Friday, December 22, 2006

Speeding kills - your wallet

To show that tough anti-speeding laws are nothing more than revenue raising traps, and don't achieve their stated aims of reducing the road toll, consider the following:

The Age:

In the 1999-2000 financial year, 574,000 speeding fines were issued. Two years later, as the measures began, it was 907,000 fines, according to Justice Department figures. To the year to June last year, it jumped to 1,307,000 infringement notices, an unprecedented number in a state with 3.5 million registered vehicles.
I took the annual road toll data from here and graphed it:

Looks like the road toll has been holding steady since 2003, and even creeping upwards. The 2006 toll is forecast to be almost identical to 2005 in Victoria. NSW also has its own draconian anti-speeding laws, and unfortunately for their central planners, the 2006 road toll is 25% up on the 2005 toll. That isn't going to look good for their future plans to seize more power, as the soviet technocrats who run this state will lose face and look stupid.

Remember back in 2000, when Bracks introduced the awful 50km/hr speed limits in residential streets, under the flashy advertising "Arrive Alive" campaign ? Here is the official website, with the stated goal of:

New 50km/h speed limits are being introduced in selected Victorian rural and outer metropolitan town centres.

The new speed limits will improve pedestrian and vehicle occupant safety and are part of the Bracks Government's arrive alive! road safety strategy to reduce the road toll by 20 per cent by 2007.

Funny thing that.. if you look at the road toll, it actually rose in 2001 and in 2002 was close to the 2000 road toll. So Bracks the socialist planner that he is, was disappointed in not meeting his target for his 5 year plan, so he introduced even more draconian legislation, confusing school zones where the speed limit would drop to 40km/hr at certain times of the day, increased fines and increased number of cameras. But luckily enough for Bracks, cars also began to improve drastically around 2002. Safety bags became an extremely popular option, as they found their way into some of the cheaper and more popular cars. Safety crash ratings improved incredibly, and many of the older 1980's cars had found their way off the road.

The road toll would have likely declined in those years, as it did in other states and countries anyway. Claiming the results as a victory for the 5 year road plan and the tough anti-motorist legislation is cruel and oppressive. Just as surely as governments love giving themselves power, they won't admit they were wrong and relinquish it in any hurry.

A certain organisation called Roadsense has done its own research and found that:
Our research however shows that not even 2% (two percent) of road deaths are caused by travel above set speed limits

My conclusion: Any honest statistical analysis shows that no single factor can be correlated with the number of people who die in accidents on the road. Clearly, there is a random nature to the number of accidents. They can be linked to driver training, alcohol, fatigue, road quality, safety of the car, road congestion, black spots, driver distraction and yes, to some extent, speeding.
There are also a huge range of factors that affect the severity of injuries sustained from a crash.

Sometimes people need to accelerate to overtake, or are in a rush for an emergency, or just want to keep traffic flowing well in peak hour. No person is a better judge of their own safety than the driver themself. There are already dozens of mechanisms built into the free market that encourage safe drivings. People obviously place a value on their cars, their property and their lives. Trying to tell them they will lose another $100 or $200 in a crash isn't realistically going to change their willingness/aversion to being in an accident.

Trying to impose heavy penalties and fines on speeding is immoral, and nothing more than theft.

Gaza is the Paris of the Middle East

Yes, that famous expression, traditionally bestowed upon Beirut, was meant to be a compliment about how lavish, extravagant and vibrant life once was over there.

But now, I am going to reclaim the expression, and award it to Gaza. The award unfortunately, is not a compliment, but a sad reflection of how Paris is no longer the city of lights but now the city of riots.

Car burning, crime, stabbings, and 751 no-go zones are the result of years of immigration and the explosive growth of angry Muslim communities in the suburbs of Paris. Gaza has just experienced its own little burst of hell this week, with the following celebrations in true palestinian fashion:

Fatah goes on shooting, torching, car-smashing rampage Wednesday after two of its gunmen killed, 10 injured, as second ceasefire broke down

December 20, 2006, 9:47 AM (GMT+02:00)

The first ceasefire Sunday night broke down within hours.

Tuesday, 4 Fatah and one Hamas gunmen died in ongoing clashes in the Gaza Strip.

Three were killed in combat. The bodies of two kidnapped Fatah members were found abandoned. Hamas mounted a mortar-anti-tank rocket assault on Fatah’s General Intelligence HQ in Jebalya, northern Gaza, after a Hamas gunman was seized.

The two sides are also battling for control of ministerial offices in Gaza.

The Spencer Street Soviet supports jihad

And The Age also supports Melbourne terror suspect, Jihad Jack Thomas (hat tip, Andrew Landeryou):

Following Thomas's release from prison (in August), the (Australian Federal Police) successfully applied to a federal magistrate for an interim control order to be placed on him under the new counter-terrorism legislation. This required that Thomas remain at his home between the hours of midnight and 5am, that he report to Victoria Police three times a week and that certain limitations be placed on his access to telephones and the internet. That's all.

The federal magistrate's ruling became public knowledge during the afternoon of August 28. On Wednesday, August 30, The Age went into action. Age editor-in-chief Andrew Jaspan editorialised against the control order and the letters editor ran five letters (out of five) criticising the decision and/or supporting the Thomas legal team. There was, of course, also a cartoon from The Age's leading in-house leftist Michael Leunig supporting the Thomas cause.

Turn to the opinion page and there was an identical message. The opinion page editor ran three (out of three) articles supporting Jack Thomas. The authors were Brian Walters (the president of Liberty Victoria), academics George Williams and Edwina McDonald (from the University of NSW), and Les Thomas (Jack's brother). That was it. No other opinion was deemed worthy of a hearing. It was a bit like an Age version of the Green Left Weekly.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

New Years Resolution #1

To read this book:

The Improving State of the World: Why We're Living Longer, Healthier, More Comfortable Lives on a Cleaner Planet

By Indur M. Goklany

The Improving State of the World: Why We're Living Longer, Healthier, More Comfortable Lives on a Cleaner Planet

A superb guide to how human well-being has improved steadily over the past two centuries with economic growth, technological change, and free trade combining to power a “cycle of progress” that has led to unprecedented improvements in every objective measurement of human well-being.

About the Book

Many people believe that globalization and its key components have made matters worse for humanity and the environment. Indur M. Goklany exposes this as a complete myth and challenges people to consider how much worse the world would be without them.

Goklany confronts foes of globalization and demonstrates that economic growth, technological change and free trade helped to power a “cycle of progress” that in the last two centuries enabled unprecedented improvements in every objective measurement of human well-being. His analysis is accompanied by an extensive range of charts, historical data, and statistics.

The Improving State of the World represents an important contribution to the environment versus development debate and collects in one volume for the first time the long-term trends in a broad array of the most significant indicators of human and environmental well-being, and their dependence on economic development and technological change.

While noting that the record is more complicated on the environmental front, the author shows how innovation, increased affluence and key institutions have combined to address environmental degradation. The author notes that the early stages of development can indeed cause environmental problems, but additional development creates greater wealth allowing societies to create and afford cleaner technologies. Development becomes the solution rather than the problem.

He maintains that restricting globalization would therefore hamper further progress in improving human and environmental well-being, and surmounting future environmental or natural resource limits to growth.

Panic ! Shock ! Gaia will freeze us all !

During the recent years of Al Gore's jet-setting and campaigning to "raise awareness" about "global warming", countries would always witness a severe cold-spell develop wherever Al Gore developed his message.

I think the Al Gore effect is in full swing now, as world temperatures are beginning to plummet.

According to the most recent data from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the year 2006 is set to be
  • colder than 2005
  • colder than 2004
  • colder than 2003
  • colder than 2002
  • ... and, most obviously, ...
  • colder than 1998,
Soon the environmental groups will predict global cooling and the dawn of a new ice age. Next year the UN will hold an emergency summit and draft "The Al Gore protocol" calling for all member states to increase carbon emissions to try to avert some of the predicted cooling. Many "scientists" will develop computer models, and write peer-reviewed papers that forecast deadly cooling across the globe. Nicholas Stern will be quick to follow, with his "Stern Report No 2" where he (over) estimates the economic impact of global cooling.

Yeah.. right. When hell freezes over - literally.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Johann Hari needs an editor

His latest article once again, blames Israel for not negotiating with Hamas, declaring that if they don't negotiate now, they will have to deal with an even more violent and religious palestinian leadership in the future. How anybody could be more depraved, barbaric and brutal than Hamas are escapes me, but I will do my best to edit Hari's latest piece of trash that he tries to pass off as journalism.

My comments are in italics :

I am sitting in a poky bedroom somewhere in Gaza City – I’m not allowed to know where – and opposite me is a huge beaming picture of Osama Bin Laden, with the smoke from a burning World Trade Centre forming a black halo around his head. He is surrounded by a gaggle of jihadi-angels: some Chechen fighters, Abu Musba al-Zarqawi, and our own tube-bomber, the Yorkshireman Mohammed Sidiqh Khan. “Would you like to see our weapons?” a masked jihadi says cheerfully, before thrusting a grenade into my hand.

I have come to see what Israel will confront in a generation if – as now looks certain after this weekend – they never, never deal with the democratically elected [genocidal terrorist] Hamas government [sworn to Israel's destruction] but instead resolve to break it.

Coining one of the dullest [*truest*] clichés about the Middle East, Abba Eban, one of Israel’s longest-serving foreign ministers, famously claimed “the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity”. Precisely the opposite is the case. As the Fatah President Abu Mazen tried desperately this Saturday to dislodge Hamas by calling for early elections, we need to remember a stark truth. Every time the Israeli government rejects a Palestinian leader because he is too hard-line, they do not get a cuddly Gandhian moderate in his place. They get somebody more hard-line still.

Yassir Arafat endorsed [*rejected*] a two-state solution, but couldn’t accept a forever-and-always string of Bantustans [97% of his demands plus land exchanges to compensate] bisected by Israeli settler-only roads as his half of the deal – so they rocketed and shelled the old man’s compound [after 7 years of the Oslo accords and pointless negotiations broken by the Palestinian side] until he died [not in his compound, but in an expensive hospital in Paris from a blood disease]. Many Israelis now look back on Arafat with near-nostalgia. [ You've got to be kidding. Name ten ! I can't think of a single one] Today the Hamas Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh says he can never accept Israel’s existence. But he is offering a 40 year-long hudna (ceasfire) – provided Israel withdraws to the internationally recognised [you mean Arab league recognised ?] 1967 borders [you should mention that the Palestinian groups will not offer a ceasefire until Israel is destroyed entirely], as they should anyway under international law[provide evidence, define international law ?]. Haniyeh is offering [only to the English speaking media] to kick all the tough issues down the road until 2046, and build two peacefully co-existing states, with no mutual violence. His track-record of keeping his word on ceasefires is strong: in the current short hudna Hamas has held its fire even as Fatah fires a few Qassam missiles. [over 1000 missiles have been fired at Sderot since Israel withdrew from Gaza]

But the governments of America, Europe and Israel are snubbing this deal too. They say Haniyeh has to recognise Israel totally [is there any other kind of recognition ?], and today. Until he does[until Hamas renounces terrorism against civilians], his people will be “put on a diet”[the previously unconditional international aid has been suspended], in the words of one Israeli government advisor. I have seen what this means: hospitals shut and shuttered across the West Bank, with women left to give birth at home like pre-modern peasants. The yellowish hue of malnutrition on children’s faces. The empty and echoing schools. Tony Blair has been at the forefront of this programme to force Hamas to concede, and is in the Middle East to promote it further. For him, the onus is on the Palestinians living under military occupation to justify why they should be freed – rather than on the people who have been oppressing them [previously giving them jobs, employment, infrastructure and medicine, now simply securing the borders and defending themselves against terrorism] on their own land for 39 years to explain why it should continue.

The result of breaking the democratic will of the Palestinian people will not be greater softness on their part. No. It will create more men like Abu Ahmad (a nom de guerre), who last week I sat with in the shadow of Bin Laden in a corner of Gaza.

“I want to kill and kill and kill again. I want to be a killing machine until, inshallah [God willing], I become a martyr,” he said, staring at me intensely. He is 27 – my age – and murderous. He has just described how he slashed the throats of four female Israeli soldiers in an illegal settlement in 2002, and he chuckled as he described how they cried for their mothers. “All the Jews have to be killed,” he says. The children? The women? “I prefer to kill soldiers, but they must all be killed in time. Soldiers first.” The Holocaust did not happen, he says, “but it should have.” [Why doesn't your beloved moderate democratic Hamas government arrest these people ?]

These crazed young men – the ‘troops’ of Islamic Jihad – are the children of the first Intifadah. They saw their parents peacefully protest, and the Israeli troops be ordered to “break their bones” [provide evidence. Very few Palestinians injured during 1st intifada] as punishment. Abu Hamza, a sober, severe 26 year old, explains he first joined Islamic Jihad when he was ten – a year after he took his first Israeli bullet in the skull. He had been throwing stones and setting fire to old tires in the street when it happened, and he became a local celebrity as the first child victim of the violence. “I was so proud,” he says. He invites me to feel the scar on the back of his head. “Yes,” he says with a smile, “we have been growing in popularity over the past few years. Very much.” [would he ever say anything else?]

All over Gaza and the West Bank, the assault on Hamas is creating groups like this to their right [how are these groups any different, let alone more extreme than Hamas ?], deranged little pockets that will only swell if Hamas is totally humiliated. [what happens if Hamas ideology - terrorism, genocide, racism - is totally humiliated ?] At the moment they are small, speaking – as Hamas did a generation ago – for only a small fraction of Palestinians. But for how long? Last week I tried to trace the footsteps of a new streak of Islamist fanaticism that has jutted suddenly into Gaza over the past month. A group calling itself ‘Swords of Islam’ has started blowing up internet cafés – a symbol of extra-Koranic knowledge and cosmpolitan connection to the world [They also burnt churches down in response to the Pope's comments, shouldn't you be attacking the pope as well ?]. They have issued Talibanist threats warning that women who do not wear the hijab will be “burned”, and that the internet is a “Zionist plot” to keep people away from “their religious duties.”

In a bombed-out café named Montada Donajoun in the Jaballiya refugee camp [also functions as a terrorist base], I spoke to the terrified owner. Basa Abu-Jased, 29, said, “Of course women are frightened now. [Even as a man] I am really frightened! I used to sit on the street and talk to women. Now I won’t do it. You don’t know what’s going to happen.” Almost everybody on the street was too frightened to speculate about who these people are; one woman suggested they were “maniacs who had returned from fighting in Iraq”, but then hurried away.

It took a very long time to rouse the Palestinians to violence and produce these pathologies. Between 1967 and 1982 – as 200,000 Palestinians were expelled and more than a third of their remaining land was stolen by fanatical settlers – just 282 Israelis were killed by Palestinians. But Israeli policies have virtually guaranteed a tip towards great violence and forms of madness. Every time the Palestinians have peacefully protested [by my count, thats 0 times] or negotiated, they have been choked further.

There is still – still – a majority in Palestine for peaceful coexistence with Israel, with 67 percent supporting the Hamas proposal [In 2002, a poll showed 66% also supported suicide bombings] for a 40-year hudna [perhaps stop using the Arabic word hudna, as it has a religious context and only means a temporary ceasefire used to gain a strategic advantage over an enemy]. But if their democratic will is treated with contempt by humiliating Hamas, this historical window will close. Every year the occupation goes on, more deranged people like Abu Ahmad are smelted. “I love Osama Bin Laden,” he said to me as we parted, slapping me on the back. “I love killing.” [Well, Hamas would gladly accept him as a member too]

Quotes of the year

Thanks to Tim Blair for this assortment of gems. I'll post some of my favorite quotes from 2006 below.

  • "WILL Beazley win? Oh, yes. You see if I am right." – a 2007 election prediction from political expert Bob Ellis
  • "The commander made an operational decision to protect the safety of his officers." – NSW Police Commissioner Ken Moroney explains why police didn't pursue Cronulla revenge attackers
  • "I'm reluctant even to raise this as an issue, for fear someone will set fire to the building." – Sydney ABC radio morning host Virginia Trioli on those cartoons
  • "We are altering the balance of energy between our planet and the rest of the universe." – Al Gore continues losing his mind
  • "Activities which are not compatible with western standards." – an ABC news description of Hamas suicide bombings
  • "Why doesn't the Government hold an inquiry into the video evidence of US Army Ranger Jessie Macbeth? Macbeth served in Iraq for 16 months and regrets that he was ever part of the invasion and occupation." – the Age's Terry Lane falls for a hoax; Macbeth never served in Iraq
  • "I would love to kill George Bush." – Nobel peace laureate Betty Williams, speaking to Brisbane schoolchildren
  • "Gender inequalities will likely worsen with climate change." – page 23, chapter four of the Stern Report
  • "If even the leaders of the green movement are not prepared to live without flying for pleasure then how can we expect that of other people?" – environmentalist George Monbiot, who soon afterwards flew to Canada to promote his new book

The Greens want us to stop living.

Of all the atrocities perpetrated by people with good intentions, next year will see the Greens enter the halls of fame as they ask individuals, households, industry and infrastructure to shut down for an hour so that CO2 emissions can be reduced.

Here are the details:

SYDNEY will turn off its lights next year in a world-first initiative aimed at reducing greenhouse gas pollution.

Chief executive officer of the World Wildlife Fund Greg Bourne said Sydney residents would be asked to turn off all their lights for one hour on Saturday March 31 in an attempt to cut Sydney's emissions by 5 per cent in 2007.

"If we prove that together we can significantly cut our greenhouse gas pollution it will send a message to every city around the world that we have the power to take action against global warming," he said.

WWF says the campaign, Earth Hour, is about businesses and households making small changes that will collectively make the 5 per cent difference.

All those people enjoying leisure, entertainment, movies, travel and transport, dining etc will be asked to turn off power and stop what they are doing. This is a deprived and inhuman move by Green fanatics who try to put a positive spin on such a disgusting assault against civilization, by claiming they are "trying to reduce greenhouse gases".

What the World Wildlife Fund really want is for us to sit still in the dark and rot. The mere thought of billions of humans organizing themselves to become a more productive civilization with a ready supply of energy, comfort, leisure and food to all people must simply drive these people crazy.

Why not ask hospitals to turn off generators and all medical equipment ? Hey, its only a few dead humans, its not like any pandas or seagulls will be harmed ! And by killing off a few hundred humans, we move closer to achieving carbon neutrality.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Guns are great !

From AWH:

Approximately 80 percent of all adult American citizens own firearms, and a gun can be found in nearly half of American households.
Between 1974 and 1995, the total number of privately owned firearms in America increased by 75 percent, to 236 million. During the same period, national homicide and robbery rates did NOT significantly increase.
Less than 1 percent of all guns are involved in any type of crime, which means that 99 percent of all guns are NOT used to commit any crime.
In 1987, the National Crime Victimization Survey estimated that about 83 percent of Americans would become the victims of violent crime during the course of their lifetime.

The National Self-Defense Survey found that between 1988 and 1993, American civilians used firearms in self-defense almost 2.5 million times per year, saving up to 400,000 lives per year in the process.

Guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens deter crime. Where U.S. counties have enacted concealed-carry laws, murder rates fell by 8 percent, rape by 5 percent, and aggravated assault by 7 percent. Urban counties recorded the largest decreases demographically.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The world's biggest gangster resigns

Kofi Annan, head of the UN mafia, gave his farewell speech today, and took a nasty vicious swipe at the US once again.

In a striking speech three weeks before he retires, Mr Annan made a plea for "far-sighted'' US leadership, saying global institutions could get little done if the United States remained aloof.
Damn you America and your aloof-ness !

People are starving as ethnic conflicts tear apart Africa, women and minorities are still heavily oppressed in the middle east under dark ages mentality, North Korea and Cuba are outposts of tyranny where freedom and prosperity never appear, terrorism is being used against Western nations to influence their foreign policy.
For 30 years, the UN has never failed - at failing to resolve conflicts.

The human rights council has often been led, and the agenda driven by some of the most despicable and violent regimes on the planet. Terrorist wars against Israel, Chinese aggression towards Taiwan and ethnic minorities, violence in Southern Thailand, North Korea's nuclear blackmail of Japan and other neighbours ( and Iran's attempts to follow suit) , the genocide in Rwanda, and the ongoing genocide in Sudan, the occupation of Lebanon by Hezbollah and Syrian proxies.

All of these are drastic failures that the UN cannot bring itself to even acknowledge. It cannot even agree to call a spade a spade. They refuse to label the atrocities in Sudan as genocide. They refuse to even call genocidal fundamentalist militia groups that target random non-Muslims in civilian areas as terrorists.

In the speech, Mr Annan also argued that states who used military force must convince other countries it was legitimate and for shared aims.

An age of terrorists seeking weapons of mass destruction and health threats like SARS, required nations to stand together.

"Against such threats as these, no nation can make itself secure by seeking supremacy over all others. We share the responsibility for each other's security,'' he said.

"None of our global institutions can accomplish much when the US remains aloof.''

States have to convince other countries that its legitimate before using military force ? Umm, this has to be the most unrealistic statement, even from a diplomat, I've heard in a long while. Perhaps America could have tried convincing Saddam that it was a good idea to topple him with military force ? Perhaps America would have succeeded convincing Iraqi allies like Russia and China ? Not in a million years.

But also, note that Kofi says "states", and he doesn't place the responsibility on terrorist groups. If Hezbollah wants to fire a few thousand rockets at Israel, feel free, you don't even need to convince Kofi, he's satisified. But if Israel wants to retaliate, better hold a few lengthy and pointless emergency sessions of the UN first.

He said he prayed for "far-sighted American leadership"
Oh no, Kofi prays to higher forces. A man of faith in charge of one of the worlds most powerful institutions ! The lefties will surely be outraged at Kofi and demand he be replaced ! Lucky enough, his days are over, and January 1st will see his replacement Ban-Ki Moon take the job. I don't really envy him, its a tough job and the whole concept of a global parliament where countries can hold hands and sing kumbaya is a serious waste of time.

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Greens boil children alive

No, I'm not making this stuff up, sadly. But this is the kind of socialist utopian nonsense you get in Brunswick where local Green's councillor Andrea Sharam denied a child care centre permission to install air-conditioning on the grounds that it wasn't environmentally friendly. Meanwhile, children suffered from heat exhaustion in temperatures exceeding 35 degrees.

Thankfully, the local mayor Tony Helou intervened to grant them permission. Andrew Landeryou has the full scoop of this shameful story.

A very important story of inner urban rebellion against the ruling Greens dominant paradigm played itself out over the past couple of weeks in Coburg, sister soviet of the People's Republic of Brunswick.

The Moreland Council had decided to reject the request of the staff of the Shirley Robertson Children's Centre for air-conditioning earlier in the year on "environmental grounds." Even Australia's weakest union the LHMU which pretends to represent childcare workers and has delivered them some of the lowest wages that legally exist complained, saying it was an unsafe workplace as a result of the extremely high temperatures in the centre.


Parents have been outraged about their kids being forced to endure temperatures as high as 35 degrees celsius. So hot were conditions in the facility that the younger kids had to be stripped to nappies and underwear to prevent them being so hot that they collapsed.

Only one of the rooms was airconditioned so staff would alternate children in there for some respite and had fifteen kids in the small room at one stage, itself a breach of childcare regulations.

The heartless and cruel local Greens Councillor Andrea Sharam personally blocked the airconditioning request saying "non-energy alternatives" such as shading were more appropriate. "I accept that it's been warm, but traditionally none of us had airconditioning. We can't cope with it all of a sudden when it gets above 35 degrees," the Greens comrade told the local press from airconditioned council offices.

"Commonsense things can be done to make it cooler," she said despite having failed to implement any of them.

A local mum Justine Larkins denounced the Greens councillor "She is forgetting the children in all of this. She's just playing politics."

Evil troll makes it to ALP front bench

I think The Australian are somewhat afraid to invoke the true name of the evil one, and have deliberately misspelled her surname as Plibersek, not Pilbersek. This doesn't change the fact that the new ALP under K-Rudd should be ostracised for placing one of the most vile creatures to enter Australian Politics on it's front bench.

Home ownership focus for Plibersek

December 11, 2006

THE great Australian dream of owning a home will be a major focus for Tanya Plibersek after she was given new responsibilities on Federal Labor's front bench.

Ms Plibersek retained her youth and women's portfolios, lost childcare, but gained human services and housing in the new shadow ministry announced by Labor Leader Kevin Rudd.

Today she said many people had given up hoping to buy their own home and affordability was a big issue for many, especially those living in expensive capital cities.

"Affordable housing is a huge issue in Sydney and around the country so I'm really excited about the potential to do some really good work there," Ms Plibersek said.

I wonder what kind of "solution" this anti-semitic socialist has for the "problem" of Sydney residents valuing their property highly ?

I wonder what stupid central plan she will propose. Maybe the government will confiscate all property's and reallocate them to people who can't afford them ? Maybe more public housing for criminals and drug addicts ? Why shouldn't your average battling Aussie be able to have his mansion in Vaucluse ! C'mon, fair go !

Nothing scares me more than her socialist method of thinking, displayed clearly below:

Today she said many people had given up hoping to buy their own home and affordability was a big issue for many, especially those living in expensive capital cities.

"Affordable housing is a huge issue in Sydney and around the country so I'm really excited about the potential to do some really good work there," Ms Plibersek said.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Kim Jong Il shows big government leads to big corruption

This latest story comes as several underwriting companies suspect North Korea of running a huge scam:

A growing number of major underwriters around the world strongly suspect that communist dictator Kim Jong-Il's regime is running an elaborate major insurance and reinsurance scam on them, to the tune of tens of millions of dollars or more.

The alleged fraud involves a wide variety of North Korean industrial and personal calamities where insurers have been presented with perfect government-controlled documentation of accidents, including deaths, along with carefully gathered photographic evidence, all compiled in a startlingly brief time.

That paperwork is coupled with a resistance to letting foreign insurance adjusters examine some of the most crucial physical evidence, except after long delays and under a watchful eye, if at all.

Some people will just dismiss this story as another case of corruption, which is all because crooks and bad guys are in power. Very few people will stop and pause to realise that the main cause of corruption is having a large and powerful government. Corruption cannot exist in a free system where only voluntary transactions occur.

If there were a small and accountable government with a free press and private enterprise, scenarios such as these wouldn't occur. Why does corruption seem to happen in the developing world so often? Why did Saddam need to be bribed for Australian wheat exports to be sold to Iraq ? Why does every new business in Indonesia need to bribe a government official to get the go-ahead ? Well.. because these developing nations have large and unaccountable governments. People with connections to the government, to the party in power, receive protection and special privileges. North Korea is an extreme case, where the Dear Leader lords it over the rest of the population.

Death is hardly a rare thing in North Korea, where millions are estimated to have expired from famine, flood and government repression in the past decade — but the number of apparently ordinary people in the dictatorship who have suddenly been found to have foreign-backed life insurance is raising insurers' eyebrows.

The chief concern is that only the Kim Jong-Il regime — a government that is known to be brutal, unscrupulous and desperately short of foreign currency — controls the information required to trigger the payments.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Separation of family and state

For a long time, the principle of separation of Church and State has been implemented in all Western civilizations, and it has been applauded universally as part of our enlightenment values. What does it boil down to ? Government should have no role promoting or opposing any religion, religious groups or religious values. Its as simple as that.

Why can't we have separation of Family and State? Since when is it the role of government to interfere in personal relationships ? Why should a married man and woman be granted any different status to a single man and a single woman, or two gay men living together, or whatever form of relationship you can imagine. As painful as divorce is, government should have nothing to do with a couple's decision when it comes to forming or breaking personal relationships.

Imagine a scenario where government (with the best of intentions) announces that they have a new "marriage bonus" for fertile young couples so that we can have more children.

They offer a young man a welfare payment if he marries Cindy because she is young and fertile and can have children, but offers no money if he marries Debby because is old and infertile and cannot have children. Shouldn't the man's decision to marry either or neither be based on his own personal values, as to which one he loves ? Why would government interfere in his personal decisions?

Why isn't this principle as popular as separation of church and state ?

Welfare is like a bad drug addiction

Johann Hari, champion of the British Left, has written an article defending the already bloated welfare system in Britain, and calling for even more welfare payments.

The focus of this article is on young and single mothers. In Britain, as in Australia, many religious and pro-family groups often call for the end of welfare payments to single mothers. They often base this on a conservative or religious belief that the current payments push women to morally and socially undesirable outcomes, i.e - poor young women will fall pregnant at a young age , or perhaps married women will divorce rather than remain married, to receive welfare payments.

Now, perhaps there is some merit to their argument. Especially when all women are well aware of the existing welfare payments that are available, and have been there for a long time. You see, its not an interview process, its just a blind and massive system that starts paying poor single women money as soon as they register with the state bureaucracy. In Australia, *all* mothers receive a baby bonus payment for each child they have, regardless of their status or how wealthy they are. But most of the critics' arguments are based on the fact that they don't approve of a certain lifestyle, and often they would prefer women to remain in traditional family units - i.e married and dependent on a husband.

So, out come left-wing big government fans like Johann Hari to leap to the defense of single mothers. He defends the current welfare payments, and even supports the new payment in Britain which will be paid to 16 and 17 year old girls in poverty who live out of home, for simply attending school.

His justification boils down to one simple argument - to try and encourage positive behaviour. By keeping young girls in school, they are less likely to drop out and start having children, and more likely to develop skills and avoid an early pregnancy. Johann then astounds readers with this idiotic argument:

There's a hint here - just a hint - that the Government is quietly trying to stem the rise in single motherhood in a humane way. Rather than offer harsh moral bromides and threat of benefit cuts, the Government is giving poor 17-year-olds £70 a week to stay in education.
Does anyone see the contradiction ? Johann firstly opposes the attaching of conditions to existing welfare, as a "harsh moral bromide" because it would mean the end of payments for some women. In the very next sentence, he then calls for new welfare payments with strings attached, and describes it as humane. The new welfare is only payable to poor young 17 year olds who remain in school.

Someone should put forward the question to Johann - "What about 16 year old mothers who remain in school. What about 17 year olds who drop out of school ? Why shouldn't they receive the payment Johann ? You are just being cruel !"

Perhaps Johann would agree with the question and call for even more welfare to even more recipients. But the correct thing to do would be to scrap the whole system. This can seem quite cruel and unfair. There may also be young single women who really want to have children, and there may be divorcees or widows who are stuck with children and very little income. So why not let people pursue actions that make them happy, without any consideration of how much money government will hand out to them ? If they value a lifestyle, even if its going to be difficult financially, let them pursue it! If they worry about the financial difficulties, let them decide how best to prepare for the future, even if it means delaying pregnancy until they have a stronger financial position or a marriage to support the pregnancy.

In Johann's mind, he thinks it is cruel to cut welfare, and it is kind to boost welfare. Its as simple as that. Never mind that it is all a giant form of social engineering. Never mind that welfare influences and corrupts people's decisions. Never mind the fact that some some people need more money than is being offered by welfare, and some people need less, and some people take advantage of it by doing an action deliberately in order to qualify for the payment, and that others will have followed actions regardless of whether the payment was there or not.

Government cannot solve social or economic problems

Today's Mises article eloquently explains why social democracy is inherently flawed in concept. It begins the discussion by highlighting the key justification for a system of social democracy where government intervenes "on behalf" of the public "to try and fix" a whole range of social and economic problems.

In the midst of nationwide prosperity, some economic and social problems keep nagging at the public. All over the country, they take the same form. What are they? Traffic congestion, inadequate roads, overcrowded schools, juvenile delinquency, water shortages. Such matters have proven troublesome in many ways; above all, they seem to breed conflicts.
The article then points out the common denominator between all these problematic issues - government ownership or control.

Is there anything special about water or schooling that creates insoluble problems? How does it happen that there are no fierce arguments over what kind of steel or autos to produce, no battles over the kind of newspapers to print? The answer: There is something special — for the problems of schooling and water supply are examples of what happens when government, instead of private enterprise, operates a business.

Have you ever heard of a private firm proposing to "solve" a shortage of the product it sells by telling people to buy less? Certainly not. Private firms welcome customers, and expand when their product is in heavy demand thus servicing and benefiting their customers as well as themselves
I couldn't agree more with this, especially here in the state of Victoria, where taxpayer funds are being used by the state gov't to broadcast TV commercials about water usage. The commercial begins with the question "How can we, as Victorians, reduce our water consumption by 16%?". To this brainless question, I respond angrily to my TV saying "Go to hell, why should I reduce my water consumption if there would be private firms willing to sell me water in a free market?"
My favorite part of the article comes as it explains how government goes about "solving" a problem, which inevitably involves creating a new one.
It is only government that "solves" the traffic problem on its streets by forcing trucks (or private cars or buses) off the road. According to that principle, the "ideal" solution to traffic congestion is to outlaw all vehicles! And yet, such are the suggestions one comes to expect under government management.

Is there traffic congestion? Ban all cars! Water shortage? Drink less water! Postal deficit? Cut mail deliveries to one a day! Crime in urban areas? Impose curfews! No private supplier could long stay in business if he thus reacted to the wishes of customers. But when government is the supplier, instead of being guided by what the customer wants, it directs him to do with less or do without. While the motto of private enterprise is "the customer is always right," the slogan of government is "the public be damned!"