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.

Jun 29, 2012

Individual mandate, a tax; Administration lied.

We Australians welcome America to the ‘lied to by the state’ club.

Cartoon: By Glen McCoy.

With the “There will be no carbon tax under a government I lead” carbon tax about to come into effect, Australians are resigned to the fact that Gillard lied through her teeth to us prior to the 2010 election. We are waiting for the next one so we can get rid of her, her government, and her party.

The US Administration, despite having a hold on all three branches of government and a super majority in the Senate, was barely able to enact the Obama-care bill and then, only by a fairly questionable tactical maneuver. It’s signature rule; the individual mandate was and always has been promoted as being something other than a tax, in fact it has always been denied that it is one. President Obama clearly states that it is not a tax increase here.

When the Administration’s argument for the mandate in the Supreme Court byway of the Commerce Clause was met with skepticism though, a secondary argument was introduced to the effect that it was in fact a tax. Now the highest court in the land has accepted that it is in fact a tax and by extension, that the Administration lied to the people:
Just as the individual mandate cannot be sustained as a law regulating the substantial effects of the failure to purchase health insurance, neither can it be upheld as a "necessary and proper" component of the insurance reforms. The commerce power thus does not authorize the mandate. ... That is not the end of the matter. Because the Commerce Clause does not support the individual mandate, it is necessary to turn to the Government's second argument: that the mandate may be upheld as within Congress's enumerated power to "lay and collect Taxes.” …

The Affordable Care Act's requirement that certain individuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance may reasonably be characterized as a tax. Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness. …
There is though a troubling argument as to the validity of the individual mandate, that because Congress passed it, it must be lawful:
_ It is estimated that four million people each year will choose to pay the IRS rather than buy insurance ... We would expect Congress to be troubled by that prospect if such conduct were unlawful. That Congress apparently regards such extensive failure to comply with the mandate as tolerable suggests that Congress did not think it was creating four million outlaws. …
One of the roles of the Supreme Court is to rule on the validity of laws passed by Congress. Here it seems to be saying that the fact that Congress has passed a law makes that law valid in its own right as long as Congressmen are not troubled by it. This would seem to make a mockery of the Constitution, which is there to set limits on what actions the government may take. In fairness, perhaps this is only the case if a big new tax applies to such a law.

It is disturbing though, that there is the possibility that the court has been browbeaten by Obama who has claimed that it is unelected and has no right to 'take activist positions' in voting down laws passed by Congress.

Americans will get their opportunity to rectify the situation they find themselves in before we do. Don’t waste it!

Johnson; SCOTUS ruling, “An incredible blow to bedrock principles.”

Libertarian presidential nominee and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson released the following statement in response to the Supreme Court’s health care ruling:

“It has been clear for a while that we need a new President and a new Congress. Now it appears we need a new Supreme Court.”

"Whether the Court chooses to call the individual mandate a tax or anything else, allowing it to stand is a truly disturbing decision. The idea that government can require an individual to buy something simply because that individual exists and breathes in America is an incredible blow to the bedrock principles of freedom and liberty. It must be repealed, and Congress needs to get about doing so today.”

"There is one thing we know about health care. Government cannot create a system that will reduce costs while increasing access. Only competition and the price transparency that competition will bring can accomplish the imperatives of affordability and availability. Whether it is the President’s plan or the Republican prescription drug benefit, the idea that anyone in Washington can somehow manage one of the most essential and substantial parts of both our quality of life and the economy is, and always has been, fundamentally wrong.”

"We can never know how many Americans are out of work today because of the uncertainty the monstrous health care law has caused. The Court has done nothing to remove that burden.”

"Nothing about today’s decision changes the basic reality that it is impossible to eliminate deficit spending and remove the smothering consequences of federal debt without dramatically reducing the costs of Medicare and Medicaid. And neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have given the slightest hint of willingness to do so.”

For more information, go to Governor Johnson's website.

A ‘fit and proper person’ test for media ownership; Why not for politicians?

Image: Press control is an old idea. Here is Pickering’s take on it from Whitlam's attempt in the 70s.

Stung by media reports of the growing disfunctionality of the government and the specter of Fairfax Media falling under the control of Gina Rinehart, senior federal ministers are pushing for media control. The idea of controlling the media has won favor from authoritarian regimes ever since news was invented, so this is nothing new.

The catalyst Gillard is hoping to propel her party into full press control mode is the involvement of reporter, Steve Lewis in the machinations leading up to the Slipper scandal. This is being promoted by Labor as a sign that the whole of the news media in this country is hell bent on bringing down the government bt ‘sabotaging’ it:

Federal cabinet is set to approve and present to Parliament a tough public interest test for media ownership that could vet investors such as Gina Rinehart and the expansion plans of Rupert Murdoch’s News Ltd.

Labor MPs have been told to sell the idea of a media crackdown to their electorates over the next six weeks after allegations involving the media’s role in the Peter Slipper affair galvanised cabinet into “fierce backing” of the controversial test.

Cabinet is also backing a new regulator to make media “more accountable” and force outlets to run apologies, retractions and rights of reply. …

… The government yesterday stepped up its criticism of the media’s role in the Slipper affair after leader of the House Anthony Albanese said on Tuesday: “People in the media need to recognise whether they’re reporters or participants, whether they’re observers or they’re activists, and there’s an important distinction.”

The government’s media convergence review has recommended a public interest test for changes in media ownership to ensure they do not diminish “the diversity of unique owners providing general content services and news/commentary.” …
With two inquiries already having been completed including the Finkelstein one which recommended a ‘fit and proper person’ test for media ownership, it just seems like a great idea to piss a bit more money away on another. With the right people on it, maybe there will be some even more draconian recommendations:
It is understood Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has told caucus colleagues he would consider their demands for a new media inquiry. The government said yesterday it had received the two reviews long before this week’s events and it was considering them both.
The real problem the government has is that it has to deal with two scandals, the Thomson one and the Slipper one. This follows the massive incompetence of governance ever since Rudd was elected and the deliberate deceit involved in the 2010 election. Despite the disastrous results over this time, most of the leadership and ministers are still in place.

Perhaps there would be less for the media to get its teeth into if there was a ‘fit and proper’ person test for MPs and ministers.

Jun 28, 2012

Sawmills to Save the Planet?

By Viv Forbes assisted by volunteer editors.

Climate alarmists demand that we fill the land with forests in order to combat global warming.

That is not a sustainable policy.

Trees only extract carbon dioxide while they are growing strongly. Once the forest is choc-a-bloc with mature trees, there is no net removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Trees, branches and leaves fall and decay, others replace them.

For carbon-extraction forestry to be sustainable, the trees must be logged, milled and put into long-term storage by conversion into poles and posts, beams and girders, floors and furniture, slabs and sleepers. These will lock up the carbon for decades, even hundreds of years, by which time the climate will have moved on naturally and the green hysteria will be shrieking about something else.

With good forest management, loggers and millers will rejuvenate the forest, produce valuable timber products and restore our once-great forestry industry – creating a real green industry out of a green subsidy industry.

Moreover, if forests are planted around coal-burning power stations, the trees will grow faster in the plant-friendly carbon dioxide being produced by the power plant.

Using sawmills to lock up carbon is much more sensible than the zero-benefit high-cost schemes to pump carbon dioxide underground.

