Trigger warning:

This site may, in fact always will contain images and information likely to cause consternation, conniptions, distress, along with moderate to severe bedwetting among statists, wimps, wusses, wankers, politicians, lefties, green fascists, and creatures of the state who can't bear the thought of anything that disagrees with their jaded view of the world.

Dec 30, 2011

Threat of $1.1 million fine for building cubby house.

We are plodding along at a pace set by centralized planning, red tape, rules without responsibility, and regimentation without recourse. – Barry Goldwater, 1964.

Image: The offending cubby house. Picture: Tracee Lea, Source – News.com.au.

It is often said that government in Australia is out of control, a situation that could be a great deal worse if the federal government was not mired in gridlock of minority status. Probably the worst example of draconian overregulation though tends to come from local authorities where minor political functionaries in hundreds of councils across Australia impose their will on the residents of their allotted ministate, usually claiming that the state or federal governments require it.

You just couldn’t make up though, the reaction of Wollongong City Council to the building of a child’s cubby house:
Earlier this year, Sonja Keller and husband Andrew Bergmann used leftover building supplies to build the cubby for their son, Yaan, 9, behind their home at Tumbling Waters Resort in Stanwell Tops.

They returned from holidays before Christmas to find mail telling them to remove the cubby as it posed a bushfire threat and they did not have "development consent".

"Council has become aware that a cubby house has been erected within the premises adjacent to a dwelling; within a bushfire prone and environmentally sensitive area, without development consent," the council wrote.

"Failure to comply with the order is an offence under section 125 of the (Environmental Planning and Assessment) Act. The maximum penalty for that offence is $1,100,000.00 and a further daily penalty of $110,000.00.

"If the order is not complied with, Council may give effect to the order and recover the costs of doing so from you."

Mrs Keller said council staff first inspected the cubby house earlier this month.
"Three people from the council came to inspect some of the work we had done at the resort," he said.

"I thought they were joking when they said they needed to look at the cubby house."

She said the cubby was barely visible from the street and no more of a fire risk than other garden furniture.

"This decision is a joke. It's ridiculous to say it's in a fire-sensitive area," she said. "The garden shed is in a fire-sensitive area. The pergola is in a fire-sensitive area. The whole house is in a fire-sensitive area."
Years ago someone said that you would suffer a lower penalty for murder than what you would cop for breaking some of the government's ‘orderly marketing’ laws, and this is fairly consistent with this thought. It seems that the smaller the authority, the more snarky and authoritarian the petty functionary that is attracted to it is.

Dec 29, 2011

Johnson switches to LP.


Last night (Australian EST), Gary Johnson announced that he will be seeking the Libertarian Party nomination for President of the United States. His growing frustration with the anti Johnson provision in the GOP nominating process has been apparent for some time and this has been expected. The LP has a number of candidates for the position at present but while he will face a contest, it is reasonable to assume that with his high profile and strong libertarian credentials, he has a fair shot at it.


Here is his announcement:

This morning, I stepped before the microphones at a news conference in the New Mexico capitol and announced that I am seeking the Libertarian nomination for President of the United States. The Libertarian Party nominee will be on the ballot in all 50 states – as was the case in 2008.

It was both a difficult decision – and an easy one. It was difficult because I have a lot of Republican history, and a lot of Republican supporters. But in the final analysis, as many, many commentators have said since watching how I governed in New Mexico, I am a Libertarian - that is, someone who is fiscally very conservative but holds freedom-based positions on many social issues.

Frankly, I have been deeply disappointed by the treatment I received in the Republican nomination process. Other candidates with no national name identification like Herman Cain, Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman were allowed to participate in the debates.

Incredibly candidates with no executive experience like Michelle Bachmann and Rick Santorum were allowed to participate while I, a successful two-term governor with a solid record of job creation, was arbitrarily excluded by elitist media organizations in New York. My appeals to the Republican National Chairman for basic fairness were ignored.

I had hoped to lay out a full libertarian message on all the issues in the Republican contest. I think this election needs a libertarian voice. While Ron Paul is a good man and a libertarian who I proudly endorsed for president in 2008, there is no guarantee he will be the Republican nominee.

When I announced that I was running for president, I promised you I would be a voice for bold ideas to bring government and its spending under control. I promised I would put my record as the ‘most fiscally conservative’ governor in the nation in front of the voters. And I said that, unlike too many Republican politicians, I think Americans’ government should be smaller and less intrusive and let people make decisions for themselves.

My Agenda for America is clear:
- I want to end deficit spending and cut federal spending by 43%.
- I want to enact the Fair Tax to stimulate real economic growth and jobs.
- I want to end the manipulation of our money by the Federal Reserve.
- I support the Second Amendment and oppose gun control.
- I oppose expensive foreign wars in places like Libya and Afghanistan.
- I support a woman's right to choose.
- I support marriage equality for gay Americans as required by the Constitution.
- I support legalization of marijuana, which will save us billions and do no harm.
- I support returning strict adherence to Constitutional principles to our government.
It is clear that the elite national media and the political “ruling class” don’t want this message heard. It frightens them. It frightens them because they know our message is one that actually reflects the true beliefs of millions of Americans – and they don’t want those millions of people to know there really is a candidate for president who represents them, whether they are Republicans, Democrats, Independents or Libertarians.

Sadly neither the Republicans nor Democrats will offer this agenda to the American people.

They can’t handle the notion of a successful two-term governor, elected and reelected as a Republican in a Democrat state, who could veto 750 spending bills to shrink government -- while refusing to play the special interest game or impose a social agenda on people who prefer to make their own judgments about “values.”

In other words, there is no room in the national two-party club for a candidate who actually proved that governing as a libertarian works – and whose platform on every issue is clearly supported by a majority of the American people.

Sometimes the best answer is the simplest. I’m a Libertarian in belief. I successfully governed as a Libertarian in everything but the name, and I am running for president as a Libertarian. …

Follow this link for the whole statement.

Dec 25, 2011

A Greeting for Christmas.

As unPC as it is; Merry Christmas to all of you.


Image: George Takei Images.

A guide for the indefinitely detained.

Image: So ... You've been indefinitely detained.





You have to wonder if Senators John McCain, Lindsay Graham, and their ilk have ever read the Declaration of Independence, or if they have, did they read the grievance section shaking their heads asking, “What were they opposed to that for?” Given their support for indefinite military detention they possibly feel that George III probably had the civil liberties thing about right. Republicans upset about the 08 result can probably be happy they dodged the bullet of a worse President.


Of course you get those naysayers like Senator Rand Paul:

“If you allow the government the unlimited power to detain citizens without a jury trial, you are exposing yourself to the whim of those in power. That is a dangerous game.

“The FBI publishes characteristics of people you should report as possible terrorists. The list includes the possession of ‘Meals Ready to Eat,’ weatherproofed ammunition, and high-capacity magazines; missing fingers; brightly colored stains on clothing; paying for products in cash; and changes in hair color. I fear that such suspicions might one day be used to imprison a U.S. citizen indefinitely without trial. Just this year, the vice president referred to the Tea Party as a bunch of terrorists. So, I think we should be cautious in granting the power to detain without trial.”
Now that this is a fait accompli “Tom the Dancing Bug” has produced a valuable guide (above) for all of those who through membership of the Tea Party, NRA, Ron Paul campaign, or other suspect organizations, find themselves enjoying the hospitality of the US Army in exotic locations to help you deal with your situation. We suggest that you take particular notice of the useful FAQs.

Dec 24, 2011

NSW landholders get wind farm veto right.

Cartoon by Chip Bok.

Ever since Big Government cuddled up to Big Eco and offered billions of dollars in Big Subsidies to Big Wind, Big Solar, and Big Bio-fuel, along with guaranteed rights to sell their expensive product via Big Mandate, landholders rights have been tossed to the wind in much the same way as has been done to facilitate Big Dollars from Big CSG. Developers have been able to put up turbines almost to the neighbors fence, while local government and other planning bodies have been sidelined.

