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.

Apr 30, 2012

Farage; you can’t make this stuff up.

This one slipped past about ten months ago without being noticed here, but it is Farage at his best:

Carbon Credit Forests
- the CO2.con

Cartoon: By Bill Leak.

By: Viv Forbes, Chairman,

CO2Australia boasts of planting three million carbon credit trees. This is "just the beginning" of a new bubble industry, the CO2.con.

This bubble is set to inflate rapidly. To offset just one day of Qantas operations, CO2 promoters must plant more than 200,000 trees in permanent forests covering 130 hectares. How much land is required to offset all Australian power stations, industry and transport?

Yes these trees will consume carbon dioxide. However CO2 levels today are well below what is ideal for plant growth. While they are growing strongly, these trees will suck the gas of life from the atmosphere, competing strongly with nearby crops and plant life for the traces of carbon dioxide remaining.

Then as the trees mature, growth stops. The aging forest just sits there, some trees growing, some dying and net carbon sequestration ceases. It becomes a sterile shrine to the green religion whose main impact on the biosphere is providing a haven for feral animals and noxious weeds.

Green spruikers claim that they only use land not suitable for anything else. Wrong! Every bit of Australia not covered by road, cities, parks or deserts can support crops, timber-getting or grazing animals. Carbon-credit forests gnaw away at this national land asset every year.

Moreover, CO2.con investors, like all speculators, want quick returns. Their quick return demands rapidly growing trees in arable country - deserts and salt pans are uneconomical. Thus the wheat/sheep belt is shrinking.

No one can demonstrate any climate or environmental benefit from the CO2.con.

Forcing consumers and taxpayers to fund this large scale permanent land sterilisation is clearly unsustainable. All Australians fund this destruction via increased prices for electricity, cement, steel, air tickets and rail fares, and reduced land for food production. The carbon tax will increase their burden.

Like all bubble industries, the CO2.con industry must end in tears, and the sooner it ends the better.

Apr 29, 2012

Disgraced Craig Thompson is stood down from ALP.

The Pong is Ended;

but the Malady Lingers On

Cartoons: (L) By Nicholson; (R) By Bill Leak.

Months ago pundits were speculating that in order to distance the Labor Party from scandal plagued MP Craig Thompson, they might get him to resign from the party and support the government from the cross benches. The effect would be merely cosmetic, but at least he wouldn’t be officially a member of the party.

Now the prediction has proved true, or at least, “his party membership has been “suspended” at his own request.” This may mean that his membership can be reinstated if the heat were to come off, or is being used as a technicality to cover moneys paid to keep him solvent:
But Fairfax Media has obtained documents showing that in September 2010, the HSU agreed to pay him $129,555 in entitlements plus $30,000 to settle a defamation claim he had brought against the union and his successor as national secretary, Kathy Jackson. At the time of the payout, Mr Thomson was suing Fairfax Media over the allegations and had been recently re-elected as a federal MP.

Subsequently, the NSW branch of the Labor Party paid $150,000 in Mr Thomson's legal bills to prevent him becoming a bankrupt, which would have excluded him from office and caused the collapse of the minority government.
Meanwhile the Speaker, Peter Slipper who is fighting allegations of rorting travel dockets and sexual harassment of a male staffer is to remain stood down after independent MPs indicated they would not continue to support the government if he were allowed to take the chair while allegations against him were unresolved. He will therefore, continue to contribute to the stench surrounding the PM.

Global Warming induced home runs.

But is this stuff peer reviewed?

We are used to some of the more extreme claims of global warming frantics, such as 50 meter sea level rises, anthropogenic earthquakes and tidal waves, as well as the specter of global warming induced alien invasion.

The saner, more moderate elements tend to talk of simultaneous extreme droughts and floods, extreme heat waves, global warming induced freezing temperatures, and the need to let the government take control lest you all die miserable deaths from thirst, heatstroke, and drowning.

As baseball is not a popular sport in Australia we are unfamiliar with the name, Tim McCarver, so it is difficult to tell whether he is a commentator or climate scientist. He may just be moonlighting in the latter role, but has come up with the theory of global warming induced home runs:

… Tim McCarver said one of the stupidest things ever spoken on a television broadcast today, blaming global warming for "making the air thin" and thus leading to a rise in home runs.

Climate change, or in McCarver's words "climactic change," is the culprit (and not, say, steroids, the age of which McCarver insists is over) …
We are not certain whether this claim has been peer reviewed, so we wait with baited breath for the next IPCC report to find out.

Vested Interests in the Climate Debate

A personal response by Viv Forbes to several attacks in the media.

By: Viv Forbes, Chairman,

It seems that whenever global warming alarmists have no supporting evidence or logic, they resort to name calling using terms such as "vested interests".

Warmists claim that earth's climate is controlled by man-made carbon dioxide, mainly from coal and oil. A huge climate industry has been constructed on this flimsy foundation. Is Australia best served if we base energy policies solely on uninformed or emotional opinions from rock stars, lawyers, economists, union leaders and the climate industry? Surely it is sensible to also listen to scientists and engineers with training and experience in the origin, history, chemistry, geology, physics, extraction, utilisation and waste products of coal and oil and the behaviour and role of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere? Why is all government industry "pure" and all real industry "suspect"? There are venal people and those promoting vested interests everywhere.

Another tedious slur is that those who opposes climatism are supporters of big coal and "lobbyists are paid by multinationals to produce this stuff". In my case this is very easy to refute. Just look at what I have said and written and check that against policies supported by coal industry lobbyists such as the Queensland Resources Council (QRC). 
(It can be found here:

The QRC people ARE paid to promote the views of the coal industry – I am not. They promote three key policy pillars – a global agreement to ration and tax carbon, emissions permit trading, and subsidies for green power.

Never have I or the Carbon Sense Coalition ever supported any of these shaky pillars. We have repeatedly urged rejection of the Kyoto agreement; we have been consistent critics of emissions trading and the carbon tax; and we oppose money wasted in subsidising green energy toys and silly schemes like Carbon Capture and Burial.

Other superficial critics gleefully report that anything I say is merely promoting my vested interests in Stanmore Coal, a small Australian owned and managed explorer in which I hold shares. The reverse is true – Stanmore will be less harmed by the carbon tax than many other Australian businesses and may even derive some benefits. Stanmore's main asset is an open cut thermal coal deposit planning to export coal, probably to Asia for power generation. The carbon tax in Australia will fall more heavily on gassy underground coal mines and will also drive our power intensive industries overseas, probably to Asia, thus increasing Asian demand for coal from projects such as Stanmore.

Naturally the snipers never reveal my long and continuing interest and experience in pasture management, grassland conservation, sustainable soils and the carbon cycle. I do not condone pollution or environmental degradation.

Every Australian has a vested interest in the outcome of this suicidal war on carbon – some will get unearned benefits, most will be lumbered with hidden costs. So instead of smearing, name calling and name dropping, it's time for the green side to put up some relevant facts and logical arguments.

Or find a real problem to solve.

Apr 28, 2012

Why Rudd is still in contention.

I always voted at my party's call, 
And I never thought of thinking for myself at all. – ‘Sir Joseph Porter, K. C. B.’ HMS Pinafore.
Cartoon: By Pickering.

Some time ago one of the overseas readers of this site wrote a comment asking why it was that with the declining popularity of Labor and the total lack of credibility of the Prime Minister, that there was a likelihood of Kevin Rudd being reinstated. The reality is that the Labor Party has a distinct lack of talent.

It is worth remembering that prior to the ‘reverse leadership coup’ in February where Rudd was effectively forced to challenge against overwhelming odds, his Department of Foreign Affairs was the only effective one in the government.

The only other likely figures being touted are Simon Crean, Stephen Smith, and the most prominent possibility, Bill Shorten. None of them have been impressive and all are closely associated with the PM and her disastrous decisions. Shorten has just made a complete idiot of himself by supporting a statement by Gillard that he had not heard:

Interviewer: Do you think he [Peter Slipper] should return to the speakers chair while the civil claims are still being played out?

Shorten: I understand that the Prime Minister has addressed this in a press conference in Turkey in the last few hours. I haven’t seen what she said, but let me say, I support what she said.

Interviewer: Hang on, you haven’t seen what she said …

Shorten: But I support what my Prime Minister has said.

Interviewer: Well, what’s your view?

Shorten: Well, my view is what the Prime Minister’s view is.

Interviewer: Surely you must have your own view on this Bill Shorten?

Shorten: No, when you ask if I have a view on this that is such a general question it invites me to go to …

Shorten: …. But I support what my Prime minister has said.

Interviewer: But you don’t know what that is?

Shorten: I’m sure she is right.

Interviewer: But you won’t make up your own mind until you see what your prime …

Shorten: I’m a minister in the government and I support our Prime Minister full stop.
Perhaps the quote from HMS Pinafore should be replaced with one from “Paint your wagon”:

Where am I heading, I don’t know;
When shall I get there, I aint certain;
All that I know is I am on my way. …

Apr 27, 2012

A case for recall elections.

Cartoon: By Pickering.

The intervention by Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten to sack the leadership of the HSU East branch and have an administrator appointed appears most likely to be a desperate attempt to ward off the possibility of the branch falling into the hands of those hostile to allegedly corrupt President Michael Williamson, and disgraced MP, Craig Thompson.

Meanwhile Gillard is facing a backbench revolt over her support for her pet Speaker of the house Peter Slipper, who is accused of rorting expenses and sexual harassment of a male staffer. Gillard is increasingly being seen as a hopeless decision maker.

The situation we have where the government is relying on its ability to protect its position by refusing to act against two disgraced MPs could be resolved if the electorate had the option of recall elections like Americans are able to petition for. Should an MP turn out to be corrupt, dishonest, or dishonor a commitment to his or her constituents it is only right that voters have the opportunity to recall that MP and choose a replacement.

