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Jul 19 2012

Sour grapes from an Australian conservative

Hey, we successfully pharyngulated that Australian poll. Now Prime Minister Gillard is expected to answer the top 3 questions: a question on her opposition to gay marriage, that godless question on the state-supported chaplains, and a question about veteran’s pensions. Two wingnutty questions intended to cast doubt on addressing global warming did not make the cut, and the author of those two, right-wing wing columnist Andrew Bolt, is a bit peeved.

Blogger and News Ltd columnist Andrew Bolt, who drove a surge of votes for two climate questions last week, yesterday posted that the voting push from atheists was ‘‘most odd and suspicious’’, suggesting atheists had enlisted overseas networks to mobilise votes.

Mr Nicholls said he had circulated his question to Australian supporters but anyone could forward it on to others, and dismissed Bolt’s objections as “just because he’s not winning”.

‘‘This is the internet age. The comments (on my question) appear to be just Australians. I have no knowledge or control (over any foreign voting). I’d rather it just be Australians voting but you can imagine why America is interested,’’ he said.

On Bolt’s blog, he complained about us…that is, the Pharyngula readers who voted on the poll.

It seems the author has got US Internet forums to help.

Should blog readers fight fire with fire? It does seem odd having US readers demand answers from an Australian PM that they’ll almost certainly won’t hear about a program that doesn’t affect them in the slightest.

Nothing odd about this at all. Of course Americans have an interest in seeing good government in other countries, just as Australians are interested in seeing American not sliding back into tea-party barbarism. The question we voted in were suggested by Australians, and reflect Australian interests. And Pharyngula has a world-wide readership, so it’s kind of silly to claim that a link here just brought US interests to the table.

Also, should I point out that the previous post in Andrew Bolt’s blog was Bolt expressing his opinion of the American presidential elections?

48 comments

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  1. 1
    madscientist

    Andrew Bolt? Hahahahahahaha. That idiot deserves to be either ignored or, preferably, ridiculed. It’s good to see that questions of genuine social relevance made it to the top.

  2. 2
    John Morales

    Heh.

    I’m an Aussie, but I didn’t even bother to register to vote, much less vote on this one.

    (I have faith in Pharyngulation!)

    And yeah, Andrew Bolt is a pompous dill.

  3. 3
    ravenred

    The one thing he and you have alike, PZ, is a very committed and activist commentariat.

    I’d really love to see the IP-related breakdown of those questions, and see how many of the votes for the AGW questions was Australian and how much came from overseas Global Warming denialist groupings…

  4. 4
    Eric Walten

    As an European I’m offended by the lack of reference to Europeans meddling in Australian affairs (or U.S. affairs for that matter).

  5. 5
    peno

    Would be cool if there was a country where prime ministers answered questions without polls.

  6. 6
    matthewhodson

    I’m an Australian and heard about that poll on this blog first.
    If the pollsters only wanted Australian opinions they could use IP filtering, but then again the Australians not in Australia could not have a say then.

    The highest rated carbon tax questions were such terribly worded and pointless questions.

  7. 7
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Bolt is one of Australia’s most notorious climate change deniers and rightwing commentators – basically our version of Rush Limbaugh or Glen Beck as I understand them.

    Incidentally, his appearance on his own TV show has been linked to right-wing mining boss Gina Rinehart.

    (See : http://sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Andrew_Bolt )

    Bolt also lost a racial vilification hate speech court case last year (I think?) brought by a group of Australian indigneous people he’d denigrated in one or two of his columns.

  8. 8
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Bolt also lost a racial vilification hate speech court case last year (I think?)

    Yep. Sept. last year. See :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Bolt#Defamation_case

    Plus more info Bolt~wise here :

    http://blairboltwatch.wordpress.com/

    too.

  9. 9
    imthegenieicandoanything

    He’s mad… uh, angry… because you’ve violated the #1 rule of “conservatives” – “Heads, they win: tails, we lose.”

    It wasn’t so twenty uears ago, much of the time, but now to be “conservative” is to be a vicious, dishonest, bullying, cowardly, ignorant, stupid shit-in-human-form.

    If that crappy, half-baked sadist “god” Jehovah existed, he certainly would have made the conservatives of this age in his likeness, out of snake shit no doubt.

  10. 10
    'Tis Himself

    Why shouldn’t Americans have an interest in Australian politics? I know many Australians follow American politics and the gesture deserves reciprocation.

  11. 11
    mildlymagnificent

    Yaaaaaaayy!!

    Anything that displaces that Bolt man’s nasty, slimy posturings off the top of the list is worth having. His kind of sneering smart aleckry in the service of whatever he thinks his own interest is a blot on the face of Australia’s public discourse.

  12. 12
    Muz

    Bolt’s one of those guys who I don’t even believe is actually a conservative/right-winger any more. He’s just a 100% cynical media creature who saw a niche and decided to fill it. “Hey, if I sling off at “The Left” every week I’ll always have a job. I’ll be a man of the people!”. His stuff is mostly cribbed from right-wing sources elsewhere or so vapidly contrarian it’s amazing anyone takes him seriously.

  13. 13
    empiricallyyours

    As an Australian i can easily say he didn’t just lose to the ‘gay’ & ‘atheist’ vote due to supposed international aid. He lost to the Australian Defence force and Aboriginal vote. Or are we to believe that they too, had a supposed international global conspiracy to silence the deniers?

  14. 14
    carlie

    Like there aren’t any Australians here? Hmpf.

  15. 15
    F [is for failure to emerge]

    He can’t help it if just maybe some foreigners voted for his denialist questions, but it is a truly awful thing that foreigners voted for some other questions. It’s really a shame, is what it is.

  16. 16
    eveningperson

    It should be pointed out that the Obama quote in Bolt’s previous blog post is a fake, created by careful editing by Fox News.

  17. 17
    gardengnome

    Bolt displays a deep disdain for the truth wherever he encounters it. He may, or may not, believe in what he says but he knows what his boss and his followers want to hear.

    The ‘questions’ he supported seem to be designed to sabotage the occasion by preventing the real questions from being asked.

  18. 18
    wolja

    Oh dear poor Andrew the man who pulled the race card to deride a person he disagreed with, a man who lies continually then gets upset when called on his lies blathering about loss of freedom of expression …

    He works for newscorpse is sufficient unto itself as the ultimate dismissal of his whines.

  19. 19
    John Morales

    [OT]

    newscorpse

    <giggle>

    (good one, that!)

  20. 20
    Thomas

    It does seem odd having US readers demand answers from an Australian PM that they’ll almost certainly won’t hear about a program that doesn’t affect them in the slightest.

    This must blow the minds of selfish people. To care about issues that you don’t stand to benefit from.

  21. 21
    AndrewD

    This is the age of the Internet, right? What makes Bolt so sure we in Europe and those in America won’t hear the Australian PM’s reply?

  22. 22
    piratepete

    As an Auzzie overseas I’m grateful that PZ put up heo question to the PM about government Chaplins. Thanks to our American brothers n sisters that took the time to register and push it up the list. I’d do the same for them.. Onya PZ!!

  23. 23
    DLC

    Bolt, which rhymes with Dolt. . .

  24. 24
    David Marjanović

    Nothing odd about this at all. Of course Americans have an interest in seeing good government in other countries, just as Australians are interested in seeing American not sliding back into tea-party barbarism. The question we voted in were suggested by Australians, and reflect Australian interests. And Pharyngula has a world-wide readership, so it’s kind of silly to claim that a link here just brought US interests to the table.

    This must blow the minds of selfish people. To care about issues that you don’t stand to benefit from.

    Cannot be said often enough.

    That said, Australia does have enough leverage that everyone in the world profits when there’s not too much stupidity in Australian politics.

  25. 25
    astrofiend

    Bolt is a Rush Limbaugh wannabe – I’m sure he jerks off frantically while listening to recordings of himself on the radio. He loves nothing more than to glory in his own ignorance – he literally wears it like a crown. It gives him a little chubby. So – SUCK ON IT BOLT, you fucking knob!

  26. 26
    astrofiend

    PS – thanks everyone who got in on this. Means the world to us that you’ve helped deny the anti-science goons the forum to demonstrate their willful ignorance, and we can actually get some questions that matter put to the PM.

  27. 27
    efogoto

    eveningperson:

    It should be pointed out that the Obama quote in Bolt’s previous blog post is a fake, created by careful editing by Fox News.

    It’s actually a careful quote mine, not a fake. Obama really did say:

    If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.

    He just said other things around it to give context for the two uses of “that”.

  28. 28
    scienceavenger

    Bolt whined thusly: It does seem odd having US readers demand answers from an Australian PM that they’ll almost certainly won’t hear about a program that doesn’t affect them in the slightest.

    What part of “global” does Bolt not understand?

  29. 29
    vexorian

    I love that this happened just after the topic of pharyngulating polls being useless happened.

    If they intend the poll for Australian audience only, then it really beats me why they allow every country’s IPs to vote…

  30. 30
    Muz

    Thomas

    This must blow the minds of selfish people. To care about issues that you don’t stand to benefit from.

    Probably over thinking it. He sees a moment to score a small point with Australian parochialism and he takes it.

  31. 31
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    IOKIYAR, even in Australia.

    The words that come to mind are “chilly climate”. And I still don’t know why we’re not talking about that. The Right gets away with this, we liberals get tone-trolled for calling the Right out. If that’s not a chilly climate…

  32. 32
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Bolt denies the existence of the Stolen Generations.

    Horrible human being.

  33. 33
    Hank_Says

    Bolt? That fucking blowhard’s columns read like a game of Tory bingo – no, Sudoku: pick on asylum seekers (queue-jumpers! stop the boats!), deny global warming (it was cold this morning!), deny the Stolen Generations – decades of indigenous/mixed kids being taken from their mothers and raised in white orphanages (hey, they got an education!), rail against alternative energy initiatives/carbon tax (it’ll coooost ya), oppose gay marriage (tradition!children!family!JudeoChristiaaagh!), deny even the right to identify as indigenous (he doesn’t look very black to me!), always support the 1% (OK by me if fossil-fuel billionaires control the press!), always hate on the Greens, our surprisingly viable third party (they hate Australia! For some reason!), always hate on The Atheists (they also hate Australia!11!).

    TL;DR: Bolt’s our Bill O’Reilly. Even has his own TV show – but thankfully it’s in a time slot when noone who has a day job could accidentally switch to it. He’s pretty much got a captive audience of cantankerous pensioners. Come to think of it, they’re also the only people who read the papers his columns appear in!

  34. 34
    jamescarlton

    What the fuck… an internet poll just restored my faith in the internet (sort of). What crazy bizzaro alternate dimension did we move into? Anyway thanks pharyngulites from a grateful Australian. Three good, well informed questions that I’d like answers on.

  35. 35
    smithy

    Here in Melbourne there’s kind of a thing where if Andrew Bolt complains about you, you know you’re doing something right.

    I used to work in the same building as him and we shared the elevator every now and then. He’s really not as depressed and incensed as his columns would suggest. I’m pretty sure it’s just his (immoral) job to write shit-stirring vitriol, which would explain why he rarely makes sense.

  36. 36
    konradzielinski

    I wanted to tell Mr Bolt that yes I did hear about the vote via Pharyngula, buth I happen to be an Australian citizen. But it would appear that comments have been closed on that particular blog post.

  37. 37
    robster

    The real thing is, will PM Gillard give an honest answer? The PM seems to be reading from a script every time she opens her mouth, seems unable to give an honest answer that doesn’t match her party’s platform. Gillard is an atheist but seems to think the 6% of Australians that go to church (at least) every 30 days are politically powerful. Hey luv, they’re not, they’re just silly people that don’t deserve a platform.

  38. 38
    ibyea

    Argh! Australia also has a right wing government?! Can anyone tell me how many industrialized countries the right wing has captured?

  39. 39
    rumpus

    The notion that a politician will answer a question is rather quaint. Politicians of any flavor will rephrase the question, answer that, and then spend 10 minutes spinning their achievements and berating the opposition.
    And the notion that anything worthwhile will come from an internet popularity poll – per-lease.

  40. 40
    Suido

    Good work, everyone. /Farnsworth.

    @ibyea: We don’t have a ‘right wing’ government. They ALP are notionally the progressive major party, but recent history hasn’t really borne out that claim.

  41. 41
    tigtog

    The notion that a politician will answer a question is rather quaint.

    Bolt getting his readers to blockvote his favoured questions to the top of the list was a cynical manipulation of what is essentially a ridiculous exercise from the get-go. Getting what Pharyngulites consider to be better questions blockvoted to the top instead is a minor victory at best, given that the answers will always be politician answers (especially when she’ll know the questions in full well ahead of time).

    Still, as was said above: if you’re irritating Andrew Bolt, then you’re doing something right.

  42. 42
    Snoof

    Argh! Australia also has a right wing government?! Can anyone tell me how many industrialized countries the right wing has captured?

    Nope. Our current “right wing” equivalent (which many US conservatives would find dangerously liberal, no doubt) is the misleadingly-named Liberal Party. Our current government is a Labor/Green/independent coalition.

  43. 43
    jamescarlton

    “Argh! Australia also has a right wing government?! Can anyone tell me how many industrialized countries the right wing has captured?”

    No we have moderate centrist government at the moment but like many it has failed to make it’s voice heard above the right wing screeching and unfortunately it looks to be an almost certainty that we will elect our most rightwing PM in over fifty years at the next election.

    It scares the living shit out of me.

  44. 44
    brendiggg

    Wow. So I’m American because Bolt said so.

    *Looks out the window to see a whole bunch of Australia* How the fuck did that happen?

  45. 45
    Muz

    On the gay marriage thing; People often point to how irreligious Australia is as though that’s the real sticking point. I have no direct confirmation of this next bit, but in general it is worth remembering that a Australia is a relatively tiny place that just talks and big a lot of the time. Many of the things we’ve done in the past that seem a bit odd have had quietly diplomatic reasonings as much as domestic ones. And who are Australia’ biggest trading partners/regions? China, Indonesia, Malaysia, The Middle East, The USA.
    Not a particularly cheerful group on the subject of gay marriage, in general (and we can probably cross off the yanks since we can probably do what we like so long as we let them build bases here).
    As I say, I don’t have any direct confirmation but it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Gillard’s stance is due to trade and diplomatic advice to this effect. It would be nice if our pollies had more backbone, of course, but they are still pollies.

  46. 46
    John Morales

    [OT]

    Muz:

    And who are Australia’ biggest trading partners/regions? China, Indonesia, Malaysia, The Middle East, The USA.

    Pretty mediocre guess; according to DFAT Australia’s top 10 two-way trading partners and Australia’s top 10 exports, goods & services are (in descending order):
    China
    Japan
    United States
    Singapore
    United Kingdom
    Republic of Korea
    New Zealand
    Thailand
    Germany
    Malaysia

  47. 47
    empiricallyyours

    Meanwhile in New Zealand

    BIBLE IN SCHOOLS SPOKESMAN LIES ON BREAKFAST.

    Churches Education Commission’s Simon Greening claims his Religious Instruction program is approved by the Ministry of Education. This is false. CEC Bible classes use a legal loophole known as the ‘Nelson Dodge’ to close schools only for the duration of Bible class, this allows unapproved subject matter into the classroom and is done outside the normal protections of the Education Act.
    The Bible in Schools group has previous breeched the Advertising Standards Authority rules for making this exact same claim, who called the claim “exaggerated and misleading”…

    (2007 breach)
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10434374

    (2012 breach)
    Simon Greening – “We use a curriculum that has already been approved by the Ministry of Education”. TV-ONE Wed 18th July 2012. At time 21:27 in this clip
    http://tvnz.co.nz/breakfast/2012-07-18-video-4974509

    https://www.facebook.com/KeepReligionOutOfSchoolNZ

  48. 48
    Muz

    #46
    Yeah, should have put “some of” in there really (Singapore not traditionally a fan either, although that’s changing)

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