Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A moral election.

Imagine if you will going to two job interviews on the same day and telling both that you had the other interview and take the best offer. Imagine also that both employers wanted you and sent you details of pay, conditions and how the company operates including the broad outline of it's business plans. One has a great dental plan, mediocre superannuation, excellent pay and highly successful strategy of firebombing the buisnesses of competitors and murdering their employees if they attempt to bid for the same contract. The other has no dental plan, reasonable superanuation, the opportunity to learn more valuable new skills and does not use violence in it's business. Would you spend any time at all wondering who to work for? Of course not unless you're a sociopath, yet this (Australian) election people are doing exactly that.

They are deciding that although they don't think the use of lethal force in Iraq is justified or rational they are going to vote on the basis of who can give them enough goodies. Free dental work, more free education (if it's worth it why don't people pay for it?), better hospitals, they think of everything that can be taken from someone else's pocket and given to them. In no other situation do people think like this. Only in politics is it OK to be this mercenary when issues of life and death are at stake. And yet people will claim they are voting on the basis of a "fair go" or "moral values". My arse they are.

They're not voting on the basis of common sense either. The latest war on drugs nonsense is proof. I can't fight the war on drugs because they're too expensive so I have to fight the war clean and sober. Anyway they're going to "quarantine" the welfare payments of people convicted but not jailed for drug offenses. The idea I suppose is that they can prevent drug takers spending money on drugs and get them to spend it on their kids, a new bible I don't know I lost interest. Of course this qualifies as the second easiest to dodge bad social security idea in history. The worst was that "work for the dole" scheme where all you had to do was claim to be doing $62 worth of work a fortnight to avoid the obligation. This isn't quite as easy. You actually go into the supermarket, buy things on someone else's shopping list and have them pay you for them later. So really less trouble than getting the drugs in the first place. Fuck I hat it when it takes longer for the government to explain the scheme than for me to figure out how it's fucked.

Oh and BTW remember those new "road safety" laws prohibiting P platers from taking passengers at night (or was it any time? DKDC)? Well it turns out that teenagers responded to said laws by carrying their friends in the boot (trunk) or lying down and thus unseatbelted. So another effort by the powers that be to make us safer through coercion failed. And I also have failed to predict that failure months beforehand. So from now on there's a competition. As soon as I mention an effort to make us safer everyone send in how they think it will bankfire. A special "No Prize" awarded to the first accurate prediction.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Andrew Johns a role model for our times.

A lot of people will say that Andrew Johns has set a bad example to our kids. Those little nippers who looked up to him have been given the wrong lessons. On the contray his behaviour on all occasions taught exactly the right lessons for those who wish to succeed in modern society.

Lesson one; If you like to take drugs and can avoid negative consequences for doing so, take drugs. Specifically take drugs that won't show up on the deeply intrusive drug tests you're
made to take. And take them on the off season wherever possible.

Lesson two; Do not complain about the deeply intrusive drug tests you are made to take for your high paying job. Never mention the fact that it's none of your employers buisness what you do in your leisure time. Never mention the fact that it's none of your fans buisness what you do in your leisure time. If asked about drug tests say they are neccesary to keep the sport clean. Do not ask why we need clean athletes more than clean taxi drivers, politicians, or sports adminstrators. Never make clear the distinction between testing for performance enhancing drugs and recreational drugs. Go along with the claim that the testing is all about keeping the sport fair, even though testing for coke, ecstasy or marijuana has nothing to do with this.

Lesson three; If asked about effects on drugs be very much against them, even though the effects of drugs on you are overwhelmingly positive. Never imply that there would be any situation where taking drugs is the right thing. Unless of course a doctor orders it, and even then if some blowhard cop or administrator says otherwise immediately fold like a deck chair.

Lesson four; If caught doing something some people think of as bad do not defend your behaviour in a principled manner. Make excuses that clearly show remorse, even if the behaviour hurt no one and was none of anyone else's buisness. If there is no evidence of any harm in your case do not explore the implications of this. Specifically do not say that there are people who take drugs who benefit from it and they should not be punished for this. Instead invent negative consequences you have suffered so will be pitied and therefore excused. It doesn't matter if there is no evidence for said drawbacks or considerable evidence against them in your case. Claims of harm to family life are especially effective even when all evidence is that your family life is fine.

Lesson five; An ounce of acceptability is worth a tonne of credibility. For instance confessing that you like drugs because they are fun would be bad no matter how obvious. "Confessing" you needed drugs to handle the pressure of being a football star, even when you say in the same statement that you mostly used in the off season where the pressure is much less is much better. Remember, it doesn't matter if the statement is credible, it matters whether people will pretend to believe it.

Lesson six; Always present your interaction with drugs as a "battle", a "struggle" or some other noun that implies that you have a real problem with drugs. Do this even if it's clear from your own statement that you can quit using drugs for months at a time with no negative consequences.

Lesson seven; Reform. Reform totally and never sin again. Do this as often as is needed.

The big lesson that we learn from the Andrew Johns debacle is that sports stars making sports stars role models makes no sense. A good role model would have been honest with reporters and with their fans. They would have said "You know what? It's none of your buiness if I take drugs. It's none of my buisness if you do. You should stop assuming that just because someone takes illegal drugs their lives are worse for it. You should stop assuming that the messages sent by people paid by powerful sporting bodies and through them powerful media organisations are correct. You should think for yourselves about whether what I did was wrong. And if you come to a different conclusion than your teacher, your parents or the cops that's OK. If you see someone doing something illegal and you approve of it, that's OK too.". Of course nothing of the kind will be said by anyone who wants to keep the approval of the mob, as all celebrities do. So don't use sporting stars as your role models. Use those who act in principled ways.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The Unhealthy Obsession with enslaving me.

Gerard Henderson (SMH july 3) has a right to be unhealthily obsessed with terrorism. It doesn't follow that those that aren't are committing non sequiturs. Nobody claimed that there was a causal link between AIDS and terrorism Mr. Henderson, but there is a causal link between AIDS deaths and the war on drugs. Deaths caused by government policy in the West outnumber deaths caused by terrorism even assuming only 10% of AIDS deaths resulted from policies that encouraged needle-sharing.
Governments do not have the right to be obsessed with terrorism or anything else because by definition obsession is excessive focus on a thing to the detriment of other things. The fact that a population was attacked does not give it's government a right to destroy it's people's freedoms. Historically the death toll from government limitations on freedoms dwarfs that from terrorism. September 11 added up to about 3 average days of Nazi murdering or 4 days of Soviet murdering. Clearly what we should be "obsessed" about is the limitation of government power, something Mr. Henderson used to be concerned about himself.
Nobody denies that islamic terrorists want to destoy our way of life, but why should we help them?

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Another Pathetic Excuse for Coercion (APEC).

There are types of laws, those designed to punish the guilty, those designed to hurt both the innocent and the guilty and those designed to hurt only the innocent. The new laws put in place for the APEC summit are the latter. Nobody who should legitimately be detained will be detained by these laws, nor will these laws serve any purpose other than to prevent the exercise of a persons rights. Nor is it the case that this is the result of ignorance or stupidity on the part of legislators, it is the sole consequence of malice. Put plainly these laws are acts of conscious evil.
When people are arrested under these laws they are detained for a period determined by politicians with no fair trial, either to determine guilt or an appropriate period of detainment. Judges will be required to have a presumption in favour of jailing people, who have not been convicted of anything. This is not only a blantant violation of their right to due process and presumption of innocence but wholy unneccesary for punishing the legally guilty. The legally guilty are by definition provably so, and therefore evidence of their wrongdoing can be put before a judge. Judges routinely remand defendents in custody if the benefit to the public interest outways the private interest in not being detained. Not only are the legally guilty detainable by this but those who the judge thinks are likely to be guilty and to reoffend while on bail. The new laws do not affect this, they only affect those a judge would not think are likely enough to offend that their remanding is justified. Only those the judge thinks are not a threat suffer. They suffer at the sole behest of the police, with no judical input whatsoever, contray to the Magna Carta. That’s happening a lot lately mostly (although not in this case) due to a ruler called John. Gee what happened the last time we had a ruler named John and our rights weren’t being respected? Could we do that again? Would that work?
The argument will be advanced that these measures are neccesary to protect the public, but as I’ve shown they only affect those who are no identifiable threat to it. So how do they protect anybody? Well perhaps they protect us against people who are a threat but can’t be proved as such even to the low standards of a bail hearing. This is a rediculous argument, the whole point of a bail hearing keep people in jail where the cost to the community of being free until trial is higher than the cost to them of letting them free until them. Therefore this law only results in detaining those who it is not worth detaining, thus costing the community through detention of it’s members. So the protection is evidently not worth the cost as judged even by those the state hires to make such judgements. Bear in mind these are people are paid by the government, not the community and responsible to the government not the community. So it’s asking for the power to lock people up when even people it pays won’t back it’s decision to lock them up without a required presumption (i.e. prejudice) against them!
However there’s one intelligent suggestion Iemma and co., random police searches. I’ve wanted to randomly search police for years. It’s amazing how often they’re carrying dangerous weapons. They claim they carry them to defend themselves and enforce the law. However I’ve checked and according to the new laws I’m not allowed to have guns for that purpose. Some people have suggested that the police randomly search people in the city, which makes no sense. It’s an admission that you have no idea how to stop terrorism and now you’re just guessing what might work. Even inveterate sociopaths do not generally have incriminating evidence right on them. The terrorist population is less than 1/100,000th of the population, unless there’s more than 40 terrorists in Sydney right now. So clearly if the aim is to catch terrorists the resources wasted will be massive. Since any terrorists will be aware of these searches they will have scouts out to guide them away from points where they might be search. Of course if the idea is to get the populace used to warrantless, unjustified searches and random police harrassment it’s brilliant.
Those who drafted and passed these law are not ignorant of the law, most of them are qualified lawyers and/or experienced legislators and those that aren’t have the advice of others that are. It is ludicrous to expect that legislation to could reach parliment without a lawyer examining and advising it’s proponents on it’s actual effect. This is particularly true regarding the NSW labour Right who excel in intelligence and knowledge, if not morality. So we cannot conclude that these laws were a mistake, they were a deliberate attempt to subvert our freedoms for political gain and thus a violation of the oaths of office of all the legislators who either voted for them or advanced them. Simply put they are immoral and somewhat treasonous and those who voted for them mostly knew it.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Why Labour's policies are the Liberals fault.

The Labour Party's new labour policy has just been announced and from what I can tell it's a shocker. They openly boast about how they'll be an interfering busibody in every shopping centre ready to tell you how to relate to your workers. But I don't blame the Labour Party I blame John Howard, who was the one who usurped vast power over the labour market from the states. When labour relations were largely a state responsibility each state competed with the others to have a good investment enviroment. As much as the unions wanted them to screw over their employers and as much as the Labour Party wanted to oblige them they had to contend with the possibility the employers would flee. With the decisions being made at national level it is now far more expensive to flee their reach and so far more onerous burdens can be placed on the shoulders of employers or non-union employees with non-standard contracts. The new policy is an entirely predictable, and predicted outcome of the WorkChoices initiative. Of course few will actually blame Howard for it because his supporters will pretend to see no fault and his attackers will see no fault with the policy. I just wish I had predicted this earlier so I could claim to be a pundit.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

If voters have to be registered, does that mean they're lethal weapons.

So anyway I sucumbed to my basest instincts last Saturday and voted. Yeah I know, STR-readers www.strike-the-root.com, I'm scum. You'll be happy to know my depraved attempt to force others to live by my choices failed. Although given the choices they chose to live by that's no good thing. In the word's of the Sydney Morning Herald "the worst government in Australia just got reelected". Well arguably sending us to war on a lie makes the Feds worse but in terms of sheer incompetence the NSW government unquestionably takes the cake. They then sell the cake to a politically connected private firm and agree to close lines at other bakeries so you have to buy the cake from said private firm or starve half to death waiting for lunch. Then the former premier gets a $400,000 a year job advising on cake marketing.

There will perhaps be vicious rumours that I voted for Peter Debnam, the least competent opposition leader in NSW history. This is a lie. I voted against Iemma, see the difference? Ok, you got me there is none in effect. The choice was between a party that had failed in every major area I could think of. Roads, hospitals, police, urban planning, civil order, everything. With the singular exception of reducing the state debt (which will of course increase again when they spend money to fix the problems after the election) they have done nothing any sane person would vote for.

And the mistakes weren't understandable, average mistakes they were whoppers. I mean what sort of idiot has a roads policy that deliberately increases congesting on public roads to increase the revenue of a private road proprietor? Did they really think that wouldn't leak? And then they tried to get the private road operator to simply waive those clauses of the contract, a contract they had paid the State government about a hundred million to get. Even assuming the directors were incredibly generous (with other people's money) how in the hell did they figure the shareholders would let them? Go back to law school guys, it's called fiduciary responsbility to the owners. The directors are smart enough to know that, after all they were smart enough to hire guy who was premier at the time the deal was signed. I wish I could get a job at several times the average wage after doing my job as badly as he did his.

Then there's the planning power fiasco. Basically nobody owns any land really in the land of the long weekend we just own the right to have our development applications rejected. However at least they're rejected by a semi-accountable, semi-transparent council that has to obey certain rules and that we can take to court. That's not good enough for our lords and masters who wish to be able to inflict any abomination on our communities while retaining the power to forbid anything more offensive than a new veranda light. So Frank Sartor, minister for planning is given the power to override all development laws, including enviromental laws, regulations to do with traffic congestion, native title, the whole bit, to approve anything he thinks is important. Naturally whether or not the project is backed by a rich property developer with bags of cash to donate to NSW Labor has nothing to do with it. That's the sort of rubbish I expect from leftists like http://www.lewrockwell.com/ and their ilk. Mr. Sartor's new powers have been described as "modest", by Mr. Sartor. Mr. Sartor is very rarely so described.

The trains are a shambles due to persistent mismanagement for over a decade. The only way they could stop "on time" records being abysmal was to change the timetable so they say the trains will be later. Hence there are less trains and overcrowding is overwhelming. Freight management's no better with ships waiting for days because the investment hasn't been made in infrastructure.

We're in a drought by the way so naturally the government is trying to tell us what to do with our water. This from the guys who wasted more water than anyone else in Sydney due to poor maintaince of the pipes. So the question arises, should we go for the massively expensive, enviromentally destructive, desalination plant that residents already hate before a sod of earth is turned or the clean, cheap, energy efficent recycling. Iemma claimed that Sydney-siders wouldn't drink recycled sewerage, despite the fact that such is completely safe and already flows into our drinking water from Blue Mountains communities. Of course now the people changed their minds after watching "a current affair" or something but not our Morris. No he's wedded to the idea like Britney Spears after a bender in Vegas. Well actually the commitments lasted longer than that, indicating that Britney has smarter advisers.

But none of this is important. No, what's important is that the voters of NSW will vote against people who didn't bring in "Work Choices" but stands in front of the same banner as the guy who did. So policies are no longer important, it's sheer guilt by association now. The morons that gave Iemma a second chance to "get back to work" (given the job he did this is no promise it's a threat) bought the argument that Debnam was too inexperienced to run NSW. How much experience do you need to know that concentrating all power in Frank Sartor's hands is a stupid idea? How much experience do you need to know that ignoring infrastructure to make your financials look good is bad in the long run? Or that corrupt Private-Public Partnerships that include guarantees that the Private guys won't lose money mean that the Public guys will? I mean think about it, why would a private firm insist on guarantees that an enterprise wouldn't lose money if it was a good idea? If they thought it was a winner they'd be falling over themselves to sign on with no guarantees they wouldn't lose their shirt. They'd concentrate on getting better conditions or prices rather than the right to loot the treasury if it all went pear-shaped. Tell you what voters of New South Wales, elect me. I have experience blaming others for my mistakes, spending money I don't have for lacklustre results, pretending things are going fine and promising I'll change in the future, just like Iemma does. The difference is I'll work for much less than Iemma. Michael Price The Premier You Deserve! And not in a good way.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Wrong on Venezula

Usually the source of a news story tells you much about it’s credibility. The New York Times is not at all credible, Fox news not very, and most of the mainstream media not much better. This has little to do with “left” or “right” bias, Lewrockwell.com and Counterpunch.com are equally excellent. Unfortunately the latter has let us down with the defence of Chávez’s destruction of what little press freedom there is in Venezuela (The Case of Venezuela's RCTV By GEORGE CICCARIELLO-MAHER).

His first defence of the villiany in Venezulan video is the entire thing has nothing to do with free speech. Of course this does not lead to him denying that the non-renewal of a “concession” worth millions of dollars is due to the statements made on behalf of the owners of that concession. Indeed he goes claim that they “endorsed” “organized rebellion and premeditated murder”. Gee what horrible people, presumably the people who did this are under arrest for such things? And of course there would have to be a trial given the seriousness of these allegations? Of course not, they just got their TV station taken away. Well that is to say some of the people ciccariello-mahar accuses did, since he accused all the Venezulan media and only RCTV actually got the axe. Of course the other media owners don’t need to be expropriated, they got the message already and will no longer be endorsing anything but the government. Of course George Washington endorsed rebellion, as did Nelson Mandela and Winston Churchill are these all villians?

A series of “false” claims are trumpeted as the reason why people think that a government taking a TV station away from the legal owner and giving it to someone more pliable is an attack on free speech. Firstly of course it’s entirely false that the government is behaving abnormally. Just because you can’t remember the last time someone did anything like this who wasn’t a dictator siliencing his critics doesn’t mean that it’s abnormal. No it’s entirely normal, it happened at least once before*.

After all it’s all about “media responsibility”. Responsibility to their shareholders? Obviously not since they got ripped off. Their advertisers then? Again, no since they expressed no displeasure at RCTV and if they had they would not need the government’s help to punish them. How about their viewers? Again, no, they don’t seem at all upset with the station. No it’s the government that they are responsible to. And here was I thinking that the press were to keep the government responsible. The army is responsible to the government and the police as well, in a free society the media is not.

Of course “were this constitutional provision fully enforced and legislated, the private media might be able to claim that their existence is somehow more difficult than other media outlets the world over.” and in the case of RCTV they’d be right because he’s refering to a Bolivian constitutional provision which people in Caracus would be rightfully upset about being subject to. He refers to it in an attempt to persuade us that this is all normal, but of course immediately admits that it is not enforced. So having laws designed to be dictatorial on the books is pretty standard, but enforcing them isn’t, and Chavez isn’t just writting them. On the whole though I’d say that the existance of RCTV is more difficult than other media outlets the world over, because it’s now clearly at the whim of the government and no owner can count on investments in it unless assured the government won’t decide to give it the boot. Of course the owners aren’t the station, but they are by definition the ones that control it, that hire the workers, determine what goes on air etc. If they need to bend over for the govenrment so does the entire station.
But perhaps the new owners will be made of sterner stuff, maybe they’re the type to say “Hang the tens of millions of dollars in expense, we’ll tell the truth.”. So who are these new owners, because after all the ‘The government is "closing" a media outlet.’ is another one of those lies we’re being fed. The concession will be “granted to either another private corporation, a mixed public-private corporation, a collective of workers, or some other combination”. Well thank god, for a moment there I thought he’d be vague. The station will be run by either a) people who know that guys with guns can shut them down at any time, b) a combination of the above with the guys with guns that can shut them down, a collective or workers who are not at all connected with, beholden to, allied with or otherwise sympathetic to the guys with guns (they just happened to be passing outside the party room when someone threw out a license to print money) or d) someone else who knows which side his bread is buttered on.

But I’ve skipped ahead, like the ill-manner blogger I am, right over the justification Chavez was acting in accordance with high moral principals just like those of, wait for it, THE FCC! My god, a leftist is appealing for moral sanction from the putrid ethical sludge that slithered, decayed yet vibrant from what we will call the mind and soul of Herbert Hoover. Never mind that the FCC was designed solely for the purpose of controlling the airwaves for the monopoly benefit of the industry players and their corrupt lapdogs in Congress and the White House1. I mean for fuck’s sake pal read the manual, if you’re supporting Chavez you have to be a leftist, and if you’re a leftist you’re supposed to OPPOSE the backroom buggery by the bourgeoise and the beaurcrat of the consumer. It says it right here in “Partisan propaganda crap for dummies”, page 15, or were you too impatient to try out pages 1-14 to read that far? Of course appealing to the FCC for moral sanction has a few pitfalls, like it’s well known “content restrictions on broadcasting”, which are presumably different from censorship because the’re all about responsibility, they are “more strict, it should be mentioned, than in many European nations”. But perhaps I’m being unfair, after all the FCC did shut down a station in similar circumstances so perhaps the comparison is just. You see the owner was saying irresponsible things about how to cure cancer. The FCC acted entirely properly and in no way abused their massive powers to favour the politically powerful A.M.A., don’t listen to that Rothbard guy, he’s got a “conspiratorial veiw of history”.

The FCC licenses and the Chavez government “concessions”, but they are effectively the same thing, which according to incurious George are "the juridical means by which the administration cedes to a person the privative use of something in the public domain, or the management of a public service, for a determinate period of time and under certain conditions.". And what is it that is allegedly in the “public domain,” or consists of “the management of a public service”. Well I happen to have a copy of the TV license here “Youse guys can play send out your telley shows on frequency and we won’t kill you for doing it. Unless we got a really good reason or something.”. So that’s what RCTV has that is “in the public domain” a (nonenforcable) promise that if they do something the government break their heads, nothing more. Those who claim that RCTV owes something to somebody because they’re using a frequency should ask themselves “Who died and left that frequency to the govenrment?”. The government no more holds the spectrum just because it’s got guns than it has freehold on all land it hasn’t sold to some sucker. RCTV was there first and has every right to broadcast without interference as long as they are not interfering with anyone else’s broadcasts. It could only considered “use of a public good” if spectrum wasn’t excludable and rivalrous, which it is and has been since at least April, 1926 and the United States v. Zenith Radio Corp. That case said “first come first served” applying the same rule that applies to land and natural resources in every just land. In any case it can hardly be argued that the government can play around with RCTV because it’s “concession” is so valuable since the only reason it is that valuable is that the Venezulan government has so restricted the media market for the benefit of the oligopolies. Somehow the idea of hurting said oligopolies by actually abandoning the “concession” system and allowing free competition occurs to neither left or right.

Of course the whole “concession” system has been abused for centuries to monopolise things that ar ein no way either “in the public domain” or “management of a public serivce”. There is no real reason why oil is “the public domain” any more than any other resource is, to give an example Ciccariello-maher references. The granting of oil concessions on the basis of government favouritism as opposed to homesteading of well has led to enormous money earners being “traditionally and undemocratically granted to large corporations which have been given free rein to reap unlimited profits” in corrupt deals that encourages the coups, stagnation and violence that have plagued oil rich countries the world over. Of course you might ask what oil concessions, which concern something that run out, have to do with using a fequency which won’t. I don’t know either but somehow they’re all the same according to George. Basically George wants to end “the disgusting privileges of a communications oligarchy allied with international financiers.", or at least the disgusting privileges of that part of the oligarchy that pissed off the all powerful God-President.

That’s ok though because “What could be more democratic than handing Channel 2 over to the 63 percent of Venezuelans who voted for Chávez?”. Well handing over all the channels in America to Ronald Reagan in the 80s, and Margret Thatcher could grab ITV and Thames in merrie old England. Or Mr. Howard could... could... could fucking die if even tries it. I serious John any move to grab TV stations like Chavez did and you’re fucking history. I know where you live. Well so does everyone but still, I know. I mean Jesus H. Christ who is stupid enough to think that giving TV stations as electoral prizes is a good idea? This guy got a degree? All I got out of my cereal packet was a fucking plastic spaceman, no fair.

Here’s an idea what could be more democratic than handing over Channel 2 over to the 63% who voted for Chavez, how about you just ditch the idea that the government owns the airwaves for good? Any joe blow can just start broadcasting whatever he wants provided it doesn’t block an existing signal. That’s pluralism, that’s freedom, that’s “democracy” in the sense of a free society that freely selects it’s leaders by freely examining the issues and openly debating them. What George suggests is “democracy” in the sense of 51% can kill 49% because they say so.
I don’t understand why this crap got on conterpunch.com. Surely they’re leftists but they’re not normally idiots. Just because someone resists the West in general and the US in particular doesn’t make them a saint (you might remember a recently deceased arab who died well, if not soon enough).