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Last updated on August 9th, 2017 at 11:26 am

The Sydney Morning Herald‘s Michael Gawenda:

There are signs that an increasing number of people on the left in the US, Europe and Australia are uncomfortable with knee-jerk anti-Americanism, with the left’s virtual silence in response to the unspeakable violence of Islamic totalitarianism, with the way Western feminists have basically turned their back on their oppressed sisters in much of the Muslim world. Many people would say about time.

Many on the left—well, not many, but a worthwhile scattering of leftist dissidents—have been saying “about time” for a long time. Also in the SMH (Saturday edition), this from Alan Ramsey:

John Howard’s office phoned the Canberra press gallery two nights ago. Photographers and TV crews were told to be at The Lodge at 5.30 next morning if they wanted World Cup footage of the Prime Minister in front of his television set.

They arrived just in time to catch Howard whooping it up as the Socceroos scored the penalty that evened the half-time score against Croatia half a world away. They were gone, bundled back outside, by 5.45. Thank you, Prime Minister.

The leaping toad.

Howard’s office replies:

The photo opportunity with the Prime Minister which Alan Ramsey found so objectionable was organised at the request of television networks and at least one newspaper. The Herald was invited to attend, as a matter of courtesy, and chose to do so and to publish a photo. And, to correct the record, far from being “bundled back outside” as was claimed, the crew and photographers departed at half time, having got what they came for.

(Via Dan L.)

Posted by Tim B. on 06/28/2006 at 12:15 PM
    1. Not that it’s needed here, but Harry’s Place deserves a shout-out along with the other dissident worthies.

      Posted by olly on 2006 06 28 at 12:57 PM • permalink


    1. ‘There are signs that an increasing number of people on the left in the US, Europe and Australia are uncomfortable with knee-jerk anti-Americanism’

      Many like four or five? The rest are all down with it.

      Posted by Bandit on 2006 06 28 at 01:09 PM • permalink


    1. In all fairness, it should be noted that we ain’t exactly keen on them. However, I haven’t (yet) descended to their level of encouraging their enemies to inflict mayhem upon them. This is in sharp contrast to many in Eire and France, for example. Some of my Irish relatives gloated over both US Marine casualties in Fallujah and losses during Katrina. My reply to them was rather direct, with the result that I haven’t heard any more from them, and any future trips to Eire won’t include seeing the relatives.

      Posted by Blue Hen on 2006 06 28 at 01:20 PM • permalink


    1. See, I took “the leaping toad” to be Ramsey’s new nom de plume.

      Posted by R C Dean on 2006 06 28 at 01:49 PM • permalink


    1. Is “the leaping toad” some kind of Aussie insult?  I find it peculiar.

      Posted by ushie on 2006 06 28 at 02:25 PM • permalink


    1. That line probably crept in from his upcoming article about the Great Tea Race of 1866, and it was supposed to be “the Teaping load”. Honest mistake.

      Posted by PW on 2006 06 28 at 02:31 PM • permalink


    1. Would that it were true that the left was waking up to their incomprehensible quiet about the evil the enemy perpetrates, and their vociferous and sustained advocation of evil to befall America.

      I’ll believe they are changing when they turn on the traitorous NYTimes.  Shall I hold my breath?

      Posted by saltydog on 2006 06 28 at 03:04 PM • permalink


    1. And, to correct the record, far from being “bundled back outside” as was claimed, the crew and photographers departed at half time, having got what they came for.

      In their heart of hearts, do you think the crew and photogs were hoping that Mr. Howard would say something rude, or fall over a chair or somesuch?  I always thought that the American press went to photo ops with the hope (in the words of P.J. O’Rourke) that he would say “fu%k” or get shot.  Is the press the same down in Oz?

      Posted by Major John on 2006 06 28 at 03:22 PM • permalink


    1. Damn! Wish I’d thought of “The Leaping Toad” during the recent ‘name a pub’ thread.

      Posted by Bill Spencer on 2006 06 28 at 03:27 PM • permalink


    1. Well, how long can the left hang on to their most cherished prejudices when the cold, hard facts keep smacking them in the face?  Were I to meet these people in person, I’m afraid my only response would be a heartfelt “Duh!”

      Posted by RebeccaH on 2006 06 28 at 04:25 PM • permalink


    1. Oh crap. Please dont say we’ve gotta try to sort out the good lefties from the regular ones. Flamethrowers aren’t all that precise a weapon, dontcha know?

      Posted by Grimmy on 2006 06 28 at 05:05 PM • permalink


    1. Speaking of toads, is this really a job for the army? What kind of campaign ribbon or medal do you get for this? I assume it’s the Crossed Frog’s Legs, with the Cluster of Tadpoles.

      Posted by paco on 2006 06 28 at 05:22 PM • permalink


    1. This can be sorted out pretty quickly. We retain the good bits of multiculturalism, namely the food and … well, the food. Then we retain the best bits of leftism, which is …
      Help me here, please!

      Posted by blogstrop on 2006 06 28 at 06:06 PM • permalink


    1. When Ramsey uses his own words it winds up being a big pile of Juan Cole. It’a good thing that, as usual, he used the vast majority of his column quoting others.

      Posted by Margos Maid on 2006 06 28 at 06:20 PM • permalink


    1. Paco, you card.

      1.  Does this mean that the gummint is declaring <gasp> actual War! on Gaia’s cane toads?  That sounds politically incorrect to me.  How did this guy get elected/appointed?

      2.  If they are trying to locate individual croaking, what the hell good is using a listening device?  Don’t they have special sniffing dogs to find the decomposing bodies of the croaked cane toads?

      I say:  try smart bombs.  And if the toads are on a military preserve, you can make it a part of a war game, with artilary and all kinds of live ammo and blowing things up.

      Ah, good times.

      What was the subject again?

      Posted by saltydog on 2006 06 28 at 06:30 PM • permalink


    1. I’d prefer to see Mr H’s CD video of Walking around Canberra to seeing him watch the world cup!

      Hi Mr Howard Hi mr Downer!

      Posted by 1.618 on 2006 06 28 at 06:36 PM • permalink


    1. #15:

      Actually, we could try smart bombs for sorting out the sensible lefties from the deranged ones…the smart ones will be the ones running away and/or notifying law enforcement while the crazy ones will be the ones sticking around waiting for somebody they can apologize to…

      Posted by PW on 2006 06 28 at 06:41 PM • permalink


    1. #15: From the article I linked: “Invasive species have been one of the tragedies of Australian history.”  Cane toads, Cindy Sheehan, Maureen Dowd. “Tragic”? Sounds more like “hellish”.

      Posted by paco on 2006 06 28 at 06:45 PM • permalink


    1. They arrived just in time to catch Howard whooping it up as the Socceroos scored the penalty that evened the half-time score against Croatia half a world away. They were gone, bundled back outside, by 5.45. Thank you, Prime Minister.

      Just out of curiosity, has anyone checked to see if that was Aussie team was really a plastic simulacrum placed into the World Cup for just this photo op?  Plastic turkeys, plastic footballers; Bush, Howard; they’re all interchangable.

      Posted by kbiel on 2006 06 28 at 06:48 PM • permalink


    1. #13 Then we retain the best bits of leftism, which is …
      Help me here, please!

      Their entertainment value, blogstrop.  Especially their penchant for epithet:  i.e., the leaping toad.  As in Mr. Howard, or Mr. Bush, the leaping toads of imperialism.

      Posted by RebeccaH on 2006 06 28 at 07:20 PM • permalink


    1. What a nasty piece of bile Ramsey is. I can accept honest criticism of Howard’s policies, based on a different political viewpoint genuinely held, but Ramsey’s column is always full of hate; bitter, personal and venomous. Obviously, a graduate cum laude of the Paul Keating school of muckraking and mud-slinging, which holds that you never use the rapier thrust when the bludgeon bash is available. Or to put it another way, when your man is down, keep on kicking him in the balls.

      It’s time Fairfax retired the silly old duffer – to the Sunshine Home for bitter and twisted, clapped-out journos, where hopefully he can work out his psychoses, rocking away on the front porch.

      Posted by mr magoo on 2006 06 28 at 07:41 PM • permalink


    1. Did Howard actually have any Croatians there? Did he serve culturally-inclusive finger food? Was there a Muslim spokesman present? What a monster, Howard should go.

      Posted by Nic on 2006 06 28 at 07:55 PM • permalink


    1. he is a leaping toad


      Posted by Skeptic on 2006 06 28 at 08:08 PM • permalink


    1. By the way, I just opened the South China Morning Post and what do I see, a huge picture of Wen Jiabao and the man that the Australian left said that Asia would never deal with.

      Over to you Alan.

      Posted by Nic on 2006 06 28 at 08:31 PM • permalink


    1. Tim Blair!  Please, please please leave Alan Ramsay alone.  He’s one of the top 5 Howard Haters (TM) that act so effectively in shoring up JoHo’s support.

      Posted by Stop Continental Drift! on 2006 06 28 at 08:59 PM • permalink


    1. One look at Ramsay’s face will tell you how bitter and twisted he is. It’s like a cat’s arse after a lemon juice enema.

      Posted by Infidel Tiger on 2006 06 28 at 09:19 PM • permalink


    1. #18, paco,

      Good lord, I forgot about those particular infestations.  And to think they came from our part of the world.  I tell you, the easy travel brought about by globalization is an insidious, two-edged sword.

      Posted by saltydog on 2006 06 28 at 10:20 PM • permalink


    1. PW — Actually all bombs are smart bombs compared to lefties…at least the bombs know how to do one thing right…

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 2006 06 28 at 11:03 PM • permalink


    1. Perhaps Ramsey fears “The Thousand Darting Tongues of Death” employed by martial arts master Howard (DON’T skip the intro on the cite linked).

      #27: Yes, we’ve been guilty of inflicting some pretty shoddy exports on Australia. As penance, I volunteer to take Erin McNaught out to dinner.

      Posted by paco on 2006 06 28 at 11:10 PM • permalink


    1. #13 good parts of leftism?  dead lefties

      Posted by larrikin on 2006 06 28 at 11:48 PM • permalink


    1. #26 – Hats off Infidel, a beautiful simile. Concise, accurate, and cruel all in one hit.

      Posted by SwinishCapitalist on 2006 06 29 at 12:23 AM • permalink


    1. My mind really boggles when I think of a newspaper man like Ramsey who thinks that Howard would try to set up a photo-op of him watching the tv at 5:30am. I know we had Mao swimming etc but this is too much.

      There is clearly a disconnect between Ramseys mind and reality.

      Posted by allan on 2006 06 29 at 12:38 AM • permalink


    1. I honestly can’t think of anything good that the left has done in the last 40 or so years (not that I think they’ve EVER done anything good, just keeping the scope manageable). Is there anything?

      Posted by Texas Bob on 2006 06 29 at 03:27 AM • permalink


    1. #32. “There is clearly a disconnect between Ramseys mind and reality”
      Actually Ramsay has never got over the fact that he called for JH’s removal at the last election in 2004 and we didn’t obey his orders!! He tends to bring it up evry other month!!

      Posted by JPMAC on 2006 06 29 at 06:06 AM • permalink


    1. talking of Howard hating, is there an innocent explanation for the Leunig cartoon in The Age today weird?
      or is Leunig having a happy fantasy of Howard being tortured?
      Just wondering.

      Posted by percypup on 2006 06 29 at 07:54 AM • permalink


    1. There are signs that an increasing number of people on the left in the US, Europe and Australia are uncomfortable with knee-jerk anti-Americanism.

      That must mean we are about to win in Iraq, and the “increasing number” see their irrelevance looming.

      Posted by Patricia on 2006 06 29 at 11:38 AM • permalink


    1. okay, as an ex-lefty I have to come to the defense of the continuing lefties on this one. here are three pro-left points off the top of my head.

      1. Left-wingers tend to be the ones that jump on human rights abuses, whether in Western countries or third world countries. For example, my experience is that most members of Amnesty International are left. Sure, you can diss AI for partisan stances on some things (as a consequence of its membership), but in general it is a good cause.
      2. left-wingers defend civil liberties. The right to vote, free speech, right to congregate, etc. Gun ownership is an exception, for complicated reasons.
      3. left-wingers tend to be strongly anti-discrimination. This is the meme that has led many of them down the wrong path in the war against terror, but the reason is that they have the racism-detectors set to autopilot. And the reason for that is that racism is a real and continuing threat to social harmony and democracy.

      Note: I’m not defending any ideology here. In theory, these things could be advocated by either side of politics. But in practice, it tends to be leftists that take up for them.

      Posted by daddy dave on 2006 06 29 at 04:50 PM • permalink


    1. #37 A social satirist of the early 19th century, often praised for his lack of intrusive moralising, once wrote :

      “The wicked are wicked, no doubt, and they go astray and they fall, and they come by their deserts: but who can tell the mischief which the very virtuous do?” [George Savage Fitz-Boodle pseud.]

      Posted by MentalFloss on 2006 06 29 at 05:35 PM • permalink


    1. daddy dave: the left may have once been known for those three actions in the past, but in the last, oh I don’t know, five years, I have seen little evidence that they care about human rights (unless it’s the US or other Western, spine-bearing nations allegedly violating them), civil liberties (unless it’s their new best friends Muslim terrorists who are allegedly suffering from the lack of them—at the hands of the US and other spine-bearing Western nations), or discrimination (in fact, they have come out in favor of discrimination for a select few “racial” groups such as African-American Democrats, Muslim “militants,” and Wiccans).

      You can only ride on past glory for so long. People are ready to toss the Republican party over here into the dust because they’ve turned into jellyfish on a number of important issues, but everyone’s willing to give those cute lefties one more excuse, one more chance to do “the good we know they have in their hearts.” Include me out.

      Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 2006 06 29 at 06:08 PM • permalink


    1. I never read or hear Alan Ramsey.  He seems safely quarantinely to a small part of the East Coast, unlike his soulmate Phillip Adams, doyen and precious asset of the ABC and The Australian.
      Lately Adams has been boasting about how he anticipated, aged about 15, the atheistic theory of a professional philosopher 50 years later.

      He also said he had his ‘one and only’ intellectual religious crisis at age 5.
      I guess he solved it by worshipping himself.

      Posted by Barrie on 2006 06 29 at 06:40 PM • permalink


    1. #37 Daddy Dave: I don’t think your comments apply to Australia.  Your problem is that you complusively think ‘left is good, right is bad’ which was always biased nonsense.
      Amnesty International does not allow for capital punishment, so it skews its membership to the left, and then claims all the moral ground..
      The left in Australia [3 parties except for the federal Liberals] all opposed fighting Saddam in 2003, and most the Taliban in 2001.  Moral?
      Two of them [Aust. Dems and Greens], and many in the ALP Opposition, also opposed Iraq 1 in 1991!  Moral?
      The left even opposed the uniting of Germany. Moral?

      Supporters of civil rights?? Get real.
      They go easy on China [with 70 million dead their current leftist party is still responsible for], and hard on the USA.

      They went easy on Clinton and the UN who let a 800,000 genocide happen in Rwanda, and condemn Bush for getting rid of the sadist Saddam and taking the lead in Darfur [unhelped by leftist Europe].

      Get real.
      ‘Anti-discrimination’ can have a bad meaning -failing to make serious moral discriminations – a feature of the left since 1860.

      Posted by Barrie on 2006 06 29 at 07:03 PM • permalink


    1. Your problem is that you complusively think ‘left is good, right is bad’ which was always biased nonsense.

      oh is that what I compulsively think. did the phrase “ex-left” register at all? I take it you missed my arguments with Addamo, drpoll etc. FYI
      I more closely align with neo-con thinking than anything else.
      On the other hand, because I grew up with a left-wing mindset, I understand where they are coming from. And sometimes they get it right. Not very often, admittedly, and as Andrea says, much less so than in the past.

      Posted by daddy dave on 2006 06 29 at 07:20 PM • permalink


    1. 33 Daddy Dave

      Where are the Left on human rights abuses in the Middle East?

      Where are the Left on honour killings and stonings of women?

      When Makhai Mai a Pakistanian woman, was ordered to be gang raped by the local Islamic village court, because her 12 year-old brother supposedly stole something—the LEFT were silent.

      And where is the famous Left-led feminist movement?

      I, too was once a Lefty. Then I realised I had been mislead and coerced by my peers and university professors. At the core of it, is the belief that Leftists defend human rights—therefore they are good—it’s crap. Communism has killed more people than anything else on earth.

      The Leftists believe they can harm people, break laws and abuse human rights themselves, because after all they are the GOOD guys.

      In the end, it is a matter of self-definition. Leftists believe they are morally superior, that they are really the only good people on earth and that they can do anything to promote their cause,  It’s pure selfishness and pure self-promotion. Nothing to do with human rights at all.

      That’s why I left the Left.

      Posted by daphne on 2006 06 29 at 08:06 PM • permalink


    1. #37 Daddy Dave: I’m a right-winger, and always have been. Nonetheless, I think there is a lot of truth in your three points. The issue, it seems to me, is that the underlying dynamics of leftist political action have changed. Whereas in the 60’s, you had honest liberals (many now ironically – or perhaps, not so ironically – neo-cons), who opposed racism on principle, these days you have “liberals” who don’t show the slightest reluctance in challenging the “authenticity” of blacks who don’t toe the Democratic party line. Whereas in the past, some liberals took great personal risk in assisting black people to get voting rights, today’s liberal thinks little of stuffing the ballot box (a la Detroit and Madison) if that results in political victory. I don’t really think people who viewed themselves previously as liberals have changed; I think what passes for liberalism these days has changed. Twenty years ago, Joe Lieberman would have been viewed as a pretty standard Democrat; today, the Left is attempting to make him a pariah in his own party.

      Posted by paco on 2006 06 29 at 08:31 PM • permalink


    1. #44 it’s true that the boundaries have moved. But if you are forced to switch sides it can cause you to re-evaluate everything. That’s what happened to me. Suddenly everything, everything that I took as truth, came up for grabs. To pick one example (from many), I used to be very pro-union. Now I think unions are parasites.
      I know a lot of ex-leftists have gone through the same thing, especially since 9-11. Mark Humphreys is a great example.

      Posted by daddy dave on 2006 06 29 at 08:42 PM • permalink


    1. I think the problem here is that we no longer have adequate labels for what we call “left” and “right”.  “Left” is too often confused with “liberal” and “right” with “conservative”, when most of us are some mix of both.  It’s a given that most of America is pretty middle-of-the-road, veering left or right on personal issues.  That’s what the gibbering class (our betters, they’d have you understand) have not yet figured out, as it suits their purpose to have us polarized and unable to find common ground.

      Posted by RebeccaH on 2006 06 29 at 10:11 PM • permalink


    1. And I meant to say that my observations lead me to believe Australia is much the same.

      Posted by RebeccaH on 2006 06 29 at 10:12 PM • permalink


    1. Daddy Dave, the left don’t defend civil liberties because they don’t defend private property rights. They don’t support free speech, in fact they loudly call for the state to punish the holders of certain opinions (holocaust deniers, and other racists mostly).

      They oppose freedom of association because they don’t support freedom of contract. They are not anti-discrimination, 40 years of affirmative action ought to tell you that.
      Racism might be a great threat to liberty, but it is nothing against the threat posed by any government solution to racism.

      Posted by cmarshall on 2006 06 30 at 12:08 AM • permalink


    1. I do believe we are about due for some of the smarter folk to come up with a new set of identifier tags for the more limited folk, like me, to use.

      The liberal vs conservative thing doesnt really cut it anymore since each country has its own rendering of which is what and what each means.

      left vs right never really should have been a keeper at all. It’s french for heavens sake!

      Lately, I’ve been using us vs them a lot. we vs they etc. But those don’t work well in translation simply because every one’s we and us is about them and theirs regardless of what side of the gun-line they’re lining up on.

      Posted by Grimmy on 2006 06 30 at 07:10 AM • permalink


    1. Oh, when I am trying to be precise in defining I tend to go with:

      Intellectually inbred, delusional, self-hating,  hypocritical, dishonorable, treasonous, traitorous (just in case those actually mean something different in legalese), seditionist, self-destructive, incompetent, snot gobbling mouth breeders.

      but that’s really long and not real acronym friendly.

      Posted by Grimmy on 2006 06 30 at 07:15 AM • permalink


    1. Grimmy, I’m pretty sure left/right came from the British house of commons. The Whigs sat on the left and the Tories on the right.

      Posted by daddy dave on 2006 06 30 at 04:10 PM • permalink


    1. Daddy Dave; Sorry I accused you impulsively of ‘compulsively’ thinking.  I was wrong. But ‘instinctively’ is part of the issue too.
      Actually ‘left-right’ did emerge in France.
      The Left were the revolutionaries and over-idealistic in an anti-religion cause.
      They accused the royals and clerics of all being just cynical oppressors. Same today.
      Of course, in a couple of years they were guillotining innocents and were duped by Napoleon, a dictator with Hitler-like instincts and powers [another idealistic socialist].
      So I would say ‘right’ still tends to have a belief in transcendent values, original sin [nobody’s perfect or can create a perfect state] and realism as against revolutionary idealism. [Don’t expect Iraq to suddenly be solved] But rightists can intervene in war to rescue the oppressed and can be as compassionate as anyone else.
      Churchill was a liberal-conservative in the classic mould -no-one would have called him ‘leftist’, though he did feel for the poor.
      If we didn’t have left-right we would have to invent them, but they have a history due to the French and then communism, with its many idealistic fellow-travelers even today..

      Posted by Barrie on 2006 06 30 at 07:34 PM • permalink


    1. Barry,
      no hard feelings. We’re on the same page.

      Posted by daddy dave on 2006 06 30 at 09:30 PM • permalink


    1. Sometimes discussions here treat the left like a monolith. There are plenty of left-leaners who are appalled at the violence of Stalin, Mao, etc. And if they are against Iraq, it’s in part because of a sustained misinformation campaign from the likes of Pilger and Moore. Many of them have decent humanitarian values, and when they finally figure out their ideology is not decent, but a web of lies, they bail.
      People are leaving the left. I did, as have others here.

      Posted by daddy dave on 2006 06 30 at 09:33 PM • permalink


    1. #54 daddy dave

      Can those that follow the dis/mis-informers really be considered victims tho?

      With the information access that everyone has, it takes a rather wilful degree of self-imposed blindness to not see through to the truth of an issue, these days.

      Posted by Grimmy on 2006 07 01 at 09:23 AM • permalink


    1. #55 self-imposed blindness is easier and more common than you might at first think.

      Posted by daddy dave on 2006 07 01 at 09:57 AM • permalink


    1. Even if Johnny-jump-up was responding to a media request that wouldn’t excuse Mark Knight’s take on the photo op in the Herald Sun, would it?  Talk about being a toady!

      Posted by Praise Rhesus! on 2006 07 03 at 06:32 AM • permalink


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