Ronald Reagan’s amazing beliefs

I’m amazed that John Howard believes Reagan was the greatest US
president since World War 2. Not only were many of his actions
influenced by astrologers, courtesy of his wife, but he was clearly
ga-ga long before he began suffering from Alzheimer’s, as evidenced by
this quote from Mikhail Gorbachev:

“At our meeting in Geneva, the U.S. President said that if the earth
faced an invasion by extraterrestials, the United States and the Soviet
Union would join forces to repel such an invasion. I shall not dispute
the hypothesis, though I think it’s early yet to worry about such an

Perry Gretton

Bush and the political domino effect

Has any one else noticed or is it just me? The Bush
Administration is now formally campaigning in Australian
politics. On their own, the comments by the President at the
joint press conference last week condemning Labor policy on Iraq could
have been seen as an unwitting intervention. But the cumulative
effect of comments by Secretary of State Powell and the menacing,
bullying messages from Presidential thug and neo-con Richard Armitage
leave no doubt that the Bush Administration is now officially
campaigning against Australia’s Labor Opposition, and is specifically
playing the man against the Opposition Leader, Mark Latham.

The precision and refinement of their attacks leaves no doubt that this
pre-emptive strike has been laser-guided by the Prime Minister.
The Bush Administration doesn’t know that much about Australia or
Australian politics. Normally it wouldn’t care and certainly
would know the risks of crossing the political line when dealing with
developed sovereign nations. But not when you have been expressly
invited by its political leader. That’s another thing. He
even tells you what you need to say.

Lest we get to Austro-centric here, let’s not forget the old Keating
adage about self-interest. Bush isn’t campaigning for Howard
because he likes him, or because he thinks Australia is important, or
because he needs Australian troops in Iraq. He’s doing it because
if Howard goes to the polls before November and loses, it perpetuates
the political domino effect against governments supporting the
Coalition of the Willing. The negative political momentum will
rub off on Bush. Bush needs to break that cycle. He’ll do
anything he can to save Howard, because it will help save his own skin.

Matthew Warren

Empire war is raw

I have to agree with your correspondent that current empires should be
referred to as such. As for Garrett, good move by Latham. Stuff
the local time servers who’s mates network and nepotism would be more
at home in the Indonesian Empire.

Imagine Garrett being sent to Washington to tell the Americans about
the problems that we have with their foreign policy? Priceless
and very Australian. Let’s assert ourselves, we are not
suckholes, we have a good society and our opinion as an ally should be

Humphrey Hollins

Blind and biased Bolt

After reading Andrew Bolt’s latest spray at the ABC, I was tempted to
peruse the archives of his opinion articles. In several cases the ABC
or its staff are singled out for criticism. I tried valiantly, but
couldn’t find any positive mentions of the ABC. How about surprising us
Andrew? Just to show you aren’t biased.


Bolt’s fateful Mel Gibson attack

In your letters column, a former Liberal staffer asks:

“How many people actually read Bolt, or any other Herald Sun columnist,
for anything other than amusement value? It would be interesting to
know. My guess, for what it’s worth, is not very many.”

My answer (I can’t boast of having carried out a scientific survey, but
then, how scientific is most official polling?) is that Bolt used to
have passionate support among supporters of the NCC, the Endeavour
Forum, Right to Life, and broadly similar organisations, at whose
functions he routinely spoke. But he entirely lost that audience when
he accepted Rupert Murdoch’s 30 shekels, oops, sorry about that typo,
30 pieces of silver to defame Mel Gibson in what remains the most
intellectually dishonest Australian newspaper screed to have come my
way. These days, those same religious conservatives (I am one) who used
to regard his views with respect know better. After the first Sunday
Mass which I attended following Bolt’s epileptiform convulsions (Mel’s bloody fiction)
on the subject of “antisemitic” and “homophobic” Gibson’s The Passion
of the Christ, the verdict I heard in conversation – I myself said
nothing – was unanimous: Bolt has lost his following and will never get
it back.

These days he is reduced to crying up the moral virtues of those
perennial peace-lovers, the Turkish Cypriot armed forces. Remember the
old joke about Mao? “The good news is, he’s dead. The bad news is,
nobody’s told him yet.” Bolt’s current status bears comparison with
Mao’s health as described in that witticism.

