Fairfax Press Fail: Donald Trump Is Not Like Germans, Nazis

AN EXTRAORDINARILY GROTESQUE attempt by the Fairfax press to liken Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump to World War I-era Germans and to Nazis should be sneeringly dismissed; Trump is many things, and some conservatives view his right wing populism with contempt. Even so, Trump’s pitch is grounded in a revolt against the US liberal Left. Fellow travellers in Australia — and at Fairfax — would do well to heed the warning signs.

To date, as readers know, I have declined to comment on the early stages of the 2016 US presidential race being played out ahead of the primary season that kicks off early next year; for one thing, this point in the US political cycle is little more substantial than the silly season now descending on our own polity; for another, and with an eye to the farce that played out on the Republican side four years ago, I’m reticent about declaring anybody to be a frontrunner: last time, just about every starting candidate in the field had their five minutes at the top of the pack before sinking into obscurity, withdrawal and/or disgrace.

However, the likelihood that property and media billionaire Donald Trump will emerge as the GOP nominee for next year’s presidential election — and, potentially, as President of the United States — is growing, and it seems no matter what he says (and no matter what his opponents, both within the Republican Party and elsewhere, throw at him), his popularity among likely voters is proving far deeper and more durable than 2012 flameouts such as Rick Perry, Herman Cain, and the candidate I originally supported, former Speaker Newt Gingrich.

With that in mind, I note the shrill and increasingly panicked denunciations Trump is eliciting from an alarmed liberal* press across America and, indeed, around the world; and it is on account of a particularly insidious piece by Martin Flanagan in The Age today that I find myself commenting on the Republican presidential primary season rather earlier than I had intended.

It seems to be a stock tactic these days, of left wing political parties across the world, to accuse conservative contenders of being likely to start wars; in the US, eventual 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney was pilloried for remarks that bluntly stated Russia was America’s greatest strategic and military threat, and subjected to a diatribe that boiled down to World War III and Armageddon being a mere vote for Romney away; I don’t believe for a minute that Romney would have initiated military conflict with Russia, but subsequent events have shown that his judgement of the threat posed by Russia under Vladimir Putin was deadly accurate.

Similar sentiments were articulated about John McCain in 2008; closer to home, of course, Kevin Rudd baselessly proclaimed in 2013 that an Abbott government would result in a war between Australia and Indonesia (it didn’t).

In this vein, the attempt to liken Trump to Kaiser Wilhelm II — the German ruler who presided over his country’s disastrous military confrontation with Allied forces, at the cost of millions of German and Allied lives — and Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party is grotesque, and an unforgivable transgression of the bounds of fair comment by a supposedly professional Australian journalist.

It isn’t hard to ascertain the reason for the latest wave of anti-Trump hysteria among the global left wing commentariat: his recent edict that all immigration to the USA by Muslims would cease if he were elected President in November; the Left has become complacent in lecturing and prescribing social positions aimed at destroying the values and foundations of Western liberal civilisation, and accustomed to having its brilliant pronouncements accepted and implemented, verbatim, as the creeping slither of hard state socialism continues its odious infiltration and undermining of the free world.

Any concerted resistance the Left faces must, it follows, be slapped down at almost any cost, and the more damage it inflicts on its enemies in the process, the better.

But the problem is that all too often, the Left overreaches, and when it does — far from contriving to destroy the opponents of its ugly world view — its ridiculous and sometimes downright dangerous utterances are most damaging to itself.

So it is beginning to prove in the case of Donald Trump.

Likening Trump to the figures responsible for initiating the two most destructive and catastrophic conflagrations in human history should and will backfire, and I would be interested to know whether Flanagan — in compiling his silly and offensive piece — was egged on or otherwise provided with fodder by his counterparts in the USA.

There seems to be a chain of inferences and insinuations that are not explicitly spelt out in Flanagan’s piece, which I gather the reader is intended to play “connect the dots” with, and to heed the dog whistle it constitutes. The concept of Social Democrats as the enemy. Talk of the Kaiser becoming a rabid anti-Semite. The introduction of the Kaiser’s war of “Slavdom against Germandom” as a casual method of accusing Trump of racism. The focus on Hitler and on Fascism as the endpoint of this progression, with the clear implication Trump might as well have a swastika tattooed to his forehead.

There is also the small matter of Trump’s ancestry — his great-grandparents were German immigrants to the USA — that Flanagan doesn’t bother to mention (or if he did, would in likelihood simply present as further “proof” of his case against Trump); this is just too subtle an omission to allow to go unnoticed, and illustrates one of the great hypocrisies of the Left: its enemies are to be excoriated for lumping all Muslims into the category of “terrorists,” for example. But as Trump is of German descent, he is basically a German, and therefore as bad as Kaiser Wilhelm II and Adolf Hitler. The fallacious logic and cavalier malice in such blatant double standards are breathtaking.

(Flanagan even sneaks in mention of the Left’s favourite Australian hate figure, Tony Abbott, baselessly and perhaps libellously — in the context of the tone of his article — calling him “another World War I figure” and suggesting he would send soldiers to pointless slaughter just for the hell of it. It is beneath despicable).

Flanagan equates the Kaiser’s “scorn for democracy” with “the way Trump scorns political correctness as an impediment to clear thinking and immediate solutions:” this facile statement is based on a false premise, for Trump — far from attempting to circumvent the ballot box — is seeking to win the potential votes of hundreds of millions of registered voters; the Kaiser Wilhelm II was a hereditary monarch. The real meat in the assertion is that Trump is an enemy of political correctness (read: the prescriptive state socialism of the hard Left) who must be smashed by the clenched fist of the global Left.

