally....and makes Canada even more attractive to me."

And my favourite, which may or may not be satire:

"Damn it, CNN is again showing Iraqi citizens celebrating Saddam's capture. This is not good! Dean shouldn't say anything for now. He should immediately contact Paul Krugman of the NY Times for advice on how to put a negative spin on this."

Via contributor Zsa Zsa, who has never contacted Paul Krugman.

NOTE. Hit the archives and scroll down for other recent posts. Don't miss out on the Saddam-catching glee!

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:02 AM | Comments (52)


I wonder what these guys are workshopping right now:

CAIRO, December 11 ( - Hundreds of Arab and international activists are expected to flock in Cairo on Saturday, December 13, for a two-day popular conference on U.S. hegemony and the foreign occupation of Iraq and Palestine.

The conference, to be held under the slogan: "Yes to resistance in Palestine and Iraq. No to capitalist globalization and U.S. hegemony", is to witness several workshops and sessions.

Session one: digging a big ol' hole to hide in.

Posted by Tim Blair at 12:43 AM | Comments (3)


Sandra Lee, author of a book about Iraqi refugee Guzin Najim, learned of Saddam’s capture via Guzin's son:

I got an SMS from Christopher -- formerly Mohammed Said, whose father was murdered by Saddam Hussein. It said, simply: "Saddam Hussein captured in Iraq, Christopher". It was 20 minutes after the news broke on the TV - and Mohammed/Christopher was surfing the TV and 'net ... something he couldn't do in Iraq under house arrest.

(Note: he recently changed his name to the Anglicised "Christopher" and is all set to join the Australian Army Reserve.)

I immediately spoke to his mother, Guzin, who fled Iraq after her dying husband made her promise to take her children out of Iraq and never go back. She was  in tears of joy. "We want him to go on trial and suffer for years the way he made my Iraqi people suffer,'' she said. "He needs to answer for what he has done."

Oh, he will. It’s not like he was arrested by the UN.

UPDATE. Jeff Jarvis rounds up early Iraqi blogger reaction.

Posted by Tim Blair at 12:01 AM | Comments (4)

December 14, 2003


Ba'athist blowjob George Galloway offers his considered opinion on today’s events:

Ex-Labour MP George Galloway, expelled from the party in a row over the war, said it would not stop Iraqi resistance and might even "inflame" it.

Speaking from Egypt, he told BBC News 24: "It might be seized upon by the Prime Minister as something to laugh about, but I very much doubt if it will be the last laugh, because the truth is the country was taken into the war on the basis of a lie."

Halliburton! Fake turkeys! Quality Street chocolates! In related glass-half-empty news, here’s a Reuters headline: "Saddam’s capture is major coup, may not end unrest."

Posted by Tim Blair at 11:29 PM | Comments (6)


Ladies and gentleman, we got him:

The announcement was greeted with cheers from the audience.

Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez showed video of Saddam, who had graying hair and a long beard, undergoing a medical examination after his capture.

Several Iraqi journalists stood up and shouted "Death to Saddam" after the video was shown.

Wow. What’s wrong with these people? It’s as if they don’t remember the plastic turkey. Soon, Saddam himself might be roasted:

U.S. officials said they still haven't decided what to do with Saddam Hussein now that he's been captured, but one option is putting him before a special tribunal established just days ago.

Iraq's interim government established a special tribunal Wednesday to try top members of Saddam's government for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

A few friendly chats are in order first. Mustafa Alani, an analyst at Royal United Services Institute in London, tells al-Jazeera:

It's an intelligence prize because they can get information from him ...

Yes. Starting with this:

Iraq's coalition government claims that it has uncovered documentary proof that Mohammed Atta, the al-Qaeda mastermind of the September 11 attacks against the US, was trained in Baghdad by Abu Nidal, the notorious Palestinian terrorist.

Details of Atta's visit to the Iraqi capital in the summer of 2001, just weeks before he launched the most devastating terrorist attack in US history, are contained in a top secret memo written to Saddam Hussein, the then Iraqi president, by Tahir Jalil Habbush al-Tikriti, the former head of the Iraqi Intelligence Service.

Posted by Tim Blair at 11:15 PM | Comments (26)


Has Saddam been caught?

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP)--Saddam Hussein has been captured alive in his hometown of Tikrit, a member of the U.S.-appointed Governing Council said Sunday.

Council member Dara Noor al-Din told The Associated Press that the council was informed of the former dictator's capture in a telephone call from L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator for Iraq.

Fox says yes:

Saddam Hussein (search), the former Iraqi dictator and most-wanted figure by the U.S.-led coalition, has been captured in Iraq, U.S. officials told Fox News.

It’s looking good:

ABC News, The Associated Press and CNN are reporting that U.S. officials in Iraq may have captured former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

No local television is reporting anything yet. Kirkuk is celebrating:

A rumour that Saddam Hussein was captured or killed near his hometown of Tikrit sent hundreds of exultant people into the streets of this northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk today.

They fired in the air in celebration and congratulated each other.

An announcement on this from the US is expected in 23 minutes. The Kurds are already calling it:

Saddam Hussein, the former President of the former Iraqi regime, was captured by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), Kurdish sources close to said.

The bodyguards of Mr Kosrat Rassul, the high ranking member of the PUK, found Saddam Hussein in the city of Tikrit, his birthplace. Kosrat’s team was accompanied by a group of US-soldiers.

Further details of the capture will emerge during the day; but the Kurdish party all over the world is about to begin.

They won't be alone. Latest: Tony Blair says we’ve got the bastard:

Prime Minister Tony Blair confirmed Sunday that deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had been captured alive in Iraq, saying in a statement that Saddam was apprehended Saturday night.

"I very much welcome the capture last night of Saddam Hussein," the prime minister, U.S. President George W. Bush's closest ally in the Iraqi war, said in a statement released by his office. "This is very good news for the people of Iraq. It removes the shadow that has been hanging over them for too long of the nightmare of a return to the Saddam regime."

"This fear is now removed," the statement continued.

Time magazine adds:

Celebratory gunfire erupted across Baghdad as the news of the fallen Iraqi president's arrest spread across the town. Iraqis showed their joy that the brutal leader had been detained by firing bursts of automatic weapons fire into the air.

Think I might go fix myself a drink. Back soon.

Posted by Tim Blair at 09:15 PM | Comments (66)


It’s not all bad news for the Coalition of the Wanting US Contracts in Iraq, as Mark Steyn explains:

We're not talking about frosting the French, Germans, Russians and Canadians out of Iraq entirely. If you're a Paris printing company and you wish to open a new plant in Tikrit to pump out paperbacks of the latest French bestseller claiming that Dick Cheney and Halliburton were behind 9/11, go ahead. If you're a German corporation that manufactures those giant puppets of Bush and Blair for anti-war protests and you'd like to outsource the work to a marionette factory in Karbala, I'm sure they'd appreciate the business.

Denying US taxes to the French is just the latest way Bush is ruining their year. Cheer up, cheese freaks! You like films, right? Here’s a happy little movie about a friendly dog. Enjoy!

Posted by Tim Blair at 03:19 PM | Comments (4)


Remember Chris Toensing, the Washington-based editor of Middle East Report who didn't know of the anti-terrorism marches in Iraq?

I've only seen this picture, so I'm not sure what the demonstration was about.

Toensing wasn’t alone. Senior staff at The New York Times also had no idea. Asked if he'd heard of the demonstration in Baghdad, NYT Washington bureau chief Philip Taubman replied:

"I was not aware of that, but that's something that you really should take up with the correspondents who work for the Times in Baghdad. I don't know what their decision-making was that day. But I can assure you that we make every effort every day to try to be fair and balanced in our coverage."

Fair and balanced? Fox News should sue. And here’s NYT chief diplomatic correspondent Steven Weisman answering a similar question:

"I'm not sure that I know about that specific episode, that demonstration that you just referred to. But I would say that we, the readers of the Times ought to be aware that many things are going well in Iraq, but the fact that the security situation is not going well is not something that we can ignore."

The readers of the Times are only going to be aware that many things are going well in Iraq if they don’t read the Times.

To its enormous credit, The Weekly Standard devotes an entire page of its latest edition to Zeyad's demonstration coverage. Shows the importance of a diverse media. Yet The Weekly Standard is part of an Evil Big Media Murdoch Entity that Howard Dean would seek to dismantle:

MATTHEWS: Would you break it up? Rupert Murdoch has "The Weekly Standard." It has got a lot of other interests. It has got "The New York Post." Would you break it up?

DEAN: On ideological grounds, absolutely yes, but … I would say that there is too much penetration by single corporations in media markets all over this country ... What I'm going to do is appoint people to the FCC that believe democracy depends on getting information from all portions of the political spectrum, not just one.

So break up the New York Times.

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:22 PM | Comments (0)


"Being an Iraqi," writes Omar, "I have a million reasons for supporting the USA and the coalition." And a million reasons for not supporting nations that opposed liberation:

I don’t need you, and even if I did, I won’t ask your help, we’ve had enough of it. Go somewhere else, go to Africa, and relieve your conscience by donating some pennies to the poor, starving people there, and don’t bother how their dictators will use the money, and don’t even bother asking why they are so poor. I will stay here and fight for freedom and democracy with the good and brave Americans (yes..the good and brave.. Eat your hearts), and with all the honest soldiers and people of the coalition.

Eat your hearts, liberation foes. If you have any.

(Via LGF.)

Posted by Tim Blair at 03:50 AM | Comments (12)


After they spent $20 million preparing Keiko for a life in the ocean, how does the ungrateful movie star reward his benefactors?

Keiko the killer whale, who starred in the "Free Willy" films, has died suddenly of pneumonia at 27, in Norway.

The famous sea beast was only released into the wild last year. Like River Phoenix, another water-themed Hollywood youngster, Keiko simply couldn’t handle the pressure. Which, in Keiko’s case, was about 144 pounds per square inch during 300-foot dives.

Posted by Tim Blair at 02:51 AM | Comments (12)


A commenter at this Damian Penny post has the inside word on Noam Chomsky:

I once had dinner with a rather famous Australian philosopher whom I'd rather not name who related stories of Chomsky's activist antics back during the sixties at (I believe) Harvard. As he warmed to the subject over beers, this fellow recalled how he'd never seen Chomsky lose a single campus debate during that turbulant era. He said he admired Chomsky's "incredible recall" of facts and figures, but also admired that Chomsky would, when needed, MAKE UP WHATEVER FACTS AND FIGURES HE REQUIRED to win a verbal joust. When I asked how such behavior could be viewed as admirable, I was told, in essence, that Chomsky's ends (getting the US out of Vietnam) justified his means.

"Famous Australian philosopher" is a small field. This guy qualifies -- and the beer reference rings true -- but I don’t think he attended any university, much less Harvard. As for me, I’m simply too young. Put your money on Peter Singer.

Posted by Tim Blair at 02:30 AM | Comments (14)


Margo Kingston is correct:

Sydney artist Robert Bosler recently wrote a blueprint for a Labor win for my Webdiary. Artists think differently to most people ...

You sure got that right, crazy lady.

NOTE. Hit the archives and scroll down for earlier posts. Of particular interest: Alan Ramsey’s absurd column on George W. Bush’s “plastic Christmas turkey”, which was actually a real Thanksgiving turkey.

Posted by Tim Blair at 02:21 AM | Comments (5)


Or not, as may be the case if you live in England:

A church has been told that it cannot publicise its Christmas services on a community notice board to avoid offending other religions.

CHRISTMAS! CHRISTMAS! CHRISTMAS with JESUS and HOLINESS! Man, it’s so easy to be offensive these days. Meanwhile, Seth Efrica is now Santa-free:

South Africa's Advertising Standards Authority has banned the Post Office from inviting children to write to Father Christmas, on the grounds that it would mislead them, the SAPA news agency reported Wednesday.

A Post Office commercial gave children an address to which they could write to Santa Claus with their Christmas lists, but Cape Town journalist Andrew October told the authority that unless the Post Office intended to give the children the gifts they were asking for, the commercial should be canned, SAPA reported.

October said the ad encouraged "a falsehood that could break the fragile spirits of the already disillusioned youth of South Africa".

October’s CV reveals that he is “available immediately and will consider ALL suitable positions.” How about joyless bastard? The pay isn’t great, but at least you get to stomp on kids.

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:35 AM | Comments (21)


Whether it’s sedans, limos, skis, or aircraft, those Kennedys just can’t win when it comes to transportation:

Calling it a "piece of history burned," the Kennedy clan was reeling yesterday after two of its beloved boats were among about 50 destroyed after fire swept through the sheds of a historic Cape Cod boat yard.

Insurance rates must skyrocket when a Kennedy moves into the neighborhood.

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:22 AM | Comments (10)


Professor Bunyip has caught Phillip Adams rewriting a piece from the New York Review of Books -- for the third time.

The source on this occasion is Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. As the Bunyip writes: "To be fair, while Adams neglects to mention the NYRoB article, he does give Schlesinger a couple of passing nods. But to be really fair, he would also need to give Schlesinger the cheque he will be receiving for his column."

Indeedy. So let’s play another round of What Did Phillip Write, and What Appeared A Month Or So Ago In The NYRoB? Before you hit those links, select A or B from each of the following pairs of extracts:

1. A: The combination of containment and deterrence was initiated half a century ago by Harry S. Truman and confirmed as bi-partisan policy by Dwight Eisenhower. Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Bush Snr and Clinton pursued it.

B: The combination of containment and deterrence was initiated over half a century ago by President Truman. It was confirmed as a bipartisan policy by President Eisenhower and thereafter sustained by Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon (with modifications), Carter, Reagan (with deviations), George H.W. Bush, and Clinton.

2. A: In his West Point speech of June 1, 2002, Mr. Bush explicitly rejected containment and deterrence as sufficient weapons for the war against terrorism. "We must," he said, "take the battle to the enemy...and confront the worst threats before they emerge. In the world we have entered, the only path to safety is the path of action. And this nation will act."

B: In June 2002, Bush rejected containment and deterrence. "We must take the battle to the enemy ... the only path to safety is the path of action. And this nation will act."

3. A: This column has previously discussed the National Security Strategy of the United States of America, issued by the White House in September 2002. Here is its essence: "Given the goals of rogue states and terrorists, the US can no longer solely rely on a reactive posture as we have in the past. The inability to deter a potential attacker, the immediacy of today’s threats, and the magnitude of potential harm that could be caused by our adversary’s choice of weapons, do not permit that option. We cannot let our enemies strike first."

B: Such speeches prepared the way for a formal statement, The National Security Strategy of the United States of America, issued by the White House in September 2002. "Given the goals of rogue states and terrorists," this document says, the United States can no longer solely rely on a reactive posture as we have in the past. The inability to deter a potential attacker, the immediacy of today's threats, and the magnitude of potential harm that could be caused by our adversaries' choice of weapons, do not permit that option. We cannot let our enemies strike first."

4. A: On February 15, 1848, during the war with Mexico, a young Illinois congressman sent a letter to his law partner pointing out the constitutional and practical flaws in what we now call the Bush Doctrine.

B: As early as the war with Mexico in 1846-48, Abraham Lincoln expressed disapproval of preventative war.

5. A: "Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion," Abraham Lincoln wrote William H. Herndon, "and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such purpose, and you allow him to make war at pleasure ... If today he should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada to prevent the British from invading us, how could you stop him? You may say to him, 'I see no probability of the British invading us'; but he will say to you, 'Be silent: I see it, if you don't.'"

B: "Allow the President to invade a neighbouring nation wherever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose … If today he should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada to prevent the British from invading us, how could you stop him? You may say to him, 'I see no probability of the British invading us,' but he will say to you, 'Be silent. I see it, if you don't.'"

6. A: "We must face the fact," President John F. Kennedy said, "that the United States is neither omnipotent or omniscient—that we are only 6 percent of the world's population—that we cannot impose our will upon the other 94 percent of mankind ..."

B: Kennedy would deplore the Bush doctrine. "We must face the fact that the United States is neither omnipotent nor omniscient," he wrote. "We are only 6 per cent of the world’s population – we cannot impose our will upon the other 94 per cent of mankind."

So, how’d you do? Send your answers here. You might win a prize.

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:05 AM | Comments (3)

December 13, 2003


Still glowing with pride over their latest tremendous Google triumph, cunning leftoids have commenced another bold cyber campaign:

George Bush is unelectable. That's our opinion and we're sticking to it. Pass it on. So that when people go to google and search for "unelectable," guess what will come up.

Genius! This will guarantee Bush’s defeat. Just imagine how many people must search for “unelectable” on Google every month! Why, it must be dozens at least. And this brilliant ploy will convince all of them to vote against Bush, because ... umm ... because ... because it just will, somehow.

Posted by Tim Blair at 05:28 PM | Comments (18)


"I actually spoke in an African-American church yesterday." -- Howard Dean, the whitest human this side of Sophie Ellis-Bextor, celebrates his profound connection with the coloured folks.

Marian Wilkinson is a Dean fan, although that might change following revelations that the Democrat is an Enron stooge. Greg Sheridan says a vote for Dean would be a vote against Australia:

Dean as president would be bad for Australia because he would cut and run from Iraq, he would not prosecute the war on terror as vigorously as Bush, he would have no special goodwill for Australia arising out of the Iraq war, and he is opposed to free trade agreements - both new ones, such as our proposed FTA with the US, and even existing agreements such as NAFTA.