More Green Jobs Created – in China

In August 2011, SILEX Solar, the only solar panel manufacturer in Australia, underwent restructuring and stopped producing photovoltaic cells at its Olympic Park facility, outsourcing the work to China. In November 2011, it suspended its manufacturing operations and fired the majority of its staff.

See here: and here:

The Carbon Tax Explained

The Galileo Movement is launching a Carbon Tax Poster Campaign to coincide with the introduction of the Carbon Tax.

The campaign will consist of distributing the poster below to shops and business in your local area and asking them to display it prominently in their windows or notice boards.

To see poster:

You can ask The Galileo Movement to post 1-5 copy to you or print them off yourself. To get involved or get more information send an email to:

Kristin Davis to contest NYC Mayoral election?

Kristin Davis, Libertarian, Entrepreneur, businesswoman, former Hedge Fund VP, also former Manhattan Madam was convicted in 2008 of one count of promoting prostitution in the 3rd degree and served four months in Rikers Island, also forfeiting all of her assets. Davis ran for Governor of NY 2010 as a protest candidate on a Libertarian platform of marijuana legalization, gay marriage equality, casino gambling and decriminalization of prostitution.

Her case did much to highlight the underground economy, a free enterprise system operating and thriving despite all the mechanisms of state oppression being leveled against it. Its embrace of unrestrained free market capitalism has been a shining example of the benefits and inherent fairness of the laissez faire system, in that in such an environment, even a creep like Elliot Spitzer (left) can get laid. The more respectable libertarian sites like Reason, The Agitator, Catallaxy and Cato tend to miss this point.

Kristen is now contemplating a run for NYC Mayor on the Libertarian party ticket:

While I commend Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly for their efforts to make the NYPD Stop & Frisk Policy less intrusive and racist- it is not an issue that can be fixed.

The NYPD Stop & Frisk Policy, which allows for an NYPD Officer to "Stop & Frisk" an individual, without just cause, is unconstitutional. It violates our 4th amendment rights, which are designed to protect us from unreasonable searches, and require a warrant, issued by a court of law, supported by probable cause.

I, personally, have been the victim of the NYPD Stop & Frisk Policy. A few months ago I was "stopped" outside of the airport and searched. I have no idea why I was stopped. I was going about my business. While I was not doing anything illegal - I cannot tell you how scary it is as a convicted felon to be detained by the police on any matter. I spent four months in the hell-hole of Rikers Island and even the sight of a Police Officer sends shivers down my spine.

The only way to "fix" this policy - is to get rid of it. Unfortunately, City Council President and 2013 Mayoral Race Frontrunner, Christine Quinn, supports the NYPD Stop & Frisk Policy.

In 2013, if Christine Quinn wins the Democratic Nomination for Mayor of NYC, the unconstitutional and racist NYPD Stop & Frisk Policy will continue. Those who oppose stop and frisk will have no voice.

If this happens, I will seriously considering entering the Mayor's race as the Libertarian Party Candidate so the voters have a choice and can cast a vote against this outrageous policy. Based on the fact that I successfully collected the 22,000 signatures required to get on the ballot as a protest candidate for Governor, I am confident I could get on the mayoral ballot.
Given the resentment the overbearing ‘Stop and Frisk’ law should be generating among NYC residents and the sound libertarian principles she has promoted in her previous run for Governor, she should make some inroads.

Kristin’s website is Libertarian Lady.

Jun 27, 2012

Mandating the theoretical, hypothetical, impractical, implausible, and impossible.

Cartoon: By Glen McCoy.

Ever since the environmental movement became the new chic and global warming, the new religion, governments have been crushing each other underfoot in an all out stampede to be seen to be doing something about the climate. Billions of dollars have been wasted in subsidies, research grants, funding anybody who claims to have a workable idea, as well as grandstanding on the issue.

Enormous resources have been poured into subsidies designed to encourage industries such as solar and wind power which are uneconomical as stand alone enterprises. One reason for the high electricity prices in Australia is the mandated requirement for increasing proportions of power to be sourced from expensive ‘renewable’ sources.

The US has gone one step further with the EPA mandating the use of large quantities of cellulosic ethanol mixed into fuel. This apparently seemed like good idea at the time in 2005 when its production was considered a viable hypothesis. It has yet to be produced but despite its unavailability, 500 million gallons have to be used by fuel companies this year:

Federal regulations can be maddening, but none more so than a current one that demands oil refiners use millions of gallons of a substance, cellulosic ethanol, that does not exist.

"As ludicrous as that sounds, it's fact," says Charles Drevna, who represents refiners. "If it weren't so frustrating and infuriating, it would be comical.” And Tom Pyle of the Institute of Energy Research says, "the cellulosic biofuel program is the embodiment of government gone wild.”

Refiners are at their wit's end because the government set out requirements to blend cellulosic ethanol back in 2005, assuming that someone would make it. Seven years later, no one has. "None, not one drop of cellulosic ethanol has been produced commercially. It's a phantom fuel," says Pyle. "It doesn't exist in the market place.” And Charles Drevna adds, "Forcing us to use a product that doesn't exist, they might as well tell us to use unicorns.”

And yet, they still have to pay what amounts to fines. …

The EPA does have discretion to lower the annual requirement. And one supporter explains, that's what the agency is saying. "We are going to reduce your blending obligation by 98 percent because we feel that that’s the right thing to do," says Brooke Coleman, the executive director of the Advanced Ethanol Council of the Renewable Fuels Association. "We are going to maintain your blending obligation on the gallons that we think are going to emerge.”

The EPA, which would not speak on camera, is still hoping production of cellulosic ethanol will emerge. A study by the Congressional Research Service, however, says the government "projects that cellulosic bio fuels are not expected to be commercially available on a large scale until at least 2015.” …

… So the refiners are now suing the EPA, in part because the mandate gets larger and larger-- 500 million gallons this year, 3 billion in 2015 and 16 billion in 2022.
Just so you Yanks over there don’t think we are picking on you, the rest of us are just as bad. The Queensland government spent over $110 million in an effort to be the first and foremost in building a ‘carbon capture’ powerhouse. Despite the infusion of $50 million from the feds, it had to be written off. The $10 billion ‘green bank’ designed to fund renewable energy and green technology projects is certain to be pissed up against the wall.

Still, its not a great comfort to know that there are sillier governments out there.

Refusing to leave well enough alone.

That the house do now adjourn... Not one of the finest nights for the Qld Parliament.
– LNP MLA, David Gibson.
Image: Strongly held beliefs are fine, imposing them on others is not.

In the dying days of Queensland’s Bligh government, in a last desperate lurch for votes, a bill was passed that allowed for same sex civil unions. Regardless of the motives behind the legislation, the result was to give same sex couples a similar status to marriage without interfering with the rights of churches, as has happened in Denmark.

The conservative LNP though, were outraged and swore to repeal it. After backing away from this decision, it was brought forward again by members of the party, substantially amending it:
MARRIAGE equality is a controversial issue, prompting a range of studies into same-sex unions and sparking heated debates between politicians in parliament, work colleagues, clergies, parishioners, families and friends.

Member for Gympie David Gibson spoke up during a parliamentary sitting on Thursday in response to a "politically charged" debate on same-sex relationships that "distressed" spectators in the gallery. He reminded his counterparts it was their responsibility to represent all Queenslanders, regardless of their religious faith and sexual orientation and the matter needed to be handled with respect. …

Under the Newman government's compromise the scheme will be renamed from civil partnerships to a relationships register and aspects of same-sex unions that mimic marriage, such as state-sanctioned ceremonies, will be removed.

This week's release of census data has shown that around 1350 same sex Australian couples have travelled overseas to marry, while 65,000 Australian homosexuals are in unrecognised de facto relationships.
It is difficult to understand why the issue of civil unions should be such a major issue to a government, which is struggling to fix the economic mess left by labor, including a potential state indebtedness of $100 billion. It is not as if the whole Queensland population was demanding action on this, in fact it is most likely an irrelevance to most. Everybody knows they exist; do many care? Probably not!

Statist parties such as Labor, the LNP, and Greens are becoming increasingly imperious in their attitude towards the public at large. They demand to exert pressure on us in what we read, watch, play, eat, drink, all other forms of ingestion, how much, what we can do on our own property, where we can go, just to name a few.

In a free society it is fine to dislike something, the trouble is that statists tend to believe that if they don’t like it, it should be prevented.

Jun 25, 2012

Species Extinction is Nothing New

By Viv Forbes assisted by volunteer editors.

As the global warming bubble deflates, another scare is being inflated – species extinction. Naturally the professional alarmists present this as a brand new threat, but with the same old guilty party – western industry.

However, species extinction, like climate change, is the way of the world. Those environmental groups who exaggerate the extent of modern extinctions are just illustrating their ignorance of the history of species extinctions on Earth.

It was not carbon dioxide that entombed millions of mammoths, rhinos and other animals in mucky ice from Iceland to Alaska. It was not steam engines that wiped out the dinosaurs and 75% of other species who had dominated the Earth for 180 million years. There were no humans to blame for the Great Permian Extinction when over 90% of all life on Earth was destroyed – animals, plants, trees, fish, plankton even algae disappeared suddenly. And it was not European settlers who wiped out the dinosaurs, diprotodonts, giant kangaroos and other mega-fauna that once roamed outback Australia.

Sadly, history shows that it is the destiny of most species to be destroyed by periodic natural calamities or competition from other species. Earth's history is a moving picture, not a still life. No species has an assured place on Earth. Some species can adapt and survive – those unable to adapt are removed from the gene pool.

Earth's periodic species extinctions are usually associated with widespread glaciation, volcanism, earth movements and solar disruptions. Most geological eras have closed with such calamitous events. Random and more localised species extinctions are caused by rogue comets. But global warming and abundant carbon dioxide have never featured as causes of mass extinctions.

Because of Earth's long turbulent history, most species surviving today are not "fragile". Every one of them, including humans, is descended from a long line of survivors going back to the beginnings of life on Earth. And because of the adaptability of life, the Earth today supports more species than ever before.

Man has thrived because of his adaptability, resourcefulness and more recently, his use of science and technology. We cannot now return to a cave-man or hunter-gatherer existence. Without the freedom to explore, develop and utilise our land oceans and minerals, most humans would not survive.

Species extinction events are not new, are not caused by burning carbon fuels, and will probably occur again. We will need all of our freedom, ingenuity, technology and reliable energy resources to survive.

Let us not hasten our own species extinction by starving ourselves of food and energy with foolish demonization of carbon, the natural building block of all life forms."

For supporting information see here:
, Here: and Here.

It's the Sun, Stupid

The Role of Natural changes in solar radiation and its effects on clouds and global temperature. See here:

Going partial Galt on carbon tax.

Australia's carbon tax has already started to combat global warming by producing the coldest May in Canberra for fifty years. Julia did not tell us that her tax was retrospective. - Viv Forbes

Cartoon: by Mark Knight.

There were a number of predictions that with the advent of the carbon tax across the economy at $23 per ton for businesses emitting more than 25,000 tons of CO2, some of them would ‘go Galt’ rather than struggle on. Some though are innovative enough to come up with a different solution that allows them to stay in business; go partial Galt.

A Queensland Abattoir, which is just over the CO2 emissions
required to trigger the tax, has decided to shut down for three weeks to reduce them:

A MAJOR meatworks could shut one of its Queensland plants for three weeks to side-step a carbon tax bill expected to cost millions.

Teys Australia Meat Group is one of 295 names on a preliminary list of companies to be slugged the $23 a tonne carbon tax from July 1 after its carbon emissions were estimated as being above the threshold of 25,000 tonnes a year.

The group, which has its head office in Beenleigh, south of Brisbane, was expecting its carbon tax bill to exceed $2 million a year. But the meat processor could dodge part of the bill by closing down its second-biggest plant at Beenleigh for several weeks to reduce its annual emissions at the location to just below the Government's 25,000 tonne tax threshold.

It is believed other meatworks with emissions above the threshold could also be considering temporary shut-downs to avoid the tax. "We could close this plant for a period of time in the year - one or two weeks - and therefore our total emissions for the year would potentially be below 25,000 (tonnes)," Teys spokesman Tom Maguire said.
This is probably only the thin end of the wedge. It figures that any business that is near the tax kick in point would be crazy not to shut down for a period to avoid this impost unless they are profitable enough to make more than a couple of million on the bottom line during that shut down period.

This tax is a dog’s breakfast of environmental extremist appeasement, class warfare, and wealth redistribution along with unrealistic ideas as to the government’s ability to change the weather for the better.

Everybody screws up at some stage, idiots screw up a lot, but only Labor screws up every time.

Jun 24, 2012

Obama gift certificates; why people think ‘The Onion’ is real.

A triumph of hope for no change over reality!

Frequently on funeral notices we see a request from families of the deceased for donations to the Leukemia foundation, Heart Foundation, or another appropriate area of medical research, or perhaps a charity dear to the heart of the departed one, in lieu of flowers. Some church groups opportunistically advertise that for a donation to them in your will you will be blessed.

On the other hand, on occasions reporters are left red faced when it is pointed out to them that the link they have used in their latest 'in depth report' is from 'The Onion' but then, even that venerable publication has a job staying ahead of the game in the current political environment.

Possibly the sickest idea so far comes from the Obama/ Biden campaign:

Got a birthday, anniversary, or wedding coming up?

Let your friends know how important this election is to you—register with Obama 2012, and ask for a donation in lieu of a gift. It’s a great way to support the President on your big day. Plus, it’s a gift that we can all appreciate—and goes a lot further than a gravy bowl.

Setting up and sharing your registry page is easy—so get started today.
Just hit the ‘Register with Obama 2012’ button, and up comes the user friendly log in form along with the slightly changed ‘Jewish friendly’ message:
Register with Obama 2012
Got a special milestone or event coming up?

Instead of another gift card you’ll forget to use, ask your friends and family for something that will go a little further: a donation to Obama for America. Register your next celebration—whether it’s a birthday, bar or bat mitzvah, wedding, or anniversary—with the Obama campaign. It’s a great way to show your support for a cause that’s important to you on your big day.

Just log in or sign up to build and customize your page—and congratulations!
Just the thing for the East coast old money liberal elitist who has everything, or perhaps the Hollywood lefty condecentionist.

Jun 23, 2012

The Long and Costly War on Carbon

Cartoon: By Nicholson.

By Viv Forbes assisted by volunteer editors.

The Australian government claims that next month's tax on carbon dioxide cannot be blamed for today's soaring costs of living.

This tax, however, is just their latest assault in the decades-long war on carbon that is already inflating the cost of everything.

