At Large

At Large

Winning the PM’s History Prize and Upsetting the Lefty Luvvies

By 12.19.14

My wife and I were flown to Melbourne for me to receive half of Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s $80,000 Prize for History for my book Australia’s Secret War: How Unionists Sabotaged Our Troops in World War II.

The hotel we were put up at, on the south bank of the Yarra River, was a good deal more luxurious than I am accustomed to, with uniformed doormen and all. The “gala meal” at the oxymoronically named Victorian National Arts Centre, was excellent.

My publisher, Keith Windschuttle, editor of the conservative cultural magazine Quadrant, Roger Franklin, editor of Quadrant Online, and former editor Peter Coleman and his daughter shared our table.

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The KGB’s Old Headquarters Lives On

By 12.11.14

Moscow

Red Square is one of the world’s most iconic locales. Dominated by the Kremlin, St. Basil’s Cathedral, and GUM Department Store, the space looks little different from Soviet times. While Lenin’s mausoleum remains, any hint of menace is gone. Indeed, even during the worst of the USSR the square was more symbolic than threatening. For the most part no one went to the Kremlin to die.

Very different, however, is Lubyanka, just a short walk up Teatralny Proezd past the Bentley and Maserati dealerships. 

In the late nineteenth century 15 insurance companies congregated on Great Lubyanka Street, prospering as the great czarist despotism entered the industrial age. The Rossia agency, one of Russia’s largest, completed an office building in 1900. Excess space was turned into apartments and leased out to retailers selling everything from books to beds.

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Crowning Moments in Britain’s One-Sided Culture War

By 12.3.14

Christians are being killed in tens of thousands in the Islamic World and Africa. A Christian woman in Pakistan is sentenced to be hanged for drinking from a Muslim cup. An official who tries to save her is murdered by his own bodyguard, who becomes a popular hero, and Jewish babies are murdered by more Islamic heroes in Jerusalem.

The Church of England, meanwhile, devotes its energies to attacking the British Education Secretary for plans to teach “British values” in schools, calling them potentially “dangerous, divisive and undemocratic.”

The London Telegraph reported that the church, which is responsible for educating about a million children in England, voiced fears that a “narrowly focused” definition of British values would be used to test whether people were loyal and safe.

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Boots in the Face

By 11.14.14

What’s the perfect way for a government to indict itself, to show the public they’re being governed by a tyrannical regime that’s establishing the nightmarish society depicted in George Orwell’s 1984, a nation where individualism and free thought are crushed and the ruling party is all-pervading?

Answer: Have the police arrest anyone who is caught reading Orwell’s 1984.

“The crackdown on opposition to the May 22 coup continues,” Time magazine reported this past summer regarding the Thai government’s suppression of pro-democracy, anti-martial law demonstrators in Bangkok. “On Sunday, June 22, eight people were arrested outside the capital’s Siam Paragon mall — one for reading George Orwell’s dystopian classic 1984, copies of which have become symbols of the protest movement. Others were arrested for holding sandwiches, which have also become a tongue-in-cheek pro-democracy prop.”

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The Fall of the Berlin Wall

By 11.11.14

November 9 marked the 25th anniversary of the day the Berlin Wall cracked and Communist East Germany and its Kremlin overseers silently acknowledged Cold War defeat. As East and West Berliners began tearing the Wall to pieces, they began the dicey process of post-World War II German reunification.

Twenty-first century Germans believe that process is complete. Or at least they did. Current events may have tempered celebrations in Germany and throughout what was Communist-controlled Eastern Europe. On that same day in 1989 the dangerous and now demonstrably incomplete process of USSR dissolution commenced. The Kremlin’s current czar, Russian president Vladimir Putin, regards the Soviet Union’s dissolution as a historical tragedy. Many Eastern Europeans see Putin’s March 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula as a signal that the Kremlin intends to regain military control of Ukraine and the Baltic States.

NATO nations whose troops for some four decades defended Western Europe from Communist Russian attack also commemorated the Wall’s demise, as a moment of joy and immense relief more than victory.

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Nothing Macho, Please

By 11.10.14

Some very odd, things are going on in the upper echelons of the Australian Army.

A much-decorated Australian soldier, Major Bernard Gaynor, is fighting, largely alone, a battle against homosexual servicemen marching in uniform in “Gay Pride” parades that also mock and insult Christianity and with obscene displays before audiences that include children.

Gaynor served three tours of duty in Iraq while serving in Army intelligence. He has several awards recognizing outstanding conduct and was awarded the United States Meritorious Service Medal for operational performance in Iraq in 2008-09.

I have written elsewhere of Royal Australian Air Force Squadron-Leader Vince Chong receiving a gold commemoration from the vice-chief of the Australian Defense Force for his efforts as chairman of the Australian Defense Gay and Lesbian Information Service.

The activities of this body include having servicemen and women of all ranks marching in uniform in the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

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‘Life Imprisonment Is a Hidden Death Penalty’

By 10.30.14

Recently Pope Francis reiterated papal opposition to the death penalty and, going a step further, also renounced life imprisonment, which is the alternative that many death penalty opponents typically cite.

“All Christians and people of good will are thus called today to struggle not only for abolition of the death penalty, whether it be legal or illegal and in all its forms, but also to improve prison conditions, out of respect for the human dignity of persons deprived of their liberty. And this, I connect with life imprisonment,” he said at an October 23 event with the International Association of Penal Law. “Life imprisonment is a hidden death penalty.”

Evidently Vatican City has abolished life imprisonment, which obviously is mostly symbolic, since the papal enclave is hardly teeming with violent crime. The most serious crime there in recent years was the 1981 assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II, after which the assailant was tried in an Italian court.

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Pot Brownies and Putin’s Trolls

By 10.28.14

Not once in my life have I ever said to anyone, “You wanna smoke a bowl?”

Still, I get ads via emails on my computer about water bongs, vaporizers, smoking pipes and scales.

With edibles, I get emails about pot brownies and marijuana-infused peach soda. It sounds like a picnic you’d have to toss in the bushes if the cops showed up.

There are also regular incoming movie trailers on my computer for Reefer Madness, an “unabashed propaganda film with alarmist views on the dangers of marijuana addiction,” plus trailers for Assassin of Youth and The Narcotics Story.

Similarly, not once in my life have I ever gone to a bingo hall looking for a date. Still, I get recurring email and pop-up ads about “New Singles, Zoosk members, women 65 to 72.”

I’ve never replied to any of the aforementioned ads or clicked for more information.

With the Zoosk ad, a response did pop into my head that I thought might provide a chuckle on the other end: “I’m a foot fetish, seeking same, or a job in a shoe store.”

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Terror on the Hills

By 10.24.14

Terror struck in two disparate venues Wednesday, places — in the Talmudic phrase — “as far apart as east from west.” Indeed Jerusalem, Israel, is the hub of the Middle East and no place is as bleached in its Western-ness as Ottawa, Canada. Yet the hills of each played grim host to the murderous scourge of our time, the “Black Death” of Islamic terror. Each terrorist succeeded in bartering his pathetic existence for one innocent life. The world is better off without the two miscreants but sadly impoverished by losing two pure souls.

In Jerusalem, the usual crowd had been crammed together at Ammunition Hill, a terminus for the light rail system and a link to several bus lines. The hillock takes its name from its history as a key storage area for British ordnance prior to 1948. It became a pivot in the ground war between newly declared Israel and neighboring Jordan in 1948, winding up in Jordanian hands.

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Goodbye to Australia’s Worst P.M.

By 10.21.14

Australia’s worst-ever Prime Minister, Edward Gough Whitlam, died on Monday, aged 98.

Whitlam and the Australian Labor Party came to power at the end of 1972, inheriting from the previous Liberal (i.e. conservative) Government a stable, prosperous country which they proceeded to run into the ground. Australia was a long time recovering from their legacy of folly and criminality.

Whitlam’s very first action as Prime Minister was to restore the passport of Wilfrid Burchett, the Australian traitor and KGB operative who had helped interrogate allied prisoners of war in North Korea and helped fabricate fake germ-warfare confessions.

To gain credence in the Third World, Whitlam granted Papua New Guinea independence long before it had a trained and educated class capable of running it. Despite mineral wealth, it is now a typical corrupt broken-backed third world state, kept barely afloat by Australian aid.

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