28 May 2009

Labor backflip again - Conroy confirms he's out of his depth

For anyone following the story of Labor's policy assault on Internet freedom this development constitutes yet another remarkable backdown by Communications Minister Stephen and Kev Labor :

ABC News, 31 December 2007:

The Australian, 26 May 2009:

Along the journey between these two opposing positions Minister Stephen has vociferously lambasted critics of his proposed intrusive mandatory censorship of ISPs, calling them alarmists and even suggesting that their position was tantamount to encouraging and enabling child porn.

Minister Stephen surely deserves to have these criticisms of the opponents of his mandatory censorship regime thrown back in his face, now that he has moved to the position they advocated. Although it's what Stephen deserves, for being so dismissive of legitimate concerns, it's probably better for all of us that this not happen; at least not yet, because we need the Federal Communications Minister to take his more sensible new position forward. Industry observers will surely continue to follow developments . They intuitively understand that if Labor can back flip once on this, then it means they are jelly backed enough to flip again, if they sniff another wind shift. Minister Stephen needs to be closely watched, if he's to be kept honest.

He was clearly above his pay grade trying to implement even this comparatively minor logistic catastrophe of a Labor policy. Can this augur well for Stephen's ability to provide the stewardship necessary to implement Labor's spectacularly over-ambitious plan to roll out optical fibre Internet broadband cable to 90% of all Australian homes within 6 or 7 years? It wasn't looking plausible when they first trumpeted this in March 2009. And it just keeps looking more implausible with time. But that's unlikely to stop Labor re-announcing this again and again in the coming months and years. It might just dawn on the electorate that they have been sold yet another pup by these leftist fantasists in about 3 years time. Long enough for them to get re-elected, and that's all that matters.

And they still haven't told us just where are they going to find the $48 billion for this fantastic boondoggle in this market? Neither Federal Treasurer Wayne and nor his pinch hitter when cornered, Treasury Secretary Ken, a servant of the public, enlightened the public about this in their fake "tough budget" in May. Is a budget "tough" when the minicule spending cuts were to the unrepresented: the youth allowance and those not yet in existence: people becoming pensioners in 2020. Such courage Wayne. And even then Labor's attempts to rein in the supposed tax rort of "employee share plans", only proved that these Labor geniuses know nada about either the private sector workplace or wealth creation. So what is it that they are good for again? Oh, I forgot, increasing public sector employment. Great. And remind me just how does that help turnaround the economy again?

And right up there with all this flip flopping is Labor Defence Minister Joel's spectacularly over-ambitious announcement last month in the midst of the GFC, of a new Labor plan to build 12 new submarines and 8 new frigates for the Navy. Yeah, right Joel. That's about as likely to happen as your earlier announcement that you were going to persuade the US to sell us F22 Raptor stealth fighters instead of those terrible FA18 SuperHornets that 4Corners reckoned a month before the Federal election were lemons. Remind me again how believing the ABC on that played out for you Joel. About as well I suppose as your ministerially weighty decision not to comply with you obligation to disclose gifts of numerous trips to China for you and you family funded by a Chinese national. I guess that's OK for you though, becasue that'd be about the standard that you've been expected to meet to date from your extensive experience in the Union movement. And we voters shouldn't expect a Labor Defence Minister to be able to recognise that there might be strategic implications in such trival guff.

And now even the Herald has started to publish doubts about Joel's defence White Paper dreams. And the Fairfax media has been giving Labor a free pass on just about everything theyve announced up 'til now. Wow.

But this is just more classic Labor magic pudding politics. They have already become world class specialists at this at State government level, especially in New South Wales and in the land where Kev learnt his manipulative dark arts, Queensland. They just keep announcing new stuff regardless of the government's ability to pay for it or implement it. Great politics I'm sure. But what does it do for the citizens whom these governments exist to serve, when these projects fail to materialise? Just ask the voters in New South Wales at the moment.

25 May 2009

Labor buggers it up, yet again.

That's a headline which Fairfax publications seem unable to use no matter how severe the provocation from incompetent Labor Governments around Australia for any length of time . They have never found cause to say that, or anything remotely like it, even once about the fantastically incompetent 12 year old "New" Labour government in the UK. We have wall to wall Labor governments in Australia, other than in WA, with equally spectacular levels of incompetence, as Gordon Brown, yet will Fairfax seriously hold any of these Labor governments to account?

