Monday, April 22, 2013

Keeping the company of fundies, part two ...

The occasional reader who drops by the pond might well wonder if the pond occasionally feels uncomfortable at the company it keeps.

There, for example, is Tim Blair banging away in the Daily Terror with Reluctance to blame extremist Islam a sign of our 'maturity'.

Blair is well known for his Islamophobia, and in its cause, he picks some of the easiest targets, like hapless Bob Ellis, who is - if we may use Ellis's skill with statistics - almost certain to be 99.9% wrong in anything he says.

Ellis, who has a blog that provides as easy pickings as the scribblers at Menzies House, and is therefore always too easy a target for anyone, including the pond to contemplate, wrote under the header The Boston Marathon Massacre:

I wouldn’t know; but it seems to me likely that this was not al-Qaeda or a lone madman (three bombs portend a conspiracy of at least three people and from me therefore a ‘conspiracy theory’ and from the FBI too, since they are paid well to imagine such wickedness), but more likely, much more likely, the NRA. 

Now of course he wouldn't know, and he shouldn't have said anything, if proving he wasn't a goose was his aim, but no, he had to go on:

For it diverts attention away from their gunning-down of the gun laws in Congress, and shows America — once again — a dangerous place whose frightened citizens must henceforth be armed to the teeth. Gun sales will go up after this, of course they will, and psychiatric checks diminish, and the NRA, as usual, rejoice.

You can almost see a glimmer of light, because indeed the reason the Boston suspects had access to such a heavy range of weaponry is thanks to the NRA - a point you won't find Tim Blair making, even through gritted teeth.

But then Ellis, who always dreamed of being a spin bowler, lobs up the easiest full toss:

No responsibility will claimed by any group, and there will be no second attack; and no culprit ever found. 
This is my prediction. 

It quickly turned out it wasn't much of a prediction, and there was sweet bugger all to discuss, and the likes of Tim Blair was hoicking poor old Bob into the stands.

But back to Blair, because where he and the pond part ways is that he's an apologist for certain forms of fundamentalism American style.

Here's how it works:

Imagine if the brothers Tsarnaev were instead Otis and Crandall, Alabama boys who'd driven up to Boston for a final bloody showdown with Barack Obama's liberal America. Right now you'd be reading reports about the menace of fundamentalist Christianity. Alas, both Tsarnaev boys were of the Islamic faith, a fact that sends media analysis into "we cannot know" mode.

Actually, you don't need to have a Boston matter to be aware of the menace of fundamentalist Christianity in the United States. Just be a woman in search of equal rights, or say an abortion, or a gay who for some completely mysterious reason wants to join the Boy Scouts.

As for the alleged "we cannot know" mode with regard to the American media, that's a childish slur, if not an outright blatant lie, since the American media has - from the moment the news of the Chechen connection broke - been all over the Cechyna angle, an angle which Blair himself ignores so he can rabbit on about Islam. Here's Blair:

The usual next step in any terrorism talk seeking to evade harsh views of Islam is to spread the blame. Sunrise host Sam Armytage asked guest Keith Suter. "Why would someone who pretty much has had an American education and upbringing perform an act of terrorism like this?" Suter's response: "This is the big mystery. Why do these people end up getting radicalised? Is it something about living in the local culture?" Yep. It's still America's fault. 

Which is a classic way to shut down any discussion. Sssh, whatever you do, don't mention the killer drones, which routinely and silently carve up wedding parties quicker than your average terrorist.

The Boston Globe's Kevin Cullen was on radio the morning after the big Tsarnaev hunt: "A caller came on the air and started talking about how we've got to look in the mirror and ask what we as Americans have done to create angry young men like this." 
There are those young men again. A mature investigation might look at another common factor. Whatever could it be?

Uh huh. So here's a notion, and an easy one. Pick an American newspaper, any paper at random, and see what you come up with. Google obliged by providing the pond with a story in The Salt Lake Tribune, deep in the heart of mighty Mormon territory, with the header Boston bombings suspects: The Chechen connection.

Which is already one more mention of Chechnya than Blair makes in his entire piece, as he contemplates possible factors in the Boston matter, and reduces it in his usual simple-minded way down to one thing. Islamophobia

Not one mention of the suspects' heritage or their relationship to their homeland. Bizarre. Here's what the Tribune suggested:

Nothing in their American lives seems to offer a plausible explanation for what they’re accused of doing last week.
But their connection to Chechnya might.

Now within that context, and a lecture on Checnya's woes, the Tribune went on to note:

Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s YouTube channel featured videos in support of fundamentalism and violent jihad. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev tweeted in March 2012: "a decade in America already, I want out."

Indeed. The point is that Blair, using straw men (and straw Bob Ellis) to make a snide remark - "whatever could it be?" - actually fudges the whole festering stew of fundamentalism, nationalism, the IRA, and American exceptionalism that might lead to an interesting perspective on and understanding of the way fundamentalism can grip the heart and soul.

It turns out you can find this sort of discussion going on in the American media, just not in the Daily Terror or in Tim Blair or in the rabid festering ranks of the right wing loons of America - since their ranks have proven fertile ground for acts of domestic terrorism..

The trouble is, to have a sensible discussion on these matters, first of all, you have to allow that all sorts of fundamentalism can be dangerous. Which is extremely hard for fundamentalists to allow ...

It's like Miranda the Devine scribbling yesterday We need to know if somebody radicalised Boston bombing suspects.

The Devine trawls through the same sort of turf the pond mentioned yesterday in relation to Sheik Feiz Mohammad, though at least the pond had the grace to note there was no proven connection.

There's the matter of Harry Potter and the uncovered meat routine that the Sheik indulged in at length in 2005. There's nothing like a fundamentalist Islamic for pure fundamentalist ratbaggery, except of course Jewish, Hindu, and Christian fundamentalists ...

But who knows what if any connection there might be between the Sheik and the Boston matter. He's already disclaimed any knowledge of the pair of suspects and any discussion of his views should be framed in the context of his weird views. Copping a like on YouTube isn't enough for a sensible discussion of influence ...

Which is where it gets tricky for the likes of the Devine. Because you see, she also belongs to a cult, and a cult which, for example, has extremist fundamentalist views in relation to say women's rights and gay rights and such like, not to mention Harry Potter.

You only have to head off to the wiki on the Religious debates over the Harry Potter series to get the good Catholic oil.

It turns out that along with some sensible people, the Catholic church harbours some right old nutters, including the former pope: 2003, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger – who later became Pope Benedict XVI – received a manuscript of a book critical of the novels from a German author. He stated in a private letter expressing gratitude for the receipt of the book, "It is good that you enlighten people about Harry Potter, because those are subtle seductions, which act unnoticed and by this deeply distort Christianity in the soul, before it can grow properly." He also recommended she send a copy of her book to Fleetwood at the Council for Culture. In a second letter, the cardinal gave the author permission to make his first letter public. These letters from Ratzinger prior to his elevation to the papacy have been used to suggest that the pontiff was officially opposed to the novels.

Naturally there was some walking back from this position by some in the church, but there were others:

Criticism against the books also comes from one of the official exorcists of the Archdiocese of Rome, Father Gabriele Amorth, who believes that, "Behind Harry Potter hides the signature of the king of the darkness, the devil." He further told the Daily Mail that the books make a false distinction between black and white magic, while, in reality, the distinction "does not exist, because magic is always a turn to the devil." Amorth believes that the books can be a bad influence on children by getting them interested in the occult.

A church that still practices exorcisms as featured in Hollywood movies!

Now it's obvious enough that the church is home to some strange people ... after all, at various points, the likes of Miranda the Devine, Angela Shanahan, Gerard Henderson and Christopher Pearson have all gone on and on in public about their infatuation with its preaching and its sometimes fundamentalist and extremist teachings.

It's easy to send up bizarre routines about Harry Potter. In much the same way as its easy to send up the bizarre rantings of Pastor Danny and the Ministry of Fire, or his acolyte, Screaming against climate science Lord Monckton, at various times worshipped by said Pearson, Devine and so on and so forth, right along to the Bolter and the Blairites ...

As always, the matter at hand might involve some complexity, some attempt to unravel the deeper aspects of human behaviour.

You just won't find a desire for complexity or understanding in Blair or the Devine or the Murdoch tabloid empire, and since the pond spends much of its time in that swamp, you won't find it in the pond either.

Instead you'll just find a bunch of ratbags arguing the toss of a cat. If you want to understand things better, you'll have to look elsewhere, do your research, and come to conclusions more compelling than Tim Blair wondering whatever could it be, or Bob Ellis acting the fool, or Miranda the Devine ending her speculative piece this way:

Whether, and how, the suspects were radicalised will remain the crucial question for future counter-terrorism efforts.

Which is incredibly funny, when you pause for a second, seeing as how she is a radical member of the fundamentalist extremist wing of the Catholic church ...

Where was she, for example, when it came to the launching of the war on Iraq in the name of WMDs that didn't exist? It's enough to make the pond break into song:

Where have all the young men gone? 
Long time passing 
Where have all the young men gone? 
Long time ago 
Where have all the young men gone? 
Gone for soldiers every one 
When will they ever learn? 
When will they ever learn? 

Where have all the soldiers gone? 
Long time passing 
Where have all the soldiers gone? 
Long time ago 
Where have all the soldiers gone? 
Gone to graveyards every one 
When will they ever learn? 
When will they ever learn?


  1. Contemplating a decade in Habbotowards Oz, already? I want out, if the best the Wizard at The Oz can do is "From what we know of the explosive device, it is not feasible to control the supply of materials."
    How about How The NRA Impeded The Boston Bomber Investigation? Is there a need to waste a second pondering whether Roop would say a word against the NRA?

  2. Andrew Bolt repeats his nonsense about the term "illegals" this morning - "Only bad when Liberals say they’re illegal" and again posts the ad he claims is from the ALP.

    This is despite this being easily demonstrated as false. It is not an ALP ad, never was, and 'illegal' has never appeared on the Dept of Immigration web site or brochures.

    His 'ALP ad' is simply a rough draft of an approach to an Immigration tender from an Ad agency in Sydney, which only ever appeared on an Advertising Industry web site and is nothing to do with any Government agency, let alone the ALP.

    To repeat -

    The poster used by Bolt appears to be from a rough-draft sales pitch for the "Don't Be Sorry" anti-people smuggling campaign launched by Immigration. It's from Y&R Group Sydney and Diverse Communications and was a kite-flyer. It was never accepted by any Government agency as part of the campaign and has never been used.

    If every PR company draft submitted to a customer was accepted as gospel we'd have pigs flying down George St. on the hour.

    He's still running the story and pic as "Illegal after all, even if I can’t say so...But the Gillard Government is now telling boat people that “illegal” is just what they are." Even though this is blatantly false.

    It first appeared on the Campaign Brief site - an ad agency heads-up on new campaigns in the offing. Nothing to do with the Government.

    Try this site -

    And do a Google reverse image search of the alleged poster.

    And check the DoI "Don't be Sorry" web site

    And here's the original Ad company draft -

    It dates back to early March when tenders for the campaign were being considered.

    Which may or may not have been additionally photoshopped before Bolt got it.

    I thought journalists were supposed to check their sources?

    But it's pretty clear this was nothing to do with any Government agency "officialness". But it looks sufficiently "officiallyish" to fool the punters.

    About time someone took him to task about this deliberate deception.

  3. April 15 2013

    The Bolt Report 164,000; no repeat
    Insiders 194,000/61,000/38,000

    Be comforted that he's a loser as well as a drop kick


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