Just as well Dean remains largely unknown.

Posted by Tim Blair at 04:45 PM | Comments (8)


Nobody listens to the UN or France or Germany any more. Isn’t it sad? Wonderful international precedents about whole bunches of stuff are just ignored. Oh, woe! Phillips Adams isn't happy:

Saddam Hussein has gone. But so has sanity in international affairs.

And so has the unimaginable brutality of Saddam Hussein’s murder squads:

The killers kept bankers' hours.

They showed up for work at the barley field at 9 a.m., trailed by backhoes and three buses filled with blindfolded men, women and children as young as 1.

Every day, witnesses say, the routine was the same: The backhoes dug a trench. Fifty people were led to the edge of the hole and shot, one by one, in the head. The backhoes covered them with dirt, then dug another hole for the next group.

At 5 p.m., the killers officials of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party went home to rest up for another day of slaughter.

That site dates from 1991. The glacial international policies Adams applauds allowed Saddam to dodge justice for twelve years.

The mass grave at Mahaweel, with more than 3,100 sets of remains, is the largest of some 270 such sites across Iraq. They hold upward of 300,000 bodies; some Iraqi political parties estimate there are more than 1 million.

"It's as easy to find mass graves in Iraq as it once was to find oil," said Adnan Jabbar al-Saadi, a lawyer with Iraq's new Human Rights Ministry.

Yeah, leave Saddam in power. Stopping him would be insane.

UPDATE. David Brooks writes:

Until the Bush team came to power, foreign relations were conducted with a certain gentlemanly decorum. The first Bush administration urged regime change in Iraq, without sullying itself with the Iraqi peasants actually trying to do it. The Clinton administration pretended to fight terrorism without committing the sin of unilateralism by trying very hard.

The United Nations passed resolution after resolution condemning the government of Iraq, without committing the faux pas of actually enforcing them. The leaders of France and Germany announced their abhorrence of Saddam's regime, and expressed this abhorrence by doing as much business with Saddam as possible.

Then came George W. Bush, the cowboy out of the West, and all good manners were discarded.

Read the whole thing. Killer final line.

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:04 PM | Comments (14)


The Sydney Morning Herald's Alan Ramsey is a fool:

Hear about George Bush's plastic turkey? No, not his rubber duck. His turkey. Even John Howard, under the blankets in the dead of night, must be starting to wonder what in George's name he's got us into. Mark Latham didn't realise the utter truth of his immaculate character assessment. We now learn Howard took this country into war at the bidding of a US President who makes a complete goose of himself by "feeding" American troops in Baghdad a plastic Christmas turkey. Yes, really.

No, really. Read the original Washington Post story, Al. The turkey was a genuine turkey. Real. Not plastic. It was roasted, you hopeless idiot! And, by the way, it was a Thanksgiving turkey. For God's sake, the fake turkey story was blown apart several days ago.

Ramsey peddles disproved tales to a sad, shrinking audience of the unaware. Presumably his editors are among them, otherwise they wouldn’t have let this disgrace see print. Read Ramsey’s entire ignorant screed (mostly lifted from The Guardian and Michael Moore) then send his overlords an email.

Posted by Tim Blair at 04:06 AM | Comments (28)

December 12, 2003


The Independent is deeply offended:

George Bush poured fuel on the flames of the Iraq contracts dispute yesterday with a sneering dismissal of a suggestion by the German Chancellor that the decision to bar Germany, France Russia and Canada from bidding might violate international law.

"International law? I'd better call my lawyer," the American President joked in response to a reporter's question at the White House.

And folks wonder why this guy is polling so well. Here’s more from the Prez:

"It's very simple. Our people risked their lives. Friendly coalition folks risked their lives and ... the contracting is going to reflect that ... that's what the U.S. taxpayers expect."

Loadsamoney for Australia, England, Italy, and other good places. No money for you, Germany and France and Russia! You suck!

Posted by Tim Blair at 05:15 PM | Comments (47)


From the UK Telegraph: Australia to send convicts back to Britain

Posted by Tim Blair at 04:31 PM | Comments (17)


The son of an Iraqi murdered by Saddam Hussein points out something so basic and elemental that the media has mostly missed it:

"For 50 years, Iraq went without freedom and democracy. You can't make it happen in three weeks, three months or three years.

"It takes time."

Some people expected utopia within twelve hours.

Posted by Tim Blair at 04:05 PM | Comments (0)


Mark Steyn has had it up to here with that Pax chap:

At the beginning of this year Salam Pax was just another typical oppressed Baghdadi, four of whose relatives had ‘gone missing’ (according to his Guardian biog.). But a couple of weeks in the company of Guardian editors and he’s been transformed into a note-perfect, sneering, metropolitan poseur, right down to the two-decade-old Rambo putdown. He sounds like a Channel 4 commissioning editor. Now you might think this is a tad ungrateful of Salam: some of that tomato juice on the rug is from his four missing relatives and, given that the Americans have seen to it that his own juice is no longer in danger of hitting the shagpile, it might be nice if he understood that, in the end, it’s in his interest to clean up the room more than Rambo’s. But personally I find it heartening: if the Americans can’t transform Iraq into New Hampshire, this snotty little twerp is living proof that you can at least turn it into Islington.

Salam seems to have wised up recently. His latest column repeatedly refers to the “so-called resistance”. And is he becoming a little tetchy with The Guardian?

This is what happens when you sell your soul to the devil, he is allowed to sit on the blogs you write until he wants to put them in his paper.

Posted by Tim Blair at 03:41 PM | Comments (8)


Rain has interrupted the cricket, so, just for fun, I’ve been deleting all of Miranda Divide’s comments. Let’s see if this pushes MD beyond her previous rage peak:

You guys are utter filth. May the lot of you rot in hell. You are fat, bloated and fucked, rotting with smugness. I hope the shit you people peddle returns to you in spades. Enjoy your ignorant lives. Wallow in them. You'll die like everyone else and i hope its in a very lonely place.

Miranda is so cool. Ex-England captain Nasser Hussein has been a little Divide-ish himself lately, though possibly with some reason. Tony the Teacher adds Nasser to the list.

UPDATE. Jack writes:

Miranda must be really getting under your horrible, scaly reptilian skin skin if you decided to delete his posts, 'just for fun' as you say in your usual 'I'm a sewer creature lurking under the skin of a nice guy' routine.

I tend to use my nice-guy skin for daytrips and such. But the horrible, scaly reptilian skin (or “skin skin”, if you prefer) is just perfect for loafing around in my palatial sewer house. Nothing beats being multi-skinned.

Posted by Tim Blair at 03:32 PM | Comments (30)


Andrew Bolt reviews pre-war predictions:

Greens leader Bob Brown, for example, said more than 100,000 children would be killed, and the Australian Sociological Association, in a letter signed by 300 notables, warned of a "probable loss of 100,000 civilians".

But the most detailed attempt to "imagine failure" was made a year ago by the Medical Association for Prevention of War, in a report endorsed by Labor's president, Carmen Lawrence.

"Total possible deaths on all side during the conflict and the following three months range from 48,000 to over 260,000," it said. "Civil war . . . could add another 20,000 deaths. Additional later deaths from post-war adverse health effects could reach 200,000. If nuclear weapons were used, the death toll could reach 3,900,000."

Add to this the million refugees predicted by the UN, the environmental holocaust predicted by the Greens, and the famine, riots, soaring petrol prices and explosion of the entire Middle East predicted by so many other apocalyptics.

And none of it happened.

Poor confused people. They deserve our pity.

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:22 PM | Comments (21)


Andrew Wilkie, formerly described as “no bleeding-heart leftie”, now is, having joined the Greens. Andrew Norton explains Wilkie's decision.

UPDATE. Back in March, commenter “Bulvie33” posted this at Gareth Parker’s site:

Before Mr Wilkie had risen to the office of military intelligence, he was concerned with inteligence of a different sort. In 1987 he was a Lieutenant in the Australian Army at Singleton in N.S.W. Performing the duties of I.E.T (Initial Entrance Training) Officer as a platoon commander in the infantry training section.

He was little use to us then, much as he is now and by military statutes is required to retire at about this time. So it is no surprise that he is trying to seek as much attention as possible, as is concurrent with his personality traits as a military officer. This was purely a politically motivated stunt based on his left wing views and his unfortunate disposition of hoping to gain entrance to the realm of politics.

Posted by Tim Blair at 12:56 PM | Comments (8)


The Guardian is concerned at the potentially explosive issue of people being asked how the BBC might be run:

The government today launched its biggest ever public consultation about the future of the BBC, appealing to the millions of licence fee payers to air their views on the corporation's funding, structure and obligations.

A consultation leaflet published by the culture department today called Your BBC, Your Say asks members of the public whether they think the licence fee is the best way of paying for the BBC and, if not, for suggestions of alternative ways of funding the corporation - a potentially explosive question.

Potentially explosive answer: privatise it.

Posted by Tim Blair at 12:07 PM | Comments (13)


Max Boot on arrogant unilateralism:

Russia signalled last week that it might not ratify the Kyoto accord on global warming. The week before, France and Germany abrogated the Stability and Growth Pact, which requires all euro-zone members to keep their budget deficits under 3 per cent of gross domestic product. And French troops in the Ivory Coast are still struggling to impose some stability in that country, where they arrived in September 2002 without benefit of a UN resolution. Last week riots broke out around France's main military base in the port city of Abidjan.

As these events transpired, I couldn't help remembering how many times I - as an American commentator - have been lectured by self-righteous Europeans in the past year.

Europe, they claim, is governed by the rule of law, whereas the United States lives by the law of the jungle. Europe is multilateral, the US unilateral. Europe good, United States bad.

A nice conceit, that. Too bad European governments are so keen to disprove it.

Old Europe can console itself by multilaterally missing out on post-war contracts in Iraq. I like Alexander Downer’s line:

On the one hand you've got the American taxpayer paying the money for the reconstruction, and on the other hand, at the moment you have a situation where those countries that have refused to pay any money to help with the support of reconstruction are demanding access to the contracts ...

I mean, here are we, Australia, a country of 20 million people, bearing the burden, along with some others, of helping with the reconstruction of Iraq, the rehabilitation of a country which has been under Saddam Hussein's oppression for 35 years and the French and the Germans, they say that they won't put any money into this process.

Posted by Tim Blair at 11:57 AM | Comments (13)

December 11, 2003


Nearly four hundred words into this New York Times report, we finally see mention of the anti-terrorism demonstrations in Iraq:

In contrast, a heavily policed march in central Baghdad on Wednesday, organized peacefully by the country's major political parties, drew thousands of Iraqis to protest attacks by guerrilla fighters, which have injured and killed Iraqi civilians as well as occupiers.

And that’s it. Prior to this paragraph, the NYT runs news of two US soldiers killed and four wounded in Mosul; a bank robbery in Baghdad; a paratrooper raid in Latifiya; the death of a US soldier on Monday; fuel shortages; and a riot.

Over at the Washington Post, Middle East Report editor Chris Toensing had no idea the protest was even scheduled. In a reader Q & A he is asked: "I was wondering why there wasn't more coverage, or any coverage, on the anti-terrorisim protest held in Iraq today. Yahoo had a picture but the story was of Saddam and his upcomming trial."

Toensing's reply?

I've only seen this picture, so I'm not sure what the demonstration was about.

UPDATE. Still no word from the Sydney Morning Herald on the demonstrations, although they do have this important story:

An award-winning drawing blaming President Bush for the September 11 terrorist attacks was pulled from a small-town exhibit over "insurance issues" after businessman labelled it a "hate speech".

The businessman also withdrew his $400 prize in protest at Chuck Bowden's picture, The Tactics of Tyrants Are Always Transparent, which won second place in the Redwood Art Association's annual autumn exhibit in Eureka, California.

Posted by Tim Blair at 02:05 PM | Comments (59)


Merry Christmas to happy readers.

In a similar, bloody tone, the Bunyip has joyful Christmas beatings for factless Kenneth Davidson and backstabbing Phillip Adams. Enjoy.

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:37 PM | Comments (4)


Iraq’s anti-terrorism demonstrations are all over the Internet, but the Sydney Morning Herald is yet to run a single word. Seems the SMH only turns to the Internet for the really important stories:

Internet rumours are circulating that Kylie Minogue is expecting her first child, after the singer was spotted "holding her stomach protectively" in Paris.

From AP, the big news in Iraq today is a power outage that by day’s end had been 80% restored. And The Age reports:

Prime Minister John Howard has been labelled the "butcher of Baghdad" by a Zimbabwe government minister.

It is to laugh.

Posted by Tim Blair at 12:45 PM | Comments (9)


Having opposed the war, France, Russia, and Germany are now upset that they won’t get to be war profiteers:

Several nations that opposed the U.S.-led war in Iraq sharply rebuked the Pentagon today for barring their companies from bidding on $18.6 billion in prime contracts for reconstruction of the country.

Germany called the Pentagon's decision "unacceptable." Moreover, France questioned the move's legality, Canada warned that its aid to Iraq may be halted and Russia threatened to turn down Washington's bid to restructure billions in Iraqi debts.

"We noted with astonishment today the reports and we will be speaking about it with the American side," German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer told the Associated Press after talks with his Russian counterpart, Igor Ivanov.

Talking to Igor, eh? Good for you. And from CNN:

A decision by the U.S. to bar some of its major trading partners from bidding for Iraqi reconstruction contracts has been greeted around the world with amazement.

According to a memo posted on a Pentagon Web site, those countries that either participated in the Coalition effort in the war or supported it -- including Britain, Australia, Spain, Italy, Poland, Turkey and Japan -- were on the list.

While officials from some of the excluded countries speculated that the memo was not official U.S. policy, the White House put such notions to rest Wednesday, when spokesman Scott McClellan said decision to limit the list was "totally appropriate."


Posted by Tim Blair at 11:43 AM | Comments (46)


The Sydney Morning Herald reports:

A number of refugees on Nauru had gone on an indefinite hunger strike, some sewing their lips together, to coincide with world Human Rights Day, a refugee advocate said today.

Hassan Ghulam, president of the Hazara Ethnic Society of Australia, said the refugees, including some children, wanted to stage a non-violent protest to highlight their plight.

He said he had received a phone call from one of the Nauru refugees today ...

Hassan Ghulam: Hello?

Refugee: Mmmmph. Mmmph nfffff! Gnnnnnnnnngmffl!

Hassan Ghulam: What’s that you say? You’ve sewn your lips together and you’re on a munger strike? What the hell’s a mun ...

Refugee: Nffft! Mnnnngrr mmmph!

Hassan Ghulam: Oh, a hunger strike. Cool. So, you want I should tell the media?

Refugee: Yyyynm. Mmmgph nnngff, gnnn mmmfffnn nnnfffll.

Hassan Ghulam: Right. "Conditions less than ideal." Got it. Anything else?

Refugee: Mmmm .... nnnff mmmph nrrr gmmmrrr?

Hassan Ghulam: What am I wearing!?

Posted by Tim Blair at 05:01 AM | Comments (31)


Mark Latham is getting friendly with sinister Murdoch henchmen:

News chief executive John Hartigan is cautiously optimistic about re-establishing a working relationship with the former Daily Telegraph columnist.

"I've always had a regard for Mark, that's why we employed him," says Hartigan. "Now he's leader I understand we're going to see a different person. I look forward to that."

Recently, Latham has attended private briefings with senior staff on The Australian. "Since he became shadow treasurer our relationship has been quite cordial," editor-in-chief Chris Mitchell says.

Latham may be turning into Australia’s Howard Dean, adopting whatever position he thinks will earn him favour:

The old Dean was a free trader. The new Dean is not. The old Dean was open to Medicare reform. The new Dean says Medicare is off the table. The old Dean courted the N.R.A.; the new Dean has swung in favor of gun control.

UPDATE. John Howard is all things to all people, too. He’s simultaneously the liberator of the Solomons and the crusher of Zimbabwean autonomy.

Posted by Tim Blair at 04:57 AM | Comments (5)


The anti-terrorism marches in Iraq were a huge success, reports Zeyad:

It wasn't just against terrorism. It was against Arab media, against the interference of neighbouring countries, against dictatorships, against Wahhabism, against oppression, and of course against the Ba'ath and Saddam.

We started at Al-Fatih square in front of the Iraqi national theatre at 10 am. IP were all over the place. At 12 pm people started marching towards Fardus square through Karradah. All political parties represented in the GC participated. But the other parties, organizations, unions, tribal leaders, clerics, school children, college students, and typical everyday Iraqis made up most of the crowd. Al-Jazeera estimated the size of the crowd as over ten thousand people.

I spent most of the time taking pictures. heh, I really enjoyed playing the role of a journalist. Everyone was tugging at my sleeves asking me to take their photos mistaking me for a foreign reporter.

Will The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, or the ABC cover this at all? For that matter, will the News Ltd papers at least mention it? Zeyad’s early pictures of the Baghdad rally are here. More to come.

UPDATE: Michael Totten writes that Zayed “has one of the best scoops in the world right now, including photos, and he’s doing it from Iraq for free.” He sure is, using a camera supplied by Jeff Jarvis. More images from the demonstrations are here and here, and Instapundit has a bunch of related links, including some actual media coverage.

