Friday, March 31, 2006

The Greens want us all dead

No I'm not being hysterical. Its a rational conclusion formed when one observes that the outcome of Green policies can have a terrible toll on our supply of the most basic need - water.

In Brisbane, there is a drastic water shortage. They are facing the harshest water restrictions of any major Australian city.

Now when it gets to the point when something in high demand (like water) becomes extremely scarce, usually we would see the free market spring into action, as suppliers rush to build more dams and store more water.

But.. the Greenies continue to lobby governments to stop building dams, and it looks like we'll be facing a future full of scenarios like Brisbane:

Water pressure is to be turned down at night across southeast Queensland in a desperate bid to stop the region from running out of the precious resource. The dramatic step, with the potential to affect fire-fighting abilities in some areas and increase pumping costs for developers, is one of several conservation initiatives from a drought management taskforce. Without serious rain, experts predict the city will run out of water in August 2008 - even with tough stage three water restrictions to come in in May. The wet season is almost at an end. And the Brisbane City Council has been told there is a less than 50 per cent chance of above-median rainfall before the harsher restrictions take effect.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Nelson Mandela, no hero of mine

People should often stop and ask themselves why Nelson Mandela is considered such a hero, an icon and a saint. But unfortunately, it seems that we all suffer from group-think. We all just assume he was a great leader who served time in prison in the noble fight against apartheid. Period.

Brookesnews has a great piece on black leaders who receive fame and awards, and the following few nasty details about Mandela are laid out:

No mention by any of the networks of the following, however: “Nelson Mandela participated in planning acts of sabotage and inciting violence, so that he could no longer fulfill the criteria for the classification of political prisoners.” That's Amnesty International, not exactly an outpost of the racist White Wing conspiracy.

And no mention that: “The preparation, manufacture and use of explosives, including 210,000 hand grenades, 48,000 anti-personnel mines, 1,500 time devices, 144 tons of ammonium nitrate, 21.6 tons of aluminum powder and a ton of black powder, 193 counts of terrorism committed between 1961 and 1963,” is what got Saint Mandela jugged in the first place.

Among other choice Nelson Mandela-isms, “The cause of Communism is the greatest cause in the history of mankind!” (1961). “There’s one place where Fidel Castro stands out head and shoulders above the rest — that is in his love for human rights and liberty!” Saint Mandela promulgated that gem as Castro awarded him Cuba’s prestigious “Playa Giron Award” in 1984. “Playa Giron”" by the way, is Cuban for “The Bay of Pigs,” which makes the ironies all the more nauseating.
If you don't believe me, read Nelson Mandela's 1961 writings, "How to be a good communist". It truly sounds like Mandela was guilty of double-think, being able to be a loyal follower of communism whilst being able to praise freedom with quotes like:
Let freedom reign. The sun never set on so glorious a human achievement.

My ABC? I'm not interested...

Tim Blair has a wonderful solution for the 50,000 people who signed a petition (which he rightly calls the "Cheapskate List") calling on the government to increase funding to their beloved ABC:

Instead of crying and moaning and organising petitions and forming pointless activist groups, why don’t each of these 50,000 people simply send $768 to the ABC? Problem solved.
Exactly !

Freedom of speech is a 2 way street

My libertarian streak makes it very easy for me to pick a consistent stance on freedom of speech issues. Freedom of speech is nothing if it isn't universal. There should be no limits on it. Obviously it includes the freedom to offend. I've spent many hours criticising angry Muslims who wish to limit freedom of speech, because they were offended by the 12 Danish cartoons offending their profit Muhammed.

Well now that an Indonesian newspaper has their own cartoon depicting the Australian PM and foreign minister as dingos having sex, I still say they have a right to draw what they please.

The opposition's foreign affairs spokesman Kevin Rudd has rightly called the cartoons obscene. But then, he think the solution to all this is to limit freedom of speech:

"Certainly when I see the Indonesian ambassador next, when he finally returns to Australia, I'll be raising this in terms of what government can do in Jakarta to at least ensure that it's publications don't breach common decency standards."
On both sides of politics in Australia, there is a sick and power-hungry mentality. Whenever a problem is identified, their first and usually only response is to think "What can government do?"

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

$278b in taxes!! I'm angry as hell !

Words escape me, my rage and shock are preventing me from writing anything rational, so below I have reproduced the full text of this article to understand what a terrible price we pay for us to be a "social democracy".

AUSTRALIANS paid $278.5 billion in tax to governments in 2004-05, a jump of 8.3 per cent from the previous year, figures show.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics found the amount of tax paid by Australians increased 8.3 per cent over 2003-04, or more than $21 billion.

The Federal Government leads the way, with total taxes collected by Canberra up 9.3 per cent to $229 billion. Taxes on income increased 11.8 per cent to $163 billion, while indirect taxes (including the GST which Canberra argues is a state tax) were up 3.8 per cent to $65 billion.
The states and territories collected $41.6 billion over the year, an increase of 3.1 per cent, while local governments collected $8.1 billion (up 6.2 per cent).

The Federal Government's average tax take a person increased 7.1 per cent to $13,781. Among the states and territories, New South Wales continues to lead the way, taking an average of $2645 a person, an increase of 1.7 per cent. Western Australia continues to have the second highest state tax take at an average of $2582 a person (up 3 per cent), followed by Victoria ($2520), South Australia ($2387), Queensland ($2179), Tasmania ($1817) and the Northern Territory ($1784).

Only one government, that of the ACT, actually reduced the amount of tax collected a person. It fell 5.8 per cent to an average of $2193 a person. Income tax now accounts for more than 40 per cent of all the tax collected in Australia, the first time it has exceeded 40 per cent since 2000/01. Company taxes account for another 17.8 per cent of all taxes (up from 16.3 per cent), followed by the GST (12.7 per cent), excise and levies (8.2 per cent), property taxes (4.5 per cent), taxes on financial and capital transactions (4.2 per cent) and payroll taxes (4.2 per cent). Gambling taxes collected $4.3 billion across the nation, while insurance taxes collected another $3.5 billion.

Premier Beattie is a dumbass

The Premier of Queensland recently gave us the following stupidity:

QUEENSLAND Premier Peter Beattie has threatened to name and shame anyone caught profiteering in areas devastated by Cyclone Larry. Consumer affairs officers have begun investigating a string of complaints of shops and services raising prices for goods in cyclone-ravaged parts of far north Queensland.
Watch out evil "profiteers" ! Premier Beattie is on the loose. Hopefully someone can knock some sense into him with a clue-by-four. I ask, what is the problem with profiteering exactly ? Well in America, they call it "price-gouging", and they have laws against it. I have already explained why they are a total sham in an earlier post, but I will gladly add more arguments against the outlawing or public shaming of people who raise the price of items in demand during disasters/shortages.

The basic story is that if merchants normally sell some random useful item, like petrol or chocolate or electricity generators, there is a price which is determined by supply and demand meeting, as shown in the graph below. During a cyclone, the demand for electricity generators goes up probably 50-fold, which would see the blue demand curve below jump out to the right/upwards. Under a free market, the supply and demand would meet at a much higher price and quantity. But the supply curve will not move.

Now if you look at the consumer/producer surplus graph, you can see that in a free market, consumers AND producers both profit as represented by the blue and yellow regions respectively.

Now here is the basic first-year economics theory. This is fairly intuitive. The blue demand curve represents the quantity of units all the consumers in the market would be willing to purchase at a particular price. The red supply curve represents the output in terms of "electric generators sold" of all the producers out there, and it shows how many units the producers would be willing to sell at a given price.

Where these two curves meet, determines the market price and market quantity.

The blue region exists because there are a whole lot of consumers who were more than happy to buy the item at the market price. Some of them are willing to pay even more than that. So the blue region is the "consumer surplus" or profit to consumers. The yellow region exists because there are a whole lot of producers who were more than happy to sell (supply) that number of units at the market price. In fact some producers were willing to sell even below the market price, so the profit to producers is the yellow region.

This is why profits are not necessarily a bad one-sided phenomena. Both parties gain from the transaction. But.. getting back to the original story, Peter Beattie wants to humiliate any producers with the common sense of adjusting their price upwards when demand for their items skyrockets. This means that there will be a huge shortage. In the graph above, producers cannot charge more than the existing market price ($5) even though there would now be 50-times as many people will to buy it at that price (250 people). Producers are only willing to sell 5 units at this price.. so 245 people lose out.

If price could adjust to lets say, $50 or $100, then the consumers who really value the item in the wake of an emergency can fork out in the short term and pay more. Otherwise, if they wait for the situation to recover, supplies will get through, the emergency will slowly dissipate, demand will drop back down, as will prices.

So to summarise, Peter Beattie wants to shame and humiliate the producers who sell items in massive demand during an emergency, if they allow prices to adjust to what a free market would generate.

The new IR laws: Less regulation is better

"Our ABC" is trying to stir up discontent and panic at the government's new IR laws with this report about a woman simply named "Elizabeth" who lost her job:

A woman, known only as Elizabeth, says she was sacked after working at a small Tasmanian sports club for 10 years. Elizabeth says she had fallen behind in her job after doing the work of two people since a colleague resigned.
Strawman at the Australian Libertarian Society sums it up best with his usual wit and sarcasm:

Excellent! She was almost doing the work of two people, which means they are going to have to employ two people to replace her. One person loses a job, two people gain a job, net gain: one job. Little Johnny's IR laws have created their first job!

There is a catch though. Clearly there is an unemployed Tasmanian wandering around whose productivity is nearly twice that of the average worker, and who only expects a standard wage. A greedy capitalist employer's wet dream! Unfortunately all those greedy capitalists are unable to find her because the ABC only identified her as 'Elizabeth'. Every Tasmanian Elizabeth is probably fighting of job offers as you read this. 'no, sorry, it's not me, I'm just the garden-variety Elizabeth who takes extended smoking breaks and does her nails in company time'.

But it won't be long before the real Elizabeth is tracked down, and is once again placed in useful and productive employment.

.. assuming of course that employers believe that bastion of fair and objective reporting the Australian Broadcasting Commission. And why wouldn't they?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Victorian ALP has new bold ideas for your money !


THE Shrine would be transformed into one of the world's leading heritage museums under a $62 million plan to preserve the spirit of our armed forces.

Chambers beneath the Melbourne landmark would be developed into a hi-tech education centre to try to double visitor numbers to more than a million a year.
"There's a recognition at government level we need a renewed focus on values for young people," he said.
Well hey, after the Commonwealth Games, whats $62mil ? Its small change, I'm sure nobody will miss it. And as a reward, we get to "preserve the spirit of our armed forces". And hey, its all about "values" for young people so it must be worth it then.
[/sarcasm off]

Who needs an education centre, we have the internet already. If people want information, they can google it. $62 million is a lot of money. It takes thousands of families many months of savings to accrue that much in taxes. Its all going down the toilet now !

Governments are always self-righteous, and believe that good government means doing lots of big projects. They don't realise that individuals form voluntary partnerships and do big projects much more efficiently, and they have to satisfy the demands of the market to compete. They don't realise that stealing our savings and resources, and regulating our lives makes it so much harder for entrepeneurship to thrive in Victoria.

Go to hell Bracks, you thieving commie !

Polls - not news

I'm glad to see most people ignore the reports of approval ratings that appear in the media periodically. You know what they say about statistics ? When a poll is taken, there are many contentious issues, from the selection and size of a sample group to the specific wording of the questions, right through to the way different media entities report the results.

For example, the NY times will always spin the results of a poll to show that Pres. Bush's approval ratings have taken a nosedive in response to some policy of his, even if there is nothing in the results to show that.

Most newspapers don't even report how the data was gathered, and how big the sample size is. If you are trying to approximate what the general population's opinion is, you need a fairly big sample. If you sample 10 people on a street, the margin of error is very huge. If you sample 100 or even 1000, its still a few percentage points of error. And sometimes, on a rare occasion, the unreliability of these polls is exposed for all to see.

The Age:

KIM Beazley has been dealt a massive personal blow in the latest AgePoll and the shockwaves of Labor disunity are hitting the party’s support. …Labor’s primary vote fell 3 points in the ACNielsen poll to 37 per cent, while its two-party preferred vote was down 2 points in the past month, putting it equal with the Coalition on 50 per cent
The Australian:
The Newspoll in The Australian showed Labor leading the coalition 53 per cent to 47 with a seven-point rise in its primary vote, while the ACNielsen poll in Fairfax newspapers had the government and opposition level-pegging at 50-50.
Often the only reason the media run these polls is to give themselves some news to report on, and so they can write a few editorials about what might be behind the change in approval ratings.

British PM is full of crap

Tony Blair is in town, to tell us Aussies what to do:

In a stance which undermines Labor's support for the Kyoto Protocol, the British Prime Minister said there was a need to move on - bringing together Kyoto, the US-led Asia-Pacific Climate Change Partnership, which includes China, India and Australia, the G8 climate change initiative and the UN-sponsored Montreal climate conference.

"There will be no resolution without a clear, disciplined framework for action, with measurable outcomes," he said in a widely praised address to a special joint sitting of federal parliament.

"And there will be no forgiving for any of us if we do not pay attention to the degrading and polluting of our planet."

Ohh no, Gaia is angry ! Destroy your cars, close your factories or else feel her vengeance !

It escapes me as to how so many world leaders and educated men are joining the cult of man-made global warming. Where do their fears and concerns come from ? Its certainly not from hard scientific evidence. There is no more evidence in favor of man-made global warming as there is to the contrary.

"Stars, not greenhouse gases, are heating up the Earth. So says prominent University of Ottawa science professor Jan Veizer..."

Cosmic rays are hitting us all the time -- a well-known fact. What's new is that researchers are asking what cosmic rays do to our world and its weather.

- Last year, the British science journal Proceedings of the Royal Society published a theory that cosmic rays "unambiguously" form clouds and affect our climate.

- Florida Tech and the University of Florida are jointly investigating whether cosmic rays are the trigger that makes a charged thundercloud let rip with lightning.

- In 2003, scientists from NASA and the University of Kansas suggested that cosmic rays "influence cloud formation, can affect climate and harm live organisms directly via increase of radiation dose," an effect they claim to trace over millions of years of fossil history.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Commonwealth games blew $200mil+ on security

Theres nothing honorable about our thieving premier, Steve Bracks. He is a reckless spender:

SECURITY at Melbourne's Commonwealth Games cost taxpayers $119 million – more than double the Victorian Government's original budget allocation.

The Federal Government also spent $85 million on security, taking the total Australian bill on security for the Melbourne 2006 Games to $204 million.
The Vic ALP have gone into damage control mode, justifying the excessive spending on the Games by saying that it will in turn cover the costs by generating more revenue, i.e through tourism. Some fools may swallow this argument, but lets be realistic, we taxpayers just paid for hosting the equivalent of the world's biggest fanciest dinner party. The Commonwealth Games may be all grand and spectacular, but trying to sell it off as a golden goose is dishonest. Not everyone is falling for it though. At least our Kiwi neighbours appear to have more brains:
Sports Minister Trevor Mallard said the estimated $NZ1.5 billion ($A1.29 billion) cost of hosting the games in 2014 all but ruled out countries like New Zealand.
Well, the real test will be to see if people learn from their mistakes. Will the ALP continue to support and fund huge projects out of our taxes, or will they get back to handling the basic functions of government with an effort on giving us some tax relief ?

Government says, "no bananas for you!"

Yes, the latest news gives me more fuel for another attack on government regulation. Whilst natural disasters, especially of the unexpected variety, do indeed occur, regardless of what government is in place, its what happens in the wake of a disaster that is indicative.

After last week's cyclone destroyed most of the banana crops in the country, Australian banana prices have doubled/tripled in recent days.

Normally, the free market is a wonderful and dynamic system. It springs into action. Consumers and producers can normally figure out what to do with the available resources by setting prices themselves. It only makes sense that if the supply of Australian bananas is temporarily crippled, that importers step in and supply consumers with more overseas produce.

Well keep on dreaming. This government has a ban on all imports. Get used to higher prices for the next year, and you can't blame the cyclone, you can only blame protectionist beliefs held by Australian farmers and socialist politicians.

Remember this story well, next time you hear an Aussie union lobby the media or government and say that they are all about protecting "the rights" Aussie jobs and Aussie farmers. The only rights they are really talking about is... removing your right to purchase foreign goods from willing sellers.

The Sunday Age, fit for toilet paper.

I'm staring now at a copy of yesterday's Sunday Age. On the front page is a huge pro-public-transport editorial with the headline: "From clear roads to gridlock: What's the lesson, Mr Bracks?". I've shown this paper to several people and asked them if they can identify any news content, facts or statistics in this front page article and sadly there are none to be found.

It amounts to a huge advertising space for journalist William Birnbauer to lobby the government to spend as much as it takes to make the already heavily subsidised and inefficient public transport system free. On the centre of the front page is a before and after photo, of Melbourne's King St traffic during peak hour. One photo shows King St with very little traffic, the other shows it bumper-to-bumper with many more trucks and cars. There is no scientific basis to this photograph, in fact the two photos are so completely polarised that its almost certain the editor instructed a photographer to "find" the right kind of evidence for him so that he can write a huge editorial.

The Sunday Age is a disgraceful socialist rag. There is very little news content in this paper, almost all of it is devoted to left-wing editorialising passed off as news.

North Korea is a socialist hellhole

Perhaps no other government on earth regulates the lives of its citizens more than Kim Jong Il's North Korea. The Democratic Peace blog has some damning facts of the current regime, as well as this astonishing night-time satellite photo of North Korea and South Korea.

You can see who has higher living standards. It looks like there is almost no electricity available in the North Korean police state at all.

I encourage you to read the full text of the article and discover all the horrors that exist in North Korea. Food is rationed by the government.

Food is put aside first for "patriotic rice" and "military rice." This has resulted in Kim cutting the consumption of 700g of food a day per person by 22 percent, or to 400g a day, well below the minimum consumption of rice set by the World Food and Agricultural Organization.
In this "classless" communist society, the regime has divided North Koreans into a rigid hierarchy of three classes, and fifty-one subdivisions, depending on a person's status within the communist North Korean Workers Party and the military, their perceived faithfulness to communism, and family backgrounds.
There are no hospitals, doctors, or medical distribution and supply companies independent of the regime. All are nationalized. As with food, therefore, medical treatment and medicine is distributed as reward and punishment.

How the left justify theft

Johann Hari, in a tribute to John Stuart Mill, has somehow gone off the rails and lost the message. Instead of praising the principles of free trade, he expresses support for the ideas of Richard Layard:

If we were to act on the broad contours of Mill’s philosophy today, the world would look very different. Let’s look first at economics. Currently, our society (and the planet) is structured and geared almost exclusively to maximise the Gross National Product. The bottom line runs like a thread through everything. But recently the brilliant utilitarian economist Richard Layard – with one eye on Mill – asked a challenging question: what if we tried to maximise the Gross National Happiness instead?
Well.. nothing so groundbreaking there, is it ? Maybe people should try to maximise their happiness instead of their wealth?

Of course, I can agree with this general sentiment entirely. But can you identify what the sinister underlying assumption is ? It is that we are all geared "to maximise the Gross National Product" - i.e people in a free economy are currently are too stupid to pursue their own happiness.

According to this theory, if left to our own devices, we would work like slaves around the clock, never eat out, never see movies, never give charity, never take holidays... its all about what we produce, right ?

So, this leads leftists to their favorite conclusion - only the state can make people happy by regulating their lives. Let the state create laws limiting the number of working hours per week. Let them introduce public holidays. Let them create all kinds of programs funded with public money to celebrate sporting events, arts and multiculturalism. Why ? Because we are all too stupid to spend the money on what makes us happy.

Friday, March 24, 2006

The media hate Israel

What else to make of this sick equivalence by AP, who attached a heavily biased caption to the photo below

Militants of the Kadima party stand next to portraits of acting prime minister Ehud Olmert, right, and ailing prime minister Ariel Sharon at the Kadima headquarters in Jerusalem Wednesday March 22, 2006. The centrist party Kadima (forward in English) was founded by Ariel Sharon in Nov. 2006 after leaving the right-wing Likud party and is the front-runner in the polls for the upcoming March 28 general elections. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

For a long time now, we know AP and Reuters have described genocidal terrorists as "militants". Now they use the same sickening description alongside a photograph of a couple of young Israeli guys involved with the extremely moderate, Israeli centrist party Kadima.

And the AP and Reuters are considered credible sources for foreign news by the mainstream media ....

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Government body count.

Professor Rummel, former Nobel Prize nominee, has devoted his life to researching the death toll caused by governments in the 20th century. This is what he refers to as 'democide' - the number killed domestically by their own governments, not including those killed in wars and battles. After further research, he has revised his estimate upwards and the number is appalling:

Among all the democide estimates appearing on this website, some have been revised upward. I have changed that for Mao's famine, 1958-1962, from zero to 38,000,000. And thus I have had to change the overall democide for the PRC (1928-1987) from 38,702,000 to 76,702,000.

I have changed my estimate for colonial democide from 870,000 to an additional 50,000,000.
Thus, the new world total: old total 1900-1999 = 174,000,000.

New World total = 174,000,000 + 38,000,000 (new for China) + 50,000,000 (new for Colonies) = 262,000,000.

Just to give perspective on this incredible murder by government, if all these bodies were laid head to toe, with the average height being 5', then they would circle the earth ten times. Also, this democide murdered 6 times more people than died in combat in all the foreign and internal wars of the century. Finally, given popular estimates of the dead in a major nuclear war, this total democide is as though such a war did occur, but with its dead spread over a century.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The left's solution to government corruption is...

in one word, stupid.

Since so many different governments across the world are now in charge of more than ever, political parties are being more aggressively lobbied and funded than ever. This is just the natural result of giving them so much power and influence and regulation over our daily lives and our industries.

So first, lefties ask us to have a system of government that taxes and spends, regulates everything, all to make us a socially responsible democracy and to provide more welfare and public goods than ever. Then they cry foul when private individuals, the media, lobby groups or corporations try to lobby or finance political parties so that the regulation will not hurt them, or so that the regulation will actually protect them (e.g farmers around the world have tariff barriers to protect them against cheaper foreign competition).

So next they demand that all party donations are made public, as is the case in the U.S and now Britain since 1997. And whaddaya know, the donations don't stop, because everybody still has a huge vested interest in lobbying government.

Of course, the left aren't concerned that environmental activists and refugee advocates try to lobby government policy through media influence. They are only concerned that big evil capitalist corporations try to lobby political parties. So now, the only remaining solution for the left-wing worshippers of the nanny state, voiced by Johann Hari, is for political parties to be above the influence of billionairres and corporations by giving them, you guessed it....more public money :

The British government wants to shower away this mud by making all loans transparent. But they made donations public back in 1997, and all it has ensured is that our politicians are openly selling peerages rather than doing it secretly. The real solution was laid out in Helena Kennedy’s brilliant Power Commission a few weeks ago. She suggested that each voter should be asked to nominate a political party to receive three pounds of public funds a year.

Some people begrudge state funding, demanding to know, “Why should I pay for these people?” The obvious answer is: because if you don’t, billionaires will, and they will shaft you and your family in subtle ways for a very long time. Political parties are an essential part of our democracy. If you don’t want to pay for them, you might as well moan about having to pay for ballot papers and polling stations.
You hear that you stupid mob of sheep ? Don't worry about paying more money, just hand over the dough and democracy will work much better. We can all trust the benevolent politicians to represent "the peoples will" and do stuff in our favor if they all automatically receive money from us.

Don't swallow it ? Neither do I. The sooner social democracies fail and die off, and are replaced by liberal democracies, the better off the world will be.

The arrogance of these people makes my blood boil. If leftists resent being called elitists, then perhaps they could stop trying to tax and spend our money for us, and stop interfering with our private lives.

The Commie games

Via Mangled Thoughts comes this story of extortion and theft by the Victorian government, who have seized the venue of the Melbourne Gun Club for 3 months so that they can host the Commonwealth Games shooting events.

The Bracks Junta and Ron Walker’s commie `major events Committee seized control of the property 3 months ago. So far, the club has lost:

3 months of revenue of at least $70,000. Part of that loss includes the loss of cancelling a major ISS standard competition has scheduled annually, this year’s this past weekend, which was transferred to another club. Deduct say, a generous $15,000 lost on the cancelled competition, leaving, say, an average underlying revenue from range fees and sales of ammo, targets, and sundry items, and that leaves an underlying monthly revenue of around $18,000/month revenues lost just for the 3 months to last week. The losses will be higher, of course, for the period of the commie Commonwealth games competition until the day the `govt.’ vacates the premises.$70,000 and still counting might not seem much, but it is a large hole in a shooting club’s annual budget.

Next, vandalism, and members are very cross over this too. Anyone who has visited the property, can see it is a well kept property covered in well trimmed grass. What the commie Games `venue organisers did’, was to dump tons of bark mulch around the viewing areas and gravel for `walkways’. That is next to the tin shacks and other temporary edifices the `organisers’ have splattered over the grounds in the vicinity of the clubhouse. The club is now in a fight to force Madden, Bracks, Walker et al to pay for cleaning up the garbage they have dumped on the grounds and make sure they do it thoroughly, including rectification of damage. A fight, because, as things now stand, it is very likely, the club will be stiffed for paying for that too.

I hope this story gains momentum, as it highlights the sheer authoritarianism of the Bracks government. It has usurped billions of our dollars in taxes to spend on the games, it has diverted police resources and congested public roads. Now it seizes property, all so we can "share the spirit" of the games.

Is there no limit to how much governments will violate our property and our freedoms if they believe its in "the national interest"?

Saddam Hussein's sons would rape and torture as many people as they pleased, "in the national interest". Adolf Hitler went to war and commited genocide against minorities "in the national interest". Stalin and Mao destroyed wealth, food, millions of lives "in the national interest".

"The national interest" is the language of tyrants. No government, no majority, no mob has the moral right to persecute, rob, or deny freedoms to any group, minority or even a single individual.

No national interest shall ever trump the rights of people to live in freedom and pursue happiness. Everyone may do as they please, so long as they don't infringe upon the rights and property of others.

What is corruption ?

What about corruption ? Is it such a bad thing ? Well if you ask me, the answer is a strong no.
Although corruption is a very strong signal of a bad thing. But corruption in itself is not as bad as people make it out to be.

My definition of corruption is from a libertarian perspective. It occurs strictly when a private person or firm needs to "grease the wheels" of government to get something done.

A work colleague told me of how a rich uncle wanted to open a paper mill in Indonesia. The business looked great on paper, it would provide paper products to consumers and generate employment. But.. in Indonesia, you need a rubber stamp from some minister or bureaucrat to go ahead. The solution for his uncle ? ? A briefcase full of money paid as a bribe.

Now maybe back here in Australia, a person wants to build a home in a certain way that doesn't meet strict council regulations and building codes. It would cost them additional thousands of dollars to redesign their home to comply, and its money that they might not have. The only way they can afford a home is perhaps to spend a few hundred bribing a council official to approve the home.

In fact, I challenge readers to give me examples of where corruption occurs that does not involves government power. The AWB example occurred namely because Saddam Hussein and his socialist Ba'athist government controlled all imports. The only way to sell Australian wheat to Iraqis was to incorporate a premium in the purchase price, which was then sent back to Iraq as a kickback to the dictator.

My last post below dealt with the media mentality towards holding ministers and public servants accountable. Accountability is a very nice sounding word, and I'm sure its very reassuring to many people to think that we have the mainstream media to "keep the bastards honest". The general ideology behind this is that we can give government power over every aspect of our lives, and the media will root out ineptitude and corruption.

My mentality is to keep the bastards out of power. And not through some naive method of trying to vote in a party full of perfect super-intelligent, impeccably honest boyscouts through elections. These party's do not exist, every political party is full of humans, and humans often make mistakes and are really bad at making decisions for other people. Once you give a government control to regulate others lives and businesses, those other people will have an incentive to lobby, bribe or just plain defy government to carry on in their daily lives.

My plan is to have as much liberty and freedom in society as possible, so that government will wield as little power as is absolutely necessary.

Whenever the media try to create a fiasco, the issue boils down to either:

  • a storm in a teacup - it isn't reasonable to expect anybody government to be aware of a particular problem. E.g with unfairly deporting someone, because there may be thousands of other cases for the government to review.
  • ineptitude - maybe it was reasonable for the government to be aware, but they were too lazy or not capable of dealing with the issue.
  • corruption - they knew of a problem, and were complicit in it for their own gain. This could be for money, prestige, media coverage, helping out friends and cronies etc.
So I've explained above that there will always be ineptitude in a government. They are human like us and they often make mistakes. When government is big and has its tentacles in every aspect of our lives, they will make even more mistakes. Ineptitude should be expected. Corruption is no different. Whilst a robust and free media CERTAINLY help reduce corruption and add to the likely costs of getting caught, the only way to remove the incentive is to get government out of our daily lives and our businesses.

They should stick to police, defence and upholding our rights and liberties.

AWB fiasco

The media coverage of the AWB affair keeps ramping up, with the latest reports now indicating that the PM and foreign minister would have definately been advised that the AWB was paying bribes in order to do business in Iraq. Well, how do I interpret this news ?

I've heard many on the left suggest that scalps should roll, and those involved or aware of the corruption should be replaced. Well all AWB officials involved seem to have already been replaced, and it looks like nobody in the government has yet to suffer the same fate.

Whilst the left call for the ministers aware of the corruption to be replaced (the ALP just want to replace the Libs in the long run and have their position of power), there is a larger issue which is always avoided by the media. Namely, why on earth should government be involved with exporting wheat overseas ?

Its mostly the fans of big government and the nanny state (most of them lefties) that always call for accountability and supremely high standards in our public sector. Its gotten to the point now where the media and opposition continually fuss over these questions:

  • "Who knew what?"
  • "When did they know?"
  • "Why didn't they act?"
If you ask me, the only reason these questions are repeated ad nauseum is not because of some genuine shock at the enormity of some alleged scandal. The same questions get asked when the department of immigration deport someone wrongfully. Or over the Iraq WMD intelligence. For me, its really simple, they want the guy under scrutiny replaced (by someone else whose politics are more aligned to their beliefs).

The ABC and fairfax media want to discredit Howard's government and create public outrage. The ALP headkickers like Kevin Rudd give them many quotes to report. The other arms of the media see the frenzy and decide they need to cover the issue as well, because its becoming more prominent. The media usually move as a pack, and once a few players cover the issue, the rest of them need to cover it to give the appearance of impartiality.

But its not just the left who are guilty of this practice. In Victoria, we have a socialist big-spending Bracks government. The Herald Sun play the same game whenever Bracks is caught spending outrageous amounts on ridiculous public works. The reason the mainstream media play this endless game, through different governments and over different issues, is because they still view themselves as superior honest investigators who keep the bastards honest.

The media love looking at every problem in society and linking it to the responsible minister. The underlying assumption behind this mentality is that government should be given enough power to be responsible for everything that goes on; and don't you worry, trust us in the mainstream media to keep them accountable and keep the public informed.

So through all the hours of media coverage and the hundreds of articles over the AWB issue, nobody has asked the important questions.
  • Why was government trusted with the responsibility in the first place ?
  • Should there be a government enforced monopoly exporter of wheat ?
  • Isn't it more than likely that if government regulates a large industry and holds a lot of power, that there will be private groups who will have huge incentives to try to lobby goverment or get around the regulation ?
  • Instead of getting a minister or public servant to resign, isn't it safer to destroy their job and the powers that go with it altogether ?

Friday, March 17, 2006

Iran: "setting Israel on fire is our #1 priority"

The lunatic theocrat who is still in power in Iran, is far from a rational sane person. Strange how the media pay very little attention to a confimed madman pursuing nuclear weapons. An article in Ha'Aretz has the details:

Former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar said Tuesday that Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told him five years ago that “setting Israel on fire” was the first order of business on the Iranian agenda. Aznar, in Israel as the guest of the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, related the story to Major General (Res.) Professor Yitzhak Ben-Israel, who later confirmed to Haaretz that the remarks had been made.

Aznar’s aides refused to give Haaretz the exact quote, but mentioned an article Aznar has written in the past on his meeting with Khamenei. “He received me politely,” Aznar wrote, “and at the beginning of the meeting he explained to me why Iran must declare war on Israel and the United States until they are completely destroyed. I made only one request of him: that he tell me the time of the planned attack.”

Beazley - the biggest loser

Check out this photo of bomber Beazley, he's really been shedding the pounds lately:

Could it be stress, from his rock-bottom approval ratings ? Or maybe his PR consultant said that he had an image problem with his previous weight ? Either way, I'm still waiting for the ALP to stop bitch-fighting and come out with some real policies - to wind back the ever growing public sector and end the tax-and-spend addiction this country has.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

I want my money back !

Last night I sat watching the opening ceremony of the Melbourne Commonwealth Games, especially because there was nothing else decent on TV at the time.

And as predicted, it was indeed a big spectacle. Spectacularly wierd, arty and pointless if you ask me. I mean what the hell do koalas and clowns and motorcycles and ballerinas have to do with the Games ?

What was the point of all that opening sequence ?

There were some more enjoyable parts, such as watching former athletes and footballers get involved in carrying the torch. And yeah, the athletes from all these tiny and poor places I've never heard of came marching out proudly when their country was announced. But seriously, whats the challenge of winning a gold medal when you're not competing against USA, Russia, Germany, China or Japan ?!

Anyways, I'm completely against the Commonwealth Games. I wouldn't pay a dollar for this whole waste of time if I had a choice. Last night over $50mil was spent on the opening. And I had to watch old fart Ray Martin declare that its certainly been worth spending $500mil on upgrading the stadium for this. ARGH !!

If its worth it Ray, then why wouldn't some private entrepeneur or venture capitalist raise the money in the free market ?

Like I said, I wouldn't pay for the Games if I had the choice. But with a rampant, ever expanding socialist tax system, every working Australian and especially every Victorian was forced to fork out. Don't get me wrong, the fireworks looked great and spectacular. But if forced to decide, I would rather keep the money spent myself. Even if I had to spend the $50mil, it could sure feed a lot of homeless people, pay a lot of bills, pay for urgent operations.

But if you're not a libertarian like myself, then hey, don't worry, just trust Mr Bracks to keep on spending your money.
[/sarcasm off].

Nealry all working people have the libertarian impulse, but they don't fully realise it. We all complain about government spending on things that don't meet our preferences. We all complain about taxes being too high. And yet very few people put 2 + 2 together and realise we should keep the money and spend it on what we value. Its a simple and elegant idea.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Socialism, Communism, Social-democracy, whatever !

I'm generally not one who exagerates to make a point when discussing politics, actually I get offended when other people compare modern western leaders to Nazis, dictators and fascists. Usually you hear these kind of sentiments from the left side of politics, embodied by academics, student activists, union bosses, journalists and environmentalists.

When it comes to these people attacking others, they tend to avoid discussing in depth, the ideas they actually stand in favor of. In between their ruthless attacks on capitalism and religion, they occasionally let slip some small description of what they stand for, and they like to be called socialists, or social democrats, and not affiliate themselves with the murderous ideology of communism.

But as far as I can be bothered, socialist ideology should be tarred with the same brush as Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Chiang and other mass-murdering communist dictators. Just as Lenin himself:

"The goal of socialism is communism. " -- Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

"The way to crush the bourgeoisie is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation. " -- Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

He who now talks about the "freedom of the press" goes backward, and halts our headlong course towards Socialism. -- Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

Very few people are aware of the monstrosity of communism. 100 million people died in the last century because the state took away freedoms and tried to steer the direction of all its people. This resulted in widespread famine, poverty, war, ethnic cleansing, assasinations, organised labour, mass imprisonment.

In my opinion, the biggest problem in the West is recognising these foul ideologies. When it comes to racism, sexism and bigotry, its very easy to identify. We largely reject these beliefs because on face value, they sound unfair and cruel. And most people in the west have a decent enough knowledge of history to understand that they have been destructive and harmful ideologies that violated the rights and freedoms of others.

But when you encounter some do-gooder leftist saying we should have a government that is responsible for words like equality, social justice, worker's rights, affirmitive action, funding of the arts and culture, corporate social responsibility, environmental awareness, multiculturalism, reconciliation, helping the poor and preserving our environment, people don't realise that all of these ideas fall under the category of communism.

Similarly, there are those on the right saying government should enforce things like family values, funding of the sports, national pride, national security, limited immigration, censorship and limits on freedom of speech.

In the end.. we elect parties that compromise between the left and the right and implement a vast array of policies that satisfy both left and right to some extent, but not those who cherish freedom and liberty. Libertarians call this the welfare-warfare state.
While the State exists there can be no freedom; when there is freedom there will be no State. -- Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

Quiz: The victims of communism

Very few people in the West are remotely aware of the magnitude and horror of deaths caused by communism in the 20th century.

This online quiz should help test your level of awareness. I only scored 25%. Good luck !

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Should sane countries have nukes ?

Heck, it doesn't bother me. Especially when the insane dictatorships are pursuing nukes.

This Washington Post op-ed makes a very sensible point:

"The Israeli bomb threatens nobody. An Iranian bomb does. India has transferred its nuclear technology to no one. Pakistan has. No one worries about India or Israel making the technology available to terrorists. Everyone worries about Iran doing that. These are distinctions with great differences. They are, as critics charge, double standards, but to apply a single standard to both friend and enemy, while it might be fair, would be singularly stupid"

Price gouging ? It doesn't exist.

I would expect this sort of thing in a socialist rag like The Age, but not The Australian:

The cartoonist is clearly sympathetic to China's proclamations that it will cap the price it pays for Australian iron ore. Price caps, just like quotas or tariffs, are protectionist tools. They limit trade between two countries, usually implemented by a government to protect its own industries and harm their own consumers.

The economist David Ricardo proved the comparative advantages of international trade. Nobody in their right mind should support the Chinese government putting a cap on the price its companies can pay for Australian iron ore. Whats worse is the cartoonist has spun the issue as some sort of anti price-gouging mechanism.

What is price gouging ? Well its supposed to refer to when firms pump their prices up as high as possible, at the expense of the consumer. Even though many Western governments have laws against it, it should be no crime at all.

In the anticipation of Hurricane Katrina, many Lousiana residents tried to flee New Orleans, most of them by car. The demand for petrol obviously skyrocketed, but the supply was much the same. With this new demand, the price in a free market should be allowed to adjust upwards to allow supply and demand to meet. But the US has anti price gouging laws, meaning that any gas station owners suspected of raising their prices due to the increased demand could be prosecuted and fined. Even though there were mile-long queues of cars to each gas station, the prices weren't allowed to increase. So obviously all the stations sold out of their gas at the lower prices, even though there will thousands of willing customers who wanted to buy more gas at that price.

Does anyone see how unfair this law is yet ? The way I see it, in a free market, if you are a business owner and are smart/cautious enough to anticipate future events, you should be able to reap the rewards. If I open a lemonade stand with and dont try to predict future demand, I could suffer massive losses. For example, opening a lemonade stand in the middle of a ski resort is stupid, and my business deserves to suffer. But if I open a stand selling hot soup near a city train station in the middle of winter, thats a lot smarter and I should be rewarded for my timing and my correct evaluation of consumer demand.

Similarly, if I am a gas station owner, and I anticipate a massive surge in demand, and I own a commodity that is considered extremely valuable, why shouldn't I raise my prices so that demand can be met ?

If I only have enough petrol for 500 cars, but there are 2000 cars queueing outside, why can't I double the price in the short term ? That way, those that are willing to pay the most for petrol, those that need it the most, might be willing to pay 10 times the price because they need it that badly. But there may be people who don't really need petrol that much, its just that they are only willing to buy it at previous price levels. Well.. the point is that there is a diverse market out there, the only way to satisfy that market is to let prices adjust. They show customers that there is a shortage of petrol, at least in the short term, and that they should try and conserve as much as possible and don't buy anymore unless its desperately needed.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Anarchy: improving Somalian living standards

Via Peter Leeson:

Could anarchy be good for Somalia’s development? If state predation goes unchecked government may not only fail to add to social welfare, but can actually reduce welfare below its level under statelessness. Such was the case with Somalia’s government, which did more harm to its citizens than good. The government’s collapse and subsequent emergence of statelessness opened the opportunity for Somali progress. This paper uses an “event study” to investigate the impact of anarchy on Somali development. The data suggest that while the state of this development remains low, on nearly all of 18 key indicators that allow pre- and post-stateless welfare comparisons, Somalis are better off under anarchy than they were under government. Renewed vibrancy in critical sectors of Somalia’s economy and public goods in the absence of a predatory state are responsible for this improvement.

Translating liberty into Arabic

A fascinating description of an Iraqi risking his life to translate liberal and capitalist Western texts into Arabic.

Asked how he began this work, he recounts meeting an American who was lecturing in Baghdad on principles of constitutional government. The message struck home. "Yes, you could say I am libertarian," Kamil says. "I believe in liberty for all, equality and human rights, freedom and democracy, free-market ethics, and I hate extremism in everything. I believe in life more than death as being the way to happiness."
Intellectual isolation is a widespread Arab phenomenon, not just an Iraqi one. Some of the statistics are startling. According to the United Nations' 2003 "Arab Human Development Report," five times more books are translated annually into Greek, a language spoken by just 11 million people, than into Arabic.
Read it all. With such great writers as Ludwig von Mises, Adam Smith, Hayek and Frederic Bastiat being translated to Arabic, it could be the start of a great cultural shift towards liberalism and freedom. Fingers crossed.

Victoria - your taxes hard at work

Don't ask me what the hell this is all about. I spotted this statue near Parliament House in Melbourne this Sunday.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Government is like a $5000 toaster

I've heard from many people, mainly females, that we oughtta just give up our taxes without a fight coz government "helps". I've been told we have to help out the poor, homeless, needy, students, women, mothers, handicapped etc.

My first response is... we can help in better ways, than by giving taxes to bureaucrats in Canberra to spend... and the defence against that is usually "but it helps, and if we didn't have government there will be some people who won't donate".

If you believe this, than I'll sell you a toaster for $5000.

You see, a toaster helps. Everyone has one. They are undoubtedly useful.
So I'll build a gold-plated, hand-crafted rolls royce of toasters and sell it for $5000. Will there be any takers ?

Of course not, its a damn rip-off !

But what about those people who told me that it doesn't matter what the cost is? Why aren't they now telling me the same thing ? If I extrapolate their values, then they should be able to say that its important to have a toaster no matter what the price, because it is useful and does some good.

You see, people are mostly rational. Resources (savings) are limited and hard to come by. People are not willing to sacrifice many months of earnings for the technology to toast slices of bread. Especially when there are $10 toasters available. If there are more efficient ways of obtaining the same benefit, then rational people will go for it.

People who talk about government welfare/aid as helping out are what I call "feel good" types. They are either too lazy to spend the money themselves on programs or charities that they value and are happier to just surrender their taxes. Or.. they consider themselves and the politicians they vote for as elite members of society, able to decide whats best for all of us and where all of our money should go.

But .. not one of them would buy a $5000 toaster. Why don't they put their money where their mouth is with my inefficient toaster, but they are willing to give up money to others to spend?

I guess they just didn't think things through. Its a contradiction, called Doublethink.

By the way, in 2003-2004, the Australian government blew a whopping $5 billion dollars on culture and "the arts" ? Happy with that ? Good, now get back to work.

Government - inept, corrupt, morally bankrupt

As a libertarian leaning person, my general philosophy is that government should only handle the important stuff in an economy.

Why ? The answer has 3 parts. Firstly, governments are not comprised of super-intelligent people, free from errors, corruption and stupidity. Governments are full of people. Its natural that they make mistakes. Only the foolish and ignorant would think otherwise.

The last century has seen people living under totalitarian governments who have put their own survival above the rights and freedom of the people it governs. Also, despite what many journalists and anti-globalisation activists believe, the free market has driven our living standards and almost entirely killed off poverty as we know it in the developed world. The free market is just letting people pursure their own selfish goals. (I use selfish in the most objective sense, not as judgement of whether a persons goals are noble or not but to describe how people follow their own values to acheive their own goals)

Nowadays, poverty is considered struggling to work hard to raise a family, pay the bills and pay medical expenses. Even the poor are rich by past standards. So what these anti-globalisation activists are really complaining about is that there is inequality in our society. I'll discuss this later.

And secondly, but more simply - if you get government to focus on "the basics" such as security, police, roads and a minimum standard of public health care, then they can be held more accountable and are more likely to do their job well.

This second point cannot be emphasised enough. At the moment, the Australian government is responsible for so many different programs at once. Workplace relations, aboriginal relations, regulating property markets, anti commercial legislation, managing our national telco Telstra, subsidising farmers, protecting local producers with tariffs, taxing petrol etc etc etc etc you get my point. So no matter which party is in government at the time, rest assured, it will be busy pulling several thousand levers and making many decisions in the course of its rule.

When we go to the poll booths every four years, there are not nearly as many political parties as there are government programs. We usually only get to choose between 2 major parties, and a few minor ones. Between the millions of voters, it would be very rare to find any 2 people who have the exact same beliefs. People disagree on how things should be run. Some people like myself think the government shouldn't be running 90+% of those things at all. Everyone has different priorities and values.

The problem here is that once a party wins enough votes to cross the line and form government, it gets to pull every single lever however it sees fit. It makes decisions for all of us, using our taxes and subjecting every one of us to a set of policy and regulation.

My point of view is that any realistic person must realise that the democratic process is not ideal for every single citizen, and the point of voting simply becomes "voting for the lesser evil". My original point was that government is less accountable when it pulls a thousand levers. The government may have been very well aware of the AWB scandal, may have implemented hundreds of disastrous and wasteful programs, may promise to implement even more wasteful programs in the future to subsidise people having children, but in the end, all they have to do is remain more popular than the other parties to keep in power.

When the public hospitals, schools or Centrelink offices are in disarray and fail to provide a decent service to people, there are no market forces to make them accountable. The only way to hold the public sector accountable is to lobby the government, draw attention to the failure through the media, and hope that it will cause people to vote the other way. The government in power, if it wants to survive, attempts to remedy the problem to save face. But the only chance this can happen is if it risks losing a lot of popularity over the problem.

Take a private school. They have to compete against other private schools and public schools for your money. If they provide a bad service, you stop purchasing education from them. Instant accountability with no lobbying or media coverage needed. Take a private telecommunication carrier. if they overcharge you on your bill, or provide poor service - disconnect. The free market has mechanisms to reward the successful and punish the failures.

The libertarian ideal is where government runs the basic functions. When it screws up national security, police, law enforcement, or can't even provide very basic healthcare, the media will seize on it and people can take those few mistakes and use it to vote for someone more competent at the next election.

And thirdly, people should never doubt the ability of the free market to acheive grand outcomes. Personal computers, cars, medicine, space travel, television, internet, clothing, fashion, cinema, music, mobile phones and more. These things have come about because of the free market. Because entrepeneurs took risks and pursued goals that would profit themselves.

Recently, a friend told me that my way of thinking shows that I don't want to help the poor. I was told I want to stop government from helping those who need it. Actually, my thinking is to actually stop government from doing more damage and harming the poor. The only thing the government has done is create dependency and welfare traps. Government outlaws all jobs below the minimum wage and creates building regulations that price poor people out of the property market.

My understanding of economics gives me a very strong and unshaking belief in the free market, being something that is fueled by savings. Left-wing types think discussions about money are about greed, selfishness and materialism. But for me, money is just some arbitrary medium which can be exchanged for real resources. If people have more money, they can command more resources.

It can be used to employ others by buying goods and services off others. The theory that greedy fatcats store all the wealth under their mattresses is not realistic. Rich people spend more on food, cars, clothes, property, service, medicine, travel. This goes towards other people.

Wealth spreads itself out in a free market. Producing the first automobile ever took a lot of research and development. Once it was made, it was very economical to mass-produce it and the dream of car ownership has now been realised by billions of people.

The more wealth there is, the better society is. Hundreds of years ago, no matter what system of government, there was widespread poverty and very little wealth. The reason that so many people live well nowadays is because so much wealth is generated in free-market modern economies. Call it indirect if you want, but don't underestimate its impact.

And the free market often helps the needy in direct. Look at how many billion dollars of voluntary aid was raised after the boxing day Tsunami! Much more than governments donated.

On a final note, the last century has shown what happens when governments try to eliminate inequality AND control everything. Communism has brought about widespread famine, poverty and despair whilst killing millions. Ludwig von Mises correctly predicted that communism would fail because it would only succeed in destroying wealth... everyone is equal, because everyone is poor (except for the privileged few who had party connections).

Yet on the other hand, the wealthiest countries in the world are the most free.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Costello contradictions

What really makes my blood boil is when people are guilty of doublethink. When they say one thing and do another.. or when they say one thing and then contradict themselves.

Our Australian Treasurer, after speaking out against multiculturalism earlier this week, is now all in favor of affirmative action on other pet causes - women and childcare.

A week after speaking out on multiculturalism, he signalled greater spending on childcare and more women-friendly policies in the workplace.

Last month, Mr Costello broke from the Prime Minister in casting a conscience vote for a bill to remove the veto power of the health minister over the controversial RU486 abortion pill. The bill was passed with strong cross-party support from female members and senators.

Yesterday, Mr Costello denied Australia was a sexist country. "Australia is not a perfect place ... but, you know, are we bad by international standards? No.

So lets get this straight. We're not sexist, but we're going to treat women differently. Positive discrimination is still discrimination.

When you discriminate in favor of women, or funding childcare, you discriminate against those who weren't born female, or those who cannot or will not have children. After all, everybody pays taxes. Its only that those who have children receive most of the benefits of those taxes.

I hate the ALP right now. But Peter Costello is an idiot. The Aussie media are equally idiotic, they will swallow this populist crap in a positive light without identifying the negatives.

Reflecting on the past 10 years, the Treasurer claimed Australia had emerged from the despair of the recession in the early 1990s and was now treated with much greater respect by other countries. "The nation feels more secure about itself. This is the Australian revival," he said.
I recently attacked the opposition leader Kim Beazley over his usage of shallow catchphrases. Costello, with his discussion of "Australian values" and now "the nation feels more secure.." is just as bad, if not worse.

SBS: Whitewashing genocidal terrorists

By chance, I managed to watch the SBS documentary on Tuesday night called Hamas: Behind the Mask.

SBS has a fairly atrocious record when it comes to screening documentaries on the Arab-Israeli conflict, with something like 18 out of 19 documentaries in 2000 being strongly anti-Israel.

This Hamas documentary, although chilling at times, left me with an impression that they were still whitewashing the genocidal terrorist group by not showing how they indoctrinate children and praise mass murdering terrorists who slaughter civilians. Another clue was how the film-makers attempted to cover up Hamas' commitment to terrorism, indoctrination of children, violent anti-semitism, promise of future attacks, to smuggling weapons, to bomb-making, to using nuclear weapons on Israel, and perpetual warfare with no hope of recognising the state of Israel.

There was a scene where the reporter describes how 5 Palestinian children were killed by shrapnel in a strawberry field. Curiously, nothing further was added to this description. Now I've spent a good effort using google to find any description of such an incident. I'll give a thank-you to any dilligent readers out there who can find a news report of any such event. Until then, the only thing to take out of the documentary is that a Palestinian mother cried to a camera about children being killed by shrapnel.

Check here for some criticisms of the documentary:

  • The narrator speaks baldly of a shift: "Hamas is in the process of rewriting its original covenant. They no longer speak of liberating every inch of Palestine, at least not now." This claim is not accurate. Isolated Hamas individuals have recently raised the possibility of rewriting the covenant, but no official action has been taken. Principal spokespeople still insist that Jewish sovereign existence is anathema to Hamas. The filmmakers acknowledge that Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, based in Damascus, "vows that armed resistance will remain an option."