Let's look briefly at some of the items available just from today's online news services that could easily justify such a banner headline:

SMH 25/5/09: Labor PM Rudd interferes personally in diplomatic appointments, preventing important international postings being filled for extended periods.

SMH 25/5/09: Labor PM Rudd engages in publicity stunts to fool the electorate into believing he is doing something useful.

The Australian 25/5/09: Labor Government accused yesterday of "shamefully implementing a discriminatory policy''

Daily Telegraph 25/5/09: Thousands of ordinary families have lost their jobs and their homes under the Labor Government as the recession begins to bite.

Australian 25/5/09: Labor PM Rudd and Treasurer Wayne Swan have been criticised for avoiding the use of "billion'' .

SMH 25/5/09: Labor politicises the office of Governor General with lobbying for UN Security Council seat.

SMH 25/5/09: NSW Labor announces with yet another half-baked rail project and it again conflicts with its previous rail infrstructure announcement.

The Australian 25/5/09: Unions demand Labor PM Rudd dump his plan to lift the pension eligibility age .

Courier Mail 25/5/09: Senior Queensland Labor MP has doled out taxpayer cash to family and friends.

Herald Sun 25/5/09: Victorian Labor Government preside over waiting lists for public housing of 36,000 needy Victorian families.

There are just 10 articles I have selected and linked in the last 20 minutes from today's press. Each is consistent with a meta news analysis that Labor is currently incompetent at governing the Nation. Labor holds office in 7 of the 8 provincial governments and is in power at the Federal Government level.

So what are the opinion pieces in the Fairfax press about today? Government incompetence ? No that would be reporters doing their job. No they've decided that the story of the day for comment is the Federal Opposition. And not because of anything that's like actually happened or anything. It' s just about what Fairfax would like the Opposition to be doing, you know, supporting the Government, just like Fairfax does. They truly are that arrogant.

Phil Coorey, the official Kevin Rudd publicist and apologist at the SMH, has a go at the Opposition Family Affairs spokesman, Tony Abbott for being a troglodite and not helping Turnbull on climate policy issues. Michelle Gratton gives Opposition Leader Turnbull some sternly worded and quite direct Fairfax advice on how he should configure the Opposition carbon emission policy. And for free too (no agenda there of course). And today's lead SMH Editorial preaches: "As it struggles to resolve deep internal divisions, the Liberal Party risks short-changing Australia as it attempts to delay the scheme for narrow political ends."

It is fair to ask just whose narrow political ends the SMH is seeking to promote by taking such a shallow partisan position on such a spectacularly complex and difficult policy issue. This is especially so when the only real urgency in this lies with the perception of political credibility for the Australian Labor Party's in defending its premature, reckless and highly compromised ETS regime, for the sole purpose of jockeying for cheap and unimportant moral high ground at a UN climate talkfest later this year in Copenhagen. The world is in a financial crisis and a deep recession. The accelerated introduction of massive micro-economic cost increases on Australian industry during such an economic slowdown is not stimulative to our economy, no matter how much the SMH's editorial board might wish it were so. Imposing tax or permit burdens on industry will slow any recovery. To suggest otherwise, as the SMH seems to, is a spectacular denial of economic reality.

The SMH's level of economic ignorance is so profound that they are even prepared to use the analogy in their Leader today of the success of tarriff reductions in the eighties as a reason to embrace the imposing of a brand new form of carbon emmission tarriff on our industries now. Go figure how these intellectual giants justified to each other that piece of rhetorical lunacy in their group think editorial committee room.

Love makes you blind. And the Fairfax press loves Labor. But they love believing that they have a moral mission to stop Global Warming even more. I bet you didn't know that the floods in Northern New South Wales this past week, and the bush fires in Victoria and the drought on the Monaro (but not the filling of Lake Eyre) were all caused by Australia not having an ETS. Well that's how the SMH editorial would have it today. How could any honest and engaged thinker trying to make sense of this complex issue be expected to take such outrageously inflammatory and wildly inaccurate statements seriously?

Truly the Fairfax press now sees itself as having a sacred duty to carry water for the Labor Party cause and its own self appointed passion for the cause of government meddling in private wealth generation. It no longer has any sense that it has a responsibility to hold Governments of the day to account whatever their political stripe. Its now sees its role is to prevent the Australian Labor Party getting any bad press it thinks it does not deserve by diverting its readers attention to the non-problems of the non-government parties.

The Fairfax press has become ethically bankrupt because it has found a moral mission for itself. It believes that because it has the higher moral purpose of preventing runaway global warming from greenhouse gas build up in the Earth's atmosphere, it can sacrifice any role it may have had in being a fair conduit for information and a forum for balanced debate in a democracy. It now seems to have unapologetically adopted a partisan political agenda and no longer sees itself as having any other societal responsibility than its over-riding mission.

Curiously when confronted with this proposition Fairfax denies it. Their journalists now behave like the slimy politicians with a cause that they themselves have become: never concede an obvious adverse point lest it weaken your political advantage. Fairfax has effectively become Labor's Pravda. It now seems impossible to hope that someone in that organisation can show the leadership and moral integrity to give them back their sense of ethical duty to perform their role as an independent fourth estate, not some ardent promulgator of their personal belief systems. At present that would be just too un-cool for the de rigueur intellectually hip post-modern urban cat posture that Fairfax staffers must adopt: everyone believes in AGW you know, no one could comfortably work at Fairfax if they openly held a sceptical position on this.

And meanwhile the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is even worse. Taxpayers pay to be fed a constant diet of its pro-Labor and pro global-warming morality propaganda. But my beefs about Tony Jones' blatantly unfair treatment of Opposition politicians, Kerry O'Brien's outrageously soft ball treatment of Labor Government ministers, and the ABC newsroom's permanent selection bias in choosing news stories favourable to Labor and negative to the Opposition whereever possible will, mercifully for you, have to wait for another day.


06 May 2009

UK names and shames the people to hate ......... Isn't it breaching of its own "hate crime" laws?

The UK Home Office yesterday released a press release :

"Home Office name hate promoters excluded from the UK

5 May 2009

Individuals banned from the UK for stirring-up hatred have been named and shamed for the first time, the Home Secretary announced today.

The list covers people excluded from the United Kingdom for fostering extremism or hatred between October 2008 and March 2009.

It follows the Home Secretary’s introduction of new measures against such individuals last year, including creating a presumption in favour of exclusion in respect of all those who have engaged in spreading hate. ...

...In the period from 28 October 2008 to 31 March 2009 the Home Secretary excluded a total of 22 individuals from coming to the United Kingdom. ...16 individuals are: ...

... Michael Savage
Controversial daily radio host. Considered to be engaging in unacceptable behaviour by seeking to provoke others to serious criminal acts and fostering hatred which might lead to inter-community violence.

The tougher exclusions policy follows the Prime Minister’s commitment in the National Security Strategy to take 'stronger action against those we suspect of stirring up tensions' and the Home Secretary’s decision to introduce a presumption in favour of exclusion for extremists promoting hatred or violence. Under the new policy we are preventing more promoters of hate from coming to the UK than ever before, with more than five being excluded a month as opposed to two a month under the previous policy.

Just how an American radio host who broadcasts only in the USA can be suspected "of stirring up tensions" in the UK is not disclosed. This is even more perplexing now that Mr Savage has indicated that he hasn't been to the UK for 25 years and has no current intention to visit. Who is it in Britain that "considers" Michael Savage is "engaging in unacceptable behaviour"? What serious criminal acts is he alleged to be provoking ? Which communities in the UK might be led to violence by this alleged behaviour in the USA ?

It seems that this new British government policy is that anyone anywhere in the world who comes to the Home Office's attention and who it believes are "engaging in unacceptable behavavior" will be banned from entering the UK, whether they want to go the UK or not.

Heh! Home Office! There is an old grey haired codger who wears Khaki shorts and a shearer's singlet in the pub at Woolgoolga who loudly proclaims to all and sundry nearly every day, that all Scientologists should be shot on sight once they identify themselves as Scientologists. That sounds like the kind of stuff you're trying to name and shame in your press release. Such pronoucements could afterall provoke violence in the Scientology community in the UK if they knew about it and he entered your country. If you want to add his name to your list, you could send one of your public servants on much coverted taxpayer funded trip to New South Wales. The pub in questions is about a 45 minute drive north of Coffs Harbour on the North Coast. The guy you're looking for sits on a bar stool in the left hand corner of the main bar after midday every day except Sunday. You could be doing your country a service banning him from going there, although Idon't believe he's planning a trip there any time soon. But I guess you can't be too careful.

I don't know Micheal Savage and have never listened to his radio programme, and I am most unlikely ever to do so. I live in New South Wales, not the USA, and in any event it seems highly unlikely that he would play the kind of classical music I listen to on radio. Furthermore if he is the typical "shock jock" of stereotypical fame who loudly expresses robust and prejudical opinions about his fellow human beings, then I can do without him, like I do with the ones of that ilk from round here. But banning him from entering the UK?

What could he possibly have said on his radio prgramme that warrants this kind of totalitarian treatment? Did he call Nelson Mandela an ignorant and immoral house boy? Did be say autistic children needed nothing more than a good clip behind the ears? Did he tell people that voting for Obama was tantamount to electing Joe Stalin? Did he express hatered and contempt for some people who espouse a rigorous and provocative form of religious fundamentalism? And even if he has said something even worse than this on a radio programme in America, why would the UK authorities care about him entering the UK. No-one knows him. No-one has heard of him and no-one listens to him in the UK. Why does a government need to do this.

[ I know. I know. It's really just a politcally clever magician's mis-direction feint, so that people will not be able to say that all the people on the list are arabs or non-whites. But does such political convenience really justify a totalitarian assault on free speech? If you and your party think so, fine, but you can hardly justifiably complain when people call you unprincipled or dishonest.]

most oft-cited Voltaire quotation is apocryphal. He is incorrectly credited with writing, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” These were not his words, but rather those of Evelyn Beatrice Hall, written under the pseudonym S. G. Tallentyre in her 1906 biographical book The Friends of Voltaire. Hall intended to summarize in her own words Voltaire's attitude towards Claude Adrien HelvĂ©tius and his controversial book De l'esprit, but her first-person expression was mistaken for an actual quotation from Voltaire. Her interpretation does capture the spirit of Voltaire’s attitude towards Helvetius; it had been said Hall's summary was inspired by a quotation found in a 1770 Voltaire letter to an Abbot le Roche, in which he was reported to have said, “I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write.”[10]

The UK Government has lost its moral compass. I have accordingly sent the following completely futile email to the UK Home Office in protest:

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith MP,
Palace of Westminster,
London W1
United Kingdom

Dear Secretary,

The West fought and won two world wars and a cold war last century at an incalculable cost in human suffering, defending the idea of freedom of speech. By your totalitarian actions in banning foreigners who you disagree with from entering the UK, you desecrate the memory of the millions of all nations who lost their lives in that long fight against totalitarianism.
Britain once led the world in understanding the civilisational value of human freedom. No longer. Under the Brown Labour Government the UK has become the first developed world democracy in peacetime to ban from its shores people who it disagrees with because their mere opinions are deemed a threat.

By your multiple dictats this year, first allowing an Opposition MP to be arrested by police inside Westminster, then banning a Dutch filmmaker and now a US radio host from coming to the UK, you have demonstrated for the world to see the profound failings of the Westminster parliamentary system. When those with a majority in the House of Commons use that power to ban from entering the UK those who have said or published expressions of opinion that they disagree with, on the grounds that those people might provoke violence, the UK government demonstrates it no longer defends or values freedom of speech.

If there was in fact a risk that words or images that these individuals have published elsewhere in the past, might provoke people in the UK to commit acts of violence when these individuals enter the UK, then a Government that valued freedom of speech would defend those individuals and their right to express their views before and after, not defend those inside the UK who would react violently to the mere presence of these individuals in the UK.

Your decision to ban Mr Michael Savage from entering the UK because of non-violent political views he has expressed on radio in the USA, is shameful and wrong. By making this misguided decision repressing free speech in the UK you have dishonoured the reputation and credibility of the Government of the UK and its people in the eyes of the world.

Yours sincerely

Bob Goldie
Sydney, Australia "

The email address I sent it to is as follows: public.enquiries@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

Is it only me that is completely bewildered that all the promoters of anti-hate speech laws don't seem to have enough perception or interest in this issue to see that such laws themselves promote hate?