Trigger warning:

This site may, in fact always will contain images and information likely to cause consternation, conniptions, distress, along with moderate to severe bedwetting among statists, wimps, wusses, wankers, politicians, lefties, green fascists, and creatures of the state who can't bear the thought of anything that disagrees with their jaded view of the world.

Aug 23, 2014

Oh great; we give $21.6 million to Disney, or:


Captain Jack meets the broken window theory
Most of us today are familiar with Bastiat’s broken window theory, where those observing the replacement of a broken pane of glass tend to look on the bright side by thinking of how good it is for the glazier to get the trade.  Bastiat points out though that this ignores the fact that the window owner is left with no gain for his expense, and the cobbler, tailor, or perhaps bookseller who might have benefitted from the trade instead, miss out. 
Keynesian economists though, love broken windows and never cease telling us at the advent of any disaster, just how good all of the resultant repair work will be for the economy.  The Kiwis were said to be the luckiest people in the world after the Christchurch earthquakes
Our Treasurer Joe Hockey though, sees no reason to hang around waiting for something bad to happen in order to strip the economy of funds to repair damage.  Joe is ahead of the game to the point where he supports event and project lobby groups in spending on what aint broke.  Krugman is so yesterday.
Instead of spending money on devastation, he wants to piss it away on something fun, like making movies with similar results:
MOVIE giant Disney is being offered a near $22 million treasure chest to bring Johnny Depp’s billion dollar Pirates of the Caribbean franchise to the Gold Coast. 
The Bulletin understands high-level discussions have taken place between US film bosses, Screen Queensland and the Federal Government to bring the lucrative franchise to Warner Bros’ Village Roadshow studios at Oxenford. 
The sweetener being dangled in front of producers of the film, tentatively titled Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, is a one-off payment of $21.6 million. 
The money, originally offered by the Gillard Government to Disney for director David Fincher’s stalled 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea reboot, is at the centre of talks, with hopes the funds can be transferred to the Pirates production, which is expected to begin shooting early next year.  The Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance has also met with Disney.
A film industry insider told the Bulletin discussions had progressed well and that the project was desperately needed for the city’s stalling film industry.  “We really need this movie for the Gold Coast and we are hoping things come together,” the source said. … 
… Gold Coast Tourism boss Martin Winter said securing the filming of a major blockbuster would pay dividends for the city. “The most immediate opportunity would be with the set itself becoming an attraction for people to visit, similar to the ship construction on The Spit for the Chronicles of Narnia film,” he said. 
“However, the long-term benefit to the local economy would clearly be the boost to employment numbers and if we reinforce the industry then it can only be a great thing for the Gold Coast.” …
Effectively, there is little difference between the two ideas; the first being that the diversion of funds to disaster reparations is an economic boon, and the second being that a similar diversion towards an unnecessary project does the same.
Both have visible results to show for the expenditure.  In both cases the lost opportunities of non-government activities in the private sector with the money used for those purposes cannot be assessed.
Industry and regional lobbyists can point to the relatively small amount per capita to be used for this project and the benefits that will accrue to little battlers like Disney and Warner Bros’ Village Roadshow, along with extra wealth for the glitter strip.  The things that might have happened instead elsewhere are invisible, because they didn’t occur.
A better solution
The real injustice of this proposal is that money is taken from taxpayers across the country and funneled into the Gold Coast, only benefitting that area.  If making the movie there really needs to happen here, a scheme that will encourage this yet benefit the wider population would be fairer.
A little imagination, (or in this case whimsy) offers a far more equitable solution to the problem of getting it made here while still spreading the benefit to the wider community.
An approach could be made to Disney offering to use $21.6 million for the following benefits to Australian viewers to encourage them to watch it if it is made here:
  • First; Every ticket sold will be rewarded by the government with a free large bucket of popcorn, soft drink, and packet of Jaffa’s, (Do they still roll those down the aisle?) to have while watching the show, and:
  • Second; Every rental or download will come with a government gift certificate for a family sized McHappy meal, (or the equivalent from Hungry Jacks, KFC, Subway, etc) along with fries, large coke, and whatever.
While this could cop some criticism from the AMA and associated health Nazis, all of the proposed benefits to the Coast would still come to fruition, and fast food joints across the nation would benefit, creating additional regional employment and generating untold wealth everywhere.
Truly, this represents a win win scenario.

Aug 8, 2014

Jew hating journalist quits rather than apologize


Few articles on the Gaza conflict could be as deliberately misleading as the one, by veteran leftist shill and apologist, Mike Carlton who launched into a quixotic diatribe under the cartoon (below, and since removed), which can only be distinguished from Nazi propaganda from the 30s and 40s by virtue of the remote control, which was not available back then.
The Sydney morning Herald has apologized for the cartoon after a week of criticism and complaints, however Carlton has engaged in a vulgar diatribe against readers who have complained.  Some have been told to f**k off, been called pathetic f***wits, likudnicks, and a variety of other abusive terms by him.
The ABC has referred to this asstrident debate with his readers.” 
After numerous complaints about this SMH apologized on his behalf, then decided to demand that he do so and accept a suspension.  Being too arrogant and self-righteous to accept this he has quit his position.  Good bye and good riddance.
Australian media coverage of the Gaza conflict has largely followed the type seen internationally with most of the journalists embedded with Hamas and reporting on the war from the terrorist side of the border.  Reportage therefore is one sided and gives a false impression of aggression by the Israelis against relatively helpless Palestinians.
Most Palestinians are helpless, but are ruled by the terrorist group Hamas which sees advantage in launching rockets into Israel from among the civilian population, who cop the consequences.
 … Yes, Hamas is also trying to kill Israeli civilians, with a barrage of rockets and guerilla border attacks. It, too, is guilty of terror and grave war crimes. But Israeli citizens and their homes and towns have been effectively shielded by the nation's Iron Dome defence system, and so far only three of its civilians have died in this latest conflict. The Israeli response has been out of all proportion, a monstrous distortion of the much-vaunted right of self defence. 
It is a breathtaking irony that these atrocities can be committed by a people with a proud liberal tradition of scholarship and culture, who hold the Warsaw Ghetto and the six million dead of the Holocaust at the centre of their race memory. …
Carlton neglects to mention the tunnels through which Hamas launched attacks into Israel, which along with rocket attacks were the primary source of the necessity to invade.
His defense of Hamas appears to be based on the argument that their barrage was largely ineffective, owing to Iron Dome, which intercepted many of their rockets, more than 300 of which were reportedly defective to the point where they fell on their own population.  Incompetence in offensive actions does not make those actions excusable, nor insulate them from consequences.
There will probably still be a position available for him at the public broadcaster, The ABC, which has no worries about offending subscribers as the taxpayer picks up the tab.

Aug 5, 2014

Leyonhjelm doing the right thing for no good reason (or something)


Statists struggle to understand libertarians on those odd occasions where they actually bother to try to get a handle on the thinking behind non-interventionism and personal liberty.
Patrick Stokes, a lecturer in philosophy at Deakin University is an example of this phenomenon.  Patrick seems to think that it is not enough to accept that it is OK to let people do stuff that you might not care to do or might even not like on the grounds that it is non-coercive and doesn’t affect you.  You have to have a good reason to leave people alone in his jaded point of view.
Stokes starts off with the antics of Philip Nitschke in the euthanasia field, then attempts to link this with the LDP’s stance on same sex marriage.  He demonstrates his confusion on the subject matter by trying to link libertarian thinking to the old left/right paradigm: 
This problem isn’t unique to the euthanasia debate. Last week, newly-minted Liberal Democrats senator David Leyonhjelm announced plans to introduce a bill to legalize same sex Marriage. 
As a libertarian, Leyonhjelm has called for lower taxes and a massively reduced role for government. Yet his position on marriage equality aligns him with a policy more closely associated with the political left. … 
… Philosophers such as Richard Mohr have argued that committed same-sex relationships already are marriages in a substantive sense, and the law should simply recognise that.For libertarians (for the most part), the only real substantive good is individual autonomy. 
Leyonhjelm doesn’t argue, as far as I can see, that certain types of relationship have a special, substantive value; he simply thinks, “It is not the role of government to define relationships.” (In which case, we might ask, why should governments get involved in certifying marriage at all?) 
Those of us who support same-sex marriage can probably live with that tension, if it delivers the outcome we want. But the philosophical tension between approaches is still there. 
And the very moral thinness of libertarianism, its refusal to trade in any ethical currency other than liberty, sits uneasily with issues of life and death, where all sorts of other moral considerations are in play. …
There is no explanation offered as to why we should think, “that certain types of relationship have a special, substantive value.”  In an argument for marriage equality, it simply makes no sense to claim that one form of relationship is special, something that those opposing SSM claim as a key point.  Such a claim is counter-productive.
It is nice to know though, that statists arguing the issue as a special case for SSM as some kind of state granted privilege are prepared to hold their noses and accept Leyonhjelm’s support, even if they don’t really like it. 
He then goes on with the following doozy:
One reason death is viewed as normally being a harm to the person who dies is that it deprives us of goods we would have enjoyed had we lived. In a situation where there is nothing left in the patient’s future but pain and loss of dignity, there are no more goods to lose.
For those of us who deal more with the real world rather than academic navel gazing, the biggest reason for death to be considered a harm, is that we don’t get to live longer. 
At this point, he exposes the weakness of his argument under the rather dramatic heading of:
Libertarianism’s moral moonscape 
If you think, as Nitschke apparently does, that the question here is simply about exercising a right to suicide, why should it matter whether someone is terminally ill or not? If someone wants to die, and they’re clear-headed enough to make competent decisions, who are we to interfere with their personal liberty in order to stop them? … 
… When teaching classes on the ethical debate over euthanasia, I’ve found that students often seem to struggle with explaining why it should matter whether the patient is dying (or at least permanently debilitated) or not. Yet from a mercy perspective, it matters very much that there are, in fact, no truly good options left open. …
It sounds like those students have a more consistent view than their teacher.  To assume the right to deny a person the right to die, we are adopting the assumption that we have a right to insist that they live, even against their own wishes.  No explanation of this position is offered.
Assuming the right to refuse the right to die implies a form of ownership over the person involved which is an anathema to all decent civilized people.  The problem most of us have with Nitschke’s position on the recent suicide of a depressed 45 year old is that he didn’t advise him to seek psychiatric advice.
Nitschke is not a libertarian, never was, and never will be.  He is a statist leftist who proved in the Western Australian senate election rerun, that he prefers to support leftist parties, even those who oppose his cause to a libertarian party that in the main, supports his single issue.
In attempting to secure some sort of dispensation from the state in relation to his plea for special interest, he has fluked a position where the LDP has a similar morality based position.  This does not make him a libertarian in any way, shape, or form.
The LDP policy on voluntary euthanasia can be found here. 

Jul 30, 2014

WA Potato Marketing Corporation bites the dust


Cartoon: By R May 
It looks like Western Australia is sliding off into anarchy with the removal of another regulator.  The Potato Marketing Corporation appears to be heading towards the chopping block on the recommendation of the Economic Regulation Authority (ERA) apparently at the behest of the Labor opposition.
Fears of rogue potato growers doing whatever they want and street vendors selling illicit potato products to unwary addicts in dark alleys have been dismissed: 
Arguably an anachronism in today's capitalist world, WA's Potato Marketing Act of 1946 - and its subsequent regulator, the Potato Marketing Corporation of WA - trace their history back to the shortages of the Great Depression and post-war food security. 
The corporation not only controls what potato varieties can be grown and sold, but who grows them and how much they are paid. 
It has the power to search premises, confiscate equipment and crops, and prosecute farmers - as rebel southwest potato grower Tony Galati has found over the years after being threatened with legal action for overplanting and trying to sell excess spuds cheaply. … 
… ''The Potato Marketing Corporation and Western Australia's absurd laws have stifled competition and denied choice to growers and consumers,'' Mr McGowan said.  ''No other Australian state has a body that decides what varieties of potatoes can be grown, who can grow them and at what price they can be sold. 
''It should be left to the growers to decide if they will grow a particular variety of potato.''Mr McGowan said the restrictive laws were responsible for some of Australia's highest potato prices and, of the 66 commercial varieties grown around the nation; only 13 were permitted in WA. 
''It would be comical if it wasn't so damaging to WA's economy and consumer and grower choice,'' he said. ...
Marketing authorities and regulations became popular after World War 2, possibly as a reaction to the demise of wartime rationing, fears of a free market renaissance, and a need to find spots for all of those bureaucrats likely to be left with nothing to interfere with.
Both Labor and the Liberal and Country Party, (now National Party or LNP) were very keen on the idea; the difference being that while Labor aimed to control production, distribution, and marketing of products, the conservatives chose to regulate it.  There was little difference in the result.
During the 60s, and 70s, the most heinous crimes you could commit in Queensland on the basis of penalties, were breaches of national Party orderly marketing regulations. 

Jul 23, 2014

Newman government backtracks


"In retrospect it becomes clear that hindsight is definitely overrated!" Alfred E. Neuman. (No relation to Campbell)
Cartoon: By R May
In the wake of their second crushing by-election defeat, the Newman government has decided to reverse some of its more controversial, or at least idiotic decisions made in the last couple of years.
It’s sometimes said that the first step to recovery is to admit that you have a problem.  The government seems to be doing this, which is something we should give them credit for.
Their task is made more difficult though, in that they apparently have little idea what the problem really is: 
Mr Newman left the door open to wind back other controversial decisions. …
… “They want us to have a good relationship with the judiciary, they want those sort of arguments to cease and desist and they want the focus of everyone to working for Queenslanders.” 
The Courier-Mail had earlier revealed Cabinet would today discuss scrapping several of the most contentious elements of reforms to Queensland’s corruption watchdog and tough anti-bikie legislation. 
The Queensland Premier spent yesterday briefing senior LNP MPs on his plans after the Government suffered a massive 18.6 per cent swing against it in Stafford. 
It is understood the Government will reintroduce a bipartisan appointments process for the chair of the newly named Crime and Corruption Commission. 
The controversial decision by Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie to remove the bipartisan parliamentary committee’s role in appointments was heavily condemned by former corruption inquiry head Tony Fitzgerald in one of his numerous salvos at the Newman Government. 
Cabinet will also discuss removing some of the harshest aspects of the criminal motorcycle gang legislation that Mr Newman has repeatedly insisted he does not like but were an important weapon in the war against rebel bikies. 
It is also understood Cabinet members have been assured there will be no reshuffle and each will fight on to the election and be tasked with better selling the Government’s achievements. 
A senior Government source last night said Mr Newman had briefed colleagues that the Stafford result showed the Government’s pace and extent of reform had worried Queenslanders and they must now act. …
The problem with the biker laws is not pink jumpsuits, nor isolation of these prisoners as the LNP seems to believe.  The entire act is draconian, from its aim of outlawing the act of associating through to huge penalties for being, or having been a member of an organization since declared criminal.  There were already sufficient laws to do with all aspects of criminality among these groups; making these laws unnecessary.
The idea of 15 – 25 year mandatory prison sentences for being, or having once been, a member of a currently declared organization is an anathema to fair minded Australians, and have no place in a free society.
Asset sales are going to have to be done and should be.  In a modern nation state there is really no reason for the government to run commercial enterprises.  On budgetary issues they have been respectable, although they have not yet produced a surplus.
Since taking office just over two years ago, the Queensland government has been something of a showpiece in how not to do it.  A massive majority seemed to convince the LNP that it was immortal and could act in any way it pleased, and it did.
The massive loss in the Redcliffe by-election earlier this year taught it nothing other than to pay lip service with “We’re listening.”
There is probably little likelihood of a Labor win in next year’s election; that would require a stunning turn-around in a state still suffering from buyer’s remorse from the Labor years. 
The real danger though, is where protest votes from the sizable chunk of voters who find the LNP no better will go. 
Palmer United is the elephant in the room here.  Well funded, widely publicized, under scrutinized, and led by a populist with a pathological hatred of Newman, it’s potential to hold the balance of power and render the state government unworkable should not be underestimated.
It is difficult to understand why a government that is not travelling well in the polls and by-elections would rule out a ministerial reshuffle. 
Newman needs to reconsider this, given that the issues he wants to change are all the products of one minister, Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie. 
Bleijie had two years since his law degree in a provincial law firm doing ‘commercial law’, (read conveyencing work) when he was elected to state parliament.  With the training wheels barely off his work practice, he was made Shadow Attorney General.  It is hardly surprising that this guy’s screw-ups have overshadowed anything that the government has actually done.
Newman really needs to tramp him.

Jul 17, 2014

James McGrath; another ‘Libertarian’ senator?

On the basis of Senator James McGrath’s maiden speech he has a lot going for him among libertarians. Some of his views are straight from the Liberal Democrat’s playbook, while others are consistent with our aims:
  
Getting rid of compulsory student union fees isa step in the right direction.  The idea that an organisation be allowed to charge a compulsory fee on those it claims to represent because of their employment or other status is akin to granting ownership of those people or allowing a taxation power over them.
Having a senator with a strong commitment to freedom of speech is a welcome addition to a house that sadly lacks many members who have either an understanding, or real commitment to the concept.  It will be interesting to see how many qualifications he puts on it, given that the LNP tends to be rather PC whipped and timorous on the issue.

His support for the abolition of the federal departments of Health, and Education are basically the same as the LDP case and for the same reasons.  Neither of them actually run a school or hospital and merely intrude on what is a state responsibility.
There are though a number of other departments and bodies that need the axe, the Department of Climate Change, being one that immediately comes to mind, as well as the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.  The first is designed to engage in histrionics on Global Warming, while the latter helps the new generation of carpetbaggers to invest in more expensive green energy that is compulsorily sold off to consumers under a government mandate.
There is no place in a free society for the government picking winners or engaging in social engineering.
This raises the issue of his call to increase the GST by 50% and extend it to cover all purchases including food ‘with compensation for low income earners’.  While the taxes he mentions need to be abolished or reduced, especially payroll tax, slimming down the federal government and passing some of the savings to the states would be a better idea than a tax increase.
The idea of a consumption tax replacing stupid and iniquitous ones like payroll tax is admirable however, these taxes were supposed to be abolished under the original GST proposal, but weren’t. This seems to be rewarding bad behaviour by the states. 
Low-income earners need just as much basic foodstuffs as the rich although perhaps at a lesser quality.  There seems little point in increasing the price by 15%, then compensating them for it.  This merely creates churn, which requires more public servants to administer the scheme.
GST funding is not distributed rationally among states but is rather sent out on the basis of ‘each according to his ability, to each according to his need’, which would have to be reformed for any sort of fairness to exist.
Another problem is the ABC.  While he correctly makes the case for it to be sold or abolished, he claims that it should be done as some sort of penalty for left wing bias.  In an age where there are numerous sources of commercial TV and radio entertainment there seems to be little reason to spend over a billion dollars per year providing a government network to compete with that.
It’s rather irrelevant that it’s left wing; that is merely the consequence of being a state media entity dedicated to providing ‘high brow’ stuff that the ‘common heard’ doesn’t require and is therefore not catered fo by commercial networks.  We don’t need it.
The senate will be better for having this guy in it depending on whether he follows through, or merely votes the party line, good or bad.  

Jul 12, 2014

Leyonhjelm inspires another cartoonist

Giving inspiration to cartoonists can be a mixed blessing, frequently a negative one, even a brutal experience.  Still, if it is a good likeness, your name is spelt right, and whatever it is highlighting is not a really bad, it can be as good as a big advertising budget for getting your name out there.
LDP Senator, David Leyonhjelm has come off very well, getting the cover of The Spectator Australia on his election.

It is understood that the original is proudly displayed in his office.

Recently he was seen commenting on how we have a government he likened to Godzilla, a reasonable assessment of the enormous burden of the state on the population with its attendant pernicious imposition of itself into every aspect of our daily lives as well as our wallets in order to fund its depredations.

This appears to have inspired well known cartoonist Stephen Zeg Gunnell (Zeg) to come up with his offering on the subject, which rather than Godzilla uses the theme of David and Goliath to illustrate this situation and David's role in opposing it.