A pity; Bolt used to be gifted, and civil enough to this stranger, on
the rare occasions when our paths crossed. Alas, mixed in with his
authorial gift was – as we can now see – arrant cowardice. Eventually
the latter facet obliterated the former, to the point where every
aspect of his thinking appeared to be dominated by whether his
preferred ethnic lobby would approve of it. Happens all the time. Some
of the most embarrassing wastes of space to have lost their jobs in the
recent SMH purge possessed talents once. Even Al Grassby is said to
have loved his mother.

R. J. Stove

Why the Nine News is lacking

Given the smelly state of the product itself, is it any wonder that Nine is in ratings trouble over its National News service?

Tuesday night’s Nine National News (9/6/04) was a classic example of
the silliness that regularly impinges on the serious news. The
incompetence was there for all to see in the lead story for the night,
when an old and ugly male (yet to be correctly identified) was titled
as “Lindsay Tanner”. The second item for the night was little
better, featuring a humorously out of control identifying highlighter
that skipped all over a group of men, “highlighting” several different
people as allegedly corrupt Victoria Police officers.

If Nine cannot even proof the leading items in their news before
sending it out into living rooms, let alone admit mistakes and make
clarifications during bulletins, why would viewers stay loyal?
The kindest thing that could be said about last night’s titling stuff
up is that it may have been deliberate. But there are obviously
no excuses for highlighting multiple people while detailing corruption
allegations against one.

Jason Lovell

Some advice for Channel Nine

Terry’s articles have been compelling, but heres some advice for Nine that they may not have considered.

  • The last thing people want to see is more Eddie McGuire, the
    threat of seeing him everyday (more so) when I flick to nine is not
    likely to encourage me to take that risk.
  • I switched over to Sunrise last year. Why? I don’t like
    being subjected to Richard Wilkins, ever – especially not before 9 am.
  • More people will watch Frasier if you show an episode that a) is
    less than 10 years old and b) has been repeated less than 4 times.

I though Channel Ten was the only one that did that – but at least they
showed new episodes too. The US is about to screen the final
episode and we haven’t even seen the 6th series. The fact that you’re
getting 1 million viewers for episodes that they’ve in all
likelihood already seen would suggest you would get even more if
you showed them something new. Or you could just wait until they’ve
bought them on DVD and aren’t interested anymore – sort of like the
Sunday movies. That should save Kerry some, grief, viewers,
ratings points and advertising dollars. I’ll put my bill in the

To serve or not to serve the nation

I saw you on the Seven Network’s Today Tonight program a few weeks ago
talking about the Trish Draper affair. I didn’t realise you looked so
youthful and fit. I somehow imagined you old, bald headed and fat!

Mate, I hope you can help me. Ok, let me introduce myself to you. I
volunteered for the Vietnam War without waiting for the National
Service call up. I did one tour of Vietnam (1966-67) as a grunt, an
infantry soldier, whilst many of our current war experts, journalists,
academics and politicians avoided volunteering, including our Defence
Minister Robert Hill, and Prime Minister, Johnny “Digger” Howard, and
Aussie Ray Martin, and Alan ‘Super Patriot Parrot” Jones (radio shock

My wife is Vietnamese. One of my sons recently did a peacekeeping tour
of the Solomon Islands with The Australian Army. I have a daughter in
the Royal Australian Navy who proudly served her country in the Middle

I march proudly every ANZAC Day and I still firmly support the war
against terror in Afghanistan and Iraq. I was a big fan of Herald-Sun
columnist Andrew Bolt, The Daily Telegraph’s Piers Akerman, and radio
shock jock Alan Jones until recently.

I’ve become disillusioned with them because I’ve emailed them many
times, asking why they never served in the Australian Defence Forces if
they were so patriotic about Australia fighting in the war against
terrorism. As yet I’ve received no answer.

I also asked the owner of the Herald-Sun and the Daily Telegraph, Mr
Rupert Murdoch, why he didn’t volunteer for the Korean War (1950-53),
considering he is the son of legendary Gallipoli correspondent, Sir
Keith Murdoch, and is also pro-Iraqi war. As yet I’ve received no

I have sent numerous emails to Senator Hill’s office, and letters to
the Prime Minister’s Department, and Labor ex-Defence Ministers, Kim
Beazley and Senator Robert Ray, asking why these four politicians
didn’t volunteer for Vietnam. As yet, I have had no response. Nor has
the ALP’s Shadow Defence Minister, Chris Evans, got back to me.

I hope by publishing my letter I can shame Messers Bolt, Akerman, Jones
and Murdoch, Senator Hill and the PM, The Hon Kim Beazley and Senator
Ray into giving an explanation. I firmly believe in the principle that
you should practice what you preach. If you advocate sending men to
war, then you should have the decency to serve yourself.

I copped a hard time when I got back from South Vietnam. What hurts the
most is seeing current experts and politicians, some of whom were
anti-Vietnam War protestors or who actively avoided military service,
now lecturing society on the need to go to war.

The academics who run some of Strategic thinks tanks, such Hugh White
and Dr Gerard Henderson, Des Moore, and Paddy McGuiness didn’t even
volunteer for Vietnam, yet these people are making a lot of money in
writing about war and appearing in the media.

Why is the Australian media keeping quiet about this issue? Could it be
that some of our tough, macho, patriotic journos themselves are too
afraid to ask, because they themselves haven’t served in the armed

Holsworthy NSW

Re: Hawthorn and Dermie’s conflict of interest

Just thought I’d point out something about the Hawks’ predicted finish
at the start of the year. In doing a bit of research for fantasy
footy, I had a look at some predictions for the AFL ladder. The
predictions were posted on the AFL website every few days just before
the season started.

Here are some of the selected predictions for Hawthorn:

  • Mic Cullen (Sportal) 3rd
  • Matt Burgan ( 6th
  • Samantha Lane (Sportal) 6th
  • Ashley Browne (Sportal) 5th
  • Swinburne Uni computer: 8th
  • Even SportingBet had the Hawks at $11 – outright 5th favourite – on 12 March

… so it seems that there were high expectations of the Hawks from lots of people, not just those with links to the board.

While the subscriber seems to think the Age’s ranking is “compromised
by Brereton’s involvement,” surely his bias is well known and most
punters can take it into account.

Anyway, how is this different to Hird, Sheedy or Malthouse putting their tips in the paper every Friday?

Ross (not a Hawks supporter)

Those leftie Age readers

One can sympathise with poor Tracey Age Reader [The Sunday Age’s dodgy letters] and can appreciate how upset she must be!

Fancy being an Age reader and having to put up with a columnist who has pro-war views, whether ‘strident’ or not.

And it gets worse: aren’t the letters pages in both the Ages supposed
to be reserved for readers and people reckon it’s all J Howard’s, A
Blair’s and G W Bush’s fault, whether we’re rabbiting on about bad
spelling, Third World tribal warfare or rednecks being able to access
the internet?

No wonder poor Tracey Age Reader is so upset.

Invermay, 7248

Same-sex marriage

I am appalled at the amount of negativity towards gay marriage in the media at the moment.

I was hard pressed to find a legitimate reason for why homosexual
people can not get married. The only reason I could find, which is
watery at best, was that homosexual marriage defies the conventional
definition of marriage, being the union between a man and a woman.
Though I have yet to see a reasonable definition of how gay marriage
would destroy this.

If I were to believe the current definition of marriage, which has been
splayed all over the media recently, it would seem I have been viewing
the idea of marriage all wrong. I thought marriage was a way for two
people, who love, honour and respect each other to join their lives
together, legally and religiously, and partake in the ultimate
commitment. To declare in front of their loved ones, their God and to
each other, that they wish to spend the rest of their lives together.

How can a couple of the same-sex not offer the same thing to each
other? Do heterosexual couples love each other more than
homosexual couples?

The entire background of the anti-gay marriage argument seems to be
built upon fear. Fear that gay marriage will destroy the foundation of
marriage. It looks to me like the current foundation of marriage isn’t
doing too well as it is. 1 in 3 heterosexual marriages end in divorce.
Are people afraid that these statistics will degenerate further if
same-sex marriage comes to fruition? If so, how? By answering that
question, it would infer that homosexual relationships differ from
heterosexual relationships. Is there a difference? If there is, I don’t
see one. The focal point of relationships and marriage, I believe, is

It seems to me, through all the political and religious hoo-haa that
has been going on recently, people are missing the point of what
marriage really means. If it’s not the union of two people, out of love
and commitment, then I don’t know why people bother getting married.

I have started a petition for the legalisation of same-sex marriage at

Kristie Naylor

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