Much like CSG companies, wind power developers have had open slather to ride roughshod over residents who have had to cope with their views destroyed and the more contentious issues of shadow flicker and low frequency noise. Now state governments have been stiffening up the guidelines, first Baillieu in Victoria and now the NSW government is acting to ban turbines closer than two kilometers from houses.

Just two days out from Christmas, Planning Minister Brad Hazzard revealed draft planning guidelines, which give landowners the right to veto wind farms proposed within two kilometers of their homes. Mr Hazzard says he is proposing the "toughest wind farm guidelines in Australia and possibly the world", adding they will provide more certainty for business and more opportunity for community consultation.

The guidelines match the approach taken in Victoria where written consent from nearby landowners is needed before turbines are erected. But noise levels from new wind farms will be more strict, with a limit of 35 decibels, five decibels less than in Victoria. Low-frequency noise will also be taken into account.

Mr Hazzard says where that cannot be achieved there will be an appeals process. "We have encouraged the proponents, the applicants, to actively engage in community consultation," Mr Hazzard said.

"That proponent will be able to appeal to the Joint Regional Planning Panel to try and receive approval to proceed with the development application process. "So there is a gateway in effect that we are putting in place. The gateway, though, only will kick in if the neighbors are not happy.” …

The Opposition and the Greens claim the new requirements will kill off the industry and billions of dollars of investment.
The craze for alternative energy has created an entire new industry run by corporate welfare tarts and subsidy spivs, who are given virtually unlimited access to taxpayer handouts in order to construct wind farms that would otherwise be uneconomical. They are then given favorable treatment in selling the power produced at higher prices to the consumers who have already been ripped off to build them in the first place.

As if this is not enough they have been given the right to trample the rights of the rest of the community with complete impunity. It is about time that these carpetbaggers of the new millennium were brought to heel and made to abide by the same rules as the rest of society. We would have more concern about the billions of dollars not being invested if a large proportion of it wasn’t taken off us in the first place.

Dec 23, 2011

Qld. Government 'reforms' quad bike riders.

Since the introduction of quad bikes onto the scene, farmers have found them a valuable tool of the trade. With most of the capabilities of the standard ag-bike, the offer the additional benefit of better load carrying ability and the potential of being fitted with useful devices such as spray tanks and so on. As with any item of equipment there are risks involved in its use and a number of injuries and fatalities have occurred over the years.

As result Worksafe Qld has had an advisory out for some time in relation to safety in this field. Unfortunately the Bligh government has decided to ‘be at the forefront’ of regulation and is moving to establish mandatory standards to be adopted. Designed to appeal to the sensitivities of city folk and the self righteous, the blurb surrounding this move paints a grim picture.

According to Industrial Relations Minister, Cameron Dick, swathes of ‘rural workers’ are being cut down in their prime by irresponsible use of agricultural quad bikes and the only solution to this uncontrolled massacre is government regulation and heavy fines. Most of those ‘workers’ are the landholders themselves. Curiously, the actual figures tell a different story, although they vary depending on the source.

According to the governments own figures in the seven year period 02 – 09, 101 riders and 15 passengers were killed Australia wide. It also states that in 11+ years since July 2000, ‘about’ 30 riders and passengers were killed, (just under three per year for the whole state.) In the news report on the proposal it is stated that there have been 12 fatalities in Queensland since 2002.

These measures may be counterproductive, while the compulsory nature removes the element of choice to meet the individual’s assessment of what is needed. In the case of helmets, assuming the higher figure here of thirty to be correct, if they were to prevent all of the 35% of deaths by head injuries it would amount to ten lives in 11 years.

There is a higher danger of contracting skin cancer through not wearing a broad brimmed hat, and the impairment of peripheral vision could result in a higher accident rate. More could be achieved by banning short sleeves, but lets not give old Nan any ideas.

The issue of roll over protection is even more nebulous. Statistics point to somewhere around 43% of accidents involve rollovers, a proportion of which involve crush injuries. If we are to assume that all of them crush the victims, then that would amount to roughly 13 - 14 out of the thirty deaths over the eleven years. Advocates point to a reduction of 72% in tractor fatalities due to the use of roll bars.

Were this to hold true for quads, it would reduce the figure to nine or ten over eleven years. The problem with these figures is that quads tend to travel a lot faster than tractors, casting some doubt on the validity of this comparison. The addition of a roll bar to a vehicle with an inherent tendency to be top heavy or have a high centre of gravity as it is called would necessarily make it more so and more prone to rolling.

While governments are fond of proclaiming that, “if it saves one life then it is all worthwhile,” it is probably best to keep this to an advisory and allow users, who after all are the people with the experience in the field, to decide for themselves what is best for them.

Labor asylum-seeker offer, a sham.


Cartoon: By Pickering.

Stung by the multiple disasters caused by refugee boats being sent from Indonesia to Australia and sinking, Labor has been dragged kicking and screaming into offering the Liberals a ‘compromise’ toward a bipartisan solution to the problem. Even in this effort they are unable to seek a genuine solution, insisting on keeping the ‘Malaysia solution’ despite knowing that the Liberals will never agree to it.

The offer is not to use Nauru, but merely to put it on the table, with the proviso that the Liberals support the Malaysia deal. The liberals have made it clear ever since Malaysia was first mentioned that they would not support sending refugees to a country that was not a signatory to the Refugee Convention.

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen’s call on the Coalition to support the Malaysian Solution "without amendment" makes it clear there will be no real compromise. His claim that “As a complement to the Malaysia agreement, we are happy to engage with the government of Nauru, to see if a processing centre can be developed on Nauru,” is disingenuous as such a centre already exists and cash strapped Nauru are desperate to have it up and running again.

The Labor Party is using the loss of up to 200 lives to attempt to force the Liberals to back down on what is a core issue for them, in return for nebulous undertakings to consider their favored options with no guarantees. Nauru is not being used now because of the embarrassment Labor would suffer by reintroducing a system that worked until they scrapped it. This way they can blame their own folly on the opposition.

The survivors of the latest tragedy have made it clear that they intend to try again for the simple reason that those who get on a boat and survive the trip are virtually guaranteed settlement here, ahead of those who have waited for years in some cases for a place in the queue. While this impasse exists in the cyclone season we can expect more disasters.

Dec 22, 2011

Johnson will do well in NM as a libertarian.

There are currently conflicting reports as to the intentions of Presidential candidate Gary Johnson, with Town hall and others reporting he is definitely switching to LP, while Johnson himself stating that he hasn’t made up his mind but will make an announcement in the near future. He has been buoyed by the results of a PPP poll, which indicates substantial support for him as a third party candidate in his home state.

From Santa Fe New Mexican:

Former Gov. Gary Johnson could be a big factor in the race for New Mexico's five electoral votes if he runs for president on the Libertarian ticket, according to the results of the latest Public Policy Poll of New Mexico voters, released Friday.

Johnson, in a Friday interview at the state Capitol, said he hasn't completely made up his mind about seeking the Libertarian nod. But he sounded like that's the direction he's heading in. He said he'd probably make an announcement of his plans in New Mexico in the near future.

According to the poll, in a race between Johnson, President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Obama would get 44 percent, Romney would get 27 percent and Johnson would get 23 percent.

If the current front-runner, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, is the GOP candidate, Obama would get 45 percent, Gingrich 28 percent and Johnson would get 20 percent.

"As a third-party candidate, Johnson would draw 26-30 percent of the Republican votes, 12-16 percent of Democrats, and actually win independents with 31-33 percent," the PPP polling memo said.

Johnson was happy about the poll results, noting that if he actually won the state, he'd be the first Libertarian to win any electoral votes in New Mexico.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out, as figures based on speculation of a switch will definitely change if it becomes certain. With a definite LP bid it is quite possible that his figures could rise. Polling is indicating that without Johnson in the race, Obama would defeat Romney in New Mexico by 15 percentage points and Gingrich by 17 percentage points, according to the poll.

