Friday, April 28, 2006

Property rights get trampled on by socialist governments

Over at Mangled thoughts comes several disturbing accounts of how branches of government are over-regulating what people can do with their land and property. When you regulate what a person can do with their property, you dilute their property rights completely.

This morning there was a dawn raid on a property in N.S.W. Officers of a deprartment had called in the police and jointly raided the property.


In a field of a farm in Victoria, a farmer discovered it has a surface layer of granite salts. It has value as material for road making mix. Naturally, he decided he would mine it, sell it and then return the field to regular production uses. To do so, however, though it is his property, under the Junta’s own stalinist `environmental laws’ and those of the local council, he had to inform the goon squad of what he would do. The goon squad with ACF Pol Potians intow, tresspassed onto his property, and it is tresspass, and, lo, there, in the field were tufts of `native grass’. Well, that was it, he was issued, you can not mine the field notice or, we will throw you into prison.
The Prime Minister’s brother is, of course, defending a crimninal action against him, for the matter, of the removal of a stand of ugly `native’ trees on his property in N.S.W. Which were a fire hazard and was a snake attractant, and which stood near his care-taker’s house and neither the care-taker nor the Prime Minister’s brother wished to see the children of the care-taker bitten by bloody snakes nor the house burned to the ground by fire.
It is unbeleivable that a party with the name Liberal party should be as avidly addicted to National Socialism as their opponents in the ALP are. It is outrageous.
Gotta agree wholeheartedly. Despite the media's best efforts to portray the Liberal party as the party of laissez-fair capitalism, they are nothing but socialist democrats.

The wierd and the wonderful

Some amusing links here:

1/ One Red Paper Clip - This is what happens when a guy sets himself the goal of trading a red paper clip for a house within a 12 month period. And after 9 months, he is doing quite well.

2/ Help Win This Bet - A guy made a bet with his girlfriend, that he could setup any website and have 2 million visitors. And today he crossed that line, hes up to 2,400,000 hits. What do you think the bet is gonna cost his girlfriend ?

If I could not make a website to get 2,000,000 hits, I would agree that I was an idiot; however, if I could make a website to get 2,000,000 hits, she would have a menage a trois (that's a threesome to you non french-speakers) with me and another girl. I thought she was kidding at the time, but then she said she was so sure of herself, that she would even put it in writing.

And then today's photo on Engrish is a classic :

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Surging oil prices reveal a wave of stupidity

That would be my headline for the week. As oil prices have hit record highs over the last week, the airwaves have been buzzing with idiotic discussions. Angry consumers have bashed oil firms over the outcomes, and demanded more regulation in the oil market. Some have demanded investigations into pricing. Very few have discussed the level of tax and regulation that is already placed on the shoulders of the oil industry.

The Mises institute has a great summary of the state of the oil industry in the US, which is being crippled by regulation:

Oil refiners have complied with congressional directives using either Methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) or ethanol. (Furthermore, MTBE has been found to leach into water tables, creating taste and odor problems, making it less desirable as an additive because of the liability involved. Congress has refused to grant oil refiners immunity from MTBE lawsuits, thus throwing a sop to the trial lawyers' lobby. Ethanol, on the other hand, cannot be moved via pipeline and, thus cannot be mixed into gasoline at the refinery, unlike MTBE.) Both additives supposedly help fuels burn more cleanly (that is, burn more completely, leaving less waste), but their effectiveness is questionable:

Oxygen helps gasoline burn more completely, reducing harmful tailpipe emissions from pre-1984 motor vehicles. In more modern vehicles, the emissions reduction is negligible.


So, let us trace this sorry story to its most recent beginnings. (1) Congress requires new fuel mixtures during the warm weather months which are costly and disrupt available supplies, but those mixtures do not make the air any cleaner; (2) The President and Congress decide to invade Iraq and now are making threats toward Iran, thus guaranteeing political instability and violence in the largest oil-producing region of the world; (3) Congress requires even more ethanol mixtures, despite the fact that it disrupts supplies and ethanol manufacturers cannot meet the goals; (4) gasoline prices spike, and members of Congress call for arrest and imprisonment of oil executives.

Not surprisingly, almost all of the anger from consumers — if editorial cartoons are an indication of the direction of the rage — is pointed toward oil companies and their executives. On the other hand, members of Congress, which created this current crisis, are calling for the near-destruction of oil companies, imprisonment of executives, as well as a whole new set of taxes that would further reduce available fuel supplies — all in the name, of course, of lowering gasoline prices.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Everyone loves a good murderer

What else can I conclude from the never-ending popularity of Che Guevera amongst many youths and celebrities ?

There are so many T-shirts and posters out there with the famous image of Che as if it were a bold fashion statement. Carlos Santana wore a Che T-shirt as he played at last years Oscars. Robert Redford paid homage to Che in last year's film, The Motorcycle Diaries, which focussed only on the earlier years of Che's life as a travelling youth in South America, with no hint or mention of the murderous fanatic that he went on to become.

Finally, someone in Hollywood who actually knows a thing or two about the despicable Cuban leadership has the courage to make a film telling the truth about Che:

Movie star Andy Garcia's controversial new movie The Lost City has been banned in parts of South America because it depicts romantic revolutionary Ernesto 'Che' Guevara in a terrible light. The Ocean's Twelve star spent years trying to get the project made, only for film festival bosses and cinema chains to shun the movie because it tells the truth about the Marxist guerilla leader and the Cubans slayed as he fought to revolutionize the country and hand Fidel Castro leadership.

Garcia, who wrote, directed and stars in the film, says, "There have been festivals that wouldn't show it. That will continue to happen from people who don't want to see the image of Che be tarnished and from people who support the Castro regime. He still has a lot of supporters out there. Some people think Castro is a savior, that he looks out for the kids and the poor. It's a bunch of hogwash. In the 45 years since Castro came to power, Cuba has been in the top three countries for human rights abuses for 43 of those years. People turn a blind eye to his atrocities."
Most young people probably don't know about Che and his legacy. He is widely seen as a freedom fighter, a symbol of revolution and idealism. But he was nothing but a communist thug committed to violence. Here's one telling quote of his:
“I don't know if the Cuban revolution will survive or not. It's difficult to say. But [if it doesn't] . . . don't come looking for me among the refugees in the embassies. I've had that experience, and I'm not ever going to repeat it. I will go out with a machine gun in my hand, to the barricades. . . I'll keep fighting to the end.”
Paul Berman has a superb essay about the man:
He founded Cuba's "labor camp" system—the system that was eventually employed to incarcerate gays, dissidents, and AIDS victims. To get himself killed, and to get a lot of other people killed, was central to Che's imagination. In the famous essay in which he issued his ringing call for "two, three, many Vietnams," he also spoke about martyrdom and managed to compose a number of chilling phrases: "Hatred as an element of struggle; unbending hatred for the enemy, which pushes a human being beyond his natural limitations, making him into an effective, violent, selective, and cold-blooded killing machine. This is what our soldiers must become …"— and so on.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Cartoon of the day

Via Cox and Forkum:

Crazed fundamentalist watch

An angry mob assembled outside an Israeli embassy and chanted the following slogans:

Israeli Zionists, What do you say?
How many women have you raped today?
Israeli Zionists, What do you say?
How many children have you killed today?

Zionists, Zionists You will pay! The Wrath of Allah is on its way!
Israeli Zionists You shall pay! The Wrath of Allah is on its way!
The mushroom cloud is on its way! The real Holocaust is on its way!

We are not your average Muslims, We are the Muslims of Was al Sunnah

Israel won’t last long ... Indeed, Allah will repeat the Holocaust right on the soil of Israel

So where did these barbaric promises of nuclear genocide occur ? Pakistan ? France ? Indonesia ? Nope.. New York !

But don't worry, this is all just a natural outcome of the process called multiculturalism.

Johann Hari is making sense for a change

The only areas where libertarians and the left seem to agree on is social policy. Johann Hari has a post supporting the legalisation of drugs, with the following paragraph showing how futile prohibition is:

Don’t take my leftie-legalizer’s word for it. Listen to Michael Levine, who had a thirty year career as one of America’s most distinguished federal narcotics agents. In his time, he led a thousand raids like last Saturday’s, as well as infiltrating some of the biggest drugs cartels in the world – and he now explains, in sad tones, that he wasted his time. In the early 1990s, he was assigned to eradicate drug-dealing from one New York street corner – an easy enough task, surely? But he quickly learned that even this was physically impossible, given the huge demand for drugs in cities like London and New York. He calculated that he would need one thousand officers to be working on that corner for six months to make an impact – and there were only 250 drugs agents in the whole city.
When Levine rose undercover to the top of la Mafia Cruenza, one of the biggest drug-dealing gangs in the world, he learned, as he puts it, “that not only did they not fear our war on drugs, they actually counted on it… On one undercover tape-recorded conversation, a top cartel chief, Jorge Roman, expressed his gratitude for the drug war, calling it ‘a sham put on the American tax-payer’ that was ‘actually good for business’.” He was right – prohibition is the dealer’s friend. Legalization is his greatest enemy. Shocked, Levine recounted this to his bosses, who explained yeah, we know, but we have to keep pointlessly going through the motions of a drugs war because the alternative is “politically unacceptable.”

Friday, April 21, 2006

Politicians love power

John Howard was on talkback radio this morning, as 3AW host Neil Mitchell interviewed him over fuel prices and the GST excise on petrol. The federal government charges some enormous amount of tax on petrol, something like 39.2 cents per litre. On top of this, they charge 10% GST, and this component gets given to the state governments so they can go blow it on some pet projects.

The cost of petrol has risen 10% in the last month. Neil Mitchell, who is no genius, figured out that the GST revenue collected must have also risen by 10%, therefore the states are getting more money and us poor motorists are doing it tough with these high petrol prices.
So of course Neil suggested that the Federal and State governments agree to either cut or remove the GST excise to give relief to us motorists.

So far so good.

The PM defended the status quo by saying something along the lines of "Well, the states might be making more money from fuel taxes, but that is more than offset by the loss of revenue from decreased spending in other sectors". He elaborated how consumers have to spend more of their income on petrol and therefore spend less on other items which are also taxed with GST - i.e restaurants, clothes, holidays, movies etc. The PM explained that its not like the government is making more money just because fuel prices rise.

And how does Neil Mitchell handle this excuse ? Being a total incompetent, he doesn't think it through and just accepts it. Meanwhile, I'm sitting eating breakfast and after 20 seconds, I think to myself.

Hang on a sec. The PM suggests the whole situation is revenue-neutral. So why not just scrap the fuel tax ? By his reasoning, people will have more money to spend on other goods and the government will get more tax revenue from those items !

The answer is simple. Government loves money and power. Once they have it, they will use any excuse not to give it up. Global warming, terrorism, the environment, education needs, the national interest, public arts and sports, museums, defence, police, droughts, cyclones and ON and ON and ON.

Heres a pop quiz for every taxpayer out there.

  • Do you think politicians know how to spend your money better than you do ?
  • Do you trust politicians to only take enough tax to spend on things that are essential and benefit you, in the most efficient way possible ?
  • Do you trust politicians to not collect a single dollar in tax than is absolutely necessary so that they can finance the essential public services ?
  • Do you think politicians have a basic understanding of economics ?
For me, the 4 questions above give me the same answer 4 times over - No.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Peace in the middle east ?

With Hamas lording over the Palestinian people, the Iranian ayatollahs chasing nukes, and Iraqi sectarian violence continuing, the prospects of peace in the middle east are dwindling. But at least on the Israeli-Palestinian front, there is one reason to be optimistic - from Israeli writer, Etgar Keret, comes this gem:

"The hell it isn't," my father replied. "Listen, we've had so many Rabins and Pereses and Begins, people who tried to galvanize everyone with their charisma and energy. None of them ever really managed to bring us peace. I'm telling you, what this region needs is Olmert, someone who'll bore us and the Palestinians so much that we fall into a kind of stupor. A stupor that's a kind of co-existence. A co-existence that's a kind of peace. Forget all that 'peace of the courageous' stuff Barak and Arafat tried to sell us. Even a child knows that courageous people go into battle, they don't make peace. What this region needs is a peace of the tired, and Olmert's the man to put us all to sleep."

Mama moonbat is coming to town

The most publicised left-wing moonbat, Cindy Sheehan, is on her way down under. Fellow Australian moonbats have rallied and sponsored the event, including:

Federation of Australian Muslim Students and Youth, Maritime Union of Victoria (Vic), Victorian Trades Hall Council, The Globalism Institute, Japanese for Peace, Australian Islamic Friendship Association, Carlton Fitzroy Peace Group, Campaign for International Cooperation and Disarmament, The Greens, Stop the War Coalition (Sydney), Stop the War Coalition (Melbourne), International Socialist Organisation, Moreland Peace Group, Communication Workers Union (Vic), Human Rights International, NoWar South Australia, Victorian Peace Network, Pax Christi, Medical Association for the Prevention of War, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, Green Left Weekly, Socialist Alliance, Islamic Council of Victoria, El Pharaoh travel agency.
Wow ! What a line-up. As Tim Blair points out:
Fairfax and ABC coverage will be Category 12.
To the leftoids, this should be bigger than the Rolling Stones or U2.

Well.. did he do what he promised ?

Scientology freak Tom Cruise was reported as saying:

Hollywood actor Tom Cruise is planning to eat his new baby’s placenta, it emerged today.

It is the latest in a series of unusual revelations by the 43-year-old Mission Impossible star about the child he is expecting with fiancee Katie Holmes.

He told GQ magazine: “I’m gonna eat the placenta. I thought that would be good. Very nutritious. I’m gonna eat the cord and the placenta right there.”

Cruise has also claimed he knew actress Holmes, 27, was pregnant, even before she told him.

A follower of Scientology, he has defended the religion’s belief that women should give birth in silence.

“It’s really about respecting the woman. It’s not about her not screaming,” he has told GQ.

Ewww....nasty. But it turns out he wasn't serious.. phew:
But did Tom really eat the placenta? After telling GQ magazine he was ready to "eat the cord and the placenta right there", he later revealed that he was only joking.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Drugs are bad... mmmkay ?

What other advice can I give to scientologists. I'm sorry, I don't mean offence but I just read Wikipedia's entry about Xenu , the alien overlord whom scientology founder L Ron Hubbard invented in his sick and demented mind. Anyway, I am on the floor laughing at this crap.

The story of Xenu is covered in OT III, part of Scientology's secret "Advanced Technology" doctrines taught only to advanced members.
Seventy-five million years ago, Xenu was the ruler of a Galactic Confederacy which consisted of 26 stars and 76 planets including Earth, which was then known as Teegeeack. The planets were overpopulated, each having on average 178 billion people.
BUT WAIT ! It gets better ..

The Galactic Confederacy's civilization was comparable to our own, with people "walking around in clothes which looked very remarkably like the clothes they wear this very minute" and using cars, trains and boats looking exactly the same as those "circa 1950, 1960" on Earth. Xenu was about to be deposed from power, so he devised a plot to eliminate the excess population from his dominions. With the assistance of "renegades", he defeated the populace and the "Loyal Officers", a force for good that was opposed to Xenu. Then, with the assistance of psychiatrists, he summoned billions of people to paralyse them with injections of alcohol and glycol, under the pretense that they were being called for "income tax inspections". The kidnapped populace was loaded into space planes for transport to the site of extermination, the planet of Teegeeack (Earth).
And then, the plot just gets plain nuts. This stuff makes David Lynch movies look normal:
The now-disembodied victims' souls, which Hubbard called thetans, were blown into the air by the blast. They were captured by Xenu's forces using an "electronic ribbon" ("which also was a type of standing wave") and sucked into "vacuum zones" around the world. The hundreds of billions of captured thetans were taken to a type of cinema, where they were forced to watch a "three-D, super colossal motion picture" for 36 days
How can anybody believe in these bizarre fantasies of L Ron Hubbard ? Are you all out of your frickin minds or what ?! Tom Cruise, you are a scary sonofabitch. Not because you believe this stuff, but because you are a scientologist missionary, determined to convert people to these whacky insane beliefs.
So what is the goal of scientology ? L Ron Hubbard himself wrote:
And it is very true that a great catastrophe occurred on this planet and in the other 75 planets which formed this [Galactic] Confederacy 75 million years ago. It has since that time been a desert, and it has been the lot of just a handful to try to push its technology up to a level where someone might adventure forward, penetrate the catastrophe, and undo it. We're well on our way to making this occur.
Ahh bugger.. I was hoping they believed in mass suicide during a comet or something, and we'd be rid of the lot of them. Keep on trying to penetrate the catastrophe, brave scientologists !

BIG Government

My readers will see me rail against the size, scope and power of government ad-nauseum. Many may wonder why I consider this to be such a prominent issue, especially when global living standards are at an all time high (despite what doom-mongers suggest).

Well, because government spending, across all countries from big to small, socialist to supposedly free-market, is now at an all time high. Especially in the supposedly capitalist US:

Things have been getting worse recently. In the first five years of the Bush regime, federal spending increased 45%.
If we adjust the spending numbers to account for this inflation, real federal spending is 65 times larger than it was in 1930. The US population has more than doubled since 1930 and if we take the population changes into account, real per capita spending is 27 times higher than in 1930.

The article concludes with the following wise words:

Those of us making the case for liberty have logic, history, and morality on our side. Government intervention is immoral and should be stopped for that reason alone. However, the economic costs of the intervention are also important. Part of the appeal of freedom is that it leads to tremendously higher standards of living and these numbers show that government interventions that cause seemingly small amounts of harm, over time, impoverish a society.

The Australian continues its assault against Israel

More Israel-bashing in the guise of "analysis", from their middle east correspondent, Martin Chulov, in today's article titled "Horns of dilemma for new democracy".

I'll start to debunk this nonsensical analysis which rests heavily on the assumption that Hamas is a rational political actor, not a genocidal fundamentalist terrorist group.

IF ever Israel needed to tread carefully in response to Palestinian militancy, it is now.

Mmmhmm, gotta watch out for those militants who blow themselves up in crowded restaurants whilst calling out to Allah. Why are so many journalists afraid to call a spade a spade ? They always avoid using the T-word.
Israel's stance has been backed by the US, the European Union, the UN and Russia, who have ignored a fundamental contradiction with their Middle East policy since Hamas was elected. They all hailed democracy as a panacea to Middle East problems, yet now they want to destroy what democracy has delivered.
According to this analysis, it is the hypocritical Western nations who are contradicting themselves ?! This guy claims that the West imposed democracy and then they want to destroy its results. Well, what do you do when another state elects a terrorist government sworn to perpetual war and jihad ? Of course when acts of violence occur, you retaliate. And up till now, the Western nations haven't fired a missile. They have made it clear that Hamas have every right to govern, but that doesn't give them the right to promote terrorism and wage warfare on their neighbours without some kind of response.
By holding out against the pressure, Hamas could become a heroic group that sacrificed its rule on the altar of its determination to stand up to the West.
Hamas would then almost certainly return to the violence that rattled Israel throughout the intifada. And it would likely be emboldened by the support of Palestinians.
Hamas could become a heroic group by standing up the West ? This shows us the depraved pro-terrorist viewpoint of the writer. It is those sympathetic to terrorist groups that help them acheive their political goals and prevents them from renouncing violence.

But what exactly does he mean by "holding out against the pressure" ? As the writer himself noted above, the only demands from the West are to stop violence and recognise Israel. Loosely translated, this means Hamas is pressured to drop its commitment to wiping out the state of Israel. So the writer is really whitewashing his positive approval of the idea of Hamas continuing to be a violent terrorist group. He is also framing in a positive light, the utterly depressing fact that Palestinians support terrorism and violence.

Call me a right-wing death beast if you will, but the only sane analysis of the conflict is one which views Hamas a death-loving jihad cult committed to the destruction of Israel. Just because they have the widespread support of Palestinians does not make them popular. No, it just shows us more about Palestinian values than anything else.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The ABC ban speech

In George Orwell's 1984, he wrote of a future society where an ultra-socialist government regulates everything, and even removes words from the English language to suit its own needs. Well the ABC has warned its journalists to refrain from using the word "terrorist", as it may connote some kind of bias or lack of neutrality in its reporting.
Here are the expected results, from an ABC news radio announcer (hat tip: Tim Blair):

The involvement of Hamas in activities which are not compatible with western standards ...

Sickening bias at The Australian

I consider The Australian one of the better papers out there, but occasionally they print some leftist drivel from time to time. Having Philip Adams on their payroll is obviously going to lead to some anti-Western opinions being printed in their pages, but today's online edition has 2 stunning examples of naked anti-Israel hatred.

The 1st example is by loony leftoid, and self-hating Jew, Antony Lowenstein:

Antony uses his column space to come out in strong support of an anti-semitic book called The Israel Lobby, written by Walt and Mearsheimer, whom he gives the grand title of "

The study says that the US has been "willing to set aside its own security and that of many of its allies in order to advance the interests of another state" and that the Israel lobby has managed to convince Americans that "US interests and those of Israel are essentially identical", when they are not.

You hear that ? Those stupid Americans are under the control of those fiendish Zionists with their mind-control rays. Another idiocy from Lowenstein:
This carefully reasoned study concludes that by blindly supporting Israel's agenda - a brutal occupation and desire for war against Iraq and Iran - the US has aided an aggressor state in the heart of the Middle East.
This has to be the biggest nonsense of all. Does Lowenstein live in this universe or another reality ? Israel was not at all a big supporter of the Iraq war, and Israel is also not a big supporter of occupying Palestinians. It has unilaterally withdrawn from Gaza and would do the same from most of the West Bank if it could only ensure its security. The only brutal aspect to the occupation is that its needed to stop murderous genocidal terrorists from carrying out huge attacks.

Lowenstein than goes on to despair how US media outlets fiercely attacked the book as anti-semitic, but alas not all is lost for Antony:
Perhaps unsurprisingly, more nuanced responses have appeared in Europe and Israel.
Ahah.. those sophisticated Europeans ! The biggest supporters and cheerleaders of Palestinian statehood, I'm not suprised they are glad to see more tools to bash Israel with. Antony Lowenstein claims that this book helps promote *debate*. Sure it does, just as if I wrote a book advocating rape or tortute, it would promote debate. People would rightly see my views as monstrous and not publish them. But would Antony cry foul for me if that happened ? No.. the only views Antony wants to see debated are those that are anti-Israel.

Unfortunately, the rest of the article is filled with Orwellian language that distorts the true meaning of events. When the ALP members used Parliament to describe Israel as a racist, imperialist, war-mongering rogue state, they were rightly denounced as anti-Israel. But look at Lowenstein's use of innocuous language:
For example, during 2002 and 2003 the ALP experienced the consequences of dissenting from the AIJAC view. A handful of backbenchers questioned Israeli policy in the occupied territories. A raft of Jewish leaders slammed the party as anti-Semitic. Liberal MP Christopher Pyne, as chairman of the Australia-Israel Parliamentary Friendship Group, told ABC Radio that a motion put forward by MP Julia Irwin - damning the occupation and calling for a secure Israel and Palestine - was "pandering to the pro-Palestinian position". It would appear that even the mild proposition that the Palestinian people should have the right of self-determination is taboo.
In the end, Antony's article is as stupid as the book it defends. There are many critics who have rigorously exposed the book as an anti-semitic smear based on distortions and half-truths. But Antony won't read and consider those arguments, will he now ?

The 2nd example of anti-Israel bias in today's Australian, is the reporting of a Palestinian terror attack on Israelis in Tel-Aviv. The Palestinian suicide bomber murdered 8 and wounded 52 people in a crowded restaurant. And you would think that this atrocity merits a headline of its own. But, the Australian ran with the following headline: " Abbas plea after suicide attack".

Generally when a journalist is writing from an anti-Israel perspective, and they try to offer a figleaf of "balance" in their reporting, they try to cover what they describe as "both sides" of the story. But are Palestinian statements as newsworthy as a huge bombing ?

Imagine on 9-11, instead of covering the actual terrorist attacks, the media focussed on Al-Qaeda spokespeople. Imagine if during a murder trial, the media report on the trial proceedings but not the actual crime itself. The actual news that should have been reported is "8 Israelis murdered in crowded restaurant". Instead, the small sidenote of "suicide attack" is presented. As LGF reports, dozens of mainstream media outlets have photos of the Palestinain suicide bomber who carried out the attack, but it seems only one online source (Getty Images) can be found which has the graphic images of the murdered and wounded Israelis.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Blasphemers banished from clergy

The Professor of atmospheric science at MIT has a telling quote:

Scientists who dissent from the alarmism have seen their grant funds disappear, their work derided, and themselves libeled as industry stooges, scientific hacks or worse. Consequently, lies about climate change gain credence even when they fly in the face of the science that supposedly is their basis.
It looks like the environmental scare-mongers who are members of the cult of global warming are quick to boot out any dissenters. Blasphemy against the religion that is environmentalism is not tolerated. Any research which doesn't support the alarmist view of global warming is attacked, even if it is backed up by scientific research. (hat tip: Tim Blair)

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

What the ?!

Spotted in the window of a "Fasta Pasta" restaurant, a menu displaying the most traditional of Jewish dishes - "Fettucine Con Vitello" ! (must be kosher prosciutto)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Pay parking fines or go to jail

Today's daily article from the Mises institute is a great little account of how a man was arrested and imprisoned over failure to pay a parking ticket.

The saga began last October, when he rolled through the same stop sign in front of a private swimming pool that he and fifty others roll through several times per day. He thought he had paid the ticket but he hadn't, and the court date came and went. He received no other notices.

But something interesting was brewing in local politics after he received the ticket. The local newspapers ran a series that claimed to unearth ticket-fixing going on in the Auburn city government. It seems that some friends of powerful people were getting their tickets dismissed. Auburn was already known for its lax enforcement but this had the whiff of corruption.

The papers lacked details but there were hints that the whole story was a result of a dispute between an elected official and an appointed city manager. The city manager later resigned or was kicked out.

The suggestion of corruption was enough to attract the attention of the FBI, which made some inquiries. The combination of the media pressure and FBI curiosity was enough to force a change in city policy. The new policy in Auburn would be total crackdown on ticket violators, particularly those that didn't pay and didn't show up to their court dates.

Saddam funded suicide bombers

It was widely known that Saddam used to donate up to $25,000 to families of the Palestinian suicide bombers who slaughtered Israeli civilians riding buses, eating out at restaurants and going shopping. But a recently translated document shows he was directly training suicide bombers to carry out attacks on American targets:

The top secret letter 2205 of the Military Branch of Al Qadisya on 4/3/2001 announced by the top secret letter 246 from the Command of the military sector of Zi Kar on 8/3/2001 announced to us by the top secret letter 154 from the Command of Ali Military Division on 10/3/2001 we ask to provide that Division with the names of those who desire to volunteer for Suicide Mission to liberate Palestine and to strike American Interests and according what is shown below to please review and inform us.
This letter was dated early 2001. It shows what thugs, dictators and tyrants in the world thought of American might just as Clinton had finished his two-term presidency. Looks to me like the previous Iraqi dictatorship was determined to head to war against the west. It was something fairly inevitable. The mess we have to deal with now in Iraq is no walk in the park, but just remember that other scenarios with Saddam still in power were less than ideal.

Chirac does what he does best - surrender !!

After weeks of car burning and car smashing mayhem through the streets of Paris, French President Jacques Chirac has backed down over his proposed youth jobs reform. Rather than get police to actually stop the young hooligans and rioters, the French authorities have capitulated:

IN an abject capitulation to the power of the French street, President Jacques Chirac has thrown out a youth jobs reform that sparked months of strikes and violent protests and closed down schools and universities across the country.

The humiliating backdown, in the face of union and student threats of another general strike, dealt a severe blow to Mr Chirac's faithful Prime Minister, Dominique de Villepin, the architect of the First Job Contract (CPE).

The modest reform to France's rigid labour laws aimed to reduce the record high youth unemployment rate of 23 per cent, by making it easier for employers to fire younger workers in the first two years.

The socialised labour market in France is far worse than anything we have yet to experience in Australia. Their existing labour laws protected all youths and university graduates in their first jobs for 2 years. The idea behind it was to get young people to start a career and for employers to "give them a chance" for at least 2 years !!

But it led to scenarios where it was near impossible to fire incompentent and lazy young workers in their first jobs, so employers eventually wised on to the fact and were a lot more reluctant to employ youths. I don't know who invented the French socialised labour laws, but they clearly weren't aware of the perils of this legislation. When you introduce regulation to make it difficult/impossible to fire young workers, then employers associate a much larger cost with hiring young workers and therefore are much more reluctant to do so, hence the 23% unemployment.

It's like those late night TV commercials trying to sell mobile phone ringtones for $5. Now $5 isn't expensive, many young teenagers would be happy to try it out, but after widespread stories of how mobile phone owners were billed $5 every fortnight after signing up, and how it was difficult to back out of the contract, a lot more people are reluctant to ever SMS for a new ringtone now.

The second problem with these laws is that they create a dependency. Its just like welfare. People depend on the regulation to protect them because they are too lazy or incompetent to go and find gainful employment on their own. So we've seen French students riot and burn hundreds of cars in anger at the mere prospect of losing their government protection.
Tristain Rouquier, the head of the high school students union, said he was "very satisfied" with Mr Chirac's backflip.
Yes. The French are always satisfied with retreat and surrender.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Saudi Arabia - the place to be

Can you imagine a tourist campaign to lure travellers to the desert kingdom ?

Saudi Arabia has so many appealing features, like the misogynistic laws to protect wife-beating husbands:

according to law, wives cannot report domestic abuse by husbands to the police.
And, with a new 900km "security" fence to keep those nasty immigrants out:
SAUDI ARABIA has invited bids for the construction of a security fence along the entire length of its 900km (560mile) desert border with Iraq in a multimillion-pound project that will attract interest from British defence companies.
The barrier is part of a package to secure the Kingdom’s 6,500km of borders in an attempt to improve internal security and bolster its defences against external threats.
AND.. they are pursuing nuclear weapons (only for defensive purposes I'm sure, just in case those pesky neocons and Zionists attack):
DOHA, Qatar, April 9 (UPI) — Kuwaiti researcher Abdullah al-Nufaisi told a seminar in Doha, Qatar, that Saudi Arabia is preparing a nuclear program, the Middle East Newsline reported.
Its becoming obvious that the medieval mindset is kicking in and the Al-Saud clan are trying to fence themselves in and turn their country into a wife-beating, minority-free, Islamic gulag. With huge fences and restrictions on immigration and freedom of speech, Western culture is not allowed to spread to this region of the earth.

At the moment, no country resembles hell on earth more than North Korea, but I can't see how Saudi Arabia is any better. North Korea, with its arsenal of nuclear weapons, is a sworn enemy of the US, Japan and pretty much all free capitalist countries. Why on earth does the US consider the Saudi monarchy its' ally ?

Friday, April 07, 2006

Why minimum wage laws are a bad thing

Here is a brilliant but lengthy article on why minimum wage laws are problematic.

In the past, I've found that I'm able to highlight a major problem with minimum wage laws by simply going over the definition. Until they are clearly defined, most people who wish well for struggling low-paid workers would naively believe that these laws make sure that everybody gets paid a "decent" amount for their labour.

  • The common definition: The minimum wage is the minimum price (or rate of pay) an employer must give to an employee.
  • A better definition: The minimum wage is the price level (or rate of pay) below which, all employment is outlawed, banned and illegal.

Usually with this definition, people start to see how destructive a minimum wage law is. The irony is that the biggest proponents of minimum wage laws claim they are doing it for the poor Aussie battlers. They elaborate on how it can improve "jobs" for the poor.

But the only thing it can do is destroy "jobs". For example, most parents can't afford lots of money for babysitters. The job is usually pretty easy work for the employee anyway, they get to watch TV and help themselves to food. Usually the parents find some semi-responsible teenager to babysit for 4-5 hours, and they usually get paid $20-$30 cash.

Similarly, some people need cleaners or maids, but they can't afford to pay the minimum wage. There are a lot of struggling people out there who would do the job for half the price. After all, a job is only created when two willing parties agree to exchange items. One pays a wage, the other provides their labour.

Also with gardening - I live in a townhouse and a gardener comes by and mows all the lawns and nature strips in one session. I chip in $10, he is happy and I am happy too.

There are a lot of people out there who can't provide labor valuable enough to meet the minimum wage. If you are a professional, you don't have to worry. If you are a teenager, or handicapped, or elderly, or disabled - I'm sorry to say that providing your labor won't earn some of you more than $4 or $5 an hour. Thats the reality of the market.

You can either live under a system of minimum wage laws that outlaw all the jobs that you qualify for, i.e gardener babysitter, cleaner or maid.. or hope to live under a free market system where all these opportunities exist for you. Anyway, I think this analogy (via Catallaxy) sums it up well:

What if there was a minium price law for cars? Say $8,000?

What would happen to all the servicable but not very new or flashy cars that nobody is prepared to pay $8000 to own?

I suppose they would have to be junked, or just left sitting in the street or the back yard.

That is happening to people who are slow, with minor physical and mental or intellectual handicaps, and people who are untrained and lacking experience, or all of the above. And some of the most caring people around are all in favour of the minimum wage legislation that produces that outcome.

Anyone need a crap fork ?

Courtesy of Engrish:

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Liberal party are not "liberal" in any sense

Australians now live under one of the highest taxing governments on the planet. If we were being governed by the Labor Party, or some other far-left group such as the Greens or Democrats, perhaps most of us would expect such a situation to emerge.

But the Liberal party has been comfortably in power at the federal level for 10 years, and has done little to reduce the tax burden and cut government spending. John Howard's socialist credentials are strong indeed, with taxes now eating up 30 percent of our GDP.

The media, rather than attack the Liberal party for deviating from its philosophy, has mostly bothered to criticise *what* the government spends the money in and where it's priorities are. The fact that the Liberal party should represent a free-trade, small government agenda is totally overlooked. It goes to show that when you give people power, they don't like to hand it back in a hurry.

The word "liberal" is interpreted differently in the US. It generally means left-wing over there. Sure, it relates to left-wing economic policies that tax and spend heavily. But it also includes left-wing social policies, such as legalisation of drugs and recognition of gay partnerships. Our Liberal Party are definately socially conservative so, the US definition of liberal doesn't fit.

The other definition, usually referred to as classical liberal, is defined by Wikipedia as:

Classical liberalism (also called classic liberalism) is a political ideology that embraces individual rights, private property and a laissez-faire economy, a government that exists to protect the liberty of each individual from others, and a constitution that protects individual autonomy from governmental powers.
As such, it is often seen as being the natural ideology of the industrial revolution and its subsequent capitalist system. Ideas such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of thought, and free markets were first proposed by classical liberal thinkers before they were also adopted by thinkers of other ideologies.
Laissez-faire doesn't mean 48.5% top tax rates and heavy regulation!

How the Australian government subsidises families

A great article in today's Australian by Janet Albrechtsen highlights the outcomes of our current tax system:

So, for all the talk about tax reform, don't expect Howard's family welfare junkies to lead the charge. A couple with two children on a single income of $60,000 will pay $14,760 in tax but the Government hands back $10,568 in family tax benefits and $4193 in child care subsidies. Net result? Nil tax.

It's not surprising then that whenever tax reform is on the table, the Prime Minister and Treasurer Peter Costello point with pride to increased family payments under the Coalition Government as the equivalent of a tax cut. But churning tax dollars into family tax benefits creates a sense of entitlement that fuels a self-perpetuating welfare state in an era when welfare has outlived its reason for being.
Unfortunately, there is no sign of cutting top tax rates in the next budget. Howard's focus is again on the "average bloke" - by which he means the average bloke, his wife and two kids. Last week Howard said: "The average bloke, when you start talking about tax reform, tends to say 'Well, what's in it for me and my family?"' And Peter Costello, too, is focused on the lower to middle-income families. So expect more of the same - tinkering with taxes and family entitlements to prop up the Coalition constituency.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Bahrain tries to prosecute blasphemers

This story highlights the sad state of affairs in the Arab world, where a European restaurant manager has fled the country for his life after accidentally and unknowlingly throwing translated copies of the Koran into a bin.

A EUROPEAN manager at a major restaurant who allegedly desecrated the Holy Quran has fled the country, it was revealed yesterday.

A lawsuit against the manager has been filed by MP Mohammed Khalid Mohammed at the Public Prosecutor, which issued a warrant for his arrest.

The employer told the GDN last week that the man was sacked on the spot because of the offence caused when he threw translations from the Quran into a waste bin in front of Muslim colleagues.

The manager disposed of copies of translations from the Quran by mistake that were distributed by Discover Islam during the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix and left on one of the desks by some customers.

He admitted being guilty, but he said it was unintentional.

Shaikh Mohammed said that Interpol should bring the manager to justice like any other criminal.

So a foreigner throws a translation of a religious text in the bin, and it suddenly become a huge international incident worthy of government intervention ? Either way, the manager was a smart man to run away to civilisation.
“This is a serious matter and the government shouldn’t rest until this man is punished. He should have been arrested a long time ago, but everyone knows about the bureaucracy in this country. This person has made a mockery of Muslims and Islam and should get the severest punishment possible, but first he should be brought back. I am very angry and I will not breathe a sigh of relief until he is behind bars.”
It looks like some of the core Enlightenment values, namely the separation of church( or mosque) and state, haven't caught on yet. I wouldn't worry much, I'm sure they'll spread through the middle east in the next couple of centuries.

Seriously, there are some people out there who are cultural relativists, who say that we should respect all cultures and when we are in another country, we should obey their laws and customs and don't complain if we get caught breaking them. This line has been thrown around the Australian media a lot, after so many Aussies were caught in possession of drugs in Indonesia and likely to be sentenced to death.

I also find it interesting that so many of those who say we should abide by other cultures when travelling abroad, are very quick to apologise for acts of racism and misogyny committed by immigrants in our society, suggesting that we should bend our rules and be more lenient because foreigners are unfamiliar with our legal system and cultural norms.

I strongly oppose cultural relativism, and I view cultures and societies that respect human rights and freedoms are entirely superior to those which do not. Heavy sentences for possession of drugs or even stupid things like blasphemy are not worthy of respect.

Monday, April 03, 2006

The foreign minister of a racist imperialist colonist society speaks

Whats that ? You idiots out there think I'm talking about some Western leader probably, no?

Nah, I'm talking about the Palestinian foreign minister who believes in a greater Arab empire in the middle east, and he put it in plain English for us:

"I hope that our dream to have our independent state on all historic Palestine (including Israel) will become real one day. I'm certain of this because there is no place for the state of Israel on this land"
Peace process my ass ! Does genocide sound peaceful to you ?

Movie review: V for Vengeance

Saw the latest comic-action flick on the weekend, where our hero is the mask-wearing freedom fighter "V", and the setting is London in 50 years time, under a Nth Korean style dictatorship.

Politically, the film is neither left nor right. The protagonist is portrayed as an extemely literate and well educated freedom-fighter, perhaps an ultra-anarchist who believes in overthrowing government. Seeing as the film portrays such a hideously evil dictatorship with oppression against minorities, unrestrained police power, no political opposition allowed and no freedom of speech, with rampant government censorship.. well the main character who fights relentlessly against it is always seen as the good guy.

Viewers who aren't aware of classical liberal principles, i.e libertarianism, might view the film as being left wing. Lefties might cheer for this film, thinking that revolution refers to the communist variety where a relatively capitalist system (i.e the russian Czardom) is overthrown in place of a Marxist government committed to fighting inequality and supporting the workers.

Lefties might also draw nonexistent parallels between the fact that the dictatorship in the film labels "V" a terrorist, and that it controls the media and think that the situation is akin to George W Bush and the American media system. How stupid is that ? America has a totally free media, those that are called terrorists are actually terrorists who target civilians whilst in the movie, V was a freedom fighter who never targetted civilians, only government or military people. Lefties probably identify the moustached dictator as a right-wing nationalist dictator of sorts, with Nazi-like imagery to boot. Then again, lefties have their own version of history, and are quick to forget that Hitler's Germany was an ultra-socialist government. Yes, Hitler was a conservative Christian, but his totalitarian warfare based government was a product of left-wing ideology, so much so that Hitler actually admired Stalin for his extremism and fanatacism.

The irony is that whilst lefties might see the film as championing their cause, the film is a direct refutation of left-wing ideology. On a side note, I'm appalled to have read that the main actress, Natalie Portman, compared the film's dictator to George Bush, but hey Hollywood personalities aren't known for their intelligence.

Report: Aussies pay too much tax

Today's Australian summarises the findings of the Hendy-Warburton inquiry into the competitiveness of our tax system. Funny thing that, the Australian government and all of our media think that the economy is something that needs to be "managed", that our economy must "compete" with other economies by having "competitive" tax systems.

Its a very narrow minded socialist perspective, which unfortunately is part of mainstream thinking in Australia. Businesses around the world must all must compete with each other under a free market system. Its not something that government needs to support or oppose. Government imposing taxes on individuals based on their incomes is a punishment for success.

So to put things in perspective, it is hardly an objective report/inquiry when you try to compare how much other foreign governments steal from their people compared to how much the Australian government steals from Australian workers in order to suggest what a "fair level of theft" would be.

Nonetheless, at least the report does recommend tax cuts:

The report, by Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Peter Hendy and Tax Board chairman Dick Warburton, draws on OECD figures showing that the top rate of marginal tax in the industrialised world has come down from 47 per cent to an average of 43.5per cent over the past five years. But Australia's top rate has been stuck at 48.5 per cent, including the Medicare levy.
Mr Costello told Melbourne radio last week that Australia's direct tax take was high in an effort to keep petrol taxes low.
Umm, rather than talking about trade-offs, explain to me why exactly you justify the extravagant taxing of petrol when all other goods have the regular 10% GST on them already. Does anyone see the inverted logic ?
"I think there are higher priorities in the tax system," Mr Howard said yesterday. "To me the most important thing a tax system can do is to provide incentive for hard work, and the other important thing to do is to provide help for people who assume the responsibility of bringing children into this world and raising them.
This statement reveals the two very important characteristics of the PMs thinking which may sound moderate to most, but to me they sound extreme. Firstly, he clearly shows his belief that a tax system is needed to provide incentive for hard work. What the ?! Tax, by definition DESTROYS the incentive of hard work (i.e earning income). The only way the tax system can provide incentive for hard work is by keeping itself as small and insignificant as possible.

Secondly, the PM confesses that it is the role of government to intervene in personal relationships and to subsidise families. I am deeply disturbed by this policy. The ideology behind it is as wrong and immoral as China's one child per family policy.

It may appear moderate to many Australians because it is presented in the carefully crafted language of affirmative action (i.e in a positive statement). The government will "help out" and support Aussie families who raise children. But you see government cannot create help and support out of thin air. They have to make transfer payments. They must first build up a tax base by taxing all Australians. After this has been done, they decide to reduce the tax burden on families by offering them rebates and payments. So in effect, they are placing an extra tax burden on all people who choose not to have children, and reducing the tax burden on those who do.
Another thing the PM said:
"And I will never agree to changes that are going to undermine the support for low- and middle-income families."
This is more nonsense, where the defenders of the system use Orwellian language like "support" to describe a tax system which by definition, does nothing but take money from people. It then spends it on administration costs and bureaucracy, and transfer whats left to other people who qualify for payments.