Posted by Tim Blair at 04:53 AM | Comments (39)


FrontPage interviews Christopher Hitchens. Some highlights:

FP: What is it deep down in the heart of a leftist anti-war activist that spawns his opposition to Bush in the face of an evil such as Saddam and Osama?

Hitchens: There is a noticeable element of the pathological in some current leftist critiques, which I tend to attribute to feelings of guilt allied to feelings of impotence. Not an attractive combination, because it results in self-hatred.

FP: Are any segments of the Left receptive to your message? How have you been received by the Left in general with your stance?

Hitchens: Most of the leftists I know are hoping openly or secretly to leverage difficulty in Iraq in order to defeat George Bush. For innumerable reasons, including the one I cited earlier, I think that this is a tactic and a mentality utterly damned by any standard of history or morality. What I mainly do is try to rub that in.

Saddam-cuddling, success-loathing, self-hating semi-people. More power to Hitchens.

UPDATE. Atrios and Tim Dunlop are exhilarated to discover this Hitchens quote, from the above-linked interview:

Watching the towers fall in New York, with civilians incinerated on the planes and in the buildings, I felt something that I couldn’t analyze at first and didn’t fully grasp (partly because I was far from my family in Washington, who had a very grueling day) until the day itself was nearly over. I am only slightly embarrassed to tell you that this was a feeling of exhilaration.

They’re lefties, so they’re a little slow. This "confession" was first made more than two years ago:

I should perhaps confess that on September 11 last, once I had experienced all the usual mammalian gamut of emotions, from rage to nausea, I also discovered that another sensation was contending for mastery. On examination, and to my own surprise and pleasure, it turned out be exhilaration. Here was the most frightful enemy -- theocratic barbarism -- in plain view. All my other foes, from the Christian Coalition to the Milosevic Left, were busy getting it wrong or giving it cover. Other and better people were gloomy at the prospect of confrontation. But I realized that if the battle went on until the last day of my life, I would never get bored in prosecuting it to the utmost.

His exhilaration was not at the deaths of thousands but at the exposure of a pure enemy. Dunlop and Atrios are still busy getting it wrong.

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:52 AM | Comments (26)


Every Saturday, Megan Gressor presents a column for The Sydney Morning Herald in which she reviews the first page of a book. Apparently this brief frees her from the normal journalistic constraints of accuracy and truthfulness. This week’s Gressor column (no link available) examined Wesley Clark’s Winning Modern Wars:

This page isn’t just about war, it declares war [on George W. Bush]. It’s the opener to a book-length election manifesto by the man most likely to be the next US president, so it behoves us to lend an ear.

It behoves me to tell Megan Gressor she doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Clark’s next book could be Losing Modern Elections. He’s been floating belly-up in the Democrat pond for months.

That hemorraging US economy could prove as lethal to Junior’s re-election hopes as it was for his dad’s; as lethal as taking on Saddam could be.

The US economy is surging. Read the financial pages often, Megan? You should. Lotsa information.

A four-star general, Clark was supreme allied commander during NATO’s Kosovo campaign, which was conducted with international co-operation, a clearly-defined mission and exit strategy, all signally lacking in the Bushites’ adventurism.

The Kosovo war wasn’t approved by the UN and, as Clark himself has acknowledged, would have been vetoed by China and Russia. In fact, he says it was “technically illegal”.

That scene of a US armoured vehicle pulling down Saddam’s statue is “richly symbolic” all right; symbolic of an arrogance as endless, disingenuous and counterproductive as the war on terror itself.

Leaving Saddam in power, then, would represent the opposite of arrogance. Humility, perhaps. But you’ll never get that from the land of the not-so-free, a place afflicted by the “US culture's peculiar mix of puritanism, greed and hypocrisy”. As Hitchens observes, people like Gressor are overwhelmed by “feelings of guilt allied to feelings of impotence.”

UPDATE. SMH Webdiary doofus Harry Heidelberg writes:

As I've said before, I'll be in Washington on January 20, 2005 when President Dean is inaugurated. This is a must do for me. It's not a nice to do, it is a must do!

Whatever that means. But how will Dean defeat the man most likely to be the next US President?

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:50 AM | Comments (11)


It’s Pledge Week again at Andrew Sullivan's. He deserves your money for, if nothing else, describing John Kerry as "Gore, without the charm". And here at Spleenville, Home of the Baseless Slur™, it's time for contributions to the 2003 Tim Blair Lunch Fund. Donate via PayPal, to your left. Feed the hate!

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:41 AM | Comments (6)

December 10, 2003


Sophie Masson defends LOTR and fairytales in general:

Such stories have always had a bum rap from those too stupid, moralistic or literalistic to understand what the rest of humanity love about them. In the late 17th and early 18th centuries, for example, the objection to them was that they were fanciful, unscientific, indicative of superstitious minds; in the 19th, they were seen as immoral and irreligious; in the 20th, they were seen as sexist, classist, racist, you name it.

Fairytale - often anonymous, tough, funny, frightening, deep and magical - is Story with a capital S, one of the greatest products of peasant folk culture. Its elliptical, concise form, archetypal characters and helter-skelter events express and metaphorise human nature and life in the most extraordinary way, as well as being - and this is no accident - a whole lot of fun.

Mark Latham is obviously trying to tap into this magical realm. He’s become the Lord of the Rungs.

Posted by Tim Blair at 11:53 PM | Comments (4)


Scroll down Bernard Slattery's photo essay and you’ll see the very building where this guy used to hector me almost every week about my appalling grades, short attention span, being easily distracted ... err ... I forget the rest. Something about homework, possibly. Who knows? The important thing is, here’s a picture of Jessica Alba getting dressed.

Posted by Tim Blair at 11:26 PM | Comments (4)


Ha ha ha to you, stupid non-coalition countries:

The Pentagon has barred French, German and Russian companies from competing for $18.6 billion in contracts for the reconstruction of Iraq, saying the step "is necessary for the protection of the essential security interests of the United States" ... only companies from the United States, Iraq and 61 other countries designated as "coalition partners" will be allowed to bid on the contracts.

And we’re one of them. War! What is it good for? Big Australian contracts. Say it again!

Posted by Tim Blair at 11:14 PM | Comments (24)


Australian universities are more like loserversities or something:

The Academic Ranking of World Universities 2003 report, conducted by the Shanghai Jiao Tong University's Institute of Higher Education, ranks the world's top 500 universities on academic and research performance.

It placed the ANU - the only Australian listing inside the top 50 - at number 49.

And the ANU probably only just scraped in because of John Quiggin. Australian universities need more academics of Harold Knoep's high calibre.

UPDATE. Prof Quiggin is now at the University of Queensland, and has been for some time. Just goes to show how dumb I is.

Posted by Tim Blair at 09:29 PM | Comments (8)


"That which I thought could not happen again seems to be possible today." Go read Grandma's terrific reader comment at LGF.

Posted by Tim Blair at 09:25 PM | Comments (4)


"One of the problems of the Howard Government is they're always talking about the past," says Mark Latham. "I'm here for the future."

So why is he doing this?

New federal Opposition Leader Mark Latham today vowed to put the republic debate back on the national agenda if Labor wins the next election.

The staunch republican said Labor would fully outline its policy on the issue well before the next election.

Are republicans ever anything besides "staunch"? And boring as hell? With Labor talking up a republic and Crean as shadow treasurer, it’s 1999 all over again. What will Mr Future do next -- oppose the GST? Demand an end to Super League? Stockpile canned goods in advance of Y2K?

Posted by Tim Blair at 09:21 PM | Comments (9)


With an assist from the Daily Summit, Jeff Jarvis confronts US Ambassador David A. Gross on the issue of global Internet governance.

Posted by Tim Blair at 09:18 PM | Comments (0)


You don't have to make Istighfaar for blowing the legs off Israeli babies, but Allah ta'ala help you if your pizza pie's been made with red wine vinegar. It's vinegar, you idiots, vinegar!

Posted by Tim Blair at 02:48 PM | Comments (14)


The Toronto Star’s Antonia Zerbisias won’t let Turkeygate die:

That picture-perfect platter of turkey-with-all-the-trimmings Bush toted around for the cameras was just a prop, set dressing that was not for G.I. Joe consumption.

"A contractor had roasted and primped the turkey to adorn the buffet line, while the 600 soldiers were served from cafeteria-style steam trays ... , " Mike Allen of The Washington Post reported last week.

That contractor? Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR), a division of ...

Halliburton. Thus proving the insane, turkey-displaying evil of the BusHitler regime! Zerbisias says that her duplicate Rodney Dangerfield head is "spinning from all the spinning". She should be thankful she isn’t covering the Democrats.

UPDATE. Click here and scroll down for other recent posts.

Posted by Tim Blair at 02:46 PM | Comments (6)


And sing good, or no passport for you:

New citizens will be expected to swear an oath of allegiance to the Queen, make a pledge of loyalty to the UK's "rights, freedoms and democratic values", and sing God Save the Queen.

The Barmy Army is available for lessons.

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:44 PM | Comments (7)


"Public backs Latham's Bush attack," claims The Age:

Almost half the Australian public agree with Mark Latham that US President George Bush is "incompetent and dangerous", according to a poll.

An ACNielsen AgePoll of 1363 people taken last weekend found that 45 per cent of Australians agree with the blistering attack by the new Opposition Leader on the head of Australia's most important ally, while 52 per cent disagree.

So most Australians don’t back Latham’s Bush attack. Here’s a rewrite, offered free of charge to The Age’s copyfixers:

A majority of the Australian public disagree with Mark Latham that US President George Bush is "incompetent and dangerous", according to a poll.

An ACNielsen AgePoll of 1363 people taken last weekend found that 52 per cent of Australians disagree with the blistering attack by the new Opposition Leader on the head of Australia's most important ally, while 45 per cent agree.

Posted by Tim Blair at 11:55 AM | Comments (18)


Attention, Sydney Morning Herald news editors! I know how much you want to cover the anti-terrorism demonstrations in Iraq, so be aware that Zeyad will be taking pictures. Maybe you can use one to accompany Paul McGeough's copy.

Posted by Tim Blair at 10:44 AM | Comments (1)


Mentioned in this week’s Continuing Crisis column for The Bulletin are John Williamson, Delta Goodrem, Phillip Adams, Mark Latham, Peter Batchelor, David Marr, Margaret Pomeranz, David Stratton, Michael Leunig, Saddam Hussein, Bob Brown, Margo Kingston, Osama bin Laden, Kim Jong Il, Peter Costello, John Pilger, Paul Sheehan, Darren Goldspink, Kylie Minogue, Stephen Mayne, John Howard, Anthony Mundine, Mike Carlton, Malcolm Turnbull, George W. Bush, and General Patton.

Posted by Tim Blair at 09:56 AM | Comments (9)


Sure, FedEx is loved by everybody. And UPS has that brown-uniform cachet thing happening. But, writes Colby Cosh, DHL is the bravest courier firm of them all.

UPDATE. Todd McKenzie has an exclusive image of the damaged UHL cargo jet and a first-hand account of its emergency landing.

Posted by Tim Blair at 09:54 AM | Comments (4)


"What Iraq looks like on TV, and what Iraq is like for the 130,000 troops living here, sometimes feels like two different realities," reports Tara Copp:

Every time [Army Civil Affairs captain Kent] Lindner checks in on the group of young, deaf Iraqi seamstresses at their factory here, the women swarm him with admiration. "I love you!" one of them writes in the dust on Lindner's SUV.

Such small-time adoration is not the stuff of headlines against the backdrop of a country painfully and often violently evolving from war. So on this day, when Lindner and his fellow soldiers are cheered as they fire the deaf workers' boss, a woman who has been locking the seamstresses in closets, holding their pay and beating them, the lack of TV cameras on hand is no surprise.

And in other no surprise developments:

Antiwar comedians raising campaign cash for Democrat Howard Dean last night blasted President Bush as a "piece of living, breathing s - - -"at an angry X-rated fund-raiser in New York.

"We have to get this piece of living, breathing s - - - out of the office," said comedian Judy Gold whose performance - like those of Janeane Garofalo and David Cross - was liberally larded with the F-word.

Hey, lardy liberals? Fuck you.

Posted by Tim Blair at 09:46 AM | Comments (13)


Mark Steyn writes:

Last week, the Plain English Campaign announced its Golden Bull Awards for the year's choicest gobbledygook and presented (in absentia) its prestigious Foot-In-Mouth honour to Donald Rumsfeld.

This was his winning performance: "Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me," the US Defence Secretary began, "because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns - the ones we don't know we don't know."

If the Plain English Campaign thinks that's the worst use of English this year, then the Plain English Campaign is plain nuts.

Natalie Solent has been prominent in mocking these Plain English tossers. Speaking of known unknowns, I know that I went here for The Bulletin’s Christmas party yesterday, and I know that there were subsequent war arguments here with several Bulletin staffers, but it is unknown how I ended up in Kings Cross with Catherine Clegg and new Bulletin hire Paul Toohey. How I got home is also unknown, since by then I was completely Emily's. Which you know is rhyming slang.

Posted by Tim Blair at 08:00 AM | Comments (17)


• Professor Bunyip wonders why The Age didn’t ask an obvious question in an interview with helium-voiced rockosaurus Neil Young.

• Anne Cunningham remembers an episode of misogynistic excess one hostile Paris summer.

• Scott Wickstein notes Mike Coward’s pro-Indian predictability.

• Farm Accident Digest believes it is fair enough that American athletes not wear red, white and blue or anything with "USA" on it during downtime at the 2004 Olympic Games.

• And gifted youngster Gareth Parker defeats a field of 160 to secure a cadetship with The West Australian. I bet his blog impressed the editors. Congratulations, Gareth!

Posted by Tim Blair at 07:51 AM | Comments (9)

December 09, 2003


London erupts:

Braving icy temperatures and singing their hearts out, an estimated 750,000 fans crowded the streets of central London to salute England's World Cup winning rugby squad on a victory parade of the capital.

Traffic was brought to a standstill as fans - some with painted faces - formed a three-kilometre scrum, waving flags and banners to create a carnival atmosphere and unprecedented scenes of sporting jubilation.

Rugby is meant to be a violent sport. How many cops were needed to take care of this crowd? Only 500.

And how many were called upon to tame just 100,000 peaceniks during George W. Bush’s visit? 5,123.

(Via reader Rob B.)

Posted by Tim Blair at 10:17 AM | Comments (41)


Australia’s Parliament will crush you good, according to former Liberal Greg Barns:

I witnessed the brutality of Parliament House when Labor senator Nick Sherry attempted suicide in 1997 after allegations against him over travel rorts brought his mind and emotions unstuck.

And in the same year I suffered a mental health breakdown, was diagnosed with depression and spent too much time in the company of alcohol and anti-depressant drugs while my marriage collapsed around me.

The therapist I saw in Canberra said to me one afternoon in early 1998: "You won't get better until you leave the Hill", referring to Parliament House. He was right. I did leave 12 months later, but the damage to my mental health was done by that time.

And then he joined the Democrats.

Posted by Tim Blair at 04:54 AM | Comments (17)


One stupid senator gets crazy with the wine and schoolmarm Susan Brown thinks the whole country is headed to booze hell.

What about poor hellbound cartoon cats, Susan? Why does nobody care about the hellbound alcoholic cartoon cats?

In other Australian news:

• Alan Wood lists the good guys and the bad in Australia’s tariff wars. Good: Alf Rattigan, Gough Whitlam, Peter Wilensky, Bob Hawke, Paul Keating, and John Howard. Bad: John McEwen, Jim Cairns, Malcolm Fraser, John Button, John Dawkins ... and John Howard.

• For someone with such a low opinion of George W. Bush, Mark Latham sure doesn’t mind stealing his ideas:

"I have appointed Robert McClelland to the newly created homeland security portfolio, demonstrating Labor's commitment to a dedicated cabinet minister responsible for security in Australia," Mr Latham said.

• Latham’s first poll numbers are already higher than anything Simon Crean achieved in two years, although the government would still have won had an election been held on the weekend. Also, John Howard’s approval rating has increased from 59% to 63%.

• Speaking of Crean, the new Labor leader has installed an old shadow treasurer:

Sniffing the return of Crean before the announcement, Costello couldn't contain his glee. "Rollback or throwback?" he quipped. Confirmation brought a stream of reminders of Crean's Greatest Hits, including Labor's official 2001 election post-mortem.

It found the ALP to be all over the shop on interest rates, taxation and economic management, and way too negative on the GST. Crean, you'll recall, was shadow treasurer at the time.

Crean as shadow treasurer will feature hugely in the government’s campaign advertising.

Posted by Tim Blair at 04:52 AM | Comments (2)


Quick! Get to Lileks before his not-to-be-archived piece on tormented hamburger ghouls vanishes. For the love of God, stop making me vomit music!

(By the way, that table is where Lileks and I solved every known human problem during a several-hour UN-like bilateral discussion. So now you know, Smithsonian table-purchasing people.)

Posted by Tim Blair at 02:52 AM | Comments (7)


London’s Independent, soon to be submerged, would like you to know:

Measures to fight global warming will have to be at least four times stronger than the Kyoto Protocol if they are to avoid the melting of the polar ice caps, inundating central London and many of the world's biggest cities, concludes a new official report.

Only central London? What, the waves are going to bypass Surbiton?

The report, by a German government body ...

Those crazy German governments, always with the predictions! Last time it was a Thousand Year Reich. How’s that little project coming along, Jurgen?

Global warming already kills 150,000 people a year worldwide and the rate of climate change is soon likely to exceed anything the planet has seen "in the last million years" says the report.

150,000 people, all drowned as they walked to work in central London.

The West Antarctic ice sheet and the Greenland ice cap would begin gradually to melt away, eventually raising sea levels world wide by up to 30 feet, submerging vast areas of land and key cities worldwide. London, New York, Miami, Bombay, Calcutta, Sydney, Shanghai, Lagos and Tokyo would be among those largely submerged by such a rise.

Not me! A 30 ft rise would give me oceanfront property. Bring on the global warming.

(Via contributor Zsa Zsa, now selling snorkels at $150 per snork.)

Posted by Tim Blair at 02:18 AM | Comments (30)


Christina Aguilera, currently in Sydney, looks cool in a fine cigarette hat. Cue many furious letters to the papers scolding Aguilera for her atrocious role-model skills, encouragement of a deadly habit, and general hotness.

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:32 AM | Comments (14)


You a journalist? Hey, me too! We’d better stick together, because the US and Israeli governments are fixing to kill us all:

There is a growing fear that some governments - especially the most militarily sophisticated like the United States and Israel - are sanctioning the active targeting of journalists in war zones. The evidence is that they want to shut down what we are there to do - to bear witness and report.

The concern is that there is an apparent culture of impunity. This is already encouraging others to believe they can get away with targeting and eliminating journalists, or at least ignoring the issue. More than ever, we are inconvenient eyes and ears who monitor and report what some in power would much prefer we did not.

That’s the BBC’s Nik Gowing, returning to his favourite theme: "Governments are trying to shut us up, if necessary using lethal force."

(Via David Steven, who is somehow still alive.)

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:27 AM | Comments (21)


Imagine there’s no John Lennon. It’s pretty easy to do, considering he’s been dead for 23 years. But his music lives on.

Damn it.

The Weekly Standard’s Joel Engel, as a Lennon shooting anniversary treat, blasts a few holes in Imagine, everybody’s favourite kindergarten-piano-intro peace/nihilism anthem.

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:21 AM | Comments (11)

December 08, 2003


Celebrated author Hillary Clinton has title trouble:

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton yesterday called it "so sad" that she is being criticized as un-American for questioning Bush administration war policies while visiting troops in Iraq over the Thanksgiving holiday.

"I think that's reflective of the efforts by this administration to deny and divert attention from what everybody knows. I mean, it is like the old children's story, 'The Emperor Has No Clothes,' " Mrs. Clinton said.

Brought to you by the author of The Welt-Covered Princess and That Duckling Ain’t So Ugly No More.

Posted by Tim Blair at 08:44 PM | Comments (16)


What happens when teachers spend more time running political campaigns than they do actually teaching? Andrew Bolt finds out:

Here's the harmony and tolerance that blooms when a teacher at a state school in Melbourne's inner-north gets a Year 4/5 class to ask [Immigration Minister Amanda] Vanstone to free the children held in our detention centres.

"Dear Minister, ... I think you are a racist pig," goes one typical letter, decorated with a picture of a pig's head, helpfully labelled "you".

"Dear Minister, ... You completely and uterly (sic) suck," says another, signed by "your Nemisis (sic)/arch enemy".

"You should be fired and turned into a hobo ... I hate you nin (sic) hundred zillion plus one."

Another letter, also decorated with a pig's head, reads: "Your (sic) being a racist pig just because their (sic) not Australian and don't speak english doesn't mean you can put them in prison."

"You Imbasil," writes another child from the same class. "You are so raset (sic)."

"I think you are being very racest (sic)," agrees yet another.

"I will tell my parents not to vote for you (not that they ever did)," warns a classmate.

"You are a racist!" writes a student who signs off as "arch enemy/nemesis/rival/hater".

These letters should’ve been sent to the Educashun Minista.

Posted by Tim Blair at 08:39 PM | Comments (22)


Don’t miss any posts from the weekend and earlier. Hit the archives.

Posted by Tim Blair at 08:33 PM | Comments (3)


Robert Mugabe has quit the Commonwealth. Spokesman for the psychopath, George Charamba, explains:

It's so obvious. Zimbabwe pulls out precisely because the Commonwealth is racist. The Commonwealth is, at least as dominated by Britain, New Zealand and Australia, is taking the path of racism.

Ay Charamba! Meanwhile Amnesty International’s Kate Allen asks why we’re picking on Mugabe when so much other wickedness goes unpunished:

The clampdown on the right to asylum has seen the Australian government's "Pacific solution" set of policies enable it to hold for months scores of people, who have been recognised as refugees, in detention centres - a policy branded by a UN delegation as "offensive to human dignity".

Well, what do these people expect from genetically-modified criminals?

Posted by Tim Blair at 08:06 PM | Comments (13)


No tariffs, low taxes ... Iraq is now a free-trade paradise:

Dozens of ships crowd the docks each day at Abu Flus, on the Shatt al-Arab waterway of southern Iraq, and offload vast cargos of food and consumer goods from the Gulf. There are no taxes, no tariffs and only the most cursory customs checks but for now this is quite legal in the new open market of Iraq. Fortunes are there to be made.

The vast influx of new satellite dishes, televisions, fridges and cookers on to the streets of Iraqi cities is one of the most visible signs of change since the war. But the corollary of these new-found economic freedoms is a wave of smuggling.

Oh no! Read the full story to discover exactly what is being smuggled. It’s all about ...

Posted by Tim Blair at 07:47 PM | Comments (5)


I just finished The Promise, by Sandra Lee. Because of my top-level contacts in the world of shoplifting, I got my copy for free, but you can buy one (or two!) here. It’s a hell of a story, about Guzin Najim, who fled Iraq for Australia:

During the war, Lee spent long hours with Najim in her lounge room watching BBC and CNN, observing her elation and her grief.

"I was very happy because I think the [soldiers] liberated my country," said Najim yesterday. "I didn't call it a war, just a rescuing mission for the Iraqi people."

Posted by Tim Blair at 07:43 PM | Comments (3)


British claims that Iraq possessed WMD capable of being launched within 45 minutes were a lie. They could be launched within 30 minutes:

An Iraqi colonel who commanded a front-line unit during the build-up to the war in Iraq has revealed how he passed top secret information to British intelligence warning that Saddam Hussein had deployed weapons of mass destruction that could be used on the battlefield against coalition troops in less than 45 minutes.

Lt-Col al-Dabbagh, 40, who was the head of an Iraqi air defence unit in the western desert, said that cases containing WMD warheads were delivered to front-line units, including his own, towards the end of last year.

"I am the one responsible for providing this information," said the colonel, who is now working as an adviser to Iraq's Governing Council.

The devices, which were known by Iraqi officers as "the secret weapon", were made in Iraq and designed to be launched by hand-held rocket-propelled grenades. They could also have been launched sooner than the 45-minutes claimed in the dossier.

"Forget 45 minutes," said Col al-Dabbagh. "We could have fired these within half-an-hour."

Interesting. The British Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee criticised the UK government’s dossier for not highlighting that the 45-minute claim referred to battlefield devices; The Guardian claimed that:

The implication in the dossier was that Iraq could threaten the west by arming long-range missiles with chemical and biological weapons within 45 minutes.

Really? Here is Tony Blair’s foreword to the dossier:

Saddam has used chemical weapons, not only against an enemy state, but against his own people. Intelligence reports make clear that he sees the building up of his WMD capability, and the belief overseas that he would use these weapons, as vital to his strategic interests, and in particular his goal of regional domination. And the document discloses that his military planning allows for some of the WMD to be ready within 45 minutes of an order to use them.

Some of the WMD. No obvious link between the 45-minute claim and a threat to the west there. Nor is there in Blair’s statement to Parliament:

It concludes that Iraq has chemical and biological weapons, that Saddam has continued to produce them, that he has existing and active military plans for the use of chemical and biological weapons, which could be activated within 45 minutes, including against his own Shia population ...

And from the dossier itself:

Iraq's military forces are able to use chemical and biological weapons, with command, control and logistical arrangements in place. The Iraqi military are able to deploy these weapons within forty five minutes of a decision to do so.

Intelligence indicates that as part of Iraq's military planning, Saddam is willing to use chemical and biological weapons, including against an internal uprising by the Shia population. Intelligence indicates that the Iraqi military are able to deploy chemical or biological weapons within forty five minutes of an order to do so.

Again, no link to an attack on the west. During the Hutton inquiry, Senior QC to the inquiry James Dingemans quoted the Intelligence and Security Committee’s findings in a question to MI6 head Sir Richard Dearlove:

"The dossier was for public consumption and not for experienced readers of intelligence material. The 45 minutes claim, included four times, was always likely to attract attention because it was arresting detail that the public had not seen before." It then goes on to say that it was unhelpful to an understanding of the issue. Do you agree with that comment?

Sir Richard’s reply:

Given the misinterpretation of the original piece of intelligence, particularly as it was not qualified in terms of its relationship to battlefield munitions, this now looks a valid criticism.

In other words, because the dossier didn’t specifically state that the 45-minute WMD were battlefield munitions, inexperienced readers of intelligence material -- ie, journalists -- took the claim to refer to a threat against the west. Although, of course, no specific statement to that effect was included in the dossier either.

Who sexed-up the 45-minute claim? The media did.

UPDATE. "WMD claims treated sceptically."

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:29 PM | Comments (46)


Run for your life, George W. Bush! Somebody named Graydon Carter -- works in publishing, apparently -- is coming after you:

Famous throughout America for his A-list Oscar parties, Carter has picked up the challenge of leading America's intellectual liberal luminaries in a battle against Bush when the race for next November's election gets seriously under way with the primaries after Christmas.

'I feel like a lone voice in the wilderness. But there is a large, seething majority out there against what Bush is doing to this country. This administration is as fundamentalist as the Islamics,' Carter said.

And then he was dragged away and shot. Carter is currently being tormented by another fundamentalist administration:

The mere presence in his elegant office of a clean empty ashtray has ignited a fiery row between the editor of Vanity Fair and New York's rabidly anti-smoking mayor, Michael Bloomberg.

Graydon Carter has accused Mr Bloomberg of harassment after the mayor's tobacco stormtroopers - inspectors from the city's health department - raided the magazine's Times Square building three times, trying to catch Mr Carter smoking.

After next year’s presidential election, they’ll be able to catch him fuming.

Posted by Tim Blair at 10:49 AM | Comments (30)


Dawn Ali is the mother of Andez Ali, who was interviewed by SBS television for a program on Australian Muslims in the wake of September 11. She sends this note:

Your article titled Hail Television was interesting reading. Andez is a very mature 11-year-old who I am teaching to be his own person, with integrity and compassion. I believe his virtues truly showed when he was interviewed.

I didn’t give permission for SBS to interview him, and they had quite a number of mistakes in that session. My son was baptized Catholic when he was three months old. He was never a Muslim. My ex married me in a Catholic church (we were married for 11 years).

I have been in Australia for 30 years, and love it from the bottom of my heart. I keep on telling my three children that we live in the best country on earth and it seems to be rubbing off. All those Muslims that are forming these support groups are nothing but a bunch of whingers.

Thank you for speaking out. The truth needs to be heard.


Dawn Kosa (Ali)

Posted by Tim Blair at 09:01 AM | Comments (10)


Mark Latham is the new Alexander Downer, writes Glenn Milne:

Consider the parallels. Both were the same age when they were elected; 42. Both had been in parliament 10 years. And the last position each occupied was that of shadow Treasurer. But whereas Latham never even went close to taking any skin off Peter Costello's nose, Downer had done real damage to his opposite number, John Dawkins.

Well, he’s almost the new Alexander Downer. Pro- and anti-Latham opinion continues to swamp letters pages; this from Lenore Kulakauskas:

Whether appropriate or not, it is interesting to note that Mark Latham in front of the American flag retains his personal and cultural identity, whereas John Howard in cohort with anything American morphs into a simpering sycophant.

And from Caroline Chan:

I am disgusted by the comments of Gabrielle Gwyther, Mark Latham's former wife.

Her petty attacks clearly demonstrate that she has not managed to put the past behind her. Instead, by claiming Latham thinks he is "God's gift to the universe", she has shown that she still carries a chip on her shoulder. Latham, on the other hand, demonstrated more maturity in conceding that she is entitled to her opinion.

Move on, Gabrielle, Mark has.

The sisterhood ain’t what it used to be.

Posted by Tim Blair at 08:35 AM | Comments (22)


The Sydney Morning Herald’s Paul McGeough writes of the losing battle for Iraqi hearts and minds:

Sadly, these people are trapped in a void - relieved that Saddam is gone but now wishing that the US-led occupation forces would go, too, and happier to trust in their god than in George Bush to guide their uncertain fate.

No mention yet of the anti-terrorism demonstrations that recently have taken place in Baghdad:

Up to 1,000 Iraqis, including children orphaned by the war that ousted Saddam Hussein, marched through Baghdad yesterday to denounce guerrilla attacks and show support for U.S.-led occupation forces.

Carrying banners blaming Saddam loyalists for terrorism, the demonstrators marched down one of Baghdad's busiest streets before gathering in Firdos Square, where a statue of Saddam was famously pulled down as U.S. troops drove into the heart of the capital in April.

The Baghdad march was the second time in two weeks that Iraqi demonstrators gathered in significant numbers to back U.S. attempts to rebuild the country and denounce guerrilla activities. Another march is planned for Friday, a Muslim holy day.

Iraqi blogger Zeyad has more, and also writes:

By the way, what the hell are news organizations trying to prove by putting terrorism between idiotic quotation marks like this? I’ve decided to put quotation marks myself on the following terms: 'news organizations', 'media', 'press', 'coverage', 'reporter', and 'journalist'. F*ing morons.

Posted by Tim Blair at 08:18 AM | Comments (12)


Former complainer Ben Butler has big issues with The Big Issue:

The Australian edition's former deputy editor Ben Butler almost sizzles with rage as he complains about the "incredible disjunction between the social justice talk and the hardline corporatist actions that have been taken against the workforce". He says: "We've attempted to negotiate with management and we’ve been met with nothing but stonewalling and pissfarting around."

Gentle Ben is among several dumped by The Big Issue:

Editor Rachael Antony was sacked, she launched unfair dismissal proceedings against the magazine in the Industrial Relations Commission; deputy editor Butler and art director Trent van der Werf were dismissed; the magazine's premises were declared an occupational health and safety hazard by WorkSafe. Butler and van der Werf took the magazine back to the commission over their dismissals, with a hearing due this week.

It’d be a pity if it is discovered that Ben was trolling and blogging on company time. Those hardline corporatist bastards!

Posted by Tim Blair at 07:47 AM | Comments (7)


It’s the lentils that are making him crazy:

A source close to him said there was "another side to the story" and that the Democrats leader, a vegan pacifist, was not a violent man.

Hmm. I wonder if the bottles of Lindemans Bartlett nicked were acceptable vegan wines. Next he’ll be eating McDonald’s. The Australian’s Steve Lewis says it’s all over for the ex-Goth:

Bartlett's drinking problem – well known around the parliamentary precinct – was evident as he physically accosted Ferris. It was the moment the Democrats leader gave up the moral right to lead his party. Quietly spoken, reluctantly embracing the spotlight, he had been a thoughtful leader of a party that just over a year ago appeared headed for oblivion.

Prediction: someone within the next week or so will write that Bartlett’s depression over the war in Iraq contributed in some way to his drinking.

Posted by Tim Blair at 07:26 AM | Comments (4)

December 07, 2003


"Lefties are dumb, pure and simple," wrote commenter Amos last Wednesday. "A few schoolyard insults directed at Bush are all that's needed for them to throw away every ideological objection they have to Latham? Jesus, are they really that fucking dumb?"

Apparently so. Here’s pure and simple Terry Lane:

We already know that Mr Latham is at one with the Tories on border protection and mandatory detention. We know that his tax policies are redistributive only in the sense that they would distribute even more from the poor to the rich.

But, on the other hand ...

His characterisation of Bush as incompetent and dangerous and the Prime Minister as an arse licker startled the bourgeois left with its vulgarity, but it suggested a heart in the right place. And it is possible that he has looked across the Tasman and observed that a bipartisan anti-Americanism hasn't hurt our Kiwi cousins one little bit, either electorally or internationally ... Given the sorry state of the ALP, Mr Latham could take a little risk and create a genuine difference between the parties.

Lane is happy to promote a Tory who would have (by his own flawed economic analysis) poor Australians surrendering their money to the rich ... just so long as the perpetrator of this injustice is anti-American. The man is insane. Meanwhile Latham is sounding kinda Hansonish:

He described himself as a social conservative on family issues, and said he wanted more emphasis on Australian culture.

The larrikin politician said eccentrics in Parliament, such as Independent Bob Katter, were an exception these days.

"I worry that it's a sign that we're not as Australian as we used to be," he said. "Society changes quickly, but we don't want to weaken the things that have made us distinctly Australian."

Imagine the screeching if John Howard held up Katter as an example of someone "distinctly Australian".

Posted by Tim Blair at 12:11 PM | Comments (21)


Mahmood Al-Yousif is our man in Bahrain:

The fight against Muslim extremists has not yet begun and it will take a very long time to erradicate it once the process to remove this cancer from our midst begins in earnest ... We won't get over this by re-electing these bozos. We won't get rid of terrorism by patting these Salafis and other religious nuts on the back, nor will we get rid of it by sweeping it under the carpet as we have been doing with any social problem we experienced for generations, and we won't get rid of it by sticking our heads in the sand.