For at least a decade, power companies have been obliged to source 10-15% of their power at inflated prices from costly and unreliable sources like wind and solar. And for every wind or solar plant built, a duplicate backup gas facility is needed, increasing the demand and price for backup gas, hitting other gas consumers. Moreover, the threat of more carbon taxes has deterred the construction of efficient new coal-burning power plants. Rising electricity costs feed into the cost of everything from public transport to building materials.

The climatists are also responsible for numerous policies pushing up the price of food. These include the ethanol/biofuel madness, the restrictions on the fishing industry, the Kyoto scrub clearing bans, the spread of carbon-credit forests over farming and grazing land, the never ending war on irrigators, and the virtual ban on building new water-supply dams.

Then we have all the hidden costs of the climate industry. Thousands of our smartest graduates are lured into well-paid dead-end desk jobs in the overheads industry devoted to climate red tape, while real entrepreneurs are unable to find workers to develop our continent of under-utilised resources. There is an overpaid bureaucracy devoted to climate "research", alternate energy, international junkets, Kyoto give-aways, and administration, auditing, enforcement, accounting, law and propaganda for their empire of climate taxes and subsidies.

Finally we have income tax implications from all the money being flung around to bribe people to accept their carbon tax? Every Australian will get these bills somewhere, sometime. And who pays for the hundreds of millions poured down subsidy rat-holes like carbon capture, solar panels, pink bats and the IPCC?

Australia's crippling carbon tax is but the latest symptom of the costly Climate Madness infecting the well-fed elite of the western world.

When the consumers of Australia realise the extent to which they have been conned and needlessly pauperised, the electoral retribution will be swift. See more:

Rallies to "Smash the Carbon Tax".

The Gillard/Green carbon tax becomes law on 1 July 2012. To show what we think of this tax, protest rallies are being organised in major cities by CATA (The Consumers and Taxpayers Association) and supported by the Carbon Sense Coalition and other groups.

Rallies are planned for Sunday 1st July 2012 11.30am in Canberra, Sydney (Hyde Park) and Brisbane (King George Square). CATA is suggesting people buy a blow-up baseball bat to indicate their displeasure: For more information see:

Jun 22, 2012

‘Libertarian’ Farage; America not to blame.

As far as European politicians go, Daniel Hannan is a popular favorite among libertarian orientated people, self identifying as one. Interestingly, UKIP MEP Nigel Farage seems to do so in the following video of an interview on Fox in which he slams Barroso as an idiot and refutes his claim that America is to blame for all of Europe’s woes.

On the issue of part of the UKIP Creed that mentions, “We believe in the minimum necessary government which defends individual freedom, supports those in need, takes as little of our money as possible, and doesn’t interfere in our lives,” the remark was made, “It sounds pretty libertarian, it that it?” He replies, ”Completely and utterly, in fact, when I finish this interview, I’ll go away and drink a toast to that:”

Some time ago the UKIP/libertarian issue was addressed here with the opinion:

"Were the [UK] LP to fold, some members may be attracted to their policies of devolving power downward, lower flat rate taxes with a simplified tax code, less regulation and more personal freedom. The main issue is of course to get Britain out of the European Union. A glance through their manifesto indicates a range of reasonable policies, as well as some that leave a fair bit to be desired.

On the whole though they are far better than the three major parties. I feel they have more to gain by a libertarian infusion than such an infusion would gain from them."
Looking through the UKIP site, it is difficult to describe them as a libertarian party, although they are not too disappointing as far as their ideas go, especially in the context of European thinking. The Libertarian Party United Kingdom still exists for ‘proper libertarians’ and is still active.

To a libertarian, UKIP is not libertarian, however most libertarians would be happy to see the party do well in the future and possibly replace one or more of the old moribund big three. At this time it has the potential to move the thinking of the UK in a more individual freedom orientated direction, which may help the LPUK gain more traction in the future.

While it is not up to the standards of the Rothbardians, Cato, the LP, Australia’s 26 pure libertarians, the Reason Foundation, or even the Australian LDP, it does offer a better direction than we have been accustomed to from the Old World.

Libertarianism means different things to different people, from the sublime to the ridiculous; so it’s a good idea not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

On the subject of the ridiculous, Nancy Pelosi thinks the Republican Party, (Warning: swallow that mouthful of coffee before reading on) are a bunch of Ayn Randist, libertarian, capitalist, radical free market extremists who make Adam Smith look like a Keynesian.

Scottish nannies ban school lunch charity blog.

Image: Blogger, Martha Payne.

The IPA’s Hey … What Did I Miss pointed out the case of a nine-year-old Scottish schoolgirl who started a blog featuring pictures of school lunches with commentary and ratings on them. The blog, NeverSeconds was an instant success with over 2,000,000 hits and was involved in a charity for African kids. That was until the local council decided to ban it.

From the site:

This morning in maths I got taken out of class by my head teacher and taken to her office. I was told that I could not take any more photos of my school dinners because of a headline in a newspaper today.

I only write my blog not newspapers and I am sad I am no longer allowed to take photos. I will miss sharing and rating my school dinners and I’ll miss seeing the dinners you send me too. I don’t think I will be able to finish raising enough money for a kitchen for Mary’s Meals either.


Veg’s Dad, Dave, here. I felt it’s important to add a few bits of info to the blog tonight. Martha’s school have been brilliant and supportive from the beginning and I’d like to thank them all. I contacted Argyll and Bute Council when Martha told me what happened at school today and they told me it was their decision to ban Martha’s photography.

It is a shame that a blog that today went through 2 million hits, which has inspired debates at home and abroad and raised nearly £2000 for charity is forced to end.
Dave Payne
Now fortunately, local and international outrage has forced the council to back down:
A controversial ban preventing a nine-year-old girl from photographing her school meals has been lifted following a storm of protest on the internet.

Martha Payne, from Argyll, has now recorded more than three million hits on her NeverSeconds blog [Current figure over 6.5 million.]

Argyll and Bute Council said press coverage of the blog had led catering staff to fear for their jobs. But council leader Roddy McCuish later told the BBC he had instructed senior officials to lift the ban immediately. The schoolgirl's father, David Payne, who helped her set up the blog, welcomed the decision.

Martha began publishing photographs of her Lochgilphead Primary School lunches on 30 April. She gave each meal a 'food-o-meter' and health rating, and counted the number of mouthfuls it took her to eat it. She had been using the blog to raise money for the Mary's Meals charity. …

… Publicity caused by the ban helped the schoolgirl smash through her £7,000 fundraising target for the Mary's Meals charity - with total pledges of more than £30,000 being made by Friday afternoon. [Total now over £85,429]
Not knowing the British system, it is difficult to understand why the council is involved in the first place and never having been a bureaucrat, I am therefore unable to think with the sort of robotic mindset of the type of person who would consider such a ban to be a good idea. Perhaps one of our British readers can enlighten me.

It is a wonderful thing to see a child taking the initiative and starting something successful. She deserves every success she can achieve and should be encouraged as an example to others, not stamped down by local PC fascists.

Jun 21, 2012

Putting parliament in its place.

A shorter version of this video has been posted here before, featuring Media Magnate, the late Kerry Packer fronting up to a parliamentary inquiry on media ownership some years back. This one is a slightly longer version.

One of the especially amusing aspects for those who remember the circumstances surrounding this was the sight of preening politicians giving interviews on just how they were going to take Kerry apart when he was called. They quickly found the boot on the other foot with him putting them in their place.

