Monday, June 22, 2020

Must not disrespect George Floyd

Controversial media personality Sam Newman has spoken out about the life-changing phone call which ended his 35-year partnership with Channel 9. The former Geelong AFL great announced on Friday night he had left the network, claiming it was 'mutual decision'.

The 74-year-old has since revealed it was his podcast tirade about George Floyd, first reported by Daily Mail Australia that sparked his departure.

In the rant Newman called Floyd, whose death while in police custody sparked mass Black Lives Matter protests across the U.S. and the world, a 'piece of sh*t'.

When the call from the network came through at 3pm on Friday, Newman knew the writing was on the wall, he revealed on Saturday.

'The station rang me and said: ''We are getting a bit of blow back from some of your comments'' and I said: ''Well, I don't want to put the station in an invidious position, anymore than I have in the past'',' he told the Herald Sun.

'I said: ''I am very happy, if it will solve anything for you, very happy to withdraw forthwith from appearing on the network''.'  He said the network agreed it would be for the best.

'Whether I beat them to it or they were going to say that anyhow is irrelevant,' Newman said.

Newman made the comments about Floyd on his podcast 'You Cannot Be Serious', alongside fellow footy great Don Scott and journalist, Mike Sheahan. He insisted he was talking about Floyd's criminal record and that people should have focused on condemning police brutality. 

Speaking on his podcast 'You Cannot Be Serious', alongside former AFL great Don Scott and footy reporter Mike Sheahan, Newman teed off on Floyd. 

'George Floyd, who is a piece of sh*t incidentally,' he began before his co-hosts attempted to intervene.

'You know who George Floyd is? He has been in jail five times, he held up a pregnant black woman with a knife, he's a drug addict, he's a crack head and he's a porn star.'

Records showed Floyd had been arrested nine times for mostly drug and theft offences, and served several short prison sentences.

His most serious offence was aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon, in which he and other suspects forced themselves into a woman's home and Floyd held a pistol to her abdomen. He served four years in prison for the crime.

His autopsy found high levels of fentanyl in his system and evidence of recent use of methamphetamine which the initial examiners said 'contributed to his death'.

Newman said he will continue to work on the podcast with his co-hosts saying there are still 'a hell lot' of people who agree with his views.


Mother who criticised an event which saw drag queens read stories to children is baffled to learn she's facing legal action accused of discrimination

A mother is facing legal action accused of discrimination after criticising an event where drag queens read stories to children.

Katrina Tait shared a petition started by the Australian Christian Lobby on her Facebook opposing the Drag Queen Story Time event at a Brisbane library in January.

'I can't believe I have just had to sign a petition to try to stop drag queen story time happening at libraries in our country,' she posted.

'What happened to protecting children's innocence and letting them just be kids?'

That post has seen the mother-of-four investigated by the NSW Anti-Discrimination Boardwith after a complaint from activist Garry Burns.

She faces legal action and potential fines. 

The case caught the attention of One Nation's Mark Latham, who accused the Board of taking on a 'vexatious complaint' from 'the serial complainant Garry Burns'.

Mr Burns has previously taken actions agianst the likes of former radio braodcaster John Laws and controversial footy star Israel Folau. 

'Mr Burns has continued with his unhinged, vexatious and threatening messages in this and other matters, having been emboldened and empowered by the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board over the past seven years in hundreds of accepted and investigated complaints, including scores of investigations against people who do not even live in NSW,' Mr Latham said, as reported by The Daily Telegraph.

He labelled the complaint against Ms Tait, who lives in Queensland, an 'amazing waste of money' and 'abuse of process'.

Ms Tait is unsure why action has been taken against her.  'I really felt that what I had written was nothing more than any mother would write who was concerned about this type of public event,' she said.

Mr Burns, who has won 62 of 65 cases, denied being vexatious and said 'my case law speaks for itself'.

Protests at drag queen library reading sessions took a dark turn in January, when president of the University of Queensland's Liberal National Club Wilson Gavin was found dead in a suspected suicide after leading a divisive demonstration.


Ozophilia: The Tories’ promised land

Why the Conservative Party adores Australia

Although its members occasionally launch into “Land of Hope and Glory”, the Conservative Party lacks an official anthem. “Australia”, a song by The Kinks released in 1969, would be a good pick. It satirises the aspirations of the “ten-pound poms” who took up the offer of cut-rate passage out of stuffy post-war Britain for a new life by the beach: “No class distinction, no drug addiction… No one hesitates at life or beats around the bush in Australia.”

As Britain and Australia begin negotiations on a trade deal, the Tories are in the grip of Ozophilia. Boris Johnson, who picked up a pair of skimpy shorts and a widened vocabulary on his gap year at Geelong grammar school, holds Australia up as a model of prosperity outside the European Union. The government is creating an “Australian-style” immigration system, which will discriminate by skills and qualifications. The prime minister has even attempted to rebrand an ugly no-deal exit from the EU as an “Australian” deal.