Go here for more Mahmood. Friendly, lively, unpredictable.

Posted by Tim Blair at 12:06 PM | Comments (0)


Which is the true Mark Latham? The small-government low-spender in the Herald Sun?

He said Labor could beat the Howard Government by embracing tax cuts, better education and health systems, but not by returning to taxing and spending, or big social programs.

Or the big-government mega-spender in The Age?

He said a Labor government would be "so much bigger than the Howard Government" and he promised big investment in education, children's health, early childhood learning and child protection, public housing for the poor and care for the aged and disabled.

It’s almost as though Latham is taking us on some kind of crazy rollercoaster ride.

Posted by Tim Blair at 11:46 AM | Comments (7)


I wonder if this guy has any opinions on gay marriage:

Police are investigating claims that one of Australia's most senior Islamic clerics has incited his followers to attack homosexuals.

A complaint made to Victoria Police alleges the chairman of the Board of Imams, Rexhep Idrizi, was reading from the Koran when he made derogatory comments about homosexuals and said they should have "their heads chopped off".

Idrizi denies the allegation ("I wouldn't encourage anyone to attack my enemy") and says he has evidence to prove it, but worshipper Asip Demiri claims he and others heard Idrizi make the subtle and nuanced head-removing remarks. Demiri adds:

"We go there to pray, not to listen to that kind of rubbish. There were a lot of intelligent people there who were offended by it. He (Imam Idrizi) needs to be taken to task for it, because it gives Muslims a bad name."

The Idrizi name already has some badness associated with it:

Last year, Imam Idrizi's son was jailed for four years and eight months, with a minimum of 15 months, for bashing gays.

Muhamed Idrizi, 20, and four others attacked a cyclist with a machete and bashed and robbed two other men. The court heard that the group had gone on what he called a "p--fter bashing" mission.

Posted by Tim Blair at 11:22 AM | Comments (28)


It really is all about lunch. Troll madness has infected The Guardian’s Mark Lawson, who thinks Turkeygate is the biggest story ever:

In a revelation certain to be taught at schools of democracy and journalism for years to come, it has been revealed that the apparently appetising turkey that President Bush carried towards beaming troops last week in Baghdad had been genetically modified to a degree that would lead even the most profit-hungry farmers to protest. The bird was the kind of model used by butchers and Hollywood set-dressers.

The fakery went further. The hoax roast in the president's hands cannot even be claimed as a symbolic stand-in for the steaming birds that were actually served. Reports say that the US troops were given airline-style meals of pre-packaged meat.

So it’s a double-fake turkey scam! Subpoena that pre-packaged meat! Or maybe fire the editors who ran this in the first place. The Washington Post’s ombudsman reveals that while “one or two” readers supported the original Turkeygate story ...

... far more readers said this was a form of "chicken" rather than turkey, as in: "This has got to be one of the most insipid, petty, chicken-[expletive] articles that I have ever seen. What is going on with your newspaper?" Another said it was "sad," and a Navy officer wrote to say that it was "a cheap shot," and that there are always "staged" turkeys for such mass feedings to add a "homey" touch when you have to feed hundreds from steam tables.

Let’s return to Lawson, lost in a world of confusion:

If the president were to use the plastic turkey of Baghdad in commercials now, his opponents would make a real meal of it.

To “make a meal” of something doesn’t mean to capitalise on it, as Lawson implies. It means to blunder hopelessly, which Lawson does by describing the turkey as a “hoax”, a “model”, and “plastic”. It wasn’t. Check the original article:

A contractor had roasted and primped the turkey to adorn the buffet line ...

Here’s a picture of Mark Lawson trying to look intelligent. Fake! Bogus! Hoax!

(Via Peter Briffa.)

UPDATE. The Western media totally missed the real turkey scandal.

UPDATE II. John Kerry, currently bleeding out in the polls, has lunged for Turkeygate in the manner of a razor-slashed hemophiliac grasping for a Bandaid:

George Bush goes to Baghdad to carry around a fake Thanksgiving turkey while he cuts support for our troops and 40,000 veterans are left on a hospital waiting list.

Where Kerry’s campaign also resides.

UPDATE III. In comments, reader Bob Bunnett notes Lawson’s claim: “The mooted new moonshots are calculated to wipe from the collective memory the images of the Challenger disaster.” Lawson needs some work on his individual memory. The Challenger disaster happened in 1986. He presumably meant this year’s Columbia crash. Was it caused by plastic turkeys? Read Lawson’s next thrilling column to find out.

UPDATE IV. Bush’s elaborate turkey deception makes the BBC’s list of Ten Things We Didn’t Know This Time Last Week. Only ten?

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:13 AM | Comments (39)

December 06, 2003


Sydney artist Robert Bosler is in love. Or insane. Hard to tell, but if I were Mark Latham I’d be a little concerned about Bosler’s demands for intimacy:

We're going to go on a roller coaster ride with him, but isn't that what life is, in truth?

I guess so. If you’re a carnival worker.

We're going to laugh with him, shout at him, wonder with him, grow thoughtful with him ...

... love him, comfort him, honour, and keep him in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others, keep thee only unto him, so long as ye both shall live.

We are not used to that.

No. No, we are not.

Mark has to be comfortable with how we respond to that human intimacy.

Just how intimate are we talking here, pal? Holding hands intimate? Kissing intimate? Sleepover at Neverland intimate?

He must fully realise right now his own natural and easy response to our future responses to feeling his intimacy with him.

I agree, and I urge everybody to email Latham with Bosler’s demand: When will you, as Labor leader, fully realise right now your own natural and easy response to our future responses to feeling your intimacy with you? When? WHEN?

He must address this now, within himself.

Can it wait until he’s finished beating up cab drivers?

If he doesn't, when we respond to his natural ways, en masse like never before, he will himself be uncomfortable with his own nature and we will feel it as uncertainty, or worse, rejection.

And we will be condemned to forever remain in our earthly forms, never to reach the state of Operating Thetan.

He must not grow aloof.

As those on the Left grow aloof. The Age shall not weary him, nor Tony Abbott condemn.

He must be himself prepared and natural with our unusual response en masse to his naturalness.

This en masse naturalness you speak of sounds ... unnatural.

We are not used to naturalness or intimacy in a leader now and Mark must prepare for our response to it.

By doubling his security.

This way, he stays natural, and he stays the real thing.

Robert Bosler is brought to you by Margo Kingston’s Webdiary, home of the Anti-Gravity Conspiracy.

UPDATE. Margo’s Sunday Sun-Herald column is more or less the same junk she scratched out for Webdiary on Friday -- which is linked to by the Sun-Herald column. Stereo Margo! At least she’s given us a group noun for journalists:

The collective gasp of reporters ...

Posted by Tim Blair at 06:06 PM | Comments (15)


Merde in France is leading in the Best Foreign Blog poll. Confused elderly readers are probably voting for Pat Buchanan instead of me. They must be really confused, because Buchanan isn’t even in this race (I’ve checked). What is it with you old people?

Posted by Tim Blair at 04:56 PM | Comments (17)


A promising literary career is cruelly cut short:

Less than a month before the invasion of Iraq, Saddam Hussein was focusing on his latest novel. Be Gone, Demons! told the story of Ibrahim and his three grandchildren, Ezekiel, Aissa and Youssef, who symbolised Moses, Jesus and Mohammed, the prophets of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Ezekiel was portrayed as evil, obsessed with money and sexually deficient. Ezekiel becomes a moneylender and arms dealer whose machinations pit tribes against each other. He falls in love with a woman who resists him. He tries to rape her but she escapes. In the novel’s climax, Ezekiel is killed by ‘just men’ in a battle on the plains of Mesopotamia. The demon is gone and Iraq can flourish.

That last line sounds about right. The above is from Philip Delves Broughton’s interview with Saddam’s former interpreter, Saman Abdul Majid, who was no fan of his boss’s convoluted, digressive, Kingstonian writing style:

‘It was virtually impossible to translate into English because I had to chop up these endless sentences. Let’s just say Saddam was no Naguib Mahfouz.’

Man. Harsh. And there’s this interesting information:

Saman says that he was asked to leave the room for 15 minutes during Galloway’s last meeting with Saddam in January this year. ‘Were they talking “business”? A mystery,’ he says in his book.

Well, let’s not jump to any conclusions. They could’ve just been having sex.

Posted by Tim Blair at 04:00 PM | Comments (18)


"Violence towards one person is violence towards all humanity," says Australian Democrats leader Andrew Bartlett. "And we need to address it not just on a global scale. We have to try and stop world-wide conflict, and we need to address it on an individual level."

On Thursday night, Bartlett addressed it on an individual level with Liberal Senator Jeannie Ferris:

A drunken Democrats Leader Andrew Bartlett physically assaulted Liberal Party Whip Jeannie Ferris in the Senate chamber, calling her a "f------ bitch", she alleged last night.

Lurching was also involved:

Senators, including fellow Democrat Lyn Allison, watched in horror as the purple-shirted and purple-faced party leader lurched at Senator Ferris, grabbed her then hurled abuse.

The trouble began when Bartlett, possibly in a bid to stop world-wide conflict, stole five bottles of wine from a Liberal Party barbecue:

It is believed Senator Ferris and Government staffers followed Senator Bartlett back to his office, where a confrontation ensued. Four of the five bottles of wine were returned, although it is understood one of the bottles had been opened and was already partly consumed.

A little later that night, shortly after a vote on the higher-education reforms, Senator Bartlett approached Senator Ferris in the chamber.

Which is where the grabbing and the abuse and the lurching took place. I’d say this is the end of Bartlett’s political career ... but what political career?

UPDATE. Bartlett has stood aside as Democrats leader. Shiver at the possible return of Natasha Stott Despoja.

UPDATE II. It might be time for Senator Bartlett to visit a facility for the thirsty:

Now national president of Senator Lees' breakaway Australian Progressive Alliance, Mr Woodley said it was ironic and tragic that Senator Ferris bore the brunt of the episode.

"Some months ago she learned I was in Canberra and came and spoke to me and asked if there was some way I could help Senator Bartlett with his problem," Mr Woodley said.

"I would hope that this would be sufficient warning for him to go and get some serious treatment."

Posted by Tim Blair at 02:59 PM | Comments (18)


Readers of this site were among the many who donated to Chief Wiggles' toy drive. Check out Evil Fox™ images of the Chief as he now distributes toys to Iraqi schoolgirls.

UPDATE. In a related development, cultureless Texans just keep on oppressing.

Posted by Tim Blair at 11:28 AM | Comments (2)


The key to electoral success for Labor? No leader at all:

A new poll shows Labor could have won office if a federal election had been held last weekend.

The Morgan poll shows support for the ALP at 52 per cent on a two-party-preferred basis, compared to 48 per cent for the Coalition.

The survey was taken after Simon Crean had announced he would step down as leader of the Opposition but before Mark Latham was elected to the position.

That margin will increase in upcoming polls, as is usual when a new leader is appointed. The excitement builds!

Posted by Tim Blair at 10:52 AM | Comments (8)


This ABC report sounded reasonable enough, if any riot can be considered reasonable:

Police in full riot gear were called to the Port Hedland detention centre in West Australia after a protest by detainees turned violent.

A small group of detainees protesting about visitor restrictions jumped onto the centre roof yesterday afternoon, supported by a passive demonstration by 30 other detainees on the ground.

Then the full story emerged:

A failed school excursion to the Port Hedland Detention Centre sparked an overnight riot that left two centre staff with suspected spinal injuries.

The detainees hurled concrete, sticks, rocks and broken pipes at specialist Australasian Correctional Management (ACM) staff before 16 WA police in full riot gear moved in and restored calm about 2.30am.

Jackie Rehmani, whose Afghani husband of six months has been held in the centre for almost three years, said the detainees were angered that students from Mandurah Catholic College, south of Perth, were denied access to the centre after travelling about 1,700km.

"They (detainees) were fairly insulted about being told that the Catholic schoolgirls would be unsafe in their presence," Mrs Rehmani said.

So the detainees set out to prove how safe the girls would have been ... with concrete, sticks, rocks and broken pipes. Maybe they would’ve suffered spinal injuries, but that sort of thing happens all the time on school excursions. Especially school excursions that have already been vetoed:

The immigration department said teachers at the college had been informed in November they would not be permitted to visit the centre because of an imminent change of management.

"The teacher ignored the letter and brought her students ... to Port Hedland," the department said in a statement.

"It is understood that trouble began at the centre when the detainees were informed by an outside party that the students had arrived but would not be allowed into the centre."

Wonder who that outside source was. Could it have been the same person who dragged a bunch of Mandurah Catholic College chicks 1,700km to meet hostile detainees in defiance of a warning that none of them would be allowed inside?

Maybe Amnesty International will find out. They’re on the case!

Posted by Tim Blair at 10:43 AM | Comments (15)


The blogroll has been updated. Check out any unfamiliar names. Among new listees: Marxist-org-uk, who send best wishes here, to “a rightwing blog, of a type that, frankly, we wouldn't normally link to, but it does (oh blessed relief) display a sense of humour and attracts some thoughtful commenters.”

Welcome, fun-loving commies!

Posted by Tim Blair at 04:49 AM | Comments (21)


Phillip Adams leads with his chin. Well, one of them, anyway:

As George W. Bush sinks slowly in the West ...

Wrong. Bush is rising, this week hitting 61% for job approval and 72% personally. The rest of Phil’s column is similarly arsefaced, including so many easily dashed assertions as to be a Fisking 101 assignment for special children. One example:

It’s now clear that only one man was honest about WMDs in the run-up to the war. Not Bush. Not Blair. Not Howard. It was, of course, Saddam Hussein, who denied having them.

Adams trusts Saddam Hussein. Just consider that for a moment. Of course, the murdering bastard lied for years:

For seven years following the Gulf War cease-fire, Saddam Hussein claimed he did not possess weapons of mass destruction. And for seven years he lied. The routine, as described in detail by U.N. weapons inspectors, was simple: Iraqis told inspectors they had no mustard agent and then expressed their profound shock when quantities of mustard were found; Iraqis told inspectors they had never weaponized VX nerve agent and then feigned surprise when inspectors found weaponized VX nerve agent. And on it went. In the process, we learned that Saddam Hussein had constructed elaborate concealment mechanisms--the Iraqi regime spent a decade working to ensure that prohibited weapons' production was kept quiet. Still, black market procurement efforts continued unabated, and when inspectors were kicked out in 1998, the Iraqi regime had failed to account for vast quantities of its WMD stockpiles.

None of this registers with Adams. He’d be content to see Iraq once again subject to the reign of a killer. And he insists that his version of history is correct:

Though shouted down at the time by the Conservative chorus, this column predicted much of what would happen in Iraq - as did the writings of the like-minded. As did the millions who marched against the war. Yet Howard still talks as though the Coalition of the Willing has been entirely successful. If this is success, try to imagine failure.

That’s easy. I just imagine you, Phillip.

Posted by Tim Blair at 03:36 AM | Comments (13)


Juries? We don’t need no stinkin' juries:

Columnist Andrew Bolt complained about judges and magistrates being soft on criminals. A distressed magistrate sued. A jury found that, whatever his faults, Bolt had been "reasonable". Bolt claimed a victory for free speech.

The judge overruled the jury and awarded the magistrate damages of $210,000, plus another $25,000 to punish Bolt for his victory claim, plus interest.

Read the whole story, and be revolted by the constraints under which we live.

Posted by Tim Blair at 02:47 AM | Comments (20)


Having decided in October that Mark Latham was supine, then reversed course on December 3 to write that Latham was the real thing, Alan Ramsey now believes him to be a snivelling groveller:

What on earth was the man who called John Howard "an arselicker" of George Bush doing on Thursday grovelling before the American flag? Why did our new, very green alternative prime minister feel the need to humiliate himself so publicly? ... I mean, what a grovel? What a truly snivelling statement three days into the "new dawn" of Labor's "new beginning"?

Superheated Al isn’t coping very easily with the new Labor leader. Neither is the Labor Party:

Labor leader Mark Latham has suffered his first setback at the hands of his party's national executive, which has rebuffed his appeal to save the preselection of a close supporter.

They rebuffed a man known among friends as Osama bin Latham? This is gonna get bloody.

UPDATE. The anti-US lobby is angry at Latham’s about-face:

What a disappointment Mark Latham has turned out to be. After rejoicing that , for the first time in Australian political history, we had a potential leader who was willing and able to stand up to the US, Mr Latham starts backpedalling as quickly as he can as soon as he gets a whiff of leadership.

Two days into the job and he's become an arselicker.

Matthew Adams, St Ives, December 5

And in The Age:

I was genuinely excited at the appointment of Mark Latham as Labor leader. At long last a straight-talking, upfront, no-nonsense kind of guy who reflects my beliefs that we should not be pandering to the Americans - the sort of leader seemingly in touch with real Australians.

In a matter of days my excitement has been shattered as Latham does a complete about-face, stands there with the American flag behind him, sucking up to the American embassy. One wonders who's the "arse-licker" now. Sorry, Mark, you just lost my vote. I want a strong, reliable and true-to-his-word guy to lead this country. While I disagree with John Howard's policies, at least he doesn't change his tune every five minutes.

Craig Cahill, Upwey

Posted by Tim Blair at 02:16 AM | Comments (11)

December 05, 2003


We’ll need a few more sources on this before it’s believable:

U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton forced U.S. troops stationed at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan to wait for their Thanksgiving dinner last Thursday while she and her entourage arrived late, then cut in line and were served first.

Sounds just a leetle too extreme. Still, if it stands up, it’ll make a certain turkey controversy look like a bunch of crap about a cooked bird. Which, in fact, it was.

UPDATE. Jay Manifold in comments provides a debunking. Pity he wasn’t available earlier to assist the Washington Post on turkey facts.

Posted by Tim Blair at 11:24 PM | Comments (11)


Mick Fealty, in Nigeria for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, encounters a genuine Nigerian e-mail scammer.

And kills him. Well, no, he doesn’t, but it’s still a terrific post. Read and learn about the people flooding your inbox.

Posted by Tim Blair at 10:54 PM | Comments (2)


Margo Kingston’s awesome reverse-prediction powers have ended wars (she foresaw a long conflict in Afghanistan), elected governments (she thought the Tampa episode would damage John Howard), inverted polls (she anticipated collapsed post-war ratings for Bush, Blair, and Howard), destroyed careers (she believed Pauline Hanson would be hugely influential), and boosted international markets. The other day she deployed her uncanny Webdiary voodoo to appoint Mark Latham as Labor leader:

As I write, Kim Beazley has the numbers and the game looks over.

Her latest crucial prediction bears watching:

Can Latham rise to the occasion? Yes. Will he? Probably. Can he win the election? Probably not.

Place your bets.

Posted by Tim Blair at 10:34 PM | Comments (4)


BDS is spreading throughout the US, and for the first time has been identified in a dairy state. Dr. Charles Krauthammer reports:

It has been 25 years since I discovered a psychiatric syndrome (for the record: "Secondary Mania," Archives of General Psychiatry, November 1978), and in the interim I haven't been looking for new ones. But it's time to don the white coat again. A plague is abroad in the land.

Bush Derangement Syndrome: the acute onset of paranoia in otherwise normal people in reaction to the policies, the presidency -- nay -- the very existence of George W. Bush. Now, I cannot testify to Howard Dean's sanity before this campaign, but five terms as governor by a man with no visible tics and no history of involuntary confinement is pretty good evidence of a normal mental status. When he avers, however, that "the most interesting" theory as to why the president is "suppressing" the Sept. 11 report is that Bush knew about Sept. 11 in advance, it's time to check on thorazine supplies.

A related syndrome, HDS, continues to devastate Australia.

Posted by Tim Blair at 10:30 PM | Comments (5)


Cartoonists Bill Leak and Michael Leunig are both HDS cases. The illness has ravaged Leunig’s mind.

As for Bill, well, take a look at this. Spot the errors, cricket fans. Latham allegedly “plays with a straight bat”, a phrase usually denoting a defensive or at least cautious batsman, yet he has hit every delivery bowled by John Howard for six. Or has he? As Peter Costello prepares to deliver the second over, Latham is facing him -- meaning Latham’s unseen batting partner (Kevin Rudd? Carmen Lawrence?) must be the Gilchrist-like scorer. Leak’s metaphor further collapses: if Howard is representing Australia (he’s wearing the baggy green cap) who else can Latham be playing for but Australia’s opponents?

And why, if Latham is the straight-batted type, is he not holding his bat straight? It’s clearly angled to the right. The gap between bat and pat is enormous. No wonder Howard hasn’t placed any slips; this guy is looking to get clean bowled.

Posted by Tim Blair at 10:27 PM | Comments (5)


It’s the end of the world! Will anyone survive? Pray for the kangaroos.

(Via reader Andrew G.)

Posted by Tim Blair at 10:19 PM | Comments (5)


Silvio Berlusconi is learning diplomacy:

Asked about frequent French and German opposition to the United States over the last year, Mr. Berlusconi said the diplomatic burden of his role as president of the 15-nation European Union prevented him from responding candidly.

Cool answer. Wonder if he’ll be able to restrain himself when he hears about the new French-led rapid reaction force.

Posted by Tim Blair at 10:13 PM | Comments (4)


The Sydney Morning Herald is, having bought into the Washington Post’s Turkeygate story. So has a turkey-crazed media flock. This scandal has legs -- and wings:

The Independent reports (under the headline "Turkey stunt comes back to haunt Bush") that "once again the White House stands accused of embellishing incidents for electoral gain". And once again The Independent stands accused of embellishing incidents for the sake of attacking Bush.

The Guardian’s elite investigative unit reveals: "The president never took a knife to the bird he held for the cameras. It may not even have been edible." Get working on that script, Oliver Stone.

The Age says "the foray has opened new credibility questions". At least that’s the opinion of "Washington", The Age’s enigmatically-named reporter.

AFP declares the ornamental bird to be "another disclosure embarrassing the White House".

The media should be embarrassed, not the White House. This "scandal" is not only sub-trivial and indicative of a fixed anti-Bush mindset, it’s also flat-out wrong, as an Instapundit reader of military background points out:

This turkey business is ludicrous. I've eaten in mess halls at Thanksgiving over the course of my nine years in the Army and I have always seen a fancy turkey that was for display and not for consumption. Like the cornucopias and every other festive trimming, the "show turkey" is a routine part of the presentation for the soldiers eating in the mess hall. When I saw this article on Drudge Report last night, I nearly choked. In the midst of everything important that is going, the fact that people find this newsworthy is simply stunning in its absurdity.


UPDATE. Unbelievably, soldiers ignored the entire gobbler conspiracy:

Then, from behind the camouflage netting, the President of the United States came around. The mess hall actually erupted with hollering. Troops bounded to their feet with shocked smiles and just began cheering with all their hearts. The building actually shook. It was just unreal. I was absolutely stunned. Not only for the obvious, but also because I was only two tables away from the podium. There he stood, less than thirty feet away from me! The cheering went on and on and on.

Soldiers were hollering, cheering, and a lot of them were crying. There was not a dry eye at my table. When he stepped up to the cheering, I could clearly see tears running down his cheeks ... Here was this man, our President, came all the way around the world, spending 17 hours on an airplane and landing in the most dangerous airport in the world, where a plane was shot out of the sky not six days before.

Over at they’re linking the turkey to Haliburton. Seriously. Deep Giblet, in comments, is way ahead of them:

Ask yourself this: Why was the turkey killed? How was it roasted? Who had the recipe? Who?

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:44 PM | Comments (33)


This has got election success written all over it:

[George] Monbiot is currently in discussions with a coalition of Stop the War, George Galloway, trades unions, the Muslim Association of Britain and others on forming a parliamentary opposition to the mainstream political parties.

Funding shouldn’t be a problem.

(Via LGF and Daily Ablution.)

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:24 PM | Comments (2)


Paternalist! Sexist! Crusher of dissent!

Ex-wife Gabrielle Gwyther said Mr Latham had rung her after being elected Leader and asked her to be "a good girl".

Ms Gwyther has declined to do so, happily presenting a list of grievances against her former husband. Meanwhile, in a magnificent battle of egos, Latham is being sued by Malcolm Turnbull. Should be fun. Maybe Alan Ramsey will be called to give character evidence on Latham’s behalf, although which Ramsey would appear? This one, from a couple of days ago?

Latham scares the bejesus out of the Coalition. He really does. He is not another Labor leadership patsy and the Government knows it. Whatever you've heard and whatever self-serving hysteria the Government goes on beating up, Latham is the real thing.

Or this one, from October?

[Latham] is as supine about Iraq and George jnr as the rest of the Labor Party.

So is Latham supine or the real thing? Better go ask the man himself.

Posted by Tim Blair at 12:02 PM | Comments (13)


David Steven, blogging live from the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, notes continued pro-Mugabe sentiment throughout Africa. A typical sample:

The gospel truth that led to the suspension of Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth Association was because of the patriotic land reforms fearlessly carried out by Robert Mugabe, in which he confiscated lands formally seized by white immigrants and reallocated them to the rightful black owners.

This commendable bold steps taken by President Mugabe to free his people from serfdom and bondage, did not go down well with Britain, the so-called mother of all Commonwealth countries.

Britain, in conjunction with other white supremacist countries, ganged up against Zimbabwe and applied different kinds of pressures to force Mugabe to give back the reallocated land to the few white settlers. This however failed.

John Howard is leading efforts to keep the monster at bay:

Australia will pressure African nations to fall into line with international demands for Zimbabwe's dictatorial President Robert Mugabe to stand down, when 52 Commonwealth leaders meet in Nigeria today.

And Bobby doesn’t like it:

He singled out Howard, who sits along with the heads of Nigeria and South Africa, on a Commonwealth troika on Zimbabwe, as one of those with a vendetta against Zimbabwe.

"They tell me he's (Howard) one of those genetically-modified because of the criminal ancestry he derives from," Mugabe said, adding "criminals were banished to Australia and New Zealand by the British".

Genetically modified? Mugabe must be aiming for the Green vote.

Posted by Tim Blair at 11:35 AM | Comments (14)


You know about The Washington Post’s turkey scandal story, right? Here's an extract:

President Bush's Baghdad turkey was for looking, not for eating.

In the most widely published image from his Thanksgiving day trip to Baghdad, the beaming president is wearing an Army workout jacket and surrounded by soldiers as he cradles a huge platter laden with a golden-brown turkey.

The bird is so perfect it looks as if it came from a food magazine, with bunches of grapes and other trimmings completing a Norman Rockwell image that evokes bounty and security in one of the most dangerous parts of the world.

Instapundit and several others have already pulled this to pieces. But the really cool thing is that when you click on the WaPo story (or when I did, a few hours ago), this pop-under advertisement appears.

It’s an outrageous fake turkey! The Washington Post bird is so perfect it looks as if it came from a food magazine, with bunches of grapes and other trimmings completing a Norman Rockwell image that evokes bounty and security in one of the most idiotic non-scandals ever to make the press in any country on earth.

(Permanent ad image courtesy of Mr Bingley. Link to WaPo ad site here.)

Posted by Tim Blair at 05:28 AM | Comments (25)


"Australia deserves better than to have an American apologist as its Prime Minister; than to have someone who is too weak to say no to Uncle Sam." Those were Mark Latham’s words back in February. Yesterday Latham -- only in his third day as ALP leader -- stood before an American flag following a meeting with the US Ambassador and tried to back away from his description of George W. Bush as incompetent and dangerous:

Mr Latham, with an American flag behind him, said his meeting with Mr Schieffer was good and friendly, and he looked forward to a strong working relationship.

Mr Latham had told him the Bush remarks were made as an individual member of parliament and now that he was leader of a major party he had a different perspective.

And here is that different perspective. Latham also, according Mike Seccombe, indicated that his previous utterances on Iraq were uninformed:

Henceforth, as "leader of the alternative government I really want to get all the briefings and information that I need. I was previously the shadow treasurer, a member of the Labor executive, but not privy to the sort of information that would lead to a considered judgement".

I’m happy to see Latham recanting his earlier, stupid views. But I would be, being pro-US. Anti-US lefties who’ve applauded Latham’s ascent might be feeling a little disillusioned. Kerry O’Brien interviewed Latham last night, and he wasn’t happy; here are a few of his questions:

Whose idea was that American flag today, and what on earth were you using it for?

Do you really think Australians would be impressed by the sight of Mark Latham, the man who aspires to lead this independent sovereign nation, using the American flag as a prop to try to neutralise the political problem you have created for yourself?

How do you move from one moment calling the American President dangerous and incompetent and then suddenly standing there, as you did today, not quite wrapped in the stars and stripes but close enough?

Grouchy Kerry! Nothing angers old Red more than the sight of a US flag (especially as there was no direct American involvement in Latham’s press conference; I can’t recall John Howard ever posing before a US flag in such a circumstance). Latham now seems eager to match Howard’s enthusiasm for close US ties. As well, writes Louise Dodson, he wants to adopt Howard’s politics and meet George W. Bush:

Latham is out to steal Howard's politics and Howard knows it ... Determined to become more statesmanlike and restore relations with the US after he described George Bush as "the most dangerous and incompetent president in living memory", Latham made it a priority to meet US ambassador Tom Schieffer. He also plans to visit the Bush Administration.


Posted by Tim Blair at 03:08 AM | Comments (25)


The Literary Review Bad Sex prize for 2003 goes to Wendy Perriam:

This year's winner includes the lines "Weirdly, he was clad in pin-stripes at the same time as being naked. Pin-stripes were erotic, the uniform of fathers, two-dimensional fathers. Even Mr Hughes's penis had a seductive pin-striped foreskin."

"Coming a close second" was Nicolas Coleridge for a passage in his novel Godchildren, in which he describes a man stroking his lover "like a groom reassuring a frightened foal".

Check out the other finalists.

(Via Andrew Ian Dodge.)

UPDATE. Curse you, Andrew Ian Dodge! That was last year’s prize! This year’s is here. (Thanks to Combustible Boy for the alert.)

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:48 AM | Comments (6)


I’ve got to get me some fashionable Zionist items from the fine cabal-running folks at International Jewish Conspiracy. But I can’t decide between something featuring the InJewCon Orange Octopus ("This colorful interpretation of our lovable InJewCon Octopus shows just how friendly the Conspiracy can be!") or the Oracular Smoked Salmon ("InJewCon's mascot, the Oracular Smoked Salmon, lets everyone know you're in good with the people who count!"). Maybe I’ll buy ‘em all. Discount for wholesale?

(Via Alan Anderson.)

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:19 AM | Comments (2)


As Foghorn Leghorn almost used to say, "You can argue with me, but you can’t argue with Bill Whittle’s figures."

During the 30-odd years he was in power, Saddam Hussein murdered at least 300,000 of his own people. These are the ones we are finding in mass graves in Iraq. Another 300,000 – at least – were killed in his war with Iran and his two conflicts with the US. Those are bare-bones, undeniable, non-speculative, minimums.

That darling arithmetic works out to no less than 20,000 people a year killed by that lunatic, or about 1,700 people a month.

So how many innocent people have not died as a result of the Iraq war?

I get about 13,000 so far.

That’s mathematics, son. Now compare Bill’s calculations to the latest claims from Iraq Body Count, which currently has a maximum of 9758 Iraqi civilians dead.

Turns out war is substantially less deadly than Iraq’s "peace".

Posted by Tim Blair at 12:47 AM | Comments (16)

December 04, 2003


New York, New York, it's a non-smoking town!
The laws are up and the sanity's down
The mayor belongs in a hole in the ground
New York, New York, it's a non-smoking town!

And that’s not the half of it. Mayor Bloomberg’s nicotine Taliban are now fining people for illegal possession of ashtrays:

As some New Yorkers have learned the hard way, the mere existence of an ashtray in a place where smoking is prohibited can lead to a summons. It doesn't matter if the ashtray is stored well away from public areas. It doesn't matter if it is used as a decoration, or to hold paper clips or M & M's. No ashtrays are allowed, period.

Since May 1, when the Health Department began to enforce the law in earnest, about 2,300 summonses have been issued, she said. A little more than 200 were for ashtray violations.

How do they define “ashtray”? Is it only purpose-made ashtrays that attract penalties, or any vessel that potentially could be used as an ash receptacle? Is anything wider than it is deep now illegal in New York? And if so, why isn’t Michael Moore in prison?

(Via Zsa Zsa, lurking in a Bloomberg-secure location.)

Posted by Tim Blair at 10:40 PM | Comments (17)


When in the UK, don’t insult Osama:

A prison officer was sacked for making an allegedly insulting remark about Osama bin Laden two months after the September 11 attacks, an employment tribunal heard yesterday.

Colin Rose, 53, was told he had to go because, although he did not know it, three Muslim visitors could have heard his "insensitive" comment about the world's most reviled terrorist.

How is it even possible to make an insensitive comment about Osama bin Laden? You could work for days on the vilest slur imaginable and still remain well within the boundaries of “sensitive”. The camel-licking, cave-bound, maggot-feasting spawn of urine-soaked goats did, after all, murder 3,000 people. As usual, Melanie Phillips makes a good point:

What is really striking is the assumption, by these zealous prison authorities displaying such exemplary concern for the sensibilities of minorities, that Muslims would support Osama bin Laden, and would regard condemnation of him as insulting to them. Surely that really is offensive and cause for serious Muslim complaint?

You’d kind of think so, yes. Meanwhile Europe ignores more serious problems:

Surveys say anti-Jewish assaults and incidents in much of Europe are at their most frequent since Hitler's defeat.

This new mood taints even traditionally tolerant Britain, where the Conservative Party has just elected Michael Howard, son of a Romanian Jewish immigrant, as its leader.

"Why is the liberal left not sufficiently concerned about the growth of anti-Semitism?" the British Guardian newspaper asked in an editorial last month.

Give them time. They've got to finish firing all the anti-Osama prison guards first.

Posted by Tim Blair at 10:29 PM | Comments (4)


Some kind of donation hysteria took hold today. Much thanks to all who sent PayPal cash -- the timing was perfect, by the way -- and if I've failed so far to send anyone an individual note of appreciation, hit me with a reminder note.

Posted by Tim Blair at 10:21 PM | Comments (2)


An alliance between conservative Jews, Catholics, Evangelical Christians, and a radical Islamic group linked to Hamas? What gives?

Turns out they’re all freaked by gay marriage. Jesus, people. Grow up.

(Via contributor Zsa Zsa.)

Posted by Tim Blair at 09:15 PM | Comments (10)


Former Clinton strategist Dick Morris kisses-up bigtime to new ALP leader Mark Latham:

He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of history and of politics. He's brilliant and I really feel that he just has a wonderfully penetrating, inventive mind and I was thrilled that he now is going to be the leader of the Australian Labor Party.

Whoa! Quit drooling, Dick. Next, Morris observes that Australia’s Prime Minister lacks the mobility of an armoured military device:

Howard isn't a tank. He doesn't know how to swivel his turret and attack other areas and I think that Latham will confuse Howard in a way that Clinton confused the Republicans and Blair confused Major, and ultimately makes it possible for him to win because he's not the enemy they're prepared to face.

Morris has been known to occasionally get things wrong.

Posted by Tim Blair at 04:48 PM | Comments (6)


Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell has been dwelling on this problem for over a week; how might he somehow devise a way to mock George W. Bush’s Thanksgiving Day visit to Baghdad?

Today, at last, inspiration strikes. Imagine -- Bush as a turkey! I bet no other cartoonist on earth would ever come up with that idea.

Actually, a Dubya-turkey image is quite a reach for Bell, who usually goes for the reliable chimp option:

He looks like a chimp. He grins like a chimp, pouts like a chimp, walks like a chimp and even talks like a chimp would if chimps could talk.

Bell would know. The monkey-drawing cartoonist is absolutely apelike. Here Bell pounds his chest with enormous simian mitts. Steve, start evolving already.

Posted by Tim Blair at 04:06 PM | Comments (11)


Australians are wealthier than ever before. Observe as ABC AM host David Hardaker and reporter Stephen Long search for a cloud with which to obscure this silver lining:

STEPHEN LONG: Craig James of Commonwealth Securities has analysed official figures on wealth from the Bureau of Statistics and the Treasury. They show that on average, Australians have never been richer and he says the latest rates pain is a mere ripple in a rising tide of wealth.

CRAIG JAMES: Wealth has been rising very significantly, and in real terms over the past year wealth has increased by just over 12 per cent. Now, that's the fastest growth in 14 years. Assets are increasing much faster than liabilities or debt is.

STEPHEN LONG: So on average, have Australians ever been as rich as they are now?

CRAIG JAMES: Oh, no, Australians now are the richest that they've ever been.

STEPHEN LONG: But saying we're better off on average is to use the logic of the statistician with one foot in the fire and one foot in a bucket of ice, who says that on average he's perfectly comfortable.

There’s some sophisticated economic analysis for you. Australian National University professor Bob Gregory helps out by explaining how people who work get an unfair advantage somehow:

BOB GREGORY: The distribution of wealth is widening and it's been widening very quickly recently because of the house price inflation, so that those people who own houses have gained wealth relative to those who don't. And that's affected wealth distribution much the way you'd imagine, namely that there's been a big distribution, redistribution towards older people because they're the ones who own houses. There's been a big distribution across suburbs, towards wealthier suburbs, and there's been a big distribution towards those with jobs because those with jobs are the sort of people who can accumulate wealth through working and saving, and thereby own houses.

STEPHEN LONG: So rising asset prices have driven greater inequality?

BOB GREGORY: Yeah, in the wealth dimension that's true.

I’m glad it’s only limited to the wealth dimension. Our host summarises:

DAVID HARDAKER: Finance Correspondent Stephen Long there, on the things that divide us.

David’s a nice guy, and he’s married to a old friend of mine, so my advice on how best he can address the wealth gap is offered in kindness: stop working for an organisation that sucks $750 million out of taxpayer’s pockets every year and let them use the money to buy houses.

(Via reader Simon R.)

Posted by Tim Blair at 12:07 PM | Comments (14)


Another day, another million words about Mark Latham. Greg Hywood writes that Latham has taken over a party whose economic credentials have evaporated:

The post-Keating generation of leaders, Kim Beazley and Simon Crean, threw it all away. They left John Howard to be the intellectual and practical successor to the Labor reform legacy, and they retreated into traditional tax and spend welfarism.

History hates retreaters. Frank Devine is moved to support Latham via an unlikely source:

I was nudged towards Latham in the lead-up to yesterday's caucus by, paradoxically, Robert Manne writing in The Age that if Latham were the man, Labor would "abandon interest in Aboriginal reconciliation" and "demonstrate a growing contempt for what Latham calls the left-wing 'rights agenda'." Splendid news, I thought.

Indeedy. Greg Craven compares Latham to Jeff Kennett, and offers a literary critique:

Latham's books are the sort that real intellectuals guiltily conceal beneath copies of Playboy: painfully conceived, poorly written, and very, very boring.

Craven’s column isn’t. Take a look. Greg Sheridan also examines Latham’s writing ability:

Civilising Global Capital, in which Latham established himself as an intellectual, contained prose of the following insightful quality: "The threshold of skills required for employability security has moved to a new plane of cognitive capacity." That means you need an education to get a job.

The threshold of skills required for marriagability security was apparently beyond Latham, according to first wife Gabrielle Gwyther:

Ms Gwyther told The Daily Telegraph yesterday she was devastated by the broken marriage after she had spent years supporting Mr Latham's early political career. "He talked about climbing the ladder to get to where he is but he climbed over me to get there," Ms Gwyther said.

James Morrow says there is reason to doubt the sincerity of Latham's anti-American posturing:

As an ambitious young pollie with his eyes on the brass ring of leadership at a time when public opinion was running strongly against Australian involvement in the war, it is only natural that Latham would try to stake out an audacious, headline-grabbing position.

Latham is no stranger to headlines, notes Barry Jones:

As a newspaper columnist, Latham often attacked "elites" in a way that John Howard and Paddy McGuinness would have applauded, but in the long term elites generally turn out to be correct, and the support of elites was very important in the Whitlam and Hawke victories and within ALP branches. In his new role, I am confident Latham will take a fresh direction.

Hmmm. I’d like to see Barry provide a few examples of the elites “turning out to be correct”. Piers Akerman revels in Latham’s first Question Time appearance:

Strangely, the only Labor figure who seemed to enjoy watching the new Leader's flawed performance was his immediate predecessor Simon Crean, who should not have been allowed to sit within camera range.

Andrew Bolt recalls being within range of Latham fury during a Canberra bar visit:

Latham spotted me as I walked in and glared, which was fair enough, given what I'd written about his foul mouth and heart of hate ... But within minutes, one of Latham's drinking mates peeled off and plonked himself in my face, screaming obscenities for at least 10 minutes and plucking at my arm, clearly spoiling for a fight he didn't dare start. It was Steve Roach, a Labor identity and CFMEU union official, and I ordered him out of the pub.

Which leads us to SMH Webdiarist Harry Heidelberg, standing in for Margo Kingston, who remembers his own ordering-out incident:

Sydney CAN be a rough town and anyone who thinks cab drivers are all cute as buttons and harmless as teddy bears needs to get out and about more often. I once had one run over my foot in Woollahra. Another one stopped in the middle of the Harbour Bridge and asked me to get out for no apparent reason.

The abundance of potential responses renders me temporarily comatose.

Posted by Tim Blair at 02:34 AM | Comments (24)


Australia and the US won’t sign on to the Kyoto Protocol, Russia has bailed out, and now Canada is wavering. What might the result of this be? Why, the terrible destruction of Australian ski resorts, of course:

None of Australia's ski resorts would be economically viable by 2070 under a worst case scenario outlined in a new UN report on global warming.

The dire forecast came as the federal government stood by its decision not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on climate change.

May as well kill ourselves right now.

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:26 AM | Comments (23)


The Guardian’s Polly Toynbee sees a Hugh Grant movie and is subsequently convinced that the US fears a European economic powerhouse. Worthy anti-Euro site EURSOC deals with the stupid woman.

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:07 AM | Comments (14)


John Hawkins presents the 2003 Warblogger Awards -- drawn from candidates all over the Commonwealth of Blogsosphere States. Hawkins deserves his own award for a series of excellent interviews with everybody from lowly bloggers to Ann Coulter and Milton Friedman.

Posted by Tim Blair at 12:11 AM | Comments (3)

December 03, 2003


A British commie collective disses the peacenik Left:

How is it possible for us to call ourselves Marxists and support a war waged by a coalition of rich western liberal democracies against the government of a poor “Third World” country? We would turn the question round: how it is possible that Marxism has been so corrupted and distorted that “Marxists” prefer to see thousands more Iraqis die in the torture chambers of the Ba’ath, and millions more suffer under the iniquities excused (not caused) by the UN sanctions, rather than admit that socialists not only can but must support even the worst bourgeois democracy against even the least bad tyranny? For the beginnings of an answer, let us consider just some of the transparent and disgusting lies generated and spread by the western “left” before and during the war.

Read on. This essay has been online for some months, but doesn’t seem to have been widely linked. It deserves to be.

(Via reader Judith W.)

Posted by Tim Blair at 07:13 PM | Comments (28)


Join the Jonny Wilkinson conspiracy and undermine the BBC:

Saboteurs from Down Under have begun a campaign to deny Jonny Wilkinson the title of BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

The fly-half, whose last-minute drop-goal clinched glory for England in Sydney, was expected to win the coveted award with ease. But, in an extraordinary case of sour grapes, an "anti-Jonny" e-mail drive is urging Australians to vote for British tennis star Tim Henman, in order to scupper Wilkinson's chances.

Vote for Henman here.

Posted by Tim Blair at 04:25 PM | Comments (14)


Veteran Australian actor and Matlock Police star Vic Gordon died yesterday in Melbourne. He was 94.

Posted by Tim Blair at 03:49 PM | Comments (7)


Despite expert predictions to the contrary, things are looking up for Bush in the polls. He’s now at 61% for job approval, with Democrats increasingly on side:

Even public opinion about Bush personally is improving, and not just among members of his own party. In the post-holiday poll, more than half of the Democrats surveyed say they now view the president favorably. His overall positive rating went from 65 to 72 percent.

And events like this will only boost him further. Stupid TV people. Meanwhile another opinion survey reveals happiness in Iraq:

According to what is described as the first truly representative survey of Iraqi opinion, people in Iraq believe that the best thing that happened in the past 12 months was the demise of Saddam Hussein's regime.

Most people believe so, anyway. Not sure about the guy in the Toyota pick-up truck.

Posted by Tim Blair at 03:14 PM | Comments (5)


It’s another even as moment from Reuters:

President George W. Bush has picked up $850,000 in campaign contributions in America's steel industry heartland even as he prepared to lift tariffs that have been helping steelmakers.

Mean Bush wants to hurt the little steelmakers. Bad evil President.

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:03 PM | Comments (3)


This week’s Continuing Crisis column for The Bulletin mentions Claudia Karvan, Mahathir Mohamad, Ariel Sharon, John Howard, David Marr, Marian Wilkinson, Alexander Casella, George W. Bush, Alaa, the Avenger of the Bones, bull-molesting paella bandits, Franco, Alan Jones, Steve Waugh, John Williamson, and Patrick Cook.

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:02 PM | Comments (7)


You know, as much as I admire George W. Bush, even I have to admit that sometimes he sounds like a fool:

Iran is a more complex problem because the problem support as clearly verifiable as it is in North Korea. Also, we have less-fewer levers much the key, I believe, to Iran is pressure through the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union is supplying much of the equipment that Iran, I believe, most likely is using to set itself along the path of developing nuclear weapons. We need to use that leverage with the Soviet Union and it may require us to buying the equipment the Soviet Union was ultimately going to sell to Iran to prevent Iran from them developing nuclear weapons.

Try to work out that first sentence. Or, for that matter, the second. “Require us to buying” is classic Bushspeak. And hey, Mr. President, the Soviet Union? Read any newspapers in the past ten years?

UPDATE. Oops! My silly mistake. Bush didn’t say these things at all. Howard Dean did. Who could have guessed that someone besides Bush might be so verbally maladroit? Maybe Ted Rall will withdraw his endorsement.

(Via LGF.)

Posted by Tim Blair at 12:39 PM | Comments (16)


This comment at Tim Dunlop’s site nails it:

What surprises me is how a few personalised insults directed at George W gets many on the Left to support a man who on domestic policy is well to the right of Howard.

Exactly. Labor’s new leader is a free-market ideologue who backs current anti-refugee policies and wants tax cuts for the rich. All of this is just great, from my point of view, so it is astonishing to witness lefties cheering for Mark Latham -- whose anti-Bush remarks may well have been tailored to sucker Australia’s elite ignoranti. Here’s The Age’s Michael Gordon:

Not since Paul Keating became leader in 1991 has the Labor Party had such an injection of excitement.

Or such a profoundly right-wing leader. I’m happy, and Alan Ramsey is ecstatic:

Latham scares the bejesus out of the Coalition. He really does. He is not another Labor leadership patsy and the Government knows it. Whatever you've heard and whatever self-serving hysteria the Government goes on beating up, Latham is the real thing.

He sure is, especially when it comes to zero-tolerance of illegal migration with tougher penalties for people smugglers. Yay! Yet, strangely, Ramsey never supported John Howard’s zero-tolerance illegal immigration policies. Guess Howard wasn’t the “real thing”. Writing for the Sydney Morning Herald, Craig McGregor can’t contain himself:

Nearly everyone who meets Latham is immediately impressed by him. He has gravitas. He knows what he thinks and says it. And as everyone recognises now, he has passion.

Much the same could be said of Howard. And, on many issues, Howard would say exactly the same as Latham. They’re both right-wing, oppose illegal immigration, and champion free market economics; the likes of me can’t lose, no matter who claims the next election. Even ABC types are cheering Latham on, although they would scream like dying rabbits if Latham were a Liberal candidate.

Only Phillip Adams seems to want a lefty Labor leader:

Latham's economic rationalism and ridicule of the Left's "rights agenda" would preserve the domestic status quo. Forget the refugees. Forget reconciliation ... Instead we'd have more of Howard's picket fence, razor wire politics.

Bring it on, I say! I’m just amazed that so many on the Left agree with me.

UPDATE. Adding to the right-wing image, Latham’s wife is a former Liberal staffer. And -- this practically secures my vote -- Latham is a Collingwood supporter.

UPDATE II. Tim Dunlop defends Taxi Marky.

UPDATE III. It’s not just lefties aboard the Latham love train. Jason Soon has hitched a ride after undergoing an awesome transformation. Check these quotes, from February and this week:

I saw Mark Latham as PM material once but not anymore ... Latham is famous for his admiration of and fascination for Richard Nixon. I can understand it now - the both of them seem to be driven by the same self-destructive urges and most frightening of all, the same strong sense of vengeance and borne grudges.

I'm quite excited by the prospect of an ALP led by Mark Latham. So excited that for the purpose of proper disclosure, I should note that I am seriously considering re-joining the ALP (which I was a member of from ages 18 to 21) if Latham wins the leadership challenge.

Posted by Tim Blair at 02:16 AM | Comments (53)


Robert Corr pursues a racism allegation at the University of Virginia earlier highlighted by Instapundit. The level of racial sensitivity at US universities is enough to give you the heebie-jeebies ... and that term itself is possibly anti-Semitic. Better quit this post before I say something wrong and get myself fired by MovableType.

Posted by Tim Blair at 02:10 AM | Comments (7)

December 02, 2003


Have you received a Dennis Kucinich e-card yet? They’re beautiful! And meaningful!

Like this one, with Dennis's words on it: “The Light of Freedom cannot be extinguished as long as it is inside of us.” That’s because our skin, organs, and skeletons protect the Light of Freedom from the Breeze of Injustice. Of course, shoving the Light of Freedom up inside of ourselves can be traumatic, but liberty demands sacrifice, you know?

Maybe you want to send this to a friend: “May all beings be well. May all beings be happy. Peace. Peace. Peace.” If all beings are well, however, it’s gonna be tough for those beings that live off of the flesh of dead beings. What is the hungry snow crab to do with no rotten fish to munch? And can non-sentient beings be happy?

I guess Dennis looks cheerful enough. And so would you be too, if you’d discovered the world’s only vegetarian eagle! No unhappy field mice for him today. Peace peace peace, Dennis. I hope you find love.

Posted by Tim Blair at 04:10 PM | Comments (26)


"Who is Mark Latham, and what does he stand for?" So asked Mark Latham at his first press conference as Labor leader. Let’s churn up some answers:

Latham believes in free trade and an open, competitive, market economy, and promises the establishment of a "razor gang" to cut government spending. He admires Peter Costello’s 1996 budget for its fiscal discipline.

He’s also aggressively in favour of current policies on asylum seekers and thinks high-income earners deserve a tax cut. For these reasons he is resented by many on the Left. Some typical views:

"There is nothing new in Latham’s ideas. They represent a compendium of ideas drawn from a multitude of rightwing theorists both new and old."

"These policy ideas are the product of the think-tanks of the big
corporations, the OECD, the IMF and the World Bank. Mark Latham is merely applying them to Australia."

"Some Labor M.P.s think Latham’s views would be better espoused from the other side of the House."

"We are condemned to a neo-con government for the next fifty years simply because muppets like Latham are what passes for 'talent' in the 'Labor' party."

"Mark Latham is not a solution to the problem but very much part of the problem."

The unions aren’t very fond of him, either. Nevertheless some on the Left have become Latham converts; Margo Kingston described him as the antithesis of the progressive vision a couple of years ago, but now believes that Latham rocks. Lefty blogger Gianna, who’d prefer Bob Brown to be ALP leader, thinks "Latham's 'democratising capitalism' is the only intelligent way forward." John Quiggin, although he’d select six members of caucus ahead of Latham, supports the Member for Werriwa "in the hope that he'll somehow turn up trumps as leader." Tim Dunlop trashed Latham’s economic notions in a 13,000 word Webdiary screed ("the third way, as currently presented by advocates like Mark Latham, is a hodge-podge of catchphrases and buzz words that don't amount to a significant reappraisal of social democratic and leftist politics") and later dismissed him as a Tony Blair brown-noser, but enthusiastically endorsed Latham’s leadership bid.

Well, people can change. Including Latham, who recently had this to say in an email to Phil Cleary:

I've even mellowed a tad on the purity of free trade, especially the proposed agreement with the USA.

That may temper right-wing enthusiasm for Latham, currently running high at Catallaxy Files ("he understands the market economy better than some Howard government hacks") and Alan Anderson ("I only hope that his belief in free enterprise will not be stifled by the socialists in his own party").

Enough with the economics. Latham’s personality is even more polarising, as was vividly shown during the war, which Latham opposed; I’m guessing that a section of the Left who’d previously shunned Latham embraced him at this point. He admits to being a hater ("part of the tribalness of politics is to really dislike the other side with intensity and the more I see of them the more I hate them"), supports weird causes, and is prone to clumsy abuse:

Latham has called Albrechtsen a "skanky ho' (whore)", Bush "the most incompetent and dangerous president in living memory" and Howard an "arselicker".

Which impresses some ("The man is clearly crazy. I love him," wrote Gareth Parker) and revolts others -- across the political spectrum. Here's twenty-something right-winger Tex:

For all his hot air and tough-boy, blue-collar posturing, Federal Labor MP Mark Latham turns out to have a glass jaw a toddler could smash a fist through. Latham can dish it out, but he sure as hell can't take it.

And from 50-ish lefty Julie:

I am horrified to think that Mark Latham is being considered as representative of the younger generation ... he is a bully. He is not inclusive. He will neither unite the party nor draw the country with him.

"I don't think," notes CanBlog, "Australia is quite ready to vote for him yet." This may emerge as an understatement. Last week Centrebet had already pushed out the odds of a Labor election victory on the mere possibility of today's Latham win.

But why should Latham be considered more of a liability than another polarising figure -- Prime Minister John Howard, winner of the last three elections? My theory: Howard’s supporters and detractors fall into two main camps. His supporters generally agree with Howard’s positions on a range of issues, just as his detractors generally oppose them. It’s a clear divide. But Latham’s supporters and detractors are everywhere -- on the right, on the left, upper, middle, lower, rich, poor. He’s created a maze of faultlines and divisions, and struggles to present a coherant image. People inclined to support him on the war reject his economics. People who admire his economics loathe his personality. He is a target-rich environment:

This is what Mr Latham had to say about the GST back in December of 1998, when he was taking a break from the front bench: "If it is ever introduced, such an unnecessary, unfair, discriminatory and job-destroying tax will need to be repealed. That strikes me as self-evident, particularly from a party of social justice . . . We are here to replace bad taxes with better taxes. We are here to replace unfair taxes with fairer taxes. This is why Labor exists."

So he’s going to repeal the GST? Go for it, Mark. To conclude, predictions from Ken Parish and former ALP member Caz:

"I hope I'm wrong, but I reckon this decision could well end up giving the conservatives a landslide victory of such monumental proportions that they'll be in government for the next decade."

"I am advocating the Member for Werriwa records a track called 'Nutbag City Limits' because thats where I predict the ALP will be heading in the next 12 months."

UPDATE. Here are some of those faultlines and divisions I was talking about. And government ministers are already lining up to target Latham’s weaknesses ...

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:17 PM | Comments (27)


Sky News is reporting a Latham win.

Nothing yet from ABC News Radio or any of the networks.

UPDATE. Latham won 47 to 45. Live reports now on TV and radio.

Posted by Tim Blair at 09:00 AM | Comments (45)


A stunning column by Saudi Arabia’s Dr. Muhammad Talal Al-Rasheed, written following the Islamist murder of Prince Talal Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Rasheed:

We have bred monsters. We alone are responsible for it. I have written as much before my personal tragedy and will continue to do so for as long as it takes. We are the problem and not America or the penguins of the North Pole or those who live in caves in Afghanistan. We are it, and those who cannot see this are the ones to blame.

Castrated as we are, we look to America. Why? Because they went into Iraq and made a difference. Better or worse is another point. Once America has demonstrated its willingness to do something, the moral imperative is that it should not stop at the first station along the road. The majority of us are sick and tired of this carnage and President Bush, wrong on just about everything else, is right on this one. Does he have the (courage) to finish the job? I wonder.

I hope. Via Melanie Phillips, who writes: “Hang your heads in shame, all you Bush-loathers and fellow-travellers of terror. You are on the other side to this courageous man. No chance, of course, of such heroism ever being reported by our sick media.”

Posted by Tim Blair at 03:10 AM | Comments (10)


Then: In how many ways is George W. Bush's decision to impose tariffs on imported steel so completely wrong that it physically hurts?

Now: The Bush administration has decided to repeal most of its 20-month-old tariffs on imported steel.

Australia wasn't massively harmed by US steel tariffs (we secured exemptions) but it's still good to see this government moving the right way on trade. Now for farming ...

Posted by Tim Blair at 02:28 AM | Comments (11)


Kim Beazley leads as Labor’s less-popular version of Australian Idol enters its final day. He’s got the support of Australia’s biggest and most influential unions, too, although Australia’s unions are neither big nor influential. Kind of like Kevin Rudd, who says the Beazley-Latham duel is too close to call.

Both men would lose to NSW premier Bob Carr if the public was voting. Who’d want to lead Labor anyway? The entire party is riven with treachery. Simon Crean and Marn Ferson (his own pronunciation) aren’t speaking. If the personal is political, this party is pathological.

I don’t even know what that means, so here’s what the pundits are saying:

Gerard Henderson thinks Mark Latham is a blunderer who may shed more votes than he can attract. Piers Akerman believes Latham is hyped by an easily-gulled press pack eager for Keatingesque conflict. (Keating’s support for Latham prompts a fine Tim Dunlop observation: “What I want to know is how Kim Beazley and his minders managed to organise this?”) And P.P. McGuinness warns of Carmen Lawrence’s lurking menace, supported by that class of Australians who “put one hand on their hearts to declare their concerns for the poor and disadvantaged while putting the other hand in the public purse for themselves.” The leadership dispute is killing The Age’s Ron Tandberg, who craves a commie candidate. Keep on drawing the sad little people, Ron. Keep on drawing them forever.

The only genuine winner likely to emerge from today’s vote is, as usual, John Howard, now returned to a six-month high in opinion polls. So, who’s my tip to take over as senior lemon of the ALP? Latham ... by fewer than five votes. Although I’d prefer Jennifer Collins, who really knows how to work the Labor machine.

Posted by Tim Blair at 02:01 AM | Comments (2)


Remember how UN sanctions were screwing over the Iraqis, leaving them with no money to buy medicine and food? Turns out Saddam Hussein had a spare $10 million lying around, which he blew on non-existent North Korean missiles:

It was Saddam Hussein's last weapons deal - and it didn't go exactly as planned.

For two years before the United States-led invasion, the Iraqi leader's sons, generals and front companies held negotiations with North Korea to acquire missiles.

But as the war approached, Saddam discovered what US officials have known for nearly a decade - the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Il, is a less than reliable negotiating partner.

In return for a $10 million down payment, Saddam appears to have received nothing.

Nor did any Iraqis. Saddam (and all the western media who fell for the sanctions stories) lied! People died!

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:55 AM | Comments (14)


Constant commenter Mork predicts an about-face once Steve Waugh becomes a Labor parliamentarian:

At which point, Timmy will always have known that he was a no-good fellow and a shit cricketer to boot.

Well, I’ve interviewed Waugh, and I’d be a little surprised were he to take Mork’s suggested career path. (One Test cricketer who may examine politics is Stuart MacGill, a determined conservative.) Besides which, I’ve got nothing against Labor, so long as its policies aren't imbecilic. I've often voted Labor. And why wouldn’t I? As Paul Sheehan writes: “The best Liberal treasurer Australia has ever had was Paul Keating.” Federal Labor had my vote throughout the ‘80s, and only lost it when the party lost its mind. On that theme, here’s former Labor staffer Andrew Bolt:

This was the party of the street-smart and savvy, yet is a pushover for the most unlikely of fake refugees, whether an "Afghan" from Pakistan or the Kurdish mates of a kebab shop owner from Sydney.

What fools does Labor take us for? Must its voters show they have a heart by proving they have no brain?

Seems so, because there's Labor fighting for refugees we no longer hold, demanding action that won't work against a global warming that's exaggerated, "saving" a Murray that isn't dying; offering apologies for a "stolen generation" that doesn't exist; promising billions more spending on universities which already waste too much ...

Ditch the stupidity and the ALP might one day stand a chance of regaining power. They may even lure the likes of Waugh. Meanwhile, over at Troppo Armadillo, Roop Sandhu sets out to give me a big ol’ fact-checking -- and ends up proving that Noam Chomsky isn’t very good at transcribing articles from the New York Times.

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:51 AM | Comments (5)

December 01, 2003


John Valder -- proof, if any were needed, that Australia’s Liberal Party can hork up lunatics as hysterical as any from the ALP -- offers his considered opinion on global events:

It is probably no exaggeration to say that the invasion of Iraq amounts to the greatest act of aggression by any Western nation since the days of Hitler's Germany. Maybe atrocity is a more accurate word than aggression.

It is, if you use it to describe Valder.

Iraq has been in growing turmoil almost ever since with Iraqi citizens and US soldiers being killed every day, including two who had their throats actually slit just last week!

There’s more; did you know, for example, that "in the US itself, people are wearing 'Bush must go' T-shirts"? And the shocks continue:

Yet now, unbelievably there is some suggestion that Australia, of all countries, might soon find itself chairing the UN Human Rights Commission! Mary Robinson, can you believe it?

Valder is presumably unaware of who currently chairs the UN Human Rights Commission. A complete list of things Valder is unaware of would dissolve an ASCI White supercomputer.

Posted by Tim Blair at 11:14 PM | Comments (13)


Margo Kingston demands that Australia not give away our sovereignty "in the proposed free trade agreement with the United State."

The United State? Must be where that Yank is from. In her opening paragraph, acclaimed Margo is stuck in babbling repeat mode:

It's a tough choice, who is best to lead the Labor Party now. Now it's down to two a choice must be made. As I write, Kim Beazley has the numbers and the game looks over. I've just seen Simon Crean in the chair for the last time in question time. His remarks before question time, on the team belief in our Davis Cup team and the wonderful role Hazel Hawke plays in Australian life in "turning adversity to advantage" was elegantly pointed.

Edit notes: Were elegantly pointed. A choice of leader would have to be made regardless of how many people were competing. You could do with a comma following the Crean quote. Please learn how to write.

Posted by Tim Blair at 10:35 PM | Comments (13)


"Through the Bounty of Allah, we have improved the layout of our site for the benefit of our readers," write The Call of Islam's excitable editors. Thanks to the Bounty of Allah's bitchin' coding and design skills, "Australia's leading Islamic periodical" is now better able to bring you charming interviews with the likes of Hamas founder Dr Abdel Aziz Al Rantisi:

Q: How do you interpret the cowardly assassination attempt on your life, and the assassination policies of the Israelis in general, whose latest victim was Al-Qawasimy commander in Hebron?

A: Firstly, this is the custom of the Jews, for they are the killers of prophets, and the killers of the preachers who enjoin justice. Their criminal nature will never change.

Sounds like racial vilification to me. Tex, who scoped out The Call of Islam last week, has composed an open letter to the editors. Hit the link and scroll down.

Posted by Tim Blair at 09:53 PM | Comments (5)


"What we need," says Howard Dean, "is openness in government, not secrecy." Dean is opposed to the atmosphere of secrecy being fostered in the White House, and declares that "the time for evasiveness, secrecy, contradictory statements and ducking responsibility is over."

Hmmm. What was that about contradictory statements?

Posted by Tim Blair at 04:10 PM | Comments (3)


Neil Bush, that is. Mark Steyn analyses the Bush family’s Billy Carter:

Neil Bush is doing a pretty good impression of the Left's caricature of George W: a dimwit son of privilege riding his father's contacts to some sweetheart business deals.

George W.’s youngest brother makes up for Neil’s flaws:

The baby of the family, Marvin, has always kept a low profile, eschewing politics entirely, except for a crack during the 2000 Presidential campaign that "that great sucking sound you hear is the sound of the media's lips coming off John McCain's a...", at which point he was dragged off by Dubya's minders.

Sounds like he'd make a fine columnist.

Posted by Tim Blair at 03:50 PM | Comments (4)


Jesse thinks he’s Jeebus:

ABC7's Rob Johnson asked Reverend Jackson why he felt like so much verbal venom was aimed in his direction.

"They lashed out at Dr. King, they lashed out at Nelson Mandela, they lashed out at Jesus, so all of those who fight for change become the object of frustration," said Rev. Jesse Jackson.

The headline is a lift from Mort Sahl, who also described Jackson as “a man of the cloth ... cashmere.”

Posted by Tim Blair at 03:35 PM | Comments (3)


Mark Strauss on anti-Semitism and the howling anti-globos:

In their war against globalisation, the far Right has also found common cause with the new Left. Matt Hale, the leader of the US white supremacist World Church of the Creator, praised the 1999 anti-globalisation protesters in Seattle for shutting down ‘talks of the Jew World Order’. A bizarre ideological turf war has broken out, as anti-globalisation activists find themselves fighting a two-front battle, simultaneously protesting against the WTO, IMF and World Bank, while organising impromptu counter-protests against far-Right extremists who gatecrash their rallies.

Although the anti-globalisation movement isn’t inherently anti-Semitic, it shouldn’t be surprised that it attracts the likes of Matt Hale. The movement enables anti-Semitism by peddling conspiracy theories. In its eyes, globalisation is less a process than a plot hatched behind closed doors by a handful of unaccountable bureaucrats and corporations. Underlying the movement’s humanistic goals of universal social justice is a current of fear-mongering — the IMF, the WTO, the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Multilateral Agreement on Investment are portrayed not just as exploiters of the developing world, but as supranational instruments to undermine our sovereignty.

Strauss also has this intriguing information:

The British Fascist party includes among its list of recommended readings the works of left-wing anti-globalists George Monbiot and Noam Chomsky.

It’s Blair’s Law, my friends. And from the same edition of The Spectator in which Strauss appears: Are you truly anti-American? Take Matthew d’Ancona’s test and find out.

Posted by Tim Blair at 02:47 PM | Comments (7)


Julie Burchill’s excellent and widely-noted piece on her departure from The Guardian to the Murdoch-owned Times -- I like Joanne Jacobs’ line: “Columnists don't write like this in America. It just isn't done. Except on blogs, of course” -- contains but one thing with which I disagree:

[At the Times], I will compose as many love letters to the likes of Mr Murdoch and Pres Bush as my black little heart desires, leaving those who have always objected to my presence on such a fine liberal newspaper as this to read only writers they agree with, with no chance of spoiled digestion as the muesli goes down the wrong way if I so much as murmur about bringing back hanging. (Public.)

Public hanging? No, no, no. That won’t do at all. I prefer the view expressed in this cartoon. And in other illustration news, Lileks is right: you don’t see this in cartoons anymore. Those degenerate Jetsons were even more subversive than South Park.

Posted by Tim Blair at 02:24 PM | Comments (2)


Kevin Rudd is out of the Labor leadership race -- not that he was ever really in it -- clearing the way for a straight fight between Kim Beazley and Mark Latham. Entertainingly, these two loathe each other. Whoever wins tomorrow, we may expect hostility and repeated challenges for some time, in the manner of Howard v Peacock in the ‘80s.

And who will win? Warren Snowdon, Labor’s federal Member for New York, claims Latham has the numbers. This is contrary to the more widespread view, which has Beazley in front.

One reason to oppose Beazley: Peter FitzSimons supports him. And one reason to support Latham: Robert Manne opposes him, claiming that “if Latham takes the Labor leadership tomorrow the ALP will gradually abandon interest in Aboriginal reconciliation. It will demonstrate a growing contempt for what Latham calls the left-wing ‘rights agenda’. It will seek to match or outbid the Coalition on questions like the threat of terrorism, ‘illegal immigration’ and the war on crime.”

Sounds good to me. Bring on the new guy. Bob Carr, however, doesn’t agree:

In a line worthy of Oscar Wilde, the NSW Premier mused aloud: "Mark Latham as leader of the federal Labor Party?" (Pause for dramatic effect) "That would be a diverting nine months."

Pressed on whether he meant that's how long voters would take to "wake up" to Latham, Carr responded that it mightn't even take that long.

This might be evidence of the divided Australia John Howard’s critics keep talking about. By the way, how is the PM’s form? He’s now seen off three ALP leaders (Keating, Beazley, and Crean) and won as many elections himself as Whitlam, Keating, and Beazley combined.

Posted by Tim Blair at 12:58 PM | Comments (9)