Friday, 14 December 2012

In response to the latest piece of savagery in the US... an elementary school, of all things, all I have to say is this:

1) It has been said time and again, and I shall repeat - guns do not kill people; people do. If this madman had not obtained his firearm(s) legally, he would have done so on the Black Market (which is where all too many murder weapons are bought, and against which all the laws of all the nations are impotent).

ETA CORRECTION: I read after the fact that his opening act was to murder his own mother and use her guns.

2) I do not support a knee-jerk change to firearms laws, or a watering down of the right of US citizens to keep and bear arms, every time some fucking nutcase with a firearm goes off the deep end. More people are probably killed every week on US roads.

3) Every restraint that is imposed on legitimate, law-abiding firearm owners every time some fucking unhinged nutcase does something like this is nothing more or less than the punishment of the innocent for the crimes of the guilty. For that reason I cannot and will not defend it.


That is all.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Further little snapshots:

From the guys at Gay Patriot: Out-of-touch Obama. An article focussing mostly on economic realities and perceptions. You're going to have a hard time labelling this lot as typical Republican homophobes, and an even harder time doing it to their faces. Some will no doubt call them as suffering from "internalised homophobia", which seems to be code for "Gays who don't agree with my viewpoints or do what I think they ought to be doing".

"We Leave Nobody Behind." Pundit and Pundette bring Obama's words on Hurricane Sandy back to haunt him with regards to Benghazi, where repeated security drawdowns prior to the event (against advice) and multiple calls for help unanswered on the night led to four men getting left behind, two of whom went out of their way to fight (and in the end die) valiantly trying to fulfil that promise for the other two.

Speaking of words that come back to haunt, taken from's Monday November 5th wrapup, this editorial cartoon (copied and posted here in case the link drops), encapsulates (and mocks) perfectly the sort of verbal sophistry and populism by which Obama was elevated to the Presidency.


 How's that healing going now, Mr President?

From the guys (mostly, it seems) at Ace of Spades HQ:

CNN: The Election Is Totally Tied If You Assume D+11, Nearly 60% Higher Democratic Advantage Than In Perfect Storm Year 2008

They're quoting CNN's "tie", but highlighting something else - the stated biases of the respondents to the polls. Polls at the moment are like statistics, worse than lies or damned lies, but this sort of gross oversampling needed to get an even result seems to speak volumes in a race where a couple of percent advantage in the popular vote allegedly equates to a definite Electoral College win. In the words of one of the replies:

It translates to a sentence. "Obama to get ass-reaming, without lube"

Metaphorically speaking, yes. On a less brutal note:

If we do this tomorrow, we cement his legacy as a darker Carter with bigger ears.

This comparison (Obama and Carter) has been out there for some time. Meanwhile, others perceive more at stake than the survival of ridiculously profitable cartoon birds, cheap oral contraceptives and same-sex marriages (on which the President conveniently backflipped once he had his gay donors' money, according to the GayPatriot guys):

OK, I've taken some action. I've sent an email to the people in my neighborhood urging them to vote, and offering transportation to anyone that may need it. (I live in a neighborhood with more than a few elderly, so that's a distinct possibility.)  Sure, I'll miss work, if I have to. My seven year-old daughter is already $70,000 in debt, so this election is kind of important to me. 

Says it all really.

Back to those polls again, which might be so unreliable as to be useless or worse. How unreliable?

I actually got a call yesterday. We're registered democrats and all the caller asked me was if we were going to vote this year. That was it, I said yes and they said okay, bye. They didn't ask me who we were voting for because I wanted them to so bad so that I could say Romney. I didn't get the chance. We're a family of 9 votes for Romney but before we were democrats, we are military....

Is Obama's campaign being planned and managed by a bunch of people who think that all registered Democrats are automatically going to vote that way? One would hope they'd be more professional than that.  Here are nine votes which are definitely not going to go that way. If this is happening in even a small proportion of nominally Democrat households, there's a big shock coming tomorrow night. Of course we have no information on who was running that poll and what was being done with the information.

I could go on giving vignettes on why this is potentially going to be a Republican victory. There is a small possibility that if it is one, it will be a victory of such staggering proportions that some Democrats will probably have a psychological breakdown.

How well will Obama handle defeat? Will he go graciously, like the "decent and honourable man" John McCain defended prior to the 2008 election? Or will the worst fears of the indefensibly paranoid be confirmed, as he channels his spiritual mentor Jeremiah Wright and screams from his pulpit in spittle-flecked rage and orders his people to "Get Whitey"?

The answer doubtlessly lies somewhere in between. I would prefer one towards the gentlemanly end. And yet, things such as the keying of Republicans' cars, and the mental ejaculations on Twitter threatening riot and violence if Romney should win, give me pause.

Little snapshots.

There are many reasons why some Romney/Ryan supporters would like to think they have this in the bag. I hope they're right, but the best advice could be given by E.E. Smith's character Roderick Kinnison at the end of "First Lensman". To paraphrase, "NO CELEBRATION until it's in the bag or the other guy concedes."

That being said, let's sample some of the posts. Note that the language at Ace of Spades HQ is unmoderated, and people say exactly what they think. These are people who will defend their First Amendment with the tools granted them by the Second until their dying breath, and I think I would be dealing them and their Constitution a grave insult if I attempted to moderate it here.

Since 2009 when he said, "the police acted stupidly" he's been under 50%. There was a precipitous drop for him and aside from "fake bumps" he's been there ever since. Essentially, four years of being under 50%. 

Couldn't save Kennedy's seat in MA. 

Couldn't fill a ballroom in NYC - 2010 

Slaughter in 2010 all over the country 

Couldn't fill a stadium at the DNC. 

Big Bird, Sandra Fluke, Vajajay DNC rallies bomb. 

200 people at a Stevie Wonder event. 

80,000 drops to 4,000 in Ohio. 

People walking out on the JEF's speech in VA 

He's a loser. End of story. 

Let the Romney/Ryan Landslide commence.

JEF, I'm told, stands for "jug-eared fuck", i.e. Obama. At least they're going after his ears rather than his melanin excess. In fact, while there's a lot of "Communist" and "traitor" being thrown about, and while there are quite a few who paint him as a closeted effeminate homosexual (based on his body language) and possibly still tripping on the marijuana he was apparently notorious ("the choom gang") for smoking as a young man, I don't think I've seen "nigger" used at all. Either they're too polite to say it, even with the insults they're throwing around, or his race simply doesn't matter to them, or is so secondary to all his other perceived failings that it is of no account.

Here's another:

Hardly any SCOAMF signs.

I was looking to glom one last night to put up after the polls close as "riot protection"...but there weren't any to be found...

...and this is Palm Beach county... blue as it gets in FL...
...and my development of 800+ houses is 80% black...
...and there are no Obama signs...

