Abbott is a big sook. The macho Leader of the Opposition is coming across as a big sook. His petulant outburst about “an act of bastardry” by Julia Gillard has done him no good at all. I’m on record as not approving of making public that Tony Abbott chose not to visit the troops with the Prime Minster but for the life of me I cannot understand why the Liberals keep going on about it. With the help of Christopher Pyne — Ms Gillard is a ”a back alley street fighter” who is ”not fit to be prime minister” — Mr Abbott is looking less and less like a potential Prime Minister. I predict he will not remain Opposition Leader for long.

A nutter in the White House. Nancy Reagan, when husband Ronald was in the White House, scheduled events on the advice of an astrologer but there’s no evidence that the President himself believed in such hokus pokus. With Reagan’s predecessor Jimmy Carter, however, the evidence of nuttiness comes from his own words as dictated for his diary at the time with annotations added for a recently published version of it.


From a review of White House Diary in the New York Review of Books comes this weirdly frightening gem:

Carter’s religious views were unfairly derided by some commentators. He was a sophisticated reader of Paul Tillich and Reinhold Niebuhr. But one does wonder at the reliance he put on psychics to get his foreign intelligence. After the CIA briefed him on a plane crash in Zambia, he dictated:

An American parapsychologist had been able to pinpoint the site of the crash. We’ve had several reports of this parapsychology working; one discovered the map coordinates of a site and accurately described a camouflaged missile test site. Both we and the Soviets use these parapsychologists on occasion to help us with sensitive intelligence matters, and the results are unbelievable.

He appends to this entry his own current comment: “The proven results of these exchanges between our intelligence services and parapsychologists raise some of the most intriguing and unanswerable questions of my presidency. They defy logic, but the facts were undeniable.” Later he dictated this: “We had a session in the Situation Room concerning a parapsychology project where people can envision what exists at a particular latitude and longitude, et cetera.”

A shameful admission. Personally I think it’s a sacking matter. Federal Sports Minister Mark Arbib was asked on ABC Television on Monday how many players were in an AFL team. And the reply?  “That’s a good question and I have to tell you, I don’t know,”  said Minister Arbib. “I’m a Sydney boy, I grew up playing rugby league.” That is no excuse. The Prime Minister, like any good bulldog, should bite immediately.

Not good enough for Republicans. Peter Diamond, a 70-year-old economist at MIT, just won the Nobel Prize in Economics. Peter Diamond, the very same 70-year-old economist at MIT, was appointed to the Federal Reserve in April by President Obama but has had his confirmation blocked by Senate Republicans who doubt his economic qualifications for the job. Strange place that United States.

A strange unity ticket. It takes something unusual to get the conservative leaning London Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail newspapers to join forces in a political campaign with the left-liberal The Guardian and the Labour backing Daily Mirror but Rupert Murdoch has managed to get them to pull together.

12-10-2010 unityagainstmurdoch

The common cause of the newspaper groups is the increasing dominance of the British media that would flow to Murdoch if News Corporation is allowed to takeover all of the BSkyB television network.

Peter Fray

Fetch your first 12 weeks for $12

Here at Crikey, we saw a mighty surge in subscribers throughout 2020. Your support has been nothing short of amazing — we couldn’t have got through this year like no other without you, our readers.

If you haven’t joined us yet, fetch your first 12 weeks for $12 and start 2021 with the journalism you need to navigate whatever lies ahead.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey