Friday, May 26, 2006

Cindy Sheehan hits Melbourne - part 3/3

Finally, after all the other speakers, Cindy took the stage, introduced as the mother who lost her son in Iraq.

The previous speaker, the Iraqi doctor, had mentioned that he couldn't speak at medical conference in Europe because someone had told him he was coloured. So Cindy started her speech with:

"Thank you, Dr Ismael. Actually, I'm coloured too. I've been made an honorary member of the Black Congress and Caucus. And I'm an honorary Native American. We're all some kind of colour. I'm kind of peachy in color. We all have a little bit of colour, we should all say we're coloured."

You may only have 1 killed but 1 is too many. You know people say "oh we don't care because we haven't had the casualties America's had". Can you imagine that mother ? Can you imagine that wife when she hears things like that - "Oh we've only lost one" ? One to her might have been her only child. Even if it was, I have four kids. Casey was my oldest. People say, you know, people who have never lost a child say thank god she has more than one. Its like losing an arm, and someone saying you have 3 more limbs. Well thats true but you're missing one of your arms. And.. Australia may have lost only one soldier, but America has lost over 2500 and Britain has lost over 100, and really 24/2500 in America with all those soldiers is statistically not that important. But each soldier was a living breathing member of their family and their community."

"I met a woman in Sydney the other day who had lost 19 members of her family in Afghanistan. People say Afghanistan is just a fight, well I say its not just a fight. Afghanistan didn't attack America on 9-11. Osama Bin Laden did. And he's still out loose. We haven't captured that person who attacked America. Nobody attacked Australia. The people of Iraq were no threat to you, they were no threat to America, and I know the people of Australia have always stood out against the war. But its not enough to be against it. On Sunday, I'm gonna go to John Howard's residence in Sydney, we're gonna have a demonstration there. We're gonna ask to meet with him, I probably won't be able. But where are the Australian military families ? They need to get out, they need to go the residence. They need to stand up and say, "What kind of cause, are you sending our children to invade a country that was no threat to Australia ?" And you have to say to, "John Howard, why are you getting so buddy buddy with George Bush when hes not even popular in America ?"

She then read out a letter from another soldiers family and told the audience of how touched she was. She complained about a fellow British peace activist being arrested:

"This past year the British parliament passed a law called the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act of 2005. The Act restricts freedom of speech and freedom of assembly around Parliament. And number 10 Downing St. Citizens who break this law can be arrested and often are. A young woman went in front of Parliament building and read the names of 97 war dead, she was arrested. An old man started yelling at Jack Straw for his complicity in war crimes, and he was arrested."

"These prohibitions and many more on freedom of speech and dissent seem eerily familiar to me. I have been hauled in twice for exercising my 1st amendment rights. Thats now 4 times. I have tried to petition my government on dozens of occasions to redress the wrongs that George Bush and the other neo-con monsters have inflicted on the world and my family. I have spent a lot of money, sacrificed so much, and have troubled far and wide to do so. No one in the government is listening, no one pays attention. I was speaking to a large crowd of hundreds of peace activists in London, at an international peace conference and I challenged them to take back the freedoms that our governments have taken away from us. Just as thousands of people travelled from all around the world to join us at camp Casey this summer, I wondered why hundreds of people didn't go to Parliament and scream out the names of the slaughtered British war heros, after the young woman was arrested for doing the same. "

"Why do we have American, or Australian, or British people sitting complacently by while our government uses chemical weapons in Iraq? George Bush says that Saddam Hussein is a bad man because he used chemical weapons against his own people. What does that make George Bush and the leader of the war department? I think it makes them bad men. I think it makes John Howard a bad man. Why do we allow it continue ?"


"If you are doing nothing for peace and justice in this world, do something. If you are doing something, do more. Our survival on this planet demands immediate attention. Now its the time to leave our comfort zones and make a difference. [LOUD APPLAUSE]. I see it wherever I go in the world, the complacency of what is going. I see it here in Australia. I see that it has everything to do with with the creeping, corporate colonialism, of our corporations. That they want us to be this way. They want us to care more about a football game than about the world. In America, they care more about who is the next American Idol than the war. In America, we care more about a horse that broke its ankles than about our children, than Iraqi children who are coming home in body bags or with missing limbs."

"We've been talking about Martin Luther King Jr this night. My son was killed the same day he was killed, on April 4th. I don't believe in any coincidences. Casey was born on John F Kennedy's birthday. He was born on the day, and died on the day, of 2 people who were assassinated by the war machine in my country. Bobby Kennedy was assassinated by the war machine in my country, because they were talking about peace. And Martin Luther King said its either peaceful coexistence or mutual annihilation. And with the war drums beating for Iran, thats exactly whats gonna happen. Coz it doesn't matter if its a nuclear, or as George Bush says nucular, attack or conventional attack. Its gonna be devastation for the entire world, not just the people of Iraq or Iran."
On the way out, there were heaps of people trying to raise money and of course, people showing solidarity with the Palestinian terrorist movement:

Good riddance.. I'm heading home for a shower.

Cindy Sheehan hits Melbourne - part 2/3

A woman carrying a large banner, along with her 5 year old daughter, arrived and sat beside me at this point. I photographed her banner and overheard her telling others to watch the 9-11 conspiracy movie Loose Change, and how somebody offered people a 1million dollar reward to prove 9-11 was real and nobody has been able to claim the prize.

Next in the line-up was Green's senator Kerry Nettle:

Thank you very much for the invitation to come and be a part of whats gonna be 7 days of activism in Melbourne. I had the great fortune of hearing what Cindy and Dr Ishmael had to say in Sydney 2 days ago. As well all know, Iraq's a mess. 3 years on from the illegal and immoral invasion, the horrible consequences that we all spoke about are obvious to everybody. The death squads trained and funded by the coalition, and let loose by the interior ministry, are roaming in Baghdad.
And US troops are continuing to kill civilians. Last week, the conservative US congressman John Mertha, spoke of a Pentagon investigation into a massacre by US marines in Hadatha, and this is only the tip of the iceberg. He said that the investigation showed that a squad of US marines had killed civilians in cold blood....

To the white house, this is just another set of unfortunate statistics. To their families and their friends, its another reason to hate the occupying foreign troops. We don't know exactly how many people have died in Iraq, but we know that it is many many thousands. The Brookings institute in Washington, in their latest estimate, suggests between 44,000 and 98,000 civilians have been killed since the invasion.

Kerry then rattled off more statistics, about the horror.
Blamed the occupying forces. But there's hope.

"Its a horror that will continue, it is clear, until the invading forces leave Iraq. And its a fact that governments around this world have been forced to accept by their people. One after another, George Bush's allies have fallen. First Spain, then Por
tugal, the leaders of Poland and Ukraine have both been replaced and have pulled the troops out. South Korea has started to pull the troops out and now Italy's new government plans to pull its 2900 troops out by the end of the year [LOUD APPLAUSE]. That will leave Australia and the UK as the major partners of the US in Iraq.

We all know Tony Blair is a dead man walking. He is a political zombie killed by his governments involvement in the war in Iraq. And that leaves John Howard as the last ally standing. Insulated from the political fallout by Australian troops being Iraq's mo
st peaceful provence, although that appears it may be changing, John Howard has continued to follow George Bush, and now hes sending more troops into Afghanistan. He has said that Australian troops will stay in Iraq when the Japanese leave - his initial justification for them being there."
After continuing to point out Australia's involvement in Iraq, the AWB scandal and Private Kovco's death, Kerry Nettle focussed in Iran:

"According to the media reports in the United States and the United Kingdom, the Pe
ntagon is planning for war, and they are asking themselves questions about when and how to attack, not if to attack. The same coalition of think tank hawks, neo-conservatives and Israeli lobbyists are building the case for now. Just last week the Israeli PM Ehud Olmert claimed that Iran was just months away from building an atomic bomb. Now this is despite all credible evidence, showing that any program to construct nuclear weapons, if one exists, is years perhaps a decade away from success. Last month, the United States deputy director of national intelligence, says Iran is some years away from developing a nuclear weapon. And the US national intelligence estimate said 10 years...

The extent to which this propaganda for war is building internationally, is demonstrated by the furor in the United States, when a recent claim that Iran intends to legislate forcing Jewish people in Iran to wear yellow badges. Our PM participated in this propaganda when he was in Canada and the US last week where he told a press conference th
at if it was true, he would find it totally repugnant, and echoes obviously, the most horrible human genocide in the worlds history. We now know that this claim that was quickly repeated and circulated throughout the North American media, we know that it is not true and the newspaper that published it has apologised. The claim was denied by the Iranian government and by Iranian MPs including Jewish MPs. The source of the claim, the Financial Times revealed this week, was somebody called Amir Taheri, he is an Iranian exile and a former supporter of the former Shah of Iran. He is now a US columnist, hes been calling for regime change, been opposing talks with Iran, and he is somebody who is honoured by the neo-conservatives in the United States."

Senator Nettle then said that regime change must come from within Iran, and foretold further doom and gloom if an attack on Iran occurred. Then she called the US hypo
critical, because it holds most of the world's nuclear weapons, and is backing Indian nuclear ambitions. Another 5 minutes of anti-nuclear ranting included this quote.

"The Greens are opposed to nuclear power in any shape or form. We don
't want to see it in the US, the UK or Israel."

She then talked about UN sanctions, diplomacy etc. And then this bit of analysis:

"There is no doubt that the neo-conservatives have their eye on oil-rich Iran, and have had so since the Reagan ero, but we can't wait until the bombing starts. We need to mobilise support now, against an attack on Iran. And the Greens certainly want to work with all Australians to mobile the community against war in the middle East."

After Kerry sat down, up came Dr Salam Ismael, an Iraqi doctor with lots of gruesome photos to display on the projector, who wants to show the horror:His credentials:

After showing gruesome injuries and amputations, in true Al-Jazeera style, he showed a few statistics that he put together himself from his own observations:

Those American scum shot this innocent wall to pieces .. you bastards !

Cindy Sheehan hits Melbourne - part 1/3

Last night was quite the spectacle, as hordes of socialists descended upon RMIT university's Storey Hall for the Voices for Peace conference, with guest star Cindy Sheehan. On the way in, we were immediately mobbed by the anti-war types:

And of course there were the socialists opposing Howard's workplace reforms, promoting a student strike next week. And selling Che T-shirts to boot !

Inside, there was the registration.. why do people even think of bringing their kids to this ?

But inside, the hall probably only had around 200 guests. For all the hype, it was a pretty poor turnout.

But look who was sitting on stage getting her speech ready !! The celebrity peace-mom herself ! Wow, can I have your autograph ?

Then the show got started. The evening was hosted by a lady from the Moreland Peace Group who started with the following:

Before I introduce the speakers, I'd like to acknowledge that we are on aboriginal land. This is Wurrindjuri land... Unfortunately we haven't got a representative of the indigenous people to give welcome to the country this evening. Its really important to acknowledge that the aboriginal people never surrendered their land, and we encourage them to continue to fight as they've always fought, and we've agreed with their statement that this always was and always will be aboriginal land. I would like to add, also, that I would think all of us would condemn the recent action of the state government to remove the tent embassy from Kings Domain, Melbourne. [LOUD APPLAUSE]. That tent was an inspiration to all of us.

Anyway, next she introduced the first guest, ageing American hippy Joe Dolce who had to be seen to be believed:

Joe was introduced as someone who"has been a singer an activist all his life". First up he sang a little tribute to Coretta Scott King (Martin Luther King Jr's wife) during those "bad civil rights days". The lyrics are here. Next he toned up the rhetoric and sang us a sad song called Gift about an Iraqi child being bombed and crushed beneath stones - lyrics here.

Then he switched to a small ukelele for his final act.

"Believe it or not, this song was actually banned in America after 9-11".

He then went on to sing John Lennon's "Imagine". The audience hummed along and sang in zombie unison. And I'm supposed to believe this song is banned in America now ?

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Look whose coming to town

Tomorrow night will give us Cindy Sheehan, celebrity peace-activist, appearing before a packed crowd in Melbourne. Whilst there is no shortage of mad ideas and quotes espoused by her, the SMH has provided us with the latest idiocies:

On September 11, 2001, she shared the views of most Americans, but with much more ominous feelings. “I was stunned, I was shocked, I was broken-hearted,” she says.

"On September 11, when that happened, I had a premonition that it would cause Casey’s death. I just got so depressed. I was in a state of depression thinking Casey would have to go to war."
Just wait.. it gets worse.

"This has been an evolution for me since Casey was killed. I didn’t like war, but I kind of thought World War II was a good war.

"But now I have gone to the total opposite, there is no good war. And violence is never a solution to any problem."
So she is against the America's WW2 efforts to stop Hitler. Then there was this astonishing claim, later proven as false:
In the first place, does anyone who is attacking me know how Casey was brought home from Iraq? We picked him up in the United loading dock in a cardboard box and he was off-loaded into a hearse without one honor guard.
And then this article, where Cindy Sheehan favors allowing Iran to pursue nuclear weapons undettered:
With all of the “Left Behind” religious fanatics praying for Armageddon, this thought is made even scarier by the fake believers in the White House who are exploiting the neo-Christian idea that Jesus was a war monger and anything our great leader does is okay, because he is a Christian man!

By putting the focus on nuclear strikes we are also forgetting the appalling destructive power that conventional weapons wield. We must not even, for one moment, contemplate a conventional invasion in Iran either. No matter how George Bush lies about how rosy things are in Iraq, they aren’t, and Iraq is proof that war of any kind is a horribly tragic way to solve problems.