And NONE of the local youth are running around with Obama t-shirts on. In 08' you couldn't swing a 2x4 without hitting some idiot teen wearing a SCOAMF t-shirt in this neighborhood.

SCOAMF = Stuttering Clusterfuck of a Miserable Failure. Again, Obama (particularly after his teleprompter-less blunder at the First Presidential Debate). And again, all the emphasis on performance and none of it on melanin.

This post is interesting, because it reflects things that others on the same site have been reporting. The massive wave of public adulation that Obama rode into the Presidency on has, if their observations are anything to go on, taken a massive hit. In an allegedly tight race, this isn't good news for him. On the other hand, it's bad news to hear of Romney/Ryan-sticker-bearing cars being "keyed", of the signs being stolen and vandalised and defaecated on... these are not the markers of civilised people with a tolerance of opposing viewpoints, which is the image supposedly "enlightened" Democrats appear to be projecting onto their side.

The next one is more rational:

I know because of where we need to be on the ground.

We'll outperform election day as they are cannibalizing their voters in EV.

EV being Early Voting. In other words, the trick is to get all the loyal Democrats out to try to establish either a narrow race or a slight winning margin, demoralise Republican voters and trick them into staying home and not fighting a futile battle. Unfortunately, anger at Obama's perceived failures (the economy, health-care reform, a failure to even comprehend his nation's mood on things like gay marriage and abortion, foreign policy - including the hideous fuckup that Libya recently became - and so forth) means that this effect is diluted somewhat. Combined with indicators that point to lower Democrat turnout overall (it's difficult for it to get better than it was in 2008, and it needs to be for an Obama win), this doesn't argue well for the incumbent to win either. He might be a nose ahead or near-level now, but if he's run out of dedicated supporters by tomorrow afternoon he's utterly screwed. 

Some may whine that New Jersey and New York State deserve "extra time" to get their votes in, but let's face it - they knew Hurricane Sandy was coming for days, and they could have sent in their early ballots in that time.

Also completely screwed, in many ways, are the alphabet soup of news broadcasters who have been almost silent on the Benghazi fiasco and many other things, when until late 2008 they couldn't fall over themselves fast enough to comment on the smallest mistakes that George W. Bush was making. There will be a reckoning there. Fox and CBS will have covered themselves with glory to be the only ones to cover that in any reasonable detail, Fox most of all, but there are a lot of supposedly tolerant, supposedly educated people out there who automatically take anything that only Fox reports as unreliable. Sometimes it's what you don't report that says more about you as a news service than how or what you actually put out. But if you look at Chris Matthews' (MSNBC) explosion of rage at Obama after the first Presidential Debate, you might find it easy to agree with the next post:

"Further prediction: when it's over, and their loss is obvious, the media is going to turn on the Scoamf in ways we can't quite imagine. " 

Someone else responded in the negative because:

 They really do believe that anyone who criticizes TFG is a racist. 

(TFG = "That fucking guy." Again, Obama. Again, no reference to race within the body of the insult.) 

But we have already seen Matthews go ballistic when Obama fails to perform according to his expectations. I think there are going to be a lot of people going ballistic like this if Romney wins. It's going to be incoherent rage, lashing out at everything and everyone except the concept that Obama was voted out because the American people did not like the job he was doing.

Many of them are going to be lashing out through guilt at having been taken for fools for the last four years.

More if there's time later (there probably won't be), but it's been an interesting campaign to watch. It will be an interesting day (and night) tomorrow.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

On the United States Presidential Election...

This year, in the closing part of President Obama's first (and I must unfortunately say, hopefully LAST) term in office, we have seen the allegedly abrupt sacking and burning of the US embassy, the murder of the US ambassador (allegedly preceded by brutal sodomy), and the attribution of blame placed upon an "anti-Muslim video", concerning which the President of the United States spoke publicly, saying: "The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.

His nation's Bill of Rights contains the First Amendment to the US Constitution. That text reads: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. Those who slander the Prophet of Islam are free to do so under the moral, philosophical and legal charter of the Constitution of the nation he was elected to govern. The maker of that video was arrested in the middle of the night, soon after the Embassy attack, on the pretext of trivial parole violations and awaits trial. In a way, the President has betrayed the moral and philosophical heritage, and has found a convenient excuse to skirt the legal aspect.

This is also the President who took advantage of a process his predecessor had started, using methods he himself professed to deplore and vowed to end, in order to have Osama bin Laden killed on the soil of a supposed ally. That same President seems to have fallen down on the job over the decision (or absence thereof) to dispatch a rescue mission to the assistance of operatives of his government who were sorely pressed in Libya on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

In addition, cables from the Ambassador pointed to an increase in Al Qaeda activity in that nation and requested an increase of security services, whereas what actually happened was the reverse - security elements which were present were withdrawn, and when help was repeatedly requested by men fighting for their lives on the ground, it was not sent. It has since come out that Al Qaeda-related operatives claimed responsibility for the attack while the "video" narrative was still very much alive.

The failure here depends on facts which may not come to light until after the election, when they should be known already so that the US electorate can decide on his and his administration's fitness to govern (which is exactly why the Republicans are "politicising" the matter - THAT'S THEIR JOB). At best, there is a terrible fumbling and dropping of the ball which saw no rescue launched when rescue might have been possible. At worst, the accusations range all the way up to Obama either giving a positive "no-fire" order affecting air assets already present or allowing someone else (whom?) to give it on his behalf.

The family of the dead are grossly unhappy with the responses of the President and the Vice-President, and are convinced that their son was left to die. In addition, his economic performance falls far short of his promises. He has presided over multiple failures of government-supported "green" energy whilst failing to secure or expand existing energy-generation options, and the cost of petroleum (and most shipped goods including food) has risen sharply, as have unemployment and the number of people on food stamps. His electoral campaign this year has been negative, divisive and destructive. "Voting is the best revenge." Revenge for what, Mr President?

The last four years have been a litany of economic, political and diplomatic failure for the greatest nation on Earth. On that basis alone, Mr Obama deserves removal from his position - not for the colour of his skin, but for the content of his character. 

Were I American, I would happily vote for Thomas Sowell to replace him. At the moment, however, the alternative choice is Mitt Romney - a man with proven records in the creation of wealth, the successful administration of failing enterprises, and the governance of a US State. His stated aim is to do the same thing all over again, for his entire nation. His opponents demonise him as a demagogue, a racist, a sexist and a homophobe; a man under whom women, blacks and gays would suffer horribly.

 I believe this is all bullshit, and that his opponents are playing the man because they cannot play the ball. I think he will make a good President. I wish him success on Tuesday night.

The alternative is, in my opinion, a United States which by the end of a second Obama term will be financially, morally, diplomatically and industrially broken, and I don't like the thought of who might fill the power vacuum left behind. It is a United States in which universal health care, government-sponsored contraception, gay marriage and all sorts of other social-progressive causes which are being pushed as reasons not to vote Republican will be rendered irrelevant by national bankruptcy and social upheaval. If you think Romney is bad news, wait until the Islamists or the Russians or the Chinese are calling the shots.

This election has implications beyond the borders of the United States of America, which is why I have taken the time to write all of this.

For the first time, I really fear for the future of my children. What sort of world have I brought them into?

Friday, 2 November 2012

Bad Karma.

Where is Ralph Nader when you need him?

 Approximately 16 of the $100,000+ Fisker Karma extended-range luxury hybrids were parked in Port Newark, New Jersey last night when water from Hurricane Sandy’s storm surge apparently breached the port and submerged the vehicles. As Jalopnik has exclusively learned, the cars then caught fire and burned to the ground. Our source tells us they were “first submerged in a storm surge and then caught fire, exploded.” This wouldn’t be the first time the vehicles, which use a small gasoline engine to charge batteries that provide energy to two electric motors, had an issue with sudden combustion. The vehicle, despite only being in limited production, has already experienced numerous fires due to equipment failures and electrical shorts. How, exactly, they caught fire after being submerged in sea water is unclear. It’s possible the salt water caused a short that led to a fire. Calls to Fisker and the Port Newark Container Terminal have not been returned as of publication time. 

 UPDATE: Fisker released the following statement: “It was reported today that several Fisker Karmas were damaged by fire at the Port of Newark after being submerged in sea water during Superstorm Sandy. We can report that there were no injuries and none of the cars were being charged at the time. We have confidence in the Fisker Karma and safety is our primary concern. While we intend to find the cause as quickly as possible, storm damage has restricted access to the port. We will issue a further statement once the root cause has been determined.”

 The root cause is sounding a lot like either badly flawed basic design or issues with quality control, and it's not the first time these cars have been fingered as having serious problems. There have been repeated recalls over a number of issues; and while these are not necessarily connected with the drive system, it doesn't inspire confidence in the vehicle.

 I think it's fair enough to have a reasonable quantity of experimental primarily- or all-electric cars out on the road to gain experience, but the market isn't really going to go for them until you can pile two adults, two school-age kids, a dog and the luggage in, drive 400km to a holiday destination at highway speeds, and recharge inside five minutes for the final leg or the return trip.

Until such time as storage and recharge technology can match that requirement, all-electric cars and electric-dominant hybrids are going to be no more than playthings. On top of that, with a ticket price of over a hundred thousand US dollars, your reliability figures should be approaching a hundred percent, not wallowing in the "we're still trying to work out why it spontaneously catches fire sometimes" ballpark, and with recalls left, right and centre. Sensible people who cough up five-figure sums for cars* do so for makes that are both prestigious and reliable.

Asking (and continuing to ask) that sort of money for a bug-ridden prototype with multiple, ongoing quality-control and reliability issues is asking to fail. No wonder the US Government has (at least temporarily) pulled the Green teat out of Fisker's mouth. They deserve to fail for building worthless shit and fleecing the buyers for the privilege of owning it. Still, you know what they say about a fool and his money. Thing is, if they took out the battery/electric stuff, put in a bigger and gutsier petrol engine and paid a bit of attention to their QC in the redesign process, I reckon they could slash the price (and probably the weight too; as "subcompact" sports cars go, that thing is morbidly obese for the power it generates) and have themselves a nice little sporter that would sell like hot-cakes. Then they might be able to afford some basic research into getting the electric model right. "Green" energy investments (see "Solyndra" among others) haven't had a very good record so far, and if - as appears likely - things change on November 6 of this year, I suspect the whole concept of government money being pushed in this sort of direction is about to get shitcanned.

 Source here via here.

 * = If such people even exist. House prices where I live generally start at a hundred thousand dollars, and to pay that much for an automobile is in my opinion simply absurd. I used to work next to a Porsche dealership, and every day I'd walk past the place, looking at cars which I couldn't afford with my entire mortgage and wondering what sort of person would be so stupid as to take out a loan for that purpose. If you've got more money than God and a quarter-million plus for a used car is just petty cash to you, fine; otherwise, there are probably far better and wiser things you could be doing with money you've borrowed in the first place.

Friday, 5 October 2012

The First Presidential Debate.

Or – How an artless, gormless jerk got his arse kicked.

We…ell, wasn’t that a surprise. I went to bed on Wednesday night thinking the fix was in for Mitt Romney, and oh boy was I ever surprised when I woke up on Thursday morning and read the reports and saw clips of the thing. Almost everybody, even people who had previously been lining up to kiss his arse, thought Obama was fucking dreadful. What happened?, they all asked. How could the man they've idolised for four years for his intelligence and brilliant oratory come to this?

Perhaps this clip offers some explanation. In short, he had no teleprompter and no shielding from searching questions or criticism of his statements in real time. "After four years in the bubble..." the commentator observes.

Al Gore had a different explanation - maybe it's the rarefied air in Denver? Romney did his debate prep there - Obama arrived that afternoon. Etcetera. Which is all very well, but we need to look at two things. One: unless pressurisation standards on Air Force One are markedly different from routine airline practice, he's making all those flights at an equivalent pressure of about six to eight thousand feet - so what does that say about any decisions he might make in flight (including the decision for which the aircraft was constructed - to launch a counterstrike from safe territory if the US suffered a sudden nuclear attack)? Two: Obama did a lot of swanning about on various chat shows etc., time he could perhaps have devoted to going to Denver to acclimatise.

It has also been charged that going through the Republican Primaries recently gave Romney more practice at debates, whereas Obama did not have time to practice. But wait a minute - doesn't being the President, and actually running the country, mean Obama should already be familiar with all the things he knew he'd have to discuss? If he's doing it every day and it's working so well, why should he even need practice? His very job should be the practice. Steve Kates at Catallaxy Files had his own opinion of the mindset of the two men in the lead-up:

Obama is the laziest, least involved President possibly ever. He really cares little about policy and has no taste for the engagement of the political process. He likes the pleasures of office, just doesn’t like what it actually requires, like knowing things in depth and thinking things through to the end.
The debates are, however, the real thing, and he is about to take on someone who knows what he thinks and has developed his ideas in the best way possible, by writing a book. Romney wrote No Apology: Believe in America in 2010 and it showed in the debates he had within the Republican side. He understood each issue and has an articulate and soundly based conservative perspective on every issue that matters. 
Somewhat uncharitable definitely; partisan, true; but this interpretation seems to have been borne out by events. The one was disengaged, unprepared, and regurgitated stock talking points; the other has worked so long and hard on developing his policies that they are graven into his brain and there is no possibility of tripping up or forgetting. Romney has spent his life being a businessman - if you fuck up, you go broke. I'm not sure we have a really clear idea of what Obama was doing before being elected to the Senate, or what the penalties would have been for failure, but what it boils down to is this: he has been protected at every turn by people who deflect all criticism of him as racism, elitism, rampant capitalism run wild, or some other excuse. He has never had to stand up for himself directly. He has never had to explain his ideas off-the-cuff. And on Wednesday night, we saw what the result of that coddling was. The people who adored him, defended him, protected him and justified him at every turn were so shocked that they admitted out loud, possibly for the first time, that their idol had performed inadequately. THAT OBAMA HAD FAILED. 
Perhaps some eyes are now beginning to open.

Monday, 1 October 2012

A collection of Assorted Things.

Professor Bunyip posts the anguished keening of a man who seems unduly disturbed by the upward mobility of those he appears to consider his inferiors:

I AGREE that it's unfair to label the people who live in McMansions as inferior, but to argue that their houses are a healthy sign of wealth is ludicrous. Chris Berg's logic seems to be that ''because we can'' is justification for anything. The flaw lies in the underlying assumption prevalent in much of society that physical assets are, in and of themselves, a good thing; and that the more we have the better off we must be.
        Berg has previously argued that it's OK to use it/spend it/build it now because human ingenuity has and always will find a way to solve any problems we might encounter. Funny thing is, I remember reading about another optimist who happily announced ''peace in our time''. I believe in human ingenuity, too, but perhaps we should consider the possibly that it might not always solve every problem.

Unlike the good Professor, I'm not going to identify the writer of this puerile drivel - you can go to Prof's site if you want that - but I will repeat Prof's observations that the writer appears to live in a very nice part of town and to have quite a substantial monetary recompense for his daily labours.

The writer of this crap has it all backwards. He appears to me to be one of those who has made his way in the world and now wishes to pull the ladder of success (and material reflection of that success) up after him. The more we have, the better off we must be? True, there are people who have everything and are miserable, but for this apparently very well-off person to want to deny others the right to acquire material goods with the money they have earned is rank hypocrisy, with a thin smear of fascism.

As far as the "peace in our time" dig is concerned, Chamberlain was not an optimist - he was a deep pessimist who allowed his distaste for the war his country had won twenty years before to talk him out of a war which might have been fought (and won) at far less ruinous human and material cost at the time of Munich than in late 1939. Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it, and the writer of the inane drivel reproduced above has clearly not learned his history. Human ingenuity has seen off smallpox, it is well on the way to seeing off polio, and it would see off most other forms of human misery if the Western civilisation that spawned all of these is able to stand against the internal white-anting of people who write this sort of garbage. 

In order for this to happen, Tony Abbott must be Prime Minster of Australia, Mitt Romney must be the US President, Stephen Harper must remain the Canadian Prime Minister, and David Cameron must grow enough of a spine to leave the European Union. The alternative is collapse. I urge the voters of these nations to act accordingly come the next election, and to deliver these four men the emphatic victories they require to save Western civilisation as we understand it. The alternative could well be a new Dark Age.

Also, what is it about the US News media (and in fact the left-wing media in general) that it ignores accounts of Libya issuing warnings that an attack was planned for September 11; that it is willing to glibly swallow the tale that a poorly-produced YouTube video was the motivator for an attack so organised it was carried out with automatic rifles and shoulder-mounted rocket launchers; that it accepts this act without demur as an appropriate level of aggression in response to mere words and pictures, especially when it involved the murder of the US ambassador (I am told that he was sodomized first) and the dragging of his corpse through the streets; that it doesn't even blink when an individual connected with the production of the film is arrested in the middle of the night for "parole violations" (at a very conveniently timed moment)...  What is it about the bulk of the US news media that it glibly swallows for several days the US Govt.'s assertions that this was a "spontaneous demonstration" against the Prophet being offended?

What is it about the US News Media that it ignores its President's proclamation that "The future does not belong to those who offend the Prophet of Islam"? It is not the US President's job to defend the prophet of Islam - it is the US President's job to defend his Constitution, which includes an amendment protecting freedom of expression, without qualification or limitation. If the US President is willing to put other, overseas considerations first, he is no longer fit to be President and the News Media should rightly be calling for his impeachment and/or his electoral obliteration at the upcoming ballot. (The same goes for the Australian Prime Minister - the minute she starts making claims that the criticism or denigration of a religion should not be permitted, she has betrayed the moral, constitutional and philosophical heritage of her nation and in my opinion she must be stood down by the Governess-General pending a general election. This will not happen because the Governess-General was deliberately picked to be the Government's lap-dog, in order to prevent a rerun of the Whitlam sacking.)

And let's not even get onto its refusal to report on the destruction on the ground of a squadron of US jet fighters in Afghanistan.

If the US President had said "The future does not belong to those who offend the Lord Jesus Christ", the (largely) Left-Wing press would have been lining up to savage him. They should be savaging him now, and they should continue to savage him until he is thrown out of the White House by the people whose interests he has spent the last four years betraying - intellectually, morally, philosophically, economically, politically and militarily. He was a polished product, elected to salve the racial guilt of the Left and as an outpouring of their rage against a predecessor who was constitutionally obliged to resign and thus could not actually be defeated. His past is a blank page. It was first cloaked in the near-fellatory public adulation he received in the time prior to his election (the outpouring of emotion at some of the pre-election rallies brings to mind a touchy-feely version of the Nuremberg rallies, without the Jew-hate) and then hidden behind a legalistic wall of his own making once he had attained his position. We have known far, far more about all of his opponents than we have ever known about him, and yet an adoring, almost brainwashed public made him the most powerful man in the world and gave him control of their destinies.

They were not thinking clearly when they did this, and many of them are still not thinking clearly to this day. Some of them are idiots, some of them are too ashamed to admit they made a mistake, and some of them are too scared of their friends and family, such as the retired gentleman whose wife will probably bully him into voting for Obama "to protect her reproductive rights". Sorry, ma'am; but if you're anywhere near your husband's age, then your "reproductive rights" are a non-issue. And if they are, they're an issue between your husband and yourself, not yourself and the US President. And if you can't rely on your husband to respect your reproductive rights, leave him.

(Note: Link references will be added to this article as and when time allows.)

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Children's Crusade

The Australian Youth Climate Coalition is marching from Port Augusta to Adelaide to demand the replacement of local coal-fired power with clean, renewable solar.

Among other things, it states:

It’s not pie in the sky. Solar thermal plants are already operating efficiently in the United States and Europe. And we can build one here.
The community, council, local business and even the power station company are all on board. But to make it happen we need the Federal Government to help fund it. We need to make Port Augusta a national issue.
This September, over 100 people will walk from Port Augusta to Adelaide’s Parliament House – a distance of 325 kilometres.
Let's have a look at this. Even assuming the veracity of the statement in the second paragraph (which for various subjective "something's not quite right here" reasons I'm inclined to doubt), what they say in the first requires some dissection.
Yes, it may be fact that solar power stations are operating "efficiently" in the US and Spain. But one must ask: under what conditions? And will those conditions also pertain in Port Augusta? 
First: Will they get the same intensity of sunlight? The same number of days free of cloud cover? That will determine how "efficiently" the station works in Port Augusta. Mediterranean Spanish and US desert climes, for example, might offer a remarkable number of days per year of bright sunlight with little or no cloud cover, which provides excellent raw energy feed to the station that isn't available in other places. 
Where are the Spanish and US stations situated? If they're on dry, arid land, the mechanisms might not stand up as well in a near-coastal environment, when salt-spray carried some distance inland on prevailing breezes hastens corrosion. Has anyone taken that factor into account? How is it going to affect long-term viability and maintenance of the system, and how does that feed into the costs of providing power?
If you're going to build the station far inland to get away from that, exactly where are you going to put it? How are local soil conditions going to affect things? Are they baked soils which are going to stay down, or blowing, dusty soils which will adhere to mirrors/panels and degrade their performance? Is grit getting into things going to cause issues with reliability? Have these conditions been simulated or experienced elsewhere? Have they been anticipated at all in the design?
What are you going to do for power when the sun isn't shining (a reliable occurrence as night follows day)? What about when there are days on end of heavy cloud-cover, and any tank storage of power you have runs down? (I understand these things use liquid sodium to store heat, but the reservoir is not bottomless.)
Now look at the matter of them getting there:
as Tim Blair notes, the 100 walkers could be taken to Adelaide by bus for around $2600, but they want $20 000 to walk the distance.
I'd love to see the logistic planning for the trip. They might look into the following:
What distance do they intend to cover per day?
Where will they be staying at night, and at what cost if applicable? If tents are involved, who's buying? Do they have enough?
If they are camping out, do they have some sort of menu or rations plan set out? Have they budgeted for all this? What's it going to cost to feed each mouth per day? If they are NOT taking everything along with them, do they have their waypoints appropriately plotted out to enable the group to be fed? Or are the 'support vehicles' going to be dashing into every nearby town, scrounging for food?
What about toilet arrangements? (VERY IMPORTANT.)
Or are they, like the original Children's Crusade, simply going to set out for the Holy Land (of Adelaide's parliament house) and trust in whatever they're substituting for God to get them through? Oh, to be a fly on the wall.  I'm expecting a hell of a lot of blisters, a few dozen ruined pairs of shoes, not a few cases of gastroenteritis, and maybe even the odd STD or pregnancy. Occupy the highways!
I'm betting that some of these people haven't camped out since they were in primary school, if that. And even then, only in their own backyards. Call me cynical, but I expect a fiasco. I have my popcorn prepared, and I hope Blair continues to cover this. I really do. The tweets alone should be fascinating.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Question of the day:

"Is the President of the United States of America a frighteningly ignorant twit?"

Oh, really? So government deserves a share of the credit for a successful business now, does it? Just because a public road runs past it and public utilities feed water and power to it and take sewerage from it, suddenly someone else (i.e. Government) gets the credit for the thought that went into the idea for that business; the hard work that went into selling that idea to the customers; in developing the product or service that the business sells; in delivering what ongoing care or support the business gives to its products and services (and all the benefits that flow therefrom); suddenly none of that is entirely the work of the person or people who developed the idea, put up their capital (sometimes risking the rooves over their families' heads to do so), and put the effort in to develop that business?

Does all that suddenly count for nothing?

Is the man really that fucking ignorant? At a time when employment is down, misery is high and so on and so forth, does he really think this is the best time to piss in the mouth of the entrepreneurial class?

This is exactly why the United States needs someone like Mitt Romney as President. It needs someone who understands that behind the evil, chuckling Montgomery Burns stereotype beloved of quite a few Obama supporters is a corporation that pays taxes, that pays its employees' wages so they in turn can pay taxes, and it is the moneys derived from those taxes which build the roads, the sewerage, the power and the water. Ditto police, fire departments, etc. etc. and all the other services which Mr Butthurt Obambi would like to think that business takes for granted in its thriving and survival. Mr Butthurt Obambi has spent quite a bit of money in the last few years (something like $1,000,000,000,000 every year) over and above what those taxes actually bring in, so it would seem that neither the value of money nor the means by which it is made actually have meaning to him. 

The government simply cannot be everybody's employer. To do that, you need overseas territories to loot from on a grand scale - and even then, you require some sort of value-adding to the things you loot. Crude oil requires refinement; gold and silver must be traded or otherwise used; crude ores must be refined into usable metals and tradeable goods... and so on and so forth. To do that, you need entrepreneurs - men and women with ideas. Maybe Mr Butthurt Obambi sees that as a function capable of being assumed by government also. But if he does, his understanding of economics is closer to the central planning of Soviet Russia than the enthusiastic entrepreneurism of the United States. 

Even taking his US Citizenship by birth as a given, even discounting all the "birther" crap and the "Was he really born in Kenya?" stories, his attitude makes me wonder, deep down, how American he really is. Because at times he seems a lot less American than many who have emigrated there and made a success of themselves through hard work in the American entrepreneurial environment. On that basis, the USA might well induct Arnold Schwarzenegger as the first foreign-born US President, because at least he grasps at the deepest level what the American Dream is actually about. Mr Butthurt Obambi does not - indeed, the very concept seems to disturb him in some way.

I hope he is utterly crushed at the forthcoming Presidential Election, that Romney sweeps him into the corner, and that the Democrats lose both Houses for the next two terms. Let someone with experience in making money and fixing what is broken take over, because God knows, the US needs it right now. "Hope and Change" is not enough, and never was.

It makes me shudder when I see pictures of protests in which the idiots protesting hold up signs saying "Real Jobs, not WalMart Jobs" - just what the hell do these people think a real job is, anyway? It's money in exchange for labour, you fuckstains, and to some people who struggle to put food on the table, every WalMart shift they get is one less day their kids go hungry and unshod in filthy clothes, and sometimes few or none at all, for one of the signs a family is on its arse-end and sliding into disaster is the fact that a preschooler staying home with its mother and confined to the house/apartment/backyard is just old enough not to have to spend food/rent money on for diapers and still just young enough not to have to spend food/rent money on for regular changes of clothes (and the water/power costs associated with laundering them). And WalMart and McDonald's and a heap of other "big businesses" that the looney left likes to spurn might be the only places those people can get a job. 

In Australia, I don't think I've seen a McDonald's (or similar chain store) employee above forty who wasn't the owner/manager of the outlet; in geographic North America, they constitute a sizeable proportion of the front-counter staff. I expect Australia to start approaching the North American model as soon as the Labor Government has raped the economy a little longer, and I expect that ever more working-class Australian preschoolers near the poverty line will spend the day running around in unwashed clothes or none at all as the costs of power and water rise to unaffordable proportions under the Labor Government's precious "Carbon Tax" and the economy falters under its ruinous approach to "big business". And all this while the people who wax most enthusiastic about it in public make six-figure sums at the least and could absorb a 100% increase in their cost of living without so much as a blink. It makes me sick.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Slow Death of a Media Icon

Fairfax is dying.

The Age and Sydney Morning Herald newspapers are, in the opinion of many, the ball-and-chain dragging this once-proud media company to its doom. This opinion is not unique to the more prominent Right Wing bloggers in Australia who lament those papers’ lack of political and ideological balance. The opinion is shared by, among others, the Wall Street Journal.

It appears that the editorial board (and the journalists they supervise) want Ms Reinhart to sign a “charter of independence” that would prohibit her from exerting any influence over what the journalists report or the editors opine. Now while I’m all for editorial independence from corporate ownership, it strikes me that there’s more than a hint here of something else. That what they really want is the right to pursue the ruinous course that has taken them to this point (of which more presently) while simultaneously being propped up endlessly with Gina Rinehart’s money. In other words, they want their remuneration to be independent of their output.

This is not how the world at large works.

It’s been a while since I’ve read the Sydney Morning Herald, but I have long memory of reading the Age for four years of my life because my thoughtful boss used to provide it (and its competitor The Australian and the local Melbourne tabloid, the Herald Sun) on a daily basis in the tea-room at work, and because in 2007 I used to see it offered free to a good home (or at least very cheaply) at Starbuck’s with anyone who bought a sufficient-sized coffee. To put it bluntly, the thing is huge – if ever you went travelling back in time to that part of prehistory which features dragonflies as long as your forearm and other such insectoid unpleasantries, The Age (especially the Saturday Age) is just the thing to take along in order to have something to swat them with. And yet all the reportage is over in the first section, and much of the rest fits under the rubric of what could most broadly be called “lifestyle” – cars, real estate, fashion… that sort of thing.

Bolt and the others are IMO not far wrong in accusing the paper of pandering to a readership which is predominantly left-wing, inner-city, moderately to very wealthy, and fashionably interested in “environmental” concerns. This is predominantly the makeup of those who write for the paper, and it would appear they have deluded themselves into believing that much of their potential readership agrees with them.

Except it doesn’t.

So Fairfax is dying; and as it dies, the Australian Labor Party (which governs the nation, and upon the metaphorical penis of which the Fairfax papers appear to slobber in servile delight) is considering ever-greater levels of media regulation to ensure that something exists out there to report favourably (or at least not-unfavourably) upon its doings. Because the last thing the government appears to want is an exceedingly rich person (though not the same rich person) at the helm of both the major media empires on Australian soil, selling a lot of newspapers that people want to read, none of which say nice things about the government. 

It seems most peculiar (*sarcastic cough*) that Fairfax’s decline begins where the Howard Coalition Government ends – almost as if it needed an enemy to whip up a frenzy among readers who need their Two Minutes’ Hate but won’t stand for endless fellatory hagiography when those being metaphorically fellated are failing in their tasks by all but the most ideologically blinkered benchmarks; and where the people being attacked are a Federal Opposition which, when in government, had a sterling record for economic and political management and which, in Opposition, is powerless to do anything - because the government clings to life by a pair of MPs who, in a majority parliament, it would not hesitate to wash its hands of.

The Government is determined to hold out to the last possible day before the Constitution scruffs it and forced-marches it to the polls, and Fairfax requires a Coalition government upon which to feed the masses with hysteria. Will the Government nationalise the newspapers in the interests of "balance" until this can occur? Will the board relent and give Gina Rinehart the seats she requests (she is currently the largest shareholder and yet is denied a seat on the board, primarily because she is a mining magnate and the self-made richest woman in Australia - far more accomplished in her time than the Prime Minister)? Or will the papers turn up their useless toes and die as they deserve?

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Thoughts on the Wisconsin Recall Election

Only time for a brief comment right now, but all I want to say is this:

1) To say that Democrat supporters are not taking the Republican victory there very well is to understate the matter.

2) Democracy means that the other guy is allowed to win too.

3) When the other guy does win and then you drag him back to the polls a little over a year later for allegedly doing a bad job and he wins AGAIN, with an increased raw count in a voluntary voting system, it means he is almost certainly doing something right - and that YOU, on the losing side, need to take a cold, hard look at what it says about YOUR side's methods and YOUR political world-view. Merely slagging off at the winner, screaming that he should be killed, whining about the death of democracy, and other such displays of spittle-flecked rage and hair-shirt despair, prove nothing except your personal immaturity and possibly your sense of personal and political entitlement.

(This post was edited on October 1 2012, to slightly alter punctuation. No words were changed.)

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

So much to say, so little time in which to say it.

Well, not really, but there are a lot of competing interests.

First: Barack Obama's "Historic" support for gay marriage. Coming after three years in which he said the exact opposite, his announcement as the campaign for his re-election swings into gear can surely only be seen as a cynical move at best. It  by  no  means  makes  all  gays  jump  for  joy. (Extra spaces inserted to separate the links better.)

Second: The 2012-13 Australian Budget appears to have crept over the line for a single-digit surplus after four fiscal years of average $43bn deficits. This by the skin of their teeth, after bringing forward every expenditure, pushing back every saving, and generally doing such a fiddle of the books that it's patently obvious they were not engaging in a fiscally responsible budget but merely bending all their efforts to generating a positive number to save face, much as was the case with the useless and wasteful "stimulus" spending in reaction to the Global Financial Crisis - where at a horrendous monetary cost, two successive quarters of negative growth were (barely) avoided in order to claim avoidance of a "technical" recession. A Pyrrhic victory if there ever was one.

Meanwhile the Speaker of the House is still not cleared of sexual harassment allegations, nor of expenses-account misuse claims, and a Labor MP who was dismissed to the cross-benches (but still conveniently elects to vote Labor and keep this worthless travesty of a government in office) continues to sit there after four years of "official" investigations into his rorting of union funds for a dalliance or three with ladies of the night. Honestly I couldn't give a damn whether he went to the brothels or not - the point is that he should have paid for what he did there with his own salary, not with the moneys entrusted to him by honest, hard-working men and women, some of whom would have been horrified if they knew what their money was going towards.

Third: there is a problem with certain ethnic subgroups who emigrate to the West.  This sort of thing has happened before, and the same underlying culture and mode of thought appears to be responsible.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Forgive me, readers, for I have sinned... has been one month since my last blogpost.

This is because of Real Life, including a very time-consuming hobby that is eating what little free time I have.

I have not disappeared or come a-cropper as I briefly feared this chap had done.

Monday, 26 March 2012

A few little things.

1) Queensland election. The Labor Party brought down from government in its own right (unicameral parliament, so whoever gets the lower house gets everything) to a rump of seven seats (possibly less, given that former Premier Anna Bligh is said to now be retiring after the event of her party's thrashing). In part a thrashing for State failures, in part a thrashing for Federal frustrations. Some don't want to accept this result, on the basis that the primary vote for the LNP (the winners) was < 50%, but that's how a preferential voting system across multiple electorates works.

2) The Trayvon Martin case. I've felt sort of uneasy about the twitter-trending and one-sided eulogies bouncing around Facebook, but haven't been able to put my finger on why. It occurred to me last night that the more people who read these one-sided accounts (all strongly in favour of the deceased and vilifying the defendant), the more difficult it could be to find 12 good wo/men and true to form an unbiased jury. Two options then - either the defendant goes in front of a hostile jury (no better than a lynch mob) or we get mistrial after mistrial and he must walk free (until someone takes it upon themselves to murder him in retaliation).

This is all the more worrying given that it's possibly not the one-sided tale the eulogies would have us believe. Yes, the accused is a twit not to have gone to the hospital and have his injuries documented if the link has anything at all to it. Yes, the police probably should have arrested him for the record (if only so that his mugshot would record said injuries). Yes, he should explain himself in front of a jury - but I'm worried that it will be a jury of public opinion and not a properly conducted criminal trial.

I suspect the more facts that come to light, the more holes we will see in the surface story.

3) A systematic deliberate murderer of little Jewish chilldren is a systematic deliberate murderer of little Jewish children. That is all he is. He is not a martyr. If he wanted to be a martyr, he should have gone to Palestine or Afghanistan or any one of a number of places and martyred himself in combat with Israeli or American soldiers. No amount of intellectual waffle can excuse his actions. If the Palestinians want to stop being bombed by the Israelis, FUCKING STOP FIRING ROCKETS INTO ISRAEL, YOU MORONS.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

A busy day in Australian politics, and other things.

He said, she said - the war of popularity between Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard has been going on ever since the latter deposed the former in what at first appeared to be a shock backstabbing, but later appears to have been planned for some time beforehand (see the seventh question in this article). Not that such a thing would have been unreasonable - he had been warned of his likely fate if his failures continued, and continue they did - so out he went. But lately things had been escalating, to the point where leadership challenges had been talked about, and then it got to the point of the suggestion being made that he'd have to be sacked from the ministry if he didn't either challenge or shut the fuck up and get on with being Foreign Minister.

I'm not the only one to think that his continual white-anting and self-promotion would have long since constituted grounds for removal from the ministry (and possibly Parliament), save for the fact that the Gillard Government has always held on to constitutional legitimacy by the thread of one sitting member. However, the defection of Peter Slipper from the Liberal Party to the Speaker's Chair and the resumption of Parliamentary voting capability by his predecessor, Mr Jenkins, means that Gillard has the ability to deal with her recalcitrant predecessor and current underling.

Except that he has now pre-empted any move to sack him by resigning his Ministry portfolio. And in spectacular fashion, too - he called a press conference while on overseas business in order to do it in (Australia's) dead of night. And so the leadership spill is on. The expected choices are Gillard to continue or Rudd to topple and succeed the woman who replaced him. There are other theoretical options, of course, but it mainly comes down to the two heavyweights. Economic journalist Terry McCrann thinks this isn't much of a choice, and Professor Bunyip agrees with him. So does the Herald Sun's editorial, which offers (as does the Professor) a plea for whoever comes out of this as Prime Minister to simply call an election, give the people a say, and (if the polls are anything to go by) have this farce of a government over with.

I think Rudd pushed too far too fast, and has now resigned rather than face the ignominy of sacking. He now has to put up or shut up - the question is whether his Parliamentary career can (or indeed should) survive defeat in the inevitable leadership ballot to follow early next week. If he fails and resigns from Parliament, that's his political career over. It likely also means the Opposition will win his seat in the subsequent by-election, and that shifts us back to the razor's-edge balance that has brought us to this point, with the Australian Greens holding the balance of power and making the government legitimate... but in turn giving them the right to dictate policy to that government.


Rudd, elected as a Labor mirror of John Howard, has turned out to be a complete failure, turning a comfortable surplus into repeated budget deficits and helping to blow out the national debt to unheard-of levels (over twice what his Labor predecessors Hawke and Keating did in thirteen years) for little or no gain. His policies have been disastrous, and his defeat over one of them began the downward slide that eventually cost him his job. He was headed for electoral disaster and was removed as a failure. The only thing in his favour when it comes down to a showdown with Gillard... that she is an even worse failure. She was, it is true, an adequate (a more than adequate) acting Prime Minister while Rudd was out of the country (which he was frequently), and as Deputy Prime Minister was the logical choice to put in when he was deposed. She even did the correct thing, doing not much in the way of active policy initiation and going to an election as a popular decider to cement her legitimacy. HOWEVER, she was part of Rudd's inner Cabinet-within-a-Cabinet and as Education Minister oversaw the horrifically bungled "Building the Education Revolution" policy, which boiled down to $16bn of schools infrastructure, the State School portion of which was centrally managed, hideously over-cost and poorly thought-out (while the Private and Catholic School sectors got exactly what they wanted at a good price), and smacked of payoffs to larger construction firms with heavy union representation (the unions were the founding point of the Australian Labor Party and have justifiably called the Party's tune since then).

Plenty of people wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt, especially starry-eyed young "feminists" for whom the first female Prime Minister was all their political wet dreams come true. Indeed, even I was willing to let her prove herself - provided that the dysfunctional bullshit which had gone on until that point really was Kevin Rudd's insane megalomania and not the entire Inner Cabinet simply fucking things up in grand style. Alas, it was not to be. Among other things, Gillard swore up and down that "there will be no Carbon Tax under a government I lead", right up to the day before the election, and her ministers smeared everyone who said otherwise as a fear-monger. It can be argued - given the narrowness of the result - that had the voters known the eventual outcome (a Carbon Tax was tabled in Parliament and passed with the help of the Greens and the Independents), they might have voted differently. Whether Gillard was forced into it by the Greens who supported her government across the line or whether she actively lied on a major policy issue is irrelevant - she brought it in, and she's stuck with the responsibility for it.

Maybe we will learn that it is a bad thing to put in a "minority" leader (woman, black, gay, whatever) for the sake of equality; maybe not. There are two more tranches of starry-eyed "feminists" who have reached voting age since this mistake was made, and a third may yet do so before the deciding moment. I hope common sense outweighs "feminist" loyalty and they consign this worthless Emily's-Lister to the dustbin of history. There is no point in increasing the number of women (gays, blacks, etc) in Parliament solely to "balance the numbers". What we want is talented women (gays, blacks, etc) not to be blocked because of their gender (sexuality, skin colour, whatever). That is what constitutes equality.

Another thing she has utterly failed on is illegal immigrant policy. Indeed, her own words during John Howard's long tenure as Prime Minister - "Another boat, another policy failure" - bid fair to haunt her as much as does the "No Carbon Tax" gaffe.

I want rid of both of them - gone from the Prime Ministry, gone from Parliament, gone from public life and with their pensions denied them (and all their colleagues) in order to start paying back the massive debt they have incurred. The only thing I cannot decide is which of them I most want to see delivering the concession speech on Election Night.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Links roundup 6 February

"A sceptic's crime is a warmist's virtue". From Andrew Bolt. The short version - the Sierra Club, which among other things campaigns against coal-fired power, savages a denier of climate-change propaganda for taking Big Oil's money. Later, the same Sierra Club is found to have taken $26m from a company dealing in natural gas energy.

Tim Blair gives us a further example of why "environmentally friendly" tech does not work.  The lowdown - a school in the US installs low-water-usage toilets. Like, really low water usage. The urinals literally DO NOT FLUSH. From Blair's post, excerpting the primary source:

School officials at Spanish River High School thought they had found an environmentally-friendly, cost-saving solution for their bathrooms when they installed Falcon Waterfree urinals in their boys bathrooms.

But with no water moving through the school’s copper pipes to flush the urine into the sewer system, the waste produced noxious gases that ate through the metal, leaving leaky pipes that allowed urine to drip into walls and flow onto floors.

‘It was pretty disgusting,’ school board chairman Frank Barbieri told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

‘The girls had to step over a river of urine. I could smell it as soon as I walked into the hallway.’
Leave it to the fucking Greenies and their starry-eyed followers to ignore basic sanitary engineering principles. They might as well have just invited the boys to piss on the floor.

Professor Bunyip meanwhile descants upon the competence or otherwise of the Left media. Unimpressed with Fairfax, whose fortunes and performance are accurately mirrored by its share price and the number of papers handed out free to those buying a coffee at various places, he has a look at the latest (heftily funded) entry into the Lefty media arcana and finds nothing short of complete incompetence. From the link:

Total time to find and open those three .pdfs: 4 minutes and 47 seconds by the Billabong's stopwatch. This included several brief interruptions when the cat attempted to occupy the keyboard.

Now it is true that the business of finding those records could be a bit more streamlined, but one imagines any hospital administrator examining Jones' CV and performing a pre-employment background check would be familiar with where to go and which tabs to click. Yet five investigative journalists -- quality, advertising-averse investigative journalists, no less -- leave Global Mail readers with the impression that Nurse Jones' record of shame cannot be found.

Prof Bunyip refers to the Global Mail as a "sheltered workshop", and frankly I think he is not too far wrong. These people wouldn't last a month in a newspaper which actually had to turn a profit to survive. But the Global Mail will last only as long as rich and either stupid or ideologically crafty people continue to pump money at it. After that, it will go the way of all flesh.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Long pause between drinks, posts.

Real life has a way of getting in the way, you see.

Anywhere, where were we? Ah yes, Julia Gillard is sinking into a sea of complete fail. Along with the economy going steadily south, illegal arrivals at an all-time high (not to mention drownings thereof) and the Damocles' Sword of Craig Thomson's "did he commit a criminal offence for which he must leave Parliament or did he not?" everlasting inquiry, we have Liberal defector Peter Slipper (now officially an independent) with his own spending issues (he's had them for a long time, before Gillard even offered him the post) and the recent kerfuffle in which Aboriginal activists surrounded a restaurant and offered aggression to the person of the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition.

A rather dismal episode, that: Mr Abbott was alleged to have said that the Aboriginal Tent Embassy should be pulled down (a statement he did not actually make, but which IIRC Aboriginal former ALP president Warren Mundine has on one occasion made), and someone within Ms Gillard's office - allegedly operating alone - reported his whereabouts (through the agency of another person allegedly somewhat associated with Ms Gillard) to the madding crowd nearby. In the rush to get away, Ms Gillard lost a shoe, someone took it, and it briefly made an appearance on e-bay.

In the aftermath, it has become quite clear that (a) Abbott did not make the statement attributed to him, (b) the more reasonable among the Aboriginal activists are well aware of this, and (c) some prominent Aborigines feel as though they were used by at least one known person (since permitted to resign) operating within Ms Gillard's office, and are not impressed. Plausible denials emanating from the person of the Prime Minister are finding a cold reception in some circles; and whatever the truth of the matter, this is no surprise.

The Leader of the Opposition, the Hon Tony Abbott, has done much unpaid work in Aboriginal communities, to which he draws little official attention. To suggest that he is a fire-eating race baiter seems rather improper to say the least. For the Prime Minister's Department to have done it shows rank unprofessionalism. And if the Prime Minister had an actual hand in it, it would say little that is good about her fitness to remain in office.

The Left media - which can be understood for the purpose of this blog to be the Fairfax press (Age and Sydney Morning Herald primarily) and the ABC - is understandably saying very little about this which reflects badly on the Labor Government and the Prime Minister. Or at least, as little as it can. However, Fairfax is in grave trouble - its share price is below a dollar and falling, a symptom of a dying organism. Attempting to pump some life into the near-corpse is Gina Rinehart, the incredibly wealthy and successful daughter of the late Lang Hancock. Rinehart is a mining magnate by nature - her companies rip things out of the ground and sell them, an activity which is anathema to many of the navel-gazing intellectual onanists who excrete their waffle on the pages of the Fairfax rags - and her purchase of Fairfax shares would give her a sizeable influence within the company.

Understandably this is something they do not like and do not want, and the government which they put a lot of effort into defending has made noises about making such share acquisitions illegal. This is the same government which would like to filter the Internet on a national basis and is currently exuding a horrible animus for the Murdoch press - 30% ownership of Australian media with 70% readership - which is on the whole hostile to its nefarious bumbling. In other words, the Government is setting out to protect its dying media support while hobbling its wildly successful opponents - an activity which no government in any nation that wants to call itself democratic should ever engage in.

Ultimately the Fairfax share price may drop so low that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation will be able to acquire a controlling share. Sometimes I think this is what ought to happen - the journalists in both organisations pretty much write with one mind in any case. The only problem with that is that Fairfax would then go on permanent life support at taxpayer expense and we would have what is effectively an Official Government Newspaper. We are at war with Eurasia. We have always been at war with Eurasia...

Roll on, the election.