ABCwatch

Tim Blair

Ombudsgod

New Criterion

 

 

Monday, November 29, 2004
 
Young reader BM needs toughening up. He complains to Auntie and she agrees with him, so he stacks on a nervy.

I know it's unprecedented. Five independent enquiries wouldn't achieve it for Minister Alston. A crocodile in your bath is a more probable occurrence. But here at ABCwatch we expect sang-froid of our readers.

Here's Auntie's reply:
Thank you for your email of 15 November regarding the use of the word
"allegedly" in Mark Willacy's report broadcast on the same day.

The ABC agrees that, as Marwan Barghouti has been tried and convicted, the word "allegedly" should not have been used. The ABC Online News article has been amended accordingly.

Thank you for bringing this matter to the attention of the ABC.

Yours sincerely Denise Musto

Audience Liaison Manager



 
There are so many good signs of the terminal state of Latham Labor that the man's own attempts at self-destruction seem superfluous. Welcome, nonetheless.

As Latham holds Stephen Conroy in a head-lock while the latter expresses 'regret' over the current state of affairs you can't fail to notice that the strangled tone of Conroy's voice results from the fact that his gritted teeth are fastened on a part of Latham's anatomy, and are not letting go.

Post today's Caucus meeting, absolutely nothing has changed; not Latham's policy incompetence or his immature personality, not his enemies' determination and not the pathetic bad judgement of that fifty percent of Caucus that elected Latham in the first place.

It could hardly get better, but it does. For a start, Laurie Ferguson is backing Latham. This must be the biggest boost for Labor's prospects since Ferguson foreshadowed higher taxes in the course of the election campaign.

Even better is this analysis of the composition of the Family First vote:
The results are surprising – and worrying for the ALP. Worrying, because they suggest the conventional understanding of Family First – that it is a party whose vote overwhelmingly comes from evangelical Christians – is fundamentally wrong.

In terms of income, Family First voters dominated the lower two-thirds of the income range, having taken over the middle third formerly dominated by Labor in the pre-Howard era.

On the basis of the modelling, Black reaches this conclusion about the make-up of the Family First vote: "The first group was what you would have expected from a party founded by religious activists; middle income, professional, evangelical – and Liberal. But the second group, equal in size, was rusted on Labor voters – agnostic, blue-collar, lower income, single parents."

Black theorises that these were the voters who were the bottom-end losers in Labor's controversial tax and family policy. They couldn't bring themselves to vote for John Howard. But they weren't going to reward Latham, so they parked their vote with Family First.
That means that the mugs Latham was going to skin to fund his Whitlamite schemes could see him coming, and ran the other way before their arms were broken. It's take more than 'keeping the principles and polishing the details' to get these people back.

Best of all is the news that Max Gillies is touring another political comedy from the pen of Australia-hating Guy Rundle.

Rundle did more to convince the left that John Howard was a Sandy Stone figure, lost in the past, risible and pathetic, than Auntie, the Age and the Henny Herald combined. It proved an incalculable advantage to the Liberals.

The communard left is already whipping up fear, loathing and ridicule against the lone Family First senator who doesn't even take office until next July. They'll be so busy looking out for evangelical conspiracies they won't even see the trucks coming from behind to run them over.

What's the bet that the talents of Rundle and Gillies will add conviction to the delusions? Despite the fact that Rundle shares with that Christian fanatic George W Bush a hatred of stem cells, the new show is called the Big Con. Guess who's being conned.

It's all too easy. I'm starting to worry.




Thursday, November 25, 2004
 
African nations have blocked moves in the UN to condemn the murderous practices of the governments of the Sudan and Zimbabwe.
"The African group remains unwavering in its total rejection of the country-specific resolutions within the UN," the South African representative, Pitso Montwedi, said.

He says that resolutions targeting individual countries run against the principles of "friendly cooperation" that underlie UN actions.
You could check that assertion against the voting record of African nations when the UN has condemned Israel. I don't think I'll bother just now.


 
Here's a big-media blogger who's prepared to confess his mistakes:
Yesterday's item on Yasser Arafat (since corrected) should have stated, "Arafat is in stable condition after dying at a Paris hospital," not "Ararat." We inadvertently brought the mountain to Mohammed.



 
By stepping aside from his 60 Minutes gig, Dan Rather has foreshadowed the findings of CBS's independent review of Rathergate - the use by Rather and his CBS minders of the Bill Burkett forgeries.

By continuing with CBS as a reporter Rather ensures CBS will continue to live with the consequences of his blatant partisanship.

For all the reaction to Rather, and much on Rather's consistent history of Auntie-like partisanship, consult Ratherbiased.com


 
You and I are growing older, and so is the population of Australia.

It's a disaster, according to this report:
The booming aged population will halve economic growth in 20 years, leaving a $2200 billion budget hole over 40 years, a report warns
It's a bonanza, according to this one:
Australia will enjoy a golden era of income growth as wealthy baby-boomers retire leaving a legacy of an efficient and growing economy, a landmark report forecasts.
Both refer to the same official study by the Productivity Commission. Which interpretation was published in Henny Herald, and which by The Australian, do you think?


Monday, November 22, 2004
 
The Australian Democrats confront death.

"This is so unfair!"
(From ex-leader, Meg Lees)


 
Ralph Zwier is experienced in responding to Auntie's surreptitous preaching of communard politics, in his case her treatment of Israel. It's a thankless task, and complaining to the ABA is not much more rewarding, despite Auntie's own Media Watch finding a couple of scratches from the old ABA pussy-cat intolerable.

Among Zwier's discoveries is this remarkable ABA declaration.
"... the Code does not require that a report contain information that supports all statements made in the introduction to the report, in order for the content to be accurate".
This amounts to declaring that your conclusions and your evidence are unrelated. It's a licence for the kind of serial commentary noted in the previous post on Tony Jones and Lateline.



 
Uncle is usually in bed with his last whisky by 10.00pm, but Tony Jones of Lateline never sleeps. Nor does his predictable communard mind-set, as wakeful listener GG observed recently. It's a classic, and well worth a little more attention.
"TONY JONES: Well, Harlan Ullman, it must be a sad day for you to see a man of such potential [Colin Powell] brought so low?

HARLAN ULLMAN, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I don't agree with that assessment, Tony, but I do appreciate the introduction."


"TONY JONES: He had, of course, the most public of humiliations over the speech that he made in February last year to the UN Security Council in which he put his own personal credibility, really, on the line over US intelligence, nearly all of which was wrong.

Did he feel that he'd been betrayed by the information that was given to him to take to the Security Council?

HARLAN ULLMAN: I think the words humiliated and betrayal are really a bit over the top."



"TONY JONES: Do you believe Rumsfeld will survive this purge?

HARLAN ULLMAN: Oh, absolutely.

I wouldn't use the word 'purge'."
With that kind of persistence, and a polite talent, you can promote your world-view even when the talent is better informed, and doesn't agree with you.

Tony Jones and Alan Jones, brothers in technique if not ideology.


 
Reader JK wonders if I heard our Gastropod interviewing Boyer Lecturer Peter Conrad. Negative. Auntie's choices for Boyer Lecturers range from the sublime to the ridiculous and from hearing his first lecture I concluded that Conrad was, outside his own field, as close to the bottom as, say, Eva Cox, my personal dross standard. Conrad is pretty unreadable as a writer, and sounds much the same.

But fortune favours the lazy bugger, and reader BW not only listened to the Adams-Conrad stroke-fest but recorded what he heard:
Did you hear the sneering references to Gerard Henderson by the inimitable Adams, 18/1? Instead of using the careful moderate questioning of Henderson regarding Peter Conrad's views about Australia in his current Boyer lectures [SMH 17/1] as a basis for a discussion, Adams merely discovered that Conrad had never heard of this well-known Australian intellectual, assuring him that he didn't like Conrad's views.. That was enough apparently!

With typical Adams' partisan juvenility, this was followed by a chummy 'interview' which failed to question ANY of Conrad's superficial views seriously. Adams insultingly allowed Conrad to refer ignorantly to the unknown Gerald [sic] Henderson several times without any correction, reducing what could have been a serious discussion into a sniggering smear against Henderson, DESPITE nothing of this man's views being treated at all, let alone with any respect!

Conrad came across as a smart alec expat poseur willing to sneer at a leading Australian he simply did not know at all, even by name!

Some Boyer Lecturer!
Phillip Adams mixed with Peter Conrad. Sounds more like a recipe for compost than a programming decision of a national broadcaster.




Sunday, November 21, 2004
 
Pastor Terry Lane and Senator-elect Steven Fielding used to thump the same Bible, before the Pastor bowed his head to Lord Marx. Still, Lane, like a few others in the Auntie commune, keeps examining the Senator to be for signs that he will be just a stooge for the Assemblies of God, or John Howard, or both. He does it again on today's In the National Interest, repeated tomorrow at 1.00 pm AEDT.

So far the Family First neophyte has sung more refrains from the communards' hymn book than from the Coalition's. He wants softer policies for 'refugees', reconciling gestures towards the promoters of Aboriginal grievance, a stronger social safety net, and so on, but it has yet to win him a spot in the hearts of the left.

Indeed, paraphrasing what the Pastor might once have said, it is easier for a committee to thread a needle than for a faithful Christian to be admitted to the cultural citadels of the left.

Senator-elect Fielding, you see, has already committed the ultimate blasphemy. He favours a more restrictive policy towards abortion.

Fielding had better get used to the sight of garlic and crucifixes in the hands of his interlocutors at Auntie ABC.


 
You know that Auntie can not take a partisan position on Australian politics.

There are no holds when it comes to other countries. Take this leading question from Mark Colvin, reflecting on the recent US elections:
Do you think that they will go ahead in exactly the same way they have before, or do you think that they will look and try and examine their mistakes?
When you read the interview it becomes clear that the liberation of Iraq is one of those mistakes.



 
According to some media reports, the message Robert Kagan brought to his Australian audience was that US foreign policy could not be legitimate without the prior endorsement by others of its actions. In fact Kagan was saying something much more intelligent.

Those who criticised the US and its coalition partners over the liberation of Iraq were not the apostles of civilised international cooperation, according to Kagan. They were partisans.
From the perspective of Berlin and Paris , the United States was unilateralist because no European power had any real influence over it. From this perspective, even with a hundred nations and three-quarters of Europe on its side, the United States might still have lacked legitimacy. Today's debate over multilateralism and legitimacy is thus not only about principles of law, or even about the supreme authority of the UN; it is also about a transatlantic struggle for influence. It is Europe 's response to the unipolar predicament.
For that conclusion the evidence is overwhelming, and Kagan sums it up nicely.

Instead of proclaiming 'it won't happen to us until after it has happened to you', or the functional pacifism that now dominates the popular mind in much of Europe, it seems more credible to the Europeans to create a new doctrine, however shallow. Better a false hope of a separate international role than no hope at all, at least as far as Chirac and Schroeder are concerned.

The problem is that those who see themselves as the dominant powers in Europe have convinced themselves that the threats posed by Islamist and other forms of terrorism, supported by rogue states, are less urgent than the US knows them to be.

Kagan's other point, the one the local media found more to their taste, was this:
There are indeed sound reasons for the United States to seek European approval. But they are unrelated to international law, the authority of the Security Council, and the as-yet nonexistent fabric of the international order. Europe matters because it and the United States form the heart of the liberal, democratic world.
Or does it? The position adopted by China in relation to the rogue sponsors of terrorism shows that there is another way.

Of the 'axis of evil' states, China already sponsors the North Koreans, more out of necessity, perhaps, than any greater self-interest. Now China makes it clear that its Security Council vote is at the disposal of two of its sources of oil, the Sudan and Iran, so gazumping the transparent devices through which the Europeans have promised both countries a free 'multilateral' pass for their vicious behaviour. Who knows how many winks and nods all of these connivings have involved, providing the Islamists with further encouragement to focus their assaults on the Great Satan.

It seems highly implausible that Europe now has the stomach to resist with sufficient vigour the assaults of its domestic Islamists. What rogue states have to offer, apart from resources, is their financial leverage with the mendicant jihadis.

Kagan should think again about just how deeply liberal democratic principles have been established on the continent of Europe. The communards at Auntie ABC think Kagan a raving neocon. In truth he sounds to me more like a Pollyanna optimist.



Wednesday, November 17, 2004
 
The attention given by the media to the apparent killing of a wounded killer by a marine in Falluja is outrageous trial and conviction by media. We see the act, but nothing of the circumstances, except that "he had returned to duty after being shot in the face a day earlier".

This was a matter that should have been reported and investigated. Any military proceedings that follow must now be seen as a show trial, and other soldiers will have a reasonable grievance. If major media organisations do not understand why this treatment of their armed forces is wrong they don't deserve their ticket to accompany those facing danger for their country.

Later: Further thoughts from defence experts and the Red Cross on the circumstances of the shooting, but the usual political operators have already shot the accused and are now gunning for the US army.
Charles Heyman, a British infantry veteran and senior defence analyst with Jane's Consultancy Group in London, defended the Marine.

"In a combat infantry soldier's training, he is always taught that his enemy is at his most dangerous when he is severely injured," Heyman said.

There is the danger that the wounded enemy may try to "take one with you" with a hidden firearm or a grenade.

If the man makes even the slightest move, Heyman added, "in my estimation they would be justified in shooting him"
.A spokesman for the Red Cross was judicious.
"Seeing these images or hearing about this kind of incident is very disturbing but the important thing now is that effectively the investigation is carried out and if someone is found responsible for a violation of the law, that this person be held accountable."
but a UN human rights apparatchik joined the anti-Yank posse;
Louise Arbour, the UN high commissioner for human rights, said: "All violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law must be investigated and those responsible for breaches - including the deliberate targeting of civilians, indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks, the killing of injured persons and the use of human shields - must be brought to justice, be they members of the multinational force or insurgents".
The crucial word Louise forgot - "alleged".


 
Once again, al Jazeera wimps out on showing one of its Islamist affiliate's propaganda films. This one features Margaret Hassan, whose slaughter the Islamists think a triumph.

Since al Jazeera has a policy of showing the snuff pics produced by its associates, this decision can only be interpreted as censorship, and as censorship in the interests of its friends, not of its viewers.

Six years soft detention is the reward for taking part in mass-murder in Spain. Expect more of the same.


 
Lawyer Christopher S Carson (his friends call him Kit) presents here the evidence for the close involvement of Saddam's Iraq in the preparations for 9/11. It's a conspiracy theory, but with added evidence.


 
Senator Bob Brown, who used to hold the balance of power in the Senate, finds new US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice very scary.
"Condaleeza Rice is not a warm human being," Senator Brown told reporters.

"She's George W. Bush's echo.

"But she's lacking the compassion we need to see in the office of secretary of state for the most powerful nation on the planet."

Senator Brown said there was a ruthlessness about Dr Rice which he found frightening.

"She hasn't got the compassion of her predecessor and has a certain ruthlessness about her which I think is quite frightening in an age where we need more understanding and compassion in international affairs," he said.
It seems that Senator Brown, who has never seen a US President he doesn't want to shout at, has stood up to bulldozers and finds spiritual uplift in vertical lumps of wood, could find nothing in Rice's politics to disagree with.

Adam Sternbergh writing in the Henny finds Nicole Kidman has "a warm smile but a cold heart".
She's a movie star, but one whose movies have gone largely unloved.
If you're a beautiful woman, make sure you act dumb. Mustn't scare the weenies.


 
Colin Powell was "the voice of moderation in the Bush administration" according to Auntie's television news service last night. By the same standards, ABC news is the epitome of journalism among Australia's media.

Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, whose conviction of spying for Stalin against their country, the US, has since been confirmed from Soviet sources, are still 'so-called spies', according to Auntie's Classic FM, the former music broadcaster, this morning. Auntie listeners are free to regard them as heroes of resistance, and are treated to an hour with a Rosenberg grand-child. (Auntie gave her father, Robert Meerapol an hour earlier this year to spread the same lies, and the Age put it in print for him). Eve Meerapol, understandably, finds her grand-parents heroic fighters for social justice, who just happened to be communists but were never, never spies. For details go to the earlier post linked above, and contemplate the intellectual pathology of the left, where ideology always trumps evidence.


Tuesday, November 16, 2004
 
Fallujah is no longer a quagmire for the Yanks, so it must be a disaster for the remaining citizens, according to the Fairfax-Auntie axis.

Those citizens who offended the Islamist former rulers of Falluja might see things differently, if they have survived their terrorist masters. Their options were obedience or death.
Two female bodies found yesterday suggest such threats were far from idle. An Arab woman, in a violet nightdress, lay in a post-mortem embrace with a male corpse in the middle of the street. Both bodies had died from bullets to the head.

Just six metres away on the same street lay the decomposing corpse of a blonde-haired white woman, too disfigured for swift identification but presumed to be the body of one of the many foreign hostages kidnapped by the rebels.



 
The Dutch continue to move westwards across the Atlantic, propelled by the facts of their domestic Islamism if not by any new rhetoric.
At this point, the Dutch seem more inclined to move from Live and Let Live to its opposite, and are calling for laws that make the Patriot Act look like Kumbayah. ... On Friday, the Dutch parliament requested a new law that would forbid mosques to employ imams who had been educated elsewhere. One member of parliament was quoted in a wire report as saying: "It's better to have 10 possibly innocent people temporarily in jail than one with a bomb on the street."
On the rhetorical front, the old guard continues to press a human rights approach by enforcing correct talk.


 
James Taranto is a Kiwi.

Here's proof.
Yasser Arafat's death was doubtless a necessary condition for peace between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs, but a look at the news of the past few days suggests it'll be far from suffucient




Monday, November 15, 2004
 
Auntie's communards grant no claim on the part of Israel's courts to dispense justice, but there is an objective and a partisan way to tie the noose. Auntie's news service seems fated always to choose the partisan way, as in this account, drawn to my attention by reader BM.
"Mr Barghouti [a possible successor to Yasser Arafat] is serving five life-terms in an Israeli prison for allegedly masterminding terror attacks."
I know that if they said 'Barghouti was convicted by Israel's courts of masterminding terror attacks' their readers would need to spend a split secondworking out that Barghouti was innocent, but that's the price of being a professional journalist rather than a polemicist on the public payroll.

At the very least Auntie should be consistent. Then the words would be 'allegedly masterminding so-called terror attacks'.



 
In the 'so-called war' on terror the weapons are terrifyingly real.
Sharif al-Masri, an Egyptian who was captured in late August near Pakistan's border with Iran and Afghanistan, has told his interrogators of "al-Qaeda's interest in moving nuclear materials from Europe to either the U.S. or Mexico," according to a report circulating among U.S. government officials.



 
The 'G' word was mentioned in Radio National Breakfast's account this morning of the mass murder, rape and destruction in Darfur.

Auntie has been reluctant to call the policies of the Sudanese government genocide, although it meets the broad definition set out in the international convention on genocide. Now she says what's going in Darfur is "what some are calling "genocide"."

Auntie has no inhibitions about allowing her stroke-pals to apply the g-word to Australia on-air, as Arundhati Roy did last week.

The BBC's Hillary Andersson has visited the scene of the atrocities and collected first hand accounts of the Sudanese government's modus operandi. The Sudanese air force attacks a village from the air. Its militia, the janjaweed, having surrounded the village earlier, then moves in and shoots every man who cannot escape and gang-rapes the women. Hence the death toll and the nation of refugees in Sudan and neighbouring Chad.

The BBC's Panorama programme has just broadcast its account of the Darfur atrocity. It makes clear, as does Andersson, that the janjaweed is an arm of the Sudanese army and under the control of the government. They wear government military uniforms, without insignia, and carry government identity cards.

Meanwhile the Darfurians see the UN operatives and the OAU soldiers and expect help. So is their misery exacerbated, because the UN and the OAU have both agreed that they will do nothing to oppose the Islamofascist government of the Sudan.

For the communards in Auntie, this greatest current atrocity, even if it may be named, is of small account compared with the 'illegal' liberation of Iraq. Since the misery of Darfur is the responsibility of China, France, the Arab and African states, there is, from the commuanrds' point of view, no basis for a political campaign.

Now if only Halliburton were buying Sudanese oil, and not China!


Sunday, November 14, 2004
 
A sense of history helps us understand the way the left rationalises US victories into disasters, as reader JW observes in this long, but valuable, observation on Auntie's coverage of the liberation of Falluja.
The attached PDF is just to avoid any stealth editing on the part of the ABC, the Transcript of their Nov 12th report on Fallujah on The World Today is at:http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2004/s1242190.htm

My iniitial beef was because the story twice asserted that the Battle of Hue ollowing the Tet offensive involved the deaths of "thousands" of US troops, when the actual figure is 142.

But this factual error (which would have taken 1 minute and Google to clear up), is revealing - whilst you can almost hear the little cogs in Alison Caldwells brain clicking into place as she comes to the conclusion that the dumb Marine officer reminding his troops of Hue fails to appreciate his unintentional irony, it is in fact Ms Caldwell who has her history backwards, except in one crucial respect.

Hue, like the Tet offensive in it's entirety, constitute a massive American and AVRN military victory, as well as a significant feat of arms which the Marine officer was right to remind his men of.


Hue in particular, where the NVA had had time to hunker down for almost 2 months ahead of the US response, in highly defensible positions , and moreover benefiting from a US and ARVN policy that sought to minimise damage to the historic city, thus limiting the air power that could be deployed, nevertheless resulted in a comprehensive defeat of the NVA and VC forces that was , given their advantages, incredibly lopsided.

In addition the discovery that thousands of Hue's residents had been massacred during the communist occupation should have also resulted in a severe political setback for the North, and it's pretense of a national war of liberation.

I say should have, because then, as now, the results on the battlefield were largely nullified by the objective allies of the enemy amongst the media of the west. So Tet was portrayed as an American debacle, Hue the locale of many an antiwar movie set to illustrate the futile slaughter of US soldiers, and the eventual result of the media's efforts a very real, and disastrous change in US policy that snatched ultimate defeat from the jaws of victory.The disastrous results for all of Indochina is something that the left has never taken one jot of responsibility for.

Thus it is today, the stakes are even higher, and objectively much of the media are the allies of thugs, indiscriminate killers, torturers, thieves and religious zealots utterly opposed to even the most basic of our freedoms, and who moreover , unlike the NVA, have exported and will continue to export their violence to our shores. They have succeeded before in completely distorting to the point of reversing reality, and unless stopped they may succeed again.


Friday, November 12, 2004
 
If you're sometimes slow to move out of your chair after a heavy Sunday lunch you've probably been caught by one of Pastor Terry Lane's Sunday sermons. These are occasions for the old Groucho Marxist to find stroke-pals who might confirm him in his communard faith.

You know the main doctrines by heart, I'm sure, since you're listening to our ABC. Profit is evil, more government is better government and the welfare state is the highest expression of the human spirit. And if the talent thinks otherwise, they're not going to tell our old Pastor. He's as ineducable as Phillip Adams although, unlike Adams, able to trade blows. Our Gastropod can only disgorge the slime of obfuscation.

One of Lane's favourite stroke-pals is Barbara Ehrenreich. He had her back recently for some consoling prejudice-reinforcement after the evil Bush won the US presidential election.

Ehrenreich is of the school that claims that the US's prosperity is chimerical because it leaves an underclass of working poor, for whom wage rates are so low that they are condemned for ever to misery unless the rest of us grant them unconditional welfare.

The Australian left runs the same line here, but focussed not so much on minimum wage rates, which are higher here, but on the importance of various forms of protection and bureaucratic controls like centralised wage-fixing that aim to make sure that jobs are not created unless they are judged by some tribunal to be good enough.

No matter how often the evidence proves otherwise, these middle-class promoters of welfarism stick to their line. Paul Keating is wasting his time in pointing out that two thirds of the new productivity created since he began deregulating the Australian economy has gone to wages. The Pastorian left are men and women of faith, and dissonant truths must be neither heard nor spoken.

If our Pastor were a man of truth rather than faith, he would have drawn our attention by now to the systematic study of low-wage workers that shows just how misleading Ehrenreich's own work is.
In fact, few working in low-wage jobs stay in them long. And most workers don't just move on quickly—they also move on to better jobs. The Sphere Institute, a California public-policy think tank founded by Stanford University professors, charted the economic path of workers in the state from 1988 to 2000 and found extraordinary mobility across industries and up the economic ladder. Over 40 percent of the lowest income group worked in retail in 1988; by 2000, more than half of that group had switched to other industries. Their average inflation-adjusted income gain after moving on: 83 percent, to over $32,000 a year.

The workers who stayed in retail, moreover, were usually the higher earners, making about $10,000 more a year than the leavers.
A review of similar studies over a long period showed much the same thing.
The Urban Institute report points out that several mobility studies based on the University of Michigan's Panel Study of Income Dynamics, which has traced thousands of American families since 1968, show that about 20 percent of those in the lowest economic quintile rise at least one economic class within a year. If Ehrenreich had given herself 12 months in her low-wage stints, instead of a week or two, she might have worked her way into the lower middle class by the end of her experiment.

In other words, most of the people that Ehrenreich and her social work colleagues wanted to condemn to perpetual welfare-dependency have joined the ranks of the more prosperous.

The study was in fact mentioned in our public media some months ago, but has yet to penetrate the ABC commune's immune system.

You will find a detailed criticism of the baleful Ehrenreichian doctrines here, and I advise you to read it before Pastor Lane catches you not napping on some future Sunday.


 
The left's favourite Israeli, Mordechai Vanunu, has been arrested for passing classified information on to foreigners.

This will only strengthen his case with those awarding Nobel Peace Prizes.

Failing that, there's the consolation of the Sydney Peace-through-leftist-politics Prize


 
Kofi Annan wants the US-Iraqi forces to cease and desist in their assault on Falluja, despite its role in organising violence against the innocent.

Annan is not only worried about the suffering of innocent civilians. He thinks the Falluja 'insurgents' are thoughtful types who might just stop doing it if they are left alone:
Persuading elements who are currently alienated from, or sceptical about, the transition process to compete politically is key to creating a political and security context that will inspire confidence among all Iraqis in the process and allow the full participation of all segments of society in the elections...
To which interim Iraqi Defence Minister responds: "Where was Kofi Annan when Saddam was slaughtering the Iraqis like sheep?"

Annan is also working against the policy of the UN, according to Michael Costello.
What is particularly extraordinary about Annan's tone is that he puts on an equal footing the terrorist violence and action taken by coalition forces and the Government to stop it. He seems to share the widespread view that the coalition forces are there unilaterally and the Allawi Government is an American creation. Yet he must know better. Allawi is the personal appointment of the UN, pursuant to Security Council resolutions. Allawi's Government is, according to UN Security Council Resolution 1546, "sovereign" and has "full responsibility and authority for governing Iraq".
Makes you wonder just who Annan thinks he is working for. Apart from himself, of course.
The [US]senators also complained that Mr. Annan was blocking access to 55 internal audit reports of the [Iraq oil-for-food] program and other relevant documents and refusing to permit United Nations officials to be interviewed by the subcommittee's investigators.(free registration required)


 
Australia is a nation divided in its evaluation of Yasser Arafat, if you read our views from the editorial staff of Henny Herald and the Australian.

The Aus's stories discuss the political implications of the death of a political leader: Death gives peace a chance, Legacy is a divided, shattered people, The two Yasser Arafats.

Henny's stories give us, in respectful tones, the death of a statesman: The genius of ordered anarchy, Heir apparent will call for calm, Arafat's body arrives in Cairo for funeral.

The American people seem to know where they stand. When the Democrats' favourite broadcaster, CBS, interrupted the popular CSI:New York to announce Arafat's death it was forced by public reaction to apologise. Getting into practice for the publication of their independent report on Rathergate.


 
The van Gogh killing is indeed like 9/11 in one respect; too many left intellectuals are saying he brought it on himself by criticising Islam.

Stefan Beck reminds us that "In moral terms, there is precious little difference between murdering a crude, blustering filmmaker and murdering schoolchildren in Beslan. Too much of the commentary on Theo van Gogh has obscured this fact".

You just can't say it too often.


 
Who you calling dumb?

The Daily Mirror labels Republican voters 'dumb'. In fact, according to exit polls, they're not all the solid, provincial, high-school graduated, church-going citizens the left loves to despise. They're at least as well educated as Democrat voters.
This trend toward more educated voters siding with the GOP coincided with the results of the 2002 national elections in which "Republicans won for the first time in decades among those claiming to have post-graduate degrees. They even captured a majority of women with college or post-graduate degrees."

A quid to a dollar says they're also better educated than Daily Mirror readers.

But education is not everything. There's also the capacity to learn in the school of hard knocks, real life. How do Democrats score in that competition?
On a personal note, I [Christopher Orlet] have lived all my life next door to some of the poorest communities in America: Washington Park, Brooklyn, and Venice, Illinois. Since FDR's day the Democrats have been running these towns and surrounding counties into the ground, growing fat while these communities grow poorer and more crime-ridden each year, while the rest of the country prospers. And yet the voters continue to turn out each election cycle for the Democrats.



 
Even the Democrat campaigners aren't complaining their man was robbed of victory in the US Presidential elections, but still the conspiracy theories are spreading.
the theories are coming from respected sources -- college engineering professors fascinated by voting technology, Internet journalists, election reform activists.
I don't know which is worse, respecting bloggers or calling them journalists.




Wednesday, November 10, 2004
 
"French doctors are carefully watching terrorist leader Yasser Arafat; if his condition improves significantly, they may be able to pronounce him dead today", reports the delightfully evil James Taranto (updating site).

He's also more reliable than any statement out of the Palestinian authorities.


 
The Smithsonian Institution, no novice in the culture wars, co-sponsored a contest for teachers. They had to propose teaching plans to guide students to an understanding of 9/11.

Do you have a sense of dread already? Call it rational anxiety, because here, in Jacob Laksin's summary, is the result.
Call it Blame America 101. Outspoken leftist activist and fifth grade teacher Bob Peterson, whose plan to teach 9-11 at elementary schools was selected as one of the four winning entries, urges students to consider the attacks “in the broader context of global injustice.” To wrap their young minds around terrorism, Peterson contends, they must first untangle the “tough questions,” such as, “Why do they hate us?” Another winner, Iowa middle school teacher Tracy Paxton, recommends a vocabulary lesson. Among the words she believes shed light on the nature of terrorism are, “Al Qaeda,” “Saddam Hussein,” “stereotype,” “Taliban,” and, ominously, “Right wing.”
If these teachers can't take the terrorists' motives from their own words, they could read this Harvard study. Trouble is, if they did understand the roots of Islamism, the Smithsonian wouldn't award them any prizes.

Later: the link to the Harvard study is a dog. Short of finding it again, here is another study making a similar point.


 
In response to the hysterical warnings about the triumph of Christian 'fundamentalism' within George W Bush's victory comes this sharp rejoinder from Christopher Hitchins:
Only one faction in American politics has found itself able to make excuses for the kind of religious fanaticism that immediately menaces us in the here and now. And that faction, I am sorry and furious to say, is the left.
And then there's the sheer implausibility of the left's interpretation of the role of values in the Republican victory, as Libby Sternberg points out:
Evangelical Christians, who turned out strong for Bush this year, do not make up a majority. In fact, they don't make up enough of a majority to pass gay marriage bans in 11 states. To do that, you need the votes of people who are believers--in some sense of the word--but who are more likely to be uncomfortable with absolutist moral approaches in general. Including those of the left
.

The
ABC's Christophobia matches anything the New York Times can produce.




 
It was quagmire in Falluja almost the moment the first shots were fired, according to the New York Times's Dexter Filkins.

But a few short hours and some fine Filkins-fiskin' by Roger Kimball have changed the picture.

The marines are now in the centre of Falluja.


 
Will Holland be the first of the liberal democracies to mount a serious resistance to its indigenous Islamism? Certainly the first in Europe?

The answer's yes, according to Happy Feder , who says the murder of film-maker Theo van Gogh is Holland's 9/11.

You wouldn't know it from Dutch official reaction. An artist who painted a mural showing an angel with the text 'Thou shalt not kill' was ordered to scrub it from his wall by local officials after complaints from a neighbouring mosque. The Deputy Prime Minister, however, has used the 'war' word to describe the challenge facing Holland. The organisation of moderate Muslims has offered support for the campaign which is backed by the Dutch-Moroccan vice-mayor of Amsterdam.

Left opinion, exemplified by the New York Times, advises the Dutch not to risk making victims of their Islamic citizens.
Urgent efforts are needed to better manage the cultural tensions perilously close to the surface of Dutch public life. The problem is not Muslim immigration, but a failure to plan … a more diverse society.
The Dutch, however, can read the note pinned by a knife stuck into van Gogh's heart ... "You will be crushed by Islam.… I am certain that you, the Netherlands, will go to ruin... hair-raising screams will be squeezed from the lungs of the non-believers.", and the list of Islamism's opponents in line for later throat-cutting.

For the Dutch, and for the French and the Germans and the British, the problem is that a substantial proportion of their immigrant Islamic populations support the extreme jihadist world-view in which Mohammed B., the man who hacked off van Gogh's head, was educated, supported and encouraged.

There is talk of banning extremist mosques, prosecuting the hate-preaching mullahs, and depriving extremists of Dutch citizenship. In other words, liberal Holland will no longer tolerate the militant intolerance that breeds violence against its opponents.

Keep track of developments on this blog.


Tuesday, November 09, 2004
 
'I haven't a peaceful bone in my body', Sydney 'Peace' Prize winner Arundhati Roy tells her admiring audience, and that includes Auntie's captive audience on Radio National.

'I regard this prize as recognition for the kind of politics I represent', Roy continues.

And that means the kind of politics you can hear at any anti-globo, Yank-bashing rally outside the nearest international talk-fest.

Why didn't the Prize's instigator, Professor Stuart Rees, tell us that?

Instead, his Sydney University-sponsored operation claims to recognise
an organisation or individual,

* who has made significant contributions to global peace including improvements in personal security and steps towards eradicating poverty, and other forms of structural violence
* whose role and responsibilities enable the recipient to use the prize to further the cause of peace with justice
* whose work illustrates the philosophy and principles of non-violence
Roy fails dismally on point one. She supports the kind of hostility to private business that kept India poor and vulnerable until a few years ago. Count that as a few million unnecessary deaths over the wasted post-independence years, a longer period than the madness of Maoism in China.

As a sole operator, Roy is unlikely to match the violence of her rhetoric with action, but neither is she likely to "illustrate the philosophy and principles of non-violence".

Non-violence was characteristic of her policy towards Saddam Hussein's regime, but after the US-led liberation she favours the 'resistance' of Iraqi 'insurgents'. God forbid that Iraqis should prefer to vote.

Roy says she will donate her loot to Australia's Aborigines, because of Australia's "attempt to genocidally wipe them out". I wonder where she got that idea from? Perhaps from our favourite left historians who now say they never really meant to say that. What matters to Roy is not the evidence, it's the hate.

Auntie follows up Roy's lecture with a repeat of Phillip Adams's most obsequious interviews, in which Roy declares that President Bush and bin Laden are morally equivalent. In fact Bush and Blair are worse than bin Laden, because Roy reserves for them the term "war criminal".

The ABC as indymedia.

And you're paying for it.


Monday, November 08, 2004
 
At last a positive suggestion for improving things in Iraq.

Reader PM proposes swapping Malcolm Fraser for hostage Margaret Hassan.

Uncle will kick in the air fare.


 
You always knew that George W was responsible for climate change, but Lateline makes that view ABC policy.

According to reader GG, this was the message on Friday night:
JOHN STEWART: Just two months ago, Florida was struck by some of the worst hurricanes in years.

But voters in Florida didn't make a connection between the extreme weather and the world's deteriorating environment.

Instead, the Republican's gained votes in Florida by producing a generous disaster relief fund.
Read the transcript here.


 
Many are no doubt weeping at the slow demise of Yasser Arafat, but why is the BBC among them?

Perhaps reporter Barbara Plett can explain.
She said: "When the helicopter carrying the frail old man rose above his ruined compound, I started to cry . . . without warning." Almost as a footnote, she later admitted that an "ambivalence towards violence" was one of his failings.
Perhaps it's one of Great-Aunt Beeb's, too.


 
How should Uncle persuade Auntie to improve her ways?

Lots of good advice from various influential mullahs is available.
"The Koranic verse refers only to a disobedient wife...First you must admonish...Then comes the stage of sending her to a separate bed...If this does not help either...it is said, 'and beat them'... What's better, that she gets slapped, or that she ruins her family, herself, and society?"
Precisely. Although the separate bed might be more of an inducement to further error.

I must find a mullah brave enough to break the news to Auntie.


 
American pacifist women copy the propaganda techniques of Australian women who were copying some other American women, and Christopher Orlet copies Uncle's headline, Pubes for Peace.

The intellectual property protections in the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement need to be strengthened.


 
SAFE HANDS FOR A TROUBLED WORLD; MULTILATERALISM ROUND-UP

In the Ivory Coast, France is calling for more UN support to relieve it from the burdens of its unilateral military involvement.
The latest violence began when Ivorian aircraft attacked the former rebel-controlled city of Bouake.

French peacekeepers who were stationed near the city were also killed in the raid.

French President Jacques Chirac ordered his troops to retaliate by destroying Ivorian bombers and helicopters.

Since we're talking about France, and the subjects of their attention are Africans, none dare call it quagmire.

And what do you call those brave lads with machetes attacking French armour, under orders from their government? Patriots? Insurgents, even?

No, they're 'demonstrators'.
Thousands of demonstrators, some armed with axes and machetes, tried to storm a French military base outside the commercial capital Abijan.



In the Sudan, there is nothing the media considers worth reporting. That is, the Islamist genocide of the Darfurian Africans, through mass murder, mass rapes and starvation, continues apace under the watchful and compassionate gaze of UN resolutions.


In Iran, the European Union has come to an agreement with the Islamist dictatorship of that country. The terms of the deal seem to be that Iran can continue with its nukes program, but discreetly, to avoid offending the European in the street. Meanwhile, the Europeans can continue to sell Iran nuclear technology and buy its oil while professing to be serious about nuclear non-proliferation.

That, it seems, is enough to avoid UN sanctions.


 
What a spray young Andrew Bolt copped from Mike Seccombe on the ABC's confessional Sunday political discussion program, Insiders, yesterday! Fellow panellist, the Age's Mischa Schubert, joined in the flogging, of course. Auntie always likes to keep these horrible conservatives on the outside.

Bolt took it all like a man. He knows, I'm sure, that Seccombe's real target was not Bolt but those 'DUMB' voters, here and in the US, who didn't vote the way Seccombe thought they should have.

Where are we, the second stage of grieving? Anger and denial.

"On the morning of Nov. 2, the condescending left were convinced that Bush was an idiot. By the evening of Nov. 2, they were convinced that the electorate was".

How can Mark Steyn be so unfeeling about the suffering of Seccombe's allies, the US Democrats?

Later: If you look at the current index page for the (UK) Spectator you'll find that three of the five most-viewed Spectator articles were written by Mark Steyn. And of those who read this Steyn review of the US election result, 94% agreed with Steyn. It looks like the Spectator's guest is taking over the house.

Go here for a review of Euro-loathing by Denis Boyles.


Friday, November 05, 2004
 
The Tories are stuffed. If you needed any convincing that British Conservatism is in a hole, read this mourning editorial by Peter Oborne, on the Kerry victory that never was.


 
A good collection of sore-heads, and sore-head-kickers, over at MCJ

My favourtie sore-head is George Soros:
When asked what he planned to do if Kerry lost the election, Soros said that he plans to enter a monastery for a time because he will need to contemplate what is wrong with the people of this country.
Anyone know of a monastery with gold taps in the bathrooms?

The Guardian is protecting its political vitals by burying this news in the middle of Dominic Timms's column:
The Guardian, which pinned its colours firmly to the Kerry mast, had encouraged non-US readers to have their say in the election by writing to voters in Clark County, Ohio.

Much to the delight of the small band of vociferous opponents who emailed the paper strongly criticising the scheme, Bush eventually won Clark County by a margin of 50.96% to John Kerry's 48.56%.



 
I need to update my earlier post on David Marr's trashing of the ABA report into biases in Auntie's political reporting.

It is now clearer why Media Watch took the scalpel to some of the ABA's detail. It was misrepresenting the ABA's overall and devastating conclusion.

Here's what David Marr told us on Monday night, quoting selectively from the ABA report: "The ABA considers that the program was balanced overall in its coverage of the Iraq War and related issues."

Very comforting, no?

What David Marr didn't report was this more general, and more damning conclusion.
The ABA has concerns about a pattern of emotional, tendentious language used by AM's studio presentation team.

The ABA concludes that nowithstanding the high quality of the overall coverage, the impression left by the presenters was that issues and perspectives were pre-judged. To some extent this was mitigated by the balance provided by on-the-field reporters and military and political commentators.
Well and truthfully put. (As reported by Errol Simper in Thursday's Australian).

And how much education and training do you need to see this March 22, 2003 AM intro for what it is?
The Bush administration has been briefing journalists on the latest developments in Iraq, quickly taking the opportunity to make advances in the propaganda war to match those they say they're making on the ground.


The ABA report (enormous file here) is a draft for discussion with the ABC. The ABA is, as Media Watch has often told us in commenting on ABA reports on other people's media, something of a pussy-cat.

It may be a long time before the ABA report sees the light of day. The arrogance of the Auntie left, however, is plain for all to see.

Errol Simper's report also claims that the ABA report was leaked to Media Watch from within the ABC. To my knowledge no-one has yet given staff-elected Board member Ramona Koval the opportunity to refuse to say whether or not she leaked it.


 
US TO BOMB AUSTRALIA, the Age's screamer of a headline this morning, is only the most extravagant of the left's midnight horrors at the re-election of President Bush.

The Michael Moore left in the US told them that it must not happen and it would not happen. What went wrong?

Before the election it was all about Iraq, oil and US unilateralism in world affairs.

The day after and it's all about religious fundamentalism and the attack on liberal values.

According to Henny Herald's most reliable ideologue, Marian Wilkinson, Bush will now be "grinding liberals into the dust". The Republicans succeeded, according to the left, because they got out the conservative Christian vote. By implication the new black and working class voters all voted for Kerry. For this grand assumption they have, of course, no evidence.

(Henny's Peter Hartcher takes a saner view that the root of Bush's victory was his response to 9/11, but Wilkinson gets the front page spot for her 'news' report and her commentary.)

The success of referenda against extending the definition of marriage to cover homosexual unions provides some strong evidence to the contrary. How long do you think it will be before the left acknowledges that people who wish to maintain the distinction between heterosexual marriage and homsexual partnerships are not thereby vilifying homsexuals? My guess; some time after the left has lost the next round of elections.

A principal problem for the middle-class left is that it despises working people, those who have not been acculturated by the humanities/social science faculties of our universities.

You can see how hard it's going to be when you listen to Kerry O'Brien's script-writer on last night's 7.30 Report. The contest was between
Bush's potent moral message and Democrat challenger Kerry's promise of political pragmatism and record as a war hero, the moral message won hands down.

Dream on people, and don't be surprised if it feels more and more like a nightmare.


Wednesday, November 03, 2004
 
Uncle's call: Bush by a comfortable margin.

Now let's go looking for sour grapes, despair, calumny and dread, among other negative emotions.




 
Ohio 15% counted; Bush 52%

Later (2.30 AET): with 32% counted, it's still Bush 52%.

Florida 68% counted: Bush 53%.

Auntie thinks the key states too close to call.

I'm happy to drink alone.

2.40 AET. New Hampshire is really too close to call. With almost half the precincts counted it's 50:50.




 
Unwilling to pull the knife on Margaret Hassan, but willing to toture her, Hassan's kidnapers have threatened to hand her over to throat-cutting cultist Zarqawi.

The latest video released by the kidnapers was considered by al Jazeera too distressing to broadcast. Considering the scenes they have broadcast, we must ask whether they think it too distressing for their viewers or too damaging to the Islamist cause.

Irish PM Aherne continues to play the kidnapers game, which is to take their victims' families and communities hostage as well.

Until our media and our leaders learn the discipline not to support this "terrorist-driven, media-fuelled compassion campaign, as Janet Albrechtsen calls it, there will be an unending and increasing list of political victims of Islamist terrorism.


 
With seven percent of Ohio precincts counted, it's Bush by 52% to 47%.

With 53 percent of Florida precincts counted, it's Bush by 53% to 46%.

Feeling better now?

On the other hand, in Pennsylvania its Kerry by 71:28%

In New Hampshire it's Kerry by 51%, with 21% of the precincts counted.


 
Another step taken in the retreat of European liberties before the spread of its Islamic populations as Dutch film maker Theo van Gogh is shot dead for his doco on Islamic culture's underside.

Meanwhile the Sudanese government has broken the veil of its sponsored militias by openly attacking the Darfurian Africans in their UN-sponsored camps in Sudan. Another challenge the UN will fail to respond to.

Later: Investigative journalism at its best. James Taranto gets beneath the surface of the van Gogh killing.
"Nothing is known about the motive," says Jan Peter Balkenende, prime minister of the Netherlands, about the shooting death of Theo van Gogh, a Dutch moviemaker. But if you read the Associated Press story about the killing, you discover a few possible clues:

* Van Gogh had received "death threats over a movie he made criticizing the treatment of women under Islam."

* The suspect is "a 26-year-old man with dual Dutch-Moroccan nationality."

* "One unidentified witness who lives in the neighborhood told the Dutch national broadcaster NOS that she heard six shots and saw a man with a long beard and wearing Islamic garb concealing a gun."




 
Kerry is in the lead in Ohio and Florida, according to Drudge's reading of the exit polls, but the sample is unreliable.

Meanwhile, Australian punters give the race to Bush. They outguessed the pundits on the Australian election. Can they do the same in foreign parts?

The Poms may be plunging heavily on Kerry, but their bookies have run out of fingers to tally the bets.

Yesterday, Auntie's funereal US correspondent John Shovelan primed her constituency for disappointment by reminding us that in 2000 Bush "went on to lose the popular vote by half a million votes". Here's hoping they'll be robbed again in 2004. Can you imagine such a reminder if Beazley had squeaked in in 2001 with less than 50% of the two-party preferred vote?


Tuesday, November 02, 2004
 
A last pre-poll word on the media's betrothal to John Kerry, from Mark Steyn of course.
When he [Bill Clinton] left, the Democrats became a party running on personality with no personalities to run. Hence, the Kerry candidacy. Despite the best efforts of American editorialists, there's no there there.


Monday, November 01, 2004
 
In the greatest leap forward for Human Rights since Libya was elected to the chair of the UN's committee on the subject, China has endorsed Senator Kerry by criticising President Bush's decision to liberate Iraq.
China has assailed what it calls the "Bush doctrine" on the eve of the US election, saying the Iraq war has ruined the global anti-terror coalition and has blamed arrogance for problems dogging the United States worldwide.
China is worried that
the rift in the United States over the Iraq war is becoming so serious that "no matter who gets into the White House, they will have to face an America that is moving each day toward division".
Yes indeed. It's called an election, a practice not likely to disturb the middle kingdom in the forseeable future.

China did not mention its own role as principal Security Council sponsor of Sudan's genocidal government.

Neither did Auntie.

China did not mention the violent divisions caused by its suppression of its own ethnic minorities.

China's divisions are being managed by martial law. I presume China is recommending that to the US.


 
First one, and now two indpendent enquiries have found Radio National's AM programme guilty of serious breaches of journalistic good practice. The first independent review was in fact chosen by the ABC itself, but we'll let that pass for the moment.

The offences all related to the reporting of the Iraq liberation, and especially to presenter Linda Mottram's leading questions and the assumptions which they plainly expressed.


The second independent review was carried out by the Australian Broadcasting Authority, usually criticised by David Marr's My Pet Hates programme for going soft on media malpractice. Not this time; the ABA has endorsed the first independent review.

Fortunately for the communard conspiracy within Auntie, a draft report has been leaked to Media Watch by a sympathiser within the ABA, so a pre-emptive assault got under way tonight.

In the course of this polemic against the ABA I thought I heard Marr calling for yet another really independent body to review the original Alston complaints yet again.

Do you think Marr and his minders would accept criticism of the ABC left from a third independent enquiry? Or would the same tricks be employed?

Marr, like his more permanent communard associates within the ABC, are about as objective in assessing themselves as Allan Jones. But with much less charm.


 
According to reader WP, Blogger.com managed to protect aspiring ABCwatch readers from unbearable disappointment by keeping the site in purdah for at least 36 hours from Friday. Good timing, my lords.


 
He doesn't make the trains run on time, he hasn't collectivised agriculture, but still the appeasement-minded of the left and right boost the standing of the death-cultist bin Laden. It's the 1930s reaction, but to a celebrity killer rather than a head of state.

Bin Laden has only to send out a scratchy videotape to his media mouthpiece Al Jazeera and Henny Herald grants him the role of a voice for the underprivileged, religiously classified.

John Kerry allows him to define the ground for the Presidential election contest.

"Let me make this very clear. Americans will not be intimidated or influenced by an enemy of our country," he [Bush] said, adding, "I'm sure Senator Kerry agrees with this." But Kerry saw no problem with enlisting bin Laden as a campaign emblem, and criticises President Bush for failing to capture the cave-dwelling criminal.


There is, of course, no evidence to justify any of this. On the contrary, the clear evidence is bin Laden's inability to make "overt threats of an attack on US interests".

That means he can only exert influence with the willing assistance of al Jazeera, the less partisan media and opportunistic politicians.

The Guardian was a reliable megaphone for the megalomaniac;
It could either remind voters of Mr Bush's leadership in the "war on terror", or of his failure to capture the man synonymous with that war. Perhaps, some speculate, Bin Laden has managed to see - and be inspired by - Michael Moore's film, Fahrenheit 9/11, with its footage of Mr Bush's slow performance on the day
forgetting how like George Bush was the British hero Sir Francis Drake receiving news of the arrival of the Spanish Armada.

The Beeb is much more cautious, just reporting the confidence of the Arabic press that the terrorist icon has struck the killer blow against Bush.

In any case, the really informed commentator knows that bin Laden is in China.