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, 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.

Mar 31, 2009

“Cap-n-Tax will eat the heart out of Australia”.

Cartoon: by Ramirez. (Click to enlarge)

By Viv Forbes,

The Carbon Sense Coalition today claimed that the Emissions Trading Scheme would eat the heart out of regional Australia by destroying jobs in mining, processing, construction, farming, forestry, transport and tourism.

In a submission to the Australian Senate Economics Committee, the Chairman of “Carbon Sense”, Mr Viv Forbes, said that the mis-named “Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme” had nothing to do with carbon or pollution - “it is essentially a cap and a tax on carbon dioxide, the harmless, colourless natural gas that sustains all life on earth”.

“To cut man’s emissions of carbon dioxide, we need to curb electricity generation, cement manufacture, mining, smelting, refining, all forms of transport, farm and earth moving machinery, all farmed animals, forestry and construction. In return they would have us believe that the inland will survive when these once vibrant industries are replaced by feral forests feeding on carbon credits, vast mobs of kangaroos, regiments of becalmed wind towers, treeless tracts of ethanol crops and deserts of solar panels.

“California and Spain have proved that the war on carbon dioxide will kill real jobs faster than fake green jobs can be created. At the same time, the silly claims that alternate energy can provide continuous, economical and reliable power will encourage neglect of Australia’s key reliable low cost electricity source - coal power.

“When the lights go out, industry migrates to Asia and our power bills soar, it will be too late to prevent great harm to our economy, our jobs and our life style.

“The global warming hysteria has passed its zenith. The recession is already cutting industrial emissions, and natural cycles are cooling the weather. And the flimsy scientific basis for the hysteria is being demolished daily by a growing army of sceptics.

“Depopulating the outback is not a sensible policy for any Australian Government. The Senate should refuse to pass this dangerous and unnecessary legislation.”

The detailed submission from the Carbon Sense Coalition can be found here.

Mar 30, 2009

Featured Blog: Kevin Rudd R Less.

I have no idea who does this site but it’s brilliant. The author has obviously taken the time to really get into the mind of Kevin Rudd, which is a scary thought. Generally it tends to be a faux diary of Kevin and his day-to-day thoughts. The post I am reproducing is one from after the 20/20 summit.

I threw open the windows to let in a bit of fresh air, urged everyone to take hold of the future, to seize the day with our fundamental value of an irreducible human dignity.

As usual I undersold the Summit, didn't want to raise expectations.

So what did I get from my handpicked group of left leaning superior beings?

They overwhelmingly voted to support ALP policy and get us a Republic! In fact the 100 people in the Governance group voted 98-2 in favor of a republic. What an endorsement.
98% of less than 0.0005% of the population has officially endorsed ALP policy. Now that's the sort of break through idea I wanted.

I also got my childcare super centre endorsed, it's my new idea but I'm happy the UK and Victoria have already implemented it. It was part of another brilliant revelation reinforced by my echo Julia. Kids need education to develop their brains... Unbelievable, if it wasn't for the Summit that would never have come out!

Other significant ideas were that everyone should be like Kevin and speak Mandarin.

It delivered more than I could have hoped for and reinforced that I am in fact the man most suited to be leading the Republic of Australia in 2020 as its President and Supreme Commander.

That got 100% endorsement from my Summiteers.

Mar 28, 2009

“Earth Hour or Blackout Night?”

Cartoon: By "Fewings."

“Earth Hour or Blackout Night?”

A statement by Viv Forbes, Chairman of the Carbon Sense Coalition.
28 March 2009

The Carbon Sense Coalition today came out in support of Earth Hour, but said it should be renamed “Blackout Night” and be held outdoors, for the whole night, in mid-winter, on the shortest and coldest day of the year - 22 June in the Southern Hemisphere.

The Chairman of “Carbon Sense”, Mr Viv Forbes, said that spending just one night in the cold and the dark, with no hot coffee or beef on the barbecue, using no light, heat or vehicle energy from coal, gas, petrol or diesel, and without protection from metal or concrete structures, would be good practice for the blackouts and shortages to come if world rationing of carbon products and carbon energy is achieved.

“Winter nights are usually still and cold, so the candles crew can really experience what it will be like to depend on alternative energy when there is no sun and no wind. The back-to-nature brigade can also try living without iron roofs and concrete walls. And the eat-no-meat mob can experience a night without hamburgers and cappuccinos.

“To hold a candles-and-champagne party indoors, on the mildest night of the year, for just one hour, shows that the whole thing is tokenism. Moreover both candles and champagne emit carbon dioxide. Let the true believers try the real thing in one of the extreme seasons so they can appreciate the great benefits we take for granted when using all of our carbon fuels and foods.

“Instead of sneering at human achievements they should salute the people who keep the lights on for the other 364 days of the year.

“Australia gets almost 90% of its electricity from hydrocarbon fuels – black coal, brown coal, gas and oil. And without the nuclear power that underpins electricity supplies in more advanced countries, the massive cuts in carbon dioxide emissions demanded by the deep greens would see Australia headed for the Romanian power rationing experience - during the Ceaucescu regime in Romania, each house was limited to ONE 25 watt bulb for all of their light.

“All over the world we have aging power stations and an orchestrated campaign by a few warm and well-fed agitators to harass, delay and deter construction of new power facilities.

“Such a campaign can only have one result – blackouts and brownouts will recur erratically every time we have extremes of cold or hot weather.

“So we support “Blackout Night” to prepare our population for the dark days ahead”.

Viv Forbes
The Carbon Sense Coalition

The Carbon Sense Coalition was formed by Australians concerned at the baseless demonisation of carbon dioxide by an unholy alliance of pagan earth worshippers, vested business interests and political and media opportunists. Support for “Carbon Sense” is growing rapidly. The Coalition aims to expose the lack of scientific support for the anti-carbon campaign, and the real and present threat to our industries and jobs if any of the current proposals for Emissions Trading Taxes or Carbon Taxes are enacted.

Scrap the Cap-n-Tax Scheme

Cartoon: by "Mackay."

From Viv Forbes of the Carbon Sense Coalition.

The Carbon Sense Coalition has made a submission to the Economics Committee of the Australian Senate, which is looking into the Draft (and daft) Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme Bill, known for short as the “Cap-n-Tax Scheme.”

The following is a brief excerpt of the contents of what is a very detailed and in depth analysis of the proposal, including the flaws in both the economics and the science, and areas which require a great deal of research prior to any introduction of carbon taxes. Those who will be affected by the governments proposals, which is in fact everybody are advised to read the entire submission.

“The whole of economics can be reduced to a single lesson, and that lesson can be reduced to a single sentence: 

“The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the long term effects of any act or policy: it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group, but for all groups.” Henry Hazlitt “Economics in one Lesson”

1. The Important Matters 

This Senate Economics Committee is charged with the responsibility of assessing the economics effects of bills put before it.

This enquiry is focused on The Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme Bill 2009. The name itself is a deliberate deception – the only truthful word is “Scheme” which the Oxford Pocket Dictionary defines as “artful or underhand design”. It is not about carbon or about pollution - it is “The Carbon Dioxide Cap, Trade and Tax Scheme Bill” (referred to hereafter as “The Cap-n-Tax Scheme” or “The Scheme” for short).

There is substantial doubt on the science on which this Scheme is justified. The chief justification is scare forecasts based on complex computerized climate models that few people believe and even fewer people understand. However, on the understanding that the science will be the basis of a separate full enquiry by the Senate Climate Change Committee, the scientific aspects of these matters will not be pursued in detail here. The Economics Committee, however, has a responsibility to look into all of the economic aspects, which include:

2. Is there a Sound Economic Justification? 

If implemented fully, the Cap-n-Tax Scheme will result in a massive dislocation of the
Australian economy. Huge funds will be transferred from viable carbon-based economic activities to favored community groups; to subsidized speculative alternate energy investments of dubious investment merit; to a biased selection of research activities; and in supporting a large expansion in government regulatory activities.

