To give the monopoly of the home-market to the produce of domestic industry, in any particular art or manufacture, is in some measure to direct private people in what manner they ought to employ their capitals, and must, in almost all cases, be either a useless or a hurtful regulation.
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN)
Dear Rep. Bachmann:
Politico reports your support for Uncle Sam taking action against Beijing’s policy of allegedly keeping the value of the Chinese renminbi too low (“Bachmann hits China on ‘lasers’,” Sept. 30).
Now that you’ve aligned yourself with America’s screechy protectionists, who insist that it’s harmful for Americans to have too much access to low-priced imports, I’ve a question for you. Would you applaud if Beijing erects a partial blockade against America – a blockade in which Chinese naval and air forces forcibly reduce America’s imports to levels that you and, say, Sen. Chuck Schumer determine are ‘appropriate’?
If not, why not?
The result of such action by Beijing would be identical to the result of the action that you insist Beijing take: in both cases Americans’ cost of buying Chinese-made goods would rise and, hence, Americans would import fewer goods from China. If deploying government force to raise Americans’ cost of importing makes Americans more prosperous, surely you’d as vigorously support Beijing enforcing such a blockade as you now support Uncle Sam enforcing higher tariffs on imports from China.
Same means (government force used to obstruct voluntary purchases); same result (fewer American imports, and – at least in your reckoning – greater American prosperity).
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030
… is John Blundell’s new book Ladies for Liberty. John is a gifted and deeply informed writer. I’m eager to learn more from him not only about Ayn Rand, but also about the likes of Rose Wilder Lane, Isabel Paterson, and Madam C. J. Walker. And Stephen Cox recommends the book.
John is a guest on this week’s Freedom & Prosperity Radio; rumor has it that he’ll discuss his new book.
Andrew Bolt – Monday, October 03, 11 (12:31 pm)
Wow. I have acquired a “former fiancee” - and possibly even more than one:
So how did the son of Dutch migrants and the boy from outback SA – who a former fiancée remembers as “introverted, restless, romantic”, with strong ethics and an opposition to sensationalist journalism – end up this way?
I have spoken to the editor of The Monthly and informed him of Summers’ error about this “former fiancee” upon which her narrative appears to rely. I have offered to read to him extracts from a 1987 letter confirming the error. In reply, he said the magazine had already been printed and would be in the shops next week. He did not offer an apology or make any promise to correct the record or withdraw his magazine from sale.
Oh, and I am not a “boy from outback SA”, unless Elizabeth is the “outback” and Darwin in South Australia. Will the rest of the article run at this rate of two errors a sentence? I’m all agog. It sounds like I’ve had a far wilder life than I thought. Wish I’d known.
Andrew Bolt – Monday, October 03, 11 (12:10 pm)
One year ago:
International efforts to protect the ozone layer—the shield that protects life on Earth from harmful levels of ultraviolet rays—are a success and have stopped additional ozone losses and contributed to mitigating the greenhouse effect, according to a new report…
The report was written and reviewed by some 300 scientists and launched on the UN International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer.
An ozone hole five times the size of California opened over the Arctic this spring, matching ozone loss over Antarctica for the first time on record, scientists say.
Andrew Bolt – Monday, October 03, 11 (11:43 am)
Let’s first recall Julian Burnside’s original excuse:
PROMINENT Queen’s Counsel Julian Burnside has issued an apology to Tony Abbott after tweeting “Paedos in speedos” during a stream of critical remarks about the Opposition Leader on Twitter.
Mr Burnside said last night he had not intended to suggest Mr Abbott was a pedophile and his Twitter gaffe was only meant to be a private reply to a “rather weak pun about church people"…
Mr Burnside said he received a private message and replied to it with the comment “Paedos in speedos"… Mr Burnside said that he could not recall whether the message he was replying to was a comment from @RobertaWedge, asking: “@JulianBurnside Are sexist abbots like predator priests?”
But Burnside in this interview with Steve Price today concedes he was indeed responding to Ms Wedge, but claims “her comment to me was not about him (Abbott)”. Price then reads to Burnside the actual words of Wedge’s tweet which seems to stop Burnside dead for a bit.
I’m not surprised. Let’s reconstruct what happened and see if Burnside’s claim that neither he nor Wedge meant to refer to the speedo-wearing Abbott stacks up.
Burnside on Friday publishes six consecutive tweets variously damning Tony Abbott as a sexist, a hypocrite, dangerous and a liar. The first reads:
“‘Sexist’ Abbott blasted in new book”
In response to his tweets, he receives this from Wedge:
“Are sexist abbots like predator priests?”
In return to this jibe about “sexist abbotts” Burnside tweets:
“Paedos in speedos”
I am inclined to doubt Burnside.
Andrew Bolt – Monday, October 03, 11 (11:37 am)
Andrew Wilkie denies he’s gone wobbly on his threat:
Mr Wilkie used an appearance on Sky News’s Australian Agenda program to repeat his threat to withdraw support for the government if his plan to tackle problem gambling was not passed by May, saying he would not negotiate any further.
Mr Wilkie warned that “all bets are off” if government MPs dump Julia Gillard, saying he would be “hard-pressed” to support another Labor leader in this parliamentary term because it would demonstrate serious instability.
“It wouldn’t be in the public interest,” he insisted.
Andrew Bolt – Monday, October 03, 11 (11:11 am)
As I suggested a couple of weeks ago, Rudd has a Katter card to play - but perhaps closer to an election:
INDEPENDENT MP Bob Katter has left the door open to supporting a second Kevin Rudd prime ministership, but says Labor would be “stupid” to change leaders before the middle of next year....
Some in Labor are hopeful Mr Katter could rescue the government by allowing the switch to the more popular Mr Rudd while freeing the government from Tasmanian independent Andrew Wilkie’s politically difficult poker machine reforms.
Mr Katter suggested a Labor leadership change should be made closer to the next election…
“If Kevin is out there for two years, the slings and arrows would come at him. So politics would dictate waiting till late next year.”
He said his final decision on whether to back Mr Rudd - a long-time friend - would hinge on whether the former prime minister could tick more boxes than Mr Abbott on the independent’s 20-point manifesto, issued last September during minority government negotiations.
Andrew Bolt – Monday, October 03, 11 (10:43 am)
The Age continues its series of articles imputing views to me that I do not hold, the better to damn me. Yesterday, I read that I believe in a “master race” and oppose interbreeding. The day before I read that I don’t like and don’t celebrate Australia. Today’s allegation:
That claim is completely false.
After more than 100 years of disadvantaging Aboriginal people with ‘’mixed blood’’, conservative commentators like Andrew Bolt now claim there is too much support for mixed-blood Aboriginal people…
I also notice the writer substituted “people” for “artists” in this sentence summing up my alleged opinions:
only ‘’real draw-in-the-dirt Aboriginal’’ people should be eligible for support
That distorts what I was arguing, and in a manner to make me seem off-handed and sneering about Aborigines generally. In fact, the selectively quoted phrase comes from a discussion about the allocation of an Aboriginal art prize, and how ‘’real draw-in-the-dirt Aboriginal artists‘’ were missing out to ... well, best not say..
For legal reasons, I am unwilling to take the risk of directly linking to the article I wrote which The Age today so misrepresents. That article has been declared unlawful, and for me to now republish parts of it may be against the law.
I can only hope that you do an Internet search of the phrase ‘’real draw-in-the-dirt Aboriginal’’ to see how I’ve been misrepresented, and whether I was truly arguing that Aborigines should get less support.
For a paper that cheerfully supported the verdict againist me on the grounds of my allegedly nasty tone and inaccuracies… Really, this is not reporting but the crudest of propagandising. It is a shameful get-square against an ideological bogeyman.
(This item has been updated and bumped from where it originally appeared, as an update to an earlier post. No comments for legal reasons.)
Andrew Bolt – Monday, October 03, 11 (10:22 am)
Steven Fry makes an interesting point about racial identity and Barack Obama, but rather than take the risk of quoting and commenting on it, I will leave it to you to find it and think about it.
(Thanks to reader Peter. No comments to avoid potential legal difficulties.)
Andrew Bolt – Monday, October 03, 11 (10:13 am)
Reader Tabitha can’t keep up with the alarms, like this one:
Global warming, pollution and overfishing are all behind the invasion of the mauve stingers, say marine biologists… Rising water temperatures and pollution have produced more plankton - their staple diet …
Huge blooms of moon jellyfish have been seen around the Scottish coastline with tens of thousands more already washed up on the country’s beaches. Scientists are uncertain as to why this is occuring but some fear it is a sign of global warming as increasing temperatures produce more plankton for jellyfish to feed on.