Recalling an MP should be a serious matter. Only where an MP’s performance is deemed by voters as unacceptable should it be undertaken. The recall provision should not be so easy as to make it susceptible to abuse by those with a personal vendetta or partisan agenda, such as that being attempted in Wisconsin against Governor Scott Walker. For this reason a high bar of something like 20-25% of the registered voters in an electorate should be required to trigger it.

An MP Should only face a recall petition not more once each term. This will ensure that only MP’s who have really lost the confidence of their constituents will face recall, and eliminate opportunistic recall attempts.

In addition to this electoral reform in Australia should consist of:

  • Voluntary voting;
  • Optional preferencing. Voters should have the option to only vote for one candidate but if they chose to allocate preferences, such preferences must be counted if no candidate achieves a clear majority of votes cast;
  • A none of the above box. Voters who do not like any of the choices available should have the right to reject all of the candidates. Should ‘none of the above’ win, then a bi-election should be held with previous candidates disqualified from standing.

Apr 25, 2012

Anzac Day, with a tribute to Kapyong.

Map: Battle of Kapyong.

Korean war veterans tend to feel that they fought in a forgotten war. This is probably an overstatement as it gets mentions, but probably less attention than it deserves. Perhaps the fact that it sits between two longer wars – WW2 and Vietnam may have something to do with it.

The defining battle for Australians in Korea was the Battle of Kapyong, fought on the night of 23Apr 51 and through the following day. The 24th of April is officially ‘Kapyong Day’ but it is generally overshadowed by Anzac Day on the 25th. The Battle of Long Tan which was smaller, less significant, but no less courageous, has fared better with its day on the 18th of August.

At Kapyong the Australian 3rd Battalion and the Canadian 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry set up defensive positions on hills either side of the Kapyong Valley to block the Chinese spring offensive from reaching Seoul, and with some American tanks and New Zealand artillery were able to block a Chinese Division after heavy fighting.

The following transcript gives an idea of the situation:

Early in the evening, retreating South Koreans streamed past the Commonwealth position, with Chinese forces closely intermingled. Soon afterwards a platoon of American tanks supporting 3 RAR was overrun. The Kapyong valley was too large an area to defend with the forces available, and the brigade was spread very thinly.

Throughout the night the Chinese repeatedly pressed the Australian positions, attacking in waves over their own dead and wounded.

At dawn, A Company, under the command of Major Bernard "Ben" O'Dowd, found that the Chinese had infiltrated its position, but a counter-attack was able to eject them. Meanwhile B Company, which had spent the night on a hill near the riiver, discovered Chinese occupying some old bunkers on a small knoll. Hand-to-hand fighting ensued with grenades and bayonets. C Company, under the command of Captain Reg Saunders, was in position to reinforce both A and B Companies.

"Major O'Dowd then directed the radio operator to contact anyone. The American 1st Marine Division answered but their operator refused to believe who our operator was speaking for. Major O'Dowd took the phone and demanded to speak to the commanding officer. The general in charge of the [Marine] division came on the phone and told O'Dowd we didn't exist as we had been wiped out the night before. Major O'Dowd said, 'I've got news for you, we are still here and we are staying here.”
Both the Australian and Canadian Battalions were awarded the US Presidential Unit Citation for their actions (Image left).

Apr 24, 2012

Another Kiwi shoots his mouth off.

Image; Australian troops advancing on German strongpoint.

Yesterday, New Zealand radio panelist Jock Anderson unleashed his extensive knowledge of the Australian military, which he apparently gained from Kiwi ex soldiers on the piss. Among his claims were:

"The Aussies have been reluctant soldiers at the best of times, and they've been essentially lazy bludgers, some of them - excellent black-marketeers, scavengers, poachers and thieves," he told the panel.

"Occasionally, they've actually been quite good soldiers, but there was no way that they can hold a candle, in my opinion, to the Kiwis.”
This left international audiences asking the obvious question, “What is New Zealand?” As a service to our extensive readership, we will put you in the picture.
  • New Zealand, or The Shivery Isles is a nation consisting of two small islands off the East coast of Australia, too far away to be worth annexing. It is populated by wonderful, friendly, hard working, and generous spirited people. There is also a substantial white population there, which in the interests of friendship we will say no more about.
  • The people speak an odd dialect based on English, but with confused vowel sounds. This tends to leave other English speakers with the impression that the Kiwi speaker is busting for a crap.
  • European settlement was initially started by mariners who loved the place as the natural ground movement enabled them to go ashore and back to sea without the problematic sea legs/land legs transition.
  • Often referred to as the Poms of the South Pacific, Kiwis were always reluctant to cut ties to the Old Country. The Brits for their part were never convinced that the Kiwis were ready for independence. The reason it was granted was that after offering the place to all the other major powers and getting no takers, it seemed to be the only way of getting shot of them.
The reality is that Australia and New Zealand have had an extensive shared military history going right back to the colonial era with mutual respect on both sides. The statement above has upset veterans from both countries and has been disowned by the New Zealand Prime Minister and government.

With all due respect to veterans, they are probably not the most reliable source of information on the qualities of allied troops they fought beside, especially after a few pots. No matter what country they came from, they all have the impression that their army was the one that pulled all the others out of the shit and they were the best damn soldiers on the face of the earth.

The comments were just plain silly and should be ignored.

Apr 23, 2012

Climate models; “Of drought and flooding rain.”

Cartoon: By Spooner.

It is beginning to look like the climate frantics have some sort of communication problem. Their biggest one has been for a while communicating with a public that has lost faith in the numerous disaster scenarios that have been presented over the years, none of which has happened.

There were after all, supposed to be a hundred billion bazillion climate refugees headed our way by a few years ago. Most refugees we see at the moment appear to be fleeing wars or oppressive governments; the very organizations the eco lobby touts as the climate change cure.

Some skeptics tend to have doubts in the Australian government’s capability in this regard. They point out that it would require a great deal of optimism to expect an organization that was incapable of putting pink bats in houses without killing people to be capable of making the weather nice.

There seems though, some contradictory ideas among the leadership. First we will look at the position taken by former Australian of the year and official government climate guru, Professor Tim Aint Gonna Rain No More No More Flannery:
Over the past 50 years southern Australia has lost about 20 per cent of its rainfall, and one cause is almost certainly global warming. Similar losses have been experienced in eastern Australia, and although the science is less certain it is probable that global warming is behind these losses too. But by far the most dangerous trend is the decline in the flow of Australian rivers: it has fallen by around 70 per cent in recent decades, so dams no longer fill even when it does rain. Growing evidence suggests that hotter soils, caused directly by global warming, have increased evaporation and transpiration and that the change is permanent. I believe the first thing Australians need to do is to stop worrying about "the drought" - which is transient - and start talking about the new climate.
This seems to have been missed by Ruben Meerman of the ABC’s science program ‘Catalyst’ the other night while discussing flood sediment in Moreton Bay and it’s effect on sea grass:
Dr James Udy: 
Longer term we have to be very mindful of what we’re doing on the land that comes swishing out into Moreton Bay and will affect the ecosystem for now and in the future.

Ruben Meerman: 
This time Moreton Bay faired surprisingly well, but with climate change we expect bigger floods more often.

And while this ecosystem has proved more resilient than expected, nobody knows how much more it can take. The one thing that’s certain it’s too beautiful to risk finding out.
It seems that the sea grass which was expected by ‘reputable’ scientists to be wiped out by flood sediment was faring way better than expected, especially in the worst affected Western sector which was explained away as:
I think one way to look at it is if you think about would you expect an individual, a human that is in very good health to be better able to ward off disease, and you probably think well yes you would. But in fact with the ecosystem it’s the, part of ecosystem here on the western side that’s been having little bits of suffering year in year out was better able to cope this time when the major flood came.
There is another possibility, which was not canvassed. Possibly the reason why the most flood affected grass was doing better than that in the East is that the nutrients from the silt actually nourish sea grass. Unfortunately such an idea does not lead to the conclusion that farming in river valleys should be stopped.

Gillard government reeking of political road kill.

Karma has come quickly for Tony Abbott and the opposition in relation to the defection of Peter Slipper to the speakership of the house and the embrace of the Gillard government. For years, he has been an embarrassment to the Liberal Party over his sense of entitlement, expense claims, and alleged drunkenness and was certain lose preselection for his seat. Last November he accepted the role of Speaker in a deal that extended the government to a two-seat advantage.
Now he has been forced to stand down owing to serious allegations of sexual impropriety in relation to a male staff member. These include:

  •  Possibly recruiting a staff member in the expectation of gaining sexual favours;
  • Sexual harassment of a male staffer, and; 
  • Fraudulent use of travel entitlements. 

 It is expected that the government will try to claim that the allegations are homophobic which is one of the current lines of attack on Tony Abbott being employed currently. It is reasonable to expect this line to come from Penny Wong.  The issue though is not homosexuality; the same activities with a female staffer would be just as serious.

 The government and its supporters in the Canberra Press Gallery were ecstatic on Slipper’s defection, hailing it as a brilliant tactical move by Gillard. Now it has come back to haunt them at the worst possible time with the government reeling from the result in Queensland and struggling to regain some traction with a skeptical public.

 What really causes trouble for Gillard is the fact that in the expectation of the safety of a two-seat advantage, she broke the troublesome agreement with Andrew Willkie on poker machine reform. He was until that happened, one of the votes she relied on to get her over the line. His support is no longer guaranteed.

 Labor has for considerable length of time chained itself to the stinking carcass of the politically undead Craig Thompson, who is alleged to have misused his Health Services Union credit card for prostitution services and huge cash withdrawals. Had it acted honorably when that one erupted, it may have survived an election with a loss of power but have remained relatively intact.

 By procrastinating and prevaricating on this issue it has gotten into the situation of appearing, and indeed being desperate to cling to power by any means. The Slipper issue will reinforce this impression. What seemed like a good idea at the time not only lifted a major embarrassment off Abbott’s shoulders, but placed it squarely on Labor’s.

Apr 18, 2012

New Queensland government showing promise.

Cartoon: By Pickering.

After a virtual clean sweep of the last state election, taking 78 of the 89 seats in the Legislative Assembly the new government seems to be getting down to the business of deficit reduction. It has started in small immediate moves but former federal Treasurer Peter Costello has been hired to review the states finances.

Judging by the reaction to the axing of the state literary awards there is going to be considerable angst among those who are accustomed to state largesse. This is being seen as the end of the world, as we know it and is claimed that it will stop any books being read in the state:

It's taken a long time even to begin to convince the rest of the country that we of the Deep North aren't … a state of slack-jawed provincials whose idea of refinement is playing the banjo with our toes. Might I suggest there are better ways of pinching a few pennies than effectively saying that the state places no value on reading, or writing, or introspection. …
Rather than the usual effort by new governments of claiming budget holes need immediate plugging with new or heavier taxes, the state budget has been postponed for three months to make a proper assessment of what needs to be done.

What is clear at the moment is that the state has been borrowing to feed itself, in fact to pay wages for the day to day running of the place. Despite the mining boom delivering unprecedented loot into the state coffers, there is a four billion dollar shortfall, which needs to be addressed.

Red tape is also being tackled, with an aim of a 20% reduction in the estimated 90,000 pages of regulations the population is burdened with. This will be a refreshing change; normally when a government cuts red tape, it does it lengthwise. The issue is though that with such an overwhelming weight of regulations, it would take a cut of 90% to be a reasonable start.

One thing to go will be the ‘sustainability statements’ required in order to list properties for sale. This was introduced in order to give a green tinge to real estate sales to please Drew Hutton and the Greens, while removing some of the green from homeowner’s pockets.

There appears to be a reversal of Labor’s tendency to use local authorities to inflict greater regulatory burdens on the community. Over the last few years there has been a constant rise in the number of bi-laws passed by councils with the explanation that they are to meet state government requirements. These all come at a cost of either compliance, holding up projects for no good reason, or fees.

The opposite is going to apply now, with the state government asking them to cut red tape in order to assist business, and a declaration that they would be very loath to approve new local laws that don’t have a very positive cost-benefit analysis, especially if they imposed a burden on business.

The LNP may be a mob of SoCons, but at least they have some fiscal nouse.

Apr 16, 2012

Greens leader Christine Milne, agricultures friend.

Farmers really need to hug more vipers to their bosoms.

Cartoon: By Bill Leak.

New Greens leader Christine Milne wants to establish political support among rural Australians and "progressive" businesses as a new strategy to advance the party. ‘Progressive businesses’ are those seen by her to be in the ‘new economy’ and which should be doing more to promote a low-carbon economy. Apparently they are not lobbying hard enough for subsidies and special deals:
"If ever the Greens were needed in Australian politics in public life in redefining the debate in Australia, it's now," Senator Milne said. "I'm going out there as a country person to say to other country people it's time the Greens and country and rural and regional Australian really worked together.” …

Senator Joyce said that while the Greens' concern for the rapid development of the coal-seam gas industry was reflected in some rural communities, most other Greens policies were anti-bush. "The Greens have a problem with coal-seam gas, as does the Coalition," Senator Joyce said. "But the Greens also have problems with rodeos, irrigation, live cattle exports, and they want a 50 per cent top tax rate and death duties. …

"I would welcome her (Senator Milne) in some of my communities. Any town hall, any time you want. My tactic would be to simply tell people what her policies are. People know in the back of their minds that the Greens' policies are dangerous.”
Last year the Greens supported demands for legislation to protect their land from coal seam gas and mining. When the draught Planning Policy for Strategic Cropping Land was delivered it was found that the proposed law would also restrict what landowners could do.

Senator Ron Boswell has outlined the extremities of the party:
It is obvious that Bob Brown is resigning today because he knows his time is up and he wants to go out on a high. Brown knows that the party is losing the environmental message the party was based on and is now being used by the far left as a way to spread their extreme agenda. He is just trying to get out before that happens.

Without Brown, the far left and extremists will steamroll over the others and become the new reigning force within the Greens.

These members include the now Deputy Leader, Adam Bandt, a self-identified former member of the Left Alliance that once admonished ultra-left groups such as Resistance and the International Socialists for not being left-wing enough.

Bandt has referred to the Greens as a ‘bourgeois party’ that can be used as a Trojan horse for pushing an anti-capitalist, socialist Marxist agenda. He has identified the Greens as the best avenue to achieving socialism in Australia. …
These people do not appear to be the party to attract the bush.

Apr 15, 2012

Vermont Governor tries to feed bears.

I won’t dwell on this one too much; I’m sure my old mate Bawb is all over it.

The North Eastern United States contains a large number of the sort of people that consider themselves to be the font of all wisdom. This is nicely balanced by California in the far South West, where a similar group regard the place as a cornucopia of good ideas for running the country, but that’s another story.

In between is ‘flyover country’ where the population tends to watch the ideas rushing back and forth with a mixture of laughter and rage. These people for whatever reason fail to understand how much better their lives would if they just accepted that the elite knows what is best for them.

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin states in his ‘about Peter’ section of his webpage; “He likes to fish, hunt and garden and can sometimes be found spreading manure and cutting hay at the dairy farm where he is a partner.” (The bull manure presumably, is saved for spreading over the entire state.)

Any Vermont hunter just knows how to deal with bears that raid bird feeders, you just go out there and take the feeders away from them and shoo them away, none of that Tennessee Davy Crocket stuff of grinning them down. Unfortunately, bears tend to lack culture and in this case thought they would supplement their diet with a bit of red meat:

A LATE-NIGHT encounter with four bears trying to snack from backyard bird feeders has given Vermont's governor a lesson in what not to do in bear country. One of the bears chased Peter Shumlin and nearly caught the governor as he tried to shoo the animals away, he said on Friday. "I had a close encounter with a bear. Four bears to be exact,'' Shumlin said.

Shumlin said he had just gone to bed inside his rented home on the edge of Montpelier late on Wednesday when the bears woke him up. He looked out the window and saw the omnivores in a tree about 1.5m from the house trying to get food from his four bird feeders.

"I open up the window and yell at them to get away from the bird feeders. They kind of trot off,'' Shumlin said on Friday. "I go around to the kitchen to turn the lights on and look from the other side and they're back in the bird feeders. So I figure I've got to get the bird feeders out of there or they're going to make this a habit.”

He said he then ran out and first grabbed two of the feeders. As he grabbed the other two and made his escape, "one of the bigger bears was interested in me.” "It was probably six feet (two metres) from me before I slammed the door and it ran the other way,'' Shumlin said.
Governor Shumlin is a Democrat.

Apr 13, 2012

Did Brown jump, or was he pushed?

Brown's moment of triumph, Gillard signs the article of unconditional surrender by the ALP to the Greens.

In the wake of the 2010 federal election there was some speculation that Greens leader Bob Brown would be replaced by Christine Milne. The influx of a newer, more Bolshie generation of hard liners was always likely to spell trouble for Bob, who despite his determination to put a stop to the evil creation of wealth and prosperity, tended to be seen as relatively sane in some circles.

Now at the midpoint of the current parliament Bob has resigned the leadership and will retire from the Senate in June. This brings to mind the deals, which were done in the past between Hawke and Keating, and between Howard and Costello, neither of which were honored.

During this term Brown has become increasingly bizarre with calls for the destruction of the coal industry, the submission of the Australian population to a world government, and shutting down anything that is not ‘sustainable’ from his blinkered and dour point of view. It is not certain whether this was the result of a swing further to the left by the party, or a revelation of the ‘real Bob Brown’ as result of obtaining the balance of power, thanks to Liberal Party preferences.

In a recent speech, ‘the third annual Green oration’ better known as the ‘Fellow Earthians’ speech, he went completely off the deep end with renewed calls for world government, a mixture of capitalism and communism, and goals of Economy, Equality, Ecology and Eternity. He also claimed that the reason why aliens from other galaxies have not contacted him is that they have ‘extincted’ themselves by destroying their planets.

The speech was greeted with enthusiastic applause at the time, however subsequent press coverage ridiculed him and has possibly hastened his demise.

Apr 11, 2012

Conservatives Spin statement to defame Flake.

Conservatives frequently rail at the way in which their statements tend to be spun into something totally different by opponents and the left wing media. It is not uncommon for an innocent statement to be manipulated into something totally different to what was intended. It’s a form of blatant dishonesty, but has become the norm, unfortunately to the point that conservatives have adopted it.

Jeff Flake is highly regarded among small government types as a Congressman from Arizona who is attempting to enter the Senate in the coming election. Consistently being among the top few people on the RLC Liberty Index for his fiscal conservatism and socially moderate views, he is seen as something of a thorn in the side of the conservatives.

In a recent Tea Party town hall where he was asked whether or not he believes that Barack Obama is a legal President, he answered:

"I think he is our President. I think he is duly elected and I believe he is a citizen. And I do believe it is a distraction. And my job is to make sure we beat him in November.” Here is the video:

Americas Conservative News however has altered his statement to claim that Flake was saying that the US Constitution was a distraction. This is a falsehood in the style of the NBC Trevon Martin transcript doctoring effort, one they are unlikely to approve of:

(ACN) Congressman Jeff Flake got more than he bargained for at a recent Red Mountain Tea Party town hall forum in Arizona. When a member of the audience asked Flake whether or not he believes that Barack Obama is a legal President, Flake tried, in vain, to put the man in his place.

Flake: "I think he is our President. I think he is duly elected and I believe he is a citizen. And I do believe [his eligibility] is a distraction. And my job is to make sure we beat him in November.”

Question: How can you sucessfully take Barack Obama to task for exceeding his constitutional authority when you believe that the Constitution is "a distraction?" Answer: You can't.
Republicans need to move on from the ‘birth certificate’ issue. While eligibility is an important issue, there were plenty of issues in 08 which were valid areas for use in the campaign but were ineffective because they failed to gain traction with the media which seemed to have a lot of blind spots, especially where Bill Ayers and Reverend Wright were concerned.

It is unlikely that the birth certificate will achieve anything. Were the GOP to pin their hopes on this as an issue, and were Obama to present a valid certificate for all to see just before the election, the Democrats would win in a landslide. There are plenty of issues on which the President is likely to be defeated, the Sherriff Joe investigation is not one of them and is only a distraction.

Apr 10, 2012

The Greens incoherent subsidy stance.

“If, from the more wretched parts of the old world, we look at those which are in an advanced stage of improvement, we still find the greedy hand of government thrusting itself into every corner and crevice of industry, and grasping the spoil of the multitude. Invention is continually exercised, to furnish new pretenses for revenues and taxation. It watches prosperity as its prey and permits none to escape without tribute.” – Thomas Paine.

Cartoon: By Pickering.

Fuel excise was designed as method of extracting another tax from the people under the pretext that such a tax would pay for the construction and maintenance of roads. This fails to explain vehicle registration, which costs the average owner hundreds of dollars per year, in return for which we receive a sticker for the windscreen and a set of numberplates the first time around, but hey, the states want a slice of us too.

In the case of diesel there is a rebate that applies to off road use of this fuel which ensures that business’s that use fuel in production of goods and for heavy transport are not burdened with an extra tax that would impact on the CPI. The Greens have taken aim at these exemptions, calling them a subsidy:
A Treasury brief released under Freedom of Information declared the rebate was “not a subsidy for fuel use, but a mechanism to reduce or remove the incidence of excise or duty levied on the fuel used by businesses off-road or in heavy on-road vehicles.”

But Greens Deputy Leader Christine Milne said the rebate “walks like a subsidy and quacks like a subsidy.” “In anyone's understanding, a payment or avoided payment that helps one technology or business choice over another is a subsidy,” she said.

“What we've got here is the government using taxpayers' money to make it cheaper for miners to use diesel fuel, meaning there is less in the pot to invest in the things we really need, such as putting dental care into Medicare, supporting people with a national disability insurance scheme, and rolling out smart technology for a changing world like big solar power stations and high speed rail.”
Curiously, Milne seems to miss the cognitive dissonance in this statement in which she abhors subsidies to sections of the economy she has no time for, while advocating the heavily subsidized “rolling out smart technology like big solar power stations” and the would be heavily subsidized high speed rail. What she seems to contend is that a failure to implement a tax is letting people off the hook she wants them impaled on.

This is a common misconception among all politicians although mainly from the left. On the right, there seems to be, not only a total intellectual incapability to mount any real defense against such illogic, but a tendency to see their desire for spending initiatives as a justification for additional taxes. The Liberal Party intend to pay new mothers six months parental leave at full pay of up to $150,000 per year by imposing a 1.5% increase on company tax on the 3,200 most productive companies in Australia.

The language of government has become spun beyond any reasonable rationality or logic. We now live in an era in which, since the rise of fiscal conservatism as an issue, politicians and some economists tend to argue that new or bigger taxes are really a free market mechanism rather than an impost.

Apr 9, 2012

Richardson recycles Barnaby Joyce.

Cartoon: By Pickering.

Former Labor Senator Graham Richardson seems to have had enough of the charade that is the current government and cut loose on it. Richo was one of the most competent Labor members for many years and is disgusted at the depths that the current crop has reached. In doing so he seems to have reached out to the unlikeliest person in Barnaby Joyce, by pinching his comment on Craig Thompson.

In August last year Joyce said on the ‘Meet the Press’ programme on Thompson’s use of a union credit card for prostitution services:

Well, it is all very unsavory but we have a month of a whole range of possibilities we got to. One is that a thief broke into Craig's house and he stole Craig's mobile phone, he stole Craig's credit card and he stole driver’s licence. He then managed to operate Craig's mobile phone as he drove to Sydney.

When he got to Sydney he presented himself, and this thief looked a lot like Craig Thomson, he then had to vouch for his signature and his signature was a lot like Craig Thomson’s. Then a transaction took place which we will not go into. He then went back up to the Central Coast, broke back into the house and put everything back where he found it.

Now, that is one possibility and the other possibility is – and this is a far-fetched one – is Craig Thomson. They’re the two possibilities we’ve got. …

The issue is that he said he didn’t do it and the Prime Minister says she has full confidence, which must mean she believes the story and there is a big problem.
Now Richo is saying:
.... To believe Thomson never visited the house of ill-repute that appears on his credit card statement, you would have to believe that a person unknown stole his credit card, forged his signature, stole his driver's licence - a copy of which was appended to the credit card payment - and also stole his phone, which was used three times between the Central Coast and the city of Sydney to call the house on the day in question.

Further, you would have to believe that the credit card, the licence and the phone were all miraculously returned the next day.

As evidence mounts of the systematic bleeding of union funds for a decade or more, Gillard must share the shame that the whole of the labour movement must now bear. What disgusts me most is that the losers are some of the lowest paid workers in the land.
Perhaps some attribution may have been in order.

The problem for Gillard and the government is that if he were dumped, it would lose its desperate fingernail hold on power and face an angry electorate, which according to latest polls would deliver it a Queensland like thrashing. The national workplace relations tribunal, Fair Work Australia has just completed a three year investigation into the HSU, which appears to be so amateurish that the DPP states that their report is useless. FWA is giving a great impression of a government department running interference for its political masters.

Apr 7, 2012

Committee recommends decimalisation of recreational drugs.

This is huge news.

A report prepared by the think tank Australia 21 has recommended the decimalisation of currently illicit drugs. It has declared the war on drugs to be a failure and concludes that the tough law and order approach is doing more harm than good.

The killer blow to the current drug war is that the members are all eminent members of society whose opinions cannot be readily dismissed out of hand. They include:

Mr Mick Palmer AO APM, Former Commissioner, Australian Federal Police; Senator Bob Carr AC, Former Premier of NSW and current minister of Foreign Affairs; Hon Professor Peter Baume AC, Former Minister for Health (Fraser Government); Hon Professor Geoff Gallop AC, Former Premier Western Australia; Nicholas Cowdery AM QC, Director of Public Prosecutions for NSW; Hon Dr Michael Wooldridge, Former Federal Minister for Health (Howard government.

Among the recommendations offered were:

  • Policies be based on solid empirical and scientific evidence and that the primary measure of success should be the reduction of harms to the health, security and welfare of individuals and society.
  • Break the taboo and open debate about promoting policies that effectively reduce consumption and reduce harms related to drug use and drug control policies. Increase research and analysis into the impact of different policies and programs.
  • Replace the current criminalisation and punishment of people who use drugs with the offer of health and treatment services to those who need them.
  • Encourage experimentation by governments with models of legal regulation of drugs e.g. cannabis, that are designed to undermine the power of organised crime and safeguard the health and security of citizens.
  • Countries that continue to invest mostly in a law enforcement approach (despite the evidence) should focus their repressive actions on violent organised crime and drug traffickers in order to reduce the harms associated with the illicit drug market.
Some points made:
  • The biggest winners from the current policy are those in league with organised crime and those corrupted by it. Because of their illegality, drugs of dependence are sold at highly inflated prices (an ounce of gold is valued at $1,700 and an ounce of heroin at $12,000). There is a huge industry committed to the maintenance of drug dependence.
  • Other beneficiaries of the current approach include the law enforcement industry, those who benefit from the occupancy of prisons and a thriving insurance industry that insures residents for the high rates of household crime. The converse of this is that law-abiding citizens are the biggest loser.
  • The firm view expressed by those who have been involved in drug law enforcement, was that while law enforcement has produced substantial seizures and convictions, it has done little to curtail the supply of drugs. The overwhelming majority of drug users in Australia say that illicit drugs are ‘easy’ or ‘very easy’ to obtain. Drugs continue to be readily available on our streets and in our prisons as a result of the lucrative profits enjoyed by those who break the law and produce and distribute these substances.
  • Before it was prohibited in Australia in 1953, heroin was legally available on prescription and cannabis was listed officially as a medicine in the United States until 1937. The Australian government’s decision in 1953 to succumb to international pressure and prohibit the importation and production of heroin was strongly opposed by the Australian medical profession for whom it had been an important component of its therapeutic armamentarium.
  • Portugal in 2001 embarked on a major initiative in which it has lifted all criminal sanctions on use of illicit drugs and committed substantial resources to dissuade drug users from use of these drugs. The evaluation of the program has been positive both with respect to health and social effects on users and the Portuguese civil society.
The PM, Julia Gillard has been critical of the report saying that she is not in favor of decrimilisation of any drug laws. Bob Carr took part in the forum prior to being given the Senate seat and Foreign Affairs portfolio and is now backing away from his previous position on the issue:
Senator Carr, whose brother Greg died of a heroin overdose in 1981, said he supported decriminalising low-level drug use so police could redirect their resources. "A bit of modest decriminalisation, de facto decriminalisation at the edges, simply freeing up police to be doing the things they ought to be doing would be a sensible way of going about it," he told the Seven Network. (Bob is a notorious waffler.)
The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is encouraged to see this result. The members of the panel are all high profile respected members of the Australian community, with two ex Premiers, two former Health Ministers, an AFP Commissioner, a Director of Public Prosecutions, just to mention a few.

The LDP is currently constructing a detailed drugs policy, but our position has always been that drug usage falls into the wider category of victimless crime, which should not have criminal sanctions applied to them. If an action can be carried out individually or by consenting adults without interfering with the liberties of third parties crimilising it is merely enforcing bigotry and has no place in a free society.

The full report can be read here: