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.

Aug 31, 2012

Pram pushing mobile use penalized

A reporter’s update on an old story highlighted a case of serious police over reach that had slipped through the cracks of the news originally. A mother was stopped and ticketed by an officer for pushing a pram along a Mandurah footpath while talking on a mobile phone. The ticket has been withdrawn and an apology issued:

A mother who was talking on her mobile phone while pushing a pram was stopped by a policeman and given a $250 fine under laws to prevent drivers endangering lives. The bizarre incident more than a year ago left a black mark next to the officer's name because senior police withdrew the infringement and apologised 24 hours after it was issued.

The West Australian understands a senior constable with the Peel traffic office issued the penalty, which also carries three demerit points, after he spotted the woman talking on a mobile phone as she pushed her baby in a pram along a Mandurah footpath in April last year.

Police recognised problems with the infringement and the officer in charge of Peel traffic apologised to the woman. Insp. Bill Munnee said yesterday the infringement was cancelled and the woman had accepted the supervising officer's apology.

"The officer concerned had misinterpreted the law involved regarding the definition of a vehicle," he said.
While it is great that common sense has prevailed, the question arises as to just why a police officer would ticket a woman walking down the footpath with a prem. It is clearly not endangering anybody, not a threat to law and order, nor was the law on mobile phone use when driving in anyway intended to cover prams.

It is more than merely a matter of misinterpretation of the relevant regulation on the matter. Were she to be crossing the road, there would be at least some possibility of the law applying although even this is a questionable as long as she checked both directions before doing so.

To pull up a pedestrian on the roadside and charge her with an offense intended for those in charge of a vehicle has to mean that the officer was determined to use any pretext to fill his book, even on a technicality. Police are not supposed to be hired to slam the public on anything they can interpret as an offense, rather to keep reasonable order.

There are certain types who are attracted to power and authority and are prepared to exercise it at any pretext. These are the wrong type of people to have in a police force, but tend to be drawn to it. The desire for a uniform and the ability to make pricks of themselves should not be a qualification.

Twit hospitalized after ‘Twitter attack’; Coalition demands action

May the fleas of a thousand jackals infest your genitals, and your arms be too short to
scratch them – Arabic curse.

The big news here in Oz is that model or celebrity for some reason or other, Charlotte Dawson has been admitted to hospital after a vicious Twitter attack. Anyone who has watched Alfred Hitchcock’s, “The Birds” or another incident like it in the original Avengers series, or was it James Bond, NCIS, CSI Miami, or perhaps The Simpsons, is on the wrong track here.

It all seems to have unfolded when Charlotte reported aggressive tweets by Tanya Heti, a ‘mentor’ at Monash University to her employer, who suspended her. There is no news what ‘mentoring’ Tanya did, but she has apparently been advising people to “go hang yourself,” so it is probably nothing to do with Lifeline, at least hopefully.

This has in turn whipped the Confederation of Angry Trolls, Tools And Lunatics, (CATTAL) into something of a frenzy, causing them to send Charlotte a series of tweets asking her respectfully to commit suicide and offering a variety of suggested methods. After sitting up for most of the night reading and responding to these, a poor, distraught Charlotte was hauled off and admitted to hospital.

Subsequent reports indicate her hurt feelings are mostly non-mortal and that she is recovering quite nicely in St Vincent’s Hospital.

The federal Coalition has now weighed in with a demand for; … now don’t get ahead of me here; … tougher laws to protect people from cyber bullying and harassment. LNP spin doctors have recommended this as the appropriate knee jerk reaction to nearly anything:
THE Federal Coalition is calling for changes to existing laws - or for new tougher laws - that would better protect people from cyber-bullying and harassment. It follows TV host Charlotte Dawson's hospitalisation after she was attacked by Twitter "trolls" for naming and shaming a user in News Ltd publications who had told her to hang herself.

Chair of the Coalition's online safety working group Paul Fletcher said the "online hate campaign" against Ms Dawson was "shocking." "No Australian should ever have to go through something like this," Mr Fletcher said. "Unfortunately, cyber bullying, including through social media services such as Twitter and Facebook is a growing social problem.
There are a number of questions to be asked here though:
  • Has Ms Dawson no ‘off’ or ‘delete’ button?
  • Why stay up for hours reading hate mail?
  • Why get upset about it?
  • Why not tell them to just piss off?
  • Why not just laugh them off?
Teenage kids are badly affected by actions of this nature, but Ms Dawson is reportedly 46 years old, and aught to have more sense. There are plenty of sickos out there and anyone going online quickly gets to know that. For someone who gets involved in the area of trolling, she seems incredibly thinned skinned and emotional.

For people who lack a decent reservoir of vitriol in their vocabulary, it is best to either stay out of it, learn some quickly, or purchase one of the many collections of insulting terms and quotes that are readily available on the web and bookstores.

RWL recommends insulting the recipient’s family back at least several generations, with special mentions of any incidents of cohabitation with mangy dogs, warthogs, snakes, or other unattractive animals that come to mind. A quick and simple one is “Seventh son, of a seventh son, of a seventh son, of a bastard.”

Given that on twitter there is a limitation on the number of characters to be used, “Seventh son of a bastard,” is acceptable.

Aug 30, 2012

Deaf child name change demand, an exercise in histrionics

From the Toronto Sun:

A Nebraska preschool is asking a three-year-old deaf boy to change his name because it violates the school board's weapons policy. Hunter Spanjer signs his first name by making what looks like shooting gestures with both hands. He crosses his fingers when he does it - a modification to show it's his proper name.

But the Grand Island Public Schools board says its "Weapons in Schools" policy bans "any instrument ... that looks like a weapon." The school wants him to change the sign, a request Hunter's family says is both unfair and silly. "Anybody that I have talked to thinks this is absolutely ridiculous. This is not threatening in any way," Hunter's grandmother Janet Logue told local news station 101

(L) Here is the offending gesture in a screen grab:

This is a three and a half year old child who is profoundly deaf and probably has more than enough to cope with even without the antics of imbecilic adults play-acting their morbid progressive fantasies.

Image (R); suggested new name, (from Ethics Alarms)

It is completely inconceivable that anyone; even a liberal would really feel threatened by a hand gesture from an infant. They may claim to be, but in all seriousness; even they, are not that bloody mindedly stupid.

Even after watching the devastating effect of the finger pointing ‘gun play’ of John Ritter in the movie "Real Men;” nobody could seriously take this complaint as realistic.

Bullying, brain washing, and terrifying children seems to be par for the course in a post modernist education system desperately attempting to turn our kids into obedient little creatures of the state in preparation for their preconceived role in the new fascism of tomorrow. This nonsense is political correctness gone even madder than usual and is symptomatic of a problem, not a solution.

Aug 29, 2012

Religion of peace 17, singers and dancers, nil

There is some terrible news from Afghanistan, where followers of the ‘religion of peace’ have murdered seventeen people by beheading them for the horrendous anti Koranic crime of singing and dancing. Such nefarious activities violate the principles of Islam because, it is claimed that partying distracts people from that which really matters in society, devotion to the appropriate sky fairy.

Most religions tend to concentrate on the concept of virtue and are in the main a reasonable guide to living a good life by those precepts. The downside is that if people concentrate too much on faith, and not enough on their own personal judgment, just about anything can be justified with a clear conscience. In this case, the result was brutal murder:

The Taliban beheaded 17 people, including two women, for attending a mixed-gender party where there was music and dancing, Afghan officials reported today. The decapitated bodies were abandoned at a roadside in southern Afghanistan, according to Mullah Sharafuddin, the governor of Kajaki district in Helmand province.

All 17 bodies, including those of two women, were decapitated, but it was not clear if they had been shot first. Afghan President Hamid Karzai denounced that killings as an "inhuman act and against all Islamic principals.”

During Taliban rule, most types of music were made illegal, and anyone caught attending a mixed-gender party faced stiff punishment, including death in the most extreme cases. …
One of the grave dangers of allowing the teachings of religion into a nation’s legal system is the removal of rational thinking from the process of law making. A truly just system of laws is based on principles of preventing coercive actions against law-abiding citizens, tempered by the mores of society. In this way, the responsibility for the laws of the land rests squarely in the hands of the legislators alone.

The introduction of a ‘higher’ authority negates personal responsibility from the process. Those enacting laws can then use the schizophrenic’s defense of, “God made me do it,” or alternatively, “it is written in the (insert appropriate holy book here.)”

There have been efforts among Islamic zealots in Australia for the introduction of Sharia law. Notable among these is Ibrahim Siddiq-Conlon with his Sharia4australia campaign. Such a system of law is completely against any concept of law recognized in this country, and has no place in a free society.

Law should be consensual, not based on the prejudices of the local religious zealot.

Obama posts himself as Armstrong tribute

Remember where you where when Obama looked at the moon?Andrew Bolt alludes to the JFK moment.

Image: real ‘tribute’ with thought bubble by The Peoples Cube

Just about every newspaper, or other media had some sort of tribute to the late Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon.

The standard was an image of Armstrong, either recent or from the time of the landing, or an image of the landing. TV tended to give a montage of clips, in all media there was of course the words of tribute to his courage and ability.

So, what does a President of the US post in tribute to a man who has received them from everywhere? Well, of course, what could be better than an image of him looking at the moon?

The President has turned narcissism into an art form, giving gifts of an IPod preloaded with his speeches, and lets not forget the way he injected himself into many of the Presidential biographies on the White House website.

Another prime example is the way he claimed credit for the work of SEAL Team Six, who performed the dangerous task of going into Pakistan and killing bin Laden.

Unfortunately, there seem to be quite a few Democrats who share the President’s view that it is really all about him, and reinforce his ego in the process. First, there is Bill Clinton, a man who we all thought was better than that with, “Suppose the Navy SEALs had gone in there . . . suppose they had been captured or killed. The downside would have been horrible for him.”

Then we have Joe Biden, a man we all knew was not better than that with, “Does anybody doubt that had the mission failed, it would have written the beginning of the end of the president’s first term?” “On this gut issue, we know what President Obama did.”

Few would be so out of touch and narcissistic as to claim that it was an act of extraordinary courage to give an order from a place far removed from the action. It is incredible though that even the most devout political flunky could view the possible deaths of soldiers in action only in terms of political consequences.

Aug 28, 2012

But is it safe for nanny to be on steroids? School bans handstands

"It's really frustrating because they ban everything and there is not much else for us to do.” - School kid.

It appears that Old Nan has been hitting the steroids and has come up with another idea for keeping the kids safe, and fun free of course. Drummoyne Public School, in consultation with the State Schools Sports Unit, a branch of the Department of Education has decided that handstands, cartwheels, and somersaults need to be banned, even after the P&C spent a lot of money on soft fall surfaces:

The move has confounded parents such as Rebecca Chown, who has collected more than 250 signatures on a petition calling for the rule to be overturned. "It's ridiculous, what's the world coming to when kids can't do handstands and cartwheels at lunch time,'' she said.

Ms Chown said she understood the principal "felt she was doing the right thing.'' "So many principals are wary about children injuring themselves, due to the growing litigative culture we live in,'' she said. Ms Chown first heard about the ban when her daughter Estelle, 10, came home on August 17 and said children had been told they couldn't do anything that had them "upside-down.''

Estelle said: "It's really frustrating because they ban everything and there is not much else for us to do.”

While Ms Chown said she understood the risks, children were playing, not training to be gymnasts. It was especially frustrating since the school's P&C, which her husband has been active in, has raised about $200,000 for playground upgrades, which included soft fall surfaces so children could play in a safer environment.
First they stop physical activities, then they will call for banning of various foods and drinks to prevent the now sedentary but safe children from putting on weight. The nanny state motto; “Total bliss is just one more regulation away.”

Aug 27, 2012

Has the LNP forgotten the battlers?

by Viv Forbes assisted by volunteer editors.

It seems certain that the Greens-ALP Coalition is doomed. The main political question is "Can we rely on the LNP to clean all the rubbish from the Climate Stables?"

Unfortunately the answer seems to be "No". The Liberals have too many light greens in their ranks. Instead of an open well-identified carbon tax, we will still have the insidious RET Tax, hidden green energy subsidies, and a huge carbon-credit/carbon-farming bureaucracy. All of these will benefit the pockets or the consciences of the well-to-do at the expense of ordinary working families. Too many Liberals have forgotten the battlers and now stand for the beautiful people.

The carbon war continues. Please help us spread the word.

Nothing New about Extreme Weather

"Global Warming" has lost its credibility; "Climate Change" does not sound very scary; so they are now relying on "Extreme Weather Events" to scare us into giving them power over every aspect of our lives.

Unfortunately for the Alarmists, there is nothing new about Extreme Weather Events.

The Real Agenda:

If you wondered why every productive enterprise was under attack, why farmers are finding their land sterilised, why explorers and miners are demonised, why foresters are locked out of the forests and fishermen banned from the sea, maybe this video provides a clue:

Meanwhile, here in Australia:
"Some Local governments have a particularly important role to play in preparing SoE (State of the Environment) reports and a number of NSW councils are at the forefront of SoE reporting in Australia. An increasing number are actively working on Local Agenda 21 strategies for their local areas.

"This is a trend the NSW Government strongly supports and I encourage all councils to do likewise."
Ernie Page, M.P.
Minister for Local Government, NSW 1998

Aug 26, 2012

Federal Government climate of hostility to business; De Lacy

It is not uncommon to hear a company chairman blistering the federal government over taxes and regulation. It is increasingly common. The following video though is different in that the chairman doing the criticism is Keith De Lacy, who was the state treasurer in the Goss Labor government.

De Lacy is scathing over the rise in costs of doing business over the last five years, the massive regulatory burden, the problems with the governments IR regime, and the way that miners who are the only thing keeping Australia’s head above water are treated like the enemy. He states that the political class, the entrenched generational public service, and inner city progressives, are winning.

Keith though is one of the old fashioned Labor men who actually had a real job prior to politics and earned an honest living outside the bureaucracy, union movement, or as a party hack. He understands the real world:

From his start in life as a miner to his transformation to politician and businessman, Keith De Lacy never knew what fate had in store. …

"After 30 years, you begin to think things may never change," Keith says, particularly as he says electoral boundaries were gerrymandered to suit the National Party. "Labor had been 30 years in the wilderness, so it was a momentous occasion," he say. "There was the euphoria, but we didn’t really have time to reflect.”

"The only other time I reflected was the moment I sat in the red leather seat of the State treasurer behind the mahogany table, and thought, ‘what’s a country humble boy doing in a job like this’," Keith says, laughing.

Keith was born in Cairns Base hospital and grew up in the Mareeba-Dimbulah area on a tobacco farm. Before he ventured into politics, he was a tobacco farmer, supplementing his income by working underground in the mines of Wolfram Camp. …

"I had lived about 10 lives before then, but nobody can train for politics – you have to learn on the job," he says. "It’s the people who don’t do well who are usually the ones who think they know everything.” "You are forever learning, improving, understanding and listening.

Rasmussen polls Johnson

It’s not a straight poll of Johnson up against Romney and Obama yet, but at last Gov Gary Johnson seems to have been noticed by a major polling organization. One of Gary’s major bugbears in this campaign is the absence of coverage from not only media networks, but the polls as well. He had to abandon his bid for the Republican Nomination owing to being blocked from the debates owing to failing to get the necessary percentage in polls he was excluded from.

In this poll his favourabilities are looked at:

Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson is on the ballot in all 50 states but is largely unknown to the nation’s voters.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 16% of Likely U.S. Voters have a favorable opinion of Johnson, while 20% offer an unfavorable view. Only one-out-of-10 have a strong opinion of him: Two percent (2%) have a Very Favorable view of Johnson, while eight percent (8%) have a Very Unfavorable one.
The fact that unfavorables outweigh the favourables is probably that at this stage the diehard supporters of the old moribund parties are most likely detesting the idea of having the new kid on the block who has more executive experience than both of their candidates combined. It is surprising that the unfavorables are not considerably higher in the circumstances.

It is actually a strong possibility that the mere 4% advantage of unfavorables over favorables is an indication that the support for those old establishment parties may be a lot softer than was previously thought.

Aug 25, 2012

Patel free; High Court rules miscarriage of justice

In June 2010 ‘Dr Death,’ Jayant Patel was convicted on three counts of manslaughter and one of grievous bodily harm in relation to his conduct as a surgeon at Bundaberg Base Hospital. In something of a shock to the Queensland public and victims and their relatives the High Court of Australia has quashed his conviction and ordered another trial.

The case against Patel was always controversial, given the embarrassment to the Beattie government of the day, which failed to vet him properly when he applied, then pilloried the people who tried to bring the matter to the attention of authorities. It now appears that there was an attempt to convict at any cost, which has backfired:

However, the High Court unanimously granted special leave to appeal, and allowed the appeal, on the ground that there was a miscarriage of justice in the conduct of the appellant's trial. The prosecution led a large body of evidence criticising the appellant's surgical skills and post-operative care in order to establish its original case that the appellant had been grossly negligent in all aspects of his treatment of the patients. As the trial progressed it became apparent, and it was not seriously disputed, that the evidence showed that the surgery had in fact been performed competently enough.

The prosecution then radically changed its case, at a late point in the trial, to focus on the appellant's decision to undertake the surgical procedures. Much of the evidence about the surgery and post-operative care was prejudicial to the appellant but no longer relevant on the prosecution's revised case. The prejudicial effect on the jury was not overcome by the directions given by the trial judge about the limited use that could be made of that evidence. A substantial miscarriage of justice occurred. The Court set aside the order of the Court of Appeal and in its place ordered that there be a new trial.
Patel has had a long and woeful record in medicine. In 1984, he was cited for failing to examine patients prior to surgery, fined and put on three years probation. After moving to Oregon, he was accused of doing unnecessary surgery causing injuries or death, and his practice was restricted and he was banned from some surgery and ordered to seek second opinions before surgery.

After the deaths of four patients, his restriction was extended statewide and in 2001 New York State ordered the surrender of his licence.

After moving to Queensland he was appointed Director of Surgery at Bundaberg Base Hospital where he was linked to 87 deaths until outed by whistle blowers. At this stage things deteriorated into a political circus. The government slammed opposition members who raised the issue and an inquiry was called.

This was shut down by the state Supreme Court after a successful appeal by two witnesses over perceived bias. Five days later the Premier, Peter Beattie ordered that the evidence the Supreme Court had branded tainted be examined by a former judge. The result was that charges of manslaughter and other matters.

There is no doubt at all that Patel was a person who should have been banned from the profession long before he got to Bundaberg, and in fact was in NYS, and it is clear that the people here who were harmed by him deserve some closure on the matter. Whether his activities deserve criminal sanctions is a matter for the DPP.

It has to be asked though, whether the original case has not been mishandled because of media and political pressure on the DPP to convict him of anything they could in order to avenge the government for the results of its own incompetence in failing to find out the history of the man. His history was exposed by a journalist who Googled his name, after all.

Aug 24, 2012

“None of the above” option ruled unconstitutional

Whenever libertarians consider the idea of electoral reform in Australia, the first matter raised is abolition of compulsory voting. Optional preferences follow, along with abolition of public campaign funding, and the introduction of recall elections.

Most, then come to the rather unique concept that exists in Nevada; the ‘none of the above’ option. Libertarians insist that this should be an option on all ballots. Should it win the election, then the position should be left unfilled or unfunded, or a new election called with the previous candidates banned from contesting it.

Unfortunately as result of legal action by the Republican Party, Nevada’s shining light on the hill has been extinguished, ruled unconstitutional. This appears to be part of a larger effort by the GOP to lawyer up the campaign to its advantage, in parallel with efforts in several states to legally block the Libertarian Party from appearing on the ballot.

Some of the assertions made in the case are questionable:
A quirky Nevada law that Republicans feared could siphon votes from a disgruntled electorate and sway the outcome of close presidential and U.S. Senate races in the state was struck down Wednesday by a federal judge. U.S. District Judge Robert Jones said the state's decades-old ballot alternative of "none of the above" was unconstitutional because votes for "none" don't count in the final tallies that determine winners.

The ruling came at the end of a lively hearing where the judge challenged both sides in the legal arguments with hypothetical questions and ramifications of possible rulings he was considering. In the end, he struck the option down altogether for both federal and statewide races, and refused to grant a stay while his decision is appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. …

A federal lawsuit filed in June and bankrolled by the Republican National Committee argued Nevada's unique voter option, which has appeared on every election ballot for statewide races since 1976, disenfranchises voters because it's a perpetual loser. Under state law, even if "none" receives the most votes, it doesn't win. Victory is reserved for people, though "none" before has played a role in determining the winner in some high-profile races. …

Deputy Attorney General Kevin Benson, representing the secretary of state, argued voters "always have the right to not vote" for listed candidates, and that voting for "none" is essentially no different than skipping a particular race on a ballot altogether or not voting at all. "You're free to stay home on the couch," he said, arguing that such non-votes don't count either. …
It is difficult to believe the suggestion that voting ‘none’ is the same as staying home and not voting at all. Not voting is an option for those who have no interest either way in the result of the contest. Voting ‘None’ on the other hand, is the action of people who are so disgusted with the available options that they make the effort to go to the polling station and let the parties know this.

It is the difference between saying nothing, or declaring, “These dropkicks are oxygen thieves and I wouldn’t give any of them standing room in my paddock.” A great deal of difference!

The main sticking point seems to be that the ‘none’ option is not considered binding were it to win an election, however it is a valuable tool for assessing the real public attitudes toward the candidates. It certainly should be binding.

Gary Johnson at 24% nation wide

In the latest public opinion poll conducted by Pulse Research on behalf of the Libertarian Action Super PAC, Gary Johnson received 24% support nationwide. This is twenty five percent better than the previous one by the same organization, in which he scored 19%. President Obama still leads him by 21 points, however Johnson appears to be rapidly closing the gap.

27% prefer some other candidate, (presumably Ron Paul or Mitt Romney) while 3% are undecided. The question asked was, “Suppose in this year’s Presidential Election you had a choice of Libertarian Gary Johnson or Democrat Barack Obama. If the election were held today would you vote for Libertarian Gary Johnson or Democrat Barack Obama?”

In standard two candidate polls, the choices are usually between Romney and Obama. Rasmussen currently has this type of poll with both candidates in the low to mid 40s with Romney currently leading by a narrow margin and 4/6% for some other candidate.

This calls into question the validity of the current Republican vs. Democrat polling. While it can be argued that in the absence of Romney and Paul may cause Obama opponents to vote for Johnson as the Not-Obama, the same can be argued of libertarians in the absence of Johnson. The only way to attain a true result is to include the LP Nominee.

The Examiner reports:

Many will point out that the poll does not include Mitt Romney. Therefore, why is this poll relevant.

If one were to take a look at any of several nationwide polls, the wording is nearly identical, with the only exception being that these polls only include Obama and Romney. According to the rules of the Commission on Presidential Debates, the organization controlled by Democrats and Republicans that oversees the presidential debates, a candidate must achieve 15 percent in nationwide polling to be allowed to participate in the debates.

The Commission on Presidential Debates must be consistent. If two-candidate polls that include Obama and Romney are valid, this one is as well and Gary Johnson seems to meet the criteria to participate in the debates. At the very least, the CPD should pressure major polling organizations to include Johnson's name in order to level the playing field.

The last third party candidate to participate in a presidential debate was Ross Perot in 1992, at which point the CPD implemented the current polling threshold which many see as arbitrary. There is currently an effort on Facebook to convince the CPD to allow Gary Johnson to participate in the debates in spite of its irrational selection criteria.
There is no reason not to include Johnson. The LP has attained ballot status in all fifty states, and while the GOP is attempting to use lawyers to get them off the ballot in several of these, we have a serious candidate here.

Aug 23, 2012

Kiwi Libertarianz plan for rebuilding Christchurch

Damn! But these guys are good.

A great thorn in the side of any disaster reconstruction effort is the planning that goes into it. Any large effort needs its logistics such as material requirements, machinery, workforce, and so on figured out in advance, with necessary upgrades as required. This ensures that things run smoothly. The destructive planning force is the regulators, town planners, bureaucrats, and assorted creatures of the state with visions of Utopia in their own image dancing through their heads.

After the Christchurch earthquakes, the New Zealand libertarian party, (Libertarianz) proposed a quick, common sense solution to get reconstruction under way. This was rejected and is now being proposed again. The main points are:
  • Christchurch must attract resources. Grant Christchurch a complete 3-year tax-free status, to be extended at discretion. Do this and the problem of attracting resources will disappear. The object is to change our view away from a coercive patch job to a free-wheeling environment of entrepreneurial opportunity.
  • Christchurch must have thousands of new and rebuilt homes. Our government should make immediate steps to remove the bureaucratic hurdles that have stifled growth and rebuilding, and made building affordable houses completely unaffordable. This includes the existing regulatory system of permits and inspections. Let those who own their own property determine between them and their insurance company what they wish their building standards to be. Building is productive. Letting things lie idle while waiting for permission from people who have no genuine interest is not.
  • Cantabrians don’t need the grey ones breathing down their necks. Make Christchurch an ETS and RMA free zone.
  • Cantabrians don’t need to be told where and how they will rebuild their city—they don’t need another centrally- planned “worker’s paradise.” Bus town planners out of Christchurch permanently and allow the city to reinvent itself spontaneously. This would be a wonder to see.
  • Cantabrians don’t need barriers to employment. Remove the minimum wage. In a situation like Christchurch’s it is better to be earning something than nothing at all. And it is better to be achieving something. We must trust that consenting adults can come to their own voluntary financial agreements.
Their spokesman, Peter Osborne added:
“Unfortunately for Christchurch and New Zealand taxpayers this will not happen. The desire to maintain control over all of our lives is too strong for our government to allow people the freedom to really get things done. The desire to throw taxpayers money at monuments when real demand lays elsewhere only emphasises the reality that governments could never make good decisions and direct resources properly. Too locked up in the realms of perception and wanting to be seen at the forefront, thuggery and control are their only tools Jackboot Jerry Brownley has already shown this to be so.” …
For many years, libertarians revered Huston as the great unplanned city that worked well. There now seems to be some contention as to whether this is still the case. Our movement worldwide would welcome seeing Christchurch arise as the new Huston of the Southern Hemisphere if only the NZ government would get out of the way and allow it to happen.

Big new taxes and world economy start to bite

The news that BHP Billiton has decided to scrap its extensions to the Olympic Dam mine should be a wake up call to the federal government. The company was to spend $30 billion on the project. In addition to this, it has also halted a plan to spend 419 billion on Port Headland harbor extensions, and $4.2 billion plans for coal mines in Queensland.

A couple of weeks ago warnings were issued about foreign investors being scared off opportunities here by the tax regime, industrial relations, the high dollar, as well as uncertainty over government action:

A global survey of executives from multinational corporations shows a growing reluctance to invest in Australia due to the cumulative impact of the carbon tax, spiking labour costs, the rising Australian dollar and political uncertainty, according to media reports.

The survey of more than 100 global chief executives was conducted by the CEO Forum Group and found that the primary hurdles they see to investing in Australia are jeopardising the country's reputation as a business-friendly destination for foreign investment and could prompt some corporations to shift their Australian units to Asian nations, The Australian Financial Review reported. …

… The survey found that 45 per cent of executives at global companies are less likely to invest in Australia, The Australian reported. Attendees at the forum include executives from global companies with Australian subsidiaries such as 3M Australia, Alcatel-Lucent, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Cargill, Dell, Dow Chemical, Dun & Bradstreet, GE, GM Holden, IBM, Intel, Shell and Zurich Financial, according to The Australian.
There are a number of reasons quoted for the BHP withdrawal from projects including the competitiveness of the market, the slowing of growth in China and the high cost of development. The Minerals Council raises the drop in our international competitiveness:
Escalating costs have been putting pressure on resource projects throughout the country. Minerals Council of Australia chief executive Mitch Hooke said that in the highly competitive markets for coal, copper and nickel, more than half of Australia's operating mines had costs above global averages.

"The cause is increased labour, energy and transport costs, and a high exchange rate," he said. "While our capital project costs were previously globally competitive, they are now much higher than global averages. Even in iron ore, we have lost our operating cost advantage for all but established Pilbara projects.” He said Australia's declining competitiveness was evident in global market share.

Despite volume growth, Australia's market share fell in most commodities between 2000 and 2010. "If Australia's competitiveness continues to decline, we will fail to capture our share of growth," he said.
The political blame game has started but it is noted that The BHP Billiton CEO Marius Kloppers did not mention the mining or carbon tax among his reasons for the company’s actions.

He can hardly do so. Kloppers was complicit in the dirty deal with Gillard to introduce the mining tax, and in the immediate aftermath of the 2010 election he called for a carbon tax, “to give the business community certainty.” It has never been explained how the tax gave certainty. Certainty had already been given by the Prime Minister with her assurance, “There will be no carbon tax under a government I lead.”

While Martain Fergusson maintains that these taxes are not an issue, BHP would be suffering a reduction of earnings owing to the mining tax on coal and iron ore, and would have to factor the costs of the carbon tax into it’s future expenditures. Given Kloppers call for a carbon tax, he can hardly use it as a reason for the companies actions.

Aug 22, 2012

Akin statement destroyed viable GOP pickup

Image: Sarah Steelman should have been chosen

The incredibly stupid statement by Todd Akin mentioned in the previous post is much worse for the GOP than was previously thought. His statements on ‘legitimate rape’ and women not getting pregnant under these circumstances have clearly destroyed any chance of ridding the Senate of Claire McCaskill, and even if the candidate was changed, this one is virtually lost.

What was not taken into account in the previous post was that Missouri was an almost certain GOP pickup. A Rasmussen Report prior to the primary had McCaskill trailing all three GOP candidates. Sarah Steelman, and John Brunner both led by 49/43%, while Akin led by much less at 47/44%. For some reason Akin got the nomination and blew the campaign immediately.

Fortunately, there is a great LP candidate standing. Were the GOP to get it’s act together and endorse Jonathan Dine they might at least hand the seat to a friendly face on many issues. From Libertarian Republican:
But in the event that the GOP chickens out, there is another alternative: Vote Libertarian! The Libertarian Party of Missouri has a viable and quite credible candidate on the ballot.

Jonathan Dine is a hardline Libertarian. He is a personal fitness trainer who lives in Kansas City. From his website:

Taxes at all levels -- federal, state, and local; hidden and visible -- take almost 50 percent of a family's income. We must work from January to June just to pay taxes. Ask yourself: Is the government spending that half of your income wis ely? The government didn’t earn the taxpayer’s paycheck and shouldn’t be entitled to it.

He's a huge marijuana legalization advocate:

I support the legalization of Marijuana, not because Marijuana is good or beneficial, but because marijuana does less harm to our lives, our property, and our humanity, than marijuana laws.

And thankfully, for conservatives and for us pro-defense libertarians here at LR, Dine takes a rather moderate approach to non-interventionism:

I believe the role of the military is to provide a strong national defense, but the optimum word is defense.. not offense. I support the maintenance of a sufficient military to defend the United States against aggression. I support the offensive efforts to combat terrorism when attacked, but do not support the occupation and nation building of other countries.
Various areas in the US tend to support candidates with strong religious ties, and this is not unreasonable. Christianity offers quite a good grounding in values to live by and in the main is not extreme. Problems arise though, when unthinking idiots like Akin are chosen to represent a political party.

Anyone with more than half a brain would reject his statement no matter who he heard it from. Anyone even mildly rational would treat such an idea with extreme skepticism. How the hell did anyone with such idiotic views get chosen ahead of better candidates?

Aug 21, 2012

Rep. Todd Akin (R) MO closing the incoherence gap

Listening to statements from Barack ‘you didn’t build that’ Hussein ‘Romney causes cancer’ Obama, Joe ‘they’ll put yall in chains’ Biden, not to mention Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Nancy Pelosi, or Harry Reid, you could be excused for thinking that the GOP was suffering an incoherence gap when compared with the Democrats. They are generally well matched in other areas.

Rep Todd Atkin, the Republican nominee for the Senate from Missouri, has just substantially closed that gap with his assertion that rape does not cause pregnancy:

Rep. Todd Akin, the Republican nominee for Senate in Missouri who is running against Sen. Claire McCaskill, justified his opposition to abortion rights even in case of rape with a claim that victims of “legitimate rape” have unnamed biological defenses that prevent pregnancy.

“First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare,” Akin told KTVI-TV in an interview posted Sunday. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
Abortion is an extremely vexed issue based on the ending of the life of the unborn. The main problem is that neither side can agree on what constitutes a live human being. Some contend it is at conception, others at the stage where the fetus is viable on its own, while others contend it is at birth. No side is likely to gain the upper hand on this.

To the ‘at conception’ group, any abortion is murder, and so on. This is best left as a moral issue, which is not the concern of the state. The outlawing of abortion will not stop it happening and is only likely to cause a black market in backyard abortionists with an inevitable rise in the death rate of such procedures.

To claim though, that some theory that has no scientific basis as a justification for forcing a rape victim to carry the perpetrators child to birth is abhorrent.

Aug 20, 2012

Government lacks real people

Image: By Pickering

How good God has been to poor old Gough [Whitlam]. He's actually lived long enough to see a government that makes his own look honourable, decent and upstanding. - Philippa Martyr (Quadrant Online)

Just as Obama has been a Godsend to Jimmy Carter in making people, if not nostalgic for his administration, then at least thinking that he wasn’t all that bad; Gillard has definitely improved the opinion of Australians toward the Whitlam government from back in the 70s. It is not quite that simple here though.

That is because the Fraser government followed the Whitlam government. While Fraser started out looking promising as opposition leader, and everyone breathed a sigh of relief to see the back of Gough for the last time, he turned out to be the Liberal Party’s version of today’s Tony Windsor, the ‘conservative’ independent who did a deal to keep Labor in power. Mal would have been more at home in Labor, being a devout centralist and authoritarian interventionist.

About the only political nostalgia that arises from the 70s in Australia is that back then we had some real characters in politics rather than the generic functionaries we have now. They were people of character; they may have been incompetent, they may have been corrupt, they may even have been complete idiots, totally out of touch with reality; but they were real people who resonated in the minds of the public.

Today there are no real personalities with the possible exception of Barnaby Joyce, who are not afraid to be themselves.

Love them or hate them, people like Whitlam, Barnard, Frank Crean, even Lionel Murphy were real. The other side had people like Ian Sinclair, Jim Killen, Howard, and Doug Antony. In Queensland we had the rather wildly eccentric Joh Bejelke Petersen, Russell Hinze, and Vince Lester, and a complete Vaudevillian cast of characters, but at least they were characters.

Today’s politics really lacks that.

Aug 19, 2012

Why Bury the Essentials of Life in Carbon Cemeteries?

By Viv Forbes assisted by volunteer editors.

We are told that carbon dioxide is such a dangerous gas that we must capture and "bury it deep down below". Governments have already wasted billions on "Carbon Capture and Storage" and other "clean coal" nonsense.

Carbon is the building block for every bit of organic matter on earth – bread, butter and bitumen; coal, cauliflowers and cows; men, microbes and mulberries.

When oxidised by combustion in fires and engines, or digested in stomachs, or decayed in soil or compost, most of the carbon is recycled into the harmless natural atmospheric gas, carbon dioxide. Plants use solar energy to extract this plant food from the atmosphere, reuse the carbon, and recycle the oxygen for use by all forms of animal life.

Every tonne of coal burnt produces about three tonnes of carbon dioxide containing over two tonnes of oxygen and under one tonne of carbon. This is a huge tonnage of gas to capture. And with every tonne of carbon buried, more than twice as much life-sustaining oxygen must also be sacrificed.

To achieve these mass burials, more coal has to be mined and burnt to produce the energy for gas collection, separation, compression, pumping, drilling disposal holes, and to manufacture the materials for storage tanks, pumps and pipes. To wilfully waste so much energy entombing the two most valuable life-supporting elements in the biosphere (carbon and oxygen) is financially and biologically irresponsible.

These costs are real, unavoidable and undeniable. There are ZERO proven benefits.

Why do it?

Aug 18, 2012

So, why not free range kids?

The nanny state seems to move in strange, contradictory, and unpredictable ways owing to it’s tendency to operate in accordance with the desires of the various lobby groups contained in its makeup. On one hand they want to ban intensive farming, while on the other we are ordered to cage raise our kids and never allow them unsupervised actions or thought.

The term, “Free Range Kids” is from a US group that advocates a winding back of the petty regulations and ‘nanny knows best’ thinking that dominates child raising there. They are not advocating neglect, nor something like the Feral Kid from Mad Max, although any responsible parent would be proud of the little fella’s self reliance:

Terry O'Gorman, is having a bit to say about the increasing tendency for police to prosecute parents for technical breaches of laws intended for dealing with more serious problems:

Australian Council for Civil Liberties president Terry O'Gorman challenged prosecutors to drop charges against well-meaning parents who might technically breach child-neglect laws by letting their kids walk to school, or stay in the car while they duck into a corner store.

"The nanny state should have some limits," he said. "The law needs to be there, but it's a ham-fisted and mindless way in which it is being enforced by various police around the country. Surely parents should be left to exercise their own discretion as to whether an eight-year-old can walk 50m along a footpath to the shop.”

Mr O'Gorman, a prominent criminal lawyer, said the states had enacted laws designed to punish parents who left children in cars while they played the pokies in pubs. But he was concerned about a spate of recent cases in which parents had been charged or threatened with prosecution for leaving their children in the car for 10 minutes outside a shop. …

"Police need to use common sense; they are supposed to use discretion when they lay charges.”

Mr O'Gorman said he did not want to comment on a case, revealed in The Australian this week, in which a senior public servant had been arrested for allegedly leaving his school-aged son home alone, playing video games, for half an hour. …
Most of us are able to have fun reminiscences of the sort of things we got up to when we got out from under the watchful eyes of parents. Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn were envied by those of us who dared to dream. Old Nanny State and her minions would be hysterical at the thought, which makes you wonder whether they ever did anything interesting when, or if they had a childhood.

Wowsers, neurotics, busy bodies, and associated killjoys have come to understand that if their ideas are rejected by the public because of ‘apathy’, disinterest, or that the ideas themselves are just plain silly, there is one organization that will agree with them and inflict their views on all of us; parliament. This saves them all of that drab, tedious, and mostly unrewarding effort to actually convince people to adopt their ideas voluntarily.

Romney channels Kerry Packer on taxes

In the 1991 Print Media Inquiry, media mogul the late Kerry Packer was asked about an allegation made by 4 Corners that he minimized his taxes. His reply was:

There’s nothing wrong with minimizing taxes, I don’t know anybody who doesn’t minimize their tax.

At the suggestion that he was doing so in a manner contrary to the law, he said:
Well, I just got through telling you what I thought about that, and what you are saying is just what the 4 Corners program said about it. I am not evading tax in any way, shape, or form. Now of course I am minimizing my tax, and if anybody in this country doesn’t minimize their tax they want their heads read, because, as a government I can tell you that you are not spending it that well that we should be donating extra.
Now Mitt Romney has stated that overpaying taxes disqualifies a president:

Cartoon: Glen McCoy
Mitt Romney says that if he paid more taxes than were required, he wouldn't be qualified to be president.

The U.S. presidential candidate tells ABC News that American voters expect candidates to pay "only what the tax code requires." He says he hasn't calculated what percentage of his income was paid in taxes but says that he's been audited.

Romney's vast personal wealth has been an issue in the campaign. Democrats have criticized him for paying only 13.9 percent of his income in taxes during the one year his taxes have been made public.
Romney will have to grow a much bigger pair to have any chance of emulating Kerry, but at least he has made a promising start.

Aug 17, 2012

Now piracy and con jobs; People smugglers make mockery of Australia

Cartoon: By Nicholson

In one of its first acts on coming to government, Labor abandoned the Howard government’s ‘Pacific Solution’ to the people smuggler racket that plagued the nation prior to its enactment. The reasons given were that it was cruel, inhumane, and unnecessary. Since that time there has been a steady increase in human trafficking by sea to the point where Australians expect at least one boat per day.

People smugglers realized that they didn’t have to sail all the way to Australian territory. By going a few miles off the Indonesian coast and making a distress call, they could get the Australian Navy to come and pick them up as an unofficial taxi service. This saved an enormous amount on fuel, which raises the question as to whether they can claim carbon credits for their effort.

This has been compounded yesterday when it was claimed that rescued asylum seekers committed an act of piracy in refusing to allow the merchant ship, which rescued them to sail on to Singapore, demanding to go to Christmas Island instead:

A GROUP of 67 asylum-seekers rescued from their boat by the merchant ship Parsifal became agitated, threatened to harm themselves and demanded to be taken to Australia in a high-seas incident that has been compared with the 2001 Tampa crisis. …

The conflict erupted on Tuesday morning 30 minutes after the Parsifal's captain finished rescuing 67 male asylum-seekers from their boat, which was 50 nautical miles south of Sunda Strait, in the Indonesian search-and-rescue zone, and continued steaming towards Singapore.

One member of the group, understood to be asylum-seekers from Pakistan or Afghanistan, asked where the boat was headed to. "When told (the Parsifal) was going to Singapore, the survivors became agitated and threatened self-harm," a spokesman for the company said. The ship's master decided that the asylum-seekers, who outnumbered the crew two to one, could pose a security threat, and reported the incident to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority. …
Today, the news is that the latest one has offloaded its cargo of 62, then sailed back to Indonesia:
Merchant vessel Maersk Diadema was responding to a mayday call from AMSA on Monday when it steamed towards the asylum boat about 70 nautical miles southwest of Bali. AMSA, in turn, was responding to distress calls from someone onboard the asylum boat.

The crew of the MV Diadema, a 290m-long container ship, had finished bringing rescued passengers aboard from the small asylum boat when the Indonesian crew surprised them by getting back on to the wooden vessel, and headed for Indonesia. "Six people returned to the rescued vessel and sailed away from the scene towards Indonesia," a spokesman from Customs and Border Protection Command told The Australian last night. "It's likely, based on their actions, that they were crew.”

The incident has angered some inside Border Protection Command because the search for the boat diverted many resources, including an RAAF maritime surveillance aircraft.
Oh well; we might catch them tomorrow when they bring the next load out and try the same thing again. We are frequently told that these smugglers are only uneducated fishermen trying to make ends meet which makes it more embarrassing that they consistently outsmart our 'best and brightest'.

Aug 16, 2012

Usain Bolt, tax resistor

It is difficult to work out whether the following article “Usain Bolt is wrong to oppose our tax laws” is satire or written by a total creature of the state.

H/t; Hey... What did I miss?

Usain Bolt became a byword during the Olympics owing to his incredible performances getting a gold medal in each of, the 100m, the 200m, and the 4 x 100m relay. What the various networks failed to mention is that he is a tax resistor. Bolt refuses to perform in Britain because of their tax laws there.

This seems to have aroused the ire of George Eaton from The New Statesman, who is outraged that someone would dare to opt out of competing there over a mere 50% cut being taken out of his prize money and sponsorship. George works himself up into a bit of a lather over his insistence that Usain would be nothing without big taxes and that not enough countries tax visiting athletes:

Bolt's objection is to a law that allows the government to take a cut of his sponsorship and endorsement earnings as well as his appearance fee, which is currently taxed at 50 per cent. For instance, were he to take part in 10 meetings worldwide, with one in Britain, the Inland Revenue would tax him on 10 per cent of his worldwide sponsorship earnings. None of which is objectionable. Without tax funded events such as those in Britain, Bolt, who earns around £10m a year, would have no platform on which to perform and, consequently, no sponsorship. Those countries that don't tax non-resident sports people, as Britain does, should do.

The law was waived for the Olympics at the behest of the IOC (one wonders if we would have seen Bolt otherwise) and the government is now under pressure to permanently suspend it. But given the revenue it would lose from those athletes who do grace us with their presence, it is understandably reluctant to do so. Instead, it is Bolt who should reverse his stance and accept that it is legitimate for him to pay a proportion of his worldwide earnings to the British government. After all, having spending £9bn on the Olympics, we could do with the money.

Bolt's management complain that "his tax liability in the UK would exceed his appearance fee". Yet if true, that is only because his sponsorship earnings are so exorbitant to begin with. In any case, is it utopian to hope that athletes might be motivated by something other than money?
Athletes of Bolt’s standard have a short time span in which to make money, before the next hopeful comes along to knock them off their perch. After that, unless they can successfully make a go of it as a coach they have to rely on declining sponsorship money while gaining another career.

This sort of carping over ‘exorbitant earnings’ is very reminiscent of the old attitude that existed before the age of professionalism during which sportsmen were expected to do it for the sport and the glory of the fatherland or whatever. It was prominent during Kerry Packer's takeover of cricket. In those days, great athletes appeared but were mainly rewarded with accolades which didn’t put much bread on the table. Today’s standards are much fairer.

Cigarette plain packaging, has it worked on marijuana?

Today Big Prohibition is celebrating its High Court victory over ‘Big Tobacco’ on the issue of plain packaging of cigarettes. Tobacco companies had challenged the legislation to have all cigarettes sold in drab green packs without logos or company identification on the basis of denial of intellectual and other property rights.

In retrospect, this may have been a mistake as property rights are not a widely respected concept in Australia. Rural landholders have largely borne the brunt of the assault on private property until now with a myriad of laws restricting their rights to carry out activities, from building right through to weed control. A quick check with them would have let Phillip Morris know, it was flogging a dead horse on the issue.

But nonetheless, big government is crowing:

At a later media conference Ms Roxon said: "Many other countries around the world... will take heart from the success of this decision today.” "Governments can take on big tobacco and win and it's worth countries looking again at what the next appropriate step is for them.”

The big tobacco companies had argued the plain packaging laws amounted to an acquisition of their valuable trademarks without proper compensation. The laws mandate that cigarettes be sold in drab olive-green packs and ban all commercial logos. Packs will be distinguishable only by printed brand names in a standard font and size.

In a statement this morning the court said: “At least a majority of the Court is of the opinion that the (Tobacco Plain Packaging) Act is not contrary to s 51(xxxi) (of the Constitution).” …

… Ms Roxon said the plain packaging laws were a vital preventative public health measure, which removed the last way for tobacco companies to promote their products. “This decision is a relief for every parent who worries about their child picking up this deadly and addictive habit,” she said.
Curiously, only the manufacturers seem to note the fact that the legislation will probably be counterproductive with BATC spokesman Scott McIntire stating, ''... The illegal cigarette black market will grow further when all packs look the same and are easier to copy.''

The legislation is in fact an exercise in cognitive dissonance. Illicit drugs such as marijuana, coke, heroin, speed, and the rest are, and always have been, sold in plain packaging. Manufacturers and distributors of these products seem to studiously avoid the use of identifying logos; in fact they avoid anything that can be used to identify them. Even with increasingly draconian measures being used to stamp out their activities, sales of their products seem to be increasing.

Big wowser, big prohibition, and their ally, big government have never learned the lessons of history in relation to attempts to ban popular products. In their jaded view of society it seems that, “A ten thousand year old record of failure proves nothing; this time, doing the same thing, it’s going to work.”

That seems to be the definition of something I can’t quite put my finger on.

Labor attacks freedom of speech # 253,420 (or so it seems)

Last week, Northern Territory Labor leader Paul Henderson was happy to weigh in on the disclosure of a manslaughter conviction in 1996 against an independent candidate in the current election. “I absolutely share some community concerns that somebody could be elected to office without disclosing a very serious and violent past,” he said.

This week his party seems to have a totally different reaction to the news that one of it’s own candidates had been convicted of assault. It threatened legal action to prevent the story being published, only to change their minds when the paper, NT News threatened to publish a blank front page with the word censored across it:

THE Northern Territory Labor leader has denied authorising an attempt by his office to make a newspaper spike a negative story about a Labor candidate's violent past by threatening legal action.

Chief Minister and Labor leader Paul Henderson’s office only withdrew the threat after The Northern Territory News said it would publish a blank front page with the word “censored” on it.

The scandal is likely to reopen the freedom of speech debate, as federal Labor moves towards imposing government regulation on the press. At a press conference on Tuesday Mr Henderson refused to guarantee similar threats would not be used in the future. Both federal Opposition leader Tony Abbott and former Labor minister Lindsay Tanner have recently spoken out in support of newspapers’ opposition to a government regulator.

Mr Henderson told reporters yesterday that he had been informed of the matter shortly after 8pm on Monday night, and had immediately instructed that the story be allowed to go ahead.

However, the paper says its editor, Matt Cunningham, received a call from Mr Henderson’s deputy chief of staff, Jamie Gallacher, just before 9pm threatening legal action if the story was published, contradicting Mr Henderson’s claims. Mr Gallacher only relented, the NT News says, after Mr Cunningham said the paper would run a blank front page with only the word “CENSORED” on it the following day.

The NT News published a front page picture of Mr Vowles on Tuesday, under the headline ‘Labor candidate’s violent past’. Today, it published another front page headline that read ‘Is that the truth, Hendo?’, in reference to the Chief Minister’s contradictory claims. …
It’s a welcome change to see the media taking these authoritarian pricks on.

Aug 14, 2012

LNP in ugly brawl with it's own executive

When the ALP in Queensland was in it’s death spiral and short of funds it introduced a scheme for public funding of the administration of political parties. The idea was, that instead of having to do their own fundraising and rely on popular support, the costs of running the organization of a major party would be met by taxpayers. The LNP swore it would repeal this legislation as soon as it achieved power.

Now in government, Campbell Newman has to his credit, belatedly started the process of wiping it. This in turn has caused angst in the party executive who have in the last year, become addicted to taxpayer funding. This has now erupted into a full scale brawl:

Sources from the parties last night confirmed LNP officials last week proposed a press conference with Labor for this week to demand the Newman government reverse its decision to dump "administration" funding for political parties, which has cost the LNP more than $2 million this year.

LNP and Labor officials yesterday refused to comment on the press conference, which was rejected by Labor, but Mr Palmer last night endorsed the proposal. "I can't confirm that was being proposed, but I do think it is the sort of issue that should involve bipartisan opposition from all parties," he said.

A paper on public funding of parties is now being drafted by Newman government Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie and is expected to include proposals that require parties to spend a set amount of money in each seat it contests during an election.
The preparation of a ‘paper on public funding of parties’ appears to fly in the face of the stated aim. While it undoubtedly suits party bosses to keep their snouts firmly planted in the public trough for funding rather than have to rely on the support of the population at large, they should be required to support themselves by honest means like the rest of us.

The requirements for such funding discriminate against minor parties for a start, and any requirement that parties spend a set amount of money in each seat it contests during an election is designed to make our lives impossible. It is difficult as it stands to run a shoe-string campaign largely funded through the candidate’s own resources without being required to spend a set amount arbitrarily chosen by major parties who have the advantage of being firmly attached to the public nipple.

It is an extraordinarily corrupt act for a political party in power to divert public money to its own purposes, and it no less corrupt for the next party in power to allow this to continue. Current reports indicate that the LNP receives over $2 million per year, Labor $580,000, Katter’s Party $166,000, as well as substantial amounts to the two independents. These funds are in addition to the millions received by these parties in state funding of their election campaigns.

Aug 13, 2012

Power Prices Rising? Abolish the Two Big Climate Taxes

by Viv Forbes assisted by volunteer editors.

The carbon tax is the Big New Tax pushing up Australian electricity prices. But there is also a Big Old Tax, the insidious Renewable Energy Target (RET) Tax, introduced by the Howard government.

The RET Tax forces electricity retailers to buy a rising proportion of their power from expensive "renewables" such as wind and solar. It has already caused massive increases in the price of electricity. Surely we can learn from Europe – wind and solar energy will escalate our power costs, destroy other industries, waste scarce capital, destabilise the power network, uglify the countryside with mirrors, towers and pylons and, when everything is counted, may not reduce the use of carbon fuels, and certainly will not improve the climate.

Tony Abbott is right to promise abolition of the ALP's carbon tax, and he must also abolish that other devious climate tax, the RET tax.

Both are unnecessary, unjustified, costly and pernicious.

It is not wicked power companies who have caused electricity prices to soar – it is wicked politicians with Two Big Climate Taxes.
Cartoon: By Pickering

Pickering has it about right - 50% blame for Howard's RET tax; 50% blame for Gillard's Carbon Tax.

More Info:
Wind Obsession causing power costs to surge:

Recouping the costs of wind turbines may take more than a lifetime:

"The (UK) Government’s ideological obsession with wind power is inflicting ever greater damage on Britain, driving up our energy bills and ruining our countryside.

"Brutalist, expensive and inefficient, wind farms are nothing more than vast monuments to political vanity. They contribute little to our electricity supply, yet they cost us all a fortune.

"There is a curious paradox at work here. In the name of protecting the environment, the green politicians are inflicting terrible damage on our landscape. Anyone who loves our green and pleasant land should be fighting for the removal of these monstrosities.

Leo McKinstry, the Price of Green Folly, Daily Express, 8 August 2012

Aug 11, 2012

Airline separates men from children

In fairness to Virgin, this is in the case of unaccompanied children, sitting with strangers.

Image: From The Brisbane Times.

Generally Virgin Australia is a great airline to fly with but in the following case their handling of an airline policy issue really sucks. A male passenger on a Brisbane/Sydney flight was made to move to another seat owing to having been placed beside two unaccompanied minors:
Fairfax Media reported the story of Johnny McGirr, 33, who said he was flying home from Brisbane in April when he took his seat next to two boys he estimated to be aged between eight and 10. He was assigned the window seat but sat in the aisle seat so the two boys could look out the window.

However, a flight attendant approached him just as passengers were asked to put on their seatbelts, asking him to move. Mr McGirr said when he asked why, he was told, "Well you can't sit next to two unaccompanied minors.”

"She said it was the policy and I said, 'Well, that's pretty sexist and discriminatory. You can't just say because I'm a man I can't sit there,' and she just apologised and said that was the policy. "By this stage everyone around me had started looking.”

Mr McGirr said the attendant then asked a fellow female passenger, "Can you please sit in this seat because he is not allowed to sit next to minors.”
From the appearance of that statement, most of those within earshot of the incident could not be blamed for assuming that Mr McGirr was a registered sex offender. It’s hard to imagine a way to do this in a more ham-fisted manner.

The policy itself is ridiculous in that it assumes that all sex offenders are male, something that is not correct. The female passenger mentioned was an unknown person who was therefore just as big a risk. In any case it is unlikely that had the passenger been a pedophile, he would risk attempting anything on a flight in full view of anyone who cared to look.

And for heavens sake, in this day of modern technology and computer bookings, is it all that hard to ensure that the policy is carried out at the booking desk rather than on the plane afterwards. It’s not rocket science to bookmark unaccompanied minors and make sure that those excluded by company policy are not seated next to them.

In this modern litigatious age though, a company can’t be too careful.

Back in the early 80s I was on a flight from Brisbane to Sydney and shortly after takeoff realized that the 9/10-year-old girl next to me was becoming quite distressed. After talking to her I discovered that on finding out her holiday plans, her school friends had told her of ‘all of those crashes, mangled bodies’ and such like and she was terrified. I managed to talk her through it and as I felt the power drop off as the plane started its descent, talked her through what she could expect, hoping all the while we didn’t hit any up draughts or the opposite.

We arrived at the airport with her clinging to me, (would have been great if she had been 19/20 instead) and was thanked by her parents who were a couple of rows away. Today, I wouldn’t dare.

In an update to the story, Virgin is reviewing its policy in the wake of the flack it has received.

Aug 10, 2012

Fair Trading causes remote town’s only grocer to close

There seems to be some confusion as to the closure of the only food supplier in Wilcannia, a remote Western NSW town between Cobar and Broken Hill. The IGA supermarket there is under investigation by the state Office of Fair trading for alleged ‘price gouging’ although given the remoteness of the town and the high crime rates reported from the region, prices are bound to be higher than average.

Some later reports indicate that the owner has a ‘shoulder injury’ and intends to reopen if possible or if a family member can help out. This seems to indicate that the shop is not profitable enough to afford hired help. If the investigation forces the lowering of prices, the closure could be permanent:

Wilcannia's only supermarket closed suddenly on Monday and residents have no idea when it will reopen. The store had been the subject of a Fair Trading investigation into price-gouging and its closure comes after NSW Fair Trading Minister Anthony Roberts recently visited the town.

He said he was "disturbed" and "alarmed" by high prices at the food store. The town's nearest supermarket is now at Broken Hill, two hours away.

Chief executive of the Wilcannia Local Aboriginal Land Council, Jack Beetson, says people are very worried about running out of fresh food. …

… NSW Department of Aboriginal Affairs general manager Jason Ardler says the closure is worrying. "Look, it's very concerning, of course, it creates a real risk for food security for staples, for things like baby formula, those sort of things that people are reliant upon on a day-to-day basis.” …

… Premier Barry O'Farrell said the state government would do what it could to help Wilcannia residents. "I'm concerned that a community has been left without a store to provide basics such as nappies and baby food," the Premier said. … "But I make the point that the state government is not in the business of competing with Woolworths and Coles.”
Given that the population of the town is stated to be 800 and it is on the main highway, which means the possibility of passing trade, it seems reasonable to assume that if the owner was ripping off the people with exorbitant prices, someone else would open up in competition and run him out of business or force prices down.