Any Scheme that proposes to forcibly transfer such massive amounts of money from one group of people to another needs a very detailed and competent cost benefit analysis.
The Senate committee needs to commission an independent enquiry into whether this has been done.

There are grave concerns within the community that neither the British Stern Report nor the Australian look-alike produced by Professor Garnaut would stand critical independent scrutiny.

In conclusion, the Carbon Sense Coalition is totally opposed to the introduction of any taxes on emissions of the harmless plant food carbon dioxide.
It also believes that the Cap-n-Tax Scheme proposed is poorly researched and the
Economics Committee of the Senate would be delinquent in their duty if they did not commission independent enquiries into:

 A cost-benefit analysis of the proposal done to the standards required for a prospectus seeking to raise very large funds from the public.

 The basis and reliability of the climate forecasts on which this Scheme is based.

 Whether this Scheme is based on good tax principles or whether a simple carbon tax would achieve the same results cheaper, with easier exit strategy and with less long term cost. And why there is no Sunset Clause.

 Why the Minister has not made repeal of all the other carbon-cutting state and federal regulations a condition of passage of this Scheme.

 The cost and feasibility of eliminating carbon dioxide emissions from base load power generation, and the risks posed by this Scheme to existing electricity generating capacity.

 The costs and benefits of Australia taking a leading world position in demonizing our biggest export earners, coal, cattle, tourism, metals and sheep.

 The likely effect of increasing the costs for carbon fuels on our outback and regional industries.

 The public support for massive transfers of money, jobs, businesses and technology from Australia to overseas locations.

This Cap-n-Tax Scheme should be rejected outright, as should its pale cousin, the Carbon Tax.

This submission was prepared by individual members of the Carbon Sense Coalition on their own initiative with no inducements or policy directions from any other groups. Many Coalition members are taxpayers, shareholders and consumers in interests likely to be affected by this Scheme. They declare a vested interest in ensuring that this does not savage the backbone industries of Australia ill timed and poorly designed initiative. They fear for the costs and capacity of the future electricity generating system and for the future of real jobs for their kids and grandkids.

Mar 27, 2009

Daniel Hannan slams Browns "Tomorrow the World" speech.

"Now never in recent years have we had an America leadership so keen to cooperate at all levels with Europe on financial stability, on climate change, on security, on development, and seldom has such cooperation been so obviously of benefit to the whole world.

So starting with the EU-US Summit a few days from now, when President Obama comes to Prague, we can transform that summit from just an annual meeting into an unstoppable progressive partnership to secure the global change that the world now needs." ..... Gordon Brown, speech to European Parliament
Daniel Hannan, MEP for South East England, gave a reply that left him without a feather to fly with. I have mentioned Hannan before and am very impressed with his ability to slice an issue to the bone, and leave authoritarians like Brown looking rather silly.

Shortly before Hannan spoke Nigel Farrage lashed Brown mercilessly.

Europeans have a long history of being completely hopeless when it comes to creating a free society; they just aren’t equipped to cope with it. The European form of government is an evolution of tribalism, so Europeans tend to look at the ideal of liberty as collective and by state permission, rather than the American concept of individualism. They don't tend to refer to it as 'liberty', preferring the term 'freedom' as the former tends to be seen by them as a bit extreme.

The American revolution put Washington into the Presidency, a man who established the principle of a two term limit as he maintained that no man should be entrusted with that sort of power for too long. In contrast look what Europe managed:

The British executed their king and installed the religious zealot, Cromwell in his place as a military dictator.

The French executed their king and created the reign of terror, eventually leading to Napoleon Bonaparte and bloodshed across Europe.

Russia executed their Czar and gave the world the Bolsheviks, along with Lenin and Stalin.

Germany got rid of the Kaiser and after some confusion presented the world with Hitler.

Spain gave us Franko, Italy; Mussolini.

We need to ask ourselves; “Are these the people to take a leadership role in world affairs, even with Brown trumpeting, “Unity from diversity?”

Mar 24, 2009

Biker Violence: More dangerous gangs in Canberra.

The Independent reports:

A biker war erupted in front of terrified travellers at Sydney airport yesterday as rival gang members fought a pitched battle inside the domestic terminal that ended in one man being bludgeoned to death. …

The government of New South Wales is coming under pressure to enact tougher legislation and clamp down on biker violence. There have been calls for the state to follow the lead of South Australia, which makes membership or association with outlawed clubs illegal, with a 10-year prison term for bikers who take part in group violence. …
Ron Kitching reports:

The rival Motor Cycle gangs have again been in the news. They can certainly be pretty vicious. But we have rival gangs in Canberra too, who do far more damage to the public than any motorcycle gang has ever done.

For instance if a person or a company is successful in business, they tax them heavily. One very successful Canberra gang leader introduced a consumption tax which he named the GST. That tax, taxes everybody, successful or not.

If in the course of exploring for minerals including oil and gas, a successful discovery is made, these gangs take a large slice, which they claim as a “royalty”. In the case of marginal deposits the royalty kills the project altogether.

Then there are some smaller gangs who claim that Mother Earth does not like holes being dug in her and they do their utmost to stop such projects. They have been very successful at lending support to other gangs in exchange for blocking these projects in many areas, in particular uranium mining.

Then when the gang perceives a rival gang in another country to be a danger to their existence, (whether they are or not), they send the Nation’s defense forces to attack the rival gang. Like the bikies, they use real bullets and so does the perceived enemy, so men and civilians on both sides get killed.

There has been talk of banning bikie gangs. Perhaps we ought to look at the larger picture and get rid of the lot of these life-threatening pests.

Mar 22, 2009

Labor Candidate pulled out over Free Speech.

Photo: from Gympie Times, Daniel Tabone.

In this weekends election the Labor Party in the seat of Gympie had no official candidate, owing to his resignation when a blog comment he made in late 2006 in support of free speech for Sydney Muslim cleric Sheik Hilaly. The comments by Hilaly were at the time highly controversial, and in the wake of the Sydney cases of pack rape by a Lebanese gang, showed about the same level of PR skills as the AIG bonus deals. At least the AIG people demonstrated the skills required to get the US government to hand them $250 billion, which is no small achievement. LOL

While the statements by Sheik Hilaly were pretty much over the top, especially given the context of the times, he was not advocating violence against women nor in my opinion attempting to inflame the situation. He struck me as out of touch with reality, probably through advancing age.

Australia has a long history of good relations with its Islamic community going back to the early 19th century, and it should remain this way.

The local paper “The Gympie Times” reported:

Labor candidate, Daniel Tabone chose to walk the plank at the weekend (and he insists he was not pushed) over his support for the free speech rights of the Sydney Muslim cleric who compared some scantily clad women to “uncovered meat”.

Mr Tabone made it clear yesterday that he did not support the cleric's remarks or share his opinions but was concerned to defend the right of free speech.

Quoting the French writer Voltaire, he said: “I disapprove of what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it”. ….

Mr Tabone insists that he was not sacked by Labor over his remarks, although the word “dumped” has been widely used.

“I got a phone call at the weekend. I was asked very nicely if I would withdraw from the election and I agreed,” the almost ex-candidate said. “I guess I'm too much a person who calls a spade a spade.”
I contacted Daniel to find out the full story and he has been good enough to provide the following information:

The "offending" words
What ever happened to freedom of speech? I don’t believe in any religion , be it Islam or Christianity ( Just Physics thanks ) , But I do believe people should be allowed to express their views freely. If a Christian or Jew made similar comments, would we have the same reaction? Posted by: Daniel Tabone of Qld 7:28am October 29, 2006
He explains:
It was mostly in reply to other blogs attacking him because of his religion and calling for him to be silenced. I would say it again tomorrow if it came up again as I don't think it is offensive if taken in the right context. At the end of the day It's not so important what other people think of me, the important thing is what I think of myself. I am not ashamed of making this comment regardless how the media want to twist it.
He also pointed out: I was a little disappointed about the fact they wouldn't defend my freedom of speech especially when I was just defending someone else's. But it was just a matter of timing I guess.

One of the worst aspects of this incident was the way rival candidates attempted to portray him as supporting the Hilaly statements, (from GT again):
The Greens' Kent Hutton said: “I can't relate to his comments. We live in a multicultural society that works toward harmony. Comments like this are unacceptable and to be condemned.”

Independent Elisa Roberts said: “The ALP dumped Daniel Tabone at the weekend after it was revealed he'd supported derogatory remarks made by Muslim Cleric Sheik Hilaly, about “scantily clad” women, two years ago. ….

Sitting MP David Gibson said: “Gympie is a vibrant community, with a rich diversity of religion, culture and opinion. Our community is built on a solid foundation of tolerance and respect. “The conduct of the Labor candidates is a matter for the internal workings of the Labor party, but ….
Gibson was more moderate in his approach but still left the allusion hanging in the air, the others were disgraceful in their distortion of the facts, or were too dumb to tell the difference between support of a statement, and support of the right to make that statement. I think the Labor Party were in a difficult position where they could have gotten involved in a damaging row about something which was easily distorted and not related to the issues, in an electorate that they had no chance of winning. A quick clean exit was probably good strategy, but in fairness, Mr. Tabone was sacrificed at the altar of expediency for a “crime he didn’t commit.”

Some time ago, when internet censorship was first raised, an article appeared in the local paper, “Hands off our freedom of speech,” by Greg Wildie:
What is unwanted content anyway? Unwanted by whom? I track a number of web sites that many people would see as unwanted. There is no better way to know what the loonies are up to than to watch them at play. The mental gymnastics of the Ku Klux Klan are very enlightening. You might dislike the holocaust deniers, but not everything they say is either inaccurate or bad history.
… Who will make the choices for the banned list? Will our over-religious prime minister balance his team with a few atheists, to ensure the offensively religious sites get the chop? Are Christian and Jewish hate sites going to be banned along with the Islamic media or will we be too lily livered to dump on all sides equally?
 Who will stand up for freedom of speech, freedom of political expression and a plain old fair go for all in this brave new world of Big Brother Kevin? Who will really suffer?
It won't be the child pornography market. Unless Big Brother is going to start opening every letter, parcel and post bag sent in Australia, not unthinkable for the idiots who cooked up this scheme, then the millions of existing images will simply travel by post and increase in value. Much like with every other activity governments have tried to ban, it will merely create a market. Move over ice, kiddie porn is the next big thing. …

Ban on “Brazilian Waxing” dropped: NJ Backdown.

Fair dinkum, you just can’t make this stuff up. Seriously, the New Jersey state Board of Cosmetology and (can you believe it) Hairstyling was moving toward a ban on genital waxing altogether after two women reported being injured in their quest for a smooth bikini line. (“Brazilian” waxing involves total hair removal from the “bikini area.”)

Jeff Lamm, a spokesman for New Jersey's Division of Consumer Affairs, which oversees the cosmetology board, said technically, genital waxing has never been allowed — only the face, neck, abdomen, legs and arms are permitted — but because bare-it-all "Brazilians" weren't specifically banned, state regulators haven't enforced the law.

"The genital area is not part of the abdomen or legs as some might assume," Lamm said. Regular bikini waxes would still be allowed.

I really think that if you based a novel on this type of state oppression it would be dismissed as being a bit over the top, people just wouldn’t find it believable. Imagine, a state board of Cosmetology and Hairstyling!!! Why, hell you just can’t allow bad hair days can you? This idiot even argues on the positioning of the genitals. (Probably with a straight face.)

You could be forgiven for being carried away on flights of whimsy as to how the state intended to police this. Perhaps “the New Jersey Inspectorate of Genetalia,” or the police could provide a “Pubic Hair Squad.”

Anyway BBC News now reports that the plan has been ditched.

While they suggest it is because of complaints from the industry, I imagine it is really because someone in authority realized just how silly the public would find it and had a stop put to it before it became a complete embarrassment.

The really sad thing about it is that some poor sad bastard in the NJ bureaucracy really thought he was doing the world a favor with this.

Its hard to support liberty while pissing yourself laughing at the sheer crass stupidity of the state.

Mar 21, 2009


My mate AL over at the Catskill Conservative has published a warning of a particularly clever shake down that is happening in the US, but from experience I find that when something starts over there it is only a matter of time before it arrives here. It is currently centered on Home Depot over there, but it is only a matter of time before it occurs at Bunnings, or Mitre 10 here.


EDITOR’S NOTES: Received this urgent email from a contractor friend of mine. Read and heed.

A ‘heads up’ for those men who may be regular Home Depot customers. Over the last month I became a victim of a clever scam while shopping. Don’t be naive enough to think it couldn’t happen to you or your friends.

Here’s how the scam works: Two seriously good-looking 20-21 year-old girls come over to your car as you are loading your purchases. They both start wiping your windshield with a rag and Windex, with their breasts almost falling out of their skimpy T-shirts. It is impossible not to look. When you thank them and offer them a tip, they say ‘No’ and instead ask you for a ride to another store. You agree and they get in the backseat. On the way, they start undressing each other and making out. Then one of them climbs over into the front seat and starts crawling all over you, while the other one steals your wallet.

I had my wallet stolen December 4th, 9th, 10th, twice on the 15th, 17th, 20th, 24th, & 29th. Also January 1st, 4th, twice on the 8th, 11th, 12th, three times last Saturday, probably tomorrow, and very likely again this upcoming weekend. So tell your friends to be very careful.

P.S. Wal-Mart has wallets on sale 2.99 each.

Editors note: Who says that conservatives don’t have a sense of humor?

Obama book deal, and communication problems..

Cartoon by Gary McCoy.

President Obama, is reported to have signed a deal for a youth-oriented version of his published memoir and a ‘nonfiction’ book after he leaves office.

It appears that he has a deal for an abridged version of "Dreams From My Father" that would suitable for middle school or young adult readers, and is getting a $500,000 advance plus 15 percent of the U.S. sales price for hardcover book sales and up to 10 percent for the domestic price for paperback sales.

As part of the deal, he also will deliver a new nonfiction book after he leaves office. Obama didn't indicate how much his deal for the new book might be worth. Terms likely would be negotiated at the end of his term. Former President Bill Clinton got $15 million for his book, "My Life."

Actually coming up with something that is genuinely nonfiction will be a novel experience for the author, and for the public at large who have yet to see this from him. I note however that reviews of his statements in the past by NYT, Chicago Tribune, and Huffington Post, have tended to classify them as nonfiction, but that is not quite the same thing.

The book is expected to be completed when he leaves office and is should to hit the bookshelves around March/April 2013.

Meanwhile, Politico reports that he is struggling as a public communicator.

It was brilliant communications skills that carried Obama to the presidency, with a national campaign built on the strength of his personal story and the clarity of his promise to transform politics. On the rare occasions when he was thrown on the defensive, he quickly turned problems into opportunities and regained control of his public image.

What’s different now? The polished phrases and unflappable delivery haven’t gone away. His prime-time news conference and speech to Congress drew the usual praise.

But the discipline and strategic focus of the campaign have yet to move into the White House. The story of the day often catches the president flat-footed or on the defensive — and regularly undercut by fellow Democrats. 

The problem he has is that his ‘brilliant’ communication skills are only really effective in self promotion, after all “its all about him” seems o be his main theme. He has been able to use those skills to propel himself from an indifferent career as a junior Senator, into the White House. What was widely promoted as a well organized transition immediately began to look decidedly tatty as his choices fell by the wayside on a virtual daily basis as their unsuitability or tax status was revealed

Rhetoric was only effective while he remained an unknown quantity.

From the latest LP newsletter:

Earlier this week he botched a press conference with the Irish prime minister when he had problems reading off his teleprompter.

Unable to think quickly or speak off the cuff, he ended up thanking himself for showing up.

Unfortunately for Americans, that’s not the biggest screw-up Obama has committed.

His funny-money policies, like printing $1 trillion in new money out of thin air, are already threatening to bring back Carter-era inflation.

He’s continuing to sign unconstitutional Bush-style “signing statements.”

His “stimulus” package is ballooning the deficit, wrecking the markets and has employers speeding up layoffs.

He’s already planning to disarm airline pilots, and private citizens like you are next on the list as he’s rolling out a laundry list of gun-grabbing policies.

Mar 20, 2009

Australian Censorship list leaked.

Cartoon: From, by Cathy Wilcox.

The prude is the libertine without the courage to face his naked soul. .. A.S. Neill

Steven Conroy the Communications Minister appears to be a man whose decisions are not prejudiced in any way by having any knowledge of the subject matter relating to those areas he deals with.

Steve has long desired to control the web, well plenty of people have wanted that; entrepreneurs like Bill Gates would find it profitable, others like Steve and his government, those of China, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran and so on wish it for less savoury reasons. Wowsers could use such control to shut down any publicity of such disgusting matters as people enjoying themselves other than by holding Psalm singing sessions.

The Australian government has decided that for our own good we must have censorship of the web, ostensibly to protect the little children. Commercial software programs are available for parents to use for this purpose, but hell that is not what the state wants, I mean that sort of anarchistic way of dealing with this issue, offers no chance of any sort of authoritarian central control whatsoever. Talk about spoiling the chance of a good old nanny state solution.

Steve, being both a wowser and authoritarian wants parental responsibility for supervision of children’s viewing taken out of the hands of the unprofessional mothers and fathers of this country and vested in properly trained bureaucrats. Obviously when “protecting all those little children,” it would be a hell of a waste not to inflict some social prudery, and protect all of those adults from seeing things that the government feels they do not need to see. Thus he has come up with centralized censorship.

The trouble is that Wikilinks has gone and published a list of sites to be blocked by the viewing fuehrer. From SMH:

The whistleblower site Wikileaks yesterday published the top-secret Australian Communications and Media Authority list. Websites on it will be blocked for all Australians once the Federal Government implements its mandatory internet filtering scheme, which was originally pitched as targeting only "illegal" content.

But, as experts have warned, a secret list is dangerous because those added to the list in error would have little recourse. "Any person or corporation that would be identifiable on the list would potentially be deemed by the general public … either a child molester or at least in the same category as child molesters," said a University of Sydney associate professor, Bjorn Landfeldt.

But here is where the whole thing descends into utter stupidity:

Alongside child porn, bestiality, rape and extreme violence sites, the list includes a slew of online poker sites, YouTube links, porn sites, Wikipedia entries, sites on euthanasia, fringe religions, fetishes, Christianity, the website of a tour operator and even a dentist.

The dentist, Queenslander John Golbrani, was furious when contacted to inform him that his site appeared on the blacklist.

"A Russian company broke into our website a couple of years back and they were putting pornographic listings on there - [but] we changed across to a different web provider and we haven't had that problem since," he said.

Jocelyn Ashcroft, who runs a school canteen consultancy in Queensland, also said she had no idea why her site had made it on to the list. "The only thing I can think of is that I have emailed schools telling them about my book and CD resource How To Have A Healthy And Profitable Theme Day," she said.

Here is where it gets really interesting though; Steve maintains that the list is not the real one that his department has built up as a blacklist. So obviously it’s a stuff up, its wrong, total fabrication; right? Not so, judging by the reaction of the minister:

"ACMA is investigating this matter and is considering a range of possible actions it may take, including referral to the Australian Federal Police," Senator Conroy said. 

If he is trying to get the AFP involved, some sort of crime must be assumed to have occurred, and for that to have happened, the list would have to be the genuine article. Conroy has a lot of explaining to do.

Probably one of the worst aspects of this legislation, apart from its existence is that the list is to be secret, so people like the dentist, John Golbrani whose site is to be wrongly blocked, are not allowed to know that this is the case. It would be illegal for his ISP to even let him know why the site was inaccessible. How many innocent people are to be caught up in this mess through sheer stupidity or malice, without any recourse to facts, redress, or any means to challenge decisions they are not allowed to know about?

Conroy is looking like a real would be dictator.

Mar 19, 2009

Financial Crisis Explained.

Sometimes humor can get things across in ways that the various analyses cannot hope to do. I received an Email the other day, which is reprinted below the video detailing in simple terms, much of what happened. Today I was directed to the Video from the Last Laugh, George Parr,- Subprime, (Bird and Fortune.)

The financial crisis explained in simple terms.......

Heidi is the proprietor of a bar in Berlin. In order to increase sales, she decides to allow her loyal customers - most of whom are unemployed alcoholics - to drink now but pay later. She keeps track of the drinks consumed on a ledger (thereby granting the customers loans).

Word gets around and as a result increasing numbers of customers flood into Heidi's bar.

Taking advantage of her customers' freedom from immediate payment constraints, Heidi increases her prices for wine and beer, the most-consumed beverages. Her sales volume increases massively.

A young and dynamic customer service consultant at the local bank recognizes these customer debts as valuable future assets and increases Heidi's borrowing limit.

He sees no reason for undue concern since he has the debts of the alcoholics as collateral.

At the bank's corporate headquarters, expert bankers transform these customer assets into DRINKBONDS, ALKBONDS and PUKEBONDS. These securities are then traded on markets worldwide. No one really understands what these abbreviations mean and how the securities are guaranteed. Nevertheless, as their prices continuously climb, the securities become top-selling items.

One day, although the prices are still climbing, a risk manager of the bank, (subsequently of course fired due his negativity), decides that slowly the time has come to demand payment of the debts incurred by the drinkers at Heidi's bar.

However they cannot pay back the debts.

Heidi cannot fulfill her loan obligations and claims bankruptcy.

DRINKBOND and ALKBOND drop in price by 95 %. PUKEBOND performs better, stabilizing in price after dropping by 80 %.

The suppliers of Heidi's bar, having granted her generous payment due dates and having invested in the securities are faced with a new situation. Her wine supplier claims bankruptcy, her beer supplier is taken over by a competitor.

The Government following dramatic round-the-clock consultations by leaders from the governing political parties saves the bank.

The funds required for this purpose are obtained by a tax levied on the non-drinkers.

Finally an explanation I understand...

Mar 18, 2009

Greens; Two bob each way.

Greens candidate Lee with Bob Brown, Getting Labor back in.

At the start of the Queensland election the Greens as usual announced that Labor should not take their preferences for granted. This is their normal tactic used in order to get the major parties to start a bidding war for their preferences, so that each will compete for the number of projects to be shut down, mineral deposits to be locked into national parks, mines blocked, and so on. Once this is done they announce that Labor will get their preferences as usual.

This election has put them between the devil and the deep blue sea, in this regard, as for some time they have been campaigning against the building of Traveston Crossing Dam, which the premier, Anna Bligh is determined to go ahead with, “Even if its unfeasible.” The problem for the Greens is that some time ago a Labor MP, Ronan Lee quit his party and defected to the Greens, and has the problem of trying to get re-elected in his Labor seat. For this he will have to get Labor preferences, assuming he can come in second ahead of Labor.

Queensland is one of he few backwaters that still has a ban on Uranium mining, a Labor hangover from the 70s, and despite the fact it offers the only really viable alternative to fossil fuelled power stations, they and the Greens still feel the need to ban it as some sort of residual hippy, luddite, feel good position.

When the opposition leader Lawrence Springborg announced that if elected he would reverse this position, he let the Greens partially off the hook. It is still partial as the Traveston issue remains, and they cannot be seen to be supporting that, although Lee was able to claim that he was so ‘outraged’ by the decision that he would preference Labor.

In order to get Labor elected and to give the appearance of not supporting the dam, they hit on the idea of preference swaps with Labor in the lower South East, where their preferences are going to be needed against a resurgent opposition, then have a “Just vote one” campaign, in the areas where the people are really pissed off at the dam, then swap with Labor in the north.

Interestingly, since the original outburst from Ronan Lee someone in the Greens has decided to change the reason for trying to get Labor re-elected, from the Uranium issue to the possibility that the LNP will build dams elsewhere. As reported in the press “Greens candidates on the Sunshine Coast are also rightly nervous that their party’s preference swap with Labor will be seen as a cynical exercise which may help Labor over the line,” funny about that.

The Sunshine Coast Daily reports:

While the Save the Mary Coordinating Group is at pains to point out the support it has received from the environmental party, others affected by the dam decision have been less diplomatic.

Greens Indooroopilly candidate Ronan Lee, who split with the Labor Party last year over his opposition to the dam, was handed a watermelon on the weekend to symbolise his green skin and red Labor heart.

Save the Mary president Glenda Pickersgill said the action was taken independently of the group which was urging voters to put Labor last on the ballot paper. ….

“If you intend to vote for the Greens in the election on March 21, please don’t preference a Labor candidate,’’ Ms Pickersgill said.

The Greens, both federal and state have strongly opposed the proposed Traveston Crossing dam since it was first announced in April 2006 by Peter Beattie and have been actively involved in bringing its unreliability and disastrous consequences to the attention of people all round Australia. ….

Lindsay Holt, the Greens candidate in Kawana, said voters needed to understand that the Greens were not preferencing Labor in this region because of its total opposition to the dam.

“But voters should also understand that we are not preferencing the LNP in this region either because they are proposing to build a large number of dams elsewhere in the state,’’ Mr Holt said.

It is an argument with a fragile logic. The Greens will support Labor, which is committed to building the Traveston dam, with preference swaps in other parts of the state, but won’t preference the LNP here, which is anti-Traveston dam, because it may build dams elsewhere.

Mar 17, 2009

Maloney Health care Plan.

Cartoon: Cox and Forkum.

This is an extract from an article by Steve Maloney, on some of the real competition that is entering the US healthcare system. Unfortunately this is happening just as the Obama administration is preparing to bring the whole system under the cold grey umbrella of the state. A bright, vibrant, competitive, and innovative industry will end up as a universal drab sameness, with the state doing to medicine what Barney Frank did to finance.

Obama has "set aside" $684 billion for his health care plan. How he arrived at that number -- why not $685 billion? -- We aren't told. We also haven't been informed what it will be used for. In other words, it sounds a whole lot like the original "TARP," with its $700 billion urgently needed for . . . something or other.

On health care, I used to make a tongue-in-cheek comment: "If we put Wal-Mart in charge of American health care, costs would go down . . . and service would go up." Well, Wal-Mart has been in the health care business for a while. It now offers some 400 generic (prescription) drugs for $4 each.

A number of other drug providers, including Target and Giant Eagle, a food and pharmacy concern in my area, have followed suit. In fact, Giant Eagle was giving away certain anti-infection drugs (generic penicillin) for . . . free.

In fact, mail order houses, like the one my wife and I use, have followed suit by making ALL generics available for zero co-payment. That saves my wife and me approximately $900 a year -- and strikes a major blow for keeping the nation's health costs down.

When it comes to health care -- and pharmaceuticals are a big part of it -- you really can't do much better than free. Of course, Wal-Mart also offers vision care and glasses at super-competitive prices. Thus, right after you're buying groceries at the best prices in town, you can stop by conveniently and pick out a new pair of spectacles.

Wal-Mart has also come up with a new cost-cutting, service-enhancing program. At a growing number of locations, it offers "virtual care" (using web cams). A man or woman comes in and is greeted by a Para-medic, who excels at things like popping thermometers in their mouths and taking their blood pressure.

The patient and paramedic are on video, seen by a doctor who's also visible. The physician monitors the actions of the paramedic, asks relevant questions, makes diagnoses, and prescribes medications. The doc could do it from home in his shorts if he so desired.

The "virtual physician" visits cost $59. That's $16 or more less than in my relatively low-cost area (western Pennsylvania). My friend in Staten Island tells me that regular doctor's office visits there can exceed $150. That's $91-plus more than Wal-Mart is charging. Do I hear the words, "Wal-Mart, go nationwide?"

What's going on . . . and not just at Wal-Mart? What we're seeing (with generic drugs and "virtual" physician care) is . . . innovation . . . and competition. The latter is something, which has been largely lacking in the health care business for a long time.

What are Obama's plans for competition, which is so essential to driving down costs and increasing the quality of care? Surely you jest. Obama has plans to spend a huge amount of money on something or other -- after which we fear "the health problem" will be no closer to a solution.

Under the Obama Plan, in fact, the main issue confronting sick people will be which happens first: either they get to see the doctor . . . or the line is too long, and they die.

Thus, my Republican friends, my solution remains: to put Wal-Mart (or at least its business model) in charge of health care. And this time I'm not saying that tongue-in-cheek. If we go in that direction, Obama may just be able to return the $684 billion to grateful taxpayers, who will then go spend it on houses, cars, and vacations, thus ending the recession.

On Monday? I put back on my Superman cape . . . and solve the education problem . . . again, in a low-cost, high-impact, pain-free way. I hope everyone in Washington, DC, is paying attention for a change.
Steve Maloney is a political activist and writer, who taught English and American literature (and writing) at Wm. & Mary and the University of Georgia. He worked as a speechwriter for many huge companies -- Phillips Petroleum, Gulf Oil, USX (U.S. Steel), Aetna, Merck, Lilly, and many others. He has written two books and is engaged in writing two others.

Mar 16, 2009

Lies, Damn Lies, and Anna Bligh.

Oil washed up on prime tourist beaches.

During the latest cyclone on the Queensland coast, the cargo ship Pacific Adventurer lost around thirty containers overboard, one of which pierced the hull. As result, about 230 tones of oil was lost, resulting in the polluting of 60km of southeast Queensland beaches in what could to be a fairly serious environmental problem. Much of he oil has ended up on beaches in the states prime tourist areas.

Moreton and Bribie Island and southern parts of the Sunshine Coast have been declared disaster zones.

The Opposition Leader, Mr. Springborg said the spill would damage the tourism industry, and called for an urgent campaign to attract visitors for the Easter break. He has strongly criticized the government’s response.

Mr. Springborg claimed Labor had deployed "more spin doctors than clean-up crews."

Premier Anna Bligh has responded by throwing her best spin doctors into the action, and thus was able to go on the attack. Ms Bligh says it is up to others to judge if the oil disaster will cost her votes in next weekend's state election, but she has rejected the accusations that the Government was too slow to react.

"Mr. Springborg's constant criticisms of the people who are working overtime to clear this spill do him no credit," she said.

The only problem is that Springborg has not at any point criticized the clean up crews, but such intellectual baggage as honesty or ethics has never hampered Anna.

Mar 15, 2009

This Person Votes Story, (With a Twist)

The Agitator linked to this article, which is a classic. We all see those clips or articles where people come up with silly answers to sometimes even sillier questions, which is followed up by a comment along the lines of, “and this person votes!”

In this one the same thing could be said, but this time it is a Florida state Senator who is even sillier than those people on the clips.

Via Jonathan Turley, I encountered the elsewhere-freakish but Florida-mundane story of state senator Larcenia Bullard (D-Miami, via deep space). Bullard became agitated during a Florida legislative debate over a bestiality law. Florida does not have a current bestiality law, apparently. ….

Anyway, Bullard became agitated when someone used the term “animal husbandry”:

Rich’s legislation would target only those who derived or helped others derive ‘’sexual gratification” from an animal, specifying that conventional dog-judging contests and animal-husbandry practices are permissible.

That last provision tripped up Miami Democratic Sen. Larcenia Bullard.

”People are taking these animals as their husbands? What’s husbandry?” she asked. Some senators stifled their laughter as Sen. Charlie Dean, an Inverness Republican, explained that husbandry is raising and caring for animals. Bullard didn’t get it.

”So that maybe was the reason the lady was so upset about that monkey?” Bullard asked, referring to a Connecticut case where a woman’s suburban chimpanzee went mad and was shot. ……

The article ends with an editorial comment: “Cappy, a commenter over at The Agitator, points out that Bullard is the Vice-Chair of the Agricultural Committee and a former teacher. That makes this even more awesome.”

Sense on Wealth destroyed.

Cartoon: by Hurwitt

A post from Patrick Joubert Conlon, demonstrates a greater understanding of economics than any of the pundits, or political panic pushers:

According to the CEO of Blackstone:

Private equity company Blackstone Group LP (BX.N) CEO Stephen Schwarzman said on Tuesday that up to 45 percent of the world's wealth has been destroyed by the global credit crisis.

"Between 40 and 45 percent of the world's wealth has been destroyed in little less than a year and a half," Schwarzman told an audience at the Japan Society. "This is absolutely unprecedented in our lifetime."

Patrick replies:

Balls! The only "wealth that has been destroyed" is on paper. The assets are still there. The houses and factories are still there. Okay, so the equity in the houses disappeared and the factories now have out of control debt due to leveraged investing. But that's all on paper. No sane home-owner has ever banked on equity. It's ephemeral and unreliable. And no sane businessman has ever borrowed more money that his company can collateralize. That disappeared "wealth" was fake to start with. Good riddance. Now let's get back to creating real wealth using sound economic principles not this Ponzi scheme of debt that took the place of real capitalism two decades ago.

Mar 14, 2009

“Demonising Carbon – a Death Wish?”

By Viv Forbes, Chairman of the Carbon Sense Coalition.

The Carbon Sense Coalition today called on all parties in the looming state election to make a clear statement on their policies regarding Emissions Trading and Carbon Taxes.

The Chairman of the Carbon Sense Coalition, Mr Viv Forbes, said that politicians in a state so overwhelmingly dependent on carbon energy, carbon food and taxes on carbon products can no longer hide behind hypothetical anti-carbon scare stories based on dubious climate forecasts for 100 years ahead.

“We have a real present emergency with growing fear among investors and shareholders in anything associated with mining, power generation, tourism and farming – the backbone industries of Queensland.”

“Much of this fear is generated by an insane campaign to demonize carbon dioxide, the natural atmospheric gas on which all life depends.”

“There is growing scientific recognition that carbon dioxide does not control climate – rather the other way around – temperatures rise because of solar influences and those rising temperatures expel carbon dioxide from that great carbon storehouse – the oceans”.

“There is also growing recognition that current levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are very low and the gradual increases occurring at present pose no threat to any life on earth. The reverse is true – all life will benefit from more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and the benefits will be increased by the slight warming experienced over the last one hundred years.

“We are supposed to panic over carbon dioxide levels of a miniscule 380 parts per million.

“Most life, plants and animals, probably developed with CO2 levels of about 1500 ppm – 400% above current levels. This fact is well understood by greenhouse operators who burn gas to increase CO2 levels to at least 1,000 ppm, 260% above current atmospheric levels.

“Inside populated buildings, CO2 levels of 3,000 ppm (770% above current levels) have been measured in homes, schools and offices with no ill effects. Even most Health and Safety people consider 5,000 ppm (1,300% above current levels) to be safe. Medical gas given to people with respiratory problems typically contains 50,000 ppm CO2 (13,000% above current levels) and our lung sacs retain about 65,000 ppm (16,800 % above current levels). Not until CO2 levels get to 100,000 ppm (260 times current levels) is there any concern about human health.

“All plant life will also benefit from increased carbon dioxide, and much of the extra food produced by the green revolution is the result of the warmer and more carbon-rich atmosphere.

“It seems that those who are trying to demonise carbon dioxide have a death wish for Queensland society. To achieve significant cuts in carbon emissions from man’s activities would requires massive destruction of our energy, farming, smelting, cement, transport and tourism industries, together with the jobs and prosperity of the populations that depend on them.

“The war against carbon is a war against coal, cattle, concrete, cars, electricity and breathing – who thinks Queensland can survive without these?

“It is time for the people of Queensland to be told which parties are supporting or condoning this reckless policy.”

For more information on the importance of carbon dioxide to human health, go here.

John Coleman, an experienced meteorologist and founder of the Weather Channel has the last word:

“Global Warming: It is a hoax. It is bad science. It is high-jacking public policy. It is the greatest scam in history”.

Viv Forbes
The Carbon Sense Coalition

The Carbon Sense Coalition was formed in Queensland by Australians concerned at the baseless demonisation of carbon dioxide by an unholy alliance of green extremists, vested interests and political and media opportunists. Support for “Carbon Sense” is growing rapidly. The Coalition aims to expose the lack of scientific support for the anti-carbon campaign, and the real and present threat to our industries and jobs if any of the current proposals for Emissions Trading Taxes or Carbon Taxes are enacted.

Global Warming Skeptics Gather in New York City

Cartoon by William Warren

From Viv Forbes, Chairman of the Carbon Sense Coalition.

Nearly 700 scientists, economists, and policy experts from around the world gathered in New York City this week for the opening dinner of the Second International Conference on Climate Change, hosted by The Heartland Institute and 59 cosponsoring organizations.

Meeting at the New York Marriott Marquis hotel, the group heard opening remarks from Heartland Institute President Joseph Bast and keynote addresses from Vaclav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic and of the European Union, and Richard Lindzen of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, one of the world's leading experts in dynamic meteorology.

The speech of Vaclav Klaus is well worth reading.

2009 International Conference 
on Climate Change.

NEW YORK--Environmentalists--even mainstream environmentalists such as Al Gore--are less concerned about any crisis posed by global warming than they are eager to command human behavior and restrict economic activity, the president of the Czech Republic told the second International Conference on Climate Change here Sunday.

Vaclav Klaus, who also is serving a rotating term as president of the European Union, triggered the approving applause of about 600 attendees as he said, "Their true plans and ambitions: to stop economic development, and return mankind centuries back."

Klaus was one of three presenters Sunday evening as the largest-ever gathering of global warming skeptics kicked off a 2 1/2 day conference confronting the issue, "Global warming: Was it ever really a crisis?' Joseph Bast, president of The Heartland Institute, which produced the conference, and Richard Lindzen, a leading meteorology physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, earned prolonged applause with their presentations as well.

But Klaus was the hit of the evening as he declared that the global warming alarmists he has encountered "are interested neither in temperature, carbon dioxide, competing scientific hypotheses and their testing, nor in freedom or markets. They are interested in their businesses and their profits--made with the help of politicians."

While Klaus hit hard at what he called the political rent-seekers, he earned another round of applause as he said alarmists are "not able to explain why the global temperature increased from 1918 to 1940, decreased from 1940 to 1976, increased from 1976 to 1998, and decreased from 1998 to the present, irrespective of the fact that the people have been adding increasing amounts of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere."

Klaus scoffed at politicians who urge radical actions to reduce carbon dioxide emissions through various schemes, such as taxing current to benefit future generations and being "generously altruistic" in restricting the pace of business activity in their economies.

He declared, "We could have made such far-reaching decisions only on the absolutely unrealistic assumption that we know all relevant parameters of the future economic system."

He concluded to a standing ovation by saying, "It is evident that the environmentalists don't want to change the climate. They want to change our behavior ... to control and manipulate us."

MIT's Lindzen told the audience that global warming alarmists have been encouraged by some scientists who in Lindzen's opinion do credible work on global warming, but who nevertheless endorse global warming because in so doing, it "just make their lives easier."

He said, "The fact that they can make ambiguous or even meaningless statements that can be spun by alarmists, and that the alarming spin leads politicians to increase funding, provides little incentive to complain about the spin."

He cited three scientists by name who fall into this broad category--colleagues Kerry Emanuel and Carl Wunsch, and Wally Broecker.

This politicizing of climatology, he said, "Has had an extraordinarily corrupting influence" because the science that attracts funding doesn't deal with climate "but rather with the alleged impact of arbitrarily assumed climate change."

One practical way to counter this trend, he urged, "would be to undermine the authority of scientific organizations" through mass resignations in which "thousands of scientists [would] resign from professional societies that have taken unrepresentative stands on the global warming issue."

Heartland President Bast opened the conference on an optimistic note, declaring that the nearly 700 registrants at the conference and the 80 presenters "demonstrate ... the breadth and high quality of the support that the 'skeptical perspective' on climate change enjoys."

Bast said if the scientific community were persuaded that the consequences of global warming were catastrophic, "perhaps no price would be too high to pay to save the Earth."

But he added that several surveys of scientists show the majority doesn’t believe the Earth is in a global warming crisis or that what warming has occurred was caused by human activity.

"On the question that might matter most," he declared, "climate scientists are perfectly split over whether they know enough about global warming to turn it over to policymakers to take action."

Even among global warming skeptics, agreement is far from conclusive on the severity and causes of global warming, a situation Bast says demonstrates "that it is the skeptics, not the true believers, who are more likely to discover and publicly discuss the true science and economics of climate change."

Mar 13, 2009

Green gun law frantics; Knee jerk reactions from the undead.

Cartoon by Lester.

Green politicians have a zombie like unthinking commitment to control of everything human on the planet. They are totally unquestioning as far as where they assume such power comes from, and are generally worse than the far left of any ‘mainstream’ parties. Australian senator Bob Brown is no exception to this.

Bob, who says the recent tragic shootings in the US and Germany, should be a wake up call for Australian governments, and has predictably reacted, by calling for a crackdown here. That’s going to fix it eh Bob. Any excuse from anywhere is a reason for Bob to look for more state control, watch when someone starts a riot in Lapland.

From the ABC:
"There are 100,000 to 200,000 handguns in circulation in Australia and many of those are effectively machine guns - they are automatic handguns - it's time they were withdrawn from public availability," he said.

"I have repeatedly called for this."

But speaking on Radio National's Breakfast today, Professor James Alan Fox from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, and the author of Extreme Killing: Understanding Serial And Mass Murder, said reducing gun availability and changing gun laws would not necessarily solve the problem.

"The good news is that these episodes are rare, the bad news is that because they are rare we cannot predict them," he said.
Bob really has no idea of what he is talking about, and is confusing the term automatic handgun for machine pistols, possibly deliberately. Interestingly this is what the Guardian in the UK has to say on German gun laws:
The country [Germany] already has some of the strictest gun laws in the world. Handguns are only on sale to those aged 18 or over, with heavier weapons restricted to those over 21. No weapon can be purchased legally without a firearms ownership license, which is only available after personal checks. ...

This is not the first tragedy of its kind in Germany, which in recent years has seen several deadly encounters in its classrooms. In 2002 Germany's worst school massacre took place in the eastern city of Erfurt, when a disgruntled ex-pupil shot dead 17 people, including himself. In 2006 an 18-year-old pupil in the northwestern town of Emsdetten injured 37 people, then killed himself.
This is not as strict as the rather draconian laws we already have in place in Australia, and Bob knows that, yet he attempts to make the argument that ours must be even worse than they are now. Try to get a license for a handgun and you will quickly realize that on most occasions, you are wasting your time; hell you might misuse it to defend yourself. Another interesting snippet comes from AFP:
SAMSON, Alabama (AFP) … After killing his mother, McLendon, who was briefly employed as a police officer in 2003, then drove to the nearby town of Samson, where he shot his uncle, two of his cousins, and the wife and baby daughter of local sheriff's deputy Josh Myers as they were on the uncle's front porch, police said.
Yep, there you have it the guy was an ex-cop. Even if Alabama’s gun laws were tightened to the extent of tyrannical this guy could probably get one.

Bob like so many other politicians worldwide, has such delusions of relevance that he thinks that all he has to do is pass another law and simply sit back and watch as all of the criminal element meekly hand in all of their prohibited weaponry.

Mar 12, 2009

Libertarian Bob Barr to get weekly column

This post is from Eric Dondero over at Libertarian Republican.

I have for a while contended that the reason for the current spate of media bankruptcies in the US was in part the result of the extreme liberalism of much of the media. If you keep publishing the view that to be properly liberal, you have to keep to the left side of Harry Reed and Nancy Pelosi, you are bound to end up really pissing off those who are this side of far left. If you really give people the shits, then they stop buying your product. If they stop buying your product you go broke.QED.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, regarded as one of the most ultra-liberal newspapers in the country, has seen its ad revenues and income from other sources, plummet in recent months. While not on the verge of death, as are the SF Chronicle, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Minneapolis Star-Tribune, AJC is inching closer to the danger zone.

On Feb. 22, Publisher Doug Franklin wrote, in "Challenges and Changes ahead for AJC"":

Right now, the AJC — and other newspapers across the country — are struggling financially...we have cut staff, frozen pay, reduced our circulation area and taken a sharp pencil to all our business costs.

But unlike every other liberal paper in the country, AJC is taking a dramatically different direction. It's planning to move the paper to the political center, scrutinizing their news reporting for liberal bias, and even inviting more participation from conservatives, and at least one libertarian on the editorial page.

From AJC Changes by Julia Wallace, March 7:

Let me discuss the issue that generated the most questions and comments to our publisher. Some readers believe we do a good job of being fair in our coverage and providing a balance of opinions. A few think we’re too conservative. But many more believe that our editorial pages are too liberal and that bias seeps into our news coverage. We have heard you on the bias issue and are taking deliberate steps to address this.

On the opinion pages, we are in a concerted march toward providing a rich marketplace of views, including liberal, conservative and others that defy labeling. We are in the process of selecting a new full-time conservative columnist. We have opened this up to the public and also asked you to let us know what you think of the sample columns from the finalists. We received 750 responses from people — giving us excellent feedback as we winnow the field. When this process is complete, we will have this new columnist three times a week, as well as Jim Wooten once a week, Bob Barr once a week, Cynthia Tucker twice a week and Jay Bookman twice a week, giving us a much stronger local columnist lineup than ever. Our new commentary editor keeps a running count of conservative and liberal columns on the pages to make sure we are balanced.

Barr, is a native Atlantan, and former US Congressman representing a northern suburban Atlanta district. In 2008 he was the Libertarian Party nominee for President, appearing on 45 state ballots, and received 525,000 votes.

Mar 11, 2009

Amid Panic, a voice of relative sanity.

This clip is an advertisement for the Labor Party for the Queensland election.

It offers a great example of the sort of leadership that nations of the world are suffering from at the moment. It starts with Obama, then British PM Gordon Brown, followed by Australian PM Kevin Rudd, and backed up by Obama doing a reprise of the ever popular, (among politicians, that is,) “the sky is falling, run for your lives,” message. The cynic in me thinks of it as:

“I ask you, is it possible to panic the population into such a state of hysterics as to allow us to take over the entire economy of the nation?” - “And I say to you, - Yes we can.”

The guy in the middle of the clip saying, “It’s not like the great depression, … , it is not like a war footing, that is absolute nonsense, it is not even a recession.” (The statement was made before Australia slipped into negative growth) is Lawrence Springborg, the Queensland opposition leader. I feel some of the worst aspects of the current economic malaise we find ourselves in, is the total negativity and panic stricken statements of world leaders, generally in order to push their own agendas. I am not a fan of Springborg, but in contrast to the others he sounds moderately sane.

There is a new one out on the same theme, this time with only Obama followed by Springborg. Following this there is some actress picked up from an amateur theatrical doing a Keith Olbermann browbeating the Borg impression.

The part about “war footing,” was from a statement made by the premier, Anna Bligh that the economy was on a war footing. Labor has a morbid fascination with war and has declared more wars in the last year and a bit, than were declared worldwide in the twentieth century. Some time ago the manager of Opposition business, Joe Hockey, referred to Rudd’s war on drugs, war on inflation, war on unemployment, war on whalers, war cabinet to fight disadvantage, war on downloads, war on poker machines, war against doping in sport and war on bankers salary deals, and asked:

"Prime Minister, how goes the war on everything?"

Good point.

Mar 9, 2009

John Stossel, excels again on interview.

This is a really good interview with Stossel giving his views on many of the important issues of our time. This is the first part, which is close to ten minutes, and for those who have more time on their hands, the second part is great as well.

At around the seven minute mark, a point is made that I haven’t seen made in a long time, possibly since I read, (I think) “The Incredible Bread Machine,” back in the 70s:

Interviewer: … like you can pass a minimum wage law and go and interview the happy employee of Burger King who just had her wage boosted but you can’t interview the person that doesn’t know that he wasn’t going to get hired.

Stossel: That’s part of it, its certainly hard to show the people who are hurt by government programs that take two cents from everyone or prevents a job from being created, you can’t take a picture of that. But that’s not just television, I think intuitively its hard to get: Intuitively the minimum wage makes sense, we want to help poor people raise the minimum wage, its hard for people to understand to understand how that hurts people. …

Jeff Flake, on Republican revival.

H/T Libertarian Republican.

Republicans are not normally ‘flavor of the month’ over at Reason, they tend to fail the libertarian purity test. Jeff Flake is an exception, being among the most libertarian members of the Republican Party.

Reasons comment on him was:

At last November's gala dinner in Los Angeles celebrating 40 years of Reason, Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) spoke about why the Republican party was in a shambles—and what it needs to do to stage a comeback. A principled libertarian who actually votes his conscience, Flake is one of his own party's toughest critics.

In these days of runaway spending, historic deficits, and nationalization of industries, Flake's message of a return to free minds, free markets, and limited government has never been more relevant. Either for his party or the country as a whole.
He doesn’t actually say in this clip that the party is in a shambles, but I guess a little liscence can be allowed.

For a site like Reason he had a surprising degree of support among the comments, including one of the better ones: (From The Angry Optimist)
There must be some bizarro libertarian world where it's a good idea to disregard potential allies because they aren't perfect.

I must have missed the memo where libertarianism was so popular we had that luxury. Of course, some people revel in their status as Libertarian Acolytes; Pure Worshipers of the Faith. A blend of Lenin, Torquemada and John Locke, if you will.

The rest of us live on planet Earth. Flake voted against: No Child Left Behind, Sarbanes-Oxley, Medicare Part D, (and) Homeland Security Act.

He also supports repeal of the Cuba Trade Embargo and wants a guest-worker program for immigrants.
This is a good point as last year Flake had to withstand a strong challenge from the “Ayatollah Republicans,” on the basis that he was not conservative enough. Libertarianism cannot afford to lose men like this over minor philosophical differences of opinion, face it; this guy votes for liberty most of the time and if he were to stand for the LP he would lose, probably to a dedicated statist.

As an Australian, I see things over there from the outside looking in. I see people like this and I envy Americans for having people like this representing mainstream parties. As an Australian libertarian I do not have the comfort of knowing that there are MPs out there who believe in similar things to me, they don’t exist.

Mar 7, 2009

Free Market FDP on the Rise in Germany.

Back in the 70s at the beginning of the libertarian movement in Australia one European nation was held in respect as a glowing example of the benefits of the free market. Back then the German economic miracle was the stuff of legends, a country virtually destroyed and in ruins, both physically and economically was able to rebuild and become an economic powerhouse in quite a short time. There was of course no miracle; just capitalism doing what it has always done when left alone.

Tragically Germany has since that time succumbed to the lure of social policies of the left and joined the malaise that is the hallmark of Europe. Through all of the post war era though a free enterprise party, The Free Democrats (FDP) has continued to exist and has gathered strength from the fall from favor of Angela Merkel’s CDU, which has happened because of the parties move to the left alienating many of its freedom orientated members.

The FDP is in no way what could be described as libertarian, but display an encouraging number of characteristics of classical liberalism however are not rooted in full free market philosophy. I doubt that the term laissez-faire could be attached to it by anyone but its most trenchant opposition, probably due to a lack of guiding principles allowing some populist leanings to slip in.

Spiegel Online has an interesting article on the FDP “Free Market Party on the Rise in Germany.”

At first glance, it may seem like a contradiction: Despite a deepening economic crisis and growing anger at corporate greed, Germany's free market FDP party has been rising in the polls. …

By the time Germany's second stimulus package received the final stamp of legislative approval last Friday, it was no longer news. Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet had given the initial go-ahead. And the lower house of parliament in Berlin, the Bundestag, had followed her lead.

With the economy in a shambles, financial markets frozen and capitalists in disrepute, Germany's neo-liberal political party, the Free Democrats (FDP), are enjoying remarkable success in both the polls and the voting booth. Its newfound self-confidence combined with double-digit survey results could shake up Germany's political landscape ahead of national elections scheduled for the end of September.

The first indication that the business-friendly FDP was on the upswing came in the state of Hesse, home to Germany's financial center Frankfurt. In late January state elections, the FDP raked in 16.2 percent of the vote, much higher than what the party normally receives. The success landed the FDP in the state's governing coalition -- and handed it enough leverage to block legislation in the Bundesrat. …

Indeed, say analysts, it is the party's consistency which may now be boosting its image. While the political course being charted by both Merkel's CDU and by her coalition partners from the Social Democrats (SPD) have been varying widely as the government attempts to come to terms with the financial and economic crises, FDP leader Guido Westerwelle hasn't had to budge. …

Westerwelle and the rest of his party, though, have been doing their best to portray the current crisis as a failure of government rather than a failure of the markets. The US government, so goes the message, is to be blamed for the real-estate quagmire in America, not the market.  Furthermore, as seen prior to the party's about-face on the stimulus package last week, the FDP has been consistently attacking the government, saying its response to the growing economic storm has been inadequate.

A recent survey found that, when it comes to the anti-recession measures so far taken by Berlin, many Germans agree. Only 36 percent of the 1,000 surveyed backed the €50 billion plan passed last week. But that's where the good news ends for the FDP. The survey included a fictional stimulus package crammed full of measures such as raising the minimum wage, upping welfare payments and boosting pensions -- all things the FDP cannot abide.

Fully 48 percent of Germans supported the imaginary measures.