Tuesday, May 17, 2016

A defence of Waleed Aly

A Leftist lady, Karen Brooks, writes below that she finds Aly's Leftism perfectly acceptable, wise and honourable -- to paraphrase.  But she would, wouldn't she?  -- As Mandy Rice Davies once said. Her heading on her article below was "Dear Australia, why so angry?"  So it's possible that she really does want to know why many conservatives don't like Mr Aly. 

Does she like Tony Abbott or Donald Trump?  I'm guessing not.  I am also guessing that she has said harsh, intemperate and inflammatory things about both of those two interesting gentlemen.  But that's OK, of course.  Leftists are allowed to utter as much abuse as they like and that's fine and dandy.  Conservatives however have only one duty:  To shut up.  Is she surprised that they don't?  Apparently.  What's good for the goose is not good for the gander.  The expression "double standards" comes to mind, as it often does when reading Leftist writing.

But let me tell her why people outside the small circle of Leftist luvvies don't think much of Mr Aly  -- and certainly don't think he deserves any kind of Australian Award. 

It's because of the sneering contempt he has expressed about mainstream Australia.  He implies that we are immature, unthinking and reflexively racist -- with no substantial evidence at all and ignoring  much evidence to the contrary -- including the advantages that he himself has been given.  

So that's it, Ms Brooks:  Aly is an offensive false accuser and a person with a very flexible respect for the truth.  Is that a good enough reason to disapprove of him? If you want to read one of Mr Aly's contemptuous comments about Australians, together with a few observations about them, go here.  But you won't will you?

While the Logies is done and dusted for another year, the level of scorn and vitriol dumped on Gold Logie recipient Waleed Aly (co-host of Channel 10’s The Project, academic, award-winning journalist and musician), by various sections of the media and public, has not only been astounding, it deserves examination.   

What has this clever and clearly multi-talented man done to warrant such a smear campaign?

Less than 24 hours after the nominations for Gold Logie were announced back in April, derision was being heaped on Aly’s inclusion. Political correctness was touted; the show’s poor ratings; he’s too “divisive” wrote some. One anonymous person complained he didn’t use social media (no, just sets it alight). Another said he was a “Johnny-come-lately”, despite having a 10-year career on TV and radio. Perhaps it was a case of Muslim-come-lately?

In a recent interview with The Australian, Aly raised the issue of his religion, noting that while the general populace don’t seem to care, journalists do. He suggested, “Journalists find it much more a point of interest because it’s not part of their world and the media is lacking in diversity.”

Then, just as the fuss over his nomination was dying down, he did the unforgivable, and won.

According to one conservative columnist, the first, I think, to take aim, “it was fitting” that Aly won because he’s a “Social Justice Warrior who appeals most to Lefties with a first-year arts student view of the world”.

Putting aside the fact caring about social justice is now also cast as something negative, the usual cluster of right-wing columnists (what is the collective noun for them, a cacophony?) then piled on to use Aly’s win as a political hammer upon which to beat their own dull and predictable agenda drum — insulting the “Left”.

And boy, did they — along the way casting aspersions on Aly, his wife, their financial status, Twitter users, SBS, the Logie voting system, audiences, Noni Hazelhurst, ABC, the Archibald.

Blah lefty, blah left, blah leftist.

It seems that for some of these columnists, the most unforgivable thing Aly has done is give a broad voice and often considered and humanitarian platform to ideas that contest theirs — what they dismiss as Left-wing views. Some of Aly’s op-eds have been picked up on YouTube and gone viral: his discussion on terrorism and ISIS garnering 30 million-plus hits alone.

Refusing to be comfortably boxed, let alone shelved, Aly not only eschews the stereotypes many try to foist upon him (Muslim apologist, divisive etc), but also speaks out and, in doing so, pricks the social and cultural conscience.

It’s not comfortable being told in a measured manner that people with “unpronounceable names” are sometimes marginalised and forced to conform in order to get ahead. But it’s the truth. Anger and denial doesn’t change that.

Another social truth is what Aly humbly and with great compassion told when he received his Logie. Thanking his fellow nominees, he said each of them “brilliantly distils a piece of Australia... (if we) look back at all those pieces assembled, it’s a brilliant mosaic and we really should be celebrating that fact”.

He joked often and was self-effacing. It was only in the final part of his speech that he referred to the undeniably white landscape of Australian TV. So white, “Mustafa” had to change his name to Tyler to be cast in an ethnic role. He dedicated his win to all the “Mustafas” and “Dimitris” and, basically, praised the night for perhaps enabling more and necessary change.

Less of an attack I haven’t seen or heard. Yet, to read his conservative detractors, you would swear Aly was an ungrateful mongrel who savaged everyone.

Perhaps Aly’s greatest offence is that rather than telling us what to think, he encourages us to think for ourselves.

But instead of congratulating the man many think a worthy winner, outrage and racism dressed as virtue and patriotism followed, accompanied by shrill claims of how multicultural and tolerant we are.

Give me Aly and his voice of reason and “accessible sound bites” over all the hate, judgment, green-eyed monstering and non-casual racism any day.


Left dominated arts council cuts funding to conservative magazine

The Conservative magazine Quadrant has called the loss of its Australia Council funding an “act of revenge” from an arts bureaucracy controlled by the left.

“The Australia Council’s decision to end our funding is plainly an act of revenge by its bureaucrats and advisers,” editor-in-chief Keith Windschuttle wrote in an editorial.

“It is designed to punish us for being on the same side of the political fence as the Abbott government’s Minister for the Arts, George Brandis, who himself was responding to an act of arts-funding bastardry by Julia Gillard.

“Throughout the 11 years of the Howard government, its appointees to the Council never reduced the funding of any of the overtly left-wing literary magazines.”

Windschuttle, a conservative historian, said the Australia Council had made a “political decision” not to award a $60,000 grant to Quadrant because it wanted to “devalue our reputation and demonstrate that the Left remains in control of the arts”.

Last week it was revealed that another literary magazine, Meanjin, might be forced to shut down after its funding was also cut by the council.

Windschuttle acknowledged that Meanjin had also lost its funding but blamed its problems on a “succession of editors” and berated the council for funding rival literary magazines the Australian Book Review, the Griffith Review and Overland.

“They are little more than production lines for the Left’s limitless appetite for identity group politics of gender, race and sexual preference, and its support for any national culture, no matter how violent or barbaric, except our own,” Windschuttle wrote.

“In contrast, since its founding in 1956, Quadrant has consistently defended high culture, freedom of speech, liberal democracy and the Western Judeo-Christian tradition.

“Although the Australia Council itself suffered a loss of government funds in 2015, the Quadrant decision was not taken because of a lack of money for literature. Indeed, while abolishing our grant, the council increased its funding to other literary magazines, all of them left-wing.

Windschuttle claimed only Quadrant was serious about publishing literature, and poetry in particular, and had more subscribers than any other literary magazine.

“Quadrant is also the most prolific publisher of poetry in Australia, in either magazine or book format, with up to 300 poems published per year for the past decade.

“Our Literary Editor, Les Murray, has worked on every edition since 1990, that is, for 256 of the magazine’s 518 editions. He is not only widely recognized as Australia’s greatest living poet but also Australia’s foremost poetry anthologist.”

A spokeswoman for the Australia Council said Meanjin, which was considered a leftwing journal, was also unsuccessful in receiving four-year funding.

“All out arts grants are assessed by a panel of artistic peers and it’s a competitive process. We can’t fund everyone,” she said.

The Australia Council gave $112m to 128 small to medium arts organisations in this funding round, announced on Friday.


Did two Leftist newspapers defame conservative fundraiser?

A lawyer for Liberal Party fundraiser Nick Di Girolamo has told the Supreme Court in Sydney his client's reputation has been "absolutely destroyed" by Fairfax Media articles.

Mr Di Girolamo - who gave Barry O'Farrell the $3,000 bottle of wine that led to the former premier's dramatic resignation - is suing Fairfax Media over six articles that were published in the Sydney Morning Herald in 2012 and 2013.

Some of the articles were published under the headline "A Herald Investigation", and they explored the connections between Mr Di Girolamo and former NSW minister Eddie Obeid, as well as other members of the Obeid family.

They also look at Mr Di Girolamo's former role as a director at Australian Water Holdings, the private water company at the centre of an investigation by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).

The ICAC is yet to hand down its findings on that matter.

The barrister representing Mr Di Girolamo, Bruce McClintock SC, told the four-person jury the articles, written by Kate McClymont, Sean Nicholls and Linton Besser, "absolutely destroyed" his client's reputation.

Besser is now a reporter for the ABC's Four Corners program.

"In this case the allegations made by Fairfax against my client are right up there at the top of the scale," he said.

"They are allegations of corruption and in effect bribery of a cabinet minister - we're talking about something very serious.

"They accuse my client of corruption; that allegation is completely false."

Mr McClintock told the court Fairfax Media had conducted a smear campaign against Mr Di Girolamo.

"[This case is] about dishonest journalists who lied to my client and set out to trick him," Mr McClintock said.
Di Girolamo's name 'tarnished through association to Obeid'

In his opening address to the hearing, the barrister said the articles in question tarred his client's name through association with Mr Obeid.

"The name Obeid in the eyes of the Sydney Morning Herald has become synonymous with corruption - I'm not saying that's accurate," Mr McClintock said.

"The mention of his name carries a flavour of corruption, but this case is not about him."

Mr McClintock went on to explain to the jury that while the ICAC made findings of corruption against Mr Obeid, he had not been convicted.

The barrister also told the jury about Mr Di Girolamo's connection to Mr Obeid's son, Eddie Obeid junior.

"Another person who worked at Australian Water Holdings was Eddie Obeid junior," Mr McClintock said.

"There was no secret about Eddie Obeid junior working for Australian Water Holdings... The connection between my client and Eddie Obeid junior is that they went to school together years before."

Tom Blackburn, the lawyer representing Fairfax Media, is yet to address the hearing.

The case is set down for a month, and Mr Di Girolamo is sitting in the courtroom for the hearing, along with the three journalists who will take the witness stand to give evidence at a later stage.


Leftist Victorian govt to preach homosexuality in Schools

If you are concerned about children being given instruction on "penis tucking" & "chest binding" you are a "bigot".

Victoria won't take advice from bigots about changing the Safe Schools anti-bullying program so it no longer includes controversial information on gender and sexuality issues, the premier says.

The Victorian education department on Sunday launched a web page containing the original material used to teach students about sexual diversity that has been removed from the federal government's amended version.

Premier Daniel Andrews has defended the move while taking aim at the Commonwealth.

"I get my advice on policy from experts, not from bigots, not from people who really ought to be ashamed of themselves in terms of their views and their tampering with a program that actually works," he told reporters on Sunday.

The premier in March vowed to keep Safe Schools running in Victoria, saying it would have a place in the state's secondary schools "long after Cory Bernardi and the rest of his dinosaurs eventually disappear".

Mr Andrews says the prime minister has failed to show leadership on the issue.

"The journey that the prime minister has been on - you know, talk a good game, pretend that you're a progressive and then either do nothing, or do nothing good - that is not national leadership Mr Turnbull," he said.

The state government says it won't tell teachers what to do but is there to provide them with the resources they need to help students.


There's real choice in this election

More or less government?

In recent elections, opposition and government candidates alike tried to make themselves as small a target as possible in the hope of avoiding alienating anyone. But in this election campaign there are already fundamental differences between the policies of the major parties.

The central divergence, and a key battleground on which this election will be fought, is simple: how can we kickstart the Australian economy and generate much needed employment growth?

The Coalition laid out its position in the budget: jobs and growth come from cutting Australia’s uncompetitive corporate tax rate, through lowering the burden of income tax on the top two income tax brackets, and by reducing the dead-weight of government stifling business.

The government has signed a number of free trade agreements. It has ended industry assistance for the inefficient automotive manufacturing industry. It has undertaken de-regulation, albeit not always with complete success.

While at times they have backslid over industry assistance and foreign investment — notably in the defence and agricultural industries — there has been a relatively coherent narrative on the Coalition side for the past three years that the private sector is responsible for generating jobs and growth.

Most of Turnbull’s recent rhetoric, including his initial campaign speeches, has focused on private sector innovation and growth and the need for competitiveness on company tax to attract investment. It is easy to see the Liberal party going further and campaigning on the basis of supply-side, free-market economics.

On Sunday, Labor’s shadow parliamentary secretary Terri Butler made it clear that Labor views the path to growth and jobs fundamentally differently. Indeed, Bill Shorten rubbished Turnbull’s approach as ‘trickle-down economics’ — although this position is at odds with Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen’s statements just last year, who accepted that the burden of company tax fell hardest on workers and said that ‘the nation should be aiming for a 25 per cent corporate tax rate’.

Instead, Labor argues that the best way to generate growth is through more government outlays on education and training. This is combined with a program of significant infrastructure investment and industry assistance, particularly in manufacturing and the clean energy sectors, with union concerns driving additional compliance obligations and spending on oversight.

Labor does not see government as an unnecessary impediment to private sector growth but a check on its growing excesses. They have committed to a royal commission into the banking sector, will not pass on tax cuts for multinationals and aim to introduce additional regulation for the sharing economy, particularly around wages and conditions.

This goes far beyond an agenda for redistribution of the fruits of growth from the rich to the poor. Labor is proposing tens of billions of dollars of additional spending and will go to the people arguing that government must play a much more active role in the economy to generate growth. This is not a mere cosmetic difference between the parties.

In the wake of the Global Financial Crisis and the increased focus on inequality, the left globally has shifted towards policies that involve much greater government intervention in the economy.

The current Labor agenda is undoubtedly Keynesian and is probably closer to the platforms supported by British Labour and Jeremy Corbyn or Bernie Sanders in the United States, than the deregulation and tax relief platform of Hawke and Keating or Tony Blair’s New Labour.

There is a risk this debate will be cast nonsensically as the old dispute between socialists and capitalists. Labor is not proposing nationalising the banks, nor is the Coalition scrapping public health care. However, there has been a notable gulf growing between the left and right on the role of government in the economy.

Nothing in politics is clean-cut and both sides of this debate still face serious questions. Too often on the right, the interests of specific businesses has been conflated with the economic interest of the country, leading to the growth of crony capitalism. For the left, the economic position of Europe stands as a troubling example of the end point of tax and spend policies.

Yet, as Malcolm Turnbull says, the voters will have to make a choice as to who they trust to transition the economy after the end of the mining boom. And this is not just a choice between Bill Shorten and Malcolm Turnbull or Labor and Liberal; it is also a choice between government and private enterprise.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

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