Thursday, 26 September 2013

"It's not easy being Green" Part the Second...

...otherwise known as "The resignation was not given but demanded; the sequel."

As with the NBN, so (it seems) with the Australian Greens.

Here, link courtesy of Andrew Bolt, is the source article at the Sydney Morning Herald website.

The text, quoted in full in the event of redaction or modification, is as follows:

Christine Milne has survived an aborted push to challenge her leadership - but some senior Greens claim the Tasmanian senator is now ''living on borrowed time''.

Fairfax Media can reveal the departure of Senator Milne's most senior political aide, Ben Oquist, is linked to moves within the federal party to switch to Adam Bandt, her deputy.

A source close to the turmoil inside the leader's office said Senator Milne had demanded the resignation of Mr Oquist, her chief of staff, after she became aware he had backed moves for Mr Bandt to mount a challenge at Monday's party room meeting.

''This is about disloyalty. Ben was trying to get rid of Christine. Adam Bandt was going to make a run for the leadership, but they called it off about an hour before party room because they didn't have the numbers,'' the source said.

Another Greens source confirmed a push to replace Senator Milne was on, but there was ''not enough confidence they had the numbers''.

Senator Milne's office declined to make any comment on Thursday and Mr Bandt, who is on holiday, could not be reached.

Senator Milne fronted the media alongside Mr Bandt after Monday's meeting to declare both leader and deputy had been re-elected to their positions unopposed. ''We are a strong, united team,'' she said.
Three days later, she had lost Mr Oquist and five other senior policy and media staff.

Senator Milne said the ''flat administrative structure'' she imposed when she took over from Bob Brown was the reason Mr Oquist had moved on. ''I think Ben had a view that it should be more hierarchical,'' she said.

Mr Oquist is travelling overseas and has made no statement other than he left on good terms, but ''fundamental differences of opinion in strategy had emerged''.

Well, now. This does shoot a fairly large hole in the suppositions from my last article; it seems some within the Greens wasted no time deciding they had been led to an avoidable defeat and that action to remove the one responsible was required. And yeah, I have to admit, if I found out that my Chief of Staff had been whispering to the "Other Side" within my own ranks without being frank to me about it, I'd probably send them packing too.

I'd love to know just what this "flat administrative structure" is all about. Hierarchy is important in a political organisation; people need to know who's boss and just where the buck stops.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

"It's not easy being Green" - with apologies to Kermit the Frog.

I just recently wrote this post at Catallaxy Files, relating to this newspaper article about the Australian Greens Party losing six of their leader's staff, and I feel it worthy of some enlargement. I began by quoting The Australian's article:

including chief of staff Ben Oquist, director of communications Georgie Klug and policy adviser Oliver Woldring, her climate change adviser, her economics adviser and campaign coordinator.
I commented that...
That’s pretty much the solid core of a minor party’s staff, especially relevant when one of them is the Climate Change adviser to a Greens party.
...because the Climate Change thing has been central to the Greens' raison d'etre and indeed their brief occupation of the nexus of Australian political power over the last three years. I will now enlarge a second quote from the original newspaper article:
Mr Oquist issued a statement saying he was leaving with good will but cited "fundamental differences of opinion about strategy".
I continued in this (admittedly flippant and VERY hypothetical) vein:
Possible translation: “We fucked up and lost the balance of power in the Senate; we did this because you didn’t listen to me; and now the idiots have gone and kept you on. You’ve made us irrelevant and got rewarded for it. I’m outta here.”
But what else could he do, regardless of the underlying reasons? With advice not being taken and a poor result to show for it, what more can the advisers do but hand in their notice? And what does that say about the person at the top (Milne) and all the people who, in the wake of the result, have elected to keep her there? 
As I said over at the Cat, this should be a very interesting space to watch. Sure, she was re-elected to her leadership unopposed and so was Bandt (deservedly so, if he increased his local stake1), but I think that was a reflex action so as not to leave them leaderless the way the ALP currently is (the Greenfilth2 are doing that one bit right in any case). However, to continue hypothesising, they’re still getting their heads around what a Coalition victory is actually going to mean – especially with the new Senate still not quite finalised and their supreme Lower House influence made irrelevant – and when they’ve finished doing that, we may see rumbles for change.
The advisers seem at least to have waited for the first torpedo (Bandt’s irrelevance in the Lower House) to hit before running for the lifeboats. The rest of the salvo is on its way. (It will arrive when the Senate changes in mid-2014, and Labor and the Greens combined become a relatively3 powerless minority.)
The following election (due 2016) constitutes yet another salvo, with a target-rich environment – the majority of what’s left of the Greens – up for reaping, and everybody knows that at least some of those torpedoes will hit4. At that point, what we will arguably see is infighting for the highest place on the Senate ticket in every state, somewhat akin to a struggle for the last seat in the lifeboats. If there’s going to be a leadership challenge, I suspect that’s when we’ll start to see the leadership knives come out.
If Abbott can set up (but not pull) a DD trigger before then, he might be able to start the panicked stampede early.

FOOTNOTES:
1. I despise Bandt, his party and everything they stand for, but at least in the context of intra-organisational performance, success requires rewarding. Failure, not so much. Some failures are of course beyond the control of those who did the trying, but the differences of opinion quoted above are at least suggestive that this may not be so in Milne's case.
2. A fairly common name for them in the comments at Catallaxy Files, and IMO rightly so. They at times seem resolutely opposed to everything that has made Western industrial civilisation the success story that it is, and their ideology is as blinkered, bloody-minded and ill-informed as they accuse their opponents' of being.
3. Not completely powerless because there may be specific issues regarding which the Minor Parties share their opposition to Government intentions, in which case those intentions might be modified or blocked, but the ability of Labor and the Greens to bloody-mindedly stonewall everything Tony Abbott wishes to do will be destroyed. They are in Opposition now, and cannot offer enticements to the Minors the way they could in Government.
4. The Greens' support fell at the 2013 election, and since the climate modelling on which the anthropogenic argument for climate change - and much of their core policy - rests is looking increasingly shaky (if not already thoroughly discredited), it may yet fall further. The majority of their Senators are up for re-election at that half-Senate ballot and they could suffer rather terribly, especially if hot-headed young guns such as Sarah Hanson-Young or extreme radicals like Lee Rhiannon make a spectacle of themselves.

Monday, 23 September 2013

I cannot add anything; just read what's at the link for yourselves.

Via the helpful crowd at Ace of Spades.


The Aftermath

Confronted with the twin facts of its uselessness and irrelevance, the entire NBN Board hands in its notice. Forensic accounting will now begin. Excellent.

(ETA: Since I posted this, information has come to light which suggests that in fact the new Communications Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, demanded the head of each and every one of these worthless creatures, and that the resignations seem to be either as-requested or to avoid the disgrace attendant upon being sacked.)

Aussie conservatives were rightly in an uproar at David Suzuki getting an entire hour of the show Q&A to himself, to spout his ludicrous theories, but Andrew Bolt reports that the audience was not so generous as the presenter. A few well-informed skeptics made it past the defences, so to speak, and served this hypocritical charlatan his own head on a platter.

Also reposing in the head-on-a-dish department is Climate Commissioner Tim Flannery. His presence on the government payroll ought not to be missed, especially since he was a shareholder in a geothermal energy project that was the recipient of tens of millions of dollars and seems to have contributed very little to the problem of energy generation in Australia except how NOT to go about doing it. When one accesses their instantaneous share price history, it seems relatively stable until one selects a much broader timescale - at which point one sees that a company that started out a little above a dollar begins to trend progressively downwards from May 2009 and, absent a couple of local peaks during the descent (October 2010 and July 2011), is now in the doldrums at about ten cents a share. The October peak is coincident with this statement (from which I quote):

Geodynamics Limited is pleased to announce that all conditions precedent for the $90 million grant awarded to the Company under the Federal Government’s Renewable Energy Demonstration Program (REDP) have been satisfied. Geodynamics has received confirmation from the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism that the grant is now unconditional and that funding will commence in line with agreed milestones.The $90 million grant was initially awarded to Geodynamics in November 2009 and is the largest amount awarded to any project under the program. The funding deed was executed by the Federal Government and Geodynamics in July 2010.

and the July 2011 peak with this one, which I had problems loading the full text of, but which led from the following text on its webpage:

Geodynamics welcomes clean energy package

11 July 2011
Geodynamics Limited (ASX: GDY), Australia’s most advanced geothermal energy developer, welcomes the Federal Government’s climate change initiatives announced yesterday under the Securing a Clean Energy Future package.
In other words, both share-price surges - neither sustained - seem to relate temporally to the acquisition of government funding or support as opposed to technical achievements. Readers may draw their own conclusions, but mine are uncharitable for obvious reasons. The timescale of Dr Flannery's shareholdings, acquisitions and depositions, if known, would make a fascinating comparison. Does anyone out there have this information?

That geothermal energy works is beyond doubt, and New Zealand is the proof. That it does not necessarily work everywhere now also seems beyond doubt, and Geodynamics could well be the proof of that.

In other news, Islam continues to be the Religion of Peace it always has been (sarc!!), proving that its brave warriors are always up to the challenge of defending the faith, any way they can.


Thursday, 12 September 2013

The Bureaucratic Butchery Begins

From Catallaxy Files comes this post, which is derived from a list of allegedly "last minute" things that Joe Hockey threw in for axing after the Coalition took power. The author of this list allegedly prefixes the list with:

What Hockey didn’t tell us …Fine print of last minute costings announced with no debate – does Abbott have a mandate for these? 

For full details, follow the link to the Cat. Lefty heads are allegedly exploding everywhere, treating all of this as undiscussed matters with no mandate and the sharpest, harshest cutters at Catallaxy Files say yay, let's do all of this and then some. Let's have a look at it.

INCOME REDISTRIBUTION (away from poor):
• Lower the tax-free threshold from $18,200 back to $6000.
• Abolish the low-income superannuation contribution.
• Abolish the means test on the Private Health Care Rebate
• Scrap baby bonus and relax childcare staffing ratios to fund $75,000 paid leave for mothers earning $150,000
• Allow people to opt out of superannuation in exchange for promising to forgo any government income support in retirement


 Point one struck me as a straight-out vote-buying exercise. $6000 is arguably too low, but $18,200 is a very odd figure. Why not $18,000? Is there a certain category of worker who would fall just under this level, whose vote would be valuable to the ALP? I'd happily support a value closer to $12k.

Superannuation is a controversial matter. It is, according to the Cat's hyperlibertarians, "enforced savings", which come out of one's pay packet in the first place - they would prefer the individual to have that money to decide for themselves what to do with it, invest, bank or spend as they see fit. Their money, their responsibility, and super treats people like children. I am of two minds. I would not at all mind super being treated either as an opt-in or opt-out thing.

As far as the baby bonus is concerned, I abhor it. It is easy to "game", to keep on having kids and use the money for something else. I would like to see it scrapped and replaced by a fixed offset against the taxes of working members of the new baby's household. IOW you don't get it if you're getting serially pregnant to a series of deadbeat revolving-door fathers.

As far as paid parental leave is concerned, it applies to ALL parents, not just the rich. The list author appears to have conveniently forgotten this, and phrased the point in class-war terms. Disingenuous at best, inflammatory and deliberately misleading (i.e. LYING) at worst.

SUPPORT FOR BIG BUSINESS
• Repeal the mining tax
• Abolish the Australian Consumer & Competition Commission
• Abolish the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB)
• Remove anti-dumping laws


 The list author treats big business as evil? Fine, let's wave our magic wands, abolish "big business" tomorrow... and see how many poor people that puts out of work. And just where does she draw the line and call a business "big"?

The mining tax, as introduced by Kevin Rudd, is a joke - it has brought in next to no revenue and has only generated administrative costs. It deserves to be scrapped. The ACCC and FIRB need to be kept, in my opinion, and as for the anti-dumping laws, we'll get to those in due course.

EDUCATION
• Abolish the means-tested school kids bonus which benefits 1.3 million families by up to $410 per primary child & $820 per high school child.
• Abandon the bulk of the school funding reforms
• Reintroduce voluntary student unionism at universities
• Remove academic freedom through political control of research grants


 The schoolkids bonus is another vote-buying exercise, besides which, nobody can prove that the money is being spent on clothes and equipment for the kids rather than indulgent stuff for the parents. Give it to the schools and have the schools issue the kids with the equipment directly from stock. The school funding "reforms" do nothing to address the deep problems, which are inadequate discipline and poor teaching methods, and an underclass that couldn't really give a fuck about its children's education.

University student unions did not represent me or my interests when I was at university, and I should not be obliged to belong to one or pay it money if this is the case. This is a simple matter of freedom of association.

As far as "academic freedom" is concerned, what rubbish. Much of the "political control" in this case seems to be the pulling of lazy, greedy snouts from the trough of "humanities" research. No wonder the list author is whining - she's about to see her unproductive career defunded. I expect my tax dollars to fund research into things like medicine, mining and agriculture, not philosophical navel-gazing.



JOBS, WORKPLACE RELATIONS
• Repeal Fair Work Act, restore individual agreements
• Cut at least 50,000 public service jobs
• End preferences for Industry Super Funds in workplace relations laws
• Cease subsidising the car industry.


 The Fair Work Act was deliberately designed to spit in John Howard's face and guarantee increased union presence in the workplace, and deserves destruction. An individual should have the right to negotiate their own legally binding conditions with their employer if they so desire. I can't speak to the Industry Super Funds, but the car industry has soaked up huge amounts of money out of all proportion to any good that money has done. I can see a point for an industrial nation like Australia retaining the ability to build its own automobiles, but we are on a slippery slope of diminishing returns and  the ALP practice of simply shovelling money into a bottomless pit only for jobs to keep on disappearing has to be addressed... severely.

ENVIRONMENT
• Abolish the Clean Energy Fund
• Abolish the Department Of Climate Change
• Repeal the renewable energy target and withdraw from kyoto ppotocol
• Repeal the marine park legislation
• Encourage the construction of dams


 The only viable clean energies are either hydro or nuclear. If you want 24/7 baseline without fossil fuels, this is how you have to go in Australia. That means dams (the animus against dams is straight out of the Greens playbook). We've had floods in Gippsland several years running now; the damage this does every year would easily pay for one, and it would have been far better than the useless desalination plant that was built because the scary Green claims of no more rain were forced down the government's throat. The renewable energy target is unrealistic with current technology, and repeal is the only sensible thing.

Solar and wind are not up to scratch on a large scale, so the Clean Energy Fund is worthless and needs to go - if a viable renewable technology is developed, it will pay for itself without requiring bucketloads of government money. The Kyoto protocol is meaningless - a dead issue - and withdrawing from it is the only sensible thing to do.

FREE SPEECH, CITIZENSHIP
• End mandatory disclosures on political donations
• End public funding support for political parties (allowing rich an advertising monopoly)
• Abolish media bias regulations
• Introduce voluntary voting


 The second dot-point is pure class-envy politics, subjective and hateful. I think there's a point to be made for obliging political parties to say where their funding is coming from; it's one of the few things I agree with the list author about. The list author needs to acknowledge that the lion's share of public funding support goes into the pockets of the Liberal, National, Labor and Greens parties, and is paid after the fact based on voting performance at the election just concluded - another example of their disingenous/dishonest approach.

The reason the large parties have the advertising funds they do before the fact is because of MEMBERSHIP DUES - if your policies do not attract sufficient support, why should the taxpayer cough up for you?

 Media bias? Fairfax and the ABC were shilling so hard for ALP/Greens it wasn't funny; Murdoch, with 30% ownership, was getting 70% of circulation because Fairfax and the ABC were turning out propagandist bullshit that nobody wanted to read. For media bias, read "They were saying bad things about our side!"

As for voluntary voting, I absolutely agree with this worthless cretin for once. You live in a democracy, you make the fucking effort or you can get out.
 
MEDIA, PUBLISHING
• Halt and privatise the National Broadband Network
• Abolish the Australian Communications And Media Authority
• Break up the ABC and put out to tender each individual function.
• Abolish TV spectrum licensing
• Abolish local content requirements
• Deregulate the parallel importation of books, thus damaging our local authors and publishers.


 The NBN's business model was flawed from the start, its budget has blown out to obscene proportions in relation to what has been achieved (very little), and it has had to go so far as to rip up the entirely reliable copper network, taking people's ordinary telephones away from them with no choice in the matter. It needs to be gutted and reformed on the basis of a viable business model, with fibre to the node, and the bandwidth leased to the various content providers. There must be a careful independent inspection of the existing hardware to ensure that a filter has not been hardwired in at some point. Anyone who wants a connection to their home can pay for the last few feet themselves. If they can't afford it, copper is coming along nicely with new data-pushing algorithms.

The ACMA can stay, as far as I am concerned.

The ABC must be gutted, reduced to one television station and Radio National, and ordered not to compete with the commercial networks but to go back to providing niche services.

Some management of the TV spectrum does need to occur, but only insofar as sensible allocation of available bandwidth and frequencies is concerned (to avoid interference).

Local content needs to compete on an equal footing with overseas. If an Australian author isn't good enough, they don't get sales. If they're good enough, they'll outsell the competition. It's that simple. In any case, parallel imports are often cheaper, with the result that the poor (the people the List Author seems to care about) are better able to afford books. Is this not a good thing? The same thing goes for local TV content.

PUBLIC INTEREST
• End all public subsidies to sport and the arts
• Repeal section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act
• End all government funded public interest (‘Nanny state’) advertising


 Yes, yes, and maybe. If you're a good enough athlete, there should be no problem with getting an equipment manufacturer to fund you. If you've got something insulting to say, you should have the right to say it without someone hauling you into court - especially if it turns out to be true. (The people who blew up an eleven year old boy in Boston, crashed three airplanes into buildings, recruited Down syndrome people and rape victims as suicide bombers and cut little girls' clitorises off don't exactly identify as Buddhist, do they?)

When I was a kid, the road transport authority - whatever it was called - in my home state used to publish short commercials that gave handy hints for things like night driving (e.g. high-beam etiquette) and lesser-known road rules that would avoid accidents. I think this sort of thing is worthwhile.

PRIVATIZATION, DEREGULATION
• Privatise the CSIRO
• Privatise the Australian Institute of Sport.
• Privatise Medibank.
• Privatise the Snowy-Hydro Scheme
• Privatise Australia Post
• Privatise SBS.
• Formalise a one-in, one-out approach to regulatory reduction.


 Quite aside from the fact that someone - either the Cat or the list author - can't organise their spelling consistently, I have to wonder about "privatise Medibank". Doesn't the list author mean Medicare? Something's fishy here, and I share the Cat's suspicion that this list of proposed cuts contains a lot of false claims and bullshit.

My opinion? No (government must support some level of basic research), Yes (if the athletes are that good - and Australia punches well above its weight - private funding should flow freely), No (if Medicare is meant), No (state-constructed power generation assets should remain in state hands IMO; they are a national security issue); ABSOLUTELY NOT (the post is likewise a National Security asset); maybe (make SBS a subset of the ABC); Yes (it does the country no good to add law upon law in a certain area; you end up tying yourself in knots, and it's sometimes better to tear it all down and rewrite from the ground up, especially if the older legislation is so archaic it can't react to changed circumstances).

PUBLIC HEALTH
• Eliminate the National Preventative Health Agency
• Repeal the Alcopops tax.
• Repeal plain cigarette packaging, rule it out on alcohol, fast foods etc
• Reject proposals for compulsory food and alcohol labeling


Maybe, yes, yes, maybe. I think there are some aspects of preventative health that could be managed at a national level, but this is surely a matter for a person's general practitioner. The alcopops tax was and is intrusive nanny-statism, as is plain packaging. IMPULSE CONTROL, PEOPLE. And as for food and alcohol labelling, just what labelling does the List Author want?

There are a very few matters on which I find myself disagreeing with the Libertarians. I think the list author is finding the sweeping away of her vested interests very discomfiting. Good. After six years of mismanagement and three hundred billion dollars' worth of fiscal rape by the left, the nation cannot afford much of what this stupid twit would like to retain. Let it burn.


Sunday, 8 September 2013

Early analysis.

Early and arguably bound to be wrong in the end, because

(a) A substantial proportion of ballots remains uncounted (there were three million postal and prepoll votes out of about 15 million electors).

(b) The Senate makeup isn't settled yet, at least as regards minor parties.

First of all, of course, the wailing and the hate have begun. Particularly the hate: this fucking disgrace of a page (called "Tony Abbott should be assassinated") exists on Facebook, and I strongly encourage all and sundry to go and report it in the strongest possible terms. I also encourage you all to take a screencap of the thing, just so that the disingenuous murmurs of "What? Where? Nobody did such a thing!" that will no doubt issue when its creators realise their mistake and delete it (or Facebook does it for them) can be rebutted with proof.

Second, Kevin Rudd seems to have retained his place in Parliament (on Greens preferences, if I understand correctly; his chief opponent gathered more primary votes than he did). He claims that he won't re-contest the leadership, but he said that before and look at what happened. I don't believe him for an instant. So long as he's in Parliament he'll be plotting a return to centre-stage, which is where his ego loves (needs?) to be. There will always be some excuse for why it all went sour - possibly "You forced me to an election before I was ready, you fools!" - and a refusal to accept that he was part of the problem. Or much of it. He wasn't all of it by any means. There is an entire party of equally purblind fools behind him, chanting in unison that the cause of their problem was disunity. IT WAS YOUR POLICIES AND BEHAVIOUR, YOU FUCKING IDIOTS.  It was IMO also the attitude they held toward the demographic which was once Labor's heart and soul, blue-collar Australia - you do not get voted back in as a Labor government when you have just spent six years accusing a large swath of your voting base of being dumb-as-dogshit homophobic misogynist racists, and when your by-the-length-of-a-bee's-dick win in 2010 was based on a lie ("There will be no carbon tax under a government I lead") and a pair of turncoats.

Well, the turncoats are gone - retiring rather than staying to cop the thrashing they knew they had coming - but the one lower-house Greens MP, Adam Bandt, has most likely survived. It looks like a couple of his compatriots will not. Again, it's too early to comment on Senate makeup, but the evidence so far suggests that Labor and the Greens have lost their combined Senate majority.

In other words, the strategy of ditching Gillard and "bringing Kevin in to save the furniture" (i.e. preserve that majority in the face of an inevitable Lower House loss) has been a failure. And speaking of failed election strategies, what about the idiocy of Rudd's camp importing three of Obama's campaign strategists to help out with the "social media" aspect? Fearsome thought at first, but once you analysed it, it was always going to be a paper tiger. Why? Let's go into it. (This is of course written after the event, but I've said a lot at Catallaxy Files on the same theme, so I think I'm safe from any serious accusations of "retrospectoscopy".)

The Obama team had the advantage (on its home ground) of knowing who was registered Democrat or Republican, which - while not an absolute guarantee of voting intentions, as proved by the good ole' boy who before the 2008 Presidential Election declared that he was "voting for the nigger" - gave them useful targets for directed advertising. Australia does not have partisan registration (and hopefully never will) and this vital datum was lacking. They had the advantage (on their home ground) of being able to concentrate on getting ONE guy across the line on national issues; in Australia they had to get 76 guys (and gals) across the line based on a complex mixture of state, national and local issues in order for their One Guy to count. And finally there was no ability to rely on a concentrated ethnic voting bloc (the likes of which does not exist in Australia) or to mobilise a wave of otherwise uninterested electors who might otherwise not have bothered (because they are all obliged to bother, something else I hope remains). Finally, the Australian and American systems of government are substantially different, even though they are both bicameral democracies.

Getting back to Bandt, though, he is very much today's rooster made tomorrow's feather duster. The result his party had hoped for - a Hung Parliament, with the Greens holding the balance of power in the Lower House (effectively both Houses) - has evaporated, as did a large percentage of their overall support. He is now irrelevant, and can do nothing more than beat his fists in impotent fury against the harsh brick wall of a Liberal/National majority. I would like to go out on a limb here and predict that this second term will be his last; that he will find such fist-beating not to his liking, and will find an excuse to leave rather than re-contest at the next election. Whether he goes so far as to walk out early and cause a by-election for the seat is quite another matter. If that happens, it will probably fall to Labor - it was safe Labor before he came in, but I suspect the demographic of the area has changed radically (a whole lot of Greenie types seeking the comfortable inner-city latte culture they love so much) - unless another Green feels like having a go.

We live in interesting times, but the far-left block lunacy of the Greens would seem at this point to have been replaced with a gaggle of centre-to far-right small parties and Independents which will not stand for any of the bullshit that the Greens were able to foist on Labor (or give Labor the cover of having had them foisted) and thence on the Nation.

While not normally a heartless chap, I shall enjoy watching the wailing and gnashing of teeth of those whose government-sponsored Gravy Train is about to come to a sudden and violent stop.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Friday, 6 September 2013

The Last Before The Hammer Falls.

And let us hope that it will fall on this useless waste of a Labor/Greens government.

Six years ago, the Australian Labor Party won power on the basis (or should that be pretext?) of being compassionate fiscal conservatives who cared about Australian working people.

Since then, the nation has gone from being tens of billions of dollars in the black to nearly $300,000,000,000.00 in the red. The credit card is maxed out, and would need another limit extension before the end of the year to enable things to go on the way they have been.

Government revenues have never been higher, which means that government spending has been out of control, despite Prime Minister Rudd’s statement (when in Opposition) that “this reckless spending must stop”.

We have very little concrete to show for that money. The economy has been going backwards, shops have been closing or winding back their hours and small businesses going to the wall, the definition of “employed” has become increasingly tenuous (as little as an hour a week), investment confidence has plummeted, and so on, and so on.

I encourage all to look up “Pink Batts”, “School halls” and other such ALP disasters for themselves. Not to mention border controls – over a thousand drowned, just so the ALP could differentiate itself from Howard.

And then there were the planned freedom of speech restrictions and the internet filter (the compulsory one ALP Senator Conroy wanted). The carbon tax which we “wouldn’t have under a Government I lead” (and then promptly got, while the woman who said she’d never do it smiled and hugged the man she’d betrayed to get her job). And the loyal Labor politicians (at least one an honourable man) ordered to fall on their swords to allow craven political games to be played (google “Peter Slipper as Speaker”), and the accusations of misogyny against Tony Abbott while the Labor Party sheltered - and when it could no longer shelter, continued to rely on the vote of - a man who took union money to pay for prostitutes.

Then there was the knifing of Julia Gillard for incompetence, and her replacement by the man she herself had knifed for incompetence. At least he now gets to face his electoral Gotterdammerung, after three long years.

There is so much more I cannot even begin to do it justice in the time I have available before the polls open.

Six years of this is enough. Anyone who believes the two major parties are in any way alike is a brainwashed idiot. Whatever its flaws, the Liberal/National coalition has in the past proven to be a responsible, capable government.

Labor (aided and abetted by the Greens, who must not be allowed to slither away from this without their share of the blame) is not. Its campaigning has been dishonest, negative, divisive, abusive, slanderous and libellous to the last. It has shown no vision, no coherence, no ability to get even the slightest detail right. Everything it proposes has collapsed like a house of cards, beginning with Rudd's Fringe Benefits Tax snafu and his PNG solution and going on from there. They have nothing left. They have not a clue, and in my opinion they never did.

Vote them out. Vote Libs and Nats, hard. And stay well away from the Greens, who care about the environment about as much as you or I might care about a mosquito that is biting us.


You get one last shot at this before Labor turns Australia into an economic and cultural waste-basket, so for the love of God don’t screw it up. Don't listen to the siren song of what Rudd could do for you, because in another three years the nation will be so broke he won't have the money to do anything about it. Have a look at his promises - haven't you noticed that most of them (including budget surpluses) are pitched beyond the NEXT election?

Isn't this a lot like an abusive boyfriend who keeps saying he's sorry and begs for one more chance, then treats his girl like shit once more the moment she takes him back? And they have the gall to call Abbott the misogynist. This is called projection - accusing your enemy of the things you yourself are guilty of.

You deserve better, Australia. Don't let Labor abuse your trust any longer. It's in the game for itself, not the country. It despises the nation it seeks to rule.

It just isn't the working man's party any more. It hasn't been since 1996.

Vote it out. Keep it out. It will take a responsible government a generation - at least twenty years - to repay the debt and damage these irresponsible wastrels have done. And then they will try to blame those who have done the hard work for the hard decisions that need to be made.

KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN. And do not believe Labor or the Greens.

I wish Tony Abbott all the best. I do not for a minute believe a single negative word Labor or any of its enablers have said about him and his family. All those things are lies, and he is too much the Christian gentleman to take them to court for what they have said.

I hope there is a crushing LNP victory, that those in the current government facing legal action are brought to book and face their time in the dock, and that those responsible for the destruction of Australia's economic position are swept from power, never to enjoy their ride on the Gravy Train again.

God bless Australia. 

God save the Queen.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Australian Federal Election, 7 September 2013.

Many apologies for the long absence, but have been busy watching the scenes and taking in the general picture. Plus RL: family, work, hobbies etc.

There are several things I have to say.

1) A big part of me thought Rudd would hold out as long as possible and go to the G20 in full Prime Ministerial mode rather than as a caretaker (i.e. no major decisions to be taken or committed to between issuing of the writs and the polling day). I espoused this view on the Catallaxy Files blog, while maintaining the cautious qualification that part of him might want to avoid having face Tony Abbott in Parliament. Clearly I called this one wrong. Some believe the administrative (as opposed to the Parliamentary) branch of the party forced his hand. Whatever the case, it's going to make for some interesting theses in political history & 'science' over the next decade or so.

2) This is going to be a dirty campaign, and the ALP is going to smear Abbott for all it's worth. He's accused of relentless negativity, but to be true there is much to be negative about. The overall budget position is $250bn in the red, and we have nothing material to show for it. Even tinpot dictators who bankrupt their countries usually have lots of shiny weapons to point to when asked where the money has gone. The previous Coalition government ran surpluses for almost every one of its budgets and was ten years paying back $90bn and leaving us with a reserve for hard times (which this squanderous lot blew in one year).

3) The words "on time, on budget, on spec" are foreign to this government. It has utterly ruined almost everything it has touched, and where complete ruin has not occurred this is to the credit of the people who've held it together. It's Rudd, it's Gillard and it's everyone beneath them too. Not one of them has the slightest idea of how to run a program, consult with stakeholders, or calculate the consequences of their policies before those policies are announced. Howard made it look easy, and the ALP lost its memory for the fact that these things aren't easy - they require painstaking background work, checking with the people who are going to be affected, and working out how to minimise the unpleasant fallout that must sometimes be lived with in the overall national interest.

Perhaps things would not have been as bad if they had floated their thought-bubbles as proposals rather than sprung them on the public as Things They Had Already Decided To Do. They could then have reacted to negative press, backflipped without loss of face, and corrected their errors.

The polls (as opposed to The Poll, singular; i.e. the election), which were disastrous for Labor, shifted back to the centre (50-50), but the latest barrage of Labor proposals (which added up to more lack of consultation, pissing off of various stakeholders, undermining of industries and blatant tax grabs which intruded into the sanctity of people's bank accounts) seems to have had a telling effect. The most recent poll I have seen is for a 52:48 split the Coalition's way (i.e. a Coalition victory). This poll seems to have been taken before the announcement and published after it. The result cannot please Kevin Rudd.

The problem with these polls is that they are dispersed. It matters not if either party has HUGE swings in its favour if those occur in particular electorates which they already hold. Such swings might mask losses in more marginal electorates, which could tip the balance the other way. Because Australia has a Westminster Parliament, this is what matters - the number of Lower House seats you win. It's not an overall vote for the leader, like it is for the US President. These are the little things which determine outcomes. That being said, a 2PP poll which shows a split like 58:42 says far more - that's annihilation territory. The other things that matter are the preferences - basically, if you get over the line for 50% of votes, you win the seat, home and hosed. If you don't, the losers' votes are distributed to the top two candidates according to the losing candidates' locked-in preferences, and the candidate with the most votes then takes the seat. Occasionally the two major parties will preference each other, usually to ensure the elimination of screwball minor parties such as Pauline Hanson's One Nation, the Greens, or independent candidates who are clearly insane.

The Senate, of course, is another matter. That's decided on a state by state basis, each sending a certain number. There were over eighty candidates on the Federal senate ticket in my state in 2010, and bound to be more this time around. One may select the 'ticket' preferred by a party or individual candidate, or assign preferences from 1 to whatever individually. I put mine all below the line last time around, and it was a struggle to decide who to put last - the Communists, the Greens, or Labor. Liberal went first, National Party (their formal ally) second, and I think I might have put Shooters and Fishers third as a slap in the face to the Greens, who in Australia are nothing to do with the environment and everything to do with being upper middle class hypocritical antisemitic fascist dirtbags. If they are completely wiped out, I couldn't be happier and the environment will not suffer one jot because of it.

It's often said there's a lot of ruin in a nation. I don't think that's the case any more - one more term under these wankers and they will increase the size of the public service, the dole and other public-money mendicants to the point where they can't be voted out without raping puppies live on national TV.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

They actually went and did it.

They replaced Julia Gillard with Kevin Rudd.

No doubt those who call themselves "feminists" will screech and rant about what a terribly sexist thing this is, and how unremitting pressure from Abbott and a whole lot of other conservatives brought about her undoing, blah, blah, blah, and a whole lot of other utterances which make verbal diarrhoea look like pure sweet unicorn farts.

The fact of the matter is that she was undone by her own incompetence, and by the disastrous position to which she was leading her party. These are exactly the same factors which led to her replacing the man who has now been appointed (once again!) to replace her. The difference is that back then, she was Deputy Prime Minister and the logical person to step into Kevin Rudd's shoes, at least temporarily. She called a general election, a thing which was pending in any case, and led the Labor Party to that election. By means of all sorts of chicanery and double-dealing, which included an outright lie and the smearing of those who called the lie out as "hysterical", plus the representatives of two very conservative electorates betraying their trust,  she cobbled together a minority government into a Labor/Greens/"Independents" coalition and subsequently gained control of the Upper House.

Then she proceeded to spend the next three years screwing up in every possible way she could. The public opinion polls told the tale, but she and her government refused to listen. Now she has paid the price for her poor leadership, just as the man she replaced paid it before her.

There is nothing sexist about this. As the man was treated, so was the woman - and so will the man once more, God willing, as soon as an election is formally called. Except that this time it will be the electorate which gets to wreak its vengeance.

A very large proportion of the Labor front bench, plus the two "Independents" who gave us this disaster and maintained it in office, will not be contesting at the next election. They have seen the writing on the wall, and are too cowardly to stay and face the inevitable.They will instead take the disgraceful "out" of being able to say they were undefeated in office.

John Howard, who stayed when he knew the polls weren't that good for him, was able to swallow that defeat and remain gracious in it.

If all goes to plan and Kevin Rudd is sworn in as Prime Minister, Tony Abbott will now no longer have to restrain himself when on the campaign trail. Labor has lost the "misogynist Tony" defence. It will, of course, almost certainly declare gay marriage an issue, telling gays that "Catholic Tony" will deny them their dream. But what of Labor, the Greens and the Independents, who have held both Houses for more than long enough to put a gay marriage bill through, yet have done nothing? Are they not just as "homophobic" for not having acted on this? By what right do these fucking hypocrites dare ride gay issues to the election now?

Let's face it - Canada has gay marriage under a conservative government (Stephen Harper's Progressive Conservatives), and Australia could easily go the same way under an Abbott government if he allowed a conscience vote, which I think he is gentleman enough to do. I think gays of both genders (and their supporters) are selling themselves out if they vote Labor just on this one issue.

The destruction of Kevin Rudd Mark 1 began when Tony Abbott was installed as Opposition Leader by the slimmest of margins and started to oppose him on an Emissions Trading Scheme, instead of rolling over and baring his throat the way Malcolm Turnbull did. Rudd, who had threatened a double-dissolution election on the issue (which he might conceivably have won with Turnbull as his opponent), suddenly got cold feet. It was all downhill from then on. Kevin Rudd Mark 2 is still the same Kevin Rudd - and if Tony Abbott gets his measure quickly, I think we will see a repeat of the same performance, culminating in the election result we should have seen three years ago.

I do not think the electorate will forgive - too many Labor front-benchers have shown themselves to be rats leaving the sinking ship, and I suspect their likely replacements will be sacrificial lambs pushed to the slaughter not become sufficiently well known to their new constituencies to have much chance of adequately defending those seats. The real issues now are:

1) When will an election be held? (With Gillard's ouster, Rudd is no longer held to the September 14 date if he does not wish to be and he might as well go to the polls ASAP to take advantage of his Second Honeymoon. Makes you wonder if the whole thing was planned this way from the start.)
2) Will the Coalition still have the momentum to take both Houses, or will Rudd manage just enough of a bounce to save that?
3) If #2 ends in a hostile Senate, what will happen at the subsequent double dissolution?

Much has been said about a government needing a strong Opposition and too much of a win being a bad thing. But I do not think there is anyone currently in government who has the talent. Whether Labor loses by seven seats or seventy makes no difference. It has had its turn and has done nothing in six years but act to the detriment of the nation. I hope that the election brings nothing less than its complete and utter ruination. And now that Gillard appears to be headed out the door, Rudd might as well go too.

And the Labor "faceless men" and Kevin Rudd can take the blame for Gillard's ouster. This is a shame; it would have been nice to see the backlash against the "feminists" for trying to tell the Australian electorate how sexist it was. They might have discredited themselves forever; now they can keep wailing and railing against the same old usual suspects.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Labor and the Left - sinking even deeper into the quagmire.

Right-wing gay journalist Christopher Pearson died recently at the age of 61, and one of Labor's longer-serving speech writers decided it was appropriate for him to repeat an old and baseless rumour - while at the same time cleverly covering his back by admitting the dubiousness of its veracity. He also decided it would be a good idea to say some pretty disgusting things about the Leader of the Opposition, with particular focus on Mr Abbott's Catholicism. What class. (/sarc)

Prime Minister Julia Gillard decided she was going to keep on playing the gender card, inexplicably linking the issue to the wearing of blue ties. Unfortunately it didn't seem to go down all that well, even among her feminist sympathisers. Nor did her instructions to her Members of Parliament that they should stand at school gates and defend her school funding "reforms".

Amid all this, and possibly distracting from the utter failure of her misandrist ranting and misogyny paranoia, there appeared (with convenient timing) a juicy scandal involving a highly slanderous menu allegedly distributed at a Liberal Party dinner function, which referred to her in most unflattering terms. Now I'm all for calling an incompetent failure an incompetent failure, regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation or anything else, but this thing referenced her physical attributes in unflattering terms; it truly went beyond the pale. And so Labor and the media jumped on it with all the enthusiasm of a 21 year old American frat boy taking his first legal drink, and quite a few people who were at the dinner (and some who weren't) were liberally smeared with the moral responsibility of having produced this sexist tripe (although the menu's closing admonition to "eat all your greens before they take over" was a nice little stab at our 'environmental' extremist friends).

 Except the truth outed; it turns out the menu was nothing more than a tasteless back-room joke, which was shared on Facebook by a man who hadn't drafted it, and subsequently tweeted hither and yon by a second chap who (per the link) had been fired from that restaurant months earlier. This chap professes (also as per the link) to prefer anal rape by an HIV-positive dog to living in an Australia governed by Tony Abbott. What class. (/sarc) Not that this has stopped the ALP or its media defenders from continuing to beat the drum on behalf of this complete joke of a Prime Minister.

It's looking like things are not going to end well for her, with the possibility that she might not even get to contest the next election (which can be no later than November of this year).

The only clear replacement for her is Kevin Rudd, blue tie and all, whom she herself replaced three years ago on the basis that "a good government had lost its way". Shortly before this happened, she said in an interview that there was more chance of her playing full-forward for the Western Bulldogs football team than there was of her replacing Rudd. Shortly thereafter she replaced him, then proceeded (quite sensibly in my view) to an election, stating (not so sensibly) that there would be "no carbon tax under [a] government I lead". And then of course she introduced one (as the Liberal Party had insisted in the leadup to the election that she would), and looked as pleased as punch when it passed the Senate.

So, Ms Prime Minister, just who has lost their way now?

I'd like to see her kept on, simply to see what abysmal depths the Labor Party can plunge to in the polls before it is wiped out at the ballot box. On the other hand, there's a small part of me that wants Kevin Rudd back, so Tony Abbott can tear into him and finish the job he started in 2010. Of course it may be that Labor replaces her with some other person, some sacrificial lamb, so that both Rudd and Gillard can claim they were never defeated at an election as sitting Prime Ministers (they both stand a significant risk of losing their own seats unless they retire at this poll). This, while technically true, would also be grossly dishonest - it would ignore the fact that neither was ever permitted to contest the election at which they would have been annihilated.

This behaviour puts me in mind of Howard Staunton, who cravenly avoided defeat as the unofficial chess world champion by never facing the brilliant American chess prodigy Paul Morphy. Morphy instead challenged and beat Anderssen, who was the best active player of his day, and then gradually went insane; IIRC partially because of Staunton's continuing refusal to face him; reminiscent of the mind games the KGB played - eventually successfully - with Morphy's equally gifted (and sadly equally unstable) countryman from a subsequent century, Bobby Fischer.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

The Australian Labor Party plumbs the hitherto hidden depths of desperation.

So this morning I woke up to find that (according to my regular blog readings) Aussie Prime Minister Julia Gillard is under imminent threat of removal. (An opinion which, I should state right away, appears to have been watered down somewhat as the day has progressed.) This is not too surprising, given her long record of utterly fucking things up; nor is it at all surprising to find that the only reasonable contender being mentioned is former Prime Minister (and by some lights the victim of Gillardian treachery) Kevin Rudd.

This would be a big mistake, for two reasons. The first is that, theories of treacherous and unnecessary backstabbing aside, Rudd's removal was seen by many on both sides of politics as entirely justified. His position was shaky; he was warned what would happen if he failed again; he failed again. End of story, and what better thing to do than to replace him with the Deputy Prime Minister and go to an election? One was impending anyway, and Labor's fortunes were headed down the S bend, so why not put it to the people?

Why not, indeed? Knifing him had the advantage of enabling the Government to wash its hands of all the disasters that had thus far occurred, and to put them down as the horrific blunders of an incompetent megalomaniac who had been determined to do it his way. That plus the novelty value of possibly having Australia's first female Prime Minister plus Julia Gillard actually having done an OK job as acting PM in the past (just don't mention the Building the Education Revolution blunders and $16bn down the drain) plus the infamous claim (later proven to be an utter lie) that there would be no carbon tax under a government she led sufficed to give her just enough seats to form a government... with one Green and two Independents in seats which would ordinarily be Liberal/National Coalition.

Things since then have gone nowhere but downhill.

The problem with bringing Rudd back is that it reminds you (or ought to, if you still have a thinking bone left in your body) of just why it is that he isn't Prime Minister today. To wit - there are a hell of a lot of people on both sides of politics who think the man is an incompetent narcissist. But that didn't stop him from pulling out all the stops to prove that he was leadership material once again and that the people still loved him.

Except maybe they don't. And if there is anything, anything of truth at all, in the perception that Rudd scripted and stage-managed his recrudescent glory, then it must surely confirm the worst fears of those who think he is not only an incompetent narcissist but seriously mentally unstable.

And this is the man they want to bring in to "save" the Labor Party.

No. The only thing that is "saving" the Labor Party right now is Julia Gillard's ability to play the gender card whenever Tony Abbott has her political back against the wall; to get the media so distracted by the so-called "misogyny debate" that they (and a significant share of voters) forget about whatever latest thing it is that she and her Cabinet have royally fucked up. Any man - any man at all - put into her position will have his proverbial throat torn out.

There are too damn many people out there who want to see her concede on Election Night. And then the radical feminists and Emily's Listers can scream all they fucking well want, but it will be THEIR fault for putting an incompetent twit into the job when they should have waited until they had someone with talent and integrity.

Australia's first female Prime Minister has been a complete fucking disaster. Someone more like Margaret Thatcher would have been a better choice, and well worth waiting for. Unless of course you're a screeching fucking harpy or a snout-in-the-trough bottom feeder. And too fucking bad if you are. Scream all you like; your gravy train is heading for derailment.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Sometimes I think the Internet needs a "smite" button.

This young lady ought to be an inspiration to a generation of girls who are mathematically inclined and who are in need of a role model who is (a) still alive and (b) not impossibly sundered from them by a generation gap (or even a several-generation gap).

I subscribed to her channel (among others) because some of my leisure-time interests required me to have a grasp of integral and differential calculus which are either not taught in, or I have forgotten since, high school, and because her teaching style is clear and easy to follow in terms of both delivery and content.

It annoys me, therefore, when I find comments left on her YouTube vids which ignore the content and primarily reference her appearance. Yes, she's an attractive, well-presented young woman; yes, any single straight man with at least half a brain who wants a partner with at least half a brain has every right to find her attractive and would be stupid not to be interested in someone like her. But guess what, folks? That's not why she's there. She's there to teach mathematics; not to be slobbered after by, and act as masturbatory material for, legions of morally and socially dysfunctional post-adolescent reprobates and certainly not to be the recipient of comments explicitly stating the commenter's desire to undress her and have sex with her.

If they want a pin-up girl, they need only go to the restricted section of the magazine rack and buy one of the many magazines that are printed for the purpose. Either that or buy a good-quality inkjet printer and make hard copies of what they find online. And if it's moving pictures which take their fancy, there are more than enough brainless young women disporting themselves disgracefully around YouTube that the intelligent ones doing their selfless best to help others could and should be left the hell alone.

Boston Marathon bombings

I hope the people who did this are caught, publicly identified, incarcerated and given a lifetime of being made to wish they had never been born.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Feminism vs. Women's Lib, Suffragettes, Bluestockings, etc.

Whenever I hear the word "feminst" or any of its relations, my blood boils just a little. Not because I don't believe in women's equality (I probably lean towards thinking they're the superior sex in many ways) or their right to equal pay or any career or a comprehensive education or owning property or even control over their own fertility, etc. etc. etc.

No, the feminism I take objection to is something very different.

It is that school of thought which trots out "the Patriarchy" as the reason that horrid things sometimes happen to specific women. Worse, it is that school of thought which, when representatives of "the Patriarchy" advocate harsh punishments (up to and including the death penalty) for rapists, child molesters and wife beaters, claim that this is because "the Patriarchy" is upset at having its property spoiled. No, you fuckwits - it's because there's nothing we despise more than people who do bad things to women and children.

It is that school of thought which decries teaching young girls to be able to defend themselves physically in favour of "educating" boys to treat girls decently. We used to do this once upon a time, but if "nice girls don't and nice boys don't ask" was a shade too far the other way, it at least allowed us to define a standard of behaviour which responsible and enterprising adolescents could choose to set aside in private once they had discussed the matter between themselves, and which irresponsible boys could be punished harshly for breaching. The baby clearly went out with the bath-water here. The other problem I have with the "feminist" line here is that it puts control of a girl's safety in the hands of the boy. If he's not the sort to accept her advice (and let's face it, there are boys who simply aren't), she's in big trouble if she doesn't have both the means and the mental attitude to fight him off.

It is that school of thought which holds that catalogues featuring young adult women in very revealing bikinis (and the clothing they advertise) are exploitative of women and worthy of making a big hue and cry about. Ditto jelly wrestling and other spectator sports in which scantily clad women are the participants and men are overwhelmingly the intended audience. Um, no. Nobody is forcing these women to be there. When you liberate women in the sphere of their sexuality and careers, you have to accept that some of those women are going to take both in directions you don't approve of.

There are more pressing problems. The original push for women's rights in the Western World was for more basic and essential things - the right to own property (including themselves, basically); the right to vote (and by extension, to be voted for); the right to work; the right to an education. All of those battles HAVE BEEN WON in the Western World, and were won long before the current crop of twentysomething campaigners for "women's rights" were even born - to which the lives of both Golda Meir and Margaret Thatcher will attest.

These days we are the bemused observers of essays in which these "feminists" angst over the eating of meat as a symbol of approval of male violence over women. In the meantime, there are millions of women around the world who do NOT have the basic rights outlined in bold above. I think "feminism" as a whole should get a grip on itself, shut the fucking hell up about its ideological concerns and concentrate on rectifying these deficiencies in the rest of the world.

Then, and only then, should it come back and lecture us about the sexual politics of being a carnivore, telling adult women what brands of bikini they're allowed to wear when they choose to participate in mud-wrestling, and insisting that it's not as important to teach adolescent girls how to repel a pushy or aggressive boyfriend who won't take no for an answer as it is to try to indoctrinate boys who won't listen.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Why I believe in the right of the general public to own military-pattern firearms.

Because no Nazi wants to be the one to deliver the midnight knock on the door of an armed Jew.

Yes, that is a metaphor. It is a metaphor for any minority group.

Consider that it is the Republicans who are the most aggressive defenders of the American public's right to keep and bear arms. Consider that it is they who, in the backward world of Leftist "gay death camp" paranoia, would be delivering that knock on the door. Do you really think they would do that, having (in their own perfect world) enabled that target population to arm itself to the teeth?

The ability of a vulnerable minority group to arm itself and give its aggressors a thorough beating is as old as history - the Book of Esther (for those who bother to read the Bible any more) offers the perfect example. Which leads to my second bolded point, widely attributed and almost certainly as widely paraphrased:


Only a tyrant fears an armed population.

I have to ask of the gun-control advocates in the United States: "What do you fear? And why?" I do not think they can point to Sandy Hook and other such atrocities with any conviction - murder with firearms is a daily occurrence in many places in the United States, but it seems to me that far too dim and limited a spotlight is cast (if at all) on who is shooting whom, and with what (e.g. illegally-obtained firearms). It's very easy to wave your arms when twenty little middle-class kids are killed all at once in the same place, but not so easy to drum up outrage when the killings are occurring on a regular basis, far from you, among people with whom you would never dream of associating (inner-city youths who are part of gangs). Where are THEY getting their guns?

I cannot and will not defend progressive restrictions on the ownership of firearms by law-abiding persons as being either an honest or a moral response to the actions of singular maniacs, however horrific those actions may be. 

It is the punishment of the innocent for the crimes of the guilty. It is unjust and hypocritical. 

Justice is the punishment of the guilty for their own crimes.

ALLOW ME TO MAKE ONE THING VERY, VERY CLEAR. DESPITE THE DATE ON THIS POST, IT IS NOT - AND WAS NEVER INTENDED TO BE - AN APRIL FOOL'S JOKE. I DO NOT MAKE JOKES ABOUT THINGS LIKE THIS, AND I NEVER WILL.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

On Bronies.

If you've been hiding away from the dodgier corners of the internet, you can probably be excused for not knowing that a Brony is an adult male fan of the cartoon My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (MLP henceforth), a work specifically pitched at little girls but, as the creator admits, also engineered to ensure that fathers, brothers, uncles, male cousins etc. obliged by circumstances of who-owns-the-remote-right-now to watch, can stand to do so without gritting their teeth and wishing for death.

And that's fine - I've been exposed to more than one episode myself, and I have to admit that for a cartoon whose underlying purpose (let's be honest) is to sell plastic ponies to the starry-eyed pony-loving preschool-to-pretween girl market, it's actually pretty watchable. So I can understand a father getting sucked into following along if daddy's little girl obliges him to watch it with her on a daily basis; and if there were fan conventions, I would be happy to ignore the fact that a significant proportion of the attendees were adult men in their mid twenties to early forties (say), depending on the age of their daughters (or nieces, or stepdaughters or whatever).

What I can't ignore is that there is a quite significant proportion of adult male fans who do NOT have daughters, nieces, girlfriends' daughters, granddaughters, or indeed ANY significant relationship with ANY prepubertal female fan of the show. And this perplexes me more than a little. I can accept that a few of them are going to be men who are broadly interested in all forms of animation, who stumbled across this one, and who thought it was cute and nice to chill out on when they got tired of watching other things. And that's fine too; anime in particular can be quite bloody and/or moody, and a steady diet of that is not to many people's liking. I can accept that a few of them were the (now grown up) brothers of girls who played with the original generation of MLP toys and who watched out of surprised interest and curiosity, thinking "What the hell is MLP still doing existing after all this time?" and, like the parents, got sucked in.

But not all. And then it gets really disturbing.

To cut a long story short, there is a man who pronounces himself "engaged" to Twilight Sparkle, one of the characters from the show. He gets angry when other Bronies draw erotic pictures of these ponies at play.

Yes. You did read that correctly. There are adult male fans of a pony cartoon pitched at little girls, who get a kick out of drawing these ponies fucking each other. And there is a man defending Twilight Sparkle's honour on the grounds that she is his fiancĂ©e.

I have also seen, but will not link to, a picture of a man with two plush ponies clasped between his naked thighs (he's naked to the waist and no details are spared, but he has at least been discreet enough not to show his face), and an online story (author's gender unknown) in which one of these ponies is drugged and systematically vivisected while her best friend keeps up a cheerful running commentary that would make Hannibal Lecter wince. All of which makes me think that adult investment in a children's show has been somewhat overdone to say the least; and while "Your kink is not my kink and that's OK", it might be germane to tighten our tolerance spectrum a little and to ask these people to apply their kink to characters and fandoms pitched somewhat more towards their own age group.

NOTE: I have read and re-read the quoted parts of the enraged letter from "Twilight Sparkle's fiancĂ©" (see link) and the more I do so, the more I think he's a very clever troll or other agent provocateur and not serious about it at all. I could be wrong but I pray I'm not, because when an adult man can seriously, publicly state that he is in love with and actually engaged to a cartoon character intended for preadolescent girls, I think it points to him having serious issues with his grasp on reality and his defenders having serious issues with their priorities in life.

I would go further and state that it probably points to issues with Western society as a whole. Have we really no more problems to solve that we can afford to engage in such frivolities? With the national debts of the wealthiest and most productive nations on Earth spiralling upwards and more and more people either employed or sustained by the governments responsible (and unwilling to vote them out despite whatever disasters they may be stumbling from and to), I am firmly convinced that the answer to that question is no. If civilisation (which furnishes their social life support system) collapses - and I pray it can hang on at least until my children are adult enough to fend for themselves and make an informed decision whether or not to reproduce - there will be a lot of people who will be getting a short, sharp shock, and then they will almost certainly find themselves either dependent upon or at the mercy of... but that's for another post, another day.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Back after a long absence...

...mostly to do with real-life being busy and also a large literary project that got in the way and demanded priority.

I read in the Catallaxy Files blog today that the Mayor of New York thinks there is no problem with infinite indebtedness.

It seems fair to argue (as does the original poster) that this is the thinking which drives the entire fiscal policy of the Obama administration. I don't think there's a year he's been in office in which he hasn't posted a trillion dollar deficit; I don't think there will ever be a year he's in power in which he doesn't post one. And for all that, there is nothing to show for it in concrete terms.

A similar problem is seen in Australia, in which former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd ranted (while still Opposition Leader) that "this [his Conservative predecessor's] reckless spending must stop", despite the fact that his predecessors had posted budget surplus after budget surplus, year after year. Mr Rudd and his successor, Ms Gillard, then went on to do the complete opposite - they have never posted a surplus, and I do not think they ever intended to. Now their support is falling to new lows, and people who formerly fought for the privilege of kissing their arses are now biting them. And as defeat looms and the cliff-face of irrelevance beckons, the journalistic Left is beginning to have brain detonations.