This guy was one of the finest Aussies ever to walk the planet and it’s a shame he is not still about.

Jun 20, 2012

Labor’s Fairfax histrionics, a call for press control.

Cartoon: By Nicholson.

The ongoing Fairfax Media saga is spurring an increasingly shrill response from the government. Labor members are now calling for press control, a popular cause among authoritarians who brook no criticism of themselves. The spin involves terms like, defending democracy, editorial independence, social contract, and free market failure.

We all know what the real issue is though. If the Labor Party doesn’t get its way through threats, cajoling, and class warfare rhetoric, it reserves the right to use legislation as a blunt instrument:

A move is under way to punish media owners who breach editorial standards, despite cabinet ministers claiming yesterday there was little they could do to stop Australia's richest person taking over Fairfax Media. …

The motion, which Mr Gibbons wanted to be debated in parliament on Monday, argues that the media industry has lost its "social licence to operate" and must face greater government control. "Concentration of news media ownership in the hands of a few represents, prima facie, a competitive market failure requiring compensatory regulation to ensure socially acceptable outcomes," his motion states.

Labor whip Joel Fitzgibbon last night threw his support behind Mr Gibbons's motion, saying he expected it to spark debate on both sides of politics. …
At the centre of the storm is the refusal of Rinehart to sign the Charter of Editorial Independence, something that seems to hold some sort of religious icon status. Essentially this document gives complete control of the running of newspapers to the employees, including hiring and firing of staff. While the current board agrees with it, it should be remembered that none of them have any substantive shareholding in the company.
The Acting Prime Minister yesterday attacked Mrs Rinehart for disregarding the Fairfax charter of editorial independence and planning to use her stake in the company to advance her conservative political views and mining interests. …

Doubts arose over whether the editorial charter had the authority claimed by its supporters, given current board members had not signed it. Agreed on and signed by the Fairfax Media board of directors 20 years ago, the Charter of Editorial Independence is a document still adhered to in principle by the board and new directors. It has not been signed by any director since the original signatories, and this includes the current Fairfax chairman Roger Corbett.

If Mrs Rinehart signed the charter, she would be the first director to do so since the original directors, including Zelman Cowen. The Australian understands the combined Fairfax house committees have at various times asked the board to re-sign the charter, but have been assured it still stands as an agreement between the parties.
While a Board of Directors should allow editors a wide degree of discretion, it has a responsibility to the shareholders in the company to ensure that the content appeals to the widest possible audience. Labor’s claim that Rinehart would turn it into a ‘Mining Gazette’ is highly unlikely given her investment. She has the smarts to understand that the public wants and pays for a newspaper, not a very expensive personal blog.

Just what the world’s richest woman needs; advice from a bureaucrat

Cartoon: By Pickering.

Gina Rinehart has in a few years built her fathers mining companies up to the point where she is acknowledged as being the world’s richest woman, with assets of over $29 billion. She has worked tirelessly and successfully at building up the assets of the company and has deserved all of the success that has come her way.

Recently she has moved into media ownership, taking a stake in Channel 10 and building up a 19% interest in Fairfax media.

Fairfax is essentially the moribund shell of what was once a great and respected media organization, lauded for its ‘rivers of gold’ in advertising revenue. Since then it has declined dramatically to the point where there is good reason to believe it will fail. What it has in its favor for the time being is the federal government, as it tends to be the only print media supporting Gillard other than left wing bloggers.

The possibility of Rinehart taking over has prompted a frenzied response from the government including some gratuitous business advice from Communications Minister Stephen Conroy:

As Ms Rinehart pushes for greater influence over Fairfax after its dramatic restructuring announcement yesterday, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy warned the mining magnate she risked destroying the company.

Ms Rinehart yesterday demanded three board seats and a say over editorial direction after Fairfax announced 1900 jobs would be slashed, the erection of paywalls on its websites and the transformation of its newspapers to tabloids.

Senator Conroy said Ms Rinehart wanted to turn the company into the "mining gazette." "She is entitled to representation but what she is not entitled to do is trash the brand for all the other shareholders," he told ABC radio.

"She should be aware that that charter is something that readership of The Age, the Sydney Morning Herald, believe in and have supported over many, many years. "If she was to directly interfere and breach that charter, it would actually lead to a crisis of confidence among the readership, and if the readership deserted, the share price for every shareholder would decline. …
So, given that Conroy sees fit to lecture on business to the nation’s most successful businesswoman, it seems fair to suggest that he has pretty good qualifications himself. Wrong!
After university, Conroy worked as an advisor to [federal Labor ministers] Ros Kelly and Barry Jones. He moved to Melbourne to pursue a political career where he met Robert Ray, and served for a time as Superannuation Officer with the Transport Workers Union and as a City of Footscray councilor.

He was appointed to the Senate in 1996 when Gareth Evans resigned to contest a seat in the Lower House. In October 1998, Conroy joined the Opposition Shadow Ministry and became Deputy Opposition Leader in the Senate. He was Shadow Minister for Trade, Corporate Governance and Financial Services from 2003 to 2004, and became Shadow Minister for Communications and Information Technology in October 2004.
All this guy has done other than being a bureaucrat or politician, has been to hold a job for a while in a union. If Rinehart gets her three board seats, she would be well advised not to appoint Conroy to one of them. Still, she probably is not considering him for the role.

Jun 19, 2012

More knee-jerk ‘getting tough on crime’ actions.

One of the popular pastimes of governments is ‘getting tough’ on crime, something that keeps on keeping on no matter how many times it has been done or talked about before. In most cases it involves enacting a new set of higher penalties for various criminal acts in the hope that it will work this time around.

The new Queensland government is trying its hand at this with a doubling of the penalties for assaulting police, from seven years to fourteen:

The move to get tougher on those who commit serious assaults on police seems to have support from both sides of the bar table, with the police union and local lawyers voicing their approval. In the Ipswich police district alone, there have been 18 cases of serious assault against police officers in the line of duty since July 1, 2011.

Police Union president Ian Leavers said the proposed changes represented a positive sign from the new government. "This is a great start by Campbell Newman, Jarrod Bleijie and the LNP for protecting all police in Queensland," Mr Leavers said. "While police would have liked a minimum custodial sentencing aspect, I applaud Campbell Newman for taking this tough stance. …

Ipswich criminal defence lawyer Yassar Khan said he would have no problems if the proposed changes were to take effect, but vehemently opposed any move to introduce mandatory sentencing. "I think the police have a very difficult job and that if they are assaulted - particularly if it is a serious assault - that the penalty should reflect the crime," Mr Khan said. …
While in a perfect world police should not be subjected to violence in the discharge of their duties, it is somewhat dubious whether an assault against them should carry more weight than against other members of the public. As such actions have their own classification, it is reasonable to assume that there is already some weighting in this matter. Police already have an advantage in that the perpetrator is almost certain to be caught and prosecuted.

It is questionable whether 14 years is going to make much difference if seven years is not effective. 7 years is a long time in the slammer, so the fact that it still occurs indicates that the length of the penalty is not a consideration in the decision to assault or not. Perhaps tougher application of current law would help.

Law enforcement in altercations or situations of alcohol or drug fueled violence creates a higher probability danger to the policeman owing to the irrationality of the offenders. In such a case, nobody is giving any thought to the size of the penalty so whether its six months or forty years, it will not deter.