Frankly, anyone who stands against such insidious and doctrinaire positions is to be lauded; it remains to be seen whether Trump is electable, but at the very minimum no-one can accuse him of pliability where the anti-Western forces of the leftist junta are concerned, and for that much at least, he warrants a hearing.

It is true that Trump, as voting in the first state primaries draws near, has said things that are outrageous, provocative, and designed to maximise the publicity he attracts, but rather than dismiss him as a lunatic (as the Left is wont to do) a more considered view than idiot-simple rants of the kind Flanagan has engaged in today suggests a shrewd, calculated and intelligent pitch — highly organised and professional, even — that has identified a coalition of voters the Trump camp believes can propel it into the White House, and upon which it has been singularly focused.

Equating him to the historical enemies of the West who systematically raped, gassed and slaughtered millions of innocents is not only offensive, but likelier than not to drive even more American voters into Trump’s embrace. Then again, I did make the point that the Left’s approach to what it believes is the enemy — its own enemies — is more often than not counterproductive, and I daresay Flanagan is simply following the trend.

I’m in two minds about the suitability of Donald Trump as President of the United States — part of me thinks he’d be brilliant, and part of me thinks he’d be bloody awful — but his business nous, his connections, and his undeniable patriotism mark him at the very least as someone with some of the tools required to discharge the post if successful. With 11 months until the votes are counted, there remains plenty of time to ascertain what defects might accompany those virtues, and how deleterious they might prove if Trump is elected: if, that is, he manages to secure the Republican nomination in the first place.

I do, however, think the prospect Trump will prevail is growing more probable, and especially if the Democratic nominee, as expected, is Hillary Clinton: one is the champion of just about everything the liberal Left stands for, and the other the polar opposite of it. Right now, if pressed to pick the winner between the two, I’d expect Trump to defeat Hillary.

With growing evidence in most Western countries that people at large are tiring of being told what to say, what to think, what to do and who to unquestioningly defer to, a candidate like Trump comes to this contest with a rich seam of public anger to tap into.

Former President Richard Nixon used to speak of the “silent majority” in America — it’s also a phrase I have used from time to time in tearing into the same insidious claptrap the Left propagates here in Australia — and it is this constituency of ordinary Americans, disaffected and shunned by the Left’s mission to turn the world into some open-border, wealth redistributing, thought-dictated and tightly controlled illiberal ecosystem that Trump is trying to harness.

Whether the Left likes it or not (and irrespective of who is right and who is wrong) people, broadly, are fed up with attempts to legislate their thought, speech and behaviour out of existence.

They are fed up with having pre-determined positions on issues imposed on them as “fact” — irrespective of the moral, ethical, legal or actual veracity of those positions — and then abused and publicly humiliated as “deniers, “skeptics,” “flat-Earthers,” and other accusations of heresy to paint them as ignorant reprobates and figures of ridicule.

They are fed up with being told their countries are international embarrassments and moral abominations by the Left when its own agenda is to destroy forever the fabric and values that underpins those countries in the first place.

They are fed up with governments that make little secret of their prioritisation of third world countries and sometimes murderous despots over the people who already live in their countries, and their welfare: the first responsibility of any elected government is to its own people, not to someone else, and the will in democratic countries to ensure that responsibility is honoured is growing stronger.

And ordinary people are fed up with a narrow band of chattering elites, drunk on Chardonnay and shaking their fingers at anyone or anything that moves in a contrary direction, telling them that their views, aspirations, and even their existence is meaningless compared to the “superior” agenda they seek to enforce.

America might or might not elect Donald Trump as its 45th President.

Whether it does or not, the popular uprising that buoys Trump’s current public standing is unlikely to be an isolated phenomenon. The “silent majority” — in the US, in the UK, here in Australia and elsewhere — is fed up with the drivel the Left is trying to impose on the free world.

If nothing else, Trump’s rise serves potent notice on the Left that its time is passing, and passing fast; all over the world, those who either seek to spread the Left’s agenda directly or who cheer it on from the sidelines — in a stupid opinion piece in the Fairfax press, for example — would do well to heed the warning signs currently emanating from the Republican nominating contest.

When the “silent majority” turns, its strike will be savage and swift; and the moral poseurs of today will become society’s pariahs tomorrow unless they abandon their seditious subterranean campaign to destroy it.

That is what Trump really represents, and it is why the likes of Flanagan and his brethren across the world are jumping all over him. Their panic is real, and their need urgent. They can hardly say they haven’t been warned.

 

*I use the word “liberal” today, of course, in its classic left-of-centre context, as it applies in US political discourse, and which has nothing to do with our own Liberal Party here in Australia.

 

New AWU Scandal: Now Fairfax Press Turns On Shorten

IN A WEEK of toxic revelations and developments for Bill Shorten, Fairfax Media — a traditional Labor friend — has leapt into the gathering anti-Shorten storm, leading the charge on the latest iffy AWU deal involving Shorten to be exposed, and promising “explosive results” of an investigation into his character, politics and allegiances. That Shorten is harming the ALP is undeniable. That it must offload him to preserve itself is beyond doubt.

The appearance of an Editorial today in Fairfax publication the Sydney Morning Herald, of all places, more or less signals the passage of the  use-by date for Bill Shorten’s “leadership” of the Australian Labor Party: if, that is, there was anything useful about it in the first place.

It more or less echoes, too, sentiments articulated in this column earlier in the week, as we suggested Shorten must either respond to the growing list of allegations swirling around his tenure at the helm of the Australian Workers’ Union or resign if he refuses to do so, and as we argued Shorten was an unmitigated liability who stands for nothing, and whom his colleagues will fail to overthrow to their (and their party’s) enduring cost.

And in furtherance of our argument last Friday — and to revisit a rare use in this column of the wit and wisdom of Joh Bjelke-Petersen — Shorten’s attempts to walk with one foot on either side of a barbed wire fence now stand to inflict grievous harm upon both himself and the ALP.

The emergence overnight of a fresh set of revelations about deals done between the AWU and a unionised company — this time, Thiess John Holland, in its guise as the anchor company of Melbourne’s Eastlink toll road a decade ago — surely lands a fatal blow on Shorten’s leadership, or at the minimum compels him, ethically and morally and in fidelity with the Australian public, to fully explain the burgeoning itinerary of questionable AWU activity that continues to emerge daily, for the longer this drags on, the deeper Shorten will drag his party into the excremental cesspool that apparently characterises the standard business practices of the union movement in this country.

Ominously for Shorten, that article ends with the promise of “explosive” results from an exhaustive Fairfax investigation into his character, politics, allegiances and deals — past and present — to be published over the next four days, and if what it has turned up to date (and in view of the traditionally Labor-friendly Sydney Morning Herald apparently already washing its hands of him), the pressure on Shorten’s position seems likely to become stifling, and irresistible.

In the interests of balance, it should be noted that the latest set of allegations involving Shorten and the AWU drew a response in the Australian Financial Review — another Fairfax masthead, which interestingly enough opted not to hide the piece behind its paywall — from respected businessman and chairman of the consortium that built Eastlink (ConnectEast), Tony Shepherd, who robustly defended the Labor “leader” on the basis the workplace agreement between the parties did not compromise overall worker entitlements, and we can perhaps accept that on its merits.

What Shepherd didn’t (or perhaps, couldn’t) explain away was the fact that once again, it appears monies were paid to the AWU by the constituent companies within that consortium — for reasons and/or purposes that only Mr Shorten can explain — and for which no explanation that is remotely satisfactory, credible or in fact believable has ever been offered.

With the enterprise agreement between ConnectEast and the AWU said to have realised savings to the consortium (depending on what you include in the figure) of between $100 million and $300 million, it is difficult to believe unattributed explanations from “Labor figures” that the money was spent on “safety training.”

Those explanations beggars belief — and remember, OH&S or “workplace safety training” has already been used, unconvincingly and without corroborating proof, by AWU figures in the past week in an attempt to explain away similarly suspicious movements of money that can only be viewed as pay-offs: purchases of industrial peace, freedom from industrial disputes and ambit action at Fair Work Australia, or any of the other mechanisms for industrial thuggery, buggery and bastardry militant unions deploy against businesses that refuse to fall into line.

They lose any semblance of credibility at all when another forensic investigation, this time by the Murdoch press, validated findings from a Fairfax expose that found the monies gifted to the AWU had been accounted for in such vague terms as “service,” “membership,” and even one line item for $94,317 from Thiess John Holland recorded as “???.”

It is patently obvious that Shorten’s proposed timetable to answer the allegations around what is emerging about his union when the Heydon Royal Commission sits again in late August or September is neither adequate nor suitable; Shorten’s party will have all but imploded by that stage at the rate the material is appearing, and — whilst I am neither a friend of the ALP nor wish it one iota of fortune or political succour — those Australians inclined to support the ALP deserve effective representation by a functional leader advancing an alternative blueprint for the governance of the country.

(Updated, 12.50am Friday 19 June: Shorten will now face the Heydon inquiry on July 8, some six to eight weeks earlier than originally proposed. I would make the observation that even the intervening three weeks between now and 8 July is more than enough time for Shorten to blunder into more trouble. But even so).

It is here that the bigger problem surfaces, for nobody except the most unseeing of acolytes could accuse Shorten of being “a leader” in any way, shape, or form; the utter vacuity and at times self-defeating negativity with which he has approached his position has neither improved outcomes of governance nor — tellingly — placed the Abbott government in the terminal electoral position his antics are so transparently contrived to seek to engineer.

I might be no friend of the Left, and perfectly content to watch it implode, and there are millions of like-minded conservative voters around Australia who will watch Shorten’s unfolding predicament with something approaching a sense of vindication, if not unbridled glee.

But there are equally millions of others — the merits of their ideas not up for debate for once — who can rightly feel cheated and short-changed by what has been dished up as “leadership” by the present incumbent at the ALP over the past 18 months.

Nobody can believe anything Shorten has to say; and for so long now, his vapid one-liners and truly awful “zingers” have been interspersed with just enough diversionary stunts to make any reasonable observer question what, if anything, Shorten is committed to at all.

Last month — knowing the mutterers were muttering and beginning to count caucus votes in favour of Tanya Plibersek — Shorten launched a silly “it’s time” stunt on gay marriage that predictably fizzled out, for it is implausible to believe Shorten is capable of inspiring confidence in the masses about anything, let alone leading them to an outcome.

Now, with the shit hitting the fan at the Heydon inquiry over the AWU and the consequent splatters landing all over his face, Shorten was busy on Twitter last night cosying up to Rosie Batty over domestic violence: and with no disrespect whatsoever toward Ms Batty, and no belittlement intended over what is a very serious social scourge and women’s safety issue that must be stamped out at all costs, Shorten managed to cheapen her and it, for the inescapable conclusion is that his attentions amount to nothing more than just another attempt to divert attention from his other problems.

Those problems, to be sure, are Labor’s problems.

To that end, the ALP is between a rock and a hard place, faced by a resurgent government coming off a reasonably well received budget, holding double dissolution triggers, and looking for a pretext to use them.

It says much that at the very time small but certain signs emerge that the structural and personnel problems that saw the Abbott government almost implode less than six months ago remain very much in evidence, Shorten’s — and Labor’s — best efforts seem increasingly likely to reap a second successive election loss that looks to be building in magnitude by the day.

It remains the preference of this column that Shorten continue to “lead” the ALP up to and including election day (whenever that is 🙂   ), for the very best political interests of the Liberal Party and its members and supporters will be well served by the total incompetence and abominable unsuitability of the present Labor “leader” to the highest office in Australian politics.

But the purpose of this column is to analyse and comment, not to daydream in hope, and so I will simply say this.

The conundrum Labor faces is that if Plibersek and her cohorts can muster the 60% of MPs — 48 of Labor’s 80 — required to spill their party’s leadership, they risk triggering the announcement of an election date the instant Labor is declared leaderless, in a move by the Coalition — to echo one of Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s predecessors — to catch the ALP with its collective pants well and truly down.

Faced with a choice between taking Shorten to an election on the one hand, or the chaos and disarray that being leaderless during an election announcement would communicate to the electorate on the other, I actually think the ALP’s best decision in such a scenario would be to push Shorten off the cliff — and deal with the election hurdle if and when it arises.

After all, I’m sure Labor’s national executive can find the way around Kevin Rudd’s silly leadership rules to cede the power to elect a leader back to the caucus within hours, if not minutes, if such a situation were to materialise.

So limited is Shorten as a “leadership” prospect, and so limited is his party with him at the helm, it would actually stand a better chance electorally to be found leaderless and in need of a hurried appointment if an election were called than it would be going into such a contest with Shorten “leading” the charge.

But Labor is not my party. Never has been, never will be. For now, the continued presence of Bill Shorten in his current role is doing untold damage to the ALP and risks consigning it to a decade in the wilderness.

If sober minds and rational heads at the Labor Party see fit to continue on their present trajectory, then this column will be one of a rapidly multiplying number of voices whose warnings, such as they have been, will have gone unheeded.

Even Labor’s best friend in the media — the Fairfax press — is now bellowing that Shorten must go.

Enough said.

Budget Porkies Not The Exclusive Realm Of Politicians

A TIMELY HARBINGER of the looming federal budget — and the mountain of vacuous bullshit set to be written about it — can be found in the pages of today’s issue of the Sydney Morning Herald; a non-existent injustice about to be “inflicted” on residents in poorer suburbs is a telling reminder of the fact that when it comes to politics, politicians are not the only practitioners, and it seems the Fairfax press is readying to fight the ALP’s battles for it.

For sheer vacuity — mixed in with more than a little subtle political partisanship — this surely takes the biscuit.

I have been flicking around the news sites (it’s 3.30am in Melbourne) waiting for my baby son to GO TO SLEEP and stumbled onto this little gem in the august pages of the Sydney Morning Herald: a salutary reminder indeed that not everything you see in the paper is true, and to the extent it is, things often aren’t as they seem.

I wanted to post on this because there is going to be an awful lot more of this kind of rubbish in the next few weeks; one of the things that annoys me most about the Left is that its politics are based — to a considerable and disturbing extent — on wilfully deceiving target voters, sometimes to the point of lying to them outright, in what it believes to be the certain knowledge that quite a few of them are stupid enough and gullible enough to swallow anything they are told.

Especially when there’s a sliver of outrage and a “smash the rich” angle on which to serve it.

It now seems certain that the May budget set to be delivered by Treasurer Joe Hockey will contain a $6 co-payment for bulk billed visits to a GP; we know this will be limited to 12 visits per year but not whether that limit applies per person or per household, and other specifics — such as the treatment of visits at hospital emergency departments — remain unclear.

Even so, the broad thrust of the policy seems straightforward and readers know I approve of this measure wholeheartedly, both as a measure to help redress the shocking state the Rudd-Gillard government left the country’s finances in, and as a disincentive for people to go to a doctor for minor complaints such as common colds and broken toenails.

And certainly, only a simpleton could fail to spot the errors in an argument predicated on simple variations in population distribution, but presented as an absolute snapshot.

The very clear implication — based on the article I have linked to here — is that it’s an outrage: a monumental injustice is set to be inflicted on the good burghers of Western Sydney in Hockey’s budget; a North Shore silvertail cracking his whip on behalf of the rest of the Northern Beaches gentry to inflict a terrible and regressive hit on poor people that the rich hobnobs in the North will be spared.

The Fairfax article claims that bulk billing rates in “the ten wealthiest electorates” in Sydney sit at 74.8%, with the equivalent figure in “the ten poorest electorates” sitting at 96.05%; the range it presents runs from 61.3% in Warringah (Tony Abbott’s seat) to a bulk billing rate of 89.9% of GP visits in Ed Husic’s ALP-held Western Sydney seat of Chifley.

Shouldn’t this be a triumph of wealth redistribution, a manifestation of the disproportionate benefit of government services to areas of lower socio-economic standing, or even a vindication of Medicare itself?

Not so, it seems; with an unmistakable flavour of outrage, the Fairfax article labours the point that when the co-payment comes into effect, residents of Western Sydney will shell out some $30 million more than their better-heeled counterparts on the North Shore. Those mongrel Liberals! Hang, draw and quarter the Prime Minister, and burn the Treasurer at the stake. The bastards!

The reality, of course, is nowhere near as dramatic, and nothing to get outraged about at all (unless you’re one of those Lefties who like to split the atoms of a hair in your hunt for Tories, in which case God help you — because you need it).

With bulk billing rates some 22% higher in Western Sydney than on the North Shore — and remembering federal electorates all contain roughly the same number of people — it stands to reason that statistically more co-payments will be collected in the West. There’s the extra $30 million the Herald is bleating about, accounted for at a stroke.

What this intellectually contemptible and flagrantly misleading piece of handiwork from the Fairfax press fails to mention is that the number of patients on the North Shore who are private patients — that is, they pay an account for about $80 the day they see their GP and get the standard $34 or so back from Medicare — dwarfs those in the West, who are so few in number on Fairfax’s own numbers as to be statistically insignificant.

In other words, the out-of-pocket cost for a visit to a doctor for more than a quarter of the people living in the North is about $46, and not the $6 that will apply to almost everybody living in the Western Sydney area.

According to Fairfax, “health groups” have warned a co-payment will hit “the poor and sick” hardest, which is patent nonsense: the price will be the same for everyone.

And a hell of a lot more people in “rich” areas will pay a hell of a lot more than $6 per visit, and that higher fee won’t stop after 12 visits per year, either.

I just wanted to highlight the fact that supposedly responsible and impartial reporting — which Fairfax prides itself on, or at least claims to — is likely to be used extensively heading into budget season, and whilst this is one of the earlier examples of how that might be abused, it certainly won’t be the last.

In some respects, the smartest thing to do would be to bypass the ABC and the Fairfax press altogether for a few weeks if you wanted an accurate account of what is in the budget and how it might affect you; based on this nugget it’s obvious that regard for the truth isn’t all the Fairfax charter makes it out to be.

Very simply, I have no reason to doubt the projection that the co-payment will raise more money out of the poor suburbs; there are for more people who enjoy bulk billing than in wealthier areas, where the real cost of a GP visit can be eight times higher. But if Fairfax wants to sensationalise the $30 million differential in raw dollars, it has a responsibility to present the other half of the information as well, which completes a picture that less well-to-do areas are getting a lot more of the health budget poured into their medical services than more affluent areas.

Fairfax’s failure to do so is misleading, deceptive and fundamentally dishonest. Just like the Labor Party its handiwork is designed to benefit.

The other point this article ignores is the obvious fact that not everyone who lives in Manly is a millionaire; not everyone who lives in Mosman is rolling in clover. But bollocks to that: facts get in the way of a good “bash the Liberals” idea like this one, designed to look innocuous, but preying on the assumed stupidity of the reader to make its point. Nice.

There is no injustice being committed here. The poor aren’t subsidising the rich. And whilst others might disagree on whether a co-payment should be introduced at all, the poor aren’t getting ripped off here, either.

And if Fairfax wants to use its publications as vehicles for blatantly dishonest ALP propaganda, maybe they should carry the authorisations required of other partisan election material.

After all, the Sydney Morning Herald was found — by its own privately commissioned survey, no less — to be the leading source of unfavourable press coverage of Tony Abbott and the Coalition during last year’s election campaign.

It seems the federal budget is shaping as just another pretext on which to continue that effort.

Advance Australia Scare: Socialist Fairfax Rant Misses Mark

WHEN THE LEFT wants to trash Australia Day, it usually involves attempts to rebrand the commemoration of British settlement as “Invasion Day,” or to run off on an anti-British, anti-monarchistic, anti-imperialistic tangent that is as outdated as it is offensive. It does however seem that Australia Day isn’t so sacrosanct to the snivellers of the Left as to prevent them from belting their own can, and today the Fairfax press has certainly done that.

The notion that Australia’s Left would treat Australia Day with so much as a shred of the decency or respect it deserves is fatuous; very few thinking people expect any more from those energised spear-throwers of socialism in our midst than cheap cracks about a British invasion of a sovereign nation and a people dispossessed of it, or to use the occasion to rattle on about republican aspirations that are heavy on the language of emotional blackmail but entirely devoid of one syllable outlining how the lives of Australians might be improved were those aspirations ever realised.

This year I have even noticed an increasing number of those from Australia’s migrant community trumpeting the socialist claptrap about “Invasion Day,” apparently oblivious to the ironic contradictions that lie within their own utterances.

It is fair to say that Australia Day — from a cultural and intellectual perspective — is an annual event the Left seeks to trash with relentless abandon; even so, it seems, this is no bar to attempting to hitch its odious political agenda to the bandwagon of the very national celebration it otherwise seeks to destroy.

I have been reading such an attempt this afternoon, published in the august pages of the Fairfax press today across the country; what is presented, upfront, as a discussion of the concept of Australia as “a fairly classless society” is immediately revealed to be no more than a socialist rant about “the growing gap between rich and poor” and “the rising tide of inequality.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the points made in this insidious excuse for a responsible perspective on Australia Day read, almost to the letter, like a running sheet that might do the rounds of MPs from the Communist Party Greens or the ALP.

I have never had a great deal of time for the facile bleatings of those who rail against “the gap between the rich and poor;” this kind of case is built on the prejudices and resentments of self-appointed “champions” of the have-nots — not even, in most cases, the have-nots themselves — and ignores, as one reader noted in a comment late last week, the fact that absolute outcomes are the more meaningful yardstick by which to make such comparisons and quantifications of relative wealth.

The Fairfax columnist seeks to split hairs over a 60% increase in the incomes of the wealthiest 10% of the population since 2010, whilst conceding a 40% rise in the incomes of “lower paid workers.” I’m not going to go through the Fairfax article line by line (as satisfying as such an exercise would be): the crux of the argument, and the facts of it, are contained right there.

The lot of the low paid increased 40% in four years: isn’t this exactly the kind of thing the bullies of the Left insist is their objective? Only if the top 10% is pulled down at the same time, it seems.

The problem with socialism — as Margaret used to say, and as we seem to be restating in this column on an increasingly regular basis — is that sooner or later, you run out of other people’s money to spend.

For there to be wealth to be distributed, there must be wealth created; and for those in need of the fruits of that wealth to be distributed to them, there must be those who are wealthier than them.

This is not — as the Fairfax article would have its readers believe — a reality confined to “capitalistic Americans or stuffy Brits,” or even to capitalist, market-based economies at all: in fact, it is a reality whose “excesses” are arguably far more pronounced in socialist societies, and the more socialist a society is in nature, the more pronounced the “gap.”

In Soviet Russia, perpetual ownership in virtually everything — real and actual property — resided in the state; at the apex of the USSR sat a privileged and indulged governing class who enjoyed the kind of luxuriously opulent lifestyles undreamed of in the “working” classes, as wealth was locked away by the Soviet government for the benefit of the relative few, whilst the masses were provided squalid accommodation and a level of essential service delivery that would be regarded as third-world by Australian standards.

A similar reality existed in China, and to some extent still does; the market reforms engineered under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping in the 1970s and 1980s were not predicated on increasing the living standards and/or wealth of his people (although that has been an incidental and ongoing consequence) but rather were based on the hard political recognition that the burgeoning population would render China’s Communist system unsustainable unless the masses, to put it crudely, were thrown a few scraps off the table in return.

In other words, to keep the ruling junta — and its privileged existence — intact.

And even in North Korea — the last rigidly Stalinist society on Earth, and one of the most repressed by the cruel tyranny of Communism — those who rule enjoy distinctly first-world levels of luxury and comfort, to say nothing of being the only people in the country to even enjoy continuous supplies of running water and electricity, let alone a plentiful and reliable supply of food.

And all of this points to the first of two fatal errors in the entire dogma the Left would aspire to inflict in the name of “redressing” inequality and the “wealth gap:” to do so redresses nothing; it merely shifts the balance, transferring ownership, property rights and wealth to a privileged junta who sit in dictatorship over the population at large.

The second of these flaws lies in the consequences of attempts to “redress” the balance: crack down on “the rich” too much, and they stop generating wealth at all.

This is human nature, a condition socialist theories of society or politics singularly fail to grasp; the higher the slice of a profit, or a commercial return, or indeed the prosperity derived from any enterprise that is extracted by the state in the form of taxes (or whatever stipend you call it), the less incentive there is to engage in such activities, and eventually the “enterprise class” (as I will call it for the sake of expediency) ceases to undertake wealth-generating activities at all.

There are ample illustrations of this phenomenon — which also works in the obverse — both in Australia and elsewhere.

In the United Kingdom, the Conservative government of David Cameron abolished the top rate of income tax, cutting it from 50% (as introduced by Labour) to 45%, and ultimately to 40%. Remember that the UK’s VAT — a GST equivalent — is levied at 20%, double the rate of our own GST, which means that under Labour, Britons in the top income bracket faced notional marginal rates of some 70% on their income and expenditure.

As a result of cutting the top rate, the UK experienced a surge in taxation receipts, which also coincided with a surge in economic activity and GDP growth.

The Fairfax article points to the Abbott government’s abolition of government-funded concessional super contributions for some workers that were meant to be paid for by the Gillard government’s mining tax. Not only did the tax raise no money to fund those contributions, but it punched a colossal hole in foreign investment in Australia’s minerals and energy sector, which in turn did nothing to help Australia’s already-fragile domestic economy.

Just as it is true — and oft-stated — that no society ever taxed itself to prosperity, it is also true that no society has ever successfully taxed itself to equality. This is the basic and brutal truth that irrefutably renders these kinds of arguments fallacious.

As I said earlier, I’m not going to go through the Fairfax article on a line by line basis, although several idiocies in its claims do stand out.

Have “most developed countries become more unequal in recent decades as they freed up labour markets and opened themselves to increasing competition?” No. To the extent adverse consequences of “free” trade and competition have occurred, they are almost exclusively the consequence of market-distorting forces such as industry subsidies, collective bargaining agreements on wages, and other interventionist behaviour either by governments and/or those pillars of their economies that are favoured by such activities. The collapse of Australia’s car making industry, and the existential problems faced by companies such as Qantas and SPC, all in the face of unsustainably high real labour costs inflicted by extortionate enterprise bargaining agreements, are excellent examples of the end destination of this destructive bus.

Fairfax holds the President of the United States — the socialist Barack Obama — up as some kind of oracle, referencing his Rudd-esque remarks that the “income gap” is the ”defining issue of our time;” far from leading the US to nirvana, Obama’s administration has crippled it with the greatest expansion of government regulation in America’s postwar history, and sought to strangle it with the most doctrinaire attempt to redistribute wealth in the United States since it was founded.

Far from “a rising tide lifts all boats,” as Fairfax quaintly postulates, Obama’s regime has seen to it that the boat can barely rise at all.

And its contention that the Abbott government exists only for the benefit of “the wealthy” (which, remember, is a household earning more than $150,000 per annum — the ALP said it was thus) fails to stack up.

The arguments of the Left don’t withstand scrutiny at the best of times, despite the best efforts to the contrary of its cheer squads at Fairfax and the ABC, and this article is right down with the worst of such endeavours: misleading, misguided, and bordering on intellectually fraudulent.

But it has nothing to do with the merits or otherwise of Australia as a “fairly classless society,” and nor does it argue with any rigour or substance the solutions to those gold-standard articles of faith the Left would be lost for a cause without: “the growing gap between rich and poor” and “the rising tide of inequality.”

In fact, the Fairfax article has nothing to do with Australia Day at all, and my rather blunt response to that is if it is unwilling to celebrate Australia Day — and everything that goes with living in what is inarguably the best country on the face of God’s green Earth — then it can, quite frankly, peddle this kind of shit somewhere else.

 

Media “Bias?” Uncle Fairfax Throws Stones From A Glass House

RESPLENDENT in its outrage, the Fairfax press is having a field day; whilst castigating rivals in the Murdoch stable for “bias” toward the Coalition, the Fairfax tomes have ripped into the new government, the Prime Minister, and his ministers. The pot is clearly black — regardless of what it calls the kettle.

I think we all know the drill: there is — stereotypically — media bias in Australia and across the world for that matter, as far as they eye can see; and the big, bad ogre in the whole conspiracist plot is one R. Murdoch.

It’s a convenient argument, and an entirely inaccurate one at that; as anybody who has ever been within cooee of a Coalition election campaign knows all too well, the Murdoch press is as prone to swing wildly in the breeze of electoral change as any media outlet is.

Murdoch newspapers campaigned heavily for Kevin Rudd against John Howard in 2007, for example; they weren’t much use to the Coalition’s prospects in 1993 either.

And the mass circulation Murdoch publications of Fleet Street arguably played a big part in keeping the Conservative Party out of office in Britain for over a decade.

Yet even that misses the mark, because whilst the Murdoch media is often (but not always) friendly to the political Right, the Fairfax press, the ABC, the Guardian, Private Media and a whole slew of others are unflinchingly and unfailingly adherent to the Left.

And this is why, reading in the once-honourable mastheads of the Fairfax stable that now remain in name only, the “Let’s get Abbott!” mentality of the Fairfax tomes seems blinkered in its partisanship and almost childish in its vehemence.

Before we get too far into this, a question for readers: Going back to, say, 1975 (and being completely objective and impartial — difficult, I know 🙂  ), which election results in Australia did the voting public really, really get wrong?

Setting aside caveats about always campaigning for a Liberal Party win, that the worst Tory government is always better than the best Labor one and so on, the one that stands out vividly is 1993 (although 2010, for obvious reasons of recent history, comes close).

It is true that the then-leader of the Liberal Party, John Hewson, wasn’t a salesman’s bootlace, and had all the political acumen and judgement of a turnip.

And it is certainly true that the Prime Minister of the day — Paul Keating — met these shortcomings with a vicious assault on the Liberals’ Fightback! manifesto, destroying Hewson and his election prospects in the process.

But the ALP had run out of puff after ten years in office; once re-elected, it embarked on a traditional borrow-tax-spend binge, moving to occupy the insiderish, politically correct, elitist, minorities-driven and welfarist position that we have so recently witnessed of the ALP in office under Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd — and which would have been the end destination of the Whitlam government had its tenure not been abruptly truncated in 1975.

Whose responsibility was the Liberals’ election loss in 1993? I don’t blame the press, ranged against us as it mostly was at that time.

But to listen to present incarnations of once-respected publications such as The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald, you’d think the media alone is responsible for determining who governs Australia, and on what terms.

Forget about Abbott the misogynist, Abbott the unfit Prime Ministerial candidate, the unready Liberals, and stories of agendas designed to plunge the populace into poverty and the country into a depression: all spin, fabricated in the bowels of Labor’s Sussex Street citadel, and dutifully regurgitated by Fairfax and the other media cabals of the Left.

Does anyone seriously think voters made a mistake dumping the ALP in September, or — more to the point — that Labor actually deserved a third term in power? Even if they can’t admit it publicly, I daresay many of the Labor Party’s own people know their party deserved the thumping it was given.

Which is why the grand old time apparently being had over at Fairfax Media should be a fruitless rearguard action, to say the least.

A quick scan of the front page of The Age website yesterday (and remember, The Age was the only major newspaper in Australia to endorse Labor at this year’s election) reveals no fewer than six leading, highly prominent articles advancing the causes of the Left, ripping into the new Liberal government — and, of course, into Murdoch’s News Limited press.

News Corp Bias Against Kevin Rudd,” screams the headline of an “exclusive” report into anti-Labor bias in the Murdoch press uncovered by an independent study.

The “independent” study — as readers quickly learn — was commissioned by the Labor Party at the request of veteran ALP strategist and key Rudd adviser Bruce Hawker.

It had previously been “confidential,” which is presumably why it was leaked on an “exclusive” basis to the Fairfax press.

Unsurprisingly, the study found — among other things — that the Sydney Morning Herald had been “the leading source of unfavourable press coverage of Tony Abbott and the Coalition.” Surprise, surprise.

Next: “Executives Add Voices To Call To Redress Gender Disparity” screeches a “business” article that just happens to focus on the affirmative action agenda and gender quotas so lovingly championed by the far Left.

Needless to say, the editorial endorsement is glowing.

Tony Abbott ‘Thumbing His Nose’ At Voters, Says Laurie Oakes” — it must have been a real coup by Fairfax management to get this stuff on the record from Oakes, who is — after all — a resident columnist at Sydney’s Daily Telegraph.

The original headline on that article was “Laurie Oakes Slams Abbott Government,” which makes you wonder why it was changed; after all, the first headline would seem far more in line with Fairfax’s editorial priorities than the second.

And to the uncritical or the exceedingly stupid, the remarks attributed to Oakes — at first glance — appear damning of the Coalition.

Yet all it takes is to read the story to ascertain that despite the best efforts to put the anti-Liberal, anti-Abbott slant on it, Oakes is actually talking about the new government finding its way in terms of media management; he is not (as some feverishly wish) adding his imprimatur to an arbitrary and summary judgement of the Abbott government.

Indeed, one observation made by the reporting journalist is that some media requests for information from government ministers are “frequently left unanswered,” which conveniently ignores the fact that ministerial staff recruitment isn’t finalised yet, and won’t be for some weeks: this is a new government starting out, let’s not forget.

PM Stumbling Around The International Stage,” writes Raoul Heinrichs, in an exposition of Abbott lurching “from one diplomatic disaster to another” making “rookie mistakes” with our Asian neighbours.

It sits in stark contrast to the majority of the coverage of Abbott’s recent trip through Asia, which was overwhelmingly positive (and not confined by any stretch to the Murdoch press, either).

The punchline comes, of course, at the bottom of the article in a bio-grab that identifies Heinrich as a former staffer to Kevin Rudd, with a note that “an earlier version of this article failed to mention this.”

What a shock.

Moving on…”Case Of Give A Little, Take A Lot More” says business columnist Malcolm Maiden, who concedes that tax changes outlined this week by Treasurer Joe Hockey “clean up” the taxation regime the government inherited, whilst delivering on election promises without impacting heavily on the commonwealth budget.

Even so, there’s a distinctly chiding tone: after all, the Liberals are increasing tax receipts by $10.9 billion over four years, and Maiden manages to note the things Labor tried to bribe voters with — Schoolkids Bonuses and the unfunded Low Income Superannuation Payment — have been deleted, whilst also noting tax increases on superannuation for high income earners were being abandoned.

It’s a pragmatic analysis infused with a little convenience.

And — from the same columnist who cheerily wrote about gender quotas in the business community — we’re informed that “Murdoch Wants His Pound Of Flesh” in a piece that could easily be presented as the second instalment of the “exclusive” about media bias over at News Limited.

According to The Age, Uncle Rupert was “the largest single contributor to the election of Tony Abbott’s Coalition government” who is now “looking for his reward.”

The rest of the article goes on to talk about the same wish list Murdoch has always pursued in search of changes to media regulation and ownership restrictions, and which he has pursued for decades before federal governments of both political hues.

The only “new” bits are the updated items that just happen to be his present priorities: demands that would have been made of a re-elected Rudd government just as they will be of the Liberals.

There you have it: an awful, awful lot of anti-Liberal press content for a media outlet purporting outrage over “bias” in the reporting of Australian politics.

But this is the problem with the Left; the lofty and portentous standards it demands of others aren’t applicable when it comes to its own conduct; the pot can always call the kettle black, but nobody pays heed to a habitual hypocrite.

Yet far from being downbeat and dispirited, the Left is merely getting warmed up.

I’m going to share one more article with everyone today; this is from one of my favourite opinion writers at the Murdoch press, Miranda Devine, and if you don’t read any or all of the links provided to The Age in my piece today, I urge you to read this one.

Devine hits the bullseye with this, and — using a different anecdotal process to the one I have used here — arrives at the reason why there is so much noise emanating from the cabals of the Left right now, and why it will only grow louder as the Liberal Party continues in office.

It’s all part of the plan.

So it’s no wonder the Fairfax press generally, and The Age in particular, are engaged in the puerile, selectively accurate and highly biased crusade against Abbott and his government that they have embarked upon, simultaneously decrying “bias” at their Murdoch rivals.

It is, as Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt accurately described it, “a crock.”

But as ever with the Left, reality is always an afterthought to the pursuit of its agenda.

 

The Guardian A Welcome Addition To Australia’s Mediascape

THE LAUNCH yesterday of British newspaper The Guardian‘s online Australian edition is welcome, timely, and deserving of support; it adds a refreshing third voice to mainstream media coverage in this country, and provides some much-needed diversity to coverage of the nation’s events.

In posting this afternoon, I simply wish to acknowledge The Guardian‘s presence on a computer screen (hopefully) near you; I am very pleased to see this long-mooted startup finally come to fruition.

I am a longtime reader of the original British Guardian site (and its newspaper when in England); I have always found its centrist approach to issues to be relevant, topical, and surprisingly balanced  when compared to other mass media enterprises either here or in the UK.

The Guardian will be published online only in Australia; it’s the way of the world, and in spite of being an old-style troglodyte still very happy to sit down with a newspaper proper, The Guardian‘s format is clear, simple to navigate, and easy to read.

Readers will find The Guardian Australia at www.guardian.co.uk/australia.

I wish The Guardian every possible success in its Australian venture, and urge all readers to get behind this exciting new media venture as well.