Archive for September, 2011

Critical faculties and evidence irrelevant now
September 30, 2011

The example is only a small one really but illustrates the decision by countless thousands of privileged individuals to forsake reason, to listen only to the voices that suit.

Julian Burnside is a lawyer, “prominent” apparently. Apparently, too, he doesn’t like Tony Abbott, leader of the federal opposition:

In [various] Twitter posts, Mr Burnside described Mr Abbott as a “dangerous man with no moral compass” who would lead Australia “back to the dark ages”.

He said new book Tony Abbott: A Man’s Man, by Susan Mitchell, was “a terrifying portrait of a truly dangerous, unprincipled person: a liar and a hypocrite”.

Pathetic. Anybody wonder why politicians are widely despised and why some of us loathe their self-righteous critics.

Years ago many observed Bush Derangement Syndrome. That, in 2008, extended to Palin Derangement Syndrome. In Australia, we may rightly pity those with Abbott Derangement Syndrome. Like this nation’s chief scientist, Burnside tolerates no opposition; like the government led by Julia Gillard, he tolerates no dissent.

Update: There’s more: see, for example Andrew Bolt. Inconveniently, Tom Dusevic, described as National Chief Reporter for the Australian and reporting Susan Mitchell’s book, included this paragraph:

A spokesman for Mr Abbott said: “Susan Mitchell has not sought to interview Tony as part of her research. The book is so inaccurate and over the top that if it appeared on the ALP website people would dismiss it as lacking all credibility.”

No Interview! No attempt to interview.Yet another person of privilege not deigning to speak with the object of her loathing.

Then there’s the publisher proclaiming a “blistering critique”. How can one claim to have blistered the blighter if you’ve not spoken with him? The long march through the insiotutions continues without rest. The hatred for persons of difference is absolute. The pathology increasingly self-evident. And as the Herald-Sun‘s Andrew Bolt might have said and the Catholic Archbishop of Paris did say during the German occupation of France from May 1940: prudence must dictate our words and actions.*

*See Vesna Drapac, War and Religion: Catholics in the Churches of Occupied Paris.  Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1998, passim.




So what’s the point?
September 29, 2011

If the Liberal Party won’t reconsider absurdities like renewable energy targets, why consider them at all? There is a chronic idiocy about contemporary politics no matter the country. We know politicians and governments generally—bureaucrats and technocrats—have nothing but contempt for ordinary people. Public authorities hold good sense and logic with the same disdain. And the result will be impoverisation, “the active creation of poverty within a society or economy”. What an amazing policy to take to an election. But there it is.

Update: Even so, some people remain surprised—or continue to affect surprise—at the “double-dealing” of the prime minister and her government. Perhaps less affectation and more perspiration in the direction of defeating or at least reversing this odious legislation for a carbon tax. For instance, how does one sack a High Court?

Christophobia, never herd of it—Oz
September 28, 2011

In Australia much glee at the courtroom defeat of columnist and blogger Andrew Bolt on the basis of provisions of the Racial Hatred Act 1995. These, Gary Johns of the IPA recalls, “were strongly opposed by the Coalition on the grounds that it might impinge free speech”. And so, apparently, it has proved.

Meanwhile, as you might say, out in the real world, regimes surely the envy of the nascent totalitarianism of the Australian Labor Party and the Australian Greens, show them how to do it properly. Thus:

An Iranian pastor who has refused to renounce his Christian faith faces execution as early as Wednesday after his sentence was upheld by an Iranian court.

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who maintains he has never been a Muslim as an adult, has Islamic ancestry and therefore must recant his faith in Jesus Christ, the 11th branch of Iran’s Gilan Provincial Court ruled. Iran’s Supreme Court had ordered the trial court to determine whether Nadarkhani had been a Muslim prior to converting to Christianity. . . .

Nadarkhani is the latest Christian cleric to be imprisoned in Iran for his religious beliefs. According to Elam Ministries, a United Kingdom-based organization that serves Christian churches in Iran, there was a significant increase in the number of Christians arrested solely for practicing their faith between June 2010 and January 2011. A total of 202 arrests occurred during that six-month period, including 33 people who remained in prison as of January, Elam reported. . . .

Father Jonathan Morris, a Catholic priest in the Archdiocese of New York and an analyst for Fox News Channel, said Nadarkhani’s case is “unmistakable evidence” that Iran is executing Christians simply because they refuse to become Muslims.

Morris continued: “Will President Obama, and the free world, allow the United Nations to continue in its cowardly silence on this matter?”

The answer to that is a resounding “Yes”. So much behaviour occurs of the iranian type, both judicial and extra-judicial, and all of it tolerated by the mostly dead West whose own contempt for the person is revealed day by day in manic technocracy and cultural oblivion. Free speech in Australia: Bolt never had a chance, nor any one who follows.

Update: From Fresno, California: Teacher penalizes students for saying “bless you”:

A Northern California teacher says he doesn’t want to hear a common courtesy in his classroom.

He’s even lowering students’ grades if they say “bless you” after someone sneezes.

Steve Cuckovich says the practice is disrespectful and disruptive. He’s banned saying “bless you” in his high school health class in Vacaville.

He even knocked 25 points from one student’s grade for saying the phrase in class.

Cuckovich says the policy has nothing to do with religion, but says the phrase is just a outdated practice and disrupts class time.

“When you sneezed in the old days, they thought you were dispelling evil spirits out of your body,” Cuckovich said. “So they were saying, ‘god bless you’ for getting rid of evil spirits. But today, I said what you’re doing doesn’t really make any sense anymore.”

After parents complained about students losing points for saying “bless you”, Cuckovich says he decided to stop the practice.

However, the teacher says he will just find another way to discipline students for saying “bless you” in class.

“Cowardly silence” has its roots in many things, not least the asinine behaviour of some school teachers.

Nonsense cannot displace hypocrisy
September 28, 2011

It used to be said that hypocrisy made the world go round. Remaining proudly upon a high horse meant the world could not go round. Stasis, bitter and deepening, followed.

Today it must seem to some that nonsense is enough to maintain economic momentum. Certainly an unceasing flow of it characterises our days. Try this sub-heading for size:

Markets fall as uncertainty over the eurozone bail-out brings this week’s rally to a close, ahead of crucial votes by EU member states this week.

Or this remark from European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso:

We need to complete our monetary union with an economic union. It was an illusion to think that we could a common currency and single market with national approaches to economic and budgetary policy.

There also remains the unchallenged and stubbornly persisting assumptions of recovery; surely no-one needs a quotation for this one?

Finally we have a favourite of many: “loss of confidence” and “panic”.

Together these terms–apparently–provide a fig-leaf parading as an emperor’s new clothes. First, there has been no recovery since the collapse of Lehman Brothers Bank. Governments have thrown extraordinary sums of  money at a set of problems now made worse by massive increases in sovereign debt. There is, therefore, no argument claiming “uncertainty”. All that remains more or less unclear is the timing of the forthcoming and world-wide, economic depression. That the authorities of the European Union failed to act not only according to their own rules but now, as some of them once predicted, intend massive aggregation of state power. (European leaders share this mania for power with the Australian and, doubtless, other governments.) The assumption of most, if not all national leaders is that more power and ever more vacuous statements will, simply by being an act of will, dissuade panic, dissolve fear, and strengthen “confidence”. And all will be well. Trust them, implicitly.

Yet every statement is a nonsense. When did you last see the exception, unless it was, ah, not from a politician but a judge:

Germany’s top judge has issued a blunt warning that no further fiscal powers may be surrendered to Europe without a new constitution and a popular referendum, vastly complicating plans to boost the EU’s rescue machinery to €2 trillion (£1.7 trillion).

Andreas Vosskuhle, head of the constitutional court, said politicians do not have the legal authority to sign away the birthright of the German people without their explicit consent.

“The sovereignty of the German state is inviolate and anchored in perpetuity by basic law. It may not be abandoned by the legislature (even with its powers to amend the constitution),” he said.

“There is little leeway left for giving up core powers to the EU. If one wants to go beyond this limit – which might be politically legitimate and desirable – then Germany must give itself a new constitution. A referendum would be necessary. This cannot be done without the people,” he told newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine.

No judge in Australia would speak in this way. In that increasingly unhappy country parliamentary despotism has full sway. Fatuous and slimy nonsense rules the airwaves. No hypocrisy anywhere just flagrant grabs for power. If only there were hypocrisy. How much easier it would be. How does one ridicule the totalitarian temptation?

What recovery was that then?
September 20, 2011

Chronic failure of analysis is the primary characteristic of allegedly expert and political scrutiny of recent economic experience. The Australian today reveals this yet again under this headline: “Global recovery stalled, says IMF, but Australia well-placed to weather economic turmoil”. Then:

THE recovery from the global financial crisis has stalled and the world economy faces increasing danger of turmoil and recession, the International Monetary Fund has warned.

But the Australian economy has more scope to adjust than most countries, with the ability to slow its return to budget surplus if conditions get worse, and it will be buttressed by the continuing strength in Asia, the fund says.

If the reporter cannot distinguish between the Australian economy in general and the budget of the federal government in particular, then it is indeed too much to expect anything more than this repetitive wailing by alleged experts, however mighty their position.

What all analysis known to me—not all available by any means—fails to note is that bondholders and others do not provide mark to market values of their holdings. That is, measures of institutional or individual worth have failed to acknowledge the serious loss of value of those holdings in the wake of the collapse of the US and other housing markets. It means that loans based upon real estate and other values in 2007 must logically be worth much less now.

Contrary to the parroted scribblings and preaching from  economists, politicians and other commentators, no economic recovery has evolved in the wake of the GFC. GPD figures used to convey such an concept are inherently false. Borrowings by governments, not only to rescue financial systems and, allegedly, to stimulate economic activity, only accumulate as debt. Some do very well out of it and for governments the further attraction of using such “stimulus” as electoral bribes is wonderful: the perfect combination of economic theory and electoral usufruct. And in Australia, just to deflect any potential criticism (particular after Rudd’s $900 giveaway to some), government dressed its stimulus as an “education revolution”.

And now it’s over. Only the bills remain. And they have teeth, very sharp teeth which will cut the ground from under many conceits over the next twenty or thirty years.

Intellectuals or persons imitating intellectuals have a great deal to answer for. Chronic lying, whether as self-deceit or deceiving others is bringing severe punishment upon countless millions utterly defenceless in the onslaught of intellectual and political treachery. And that’s without mentioning the big scam of climate change (apd)! Nor the slime-based popular culture that the australian government wishes to make immediate by spending in excess of $40bn on high speed broadband (the fly in the ointment is the price but let that pass for the moment).

The outlook, from various points of view is truly dreadful. At its heart lie a variety of interwoven deceits. Daily and other media do their utmost to ensure they remain hidden from view. The public is ever less impressed even if its responses thus far are inchoate. For Australia the hatred of the Prime Minister centres on one act of deception. Gradually that expands and deepens as it does elsewhere. The future has just begun.

Edmund Burke once remarked: “You can never plan the future by the past”. Yet have any governments based their economic policies on other than the past? No. And because of that corruption the future is cast. Hence the farce of the IMF today (and of the risible Wayne Swan)—and tragedy.

Fatuity rules
September 20, 2011

Curious that the blame for so-called “carpark bingles” is the driver. Any other context for such a level of incident would look at the influence of baleful design. The RAA had much to say years ago about the so-called Devil’s Elbow on the Mount Barker Road. Driver error seemed not to rate.

No it does. It wouldn’t do, I guess, to offer any criticism of fellow authorities, not least architects and the sources 0f planning permission. Only one carpark in Adelaide is well designed and it’s well over thirty years old. The rest are rubbish and reflect well the quality of contemporary architectural design in Adelaide generally. The RAA won’t be interested, nor the insurance industry. Just blame the victim. Humbug rules in South Australia.

Mind you, authorities could ban four wheel drive vehicles from supermarket and other carparks. Buckley’s!


Nix hits pits
September 13, 2011

From various British and other sources one often wonders what police are for. In South Australia they seem mostly to do duty as revenue collectors for the increasingly abominable state government. Sometimes they have a place in the criminal law.

Senator Xenophon doesn’t think so (See here and here). Having one absolute and consistent goal–of self-promotion–he prefers  soft coercion of others whom, given media and their own performance over recent decades, he can libel without fear. As publicity stunts go, Senator Xenophon has pretty much hit rock bottom in an age when rock bottom is heavily crowded.

So this Senator, whom few, if any, in South Australia will question in any appropriate manner–his words being taken as gospel–carries on as a righteous force. For whom? Certainly not, as talkback radio station  5AA had it in a news bulletin early this morning, an anglican archbishop.

No-one I’ve heard takes the least interest in the response of the Catholic Church in South Australia. True it generally warrants little attention. At least the Advertiser did this time:

The church has also said “from the beginning, Archbishop Hepworth has been urged to report these matters to police”. Archbishop Hepworth has not taken his allegations to police, but publicly raised the claims in the media over the past week.

Assuming the truth of that the justification for the Senator is nil, that of the so-called primate little more. Rape is a police matter, not one for publicity and self-promotion.

But Nix’s stunt  has coincided with two other moments: first, and internationally, the BBC reports:

A group representing victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests is asking the International Criminal Court to investigate Pope Benedict XVI and three senior cardinals for alleged crimes against humanity.

Secondly, the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has introduced into the federal parliament 18 bills relating to a carbon tax. In the past, Senator Xenophon has made clear his support for legislation, usually much stronger than what government has contemplated or introduced to parliament. His own web-site is non-existent: “under construction”, we’re told. It means we don’t find his attitudes toward climate change (apd) and the carbon tax. He may not be keen on the carbon tax but his determination–more or less secret now–on so-called greenhouse gases is clear, though electorally not warranting publicity.

To conclude: apparently and when his own self-promotion is at stake, Senator Xenophon  doesn’t think police should have dealings with charges of rape. But the public should know. The same, ahem, principle of public knowledge does not apply regarding his place in the gigantic scam of climate change (apd). Can’t fault the timing!

Update: the senator seems to think we all have the intelligence of Hachem Gomez, aged 20 (ht Drudge):

 A 20-year-old man’s defense for breaking into a fast food restaurant over the weekend, and preparing himself something to eat, was simply that he was hungry.

It’s all about self.

Update 2: The senator claims 98 per cent public support for his actions. Hmm.Why does that sort of number ring a bell? Meanwhile, the priest concerned has publicly and “categorically” denied the alleged acts of sexual abuse. Unless some evidence of criminal misconduct appears before police–and pretty sharply–we must  assume the senator had only a publicity stunt in mind. And hopefully nothing more. His position as a member of the Senate is intolerable.

Contrasting realities
September 11, 2011

George W. Bush delivered an address. Nobel Prize winner and columnist, Paul Krugman, offered six paragraphs, some very brief. One is genuine, the other asinine and self-serving and sanctimonious. The one reflects the worthy act of remembrance by civilians of any number of occasions; the other telling, as so often, of an inability to rise to the level of fellow citizens of true worth. The one transcends anxiety, the other wallows in his own vanity. Remarkable it is that the one was reviled with what often seemed like deranged passion; and that the other is highly honoured and continues to offer advice already and so often found wanting. But as Dubya said, that’s daily life in a democracy.

Update: Donald Rumsfeld responds.

Update 2: The Wall Street Journal‘s James Taranto sticks it to ‘im!