The big danger for Republicans is that good polling for Johnson in NM will bring a great deal more attention on his campaign, enabling him to score better in the remaining states, possibly well enough to change the balance. Indications are that he would draw between 26 and 30% of GOP votes, between 12 and 16% of Democratic votes and win independents with over 30%.

Update: Switch appears to be on.
Governor Johnson will be holding a News Conference on December 28th, 2011 at 10AM MST. It will be held at the Santa Fe, NM State Capital building, in the Rotunda. We look forward to seeing you in attendance. If you do come, please contact the Marriott Courtyard Santa Fe at (505) 473-2800 and tell them you're with Gary Johnson and get a discounted room rate beginning on the 27th.

If you are unable to make it, it will be streamed live on www.GaryJohnson2012.com or www.Yowie.com.

Dec 21, 2011

Mark Latham; “Clean energy plan, waste.”

Cartoon: By Bill Leak.

Had Mark Latham been a little less abrasive and intemperate he could have been one of the better Labor leaders. He had some classic lines, once referring to the Howard cabinet as, “A conga line of suck holes,” but he could never match the class act of Keating as far as insults were concerned. On the other hand he didn’t have the conceit that caused Keating to refer to himself as the Pavarotti of Australian politics, making some wonder if he was actually the Kid Shelleen.

Since leaving parliament he has adopted the conventional lifestyle of the political undead. He has done an autobiography, which lost him a lot of love in his party, especially giving some insights into the treachery of Rudd, something that is still apparent today. He caused a buzz in libertarian circles with an article, “The folly of handouts,” and has been a consistent critic of the government.

He has just slammed the idiotic $10 billion fund for ‘clean energy' handouts:

OUTSPOKEN former Labor leader Mark Latham has warned that the Gillard government's $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation will become "the greatest waste of money in the history of the commonwealth."

Speaking on Sky News' Australian Agenda this morning, Mr Latham said the carbon tax the Gillard government negotiated with the Greens and the country independents was more about income redistribution than legislating a significant environmental measure.

But he said the $10 billion clean energy fund designed to boost private investment in clean energy technologies was “the forgotten element” of the debate. “It'll end up, I think, being the greatest waste of money in the history of the commonwealth, it'll make the Building the Education Revolution and pink batts programs look like a Sunday picnic,” Mr Latham told the program.

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation was a key demand of the Greens in exchange for their support of the $23-a-tonne carbon tax to be paid by 500 big polluters from July 1 next year. Former Reserve Bank board member Jillian Broadbent has been appointed to chair an expert panel to advise government on the design of the fund.

But Mr Latham said the fund was premature and the industry was not ready for that level of government-backed investment. “This is the biggest industry slush fund in the history of the nation,” he said. “How can you spend $10 billion on industry development when most experts say that the technology, the so-called clean-energy technologies, aren't there to absorb that money in any productive fashion.
He is wrong in this, as it will be relatively easy for the industry to absorb this money in the same way as it has been absorbing all of the other billions tossed at it in the past. The availability of these funds will attract all sorts of shysters who will present plausible schemes for spending it. In return for it we will get little except expensive electricity from highly subsidized generating processes. It represents a lose, lose situation for taxpayers.

When a drunken sailor throws his money around he attracts whores, but a better class of whore than are attracted to government when it throws our money around. At least the conventional ones provide a valuable service.

Its time to fix the boatpeople problem now.

Cartoon: By Pickering.

The unfolding news of the latest refugee boat sinking highlights the need to find a proper solution to the need to prevent people smuggling activities once and for all. As if the Christmas Island disaster was not enough, this one has the potential to rack up as many as 200 lives lost if some of the figures are correct.

Given the weather and sea conditions, and the state of the ship at the time of departure, the organizers of this boatload had little concern for the welfare of either the crew or the refugees taking the trip. There is little doubt that even with the cyclone season starting, these people will keep sending the boats out as long as they can get people to pay and crews to man them.

The lack of an effective policy to prevent this activity has been caused by Labor, which threw out the unpopular but effective Pacific Solution put in place by the Howard government. Labor were attempting to appease the Greens on this issue and appear to have been genuinely stupid enough to believe their own propaganda which insisted that the boats had simply stopped coming and the Howard legislation had nothing to do with it.

After the Christmas Island disaster the government offered the opposition a ‘bipartisan’ deal, which Abbott agreed to discuss. Unfortunately this turned out to be grandstanding and the only option given was the government package with a complete refusal to consider the opposition’s proposals, after which Gillard painted Abbott as a wrecker.

This has come back to bite them, as with the Greens refusing to compromise, Labor needs opposition support. Such support is not likely to be forthcoming unless a reasonable deal is put on the table to discuss. Abbott is not the sharpest tool in the shed, but is not going to be caught a second time by the same stunt.

Meanwhile the Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen is slamming the Greens:

Mr Bowen, struggling for a policy response to an ongoing flood of asylum-seeker boats arriving off northern Australia, described the Greens yesterday as "naive and out of touch" after the party's leader, Bob Brown, insisted offshore processing was no deterrent to people-smuggling.

The minister's comments came as government sources confirmed that they expected hundreds of asylum-seekers to enter Australia by boat over the coming holiday period and warned of a repeat of last weekend's sinking of an overloaded boat off Indonesia, in which as many as 200 Middle Eastern asylum-seekers headed for Australia drowned.

The tragedy continued to dominate political discourse yesterday as Labor and the Coalition parties insisted onshore processing was acting as a beacon to people-smugglers but remained deadlocked about the location for an offshore regime.
It is difficult to understand how Brown can make the claim that offshore processing was no deterrent to people-smuggling, given the fact it worked under Howard. In any case its time to bang a few heads together and get something done to fix the problem before another disaster occurs.

Dec 20, 2011

Katter’s ‘Pinko Agrarian Socialist’ Party.

Cartoon: Mit Nerraw.

Most of the old National Party stalwarts have grudgingly accepted the inevitable truth that the world is a big and competitive place, and that trade isolationism is counterproductive. A few like Bob Katter who were comforted at their mothers breasts with heroic tales of Artie Fadden, Black Jack McEwen, and a heavily regulated form of free enterprise, still think otherwise.

Back then, compulsory marketing boards were the order of the day, under the catch cry of orderly marketing. Agriculture and industry existed behind tariff barriers with subsidies to aid the uncompetitive to do the unnecessary. With the Country Party, subsequently National Party holding the balance of power, the whole of our rural production was controlled from Canberra and the state capitals under a form of agrarian socialism.

Bob’s party has featured here on a number of occasions, and now Paul Syvret has called them out in the
Courier Mail:

To understand Katter, you have to realise that at his core he is pinker than the left wing of the Australian Labor Party.

His conservative tag is really only deserved in terms of social policy (remember the vow to walk "backwards from Bourke to Brisbane" if any gays were ever found in his electorate of Kennedy?) and environmental issues (Katter's Australia Party contends that the scientific case that carbon emissions are linked to global warming "is simply not sustainable"). (He is probably right on the second. – Ed.)

When it comes to trade, investment, industry policy and all matters economic, Katter is an unreconstructed agrarian socialist.

He advocates a level of industry protectionism not seen in Australia for decades. He opposes free trade agreements, supports the development of state-owned industries and posits that all imported food coming into Australia should not only be slugged with a 10 per cent duty but also carry labels warning the goods may be dangerous to your health. Seriously.

His latest home-spun piece of economic populism - which fits neatly into the usual Katter mould of offering simplistic cure-alls for complex problems - is a push to force the Reserve Bank to slash official cash rates to levels never before seen in Australia of between 1 per cent and 2 per cent to get us "in step" with the rest of the world, particularly Europe and the US. …

If the RBA didn't toe the line, Katter said over the weekend, board members would be removed individually or the entire bank "replaced with another body." In the same breath, he spectacularly claimed that: "I don't want to be advocating political involvement in the Reserve Bank ...” If threatening to sack the board unless they relinquish their independence doesn't amount to political interference, well, I'll join Bob in his backwards walk.

… A flood of very cheap money would likely fuel the mother of all bubbles. On the flip side, interest rates that low would also deal the nation's savers a negative return on their savings after allowing for even moderate inflation.

Also bear in mind that should Europe trigger another global catastrophe, the RBA's current policy setting of 4.25 per cent gives us huge scope to ease monetary policy rapidly. Countries like the US, Britain and Japan, with near zero rates, have basically had to resort to printing new money in an effort to stimulate their economies. …

If you're developing policy in some sort of parallel universe, though, I guess inconvenient truths don't apply. Welcome to Katter country.

Kim Jong Il, another madman bites the dust.

Cartoon: By Pickering.



There is neither cause for regret at the death of the North Korean dictator, the world is a better place without him, nor is there cause for celebration. This event is not likely to free the population of that sorry state, or improve their lot, nor even set in train a better future. The future is very much an unknown factor, probably revolving around planned successor Kim Jong Un, who may get the nod but will possibly be a puppet for the military.

The ‘welcome’ news of the success of the Arab Spring turned to dismay since as the rise of the Islamists with their plans for theocratic rule snuffed out any hope of real democratic reforms. In a similar way, the departure of Kim Jong Il is possibly the precursor for even more tyranny.

It is not certain that ‘Brilliant Comrade’ will succeed ‘Dear Leader’ as there is conjecture that he is viewed as too inexperienced to do so at this point, but given that he has received a western education in Switzerland, were he to be the successor he may be an improvement on his insular antecedents. There is some reason to doubt how much he can achieve though.

His father adopted the principle of putting the military first, with the result that much of the able bodied younger population that in normal nations does the heavy lifting in the workforce has been diverted to that area. To pay for this has required the rest of the nation other than the privileged power structure being thoroughly looted to pay for this. This in turn has lead to famines that the press euphemistically refers to as “a series of bad harvests.”

The problem for whoever succeeds Kim Jong Il is that the military is now all-powerful and are not likely to be in any hurry to surrender that privileged position. What’s more they are in the position of strength, which ensures that they do not have to do so. Reliance on troops for popular support is a one-way street with no way back, especially when the country becomes impoverished as result.

Dec 19, 2011

Edison light bulb saved.

There has been a bizarre move by governments across the world over the last few years to ban the Edison light bulb, and replace it with more expensive options. Compact fluorescent bulbs have been around for years now and have gained favor owing to lower energy use and longer life, however this was not enough for the green fascists, and PC whipped politicians who demanded that the cheaper alternative be banned.

The downside of using the newer bulbs is that the high initial cost and the cleanup requirements for broken bulbs, which have been exaggerated in some instances but are still rather onerous. By banning the old incandescent bulbs, the main incentive to improve and lower the cost of the newer compacts and LED bulbs has been removed, so expect to continue paying high prices.

In the US though House Republicans have gained a reprieve for embattled households, by slipping a grenade into a 1,200 page spending bill:

Members of Congress saw the light and heeded Americans’ pleas today as House Republicans saved powerful incandescent light bulbs from the scrapheap. “It’s a little ray of sunshine, of natural light,” Texas Rep. Michael Burgess, a Republican who had led the fight against the ban, told Newsmax.

Traditional 100-watt bulbs were to have been outlawed, beginning Jan. 1, to be replaced by more expensive — and allegedly more efficient — compact fluorescent bulbs. House Republicans managed to sneak language into a massive 1,200-page spending bill that would overturn the ban and save the old-style pear-shaped bulbs.

Burgess said he can understand why the federal government can tell him what light he must use when he is at work in a federal building. “But that is not the same as telling me what bulb to use in my lamp when I am at home, reading. “I make decisions on how much energy I use and how much,” he added. “I drive a hybrid car, not because the government tells me to, but because I want to as I get better mileage.

“I installed dimmer switches in my house in 2005 because it was the reasonable thing to do, not because the government told me to.” The fight against the ban hit a nerve with the American people, Burgess added. “They feel exactly as I do. We want to have the option,” he said.
It is reported that Democrats are outraged, (probably a few nanny state Republicans too) but it is likely that the ban will be put off for the time being. Greenies and General Electric which produces the CFL’s and LED bulbs support the ban.

Dec 18, 2011

Gillard, soaking the rich to share the wealth in the corporate sector.

Cartoon (Economic suicide bombers): By Pickering.

Recently when announcing her reshuffle of Cabinet to reward her backers and punish Rudd’s Julia Gillard stated that her priority was "ensuring that Australians can share the benefits of the nation's wealth." Her plan for achieving this was not to encourage people to try for the numerous fairly highly paid jobs in the mining sector, or to invest in the sections of the economy that are doing well, but to punitively tax those sectors in order to spread the wealth around.

The latest scheme is to expand the super profits tax, or as it is now called the MRRT into all sectors with higher profitability, such as mining and banking in order to reduce taxation on other sectors such as manufacturing. This appears to be something of a corporate redistribution of wealth, which has the additional aspect of punishing the banking sector:

A WORKING group set up by the Treasurer, Wayne Swan, is planning a shake-up that would see most companies pay no corporate tax and a smaller number pay a much higher rate of "super tax" on profits clearly above the odds. …

The nine-person working group, set up by Mr Swan after the tax summit, is examining a proposal known as Allowance for Corporate Equity, which would apply no tax to the portion of corporate profits necessary to get a reasonable return on equity. Most companies - especially manufacturers - fail to meet that hurdle and would pay no corporate tax.

Banks and mining companies make a much greater return on equity and so would be liable for the super tax on the excess portion of their earnings. A working group member, John Freebairn from Melbourne University, told the conference the super tax rate could be as high as 40 or 50 per cent. He nominated McDonald's and KFC as examples of companies able to make larger than normal profits because of the power of their brands.

"How are they going to get those profits from Australians without doing it in Australia?" he said. Good tax design said that if something couldn't move, it should be taxed. Mining of Australian resources could also only be done in Australia.”
Apparently this ‘working group’ is totally unaware of the massive mineral deposits in other areas of the world, especially in Africa, where a great deal of Australian investment is already moving. Curiously, the government is likening this move to the introduction of the GST by the Howard government:

Addressing a tax conference at the University of Canberra, the head of Treasury's revenue group, Rob Heferen, compared the change to the introduction of the GST in 2000. He said this would be a more radical change, if more worthwhile.

It is difficult to see where they are coming from with this claim. The GST was introduced to broaden the tax base and replace a significant number of other taxes, which were inefficient and counterproductive. This proposal narrows the tax base and hits our biggest earners. There are at least two areas where this can go seriously wrong.

The first is that in narrowing the tax base to the higher profitability areas makes the tax system more vulnerable to downturns in the world economy. The higher earning areas of the economy in boom times are significantly more vulnerable to fluctuations when things go backwards. A number of US states that have tried this have come a gutser when the earnings drop, especially California which has moved from ‘golden state’ to basket case in a short time.

With the Euro zone in deep trouble and the US not far behind, Asia is probably about to suffer a serious downturn which will reduce their use of our resources. This will in turn seriously affect our banking sector and the rest of the economy as it trickles down. The government is putting its eggs into the basket most likely to be dropped.

The other serious problem is the effect on superannuation and nest egg investment, which stands to be seriously effected by this. When the Keating government realized that the pension system was a Ponzi scheme, which was unsustainable the move was made towards superannuation in order to ensure that retirements could be saved for. Swan and Gillard are possibly destroying the savings of millions of Australians.

Dec 17, 2011

Labor confusion on sovereign risk, while its results occur.

Cartoon: By Pickering.

On Tuesday the Communications Minister Mr. Conroy, totally lost it during a speech to the National Press Club. Most of his spray appears to be directed at the Productivity Commission for daring to warn that the NBN could breach its competitive neutrality policy because of its projected low rate of return, estimated at about 7 per cent. However he then demonstrated his ignorance of sovereign risk:

The Communications Minister expressed frustration at suggestions that sovereign risk had increased in Australia's telecommunications sector because of the introduction of the NBN. “If a tax goes up, God, that is sovereign risk, but if a tax goes down, its f***ing fantastic. Excuse me - that is fantastic,” he said.

“The complete hypocrisy around sovereign risk is staggering, because apparently we've been engaging in sovereign risk all of these years every time we've lowered a business tax.”
The reference to lowering taxes constituting sovereign risk is in regard to the imposition of a massive tax on mining profits, some of which is supposed to be used to lower corporate taxes in other sectors as a sort of corporate redistribution of wealth. The factor that creates the risk is the mining tax, which makes such activities more attractive in other countries where the tax does not apply. In other words its nothing but spin.

The real result of sovereign risk inducing policies came home to roost for Australia, or at least its cattle producers today with Indonesia cutting our export quota by nearly half and announcing that all imports from here were to be phased out within four years. Our cattle industry supplied the bulk of Indonesia’s import requirements owing to the closeness of our countries and the perceived reliability of supply.

The reputation for reliability was smashed in June when the Gillard government unilaterally banned exports to Indonesia overnight for a month during the peak export period. Some suppliers were driven to the wall, while others were seriously disadvantaged to the point where they are still struggling to get back to normal. It was pointed out at that time by the industry that this action would destroy confidence in us as a reliable supplier and cause the Indonesians to look elsewhere.

While the Minister, Joe Ludwig is making noises about sourcing other markets, there are none as convenient and offering the high numbers we had in this one. He has been plying the line that it is simply caused by the Indonesians wishing to be self sufficient, this has been cast in doubt by reports that cattle will be sourced in other neighboring countries.

Being governed by Labor has been like a storeowner taking a break while the village idiot runs the shop.

The Greens who want the live export industry banned entirely, should consider the ramifications of this decision. It is doubtful that Greens leader Bob Brown has considered just how much pristine rainforest will be destroyed in any effort by Indonesia to provide pasture for enough cattle to supply over half a million cattle per year for consumption.

Dec 16, 2011

Gary Johnson moving to LP?

There has been a great deal of speculation going back a couple of months that Republican Presidential candidate Gary Johnson will drop out of the nomination contest and instead, enter the contest for the Libertarian Party one. Now it is widely reported that the move is on, with the possibility of an announcement within the next couple of days.

He is currently in Florida to meet with LP people and according to one of his advisers Roger Stone, he is happy with the results. Johnson, who has been excluded from most debates, partly blames his poor standing in the race on GOP officials who did nothing to help ensure that he had a shot at being invited to the televised debates. Here is an interview he did with Marc Caputo of the Miami Herald:



From Newsmax:

Johnson says he believes most Republicans are not socially conservative, it is only the activists that are. “I didn’t win over social conservatives running as governor of New Mexico in the primary. I didn’t get their votes, there were others to choose from.

“But when it came time for the general election, those social conservative Republicans then deferred to their second-most important issue, which was dollars and cents. And I excelled in the dollars and cents area.

“New Mexico is a state that is 2-1 Democrat,” Johnson, who was governor in Santa Fe for eight years from 1995-2002, pointed out. “I won election and I won reelection by a bigger margin.” …

He said the ban on drugs is responsible for the violence that has engulfed the Mexican border area. “We need to get rid of prohibition like we needed to get rid of prohibition of alcohol, to move disputes from the streets and machine guns to the courts.

… “Newt Gingrich, in 1997, proposed the death penalty for possession of marijuana in excess of 2oz. with intent to distribute from outside of the country. Newt Gingrich has smoked marijuana. Gosh, to me this is hypocritical. “When it comes to Newt Gingrich, we have a real fundamental difference when it comes to marijuana and other drugs, and that fundamental difference is, you know what? Maybe it’s a bad choice, but should you be subject to the death penalty because of your bad choice? I don’t think so.”

He also took issue with the other leader in the Republican race. “I don’t know where Mitt Romney stands on the issues. I’m in the contest and I really don’t know where he stands. “This process should be about explaining what your positions are, what the problems are and, of course, what your resume is.
While the LP has a number of candidates listed at this stage, the entry of a candidate of the stature of Johnson would change the whole outlook for the party should he gain the nomination.

If, as is almost certain that he switches, about the only saving grace for the Republican Party is that while he has the potential to rip votes off them with his fiscal conservative record, he will probably strip the Democrats of socially liberal voters who are disgusted with the disappointing results of the Obama tenure. The GOP has brought this down on its own head.

Unusual Freedom of Speech defense by Humphreys.

Image: OMG, has it happened already?

It is easy to be an advocate of free speech when it applies to the rights of those with whom one is in agreement. But the crucial test concerns controversial speech – statements which we may consider vicious and nasty and which may, in fact, even be vicious and nasty. – Walter Block; “Defending the Undefendable.”

One such vicious and nasty form of speech is to call for your death. A couple of days ago, Graeme Bird issued such a call on John Humphreys, who can be irritating, but has changed to the point where the writer has not felt like choking the living shit out of him for a couple of years. The following though, goes too far:

“He must die. John Humphreys must die so that this country can live. He has betrayed this country too many times and he must no longer live … This is too important a subject to let John Humphreys live. Where does the lying end. I’m convinced that it only ends when John Humphreys is cold and stiff … HE MUST DIE, FOR THE LYING TO END. AND THIS IS A LIFE OR DEATH MATTER … I am accusing Humphreys of being a knowing traitor … SO MY NEW CLAIM IS THAT HUMPHREYS WILL NEVER STOP LYING. THAT HE WILL NEVER BE A SAFE PAIR OF HANDS. THAT HE WILL ALWAYS BE A TRAITOR. WHILE HE YET LIVES.”
This is not unusual for Graeme; he often has difficulty disengaging his caps lock. His main beef is that John supports fractional reserve banking, but even Ron Paul would not go this far. He has since pulled the post, only leaving three Humphreys ones up, “The Moron John Humphreys Screed … Followed By The Censored Responses,” “The Deeply Disturbing John Humphreys Story,” and, “Comments Soon To Be Wiped By Quisling John.”

John has been gracious in reply:

My conclusion, once again, is that death threats such as above should be allowed as free speech.

The moral reason to allow the above sort of rants is that Graeme hasn’t actually directly hurt anybody with his rant, nor has he tried to coerce anybody (by saying “do XYZ, or else”), and so he should be left alone. He has simply stated that he wants me dead. If somebody were to act on Graeme’s death wish, then in my opinion the responsible person is the killer, and not Graeme.

We are surrounded with advertising every time we turn on the TV or go outside. We are more subtly being influenced every time we read a newspaper or book or website, or when we talk with our friends. We are even being influenced when we simply watch strangers on the streets. But ultimately, I believe that each person needs to be held responsible for their own actions, and that responsibility can not be passed on to the people who have influenced the actor. If I say that a book is good, and you go and buy the book… then it is you (not I) who is responsible for your actions. Likewise, if grumpy-Graeme says he wants me dead, and mad-Doug (another freak with an unhealthy fixation on me) actually comes and kills me… then it is mad-Doug (not grumpy-Graeme) who is responsible for the murder.

The idea that advertisers or influential people are responsible for the actions of others undermines individual responsibility, and it sets a dangerous precedent for controlling who is allowed to say what to whom. And once we start controlling speech to only “good speech” we get into dangerous territory. …
Go here for the full post.

Dec 15, 2011

Santa gets a cavity search.

Image, courtesy Bastiat Institute.

Not sure if this is a photoshop, we hope it hasn't come to this. Enough said. This is very reminiscent of the following Arlo Guthrie clip.



For all of you young whippersnappers out there, too young to remember the 60s, try the longer version, which includes his dedication of the song to the FBI and “The Last Guy” here.

Dec 14, 2011

Carbon tax, The Road Ahead

Cartoon: By Pickering.

By Viv Forbes, Chairman,

Carbon Tax is now law in Australia. Now the main aim of the climate alarmists, the wealth distributers, the anti-development crowd and those promoting world government by the UN is to stifle the debate. Their media mates will try to pretend there is nothing more to talk about. So we have to defeat their conspiracy of silence. This is the task for 2012.

Unfortunately for them, the climate alarmist news is uniformly bad, and this is newsworthy:


1. Global temperatures refuse to rise, despite rapidly rising human production of carbon dioxide – this fact alone disproves their main scare story. More people are waking up to this fact and to the antics of the alarmist academics in distorting the evidence. Climategate II has revealed the uncertainty, bias and deliberate deceptions within the secret circle of alarmist academics. See:

2. Sea levels, glaciers and polar bears are not following the alarmist forecasts.
See:And:

3. The latest climate-fest in Durban looks unlikely to produce good news for the alarmists. The Kyoto Protocol is dead on its feet.
(Since this was written a faux agreement has been cobbled together which is in essence an agreement to negotiate on an agreement …)

4. The world is waking up to the wind/solar power scams. These piddle power producers are designed mainly to harvest tax breaks and subsidies. Once these crutches are removed, the cripples will collapse. Even the Dutch are falling out of love with the absurdly costly windmills:

5. The price for carbon credits has crashed.

6. The financial crises will continue to divert political attention. The public has lost interest in climate alarm – they are more interested in jobs, energy prices and asset values.
See:

Exposing the Global Warming Lies

Here’s a collection of Internet videos exposing the lies used by global warming evangelists to promote their cause to an uninformed public. Watch these videos, learn the truth and share them with your friends and family. Don’t allow environmental extremists to destroy our freedoms with their lies. Go here.

Wind Energy Ghosts

Wind energy is just a method of harvesting tax breaks. Once the tax breaks and other financial props disappear, so do the promoters. Already thousands of abandoned turbines litter the land.

The Scientific Scandal of our Generation

"The scare over man-made global warming is not only the scientific scandal of our generation, but a suicidal flight from reality."
Christopher Booker See:

Feedback from a Supporter:


"I have recently moved up to Fernvale from Canberra which is the social and environmental engineering capital of Australia (if not the world). I share all your scepticism about the “climate alarmist industry” although I have none of your professional qualifications or experience. Nevertheless, I do have opinions and despite writing many letters to the Canberra Times which followed the general tone of your missives to the Courier Mail, I was rarely published. So, I really enjoy reading your comments in the Brisbane and local papers as you echo the same concerns which I feel about this growing problem. I’ve found that, climate alarmists deal in absolutes in that everyone must agree ‘absolutely’ with the theories they postulate or are deemed ignorant imbeciles. It is really enjoyable, therefore, when someone like you strikes back with reasoned, cogent arguments against what is really mounting hysteria fuelled by vested interests. Keep up the good work."


Disclosure: 
Viv Forbes has spent most of his life all over Queensland in exploration, farming and grazing pursuits. He has an applied science degree and qualifications and experience in soil science and pasture management. He lives now with his wife on a small grazing property in SE Qld. That property is affected by vegetation protection orders mentioned in this newsletter.

Dec 13, 2011

Cabinet reshuffle highlights overgovernment.

Cartoon: By Pickering.


The cabinet reshuffle, which has been tipped for some time, goes a long way to demonstrate the degree to which Australia is overgoverned. There are 22 members of the inner cabinet, another eight in the outer cabinet in charge of (at a rough count) fifty-five ministries. There is a list of them here:

Years ago on the comedy show, The Two Ronnies in their faux news section they posed the question, “We ask are there too many government ministers, and we will be talking to the Minister for Steak and Kidney Pie on the issue.” Australia is not too far behind this scenario. Given that some of these ministries cover multiple functions, it is clear that just too many matters fall under government control.

If more functions were left in the hands of the individual, and the government stayed out of matters not reasonably falling into its net of intrusion, it would be more effective in its proper place. One of the secrets of successful management is delegation. Why not delegate the way we conduct ourselves to us and stay the hell out of our lives?

While some of the press is hailing this development as a “Julia stamps her authority,” moment it is reasonably clear that she is not really in control:

But the reshuffle has sparked tensions over the dumping from cabinet of Kim Carr, a former Gillard supporter now seen as sympathetic to Kevin Rudd, and led one minister to describe the changes as more about "spin" than policy.

The Prime Minister was also forced to fend off suggestions that her decision to expand the cabinet by two places was because senior ministers refused to go. Senior sources last night denied reports that Peter Garrett and Robert McClelland had threatened to resign from parliament if they were demoted.

The Australian understands that Mr McClelland, who remains in cabinet, was moved despite making a strong case to remain attorney general.
This rings true, as no realistic cabinet reshuffle would be likely to keep Garrett on after his disastrous performances in every area entrusted to him in the past. Garrett was brought into the government at the behest of Hawke on the basis of being a washed up pop star who might inspire the young to vote Labor. Since then he has achieved little other than an inflated sense of self-importance.

The idea of ‘super ministries’ that has been exulted by the press as a great innovation, are a crock. If the persons given these responsibilities were in fact up to them, the sheer volume of work involved would almost certainly guarantee that it would be impossible to carry out the multiple roles efficiently.

Greg Combet though has a ready solution to this problem. He has had Industry and innovation added to his Climate Change portfolio. If he succeeds with the climate change part along the lines the government is proposing, the industry and innovation part will no longer be needed.

Caution, these people are running the show.

The Matt Price moment is an ABC faux award in memory of a journalist who tended to take a humorous view of Australian politics. It highlights the humorous, ridiculous, and genuinely funny moments in the political year. It is worth mentioning in the interest of fairness, that Mary Jo Fisher who appears here suffers from depression and it has been suggested that her medication was out of whack, and Kevin Rudd was recovering from laryngitis.

It is a somewhat disturbing to think that they were the only ones here with an excuse. It should also be a sobering thought that we voted them in and they are running this country:

Dec 12, 2011

Phone hacking scandal starts to unravel.

This is starting to look like the ‘déjà vu all over again’ thing. After the UK phone hacking scandal, the government, Labor, Greens, and independents here were determined to go after News Ltd in the hope of finding something they could use against its most trenchant critic. As is normally the case of late, they were cheered on relentlessly by the Fairfax press, which put the boot in daily.

Investigations so far have not found any evidence of wrongdoing by News, but are investigating Fairfax’s Age for hacking into Labor’s database, seeking information on prominent Victorians. Aint it a bitch, getting hoisted with your own petard.

In England, the paper that broke the News of the World hacking scandal, The Guardian, spent masses of column meters of print in exuberant and self righteous commentary about the behavior of their more successful competitor, only to have to conduct a strategic retreat. It now seems that their claim of deleting voice mail from the phone of murder victim, Milly Dowler is false or just plain wrong:

In July the Guardian reported that News of the World reporters had listened to her voicemail and deleted the messages. The paper has now retracted that particular claim.

"It is understood that while News of the World reporters probably were responsible for deleting some of the missing girl's messages, police have concluded that they were not responsible for the particular deletion which caused her family to have false hope that she was alive," the paper reported. The Guardian is considering publishing a correction.

Police have established that the News of the World was not investigating Milly Dowler's phone at the time the crucial messages were listened to and then deleted. Over the weekend there were fresh allegations that police might have inadvertently deleted voicemail messages, or the phone provider deleted messages automatically after they were listened to.
While the hacking of private telephones is reprehensible, there is some evidence that other papers did it as well. It appears very much like cases of the pot calling the kettle black, whereby papers that have a fair bit to hide are going after others in the hope that exposing them as unmitigated bastards somehow vindicates their own wrongdoing.

The NOTW scandal needed exposing and that is something that is a responsibility of the remaining media. The trick in avoiding the appearance of hypocrisy or poor reporting is though, getting facts straight in the first place, and not descending into wild exaggeration in the second.

Climate change; agreement to make an agreement?

Cartoon: By Lisa Benson.

At this stage it is unknown whether the rest of the world is also carrying on with the “Oh joy, Oh rapture,” warblings the Australian government is carrying on with over the last minute pseudo agreement that has come out of Durban. It seems little more than a rehash of the standard last minute agreements that have come out of Copenhagen and Cancun before it.

But according to our government it is a breakthrough of epic proportions like to pave the way to a binding …. (Add the accolades of your choice here) they’re pretty standard as well. According to the climate change minister and the rest of the climate frantic club, its just what they have been having wet dreams about all these years:

CLIMATE Change Minister Greg Combet has praised the outcome of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Duban as a significant breakthrough in tackling global warming.

The conference has agreed to begin negotiations on a new accord which would put all nations under the same legal regime.

Representatives of 194 countries agreed to move towards a new agreement to replace the existing Kyoto Protocol. Mr Combet said the outcomes in the South African city are good news for the environment. (You just have to be feeling that warm cool inner glow.)
Gillard and her government, fresh from bringing down a carbon tax on the heads of Australians are desperate to see signs, any signs, that the rest of the world will be stampeded into following suit the way the PM and Brown assured us they would. For this reason anything not totally negative coming out of this conference is good news for them.

It is difficult to read anything more into this other than the countries represented there, have managed to avoid the total embarrassment of failing to reach any agreement, by coming to an agreement that is little more than an agreement to work toward an agreement. If such an agreement occurs and what it might be is very much up in the air. There is little reason to believe that the nations that have resisted subjecting their industry to unsustainability in order to have a new tax are likely to play ball this time.

What is clear though is that there is an intent to establish a $100 billion-a-year Green Climate Fund will also be established to finance climate change adaptation for developing countries, of which we will be expected to contribute around $2 to 4 Billion. This is on top of the carbon tax. If history is anything to go by, the money that doesn’t go directly into Swiss bank accounts, will be spent on more environmentally friendly palaces for the leaders of those nations, and better armaments for the soldiers of those nations to more efficiently keep their people under control.

Dec 11, 2011

Massive fraud at Queensland Health.Queensland Health.

Queensland Health is a sad shell of what was formerly a well-organized department which operated very efficiently. To give some idea of the decline, the writer was in 1983 able to get a hernia operation 21 hours after reporting the injury. In 2010, a similar injury to the other side took five months from reporting it to getting an appointment with the surgeon in order to have the operation.

In recent years a series of scandals have rocked the department. First, the Health Minister Gordon Nuttall was jailed for corruption, then it was discovered that owing to failure of the vetting process, an incompetent surgeon, Jayant Patel was appointed to Bundaberg Hospital and caused a number of deaths and serious injuries to patients. A faulty payroll system was introduced which after the expenditure of hundreds of millions is still causing problems.

Now some shyster who was not adequately checked out, prior to being appointed to a position in the financial section has managed to embezzle $16 million from the department. He has prior form in New Zealand and an investigation last year was dropped after the department assured police that such a thing couldn’t happen:


More than $5 million is believed to have been transferred from the department's accounts through a sophisticated network over the past three years. A further $11 million was shifted in a single transaction in the past fortnight.

An identical complaint about 12 months ago to the Crime and Misconduct Commission about Morehu-Barlow, who also goes by the first name Joel, was dismissed by a Queensland Health internal investigation.

However, a low-level financial officer is believed to have become suspicious and raised concerns with the chief finance officer this week. "By forging the name of a senior officer who had authority to transfer large sums, this middle-level officer has been able to deceive those that are there," Health Minister Geoff Wilson said.

The Auditor-General also failed to discover the multimillion-dollar ruse in his frequent checks but warned recently of risks because of lax financial controls. "There appears to have been a loss of focus across the public sector on maintaining basic financial controls with the number of agencies failing to maintain these controls increasing," a report in July said.
So in spite of warnings that this could happen, The department went blithely on reassuring itself that it couldn’t happen to them. No eyebrows were raised, no effort was launched to correct the problem, and despite the warning from the Auditor General, the government failed to act. The Premier is demanding answers, perhaps she should ask herself first.

Dec 9, 2011

The March of the Triffids

By Viv Forbes, Chairman,

Australia's open spaces and grasslands are being invaded by aggressive woody weeds of the eucalypt family and the feral plants they shelter such as lantana and rubber vine. This invasion is assisted by a fifth column of misguided tree huggers and climate alarmists who demand that these environmental weeds be protected and their expansion subsidised by the taxpayer!

Like Triffids, the invaders are stealthing out from every patch of bush, surrounding homes and towns, consuming grasslands and displacing grassland birds and animals, both native and domesticated.

This invasion started in neglected parks and conservation areas and was given a massive boost by the Kyoto inspired bans on controlling regrowth, even on freehold land. The final stupidity is the use of carbon credit finance to encourage the deliberate planting of woody weeds on land currently used to produce food and fibres.

For as long as humans have lived in Australia, woody weeds have been kept in check by their natural predator – bushfire. But more reckless policies, promoted by ill-advised urban tree lovers, have prevented the regular use of fire in many areas.

As wildfires in several areas have shown, the heavy fire load in this creeping bush becomes a lurking menace as dangerous to neighbours as an unexploded bomb. It must be kept in check by periodic small fires, well managed grazing animals or mechanical means. "Shutting it up" is an unacceptable and unnatural practice.

The explorers Leichhardt and Mitchell both reported the native use of fire to restore the grasslands and both remarked on the grassland and open forest they encountered. However, since their time, there has been an explosion of woody weeds into the Mitchell grass country, and into many other grasslands. It is like a cancer on the land.

These scrubby weeds and carbon credit plantations also harbour all the pests and predators that threaten native wildlife and domestic livestock – feral foxes, pigs, dogs and cats.

The global warming alarmists and others have led us into deadly delusion. Trees do not control the climate, and eucalypt plantations and infestations are not worthy of elevation to saintly status in the plant kingdom. Just like grasses, herbs and algae, they are part of the grand carbon cycle on which all life depends. If humans need to worship and protect any land plant species it should be not useless invasive woody weeds, but the valuable grasses and legumes including cereals such as wheat, oats, barley and rye, pastures such as Mitchell grass and buffell grass, legumes such as lucerne, clover, soya beans and siratro and giant grasses such as sugar cane, sorghum and maize.

It is strange that governments keen to protect farm land from coal mining are promoting policies that result in the destruction of grazing land by state protected weeds.

Viv Forbes

"By virtually ensuring that many grazing enterprises will become uneconomic, as unaddressed tree thickening continues, we are opening the door to unsustainable practices and severe damage to this State’s huge land and woodland resource base."
 - Dr Bill Burrows, 2005 "Fact and Fiction supporting the Vegetation Management Act."

In the above report Dr Burrows looks at the alleged scientific foundations of Queensland’s Vegetation Management Act. He shows that aboriginals used regular frequent fires to maintain the grasslands and grassy woodland that covered much of Australia when European settlers arrived. Since then the reduced burning has allowed dramatic growth in tree cover which displaces grassland birds and animals, increases the risk of fierce fires and reduces runoff into rivers and dams. 'Protection" of this invasive vegetation is a foolish policy.

"What a dumb legacy the so called ‘Smart State’ will pass on to its inheritors".

Comments from the Leichhardt expedition (1845), mainly from Gilbert's journal:

"on 28th February . . . emerged upon "beautifully undulating country covered with the most luxuriant grass". (Isaac River area).

"the most beautiful description of country . . well covered with grass and well adapted for sheep . . ". (Suttor River area).

"from a hill near our camp we can see to eastward a broad extent of valley with numerous fine lakes. Smoke from Natives' fires is seen in all directions around us." (Valley of Lagoons).

Expeditions by Major Thomas Mitchell, 1830-1845, mainly from "Journal of Mitchell into Qld".

"Across the mountains (in Victoria), Mitchell found excellent grazing land - land richer than any grazing land he had found in New South Wales and named this country "Australia Felix".

"We now had before us (central Queensland) water and grass in abundance to a distance as unlimited and indefinite as our hopes of discovery" (p. 94)

"…natives had disappeared having previously set fire to the grass" (p. 101)

"… travelling amongst very luxuriant grass" (p. 106).

See this also on how the aborigines created the grasslands of Australia:

Record summer cold snap.

Cartoon: By Pickering.

Yesterday Brisbane’s maximum temperature was 19.1C, the coldest since 1888, 123 years ago. At the same time Sydney was enduring the entire first week of summer with temperatures staying below 23C, the coldest since 1960.

Prior to this we had a month without rain in the South East corner, with fairly warm days, indicative according to the experts, of a long-term trend towards global warming. The unseasonable cold though we are assured is merely weather, the difference being made clear in the video clip below:


Meanwhile the Australian government is hotly denying that the temperature drop is any indication of the carbon tax being set too high.

Dec 8, 2011

St Louis cops move Occupy out the right way.

Image: volunteer arrestees in St Louis.

Radley Balko of “The Agitator” passes on a report from St Louis on the method used by the police there to move out the ‘Occupy’ demonstrators from the Plaza there. Radley is a libertarian advocate for rights, and a strong opponent of ‘no knock’ raids, forensic shysters, over zealous prosecutors, police militarization, and the overuse of swat squads, among other causes.

The dispersal of ‘Occupy’ has in most cases not gone well, with violence, rioting, and lawsuits being the order of the day. While Radley states that he cannot verify this at the moment, but points out that if true the police deserve praise for the way they handled what is usually a bad situation:

The first thing they did was the one that baffled me the most, at first: they gave the protesters nearly 36 hours notice, as opposed to the 20 to 60 minutes’ notice other cities gave. … Early afternoon on Thursday, they gave the protesters 24 hours’ notice: as of 3pm on Friday, the no structures in the plaza rule was going to be enforced, and as of 10pm, the curfew was going to be enforced. So, unsurprisingly, Occupy St. Louis put out a huge call for as many people as possible to come to the plaza by noon, to be trained in peaceful civil disobedience; local civil liberties lawyers showed up to brief them. …

So, when no cops showed up anywhere near 3pm, the protesters had their biggest rally to date (as I suspect the cops were thinking, “getting it out of their system”), and then started to drift away. Rally organizers advised people to be back before 10pm, to block the enforcement of curfew. Sure enough, by 10pm, they had 350 people down there. And scant minutes later, people were jazzed up and ready to go, because outlying scouts reported that the police were gathering, en masse, with multiple cars, multiple buses, an ambulance, and a firetruck, only a couple of blocks away!

And sometime around an hour, hour and a half later, the cops just disappeared, dispersed, without ever having gotten within two blocks of the plaza. So the confused protesters declared victory, let most of the troops go home, and fewer than a hundred of them bedded down for the night in their tents. An hour later, somewhere around 150 cops showed up. …

Ah, but the cops did more than just show up after two head-fakes and with sufficient numbers … they did right exactly what the Obama administration told everybody else to do wrong. They didn’t show up in riot gear and helmets, they showed up in shirt sleeves with their faces showing. They not only didn’t show up with SWAT gear, they showed up with no unusual weapons at all, and what weapons they had all securely holstered. They politely woke everybody up. They politely helped everybody who was willing to remove their property from the park to do so. They then asked, out of the 75 to 100 people down there, how many people were volunteering for being-arrested duty? Given 33 hours to think about it, and 10 hours to sweat it over, only 27 volunteered. As the police already knew, those people’s legal advisers had advised them not to even passively resist, so those 27 people lined up to be peacefully arrested, and were escorted away by a handful of cops. The rest were advised to please continue to protest, over there on the sidewalk … and what happened next was the most absolutely brilliant piece of crowd control policing I have heard of in my entire lifetime.

All of the cops who weren’t busy transporting and processing the voluntary arrestees lined up, blocking the stairs down into the plaza. They stood shoulder to shoulder. They kept calm and silent. They positioned the weapons on their belts out of sight. They crossed their hands low in front of them, in exactly the least provocative posture known to man. And they peacefully, silently, respectfully occupied the plaza, using exactly the same non-violent resistance techniques that the protesters themselves had been trained in.
Maybe this would not work all of the time, but it is worth considering the possibility that good police work without the use of SWAT and riot police and aggressive tactics may work better. While rabble rousers among the protestors are likely to attempt to inflame these situations, a lower key response could isolate them from the more peaceful elements and make them easier to deal with.

Queensland Government blows $46 million in another IT bungle.

$46 million written off is not a loss because it is the government’s money:
Mayor Quimby ICT Minister Finn.

In an optimistic and upbeat assessment of the ultimate healing power of the GFC titled “Creative Destruction is a sign of Progress,” Luke Johnson says:


Importantly, capital is being allocated more sensibly. In the boom times money was squandered – now lenders and investors are deploying it much more wisely. I am convinced lessons have been learnt. There should be improved returns and less waste, and more worthwhile use of resources generally.

Government and industry are demanding better value: both public and private sectors are obliged to become more efficient and productive. This must be a good thing. Similarly, more attention is being paid to a proper connection between effort and reward. This is a healthy realignment. …
This is not the case in Queensland where the government seems to toss unlimited amounts of money at IT projects, which are a disaster on every occasion. They seem to always end up with the Z Team carrying out these projects and mismanaging them themselves.

Fresh from bungling the Health Department pay system at a cost of $219 million and rising with tens of millions more being pumped into it to try to correct it, they have decided to institute a new email system. Well may you ask, “What could go wrong with that?” Well for a start, after spending $46 million on it, most government departments have rejected it. It currently has 2,000 users, which equates to $23,000 in investment for each one:
Mr Finn, (Minister for Information and Communication Technology) hit back, insisting the system was under budget although behind schedule. "This project is progressing on budget and within scope by any objective measure it is a success," he said.

Earlier, The Courier-Mail reported that a much-hyped email system which cost taxpayers $46 million had been rejected by most State Government departments.

Trumpeted as a revolutionary way to centralise systems allowing workers to more easily move between agencies, the email platform was rejected as too costly by some of the departments it was specifically designed for. So far only 2000 users have signed up, at an estimated cost of $23,000 each – the price of a small car.

A Public Works Department spokesman insisted the Identity, Directory and Email Services program was set for wider installation by 2013 but sources said the Education, Communities and Community Safety departments had already opted out. The state's largest agency, Queensland Health, is not included in the project scope and is unlikely to sign up.

The system has also been plagued by delays and is already two years behind schedule. It is budgeted to cost $252 million over the next decade, with hopes $123 million would be recouped in efficiency savings.
Curiously ICT Minister Mr. Finn has claimed that the writing off of a Treasury loan of $46 million is not a loss because it is the government’s money. It seems that he didn’t get the job on the strength of his economic credentials:
It is budgeted to cost $252 million over the next decade, with hopes $123 million would be recouped in efficiency savings.

But already a $46 million treasury loan, spent setting up the system, has been wiped to reduce charges and encourage hesitant agencies to join. About 81,000 users are needed for the system to break even.

ICT Minister Simon Finn said the wiped loan was not a loss because "it's all the Government's money." An industry source said: "They will never save one dollar on this project, ever.”

LNP leader Campbell Newman slammed the email program as a poorly handled waste of money. He promised more accountability for IT projects if the LNP won government. "You betcha," he said this morning, promising robust business cases and better oversight for all major projects.

He condemned ICT Minister Simon Finn's flippant dismissal of the decision to write off a $46 million loan to build the system. "Minister, by wasting this money, you're wasting the people's money ... and that's why people are paying higher water and power prices and rego bills.