She has demonised George Bush as being 10 times worse than Osama:
“I would say 30,000 more or less have died as a result of the initial incursion and the ongoing violence against Iraqis,” said George on December 12, 2005. Even if one accepts this very low guess-ti-mate by George, his policies have been responsible for ten times the 3000 deaths on September 11, 2001. By his own admission, he is ten times the terrorist that Osama ever was. If George says 30,000 ... who knows what the truthful total is. It fills me with sorrow and hurts my heart to even contemplate the number.
But sometimes a picture, of her kissing Venezuelan socialist tyrant Hugo Chavez, is worth a thousand words.

Monday, May 22, 2006

European foreign policy in a nutshell

Via Cox and Forkum:

How the left get hysterical over global warming

Left wing academics and journalists continue to get increasingly agitated and hysterical over global warming. The more evidence there is against their cause, the angrier and louder they become, as they claim that we must take more action now to appease Gaia before she destroys us all in her rage. Hybrid cars, windfarms, Kyoto protocol are the first step. Further measures would include cutting back on consumption of food, electricity, water and implementing population control.

So what happens when an environmentalist takes a responsible and calm look at climate change and what measures can be taken? Well Bjorn Lomborg wrote The Skepitcal Environmentalist in 2002, a devastating critique and sober analysis which refutes the commonly accepted hysterical notion that we must do everything now !

And as expected, prominent lefty Johann Hari has attacked him:

Lomborg perpetually points to the relative ineffectiveness of Kyoto (even if the US did adopt it) as an argument against restrictions on gas emissions. But real environmentalists have always argued the Kyoto is a feeble first step, valuable only because it would demonstrate our ability to make baby-steps together before we get to the serious jogging necessary. The pathetic impact of Kyoto is an argument for doing far more to hold down CO2 emissions, not for junking the whole idea of restraint and opting for climatic anarchy.
So Lomborg has shown that Kyoto is ineffective AND costly. And Johann Hari says "Ahah ! So we should do it as a first step and then pay more". So who is using science and reason, and who is hysterical ?

Bjorn Lomborg's book uses widely accepted statistics to show that on ALL major issues such as air pollution, sanitation, disease, famine, poverty, water quality, the figures have been and continue to improve with time.

But look at Johann Hari's devastating proof of global warming:

When I was in the Democratic Republic of Congo recently, one of Christian Aid’s agronomists, a sober, melancholy man called Sampson Cherwa, took me to meet farmers who are going hungry because of global warming. We stood in a battered banana field where the trees lay, flaccid and dying, all around us as he explained, “There has been a dramatic change in the weather here over the past decade, for the first time in living memory. We have always had two rainy seasons, one in winter when we do the planting, and one in spring, when we harvest. Since there is no irrigation here, we are totally dependent on them. But now the rainy seasons have suddenly changed. They have always lasted three months, but now they last only two. The same amount of water falls, but instead of coming as rain that irrigates the fields, it comes as hail or torrential rain that destroys the crops.”
So some farmer gives an anecdote about how the rain pattern has changed, and Johann Hari believes every person on earth should be governed by the Kyoto protocol !

Note how the total rainfall hasn't changed, just the fact that it comes down in a shorter season. Johann Hari repeatedly links and refers to the hysterical fear-mongering report issued by Christian Aid about climate change in African nations. And of course, in true left-wing fashion, he has to end his report with some hand-wringing collective guilt:
Jiamungo Danasie, the Congolese farmer with seven children who owns this field, told me tearfully about the day his field was destroyed by the Weather of Mass Destruction. He rubs his stomach and says in English, “Hungry.” As I stand listening to him, I think of all the SUVs on our streets and all the plane journeys we have taken (including, yes, the one that brought me here) and thought – we did this.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Consumerism - its great

Lew Rockwell has a great essay on the much-maligned word, "consumerism":

In Defense of Consumerism
by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

I'm beginning to think that the epithet "consumerism" is just another word for freedom in the marketplace.

It's true that the market is delivering goods, services, and technological advances by leaps, day after day. People claim that they are so inundated with techno advances that they don't want anymore. Say no to the latest gizmo!

But we really don't mean it. No one wants to be denied web access, and we want it faster and better with more variety. We want to download songs, movies, and treatises on every subject. No amount of information is too much when it is something specific we seek.

And that's not all.

We want better heating and cooling in our homes and businesses. We want more varieties of food, wine, cleaning products, toothpaste, and razors. We want access to a full range of styles in our home furnishing. If something is broken, we want the materials made available to repair it. We want fresh flowers, fresh fish, fresh bread, and new cars with more features. We want overnight delivery, good tech support, and the newest fashions from all over the world.

The libraries are going online, as is the world's art. Commerce has made the shift. New worlds are opening to us by the day. We find that phone calls are free. We can link with anyone in the world through instant messaging, and email has become the medium that makes all communication possible. We are abandoning our televisions and telephones — staples of 20th century life — for far superior modes of information technology.

We want speed. We want wireless. We want access. And improvements. Clean and filtered water must flow from our refrigerators. We want energy drinks, sports drinks, bubbly drinks, and juicy drinks. We want meat. We want tofu. We want homes. We want safety and security. We want service. We want choice.

We are getting all these things. And how? Through that incredible production and distribution machine called the market economy, which is really nothing but billions of people cooperating and innovating to make better lives for themselves. There's no dog-eat-dog. Competition is really nothing but entrepreneurs and capitalists falling over themselves in a quest to win the hearts and minds of the consuming public.

Sure, it's easy to look at all this and shout: ghastly consumerism! But if by "consume" we meant to purchase products and services with our own money in order to improve the human condition, who can't but plead guilty?

The whole history of ideas about society has been spent trying to come up with some system that serves the common man rather than just the elites, the rulers, and the powerful. When the market economy, and its capitalistic structure, came into being, that institution was finally discovered. With the advent of economic science, we came to understand how this could be. We began to see how it is that billions of unplanned economic choices could conspire to create a beautiful global system of production and distribution that served everyone. And how to do the intellectuals respond to this? By denouncing it as providing too much to too many.

But are people buying superfluous things that they can do without? Certainly. But who is to say for sure what is a need as verses a mere want? A dictator who knows all? How can we know that his desires will accord with my needs and yours? In any case, in a market economy, wants and needs are linked, so that one person's necessities are met precisely because other people's wants are met.

Here is an example.

If my grandchild is desperately sick, I want to get her to a doctor. The urgent care clinic is open late, as is the drug store next door, and thank goodness. I'm in and out, and I have the medicine and materials necessary to restore her to health. No one would say that this is a superficial demand.

But it can only stay open late because its offices are nestled in a strip mall where the rents are low and the access is high. The real estate is shared by candy stores, sports shops selling scuba gear, a billiard hall, and a store that specializes in party favors — all stores selling "superficial" things. All pay rent. The developer who made the mall wouldn't have built the place were it not for these less urgent needs.

The same is true for the furniture and equipment and labor used in the urgent-care clinic. They are less expensive and more accessible than they otherwise would be due to the persistence of non-essential consumer demands. The computers they use are up-to-date and fast precisely because technicians and entrepreneurs have innovated to meet the demands of gamers, gamblers, and people who use the web to do things they shouldn't.

The same point can be made about "luxury goods" and bleeding-edge technologies. The rich acquire them and use them until the bugs are gone, the imitators are aroused, capitalists seek out cheaper suppliers, and eventually prices tumble and the same technology hits the mass market. Moreover, it is the rich who donate to charity, the arts, and to religion. They provide the capital necessary for investment.

Maybe you think quality of life is not a big deal. Does it really matter whether people have access to vast grocery stores, drug stores, subdivisions, and technology? Part of the answer has to do with natural rights: people should be free to choose and buy as they see fit. But another argument is buried in data we don't often think about.

Consider life expectancy in the age of consumerism. Women in 1900 typically died at 48 years old, and men at 46. Today? Women live to 80, and men to 77. This is due to better diet, less dangerous jobs, improved sanity and hygiene, improved access to health care, and the entire range of factors that contribute to what we call our standard of living. Just since 1950, the infant mortality rate has fallen by 77 percent. Population is rising exponentially as a result.

It's easy to look at figures that suggest that we could have achieved the same thing with a central plan for health, while avoiding all this disgusting consumerism that goes along with it. But such a central plan was tried in socialist countries, and their results showed precisely the opposite in mortality statistics. While the Soviets decried our persistent poverty amidst rampant consumerism, our poverty was being beaten back and our longevity was increasing, in large part because of the consumerism for we which were being reviled.

Nowadays we are being told that consumption is aesthetically displeasing, and that we should strive to get back to nature, stop driving here and there, make a compost pile, raise our own vegetables, unplug our computers, and eat nuts off trees. This longing for the primitive is nothing but an attempt to cast a pleasing gloss on the inevitable effects of socialist policies. They are telling us to love poverty and hate plenty.

Socialist RMIT professor attacks freedom

In the assigned readings for a 2nd year media subject as part of the Professional Communications degree, all students are given assigned readings which describes other political ideologies.

Not suprisingly, any political orientation which differs from the faculty member's deeply cherished socialist ideals is mischaracterised and distorted.

Instead of teaching economics from a historical and qualitative perspective, where free trade is proven to be the optimal system, it is taught as "globalisation" with an emphasis on highlighting an array of new cultural and social issues, that have sprung up over the past 50 years, so that free trade can be cast in a dark light with. In one of the readings, a small paragraph is devoted to describing libertarianism as (I paraphrase here)

"an ideology which puts trust in people's abilities to make correct decisions and behave rationally"
So according to this line of reasoning, libertarians are foolish, naive idealists who rely on all people behaving rationally and wisely to justify their belief in having very little government.

And by contrast, it must be the socialists who believe in having lots and lots of government, must be the only ideology which takes into account the fact that people make bad decisions, don't always act in their interest, commit crime and violence, harm others and harm themselves. So socialists take this undisputed fact, the imperfect and irrational behaviour of some people, to justify big oppressive government over all people.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Libertarians do not.. at all.. in any texts or literature... in any shape or form.. claim to believe that people make correct decisions and behave rationally. Libertarians, perhaps more than any other ideology, realise that people are imperfect and every individual has a different set of values. And perhaps every time a libertarian discusses an issue, they acknowledge and promote the fact that humans make mistakes.

It is actually socialism that demands big government to control large aspects of our lives. Censorship, relationships, finances and wealth, industry, environment, media. But the problem is that government is made up humans ! People like you or me. No matter how much our leaders, our bureacrats and our media elites claim to know, our how much expertise they possess, they are still human and still capable of making mistakes. So why does socialism put so much trust in our beloved leaders to get things right and make the right decisions for all of us ?

How can you have a uniform set of standards for public education and expect it be exactly what even 30% of the population would have wanted ? The same goes for hospitals, roads, censorship, media regulation, airlines, imports, taxes, welfare etc. Socialists claim that they know whats best for everyone so they deserve the power to regulate our lives.

Libertarians proudly admit that they have no idea whats best for others, and their mantra is that each individual is the best at making decisions for themselves and spending their own money.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Quote of the day

Barry Goldwater - my favorite kind of Republican, in his 1964 acceptance speech for the nomination of running for President:

Today, as then, but more urgently and more broadly than then, the task of preserving and enlarging freedom at home and safeguarding it from the forces of tyranny abroad is great enough to challenge all our resources and to require all our strength. Anyone who joins us in all sincerity, we welcome. Those who do not care for our cause, we don't expect to enter our ranks in any case. And let our Republicanism, so focused and so dedicated, not be made fuzzy and futile by unthinking and stupid labels.

I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Free Hao Wu !!

Chinese blogger and film-maker Hao Wu has been imprisoned since Feb 22nd (for 79 days!!) for exercising his speech online. Details about his imprisonment can be found here:

On March 22nd it will be one month since filmmaker and Global Voices Northeast Asia Editor Hao Wu was detained without charge. We appeal to the Chinese government for Hao Wu’s immediate release!
An fascinating account of events, from his sister's perspective, is online here - I encourage you to read it all:

We passed through Hangzhou and took a rest next to West Lake. Under the dark blue sky of the night, we finally opened our hearts and told my parents about this affair. We told them about the selfless help from our friends and we told them about the efforts from so many parties … My parent’s misgivings were gradually removed. When told about the friends’ appraisal of my younger brother, my mother did not look so sad anymore and my father did not sigh anymore, as they know the character of their son. I knew then that making my parents come to Shanghai had not been a wasted effort. This was the first step in the ten thousand mile march, and there is still a lot that I need to tell them, including about my blog …

After getting back to Shanghai, I found emails from my friends waiting for me. I learned that the outside world did not forget Hao, that there are still people thinking about him and that there are still people working hard on his behalf. I was very gratified.

And now for news from Helengrad

Heres the latest news from that economic powerhouse, New Zealand. It seems that their Dear Leader, Helen Clarke, in true socialist fashion, has slapped on some nasty regulation on the national telecommunications carrier Telecom.

Dear Helen and her comrades told the proletariat that things would improve, access to broadband would improve and pricing would improve.

Shareholders weren't fooled:

Telecom, which has had $2.25 billion wiped off its value in 10 days after the Government announced it would take a heavier handed regulatory stance
You can't say they weren't warned. On the 3rd of May:
"This is regulation for the sake of regulation," Telecom General Manager Government & Industry Relations Bruce Parkes said today. "The Commission has failed to make a case for why fixed to mobile calls should be regulated, but is recommending that step nevertheless."
Socialism destroys wealth, creativity, profitability and productivity. Shareholders know this. Politicians like to ignore it, because after all, they get more power and influence as government expands its tentacles into the market.

Pro-family ? Anti - everything else !

So far every piece of commentary on the budget has mirrored the treasurers spin on the increased spending towards childcare and family rebates as being "pro-family".

Well yes, in a very obvious sense, when government forks out huge payments to families, and boosts public spending on childcare places, theose benefits are enjoyed only by what we traditionally refer to as "families".

Consider how the word family has a very positive connotation. The concept of "helping out families" and "helping parents raise kids" seem to be greeted universally as good and wholesome.

The treasurer and his media bandwagon perform a before/after analysis of the budget to see the change to your average family's income. The treasurer proudly boasts of how a family will receive $x per week extra in revenue. The media promote the concept that families with 3 or more children are the big winners from this budget.

So clearly, it seems like its all about families, with families being the focus and the #1 priority of our society. I myself am not going to event try to convince my readership what the priorities should be. I shall not discuss the merits of raising families. I shall only acknowledge that everyone has their own priorities and values, and they are entitled to follow them in the pursuit of happiness so long as they don't impinge on other people's rights and liberty. I shall only attempt to convince readers that individuals are the most important element. This does not stand in opposition to being pro-family. It simply states the bleeding obvious - families are made up of individuals. Individuals can take voluntary and consesual actions to create partnerships, families, affairs, parents, adoptive parents etc etc.

But the point where government becomes involved is the point where individuals stop taking voluntary actions to control their lives and relationships, and the collective starts using force and coercion.

Here is my stance summarised:
Government has no business intervening in private relationships. Any intervention destroys our valuable liberties and our rights to form personal relationships as we see fit. It is not the role of government to endorse nor discourage any form of relationship.

For some people, those liberties are not so intuitive. They think that giving tax relief to parents with children is a positive and supportive act. Children are considered expensive and challenging to raise, so therefore its a good use of resources. People wouldn't pause for a moments thought to realise that government intervention is a form of social engineering.

In China, government intervention is famously recognised as a harmful, destructive and oppressive policy becase families are punished for having more than one child. At the mere mention of this policy, our alarm bells ring because our human instincts tell us its plain wrong. The Chinese government is interfering in a private relationship between consenting adults, and regulating personal relationships. Such a policy causes emotional suffering because for so many individuals across so many cultures worldwide, the opportunity to raise a family is valued highly.

But what if the policy was reversed ? Instead of discouraging and punishing families with more than one child, a government encourages families to have as many children as possible (The Baby Bonus) and rewards them with huge transfer payments (Family Tax Benefits A,B & C) ?
For most people, the alarm bells stop ringing, and they breathe a sigh of relief. But this should not be the case, because government is still meddling in private relationships, albeit in a positive way.

Here is how the tax system works in case it wasn't painfully obvious. Taxes are confiscated from millions of individuals by force and coercion, using the threat of violence (imprisonment and fines). It is not voluntary at all. So some people settle for a 2nd best approach where they lobby the government on how to best spend the stolen money.

Some people vote for Family First if they believe spending and regulating in favour of traditional families are #1 priority. Some people vote for other parties if they believe they can spend and regulate better. Huge sections of the media voice their opinion to influence the party in power, to spend and regulate in favour of whatever priorities they value i.e the elderly, hospitals, children, the environment etc etc. And as time goes on, and new parties come to power with new priorities, society continues on this infinite merry-go-round as we all compete like idiots to get a government in power which will tax and regulate in our favour.

This destructive cycle has to be reduced. If it continues, everybody will keep paying taxes but not everybody receives the benefits. Even the families that supposedly receive the benefits are worse off, because a government monopoly is being created in childcare and education where choice is limited. Only a free and privatised market of competing schools and childcare centres will offer parents any real variety.

Middle income families who want to send their children to private schools will not be able to afford it because they have paid exorbitant amounts in taxes. The only way for people to fully reap the benefits of those taxes is to reproduce (get back some taxes from the baby bonus) and send those kids to public schools (get back some taxes through the provision of a service).

But .. heres the kicker.. there are so many people out there who, even with the "positive" regulation to favour families, do not follow the above course of behaviour. And its these people who have had their taxes confiscated, and have little benefit from it.

What if the parents, for one reason or another, wanted to home-school their children ? What if the parents didn't believe the public school suited their needs ? What if a couple couldn't even have children ? What if a couple were not "traditional" in the sense of a man marrying a woman ?

In Australia, there are hundreds of thousands of GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender) people who are discriminated against heavily by this "pro-family" legislation. There may be a set of parents with very good educations and 5 children that may wish to home-school their children to save on schooling costs. There may be couples which realise they are not responsible enough to take on the serious role of parenting and raising children, and thus remain child-free.

There are more scenarios out there than I could elaborate on. It all boils down to the sane belief that people should be free to form their own personal relationships as they value, without government intervention. It is not the role of government to encourage one form of relationship (the traditional family) because it will then punish every other form of relationship.

Government is not a charity organisation unfortunately. If the treasurer was paying for things from his own pocket and doing voluntary unpaid work to help out families, then they would truly be justified in saying they are pro-family.

The best solution is to end public education, slash the budget in half and give working individuals their money back to spend (or save) on goods and services according their own priorities and values. If people value family so greatly, then they can direct their own resources to reflect this. But to direct someone else's resources and revenue in your favor using coercion is elitism of the worst kind - to suggest that you know how to spend someone's money better than they do themselves.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Iran rejects the modern world

Iranian President Ahmadinejad, in a letter to George Bush, said:

Liberalism and Western style democracy have not been able to help realize the ideals of humanity. Today these two concepts have failed. Those with insight can already hear the sounds of the shattering and fall of the ideology and thoughts of the liberal democratic systems.
We increasingly see that people around the world are flocking towards a main focal point – that is the Almighty God.
This quote is illustrative and I hope all left-wing progressive thinkers realise it. It is the left-wing, progressive, anti-capitalist thinkers who are always trying to portray the war on terror as some perverted Amerikkkan plot to seize resources, or Zionist conspiracy to destroy the enemies of Israel (even though Israel did not support the Iraq War), or perhaps some Christian fundamentalist belief to wage war on Islam. And so many progressives lend support to those that support terrorism and to Islamic autocracies that oppress their women and minorities.

But read the quote above, and you'll see that the Iranian president who is seeking out nukes, is opposed to Western democracy and liberalism. It is these two ingredients that have led to prosperous nations flourishing since 1799. Starting with France and the USA, followed by Britain and now containing dozens of developed countries, an area referred to as "The West" developed.

Democracy is surely a good thing. And liberalism guarantees the rights of the individual are respected and enforced by governments. Lack of democracy and liberalism have kept the Middle East and Africa living under oppression and poverty. Freedom is but a dream there. Given the evidence, who in their right mind would reject liberalism and democracy ?

2006 Budget review

Its fairly obvious I was going to be angry with a lot of the pork and spending that Australians take for granted under our tax system in our social democracy. We live under an oppressive tax system which hooks large sections of society and scattered interest groups onto welfare and makes them addicts.

Funding has always flowed in ever increasing amounts towards pet causes such as "the environment" and "families". So anything short of a massive reversal was always going to be a massive disappointment to me. As our federal and state governments expand, and the tentacles reach ever further into our daily lives, its unlikely to ever see a budget which rewards success and motivates people to earn wealth instead of destroying it.

Here's my take on the budget:


  • The top tax rate was cut from 47% to 45%.
  • The 2nd top tax rate was cut from 42% to 40%.
  • Boosting the 15c income tax threshold from $21,600 to $25,000
  • Boosting the 30c income tax threshold to $75,000
  • Scrap all levies on payouts - lump sums and annual super pensions - but only if the nest egg is accessed when a retiree turns 60.
  • Under the new super plan, the cap on how much super that people can hold will be abolished and replaced with a $50,000 limit on yearly contributions.
  • A person aged less than 35 now can only invest $14,603 a year in superannuation. Between 35 and 49, they can invest $40,560 a year. Both those amounts have been raised to $50,000.

THE BAD (theres plenty of it):
  • Boosting subsidies, now available to every childcare provider.
He said the changes would cost taxpayers $60.2 million over four years and allow 99 per cent of childcare providers to create as many places as they liked.
  • Under changes to the Family Tax Benefit A, which will apply from July 1, families will be eligible for the maximum benefit - $4000 - until annual earnings reach $40,000. Families were previously eligible for the maximum benefit until their combined salary hit $33,361. Under changes introduced in the 2005-06 budget, the threshold was lifted to $37,500.
  • A $2.3 million campaign to advertise the 30 per cent childcare rebate will come into affect from July 1. (Great .. they steal our money, and then they steal some more to advertise and let us know how the bastards are gonna spend it !)
  • Welfare payments to families will be increased under a $2.9billion plan to increase the income threshold at which people receive maximum family payments. (Ahh nothing like giving our money to "families" and punishing the rest of us who don't have a wife and two kids)
  • Increase in funding for medical research with annual spending to nearly double, to $700million a year, by 2009-10. (A total waste of resources. These self-righteous bactually believe that if big fat almighty government wouldn't spend money on medical research, it just wouldn't get done by the free market)
  • The Murray-Darling Basin will receive $500 million in an effort to restore the waterway's health. (this is nothing more than a payout to buy farmer's votes. How the hell do you restore a waterway's "health" anyway ?)
  • The Federal Government will be providing nearly $9.3 billion in funding for schools as part of the 2006/07 Budget. (Thats a lot of money going to inefficient schools)
  • Science and innovation will receive a record $5.97 billion in 2006/07 as part of this year's Budget
  • Funding for the ABC will increase to $530.8 million in 2006/07, $543.5 million the following financial year and $555 million in 2008/09.
  • Senator Kemp says he also welcomes the announcement of additional funding of $4.4 million for the performing arts in Australia.

  • The National Institute of Circus Arts in Melbourne will receive $2.3 million, Sydney’s Belvoir Street Theatre will gain $1.5 million and $600,000 will be provided to the Sydney Dance Company.

  • Roads and rail infrastructure will receive a $2.3billion funds injection, as part of the national plan to improve Australia's freight links and boost export capability.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Tax is destructive

Having high taxes distorts economic behaviour and changes peoples priorities and goals. Well, not really their goals. Most firms and individuals have the goal of maximising profit, but once you introduce a highly regulated and high taxing labour market, the methods of acheiving this are corrupted.

Ideally, firms would compete to secure the highest profits. They would concentrate on a range of factors that contribute to this in a free market; i.e the quality of their products, their marketting, image, pricing, reputation and most importantly - how they stack up against the competition. But when you introduce tax into the equation, a main consideration becomes "how do we minimise the tax we pay?"

And here we come along the subject of "deductions". You see the tax on businesses can be oppressive, especially given that businesses have business-related expenditure to sustain such as furniture, offices, wages, software and computers. So these businesses then rely on the governments tax legislation to see what the after-tax cost of these expenses are in order to fully evaluate them. And this distorts behaviour in a harmful way, as highlighted by the Mises institute:

Even the shape of your office is influenced by intervention. Thirty years ago, offices started using cubicles to house workers. Cubicles are still the largest selling office furniture, despite a huge range of management experts who say that they create a bad business environment. Why do they persist?
In 1968, the Treasury Department created new depreciation schedules that subsidize cubicles at the expense of separate offices. Companies can depreciate office furniture (including cubicle walls) in 7 years, whereas permanent office structures are given a 39.5-year rate. In other words, the costs of cubicles are more quickly recoverable than offices. This one change alone is what turned our workplaces into pictures out of Brave New World instead of the comfortable and humane places that they should be.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Murder, slavery and rape in the Congo.. whose to blame ?

Johann Hari has written an incredible and shocking, must-read account of the hell that exists in the Congo. He describes his first-hand encounters with the victims of violence, rape and slavery, and gives an insight into the many militias that exist in the lawless region.

After describing such despair, poverty and violence suffered by Africans, he unfortunately continues, in the way only left-wing ideologues can, to place some blame on us folks in the West:

In reality, they are immense holes in the ground, in which men, women and children – lots of children – pick desperately with makeshift hammers or their bare hands at the red earth, hoping to find some coltan or cassiterite to set on the long conveyor belt to your house or mine. Coltan is a metal that conducts heat unusually brilliantly. It is contained in your mobile, your lap-top, your son’s Playstation – and 80 percent of the world’s supplies sit beneath the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Ingo Mbale, 51, explains how the West’s hunger for coltan is fed. “We were enslaved three years ago,” he says. “An RCD captain [from one of the militias] arrived and forced us to mine for them at gun-point. They gave us no money, it was slave labour.
Somehow, I just knew Johann Hari would find the "blame the West" angle, just as he does in any story. There are huge ethnic divides in Africa, and many people form violent militias that go about seizing land, executing children and raping women. But somehow, just because some resource that is abundant in Congo is valued highly by Asia, Europe and the US, we are to blame. Even in the Rwandan genocide where the ethnic majority formed militias that used machettes and old firearms to butcher the ethnic minority, leftists managed to find a way to blame the West, saying that we should have intervened.

Without doing any fact checking or research, Johann Hari goes on to promote this brazen anti-American lie:
Lumumba claimed to be a democratic socialist who wanted to overcome Congo’s ethnic divisions. We will never know if he could have fulfilled this dream, because the CIA decided he was a “mad dog” who had to be put down. Before long, one of their agents was driving around Kinshasa with the elected leader’s tortured corpse in the boot looking for a place to dump him, and the CIA’s man – Mobutu Sese Seko – was in power and in the money.
The reality is that a subsequent investigation showed the CIA to have no involvement whatsoever in the removal of Lumumba. But facts are just a mere nuisance to left-wing gospel. Nonetheless, this account is a must-read. So long as people read things with an open yet skeptical mind, you can distill the facts and horrors in the story from the left wing editorialising and assignment of blame.

Unfortunately though, Andrew Sullivan who considers himself a conservative, when linking to this article shamefully wrote:
Read how cheap playstations have led to gang rapes, enslavement and massacres.

The UN is a waste of money

Mark Steyn has another great article, this time about the genocide in Darfur:

I SEE George Clooney and Angelina Jolie have discovered Darfur and are now demanding "action". Good for them.

I wish the celebs well. Those of us who wanted action on Darfur years ago will hope their advocacy produces more results than ours did. Clooney's concern for the people of the region appears to be genuine and serious. But unless he's also serious about backing the only forces in the world with the capability and will to act in Sudan, he's just another showboating pretty boy of no use to anyone.

Here's the lesson of the past three years: The UN kills.

Well, Washington learned its lesson. Faced with another thug regime that's no threat to anyone apart from selected ethnocultural groups within its borders which it kills in large numbers (African Muslims and southern Christians), the unilateralist cowboy decided to go by the book. No unlawful actions here. Instead, meetings at the UN. Consultations with allies. Possible referral to the Security Council.

And as I wrote on this page in July 2004: "The problem is, by the time you've gone through the UN, everyone's dead." And as I wrote in Britain's Daily Telegraph in September 2004: "The US agreed to go the UN route and it looks like they'll have a really strongish compromise resolution ready to go about a week after the last villager's been murdered and his wife gang-raped."

Several hundred thousand corpses later Clooney is now demanding a "stronger multinational force to protect the civilians of Darfur".

Agreed. So let's get on to the details. If by "multinational" Clooney means a military intervention authorised by the UN, then he's a poseur and a fraud, and we should pay him no further heed. Meaningful UN action is never gonna happen.

Quotes of Richard Carleton

As I'm sure many know, veteran 60 minutes reporter Richard Carleton yesterday died from a heart attack during a press conference at the Beaconsfield mine disaster in Tasmania.

Personally, I hated his work in the past. His arrogance and bigotry were his characteristics. I don't take any joy from his death, I would have much rather he retired from journalism altogether and kept his opinions away from the 60 minutes program.

Here are some famous quotes of the spin-master:
Regarding Michael Moore's documentary:

"It’s pure propaganda, and I fully support it because I oppose the war.”
Regarding the death of 12 year old Palestinian boy Mohammed-al-Dura, whose death was ultimately proven to be caused by Palestinian gunfire:
The "overwhelming evidence," averred Mr Carleton, "is that boy was targeted, murdered, by Israeli soldiers."
Describing Ariel Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount:
"a brazenly provocative act".
(gee, what about all the other times Ariel Sharon and other Israeli ministers have visited the Temple Mount before ? )
And the report I personally hate the most was when he covered the Israeli defence barrier:
"Madness is the currency in Israel right now. Acts of madness are commonplace. And this is perhaps an expression of just how barren and brutal thinking has become here. A concrete wall to segregate Israelis from Palestinians, occupiers from occupied. Formidable as it looks, though, this wall will not solve the problems, because the source of Israel's problems lies on the other side."
And this little exchange shows why I think the guy was an arrogant prick:

YISRAEL MEDAD: We took this territory as a result of a defensive war in 1967.

RICHARD CARLETON: And you should give it back.

YISRAEL MEDAD: If that's your opinion, fine. My opinion's very different.

RICHARD CARLETON: No, world opinion. World opinion as represented by the United Nations.

Friday, May 05, 2006

"Feminist media studies" makes your head bleed

This is what 2nd year professional communication or media students at Melbourne's RMIT university are forced to cover as part of their prescribed reading. I must warn you that it will make your head reel and your brain to turn to mush and leak out through your ears. Such nonsensical and incoherent arguments are hard to come across in modern times, but it seems our post-modern thinkers are always ready to supply us with more.

I quote you a paragraph from L. Van Zoonen's "New Themes in Feminist Media Studies", 1994:

For a boy to become a man he has to separate from his mother and identify with his father. The little girl on the other hand pases these phases differently. As she becomes aware of her own lack of a penis, she develops penis envy and resents the mother for badly equipping her. To take revenge she turns to the father, competing for his love with her mother and desiring his penis. Only of the girl succeeds in substituting her phallic desire by the wish to have a baby - the ultimate penis substitute for women according to Freud - will she develop as an untroubled mature woman.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Victoria is a socialist gulag

Lets be realistic here, the standard of living is fantastic in Victoria but our personal freedoms and liberties have never ever been more restricted.

The racial and religious villification laws slam free speech. They make it illegal to criticise a religion.

The water restrictions are nothing more than centrally planned nonsense. Rather than allowing water providers and customers to come to a voluntary agreement about what they may exchange, government has put its tentacles into the market and limited the ways in which a household may use water. My South East Water bill has the following on the back page:

One Year On: The Permanent Water Saving Rules that apply in Melbourne celebrated their first anniversary in March 2006. Please remember to follow these simple rules because every drop counts...
You hear that you stupid slaves ? The rules "celebrated". All hail the legislation. This is the kind of Orwellian language that comes from socialists who value their party and the size of government far more than the rights and freedoms of individuals.

Also on a federal level, our rights and freedoms are utterly trashed:

Holders of a tourist/visitor visa DO NOT have permission to work in Australia.

You may apply for permission to work by lodging an application for a Temporary Residence visa. Temporary Residence visas allow Australian employers, who are unable to fill highly skilled positions from the local labour market, to sponsor overseas personnel for up to four years.

You cannot start work until the Department has approved your application.

Working without permission is an offence that attracts a fine of up to $10,000. It can also result in your visa being cancelled and your holiday cut short.
I also heard a caller ring 3AW talkback radio this morning saying that the ABS mailed his household telling him they wish to interview him for their social trends survey. Because the man worked full time, he initially refused to be interviewed in his household, and the ABS responded by issuing a letter threatening a $10,000 fine against the man unless he helped them with their survey.
Surely this is an outrageous form of coercion against individuals by government. Or how about this little gem, that our farmers have to deal with?
In general the government will own all water on or below the ground, a farmer will be given an allocation for each year, if it’s a dry year and he goes over his allocation it will be deducted off the next year and so on until he runs out of water.

If a farmer refuses an NRM board officer permission of entry on his land, the maximum penalty is a fine of $10,000. If the farmer users abusive language a $5,000 fine can apply.

And in Western Australia, people in rural areas aren't allowed to clear trees and vegetation from their properties:
It is recommended that the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (henceforth “the Act”) be amended to provide that clearing of more than 0.2ha of indigenous vegetation is an offence.
A failure to comply with this provision may attract a maximum fine of $10,000. Perhaps more significantly, a pastoral lessee who has contravened section 109(1) must restore the land and vegetation to the satisfaction of the Pastoral Lands Board.
Just remember that when governments give themselves the power to fine or imprison individuals over "undesirable" behaviour, they are using coercion, violence or the threat of violence against individuals. When the government spends more time restricting liberties and freedoms, than actually upholding them, it becomes an institution of violence.

Hamas keeps on killin'

Today's Honest Reporting update highlights some media whitewashing of Hamas violence and aggression against Israel:

Perhaps more conspicuously absent from the media's coverage is the revelation, covered extensively in Israeli sources such as YNet and Haaretz as well as wire services AFP, Xinhua and Zee News, that Hamas was responsible for funding and training the terrorists of the Popular Resistance Committees, whose attempt to detonate a booby-trapped truck at the crossing was foiled by PA police in a shootout. While coverage was missing from the newspapers, as we went to press, even the BBC's website reported on the story.

This is the first time that Hamas has been exposed as being directly implicated in Palestinian terrorist activities since winning the PA elections in January, while claiming to have adhered to a self-proclaimed ceasefire.

Yet, while some sections of the media choose to report on the growing funding crisis in the Palestinian territories, it seems that the hypocrisy of Hamas is ignored by many. For, as the Jerusalem Post points out:

Government officials noted the irony that while Hamas was warning of a humanitarian disaster inside the Gaza Strip, and while the Palestinian Authority was lobbying the world to pressure Israel to keep the Karni crossing open, Hamas was involved in an attack aimed at blowing up the crossing. Due to numerous terror specific warnings, Karni has been repeatedly opened and closed by Israel since the disengagement from Gaza last year. The closures are often depicted by the PA as collective punishment on the Palestinian people, which relies on the goods transferred through the crossing.

Sickening. These barbarians shouldn't be in power, they should be in prison.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Environmentalism is nothing more than a PR campaign

How hypocritical is this (via AP)!

House Speaker Dennis Hastert of Ill., center, gets out of a Hydrogen Alternative Fueled automobile, left, as he prepares to board his SUV, which uses gasoline, after holding a news conference at a local gas station in Washington.

Environmentalism is nothing more than an assortment of PR and marketing gimicks. Supermarkets and manufacturers boldly offer bio-degradable, eco-friendly products. But consumers rarely question what the so-called environmental benefits are. Hey if its advertised as something green, well then it must be good for the planet, no ?
Rational people should be doing a cost-benefit analysis on certain actions. If you ride a bike all the time, like any good eco-friendly hippy would ( instead of driving ), you reduce emissions from your car.
But wait, the story doesn't end there. There must be some kind of trade off. Its clear that the bike-rider is now burning much more energy. That energy must be replaced with more food and calories. But food itself is a resource. More cows and chickens need to be fed grain and slaughtered to provide food. The meat has to be transported which uses fuel and electricity. More bread needs to be baked which itself uses electricity. And on it goes. But these facts rarely figure on the average person's calculus.

As seen above, even political figures will drive a hydrogen car in front of the media whilst switching to gas-guzzling SUVs when the cameras are gone. John Kerry and Hillary Clinton do exactly the same thing. It doesn't make them any more hypocritical than the rest of us carrying green shopping bags, purchasing "fair trade" items and/or driving hybrid cars.

Monday, May 01, 2006

NY loonies on the march

An "anti-war" protest took place near ground zero in Manhattan. I say anti-war with scare quotes because the biggest oponents of the Iraq war were actually quite fond of Bill Clinton's bombing of Kosovo. I guess they are only anti-war when a Republican president is in power:

One of the many signs in the crowd read “End this war, bring the troops home.” Another read “Veterans for Peace.”

One woman who marched says she “had a lot of anger” and has to do something. Marjori Ramos of Staten Island said, “We’ve been lied to.”

Rev. Jesse Jackson, actress Susan Sarandon, and Cindy Sheehan, whose 24-year-old son died in Iraq, were among the marchers.

Ahh yes that scholar on world politics, Susan Sarandon. And now peace mom Cindy Sheehan has become something of a celebrity herself. The mainstream media are wilfully blind to the fact she is a proven liar

I will tell the world why Casey has no marker yet. In the first place, does anyone who is attacking me know how Casey was brought home from Iraq? We picked him up in the United loading dock in a cardboard box and he was off-loaded into a hearse without one honor guard. We had to wait for about a half hour on a curb near the United freight area for his one escort, who rode from Dover Air Force Base in a seat, while Casey was treated as an over-sized piece of luggage. Has anybody held her other sobbing children who are sitting on a curb in San Francisco, waiting for the remains of their big brother to be carried over to the dock by a forklift?

WE don’t see them because Mama Bush doesn’t want to “bother her pretty mind” with the images... Our government discards and dishonors its own.

But Gateway Pundit has the following to say about her outrageous claim:

The Nadeau Funeral Home has a fine tradition of serving the Vacaville community and they went out of their way to make sure that the Sheehans were well taken care of during the difficult period when they had to bury their son, Casey. Nadeau Funeral Home has also helped two other families of fallen soldiers. They work hard to help these suffering families of fallen soldiers.

Mr. Nadeau is very upset about the article that Cindy Sheehan wrote regarding the Nadeau Funeral Home in Vacaville, California. He also said that the funeral home is being inundated with calls of support from the community since the article was published. Mr. Nadeau said he wrote The Reporter in Vacaville but the paper did not publish most of the information that he had provided. Here is that information...

When questioned about the casket:

“The casket arrived in San Francisco from Dover which is 67 miles from Vacaville. Sacramento would not have been as far. The casket was a beautiful hardwood casket, government regulation. It was covered in an ”airtray“ to protect it during the flight. It is a certified covering that all caskets must be covered in when they are flown from one location to another.

What about the forklift?

”There was no forklift. The military men present and the airport employees were very reverent in unloading the casket of this young man. They set the casket on a set of rollers and were very respectful in unloading Casey Sheehan.“

On the Sheehan Family:

”This was very upsetting because we have known the Sheehan’s for years through St. Mary’s Catholic Church where Cindy Sheehan was the youth director. Casey Sheehan was a wonderful young man. We have known the family for years.“

On Cindy’s article:

”We do not know why she would want to bring down the name of this fine and respected funeral home. Cindy is sticking with her story. We have, of course, kept all of the receipts that show we paid the cemetery. If Cindy Sheehan wanted to pick on someone, she picked the wrong ones."

Even though she is clearly unstable, emotional and hateful, she is still touted as a celebrity by the media. Whats more, she is on her way to Melbourne this month, so maybe I will get the opportunity to hear her talk in person.

I'm sure those in attendance will be of a similar maturity to the protestors in NY: