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Fallout from Australia’s Cronulla beach riots continues

BACKGROUND OF THE RIOT

The fall out from the riots on Sydney’s beaches continues amid accusations that the State government and police have ‘gone soft’ on Australians from Lebanese backgrounds.

The December 11 Sydney riots last year consisted of a demonstration of about 5,000 white Australians who wore t-shirts and chanted slogans in a Sydney beach suburb. These slogans included ‘wog-free zone’ – ‘Lebs outs’ – ‘Lebs go home’ and – ‘ethnic cleansing unit.’ The word ‘Lebs’ is a contraction of Lebanese: first generation Australians from Lebanon were the main target of the white Australians.

The main thrust of what the white Australians was saying was that the Lebanese Australians were engaging in unacceptable behavior. This behavior included ‘aggressive’ use of some of Sydney’s beaches, as well as sexual comments by Lebanese Australian young men towards white Australian women. In the days before the riots, an assault on Australian beach lifesavers – an icon of Australian culture – was the immediate catalyst which led to the 5,000 demonstration.

Included in the 5,000 protest were members of far-right organisations handing out leaflets. The protest turned into a riot where at least one Muslim woman had her headscarf pulled off as she ran away from an attacker, as well as multiple attacks on young Lebanese Australian men. At least one Jewish Australian boy and one Greek Australian girl was also attacked.

Many of the white Australians who took part in the demonstration appeared to be poorer and less educated than average Australians. While not an excuse for racist behaviour, poor, uneducated people with racist sentiments tend to be more open about their racism than middle class whites. This is especially the case when such people are with their ‘mates’: ‘mateship’ tends to be more important to everyday life for working class Australians compared to the competitive individualism of the middles classes.

The racist protesters / rioters are the same people who have been under pressure from industrial relations reforms introduced by the right-wring Prime Minister, John Howard. The reforms, introduced last year, undermines traditional minimum workplace guarantees. Also of note at the riot was the disproportionate number of men.

As in most Western countries, male identification with their jobs is becoming increasingly weak given the historical decline in secure full-time male employment, and this combined with other factors have led to abusive behaviour and drinking. Behaviour linked with heavy drinking was a notable feature of the riot.

The Lebanese-Australians themselves are also under government attack because of the demonisation of Muslims because of the ‘war on terror.’ Arrests of terrorist suspects in Australia have all been Muslim, and Muslims have been the main or collateral casualties of the war on terror. In fact, however, many Lebanese Australians are Christian, and some of the Muslims arrested for terrorism charges are white Australian converts to Islam, but these details are lost in the broader public debate. Indeed, referring to the people who were attacked by the 5,000 riot as Lebanese Australians is in itself not an accurate term, as many come from Middle Eastern countries other than Lebanon.

THE REVENGE ATTACKS

The day after the 5000 riot, a 'revenge' attack occurred, with many men of Middle Eastern appearance entering beach side suburbs in up to 100 cars who then systematically vandalise parked cars. Those attacked included attacks on lone white Australians, one of which has rekindled the ‘soft on Lebanese crime’ accusation.

Mr Morris Iemma, the Premier of New South Wales, which covers the city of Sydney, has suggested that what is needed is more Australian values, and that new units will be introduced into government primary schools to teach Australian values. Mr Iemma said ‘I believe what happened at Cronulla, Maroubra and Brighton-Le-Sands had its roots in a fundamental lack of respect for authority, developed at an early age,’ according to the January 22, 2006 Australian newspaper.

THE WITHHELD VIDEO FOOTAGE

Security camera footage was released on January 19 showing a gang of about 20 men of Middle Eastern appearance attacking a single white man in Cronulla on the night of December 12, the day of the ‘revenge’ attacks. He suffered a broken arm. The footage had been kept from the public for five weeks and has since received extensive broadcast coverage on Australian television.

However, despite the police having the video in their possession for five weeks, the Commander responsible for investigating the riots, Dennis Bray, has said that no arrests had so far been made as a result of police checks from the video.

It seemed to be the case that the blame is being put down to more junior officers sitting on the tape and not letting others know about it. According to a Seven Network report the Police Commissioner was said to be "furious" he was not informed about the of the tape.

The conservative Opposition Leader Peter Debnam says that the delay in releasing the tape vindicates his earlier assertions that the police had been going soft on the revenge attackers because they are of Middle Eastern descent. The ethnic minority vote, especially the Middle Eastern one, has traditionally gone to the ruling Labor party.

Mr Debnam said that "The Government has had this tape for more than a month. They've now released it under media pressure. There's 200 thugs on the streets of Sydney who should be in jail, that's the issue. I'm saying to the Government 'get in their face, get 'em arrested, get 'em locked up'." Clearly, Debnam is playing to the gallery, as well as overlooking problems of due process when he says that people should just be arrested and locked up.

THE SACKING OF THE SENIOR POLICE INVESTIGATOR

Following the public release of the video the head of Strike Force set to investigate the Cronulla riots has been stood aside following claims police failed to arrest those responsible for revenge attacks, according to the January 20 Age newspaper.

The police commissioner, Mr Moroney, said he was unhappy Superintendent Bray had not released the footage earlier.

"Clearly, there was material there that he could have been releasing and should have been releasing to the general community," Mr Moroney told Southern Cross Radio Broadcasting.

In a clear public rebuke, Mr Moroney said that "Effective forthwith, Detective Superintendent Ken Mackay ... will assume command of [the Strike Force]. Dennis [Bray] will return to his ... position as detective chief inspector at Blacktown," reported the January 20 Age.

The decision to remove Bray from the position seems to have been made on the hoof. According to an opinon piece in the Sydney Morning Herald on January 22, he was sacked by a telephone call to his home 12.30am.

This has caused a backlash among police officers, according to an AAP report in the January 20 Australian newspaper.

A meeting of 30 officers investigating the Cronulla riots has called on the Police Commissioner Ken Moroney to publicly apologise to Acting Detective Superintendent Dennis Bray and to reinstate him.

The NSW Police Association (union) president Bob Pritchard said the video was withheld in accordance with established policies.

"Members of the task force are dismayed that video footage crucial to the investigation has been released to the public and will therefore compromise their investigation," Mr Pritchard said in a statement. However Mr Pritchard did not elaborate on how releasing the video would ‘compromise’ police investigations.

The police officers connected with the Cronulla riots will hand a list of demands agreed to unanimously at the meeting to Mr Moroney on January 23. The officers have threathened industrial action, some 3 days before the Australia Day public holiday.

Mr Moroney has announced that the number on the Cronulla riots strike force will be increased from 28 to 100. He also anncouned that a permanent Middle Eastern crime squad will be established.