The consumption of alcohol or other substances to excess must never be taken into consideration as mitigating factors. Such consumption is a voluntary act, which should require that any person under the influence of whatever it might be, has to take full responsibility for actions committed under such impairment. If any courts are allowing this, it should be stopped.

Gillard becoming an even bigger embarrassment.

To end on a happy note one can always count on Gilbert and Sullivan for a rousing finale full of words and music and signifying nothing. – Tom Lehrer, ‘Clementine’

The Prime Minister’s lecturing and hectoring of world leaders at their latest luxury talkfest at the Mexican resort of Los Cabos has been as effective as a lead balloon. It seems to exhibit all of the Hubris expected from the mayor of Dogpatch, even as Nemesis stalks her footsteps.

Still, it will allow world leaders to emphasize with what we put up with every day, and give them an understanding of why her party is about to be booted out.

Basically her advice consisted of telling anyone who would listen, how good she and Wayne Swan thought they were and how the rest of the world should follow her example:

Ms Gillard's aggressive message was yesterday met with wide diplomatic scepticism and polite hostility as the world's premier economic summit gets under way in the shadow of uncertainty over Greece's future. Arriving at the G20 summit in the Mexican resort of Los Cabos, Ms Gillard increased her criticism of European leaders and promoted Australia's policies for economic growth.

"Australia takes considerable pride in our own economic achievements," she told a small audience of international business leaders the day before the G20 officially begins. …

… Ms Gillard said on her arrival that she wanted to take every opportunity to tell her European counterparts about Australia's success and the need for positive and decisive action.

"Our record of growth and job creation gives me confidence -- because I have seen our own determination and decisiveness rewarded in Australia, I'm confident that determined and decisive leadership around the world will be rewarded, too," she said. "And I hope Australia's strong economy can be a sign of confidence to other countries.

"We acknowledge that every country faces its own unique circumstances; but we do believe there are some lessons for the world in the Australian way.” Australia had stimulated its way out of the global financial crisis and remained committed to reform and fiscal discipline.

Blah, blah, blah, …
What this represented was patting herself on the back without saying anything substantive other than putting every other nation down. Not being satisfied with this effort she and Swan sent a letter to every other G20 leader saying the same thing in a more long-winded manner.

All this government has done is spend so wildly it has racked up massive debts that will require decades to repay. This has been done in spite of an unprecedented mining boom and the income garnered from it despite the governments Luddite ideas getting in the way of investors to the point where it is surprising that the mining companies bother.

They are sailing so close to the wind, that on the introduction of a mining tax to fund a miserable 1% reduction in company tax, they had spent it first and were unable to cut the tax unless business could agree to a tax increase somewhere else to make up for it.

Perhaps Europe needs to find a lot of coal and iron ore like we did.

Jun 18, 2012

Holder’s dishonesty on marijuana leaves only Johnson as an option.

“Obama now lags Pat Robertson in a sensible approach to marijuana." - Barney Frank

Image: The drug warrior.

In the wake of the 08 Presidential election, marijuana advocates were briefly ecstatic about the chances of decriminalization of weed. Obama had been seen as the guy who was going to change everything for the better. There is no surprise here as the message of the campaign was nebulous enough to give everybody the impression he was on their side.

Even libertarians were split owing to some sort of implied civil liberties agenda, which was mostly born of hopefulness of change. While little was really known about Obama, some of us were aware that he was mainly speaking from the heart of the state, with little other than lip service to individualism. That said; there was little indication that he would turn out to be the aggressive drug warrior we see now.

Now Reason has highlighted the antics of his proxy in ‘justice’ Eric Holder, who while running an extraordinary campaign against marijuana while lying about it to the House Judiciary Committee:
Attorney General Eric Holder told the House Judiciary Committee last week that his department was not prosecuting medical marijuana businesses that are in compliance with state law. In the week since, drug reform advocates have culled together an overwhelming amount of evidence that Holder either lied to the committee, or—as seems to have been the case with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearm's "Operation Fast and Furious"—is oblivious to what his department is doing outside Washington, D.C.

Just to review, here's what Holder told the House Judiciary Committee:

Asked about what critics have charged is an overly aggressively enforcement campaign and broken administration promises — including in states that have legalized cannabis for medical purposes — Holder denied the charge. "This is inconsistent with the little thing called the facts," Holder said in testimony in front of the House Judiciary committee.
At the same time the DOJ has been on the rampage:
U.S. Attorneys have threatened state governors that the Justice Department would prosecute state employees who are carrying out state law. In June 2011, the threats were so real they worried New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R), a former U.S. Attorney himself.

In Delaware, this spring U.S. Attorney Charles Oberly, III, threatened to prosecute state employees while state officials were developing the regulations to fine tune the state law. In that case the Justice Department was trying to prevent any possibility that anyone could be in "conformity" with state law! Governor Jack Markell actually stopped state employees from going forward in the regulation writing process. …
It is quite clear that both major parties have little interest, in fact are scornful of any libertarian agenda, nor do they have any lasting commitment to individual liberty beyond the next election. While there is some speculation that the President may have an ‘evolution’ on the subject if the polls indicate such a need, there is little reason to believe he will go through with it.

This time around, libertarians, the broad minded, and those who think it is nonsense to fill jails with non-violent marijuana offenders to no good purpose, need to hold the line and vote for positive reform. The LP Nominee, Gary Johnson is the only one who has made a definitive and strong campaign issue of reform on drug laws.

Bligh’s long slippery snow ski slope of ‘excellence’

The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense. – Tom Clancy.

With Queensland’s sunshine, beaches, wide open spaces, mild winters, and sub tropical to tropical climate, the question has to be asked, “What more could you ask for?” This seems to be a question asked by the Bligh government a couple of years ago while looking for ideas on things to spend money on.

Fortunately her Sports Minister came to the rescue with something that had been bugging him for some time. “This state has never received a Winter Olympics gold medal in snow ski jumping and it’s a national disgrace,” he claimed. He added, “The hordes of ski jumping and other snow sports hopefuls from this state are discriminated against because of the unfair requirement of having to travel long distances to places where there is snow. It is much better to build a special facility where they can practice their sport in the warm climate here.”

Well, that last couple of paragraphs are a bit speculative, but the state government back then allocated $6 million + to build a multi-story snow ski jump in Brisbane; a scheme the current government has canned:

Although Queensland is renowned for its tropical rainforests and golden beaches washed by warm ocean waves, the Bligh government had wanted the state to be a centre of excellence for snow ski-jumping. The artist's impression [above] shows the $6 million Winter Olympics facility planned for Brisbane - which basks in 240 days of sunshine a year. …

The new State Government - grappling with an avalanche of debt inherited from its predecessors - will today scrap the project, which was on track to be built for 2013. On Friday, the Newman Government revealed a $100 billion Budget blowout.

"It's snow joke," said Sports Minister Steve Dickson yesterday, describing the plan as a waste of taxpayer money. Mr Dickson said Labor had approved the development of the 36m high, 10m wide behemoth - complete with hydraulics and purpose-built lift - at the Sleeman Sports Complex, using the centre's new 50m swimming pool as a landing area.

Mr Dickson said. "The fact that a Winter Olympic training venue was considered a priority at a time when 96 per cent of the Labor government's capital spending programs were being sourced through debt is simply beyond belief.” …
You have to wonder if the ex-members of the Bligh Labor government ever look back on their antics and feel embarrassed about their sheer crass stupidity. Probably not!

Jun 17, 2012

Flannery; on getting it wrong on Azaria Chamberlain.

Climate guru Tim Flannery has a history of being wrong in his predictions on climate change. This would not normally be that much of a problem as many others are wrong too. In Tim’s case though he has a significant role in government policy and has cost the nation untold millions of dollars with his predictions of everlasting droughts preventing the building of dams and causing the construction of desalination plants that were and still are, unnecessary.

He has never apologized for that but has made an apology over his belief in the guilt of Lindy and Michael Chamberlain over the loss of their child. The Azaria Chamberlain story is well known. A dingo was reported to have taken the baby, a Coroners inquest agreeing. Following a botched investigation charges of murder were laid and a guilty verdict put Mrs. Chamberlain in jail for three years until evidence was found, clearing her.

A further Coronial Inquiry, thirty years later has made a finding that a dingo was responsible.

The case probably ranks highly among the worst miscarriages of justice in this country. After the initial finding there seemed to be a deliberate and concerted effort to cast suspicion on the bereaved parents with a media frenzy fed by unsubstantiated claims by just about anyone with an opinion. Flannery’s article details some of the arrogance of the attitudes of the times:

… Australians should have taken more seriously the possibility that dingoes were responsible. Tragically, such was our naivety of the danger they represent back then that a media firestorm, the likes of which the country had never known, pushed people towards the wrong conclusions. Many of us were only too prepared to believe that Azaria was a victim of infanticide.

At the time of the first two coronial inquests I was a doctoral student in the biology department of a major Australian university, and my biases were such that I accepted Lindy Chamberlain's guilt uncritically.
Her religion was one factor. The Chamberlains were Seventh-day Adventists and media reports of the strange practices of their "cult" (as we were led to think of it) included inferences of child sacrifice that did not strike me as beyond belief. At the time I was one of many Australian scientists fighting to keep creationism out of the classroom, and fundamentalist beliefs were seen as the enemy.

But even more significant, I think, was Lindy's assertion that a dingo had taken her baby. Dingoes were introduced to Australia from southeast Asia around 4,000 years ago, and most Australians thought of them as part of the continent's native fauna. Biologists feared that they would face widespread persecution if the coroner found them to be the cause of Azaria's death.
Ah; the self-righteousness of callow youth, but at least he has had the decency to fess up.

From a personal perspective at the time, attitudes towards the Chamberlains were weird to the point of bizarre. People who should have known better, some of them from the bush, simply refused to believe that a dingo, which is a medium to large wild dog would take a child if the opportunity arose. It had to be the mother because they were from a non-mainstream religion.

One of the worst aspects was the published opinion that possibly one of the older children was responsible for it and the parents were covering up for them. Were the kids to have seen this, it is difficult to assess what the impact would be.

On the other hand a ninety-five year old neighbor made one of the most encouraging comments at the time. She stated that she had read everything she had seen reported on it and in her view it was wrong. She said, “Even if that woman admits to doing it in the future, there are no grounds to convict her at present.”

It’s a shame the public at large didn’t have such an open-minded attitude.

Jun 16, 2012

That big fat Greek bailout.

Like the others before it, the Greek bailout was conducted to a chorus of "Oh joy; Oh rapture."

Like the others before it, we were assured that all was now hunky dory in the EU and there would be total economic prosperity across Europe from now on. The trouble is though, we know better.

Nigel Farage details the absurdity of what is happening:

What could go wrong?

JOHNSON: Excuses and blame don’t create jobs — Except for speech writers.

The following is the response by Governor Gary Johnson to the Romney and Obama speeches.

Saying "Enough with the excuses and blame," Libertarian presidential candidate and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson responded to Ohio speeches today by both President Obama and Mitt Romney by stating that neither will "commit to the steps that are truly necessary to put America back to work.

In a statement, Johnson said, "While Barack Obama and Mitt Romney deliver dueling economic speeches in Ohio, the simple fact is that neither of them will commit to the steps that are truly necessary to put America back to work in an economic environment freed from the burdens of smothering deficits and government meddling that are, in fact, killing jobs and preventing recovery.

"We are in deep, deep trouble economically, and virtually every American is paying the price. Yet we have a president making excuses and promising that things will get better if we just let him have four more years to keep going down a failed path. And we have a Republican candidate promising to do better, but without offering anything dramatically different from the same policies that have gotten us into this mess.

"Enough with the excuses and blame. Neither creates jobs — except for speechwriters. We must eliminate deficit spending now, not someday off in the future when it won't hurt so much. I pledge to send Congress a balanced budget in 2012. And whether Congress adopts a balanced budget or not, we need a president who will veto every bill that will cause us to spend money we don't have. It can be done. I did it 750 times as governor.

"If reducing taxes a little bit on businesses is a good idea, as both Obama and Romney have suggested, cutting them to zero and turning America into the job-creating monster of the global economy is a better idea. I propose to do just that.

"And if we are to expect investors to invest and employers to employ, the nation's chief executive must act aggressively to cut regulatory burdens and align them with common sense. Uncertainty and angst about 'what the government will do to us next' are just as much job-killers as are high taxes and out-of-control spending.

"This economy will only recover and let America get back to work when Washington stops helping us to death and faces the fact that we cannot spend or tax our way to prosperity. Stop the deficits, stop the government interference in the economy, stop printing money, and get out of the way. That's what government can do to help.”
For more information about Gov. Johnson, please visit his site.

Jun 15, 2012

Dirt files OK if taxpayer funded; Labor.

Cartoon: By Pickering.

Towards the end of last year, the media were full of outrage over what was called the LNP’s dirt files on Labor politicians. Labor was livid enough to almost convince unenlightened observers that it didn’t have its own set on the opposition. Fairfax’s ‘Brisbane Times’ led the media charge:

A Liberal National Party dirt sheet detailing a minister’s epilepsy and childhood adoption reflect the attitudes of the 1950s and have no place in political campaigns, Premier Anna Bligh says.

The government today stepped up its calls for the LNP to sack the party officials who commissioned research on Labor MPs by former ALP staffer Robert Hough, whose work reportedly included claims about some politicians’ sexuality, sex lives, drinking habits and health matters. …

However, The Courier-Mail today published extracts from the documents, which it said it had edited to remove salacious or defamatory content. The LNP said it was not the source of the leak to the media. Most of the edited documents appear to generally contain simple factual background on the history of MPs or opinions about their strengths and weaknesses. …
The LNP files were compiled by a former Labor staffer acting as a consultant and paid for by the LNP out of its own funds. Now it has been revealed that PM Julia Gillard has her own dirt-digging unit under the direction of a senior staffer working out of her own office. This one though is taxpayer funded:
JULIA Gillard has defended taxpayer-funded information-gathering on Labor's political opponents amid reports one of her senior staffers was running a dirt unit from her office. The Prime Minister said she had not seen a document, allegedly distributed by her director of strategy Nick Reece, instructing ministerial staffers to gather sensitive political information on shadow ministers.

But she said scrutinising opposition MPs, including on their financial dealings, was a legitimate part of the political process. …

The ABC's AM program said the alleged Reece document was a "to do" list for gathering information on Coalition frontbenchers, including on their "younger days", their pecuniary interests and "potential issues" such as litigation. It was reportedly accompanied by a spreadsheet on where to get the publicly available information. …
There can be no argument as to the reasonability of scrutinizing MPs on both sides of the aisle and the cross benches; to use Don Chipp’s “let’s keep the Bastards honest.” (Don never explained how to ‘get the bastards honest’ in the first place and may have been a bit optimistic with his goal.)

Taxpayers though, should be demanding greater accountability from their various governments as to the division between that which is public interest spending, and that which is party political interest and as result should be paid for out of party funds. The channeling of taxpayer funds into spending done for the benefit of the ruling party is gross misappropriation, no matter which party is doing it.

The LNP dirt files were compiled ethically using their own resources. Gillard’s dirt files are the result of an unprincipled looting of treasury funds acquired for the purposes of public administration and their diversion to Labor Party use. Labor should repay this money to Treasury, along with the $36 million being used to sell the carbon tax.

The fact that all parties tend to do it when in power does not make it right.

Jun 14, 2012

Storm in a coffee cup.

Cartoon: Baloo’s Cartoon Blog.

Its difficult to understand what Bolt is so worked up over here:

Priceless: bigots are now running a campaign against bigotry. Advocates for freedom are trying to shut down debate.

The Left in Australia, 2012.

Left extremists want to boycott Gloria Jean’s’ excellent coffee because some of the company bosses allegedly go to church - the Hillsong one. And because they once gave money to help the Prime Minister talk to Christians about how she shared their position on gay marriage.
It seems that rather than an organized plot by ‘left extremists’ as stated, it is mainly an effort by the gay community with support from a small group of lefties, incensed over donations to a Christian lobby group, and associations with members of the Hillsong Church.

Donations to a group lobbing against gay marriage is probably a reasonable cause for some angst among the gay community and they as individuals or a group are quite entitled to react in this way. There is no suggestion of violence or picketing, just a withdrawal of custom from the business.

The religious affiliations of directors and senior staff are largely irrelevant to the issue. Were the company to have a discriminatory hiring policy directed at gays then they would have an issue that would possibly gain some traction. At this point, this is not the case.

Bolt would have done more for Gloria Jeans Coffees had he left the issue alone.

Jun 13, 2012

EU budget for growth – of the state, that is.

Daniel Hannan has released a pair of videos of an interview of himself and “the spin doctor for the Budget Commissioner.” This clip is a classic example of how impossibility difficult it is for a dedicated bureaucrat to debate a man who has freed his mind from the clutches of the state.

The EU is spinning its budget as ‘for growth’ much the same as most governments do. One rule to bear in mind though, is that any budget, which increases revenue along with a claim of being ‘pro growth’, is designed only to grow the organization itself.

The clip presented is the second; the first is here:

“Whats happening is that we are circulating … three times what we have saved in all of of our domestic spending cuts put together through the leaky chambers and tubes of the Brussels machinery, dribbling out all the way, and then a little bit of it comes back and we are supposed to be greatful for it.”

Minimum wage/unemployment nexus explained.

John Humphreys has done an analysis of the impact of the 2.9% rise in the minimum wage and comes to the conclusion that it will cost in the region of 100,000 jobs. This does not infer that this number of workers will be fired; not that many will be, the biggest loss will be in the area of jobs that could be created at the old rate but will not at the higher one.

Publishing it on the far left ABCs ‘The Drum’ seems to indicate that he is not the sort of man who preaches to the converted. If a commonsense article on the subject is not enough to send you across, the derangement in the comments section should. Its nearly as good as poking a wasp’s nest with a stick:

The announcement that the legislated minimum wage will increase by 2.9 per cent means that we can expect there to be nearly 100,000 fewer jobs in Australia. In response, commentators and unions have cheered and asked for more.

This is a great example of Bastiat's old rule about what is seen and what is not seen. When a business downsizes and people lose their jobs, the impact is immediate and visible – resulting in news headlines and stern-sounding politicians. But when the government subtly destroys thousands of jobs slowly and indirectly, they are given a free pass.

Of course, that is cold comfort for the unemployed. Not only does the government get a free pass on this disastrous policy, but the opposition jumps on board too, and the chatterati clap along.

Even business groups play the game by accepting an increase, though they wanted it to be smaller. If the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) had got their way, then the government would only destroy 50,000 jobs. The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) on the other hand wanted to destroy 150,000 jobs. …

The scary truth that some politicians know but all avoid is that the minimum wage is bad policy. If it cannot be removed, then it should at least be frozen for several years so that it becomes functionally irrelevant.

If the government and their union cheerleaders actually want to help workers, then the best way forward is to increase our national productivity. The government needs to revisit the Henry recommendations for corporate tax cuts and they need to find ways to lighten the regulatory burden, especially on small business.

But you don't start a productivity drive by throwing 100,000 people out of work.
The full article is here.

Editorial note: John is the founder of the Human Capital Project; a non-profit designed to assist Cambodian students to obtain a university education. As many of those commenting on the article seem to indicate that only wealthy people would approve of the content perhaps you all could have a look here and donate to it as a way of reducing the heavy weight of all of that massive amount of cash in those deep pockets of yours.

Jun 12, 2012

Scared of cheap Venusian imports?; The WTO has your back.

If it don’t say; Made in the USA the World; It aint worth shit.
– New World Trade Organisation slogan.

Last year a couple of NASA associate scientists gave warning of the dangers posed by extra terrestrial disapproval of our use of fossil fuels, which might lead to them deciding to wipe us out in order to save the universe from runaway global warming. This way 'Alienity' would be safe from our ‘depredations’ forever.

NASA, of course has its roots in the military and for that reason tends to concentrate on the strategic angle and have been blindsided to the possibility of other ways that Aliens could pose a threat to us.

The WTO on the other hand, apparently understands the much more serious danger posed by interplanetary, and intergalactic trade. Imagine if you will, the massive economic damage that could occur during the annual US ‘Recovery Summer’, if Earthian (Bob Brown’s term) markets were suddenly flooded by cheap sweatshop produced Martian, or Venusian goods. As result it has proposed the use of “Made in the World” labels.

Were the real intent of this action to become apparent, there could be serious legal challenges from the Interplanetary Trade Federation (ITF), so the spin is been couched in such terms as, the need to remove national labeling to “reduce public opposition to free trade:”
The World Trade Organization is moving closer to eliminating country-of-origin labels and replacing them with “Made in the World” initiative labels because they say we need to “reduce public opposition to free trade” and “re-engineer global governance.”

An America that prides itself on independence and celebrates that independence every year on July 4 should want absolutely no part in allowing the advancement of global governance that aims to eliminate the one thing that allows American consumers to know from where the products they buy originate: The “Made in USA” label.

…The WTO wants to replace country-of-origin labels with a World Input-Output Database – an initiative that is being funded by the European Union’s “Seventh Framework” program. Americans should be concerned and seriously question the involvement of the European Union in watering down or wiping out the “Made in USA” label.
It is understood that moderate Republican Senators, John McCain and Lindsey Graham have warned Presidential Nominee, Mitt Romney that if he were to oppose this move, he could be accused of xenophobia.

Romney is rumored to have told them, “That’s just silly, it is a well known fact that I have no prejudice against any branch of Buddhism, least of all Zen.”

The last word comes from the ghost of Frederic Bastiat; “If goods don’t cross borders the intergalactic space time continuum, armies will.”