Bigger fish due to climate change: tuna industry
Australian scientists say global warming is turning the world’s squid into much larger creatures, with huge appetites and fast breeding cycles. Scientists have discovered the breeding cycle and growth rate of squid is linked to sea temperatures, which means global warming is causing the squid population to blow out.
Scientists at Queen Mary, University of London, studied marine planktonic copepods — the ocean’s primary form of plankton and a source of food for many marine animals… Warmer water temperatures cause a “decoupling” of growth and development rates in the tiny shrimp-like creatures.
The same phenomenon, called the “temperature-size rule,” affects most cold-blooded animals, so as the planet heats up, many animals’ sizes may go down… Since copepods are food for marine animals, from fish to whales, what happens developmentally to the shrimp-y crustaceans could affect the entire ocean’s food web. “Decoupling of these rates could have important consequences for individual species and ecosystems,” Hirst added.
Andrew Bolt – Monday, October 03, 11 (09:36 am)
If Labor wants to campaign on boat people, it really is short of material in its favor:
The party-paid radio ads use a series of voices to ask questions such as, “Don’t the Liberals support offshore processing?”
“First Tony Abbott supported offshore processing, now he’s opposing it,” one voice says…
The Government is desperate to stem a flow of boats that has begun since the High Court effectively scuttled its Malaysian policy.
On Saturday, the fourth boat in about a week sailed into Australian waters. It was carrying 70 people.
(Thanks to several readers.)
Andrew Bolt – Monday, October 03, 11 (09:29 am)
What’s the big deal? It’s only your money:
The launch in independent MP Tony Windsor’s northern NSW seat in May was attended by Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, as well as NBN Co boss Mike Quigley....It was later revealed that only seven retail customers in Armidale had actually signed up for the free trail prior to the launch - despite 3000 homes in the area being NBN ready.
(Thanks to reader mum of 6.)
Andrew Bolt – Monday, October 03, 11 (08:54 am)
Sick of attacks on your right to free speech? Here’s one way citizens are fighting back:
THE question of the week remains the Andrew Bolt judgment. A bad decision on free speech or a good decision on bad journalism? Conservative think tank the Institute of Public Affairs has found more than 100 people who think the former and are coughing up some hard-earned to back Bolt.
It raised more than $100,000 in the 48 hours following Wednesday’s decision to fund the Support Bolt campaign. Executive director John Roskam said the campaign was in full flight and the IPA intended bringing back Mark Steyn to Australia to add his support. “There is huge community concern about freedom of speech in Australia,” he said. “This decision comes on top of Bob Brown’s threats to the so-called biased media, threats to regulate bloggers and potential restrictions on private funding of political discussion. It all fits into a broader narrative.”
It’s not actually a “support Bolt” campaign, but a campaign to defend the freedom of all Australians to speak freely.
Andrew Bolt – Monday, October 03, 11 (08:28 am)
Julia Gillard’s new media advisor, John McTernan, denies he’s really what he seems portrayed to be:
JULIA Gillard’s new communications chief, John McTernan, wants to make one thing clear: he is not Malcolm Tucker.
True, he shares the Scottish accent and thick skin of Tucker, the hilariously abusive and cynical New Labour spin doctor in the TV political satire The Thick of It.
And yes, McTernan was the most high-profile New Labour special adviser in the department that employed Martin Sixsmith, the man who later advised the comedy series’ writers on how the civil service works.
He is also on record praising the political role of “headkickers” and “intellectual thugs”, while backing populist policies, scare campaigns and negative attacks, arguing that “fear beats hope”.
McTernan enjoys swapping humorous Twitter messages with “Peter Mannion MP”, an account set up in the name of the lazy and cynical Tory MP character from the show. “To quote Peter Mannion,” said one entry that McTernan retweeted last week, “I’m sensing a change in management styles. From touchy-feely to smashy-testes.”
CAUTION: OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE IN THE CLIP. I MEAN, REALLY OFFENSIVE. GREAT SHOW, BUT.
Andrew Bolt – Monday, October 03, 11 (07:59 am)
In my experience politically active Aboriginal people are experts when it comes to dishing out abuse. Fighting hard and dirty has been turned into quite an art form by indigenous people across the country trying to protect their slice of the $3.5 billion that the government spends each year on indigenous affairs.
Instead of actually overcoming disadvantage, indigenous affairs has sunk to a transactional arrangement in which the government hands over billions of dollars each year for “dismally poor returns”, to quote the federal Department of Finance.
Yet try to threaten a person’s funding and you will experience firsthand what it feels like to be offended, insulted, humiliated and intimidated; and unlike the Bolt case, this will be the desired intent. The real professionals in race-based intimidation are Aboriginal people whose vocation is to divest the commonwealth of funds.
I know of communities where the government directly finances invented tribes, fabricated history, waste, petty corruption and the occasional threat of violence or death. There are no lawyers to contrive affront; there is no judge; just more government money going to the usual suspects for no benefit.
In court last week, Bolt’s loss was unfortunately a victory for indigenous exceptionalism. The result sends a message to the rest of Australia that any non-indigenous person who dares to comment on the indigenous industry had better watch out.
I can’t help but form the view that the court case was intended to use the Racial Discrimination Act to intimidate non-indigenous Australians.
The result in court (for now at least) has most likely severely damaged Australian race relations for some time to come.
So Bolt was out by one generation. Not exactly spectacular. Probably not even as spectacular as Marr’s own identification blunder, back in the days when he was opposed to the same sort of anti-vilification laws that have ensnared his ideological rival.
“Anti-vilification laws aren’t the answer,” Marr wrote in 2005.
“In Victoria, two hellfire Christian preachers, Danny Nalliah and Daniel Scot, are facing jail after preaching against Islam in the aftermath of September 11, 2001. Ever since, they’ve been fighting an action brought by the Islamic Council of Victoria under the state’s new Racial and Religious Tolerance Act.
“That’s the pesky thing about these laws that show almost zero tolerance for religious and racial intolerance: they can be turned against decent white folk.”
One small problem with Marr’s piece: he assumed that because Nalliah and Scot were “hellfire Christians”, they were also white. Nope. Wrong. They’re black. The ABC’s Media Watch characterised this as a mere “stumble”, but perhaps they weren’t reading hard enough between the lines, which is the approach advocated by Justice Bromberg.
In his findings against Bolt, Bromberg took issue with words Bolt didn’t actually use: “It is language which invites the readers not only to read the lines, but to read between the lines.” This is remarkable.
Reading between the lines of Bromberg’s ruling, Bolt seems to have been condemned for a form of thought crime.
We’ve now witnessed a legal procedure about race involving racial differences nobody could see and words nobody could read.
On the matter of free speech it is worth noting that, at least, Judge Mordecai Bromberg conceded the issues raised by Bolt were matters of public interest. But Bromberg said some of Bolt’s words meant more than their literal meaning and that while he accepted the literal meaning of some of Bolt’s mitigating phrases, he found Bolt did not believe them.
So now when airing opinions on matters of public interest, Australians are subject to sanction by a court according to a judge ascribing extra meaning to the words we use, or denying our sincerity in the use of other words.
If that is not frighteningly Orwellian, nothing is. And, may it please the court, that is exactly what I meant to write. No more, no less.
Many left-liberals in the love media have welcomed the decision as revenge against Bolt, rather than railing against it as an illiberal blow against free speech. Much has been made of the findings about errors of fact. Errors are always unfortunate and sometimes egregious but in this case they are hardly the central point. Some of what Bromberg cites as factual error is more a matter of emphasis. It is a canard to suggest the case was about disputed facts: it was about apparent offence caused by Bolt’s controversial and strongly worded opinion.
Kenny mentions my “errors of fact”, as found by the judge, Purely by way of illustration, here is one of the errors identified by the judge:
Mr Bolt wrote that Ms Cole was raised by her “English-Jewish” or “English” mother (1A-2; 2A-24). That statement is factually inaccurate because Ms Cole’s Aboriginal grandmother also raised Ms Coleand was highly influential in Ms Cole’s identification as an Aboriginal.
In my interview wth Nick Leys I may have given some the impression that I big-headedly think I am the only one in this case fighting free speech. My fault, that, and certainly not that of Nick, but that wasn’t my meaning. A I pointed out to Nick, many other people have so kindly given me offered support - and then there are articles such as the above today. As I also said to Nick, I am grateful to News Ltd, which cops so much criticism from the Left, but is far and away the organisation which fights harder for free speech than any other in this country, including civil “liberties” organisations. I am also so grateful to you.
PS: Our moderators have been naturally unable to obtain the legal advice or to find the extra time it now takes to carefully vet a couple of thousands comments submitted so far on threads like this on my case, so I’ll close comments to save readers from wasting their time in replying. Another example of the way the judgment, in practice, chills the abilty of many Australians to publicly express their opinion.
For all the cute half-excuses - for instance, Andrew Bolt isn’t really silenced because he still has a TV show, or can still speak because the court hasn’t ruled that he can’t - it is very clear that the effect of this case is to place a heavy burden on those who wish to discuss this sensitive topic.
Let’s remember that a journalist, who wrote a couple of controversial articles, had to endure months of court hearings and legal uncertainty, and his employer was hit by a legal bill likely to reach into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. In the meantime, his every public
utterance had to be vetted by lawyers. No-one observing what happened to Andrew Bolt would conclude that sharing their opinions on the topic publicly would be a wise move.
What’s more, Bolt has had his reputation smeared in court. He was accused of sympathy for eugenics, and it was suggested that it was views like his that led to the Holocaust. Whatever you think of Bolt, it should be clear that his articles on the topic and his views on these issues do not even remotely fit that description.... But by elevating a public debate, even a heated one, to a legal fight in a court of law, this act gives much greater credence to the political rantings of left-wing lawyers, and a platform which they do not deserve.
It’s also far from clear that these laws will contribute to racial harmony or understanding in any way. Providing people with additional avenues to sue each other is a bizarre way to combat tension and disagreement in the community. The likely outcome of such proceedings is simply to entrench the positions of each side and increase animosity between them.
I’ve modified my comments about the Nick Leys interview after my wife pointed out that I seemed to be criticising him rather than myself. I apologise to Nick if that was how it read, because it certainly wasn’t my intention. Nick was very fair, but I am almost paranoid about not seeming to be grateful to the very many people who have offered me support, especially within News Ltd, and it’s entirely my own fault if I did not repeat that enough in our interview. I though Nick’s account was very fair.
Andrew Bolt – Monday, October 03, 11 (06:11 am)
Exactly how many ways is our free speech under attack?
SPORTS commentators who condemned planned pokie machine reforms during NRL match coverage may have breached broadcast rules on political advertising, Andrew Wilkie says.
The Tasmanian independent MP is demanding an investigation and will send a letter to Channel Nine today complaining about Ray Warren’s and Phil Gould’s commentary during the September 24 NRL semi-final.
More and more sinister:
GREENS leader Bob Brown has upped the ante in his calls for stronger state control of media, hinting at a licensing scheme for individual journalists.
Senator Brown has already called for licensing of newspapers, a move Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has refused to rule out.
The Greens leader repeated his call at an Intelligence Squared event in Sydney on Saturday, which debated the proposition “that the media have no morals”.
Under questioning from the audience, Senator Brown appeared to back away from a scheme of licensing newspapers in favour of a state-sanctioned practising licence for individual journalists that could be withdrawn. “It’s time the crown licensed the press,” Senator Brown said, before later calling for “some point of reference” to pull up both journalists and proprietors “who do the wrong thing in their tracks”. Senator Brown’s director of media, Marion Rae, refused to respond to calls from The Australian yesterday.
This man is a serious danger to our liberties.
This is getting very serious indeed:
Home Affairs Minister Brendan O’Connor yesterday backed Mr Wilkie’s plan to refer Nine Network rugby league commentators Ray Warren and Phil Gould to electronic media regulator ACMA for their comments on his mandatory pre-commitment reforms during coverage of the NRL semi-finals, calling the remarks “strange and gratuitous”.
Andrew Bolt – Monday, October 03, 11 (05:21 am)
Susan Mitchell in The Sydney Morning Herald on Saturday:
IT is important to remind ourselves that Tony Abbott is a 53-year-old former trainee Catholic priest . . . Can we believe in his political separation between church and state?
Hannon rightly says that the allegations about Julia Gillard that Milne - and as we’ll see, several others - have been tossing around this week “are ancient, and have been rehashed numerous times by critics of Labor and Gillard over the past 16 years” ... The allegations concern Gillard’s relationship, while she was a lawyer at Slater and Gordon in the early 90’s, with a union official, Bruce Wilson.
(No comment for legal reasons.)