One reason why the public release of the video seems to have been so extensive is the wide-spread revulsion of 30 men attacking a lone man. This cuts across a wide-spread Australian cultural perception of acceptable masculinity that it is cowardly and unacceptable or un-Australian to engage in physcial violence unless there is an equal number of people on both sides. Groups of young men of Middle Eastern descent, the perceived ‘Lebanese gangs,’ may also grate against white Australian cultural perceptions: Australian young people may be less likely to socialise in large groups, and being with others of the same ethnic identity is a way to protect oneself from racist violence.

This value was illustrated by the intervention of Ahmed Jajieh, born in Australia and of Lebanese descent, who bravely intervened in the bashing that was captured on video. The 24 year old said ‘I felt sorry for the guy. It's not right - 30 blokes on one person.’ He added ‘But I am Australian and I am not captured by my background.’

Before his removal from the strike force, Superintendent Bray said there was even more video footage of the revenge attacks. "Again we're working through those images, and at the appropriate time I'll release them."

Possibily reacting to media pressure, on the very same day that the video was made public, NSW police arrested two people in relation to the revenge attacks, and therefore presumably of Middle Eastern appearance. A 16-year-old was charged with various public order offences, and a 17 year old was sent to youth conferencing, according to the January 20 Sydney Morning Herald.

The aftermath of the riots will not go away soon. At the time of writing (23 January) Police Commissioner Maroney is attending a meeting with the strike force officers threatening to go on strike, the outcome of which has not yet been made public. One of the right-wing groups who were at the 5,000 riot, Australia First, has asked for protesters to attend Cronulla breach on January 26 to ‘register their disgust with selective policing.’ January 26 is an Australian public holiday marking the arrival of the first white settlement in Australia.

A heavy police presence of about 800 police officers will maintain ‘order’ and it would be a very brave person of Middle Eastern appearance who would go to that beach on Australia Day. What is certain, however, is that racist tension in Australia is alive and well, and further riots will occur in future.

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Sad, but true it seems

"...and police have ‘gone soft’ on Australians from Lebanese backgrounds."

In fact, its official.

"POLICE were ordered not to approach convoys of men of Middle Eastern appearance who were heading towards beachside suburbs to take revenge for the Cronulla riots."

I don't think this is actually what the Lebanese community wanted. It's more to do with craven political cowardice.

It's Available.

C'mon Phil ! Haven't you been watching Fox News?

The Taliban has been smashed and scattered.

That flag is now available. 

Yippee It's mine

Thanks Mark, if Fox News says that, then it must be true. I hereby make it known that from this day forth the White Flag formally used by the now defunct Taliband will be mine, all mine.

Of course if my fellow Australians wish to use it as our national flag then I would be pleased to surrender myself of sole rights in the interests of national unification.

Of course if Fox News happens to be bullshitting us then the Taliband will bloody well have to fight me for it.

PS. Mark, I have never watched Fox News.

How is this for the dumbest

How is this for the dumbest quote of the year thus far from Brendan Jones:

"To those who think this is nonsense, reflect upon this: if the Australian flag did not contain the Union Jack and instead celebrated our multicultural reality, how many neo-Nazis, white supremacists and Anglo racists would wave the national flag with aggressive and exclusionary intent? Answer: none".

So the German flag of the Nazi era had a Union Jack on it?

"The way forward is simple. Ausflag has a detailed plan for how Australia can democratically choose a new flag, culminating in a national vote for the top one or two designs against the incumbent".

Sure why not? I think though he could be a little disappointed with the results if this is anything to go by: "Thousands of Big Day Out fans made a fervent display of patriotism, proudly displaying the Australian flag on their backs, sleeves and faces yesterday at the Sydney Showground" (Daily Telegraph).

Brendan Jones again: "But the field evidence is that the more some fly the Australian flag, the less popular it becomes with everyone else. It is ridiculous to believe that if 100 years of promotion has not been sufficient then 110 years might do the trick".

Guess who is not up with the trends of our youf?

Back to the drawing board

Jay, when I was asked about the design of a flag that I would prefer, I replied:

"A nice clean plain white flag"

I have since discovered that flag belongs to the Taliband.

Oh well, back to the drawing board ;-)

Damian Lataan "Australian students ...

Damian Lataan "Australian students should, indeed, learn history but should learn it from a far more objective and worldly viewpoint and not from Howard’s subjective and narrow-minded viewpoint of nostalgia and reminiscence of greatness and racial superiority". 

Perhaps we could get this run of the mill leftie bore to write the curriculum? Like most leftie bores he could do it in between whinning about his rights to be heard being taken away.

The aftermath of the riots

At Cronulla yesterday, although fears of further violence that led to more tha 300 police assigned to patrol the streets failed to materialise, about 20 supporters of far-right groups did materialise to hand out recruiting material. I wonder if they were caught on CCTV?

Israels Next Move?

Hamas’ win in Palestine seems to have caught the Israelis on the hop if this article in the NYT is anything to go by. Yet, why should it have?

After the results of the Iraqi election last month where the religious parties fared far better than any of the secular parties, one would have thought that at the very least Israel would have braced themselves for the possibility of a similar outcome in the Palestinian elections. The Palestinian election result will now almost certainly guarantee a Netanyahu-led Likud victory at the Israeli elections which are now only weeks away. The problem is that while Hamas think Israel shouldn’t exist, Netanyahu thinks that Palestine should not exist. The result is inevitable; no peace for either the Israelis or the Palestinians and continued unrest throughout the ME.

What’s next? Don’t be surprised if there is a full-on invasion and re-occupation of the Gaza Strip and some West Bank cities by the IDF as they move to undermine Hamas’ hold on power.

Craig R. Ed: Damian, I've published this and your last comment BUT they stray a long way off the Cronulla topic.  This is the last one, ok everyone. Feel free to pick up issues not linked to Cronulla on more appropriate threads. Check the Politics Abroad category.

Hamas And 'Democracy'

So Hamas wins?!! I bet the extreme right-wing Israelis and Bush had never heard of ‘democracy’. Every time it rears its head in the Middle East the people turn out in their millions to vote out secular ‘democracy’ and vote in the religious radicals. They did it in Iran, they did it in Iraq and now they’ve done it Palestine. Will they never learn? The US and the West can’t force its style of secular ‘democracy’ down the throats of those that don’t want it.

Israel must back off to its pre-67 line and return all the lands that it has stolen. It is the only way the people of Israel will know peace. The US must withdraw entirely from the Middle East and Central Asia. It is the only way the people of the US will know peace and not have their sons and daughters returned home in a never-ending stream of body bags.

Another Step Down The Road To Howard's Fascist State.

Howard’s demand that Australian school students be taught history from a nationalistic Australian viewpoint is not only yet another indicator of Howard’s push toward his New Fascist Australia, but is also a disaster for students. They will end up being taught the perpetuated myth of white European superiority and arrogance as Australian teachers struggle to prepare them for a Global world in which the reality of white European superiority has long since passed.

 

Two classic examples of white European superiority and arrogance are major causes for celebration here in Australia. White Europeans for centuries have always taken pleasure in invading other people’s countries; indeed, we are still sending troops off to recently invaded lands as I write. Yesterday we celebrated the white European invasion of Australia. Later on in the year will be the 91st anniversary of another invasion, except this one not only failed but resulted in the deaths of thousands of Australians. But somehow we’ve managed to turn this monumental piece of historical stupidity into a national celebration claiming that the spilling of our blood in this way is somehow the true birth of our nation. Classic white European arrogance.

 

Australian students should, indeed, learn history but should learn it from a far more objective and worldly viewpoint and not from Howard’s subjective and narrow-minded viewpoint of nostalgia and reminiscence of greatness and racial superiority.  

 

Kids today need to learn how to get on with the rest of the world on an equal footing with the peoples of the rest of the world. Perpetuating the myth of white European superiority will only prolong the polarisation of ‘East’ and ‘West’ in a confrontational world.  

Rubbish

Why this rubbish about white superiority?  One minute people are making excuses for Muslim extremism because they are oppressed by the West, the next they are saying that white superiority is the cause of all problems, the next they are saying whites are no longer superior.  Which is it? 

Can I suggest that Western civilisation is leading the world at least at the moment-good, bad or otherwise.  You can only lead if you are superior.  Western civilisation is pretty much white civilisation albeit inclusive of those non-whites who choose our values.  Now all this might be repulsive, even to me, but is it wrong?  A bit of humility goes a long way. 

Now will the West always lead, unlikely.  Do other civilisations contribute, absolutely.  Does the West always get it right even when it is leading? NO.  Have we oppressed? Yes.  Have we caused suffering? Yes. Can we do better? Let's hope so. If we can't, we will soon be over taken.  Just please stop the guilty introspection-as-societal outlook.

Can our children please learn about us, including humbly noting our current leadership ways, and what contributed from our past and what we have left behind?  Even all those great men and women regardless if the men outnumber women 100 to 1.

Gosh, no. We are all working for peace. Aren't we?

Damian Lataan: "The warmongering neoconservative lunatic Max Boot writing in the LA Times today continues to push for the US and Israel to attack Iran."

That's okay, Damian. The warmongering neoconservative lunatics in Hamas just won the Palestinian elections.

Now, the precise moment they find a way of linking up with warmongering neoconservative lunatics running Iran, I'd say the final, convulsive cataclysm the 'anti-Zionists' have been hoping and praying for for 30 years will come to pass.

"Hundreds of women at a Hamas election rally in the West Bank city of Ramallah cheered when they heard about the attack."

Does this mean the 'anti-Zionists' must now choose between opposing Hamas? Or supporting them?

And what will their alibi be after the event?

Michael de Angelos "John

Michael de Angelos "John Major's government was certainly dead in the water, mainly because of perceived Tory sleaze. Major himself was never implicated in any of the almost daily sleaze dished up by Murdoch publications".

Come off it Micheal you must be joking! "Perceived Tory sleaze". It was not perceived it was there. Hell, I support conservative parties, but this mob was beyond the pale.

Just a couple of "perceived sleazey" things off the top of my head were a Minister dying with a orange in his mouth and a stocking over his head, a Minister making statements about how bad unwed mothers were then having to admit he had a child to one himself somewhere in England, etc. The saddest part was that this was just the tip of the iceburg.

Even though, as you said, Major was not effected, it has since turned out he was not all that squeaky clean himself in this department. If the Murdoch papers did not report these things, then you would have a case for calling them a total propaganda unit!

slight mistake

John Major's government was certainly dead in the water, mainly because of perceived Tory sleaze. Major himself was never implicated in any of the almost daily sleaze dished up by Murdoch publications. The fact Tony Blair has continued the same policies as  the Conservatives but is far more extreme and has broken almost every election promise he gave, leads one of the most deceitful and controlling governments the UK has ever seen but that it still has the support of Murdoch speaks for itself.

You must get over this obsession, Jay White, that the so-called "left" speaks and acts as one homogeneous unit. The only BBC I ever watch are their bonnet dramas shown on the ABC. I don't watch Fox and I've never actually seen Al Jazerah in any form. Only ever heard about it being bombed by the US. But if all this keeps you amused something has been achieved.

 

Michael de Angelos one last

Michael de Angelos: "... one last thing I am not a great watcher of the Fox network. Personally I can take it or leave it. More of a BBC guy myself."

I do get a laugh however when the biggest critics of Fox will in the same sentence go on to talk about about its carbon copy version on the other side of the world, Al Jazeera, in reverent like tones. As I have said more than once, the left and its media cheersquad are there simply for amusement purposes only.

Phil Moffat It only

Phil Moffat:  "It only follows that if Fox News takes a particular point of view then that point of view should be discussed on its merits without demonising the messenger. I’m sure many would agree with this; however one is inclined to ask; does Fox News operate under similar rules of engagement? Do they consider opposing points of view on their merits or do they demonise the messenger for having those views?"

Sure, Fox operates no differently to any other organisation. Many of its presenters are opinion journalists and as such hold opinions. The shows they present are not dressed up in any other way.

I would hardly call BBC World fair and balanced towards an American point of view, would you? Neither would I say our very own ABC rates very highly in the fair and balanced stakes when it comes to a US point of view.

The fair and balanced claim I am afraid is in the eye of the beholder. If people do not believe this claim the off button is always an option.

Michael de Angelos "Anyone who thinks the man, who owns one newsaper that caters to the most ignorant in Britain, and another that is the ruling classes bible, will not exert his influence is dreaming".

What you mean the Times? Hardly a rah rah lets all go to war with Iraq cheersquad now is it?

"The illegal war in Iraq was an incredible boost for Fox's ratings and sealed its success. Is it a conspiracy?"

What in the same way the first Gulf war made CNN? Was that a conspiracy on the part of self admitted Murdoch enemy Ted Turner?

The truth is that the most dubious claims uncovered in the last couple of years have come from left leaning organisations such at the New York Times now lovably known as the New York once upon a Times.

"Margaret Thatcher previously, and now Tony Blair rule at Murdoch's pleasure, John Major did not and the Conservatives paid an electoral price".

Garbage! John Major was dead in the water for a long time before Tony Blair defeated him. A business, such as the one he (Murdoch) is in, can only deal with the Government in power at the time. I have no doubt he would have just as easily, for example, dealt with Mark Latham as he has with John Howard and Paul Keating and so on before them.

The truth is that when it comes to large world wide companies News is big but far the biggest. This is also the case in media especially in the US, where News is neither the largest in print or any other form of media. It offers a market for a certain sector of consumers. Your real problem is that you do not think this people should be offered anything.

Fox is a Sign of the times

Did Fox make Bush?- or visa versa, is a bit like the chicken and egg question. What is clear is that Fox is blatantly political in that it presents opinion as news-not unusual in the media but never previously taken to the depths that Fox has.

It still has a minority viewership, but its fans are hard core and tend to hang off every word its presenters dish up, which naturally causes envy from other broadcasters who begin to shift in Fox's direction. Combined with the US media being increasingly reduced in ownership and you have what was once the greatest free press in the world being stifled for a number of reasons.

