Monday, 31 December 2007

Bible-belt bigotry - in Australia?

Editorial note: Various words which are often blocked by "Net Nanny" and other content screening systems have been altered by the use of .. *.. to replace a vowel. The meaning will be obvious to the intelligent reader, but not to a computer. There is nothing outright offensive in the content of this post, but the reader might disagree with the views I have expressed. That is the reader's right. Please remember that it is also my right to express these views.

Here is something which got my blood boiling, this morning.
Below is an advertisement which came from an Australian owned website, this morning - not from Texas or other "bible-belt" bigoted part of the world. The site itself (which I have deliberately NOT linked from this report) might be international, but the website on which this advertisement is carried is a major Metropolitan newspaper in Australia.

Child viewing p*rn?
Are you sure? Get a Free PC Scan now. Christian owned.

Part of my anger stems from the hypocrisy implicit in this claim - when you think how many Christian ministers and other helpers in "God's Vineyard"*** have been convicted of various "kiddie p*rn" offences, not to mention outright child abuse, and paed*philia.

I am afraid that the claim "Christian Owned" is a negative, in the context of this particular topic. And while the claim itself is presumably true, I find the fact that the advertiser finds it "relevant" to this topic to be arrogant, offensive, and bigoted.

***Bishops, Priests, Religious Brothers, "Boy Scout" leaders, school teachers (in religious schools), social workers, etc, etc, etc.

Saturday, 29 December 2007

David Hicks has been freed. 8:45am 29.12.2007

As the last act of the rotten "deal" made by the Howard Government, David Hicks has been freed. I have just heard a "live" report from outside the Yatala Prison, South Australia.
There was talk that he, or his lawyer, would make an "apology" statement upon his release. In fact that has not happened. I for one, am happy that it has not happened. However, the down side of that is that the media will not leave him alone, now.

Please leave the poor bastard alone. He has suffered enough. And so has his long-suffering father, Terry Hicks.

Friday, 28 December 2007

At least we don't assassinate our politicians.

Whatever misgivings I may have about the Australian political system, we don't do what the Pakistanis do to their politicians. Nor should we. (There have been two attempted assassinations here.)
Benazir Bhutto has been assassinated after having addressed a political rally. She was shot, and then the assassin apparently blew himself up, killing a further group of people. Nobody has claimed responsibility for the assassination at the time of writing this - but as the ABC Radio cutely put it: "All sides are blaming terrorists".

Just who are the terrorists in Pakistan?
The Government?
The military? (Remember the recent history of the President Musharraf?)
Supporters of former President, now Opposition Leader, Nawaz Sharif?
Islamic extremists?
And let us not forget "outside forces" which have propped up the illegal and corrupt regimes.

Benazir Bhutto might have been a corrupt politician, but she did not deserve to die like that.

There is a fine obituary in The Guardian

Thursday, 27 December 2007

Is it time to press the Emergency Button?

Miss Eagle has pressed the big red "Call Nurse" button on the wall in the Hospital Recovery Room, where the Body Politic was taken after the recent Federal Election.
She thinks that the Body Politic has been wrongly assessed by the Triage Kevin07 Krew who have not assessed the Body Politic's case as URGENT. But she disagrees.

She KNOWS it is a urgent case.

Trouble is the best Doctor in the Hospital is the guy who has (apparently) decided that the case is not urgent enough to warrant immediate intervention.
In that case, who do you appeal to?
How can one get a Second Opinion - when we have just sacked the last Doctor?

Saturday, 15 December 2007

More on Iemma's Transport "dream"

You will recall I wrote on Thursday about Iemma's mad proposal to sell off the power system in NSW, justified (supposedly) by the promise of an European-style metro system. Fat chance!

This is an independent view on the Sydney transport system and the litany of broken promises associated with it. This article is written by Ben Sandilands, and published by on Friday, 14 December 2007.

Ben Sandilands writes:

In a curtain raiser to the silly season in Sydney, commuters are struggling to digest the linking of the $15 billion power privatisation/metro building/Iemma-escapes-from-being-Premier scenario outlined earlier this week by Crikey's Alex Mitchell.

City Rail, under its assorted logos and names under a string of Labor and Liberal premiers, has never completed a single rail project in full. It can’t even make the pitifully antiquated system it has today work with any semblance of efficiency. Nor the buses, or ferries, or their ticketing systems.

And Morris Iemma somehow expects people will elect John Watkins on the back of a promise to built a much needed metro system more than 10 times larger by any measure than the one it abjectly fails to run today.

The highlights of this grotesque and entrenched culture of total dysfunctionality in public transport include:-

The Chatswood to Parramatta line which supposed to open next December. It will open, perhaps even a few months early, but will only go as far as Epping, which is barely half way, even though most of the final stretch to Parramatta has already existed for decades as a little used surface line.

The stations are gorgeous, glittering neo modern masterpieces except for one problem: the tunnels that link them are so steep where they pass under the Lane Cove river that half the rolling stock in the suburban fleet can’t get up the grades without an unacceptable risk of bursting into flames from overheated motors.

The airport line which opened in 2000 went broke and has only recently found a new buyer. It is almost totally useless or uneconomic depending on where you set out from or if you try to board it with bulky luggage or if two travellers share a taxi.

The eastern suburbs line which was fitfully built between 1926 and its final completion in 1979 only goes as far as Bondi Junction, on the edge of the eastern suburbs.

Hundreds of buses cram the roads between Central and the University of NSW each day because the station that would have seen thousands of students complete their journeys in minutes was never built.

Even a minor extension to Bondi beach was canceled because residents led by actor Michael Caton, objected that it would be too successful in transporting the public to ‘their’ beach.

So much for ‘public’ transport.

And despite years of pledges and the waste of tens of millions of dollars, the city’s public transport system has failed to master the stored value ticketing technology most of the world has been using on a large scale since at least 1974.

If today’s trains could be made to work, the metro plan might lurch toward borderline credibility. Trouble is, that Iemma and Watkins think they are working, and every person using them knows they are in the hands of fools and liars.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Iemma's mad "Power sell off" dream is a fraud.

Iemma's mad "Power Sell-off" dream is a fraud.
Tough words - but truthful.
Morris Iemma has proposed the sale and lease of the NSW Power generation and supply system. Supposedly this will bring about "windfall profits" to the State, which will use that money to provide "gifts" to the people, such as a new rail and road infrastructure. (I am old enough to recall how long the Eastern Suburbs railway was promised - before it was delivered. So, I will not be holding my breath. Anyway, the Government has not "built" new road networks in recent times, but has got the private sector to build them - so will this money actually be used to do what the Government promises? Or will we just end up with more toll roads anyway?) The whole scheme is a confidence trick on the public.

You can read the Sydney Morning Herald report here.

Hang on a minute.
What exactly is he selling, and why?

An obsolete coal-fired power generation system - at the same time as the Bali conference is taking place. And what is Bali telling us? The dangers of coal-fired power stations (amongst other things).

Surely we ought be planning to convert our old technologies to new "climate-friendly" technologies, like wind, solar and wave power.

When these issues have been raised, we have been told that they are unproven, or else too expensive.

So, what is happening? The Government is going to "party" while it can. Sell the gear. And leave us with what, exactly? Obsolete technology. We will end up with something approaching the disastrous state of East Germany's power system, at the time of the collapse of that decrepit State. And then we will be in the hands of the private sector, to build new, efficient power stations - if we can afford to pay the exorbitant prices they will want to charge us.

It is a hand over of sovereignty to the Private Sector, dressed up as a "bonus" to the community. It is a fraud on the public of NSW.

This is equivalent to the way the Government is allowing the destruction of our water harvesting system (the "Catchment") by coal mining companies, leaving the people to buy water from a French-led consortium, running the inefficient De-Sal scheme. Again a hand-over of our sovereignty (as well as being an environmentally disastrous policy).

Surely if there is money to be made, the Government ought be using that money to build new electricity generation equipment which is "green", or at least less environmentally damaging than what we have at present. I understand that gas-fired power stations are considerably less damaging than coal-fired power stations. And what about solar, or wind, or wave power?

The whole scheme is a nonsense - but the Media are getting in on the deal, planning how best to spend the money - without asking the real questions. What will we be left with?

Wake up, Australia (or the people of NSW anyway).

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Simple Simon - Wake Up

Simon Crean, Minister for Trade, (God help us all) was back on ABC Radio's PM program tonight, complaining about the failings of "This Government".

Wake up Simon. You were actually complaining about the Previous Government. Learn your lines, Mate!. Its not that hard.

Call them "the Howard Government", or even "our incompetent predecessors". But do learn that THEY are no longer "THE GOVERNMENT". For Heaven's sake, get it right.

Photo: NineMSN (Sunday Program)

I know Simon is stuck in the past, but he needs to get over his obsessive hatred, or at least re-train his tongue (IF HE CAN!). Personally I doubt he can manage that task, and ought never have been given another chance in the Ministry.

Ambassador to the ILO
would be good posting, surely? I wonder how soon that job is due to be filled?

Oh, and why was he appointed to a Ministry?
Here's a clue - a cartoon which I published on a now-deleted blog site. Clearly the issue was Crean's support of Rudd for the leadership, over Kim Beazley, who Crean had despised for a number of years.

So - the answer to why he was appointed is simple - the payment of a political debt.

And for a brief memory refresher on Crean's faction war history, and his bitter battle for pre-selection in his own seat of Hotham, have a look at this interview from the Sunday Program from 5 March 2006. My how the world has changed - in Simon Crean's favour, in the last 20 months.

No wonder Crean seemed to enjoy the swearing in ceremony more than anyone else, the other day. And today I learn he is the first of the Rudd Ministers to go on an overseas trip. It fits a pattern - one which I for one, do not wish to see repeated - an abuse of the privileges of offices.

Monday, 3 December 2007

Kevin Rudd sworn into office

Well, it has happened. Kevin Rudd is Prime Minister.
Before he swore Kevin in, the G-G "accepted the resignation" (submitted previously, and privately) by John Howard.

The Governor-General's Website carries an announcement by Malcolm Hazell, Official Secretary to the Governor-General of Australia. It includes the following:
  • Earlier this morning, the Governor-General signed the instrument appointing Mr Rudd as Prime Minister and administered the Oath of Office to Mr Rudd, making him Australia's 26th Prime Minister since Federation. The Governor-General also administered the Oath of a Federal Executive Councillor to Mr Rudd, which brings with it the courtesy title of “The Honourable”.
  • Today's ceremony involves taking the Oath or Affirmation of Office, required to be taken by all Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries and, for those being appointed for the first time, the Executive Councillor's Oath.
  • The Executive Council derives from Section 62 of the Constitution which provides “There shall be a Federal Executive Council to advise the Governor-General and the Government of the Commonwealth, and the Members of the Council shall be chosen and summoned by the Governor-General and sworn as Executive Councillors, and shall hold office during his pleasure”.
This bizarre ritual is a timely reminder that we are not really a sovereign nation.

We have not elected our own Prime Minister. He has been appointed by the Governor-General, who himself is not elected, but appointed - by - you guess it, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.

The power resides in the antiquated body known as the Executive Council. The business of Government, even Parliamentary proceedings, are a sham, or perhaps better expressed, a smoke screen. No political actions have effect until the G-G, sitting in the Executive Council makes that formal declaration.

Its time to remedy all this foreign dependency nonsense, folks. Stand up, Australia, and take control of your own affairs.

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Another one bites the dust.

According to the ABC Radio News on Friday evening, the National Party Leader in the Senate, Ron Boswell has announced he will also step down. Actually, he has been dumped by his State Executive (Nationals, Queensland)

The reason? He was apparently too close the Liberals (indeed he was).

It also means that Barnaby Joyce might be promoted. He says so, anyway.
  • "Senator Joyce says he is hoping to be promoted.
    "That is for my colleagues to decide and I look forward to their support if I can get it," he said.
    "I am certainly standing for Senate leader, I make no qualms about that."
  • (source: ABC News - Brisbane Regional bulletin).
As the caption says: Another one bites the dust.
The shock-waves of the election results keep on rolling along.

By the way, Costello said today that the Liberal Party missed the chance to present a fresh face (his, of course). He also said what we all knew he would say, sooner of later. He is not going to serve out the full term. What a shock?

The most interesting statement is by Senator Judith Troeth.
Apparently she has been a Senator for Victoria since 1993. Amazing how some people can have been around that long, but not ever be heard from. Anyway, I digress. The ABC's News site reports:
  • "Meanwhile, senior Liberal Senator Judith Troeth has accused several colleagues of hijacking the party in a failed effort to make Mr Costello the next prime minister.
  • "Senator Troeth has served as a Victorian Senator since 1993.
  • "She has told the ABC's Stateline program that a small group in Victoria over the past decade ensured candidates were preselected because they supported Mr Costello's bid for the Lodge.
  • "She says it lead to the Coalition's downfall at the recent election."
It just keeps on getting "interestinger and interestinger"