Sir Lynton Crosby, an Australian political adviser, and his protégé Isaac Levido, have been teaching the Conservative Party how to win elections for the past decade. Tony Abbott, the former Australian prime minister, is a star of the Tory conference fringe. Alexander Downer, an erstwhile Australian high commissioner who advocates taking a tough line on Europe, is chairman of Policy Exchange, a think-tank close to Downing Street. Conservatism is developing an Australian accent. Mr Johnson has repainted the Tories as a classless, plain-speaking, macho outfit not unlike Scott Morrison’s Liberal Party.

Rich, stable and not led by Donald Trump, Australia is at present a more attractive template than America, which has long fascinated British politicians of both right and left. The Five Eyes intelligence partnership, which also includes New Zealand, Canada and America, is increasingly important. And Britain and Australia think ever more alike about the risks of doing business with China.

Often the most unyielding Brexiteers are the keenest on Australia. For them, restoring trade ties to the Commonwealth (which Britain mostly cut when it joined the European Economic Community in 1973) is one of the great opportunities created by Britain’s departure from the EU. Shortly after the Brexit vote in 2016, a poll found that Leavers gave priority to a trade deal with Australia; for Remainers, the country was not even among the top five. In “How We Invented Freedom and Why It Matters”, Daniel Hannan, a former mep and star of the Eurosceptic circuit, describes the “Anglosphere” as a “civilisational model” in need of rescue.

Australia’s popularity among Conservatives reflects its allure to Britons in general. No other country is regarded so favourably, according to Yougov, a pollster. That is a product of Australia’s recent history as a destination for Brits to escape their rainy island. Post-war émigrés were promised a technicolour workers’ paradise of high wages, plentiful houses and sun. Until 1966 the country followed a “white Australia” policy, which appealed to some. Australia’s modern points-based immigration system is a hit with British focus groups partly because so many participants have relatives who moved there, says Jill Rutter of British Future, a think-tank specialising in migration. “Wanted Down Under”, a popular daytime television show, features would-be emigrants exploring the Australian labour market. A recent tourism ad featuring Kylie Minogue was described as “a little bit of escapism” for Brexit-weary Brits.

But Australia is decreasingly white and no longer very British—only 5% of its inhabitants were born there. Most Australian foreign-policy hands know that the future lies in the Indo-Pacific. Trade negotiations are likely to be hard-nosed and uncomfortable for British farmers. Britain’s negotiators can certainly cut their teeth on an Australian deal, says Dmitry Grozoubinski, a former Australian trade official and director of Explaintrade, a consultancy, but the British should not imagine that any combination of deals with distant lands can substitute for EU membership


Let’s tear it all down at the dawn of Great Awokening


HBO Max pulls Gone With the Wind from its streaming service. Cranks are burning and composting JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books. Winston Churchill’s statue is defaced. A staff hissy fit over an opinion article at The New York Times forces an editor to quit. The intolerable killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis has lit fires for all manner of intolerances, under the banners of racial equality and identity politics. While calling for compassion and tolerance, activists intimidate and destroy. In another week in the creep of the “woke” state, where social media police drop a knee on freedoms and thoughts are cancelled as easily as a swipe and delete, ordinary people could think the world is off kilter. Never mind that we are in a cook-off between great powers, economies are shrinking and the coronavirus is sweeping the globe; someone, somewhere is threatened by an opinion that’s different, outraged by a historical relic, triggered by works of art, films, books and their creators. Control + alt + delete is a pathology.

A horrible death in Minneapolis has unleashed a scramble for moral supremacy. The fight is not waged in a robust contest of ideas but through the silencing, deplatforming, bullying and defaming of opponents. It’s a brazen attempt to overthrow what we value in liberal democracy by those who slander it as a system of minority oppression and impoverishment. An ordinary person, not knowing whether to laugh or cry, may wonder: How did we get to this miserable place? Yet liberalism has been under assault for some time, from within universities and political parties, by oligopolist tech titans and those with control of the cultural ramparts.

It’s acute in the US, as Paul Kelly detailed in Inquirer last week, with polarisation at the extremes and a hollowing out of the political centre, with its middle-class suburban stability, anchor of family life, aspiration and widely shared cultural norms. Beneath this is a crisis in liberalism. “The new age of rising anger and grievance is defined by excessive individualism and the relentless rise of subcultures, both trends advanced by technology,” Kelly argued. “These are the killing agents stalking the liberal order.” The killing of Floyd has exposed an America where trust has evaporated. As US social psychologist Jonathan Haidt observed, the battle between conservatives and progressives is a struggle between “different cultures”, with a descent into tribal identities and inter-group conflicts a threat to democracy itself.

This degradation has its roots in the progressive takeover of universities in the West. The dominant fashions of postmodernism and critical theory junked any pretence of searching for the truth or objectivity, opening the space for rampant identity politics, purity tests and the shutdown of free speech. The arrival on campus at the turn of the century of millennials, followed soon after by younger, anxious snowflake siblings, supercharged the dynamic. Some have labelled it the “Great Awokening”. These students were showing us what would happen when social media became the public square for democracy at a time of collapse of mainstream media, cyber trolling by China and Russia, and the rise of fake news. What started as a cult, if not quite a culture, of safe spaces, aversion to criticism, thought policing and primacy of identity in the social sciences has taken hold in all institutions, especially education, media, the public sector, corporations, even science, health and medicine.

Rather than being institutions of open debate, rigorous inquiry and academic freedom, universities have quickly succumbed to the tyranny of “diversity” and the perversion of scientific method. We see it here in different guises and fields, and in the legal travails of Peter Ridd at James Cook University and Drew Pavlou at the University of Queensland. As well, universities have been at the forefront of the “diversity industrial complex”, pledging “gender equity” and other fads. Diversity, in this instance, is simply identity politics with critical theory and anti-capitalist overtones, rather than a multiplicity of viewpoints. Even in times of financial crisis, universities protect these bloated, feel-good bureaucracies, which are at odds with learning, inquiry and freedom.

But the mainstream is waking up to what is going on in these citadels, with the riots, cancellations and lily-livered responses by culture controllers signalling a tipping point. The lunacy has spilled into crusades to defund police departments, tear down statues of dead “oppressors” like Cecil Rhodes and James Cook, purge platforms of comedies such as Little Britain and Chris Lilley’s satires, and push wacky “critical race theories” that the West is “structurally racist”. Apart from being boring, corrosive and limiting, this is dangerous, dodgy terrain. On Friday art photographer Bill Henson called this out as “fascist revisionism”, seeing parallels with Pol Pot’s Year Zero and the Cultural Revolution in China. He argued Mao Zedong — who said, “We must abolish the Four Olds: old customs, old culture, old habits and old ideas” — was a “precedent for these millennial tantrums”.

In the news business, the malaise is a symptom and cause of decline. In the Philadelphia Inquirer, a headline — Buildings Matter, Too — over a story by its architecture critic in the wake of damage to buildings from rioting, hastened the end for its top editor. Staff members saw it as an affront to the Black Lives Matter cause. The woke rebellion at The New York Times was over publication of a piece by Arkansas senator Tom Cotton, who called for troops to be sent in to restore order in US cities, an opinion shared by millions of Americans. The journalistic bastion, whose mission is “All the news that’s fit to print”, is in schism. As columnist Bari Weiss noted, it’s a split between mature libertarians, who put an emphasis on the “all” of its motto, and young progressives fixated on narrowing the meaning of “fit”.

Imagine working for perhaps the most influential US media outlet and needing a safe space from ideas, history or reality? It’s OK because the new NYT opinion chief advised staff that anyone who finds “any piece of Opinion journalism — including headlines or social posts or photos or you name it — that gives you the slightest pause, please call or text me immediately”. Get me my blanky! As The Wall Street Journal duly noted, the resignations of two editors were another milestone in the march of identity politics and cancel culture through liberal institutions. “The agents of this politics now dominate nearly all of America’s leading cultural institutions — museums, philanthropy, Hollywood, book publishers, even late-night talk shows,” the Journal editorialised. At home, whether it’s in the coverage of US riots, local protests, trials of culture war enemies such as George Pell, or the meat, potatoes and organic greens of politics and policy, your ABC is similarly afflicted. This mulishness leads to blind spots and a lack of curiosity, with these activist-friendly news brands completely missing the forces behind, say, Brexit and the 2016 election of Donald Trump.

As we’re seeing in the rush to topple monuments, cancel culture shows a profound failure to understand history, where horror and glory are intertwined, often in the same person, and great civilisations have atrocious failings, including near universal slavery. The revival of unironic cheer squads for socialism among Gen Z, who drop “Nazi” as a weapon like grandparents dropped acid, is dispiriting. They clearly know nothing of communism and the bastard symbiosis between Nazis and Stalinists. There’s narcissism at play, for sure, but also a wilful, luxuriant ignorance of history. Anyway, why over-think a slogan, hashtag or meme? As Geoffrey Blainey argues in Inquirer the essence of studying history is to try to see the obstacles and dilemmas people of the past struggled against or evaded. “We also hope that the future will try to understand why we made blunders, and learn from failures and achievements of our era,” he writes.

Amid the tumult, this time of the Great Awokening, there are signs people are pushing back against the tide of despair and rage, of dismal forgetting and fracturing. One is in the sheer ridiculousness of these excesses. Frankly, the mainstream, as opposed to vice-chancellors and chief executives, will never give a damn about activist pieties. On many measures, the world has never been a better or safer place, although COVID-19 has shocked us out of any complacency about risks to health and harmony. Our enduring values are from the Enlightenment, where science, technology and reason prevailed. That legacy is not completely lost, nor faith in democracy. But we need running repairs, emphasising open inquiry, civil debate, the virtues of liberalism in all its manifestations, and the power of individuals to promote that reform. The zealots of the Zeitgeist — mad, bad and dangerous to know, as Lord Byron’s lover once described him — are prone to overreach and hubris. Like other despots, they can still be toppled by evidence, reality, reason and informed democratic consent.


 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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