One result -- during the last general election in the US a significant number of people still believed that Iraq posessed WMD and was involved in 9/11. For these fallacies to continue, whatever one believes about the Iraq War, in a country were the truth is easily discovered is frightening. Call it whatever you want but it reflects disturbing similarities to the rise of fascism in Germany. It should disturb anyone whether liberal or conservative.

Murdoch takes advantage of whatever will profit him and if that means helping change a government or promote a war he does so -- resembling the brute Randolph Hearst. Completely devoid of ethics; with profit his only God.

Margaret Thatcher previously, and now Tony Blair rule at Murdoch's pleasure, John Major did not and the Conservatives paid an electoral price. Anyone who thinks the man, who owns one newsaper that caters to the most ignorant in Britain, and another that is the ruling classes bible, will not exert his influence is dreaming. Without the support of Tony Blair it's doubtful Bush could have invaded Iraq. The illegal war in Iraq was an incredible boost for Fox's ratings and sealed its success. Is it a conspiracy? Who knows, but Murdoch and his ilk profit as people die. Does he feel the slightest shame that he may be making enormous profits out of the plight of Iraqis? A year after the illegal invasion of Iraq he jocularly said on Alan Jones radio show: " the Iraq War is going gangbusters and oil should be half its current price within 2 years".

Fortunately we have had the free-wheeling internet until now. How many of us said it had to be controlled and that no government will tolerate the free disemination of truth? Murdoch has announced his move into the internet; control is on the way.

Thanks for that, Jay

Thanks for that, Jay it would appear our sentiments regarding Rupert are similar. Your comment “Seems to me to be a lot of people around blaming the messenger because they don’t like the message.” based on my observations would appear to be valid. So once again we agree.

It only follows that if Fox News takes a particular point of view then that point of view should be discussed on its merits without demonising the messenger. I’m sure many would agree with this; however one is inclined to ask; does Fox News operate under similar rules of engagement? Do they consider opposing points of view on their merits or do they demonise the messenger for having those views?

As I do not watch Fox News then I am not a qualified person to answer that question, however I have been led to believe from second hand reports that Fox News tends to castigate the personalities of those whose message they disagree with rather than discuss the topic on its merits.

My question is, have I been led astray? Or is their some validity in those second had reports?

It would interest me to know if you, or anybody who has actually watched Fox News, would be kind enough to offer an opinion regarding this question.

Cheers mate.

Phil Moffat...

Phil Moffat: “My reply to you was simply meant in that context. Limited frames of refence so to speak. Also in the wider context, yes I agree, for it would appear we both share similar respect for Rupert as a business leader in the management sense. You don’t have to convince me Jay, I used to work for the old bugger back in another life. But that’s another story“.

I too respect him as a business leader however I respect a number of people in that sense. Believe it or not I don’t run about hanging his posters up around the place.

Phil the thing is, way too much is made about Fox and the Bush connection. It has gotten to the point of being totally devoid of reality. In 24 hour news we have CNN, SKY London, BBC and Fox. All Rupert saw was a chance to get a slice of the action in area his main competitor CNN had neglected. It has become more successful then anybody thought it would and good luck to him and the company.

Fact is your typical Bush voter was being neglected and Murdoch took an interest. It’s a tough business out there and if people are not on top of their game, people like Rupert (there is a few) will eat them alive. Seems to me to be a lot of people around blaming the messenger because they don’t like the message.

Who knows we might actually get a more in depth look at some of these people and their links when Sid Walker gets around to finishing the real people behind 9/11? Who knows it might even surprise someone such as yourself? After having a little look around for the first time at the “theories” and so called “evidence” I know it surprised me! (Key spooky music.)

Jay; maybe I miss understood

Jay, maybe I miss understood what you meant. I apologise if that is the case. But my comment was in relation to your following statement:

“For example, the myth around here is that Fox made George Bush supporters. The truth is George Bush supporters made Fox. There is a difference - just ask Rupert's bank manager.”

In other words Rupert simply gave George Bush supporters what they wanted. This of course is a clever business decision. If the market has a particular preference then play up to that preference. So in a sense Rupert is simply following the trends, therefore in a sense a dedicated follower of fashion. It’s good marketing, its good business and of course his bank manager loves it and so too his shareholders and family.

My reply to you was simply meant in that context. Limited frames of refence so to speak.  Also in the wider context, yes I agree, for it would appear we both share similar respect for Rupert as a business leader in the management sense. You don’t have to convince me Jay, I used to work for the old bugger back in another life. But that’s another story.

Also I’m sure we both would agree if GWB fell out of fashion with American public at large and the GOP then our dedicated follower of fashion will follow suit. Good marketing, good for business.

Cheers mate and I’ll catch ya round like a rissole ;-)

More Lunacy From The Neoconservatives In The US

The warmongering neoconservative lunatic Max Boot writing in the LA Times today continues to push for the US and Israel to attack Iran.

He asserts that: “Some experts estimate that Iran will need only three more years to build its first nuclear bomb, and it will pass the point of no return much sooner. Within six to 12 months, Tehran might be able to finish the enrichment facilities that will make the Persian bomb a foregone conclusion. It already has Shahab-3 missiles that place Israel and U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan within easy range. In the works are a Shahab-4, which would be able to hit Western Europe, and a Shahab-5, which would reach North America.”

He then goes on to exclaim that; “Sooner rather than later, President Bush must face a hard choice: Either order air strikes (or acquiesce to Israeli strikes) or accept a nuclear-armed Iran.”

Notice how this deceiver builds up to the big one of Iran being a direct threat to the US? Naturally, this lunatic entirely ignores the fact that the US and Israel already have such weapons; weapons that are already able to be used over such distances – but directed at Iran. Normally one wouldn’t give the frothing-at-the-mouth ravings of warmongering crackpots like Max Boot a second glance but this loser actually gets page space on a major US mainstream newspaper.

Remember, there are a lot of dumb and gullible people out there that are going to actually be taken in by this garbage.

Frightening!!

Gulf War was legal

Despite the dreadful crowd who rule Kuwait the country was invaded by Iraq (claiming historical ownership) and the Kuwaitis asked for help expelling the invader. A coalition of armies expelled Iraq citing outrage at Saddam Hussein's flouting of international law.

In a similar manner, the Coaltion of the Willing invaded Iraq on a variety of phony excuses, flouting international law and now occupy Iraq.

My last word on Cronulla: despite his supporters shifting any semblence of blame from the PM for the racial riots and resisting suggestions that a national leadership is required to tackle rising racism in this country, Howard "appeals today for greater racial tolerance in the wake of the Cronulla riots" despite dismissing those same riots as just the actions of "lunatics".

Of course he had to revive his "black armband history" claims from the past, but we can't expect everything.

Which Conspiracy Theory Is That?

Jay White asks: “Who knows maybe they are the dumb and gullible ones who believe Saddam used poison gas on a few thousand Kurds? They most likely are not up on the latest conspiracy theory about who was really behind it?”


Which conspiracy theory is that? The one that says he did do it or the one that says he didn’t?

Michael de Angelos...

Michael de Angelos: "Nor would he have remained this long if Bush Snr hadn't allowed him to crush the Shi'ite rebellion in 1991 which would have overthrown him - he was the US's man then." 

So did you support the first Gulf war than? I remember Left groups such as the Greens protesting against it. How about you, where did you stand? I hope you did not attend any protests?

Phil Moffat...

Phil Moffat: "Rupert is generally a follower not a leader". I cannot remember anybody ever saying that outside of his own company he ever was. When has he ever ran for election to lead a nation?

"He will usually feed people what they want to hear so long as it makes him money". No doubt Phil, that is called business acuman. Most large companies pay big dollars in the hope of finding out what consumers want. The successful ones listen to what the results tell them.

"It will be interesting, however, to see how Fox and News Corp behave if or when George W comes unstuck". Most likely the same way they did after the end of Margarat Thatcher for example.

Damian Lataan...

Damian Lataan: "And as for those ‘human shredding machines’, how dumb and gullible does one have to be to believe this garbage? I guess about as dumb and gullible as those that are dumb and gullible enough to actually post this nonsense here."

Who knows maybe they are the dumb and gullible ones who believe Saddam used poison gas on a few thousand Kurds? They most likely are not up on the latest conspiracy theory about who was really behind it?

Hamish, I am still waiting for the Sid walker version of events by the way. I have been doing a little research on some of his topics and have been quietly surprised at a few things I have found, very very interesting stuff. Maybe Damian should help him out with the theories.

Come on boys time to shake your stuff!

wrong again

I don't why you keep insisting the so-called left ever claimed Saddam Hussein was not a dreadful man C.Parsons. Certainly Jon Pilger and Noam Chomsky were describing in detail how odious he was long before the newly enlightened West discovered this fact, and as usual were described as a 'left-wing fantasists who exagerate" for their troubles.

All we ever said is that he was our dreadful man. Fully supported and supplied by the USA , France , Germany and Britain until he fell out of favour. Helped and assisted with weapons to kill his own people and gas Iranians by the first Bush adminstration-whose members now belong to the present Bush admin and continued by Bill Clinton.  Nor would he have remained this long if Bush Snr hadn't allowed him to crush the Shi'ite rebellion in 1991 which would have overthrown him-he was the US's man then. None of them deny it and appear to be quite proud of the fact or regard support of him as necessary.

This new found love of the Iraqi people by supporters of the illegal invasion who previously overlooked his slaughter of  citizens can be taken with a grain of salt by those now enthralled by the so-called democracy flourishing there which has been designed by the US and will only exist at their benevolence.

And I don't know whether the evidence you site at Saddam's trial for atrocities committed with US help, is true or fantasy, just that along with WMDs, John Howard's shredding machines described in such detail by him in Parliament are strangely missing. Maybe they're portable or easily dismantled.

More Garbage From The Dumb And Gullible

Michael de Angelos says: “…if people genuinely like a politician who lies to them in parliament, who dismisses his own promises on ministerial accountability and who openly declares war on a sovereign nation killing thousands of it's citizens when it's never harmed us, I don't know what that says about the moral decay or thinking in our country.”

These are the ‘Dumb and Gullible’.

And as for those ‘human shredding machines’, how dumb and gullible does one have to be to believe this garbage? I guess about as dumb and gullible as those that are dumb and gullible enough to actually post this nonsense here. They’re more than likely to be the same ones that believed the mobile hydrogen generators used to inflate balloons for artillery calibration were really mobile chemical and biological weapon factories. Or about as dumb and gullible as those that actually believed Saddam had WMDs or was involved in 9/11 or was associated with bin Laden and ‘al Qaeda’.

A bunch of Saddamites

Michael de Angelos: "Now we find that our wheat farmers have been financing those dredded human shredding machines - how many does one get for $300million?"

Do you mean the dreaded human shredding machines the local "peace activists" keep insisting never existed?

Such as this one...

"I swear by God, I walked by a room and ... saw a grinder with blood coming out of it and human hair underneath," Hassan told the court. During the testimony, Barzan, sitting behind Saddam in the dock, interrupted Hassan, shouting: "It's a lie!"

And do you mean the Oil For Food scandal the local "peace activists" and other Saddamites keep insisting was just a right wing beat up?

Sweeping statements

"Has it ever crossed your mind just once that people might actually like the policy they vote for?"

Possibly they do Jay White, although that's even more alarming.

Perhaps Australians do like Howard policies-although we must remember he gets a minority vote, as Labor has in the past. But if people genuinely like a politician who  lies to them in parliament, who dismisses his own promises on ministerial accountability and who openly declares war on a sovereign nation killing thousands of it's citizens when it's never harmed us, I don't know what that says about the moral decay or thinking in our country.

Now we find that our wheat farmers have been financing those dredded human shredding machines-how many does when get for $300million? Will our farmers and the AWB be hauled into court or jailed without representation after having financed the terrorists no matter how ignorant they claim to have been or using the excuse of "it's how you have to do business in the ME"? Certainly George Bush thinks they should be. But what people think in general is a mystery to me and possibly to themselves.

Rupert will always follow the money

Jay, good point: “For example, the myth around here is that Fox made George Bush supporters. The truth is George Bush supporters made Fox. There is a difference - just ask Rupert's bank manager.”

Rupert is generally a follower not a leader. He will usually feed people what they want to hear so long as it makes him money. I can remember him saying words to that effect years ago but I can’t remember the source. "Give the people what they want." After 9/11 patriotism and revenge were almost universal in the US so why would he not exploit it.  It will be interesting, however, to see how Fox and News Corp behave if or when George W comes unstuck.

You have been warned

It would appear John Howard can tell the truth. From The Sydney Morning Herald this morning:

But his (JWH’s) reshaped ministry was “very well capable of representing the interests of the Government right through to the election” he insisted.

Can’t say he did not warn us or was this a little bit Freudian?

Michael de Angelos  "He who

Michael de Angelos:  "He who controls the medium controls the message. It seems to work for the Coaltion voters."

Has it ever crossed your mind just once that people might actually like the policy they vote for? Has it ever crossed your mind that media and politicans, the successful ones at least, reflect the things that people want?

What I find hard to understand is that because somebody sees something different to the way you and some others do they must have been brainwashed in some way. Seriously, Labor was a very average to terrible Government for a lot of people. As an Opposition their policy in four elections has been mild at best, and that is being kind. 

The real truth is that left wing politics just does not reflect today the way people see society and the direction that people wish it to go in. Maybe they should start repairing that and stop trying to blame everything but where the real fault lies.

For example, the myth around here is that Fox made George Bush supporters. The truth is George Bush supporters made Fox. There is a difference just ask Rupert's bank manager.

policy

Jay, you maintain that people might actually like the policy they vote for. I think this is a very fair statement. Some people even go so far as to vote for policies that they don't like simply because they know they're necessary.

I would have to consider you something of an expert on Liberal Party policy in the past 10 years and, as such, I have a favour to ask.

Could you please point me in the direction of pre-election Liberal policy releases which outlined their intentions on;

1/. GST

2/. Changes to Medicare/Bulk Billing

3/. Industrial Relations

4/. Voluntary Student Unionism (not that I oppose it)

5/. Anti Terror Laws.

I suspect you'll give me that tired old line about how everybody knew that it was Howard's agenda to do these things and therefore, despite never flagging them at election time,and in fact denying some, we shouldn't be surprised that they came to pass.

GST Election 1998

Mark Ross, you seem to be saying that Howard did not "flag" his intentions on the GST in the election preceding its introduction. Where were you in 1998 when we had an election in which GST was the main policy issue? Obviously not in Australia. But why didn't you check through Google or some other search engine before revealing what you don't know or don't remember.

Sorry

Ron Collins. I stand corrected on that matter. My apologies. I must have been thinking of Howard's commitment that "there was no way the GST would ever be a part of (their) policy".

That means I must been wrong about everything else, right?

Media and politicians

"It never ceases to amaze me how much power people such as yourself place into the hands of politicans and the media". Nothing to amaze one Jay White although I heartily agree.

"He who controls the medium controls the message". It seems to work for the Coaltion voters although perhaps Howard's disgraceful partisan but useless  IR advertising (along with all government adverts including past Labor campaigns) is simply a device to hand over public funds to private hands in the advertising industry.

With a taxpayer funded State memorial service coming at the Opera House for a media mogul I'm not so sure you would find agreement amongst your friends.

Insipid Racism

Everytime I hear discussions of the Cronulla, and ensuing, unrest much hand wringing is involved in trying to determine if Australians are racist or not.

Now ask yourselves, when considering if the Australians involved were acting in a racist manner, are we not considering if the white Anglos involved were acting racist?

Not only do we seem to be working on the assumption that all the Lebanese involved were racist, but we automatically exclude them from any definition of Australian.

I submit that the Cronulla roits had a very strong racist element and that all Australians involved, Anglo and Leb, were guilty of said racism.

The fact that we are only fretting about white Anglo racism whilst assuming that the Lebanese are acting 'par for the course' is what strikes me as particularly racist.

Michael de Angelos...

Michael de Angelos: "The idiot Pauline Hanson was deliberate. We will never know how serious Howard was with his anti-Asian statements which only ended after party pressure and his support for ugly Hansonism in Parliament by refusing to distant himself from her sordid claims breathed life into her campaign. He may be Prime Minister, but he's no leader."

It never ceases to amaze me how much power people such as yourself place into the hands of politicans and the media. John Howard for example had nothing to do with the rise of Pauline Hanson. That statement is deliberate nonsense and ignorance of the not to distant past.

Pauline Hanson's rise was in 1996 when she for the first and only time was elected to the House of Reps. During that election campaign she was pillored by not only the Prime Minister at the time Paul Keating but was kicked out of the Liberal party by the then opposition leader John Howard. Hence her statements took on national attention and she defeated easily the than sitting Labour MP.

Her campaign as much as I personally disagreed with her was purely grassroots. She had no backing from any major party nor sponsor and infact that was likely a big plus in her support. She ran purely populist policy, meaning the thoughts she was expressing were already out there in voter land, she merely voiced them. Outside of making her views illegal and locking her up I am not sure what any Prime Minister could have done to stop her. I sure know that Paul Keating failed in the task. The only option was to allow her and her supporters to self implode which was always going to happen.

The strangest part about the whole Hanson wagon is that many on this very site support her type of grassroots democracy (pub politics) mixed in with economic gobble gook, whacky conspiracy theory and a touch of extreme and simplistic world saving ideas. In fact a lot like the current Australian Greens party.

If I were involved with the Labor party I would be seriously looking at what somebody like Peter Walsh has to say about the whole issue of the Greens. Than again common sense and Labor does not go hand in hand. One great mystery for me has always been how somebody as rational as Peter Walsh could ever get involved with Labor.

If that's true Mike Iyvers

If that's true Mike Iyvers then you have given a good example of the moronic nature of the rioter's racism. An attack on a totally disconnected group of people chosen at random to be the scapegoats of other incidents. As we now know, a Jewish youth was mistaken for a "Leb" and beaten on that day.

Nor have I said that John Howard is solely to blame but he does share blame. A thirsty crow will drop pebbles into a bowl with a few drops of water until the water eventually overflows. That is how racism works. No one act or statement could probably be said to be the cause. It takes a sustained campaign whether through ignorance or deliberate. The idiot Pauline Hanson was deliberate. We will never know how serious Howard was with his anti-Asian statements which only ended after party pressure and his support for ugly Hansonism in Parliament by refusing to distant himself from her sordid claims breathed life into her campaign. He may be Prime Minister, but he's no leader.

Of course the riots were "moronic,"

Michael de Angelos, no argument there. But they occurred in response to a series of earlier provocative events. And Howard had nothing whatsoever to do with any of them.

People Are Different

CP, Once again thank you. In other life in the corporate world I was for quite a period of time heavily involved with the analysis and interpretation of census data for purely commercial reasons. It would be a brave man to argue with your comments re the geo-demographics of the shires you mention.

The topic of racism will no doubt be used by the intellectuals and academics for what ever their reasons or personal agendas. Being neither an intellectual nor academic (is there a difference?) I tend to look at life in a more simple way. People are different. Although people no matter their race, religion or what ever have much in common we are also unique life forms. Individual appearances, personalities, likes, dislikes and so on.

Quite often human beings attack those differences for whatever reason they have at the time. Someone who is short changed by a person of a particular ethnic background may accuse all who belong to that ethnic group of sharing in that quality. All Jews are money hungry; Pommies don’t wash and whinge and Yanks are all loud mouths. This in fact is rubbish for we all know those qualities can be attributed to many individuals no matter their race or religion or place of birth.

We also quite often pick on people for their physical differences, i.e. people with eyes close together cannot be trusted. I even knew someone who stated quite seriously that people with brown eyes could never be trusted. Imagine if she had to employ people, thank Christ she didn’t.

If we are overseas and run into a fellow Australian we treat each other as long lost friends, no matter what part of Australia we are from. Yet here in Australia residents of Sydney knock residents of Melbourne and people in Perth knock everyone in the Eastern States (although many came from there) while those living on the north side of the Swan River knock those living on the south side and so it goes until we all have something to knock about each other whenever the need arises.  I think we call it the Human Condition.

I doubt whether it will be the academics (or opinion columnists) who will solve these problems, if anything it is these differences that are their bread and butter and they will probably exploit our differences for their own profit and desires.

Although I cannot speak from any level of authority I have had the experience of meeting and living with many different people over the decades,  whether in the slums of Glasgow, the hills of Swaziland or the Hu Tong of old Beijing and have discovered to my delight it is our differences that I love and cherish.

I suppose the point I am trying to make is all the thinking in the world won’t help these problems; only human to human relationship will, constructive dialogue and the desire to connect with our fellow unique life forms.  It will be those activities that will mitigate the cynical behaviour of all politicians who choose to exploit our differences for their personal agendas

But we must remember it is not the cynical behaviour of politicians that makes individuals  bash one another for that is the choice of the individual.

Thanks CP and take care.

Crowd behaviour

Michael de Anglelos: "Cronulla is just another long term reaction to the covert racism that has been encouraged by Howard since he came to power."

This is merely an assertion, not a proposition open to any kind of testing.

It is even couched in terms of "covert racism", which safely puts it beyond any evidentiary processes.

It occurs to me that one possible factor completely ignored, of course, is the psychology of crowd behaviour.

The fact that a number of individuals engaged in the riots subsequently publicly apologised for their conduct suggests that at least some of the attitudes being expressed on the day were transitory phenomena based in crowd psychology.

Nothing more dramatically illustrated this I think than the way the aggressor mobs at Cronulla draped themselves in flags, the very symbol of in-group membership.

Surely, that would have been both a factor driving, and a response to, the group enclosure processes that defined in-group and out-group membership.

That just wouldn't happen among individuals.

The idea of an individual running around draped in flag abusing people of Middle Eastern appearance is so bizarre as to be ludicrous.

I bet many of the people involved in the fracas would themselves have realised this later and felt ashamed and rather foolish. As indeed they should.

In other words, they just wouldn't have conducted themselves in this way had they not been part of a crowd.

This suggest to me that the underlying social tensions would have been mollified or dissipated an entirely different way had an alternative social outlet been available.

Had the grievances of the mob been given an opportunity to be expressed more constructively, there might have even been some kind of dialogue between the groups.

This suggest the problem lies with community leadership, or inadequate community leadership in the specific context.

I really don't see how John Howard could have prevented it from happening, though I appreciate that's not the reason he is being blamed for it.

Labour's leadership

Deb Wands (re "leadership has been lacking in racism and cultural issues ever since John Howard has come to power"), so was Labor's introduction of mandatory detention a shining example of leadership in racial and cultural issues?

Since you're talking about shining examples!

No, Gareth Eastwood, Labor's mandatory detention was not a great example of humanitarian assistance for Asylum Seekers. I have never been a supporter of AS detention.

But throughout John Howard's time in office there has been the ongoing vilification of those people, using the now familiar, "dog whistle" to people who hold racist beliefs. The racist tag has been part of Howard's public persona since the beginning of his career.

http://www.safecom.org.au/Al-Jazeerah.htm

from Worker's Online, Issue no.293

 

 Tool Shed

 The Dog Whistler

    If our Tool Of The Year left us any more relaxed and comfortable we'd be dead

    In the sixties John Howard opposed Vietnam War protesters and the protesters were right and Howard was wrong.

    In the seventies John Howard opposed the African National Congress and the ANC was right and Howard was wrong.

    In the eighties John Howard opposed Asian immigration and immigration was right and Howard was wrong

    In the nineties John Howard opposed Eddie Mabo, but Mabo was right and Howard was wrong.

    In the early years of the twenty-first century John Howard opposed the UN over Iraq and the UN was right and Howard was wrong.

    Now John Howard is opposed to your rights at work; is there a pattern developing here?

    If John Howard thinks he has scored a victory this year gaining control of the Senate he should look up the word Pyrrhic in a dictionary.

    That it will fly obliviously over the head of this third rate suburban solicitor that his Thatcherite dream for us all may not be in the best interests of society should come as no surprise.

    He is cunning, that is a given, but so is a shithouse rat.

    Our Tool Of The Year knows that a quick bribe and a nod towards some popular bigotry will see him over the line every time. It helps if you can whip the populace into a panic like some snake oil salesman, then sell them the quack cure.

    This will win you elections, but it ain't clever.

    The problem is, no matter how many times you fudge, spin, distort, obfuscate, dodge, attack as a form of defence, cheat, steal or bastardise, there is always reality down the track.

    Menzies hung onto power for years, invoking the red menace and pinching Labor Party policy, but it's hardly seen as a high point in Australian political life. In the end time caught up with Menzies, as it will with Howard, and all the bullshit that mendacious old fool from Toorak banged on about was writ large. In the end Menzies created more problems for the future than he ever solved.

    And thus it is with his acolyte Howard.

    This government is the most spineless, intellectually dishonest, corrupt, incompetent and callous administration this Federation has ever known. The people do not love Howard. Even those that vote for him do so grudgingly, motivated by fear. He has had more luck than a dancing drunk, with none of the charm.

    This week the Salvos revealed that there has been a 17% increase in people seeking help this Christmas. This, at a time, when the economy is allegedly booming. But booming for whom? Booming for those who back John Howard, that's who.

    And WorkChoices is supposed to make life easier for that extra 17% of people trying to put food on the tables for their families this Christmas? Yeah, right.

    Howard's response? To complain there's not enough nativity scenes at shopping centres. A neat piece of dog whistling; with Howard hinting that we're all being overrun by Mohammedans and godless atheists hell bent on destroying our way of life.

    It's the sort of mindless pap that lets people indulge their hatred. A special brand of "our" hatred, which, according to Dear Leader Howard, isn't racist. Oh no. Not one bit. Its just based on the way people look.

    John Howard has made us smaller and darker as a nation. He is hell bent on turning this country into a grasping, money-obsessed leviathan; reduced to a battle of all against all. In Howard's Hobbesian nightmare life will be truly be nasty, brutish and short.

    He may invoke mateship, but he is its antithesis. A man who would stab his fellow countrymen in the back if it meant his own personal advancement. Machiavelli is alive and well and resides in Kirribilli.

    The reality is more and more Australians are being driven to their wits end by this government's malfeasance. Things are crook in Tallarook. Yet our self proclaimed deputy sheriff continues apace, oblivious to the society unravelling beneath him.

    He never talks about weapons of mass destruction anymore. Remember how the GST would wipe out the black economy? The map of Australia with all the bits the darkies were going to get painted red? Counting John Howard's lies is like counting the stars. This alone does not a tool make.

    Remember his defence of Pauline Hanson? The "fact" that we decide who comes here? His warning of the "danger" of Asian immigration? His support for Apartheid? Haranguing people at a "reconciliation" conference? Saying that John Howard is racist is like saying the sun rises in the east. This alone does not a tool make.

    Remember his debt truck back when debt was a fraction of what it is now? His opposition to ten consecutive pay rises for Australia's lowest paid workers? How the GST would end tax avoidance and make the young feel old and the old feel young? The fact that John Howard is the most irresponsible financial manager we've had since, well, when John Howard was treasurer under Fraser speaks volumes, but that alone does not a tool make.

    Remember how he bailed out his brother's company? How he defended Geoff Prosser? How he appointed the incompetent head of immigration as the Indonesian Ambassador? How he tried to buy the 1983 election? The news that Howard is corrupt is not new, but this alone does not a tool make.

    Remember how he stared down shooters, with a bulletproof vest? How he said East Timor was Indonesia's business? His tantrum after the rugby world cup? Sure, he's a coward, like all bullies, but that alone does not a tool make.

    Remember that cricket ball in Pakistan?

    That, along with all of the above, and more, is what makes John Winston Howard well deserving of the epithet, Tool Of The Year.

just blame Howard for everything

Michael de Anglelos claims, "Cronulla is just another long term reaction to the covert racism that has been encouraged by Howard since he came to power."

No, not at all. According to the evidence from the rioters themselves, it was a reaction to the overt racism and thuggery of certain groups that for years had been harassing people, and most recently assaulted surf lifesavers, at Cronulla Beach.

Sometimes if you remove the blinders of politics and just look at the data at hand, the answers are obvious.

C Parsons

C Parsons:

"Based on what I've seen in previous discussions here and elsewhere about the Cronulla riots, my bet is that two widely held, and deeply cherished beliefs will be aired over and over.

Namely;

a) Australia is racist to the core, especially its white male population;

b) Multiculturalism in this country has been a terrific success and enjoys the overwhelming support of the great majority of Australians who are basically decent people.

Moreover, these views will be expressed simultaneously by the same people. Without hesitation or shame.

Also, someone in authority will soon announce a "community education programme" aimed at "youth" to "raise awareness" about "tolerance".

This will be funded by matching Commonwealth and State grants on a 12 month basis. Somehow, Lex Marinos will be involved.

We'll receive a glossy brochure in the letter box".

Nobody will ever accuse you of lacking understanding of how the system works. As a great band once said obla di ob la da life goes on.

Slip slop slap rap for youth against racism

Phil Moffat, hello. Good to hear from you.

Simply equating income levels, occupational status and employment prospects with racist attitudes is demonstrably unreliable as an explanation for events like the Cronulla riots.

For example, one report points out;

Residents of Mosman and Woollahra have joined those in the Sutherland Shire as among the Sydney people least tolerant of cultural diversity and multicultural values, a map of the city's racial attitudes reveals.

Cronulla, a part of Sutherland Shire, therefore sits among the wealthiest, but least racially tolerant of Sydney's suburbs.

It also has one of the lowest unemployment rates in Sydney, and quite high level of self-employed people.

Caringbah, Sutherland and Cronulla are the suburbs with the largest number of local businesses in the Shire, together accounting for 47% of registered businesses.

It's very easy to find this information.

So, that anyone would assert that Cronulla is a typically working class neighbourhood more than usually prone to the vicissitudes of industrial reform and filled with gullible, uneducated rednecks is either grossly misinformed - or, more likely, wedded to a formulaic doctrine of social theory that actually restricts their understanding.

Having studied sociology myself, admittedly only at degree level, I can assure you there is such an obsession with theory, and such entrenched hostility toward empirical research among academic social theorists, that many of them espouse doctrines more akin to core religious beliefs than anything which could even remotely be called 'science'.

In fact, they won't want to know what actually happened in Cronulla in case it gets in the way of their beliefs.

Now, this article, as I am confident other readers in touch with the academic establishment can attest, probably reflects reasonably well how the topic of racism generally, and the Cronulla riots specifically, will be being discussed in tutorials and common rooms across the country when the academic year resumes shortly.

Take the Germain Greer article below.

We might laugh that Germs would offer an impromptu analysis of a riot in Cronulla, complete with various unhesitating yet wholly unsubstantiated sociological and cultural claims about the social condition of the rioters, from her vantage in London.

And then for her to boldly make a general prognosis, based on her analysis, regarding the social behaviour of an entire nation for the following few months.

And be wrong as usual.

But Germaine Greer is not just any opinionated individual mouthing off her views.

Germaine Greer is considered one of Australia's most reputable and venerable academics and social commentators.

I mean, this woman holds a university chair and authors books on social topics.

Almost certainly, I would say, the opinions of people like Germaine Greer, as well as political opportunists of every stripe, will determine the direction of "debate" regarding racism in Australia for years to come now.

Nobody will do any research.

There are too many passionately held convictions to risk anything so vulgar as putting in the hard yards doing research. So, no way.

Based on what I've seen in previous discussions here and elsewhere about the Cronulla riots, my bet is that two widely held, and deeply cherished belifes will be aired over and over.

Namely;

a) Australia is racist to the core, especially its white male population;

b) Multiculturalism in this country has been a terrific success and enjoys the overwhelming support of the great majority of Australians who are basically decent people.

Moreover, these views will be expressed simultaneously by the same people. Without hesitation or shame.

Also, someone in authoriy will soon announce a "community education programme" aimed at "youth" to "raise awareness" about "tolerance".

This will be funded by matching Commonwealth and State grants on a 12 month basis. Somehow, Lex Marinos will be involved.

We'll receive a glossy brochure in the letter box.

I agree, Michael de Angelos

I agree,  Michael de Angelos, that leadership has been lacking in racism and cultural issues ever since John Howard has come to power.

By not openly condemning these overt and covert  actions, people are sent the message that Howard silently agrees with them - the old silent majority, that keeps Howard in his job. Howard even went so far as to say that he doesn't believe that there is racism in Australia (he's only been the policy author and endorser for all of his career!) Yet, all through the media we hear of reference to people of middle eastern background, of how they commit terrible crimes, and the violent thuggery that they practice (as if no Australians or other peoples have ever behaved in that manner).

The only thing that I've noticed now, is that we don't hear about the "black armband view" of our Indigenous peoples anymore and all of the sins committed by them, we're too busy with terrorism and Islamaphobia to continue with our usual victims of racism.

 http://www.countercurrents.org/aus-hassan191205.htm

sounds about right

Cronulla is just another long term reaction to the covert racism that has been encouraged by Howard since he came to power. It's been a very successful tactic - divide and conquer.

The premier and police commissioner who react to whatever the day's  headline is in the Daily Terror have been hopeless in their reactions. Locking up the rioters without bail, no matter how distasteful their actions were, is an outrage as was jailing a man for burning a flag. This retroactive lawmaking, first made popular by the Labor premier Bob Carr, is a complete travesty of justice.

There will be many more episodes in the future, maybe not as big or sensational as Cronulla. What is lacking is any sort of leadership at the top. Peter Debnam's useless Laura Norder bleatings simply play into the hands of an unoriginal premier who sees how successful being "tough on crime" worked for Carr.

Silence as usual from the PM who puts it  all down to a few "lunatics" while his State leader thinks it's a grand conspiracy between State Labor and the police. They should get their stories straight.

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