Thursday, April 30, 2015

Look what you made me do

The flood of comment in mainstream media and online over the Indonesian executions has predictably included plenty from the 'serves them right' brigade.

Typical of the comments is a letter in today's Sydney Morning Herald, which begins: "How many bleeding hearts will be lamenting at graveside vigils for young drug addicts whose lives are destroyed by profiteering drug smugglers."

It's all the fault of the drug suppliers you see. Users have no say in the matter, no choice, no responsibility. It's not their decision to take drugs, it's a decision forced on them by the suppliers.

I can't even begin to understand why they've ignored me and just about everyone I know. It's  surely in the suppliers' best interests to have us all buying their product, so why haven't they made us take their drugs?

Or could it be that in fact it's the users who've created the market? That the users actually make their own decision to take drugs and then go to find some?

Extrapolating the 'it's all the dealers' fault' claim, chemists  must be responsible for some people becoming addicted to prescription drugs. Bars must be responsible for some people being alcoholics. Fast food outlets must be responsible for some people becoming obese.

If there was no market there would be no supply.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A ministry of incompetents

Incompetent. Lightweight. Clueless. Inept.

I was cynical about the ability of our federal ministers from the beginning but they're even worse than I expected them to be.

On ABC radio within an hour we had Scott Morrison, Minister for Social Services, considered one of the best-performing ministers, and Greg Hunt, Environment Minister, serving this up:

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Okay. I mean, you've got to find some money, it's not just a spending problem that you've got at the moment though is it?

SCOTT MORRISON: No, I'd largely disagree with you. I mean it's the expenditure blow-outs that has been the problem over the past six years. I mean you don't chase revenue short-falls down a hole.

What you do is make sure you get your spending under control because that's what you can control. That's what governments can control..."

A man recently touted as the next Treasurer believes governments can only control spending, not revenue.

Greg Hunt offered what appeared to be a Monty Python sketch when he was interviewed by Linda Mottram.  That's here.

I should remind you that this is a federal minister, not a ten year old in a school debate

Tony Abbott's come up with plenty of examples of his own, stuff like 'climate change is crap', but my favourite is probably: "As Minister For Women, what have you done for women?" 
TONY ABBOTT: I removed the Carbon Tax".

Then there's Smokin' Joe, so out of touch and out of his depth that only someone like Tony Abbott would even think of keeping him as Treasurer.

Abbott said there were no women in coalition ranks capable of  being ministers, except for one, Julie Bishop. Ironic isn't it that she's the only minister I'd exclude from the list of total incompetents.

They're not only an embarrassment, the're doing untold harm to the country.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Power out(r)age

There's been a lot of weather about for the past week, including a cyclone which resulted in us having no power for 36 hours: no internet, no phones, no communications, no heating.

We were hit on Monday night by a Category 2 cyclone (which we strangely don't call cyclones this far south, we call them East Coast Lows) with wind gusts up to 135kph and regularly around 80-90kph.

It caused predictable chaos, mainly due to the refusal of the power companies to put the bloody power lines under ground.

Up north the cyclones tend to blast through quickly. This one lasted about 36 hours, seemingly endless gale force winds bringing down trees and fences, tearing off roofs.

That was followed by a day of sunshine then, out of nowhere, a hailstorm for about ten minutes, followed by thunder and lightning all night long.

The cyclone was a real disaster. Eight people lost their lives and the state suffered hundreds of millions of dollars of damage. A quarter of a million people were without power for days, and even now there are some who haven't been reconnected.

The cause of that is that the power lines are still nineteenth century style, overground and strung between wooden poles.

Gum trees drop big branches all year round and in wet windy weather they fall over completely. So the trees fall on the wires, and some of the wooden poles themselves are brought down, resulting in live wires coming down.  In summer that causes catastrophic bush fires. No fires in winter, but any time of year, every year, it results in massive costs to the economy.

And every year the power companies parrot on about the cost of putting the cables underground being too high.

Yet year after year, damage of hundreds of millions of dollars is caused to the economy.

It's long overdue that they should be told to cut the crap and put the bloody cables where they belong and where they don't pose a threat. Underground.

The pics show just some of the power lines down along the road between us and the local shopping mall.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Slap on wrist for murderer.

Michael Aller. A long history of violent acts against women. Including:

In 2008, breaching an AVO, sent intimidating & sexually degrading phone messages to a former partner. Followed by abusing her in the street and throwing a brick through her window.

2011, breached another AVO, punching another girl in the face in an RSL club.

2012, repeatedly stabbed partially paralysed Amy Alton in "a sustained and ferocious" attack, killing her.

The kind of homicidal maniac Blind Freddy could see we need off the streets.

Justice Peter Hidden has other ideas though. He said the thug has "a propensity for domestic abuse when drinking", and he's a serial offender. Then gave him a sentence of eleven and a half years for manslaughter.

Surely there has to be an appeal.

It was murder after a long history of violent acts which led up to it. Only a matter of time springs to mind. He should be in jail or a mental institution for life.

He was found not guilty of murder on the basis of 'substantial impairment'. What bullshit. It was murder. Nothing else.

If they want to take his mental state into account when sentencing, that's another thing entirely. But murder is murder. And it should carry an appropriate sentence.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Paranoid panic sets in

Paranoia and panic set in amongst a certain group during the lead-in to Easter and culminated in the oddly named Reclaim Australia demos on Easter Saturday.

The main cause of their panic seems to be that sharia law is about to be introduced.

(They also don't like food to be labelled as halal, although how that affects them I don't know, any more than food labelled kosher or unlabelled food does).

I've lived in a Muslim country, the UAE, and spent time in other Gulf states and other Muslim countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia. I've lived in Christian countries such as Austalia and the UK and in predominently Buddhist Singapore, which also has large Hindu, Muslim and Christian minorities.

The people in all of them act in very much the same way in relation to their religion.

Just the same as the people you know, if you think about it.

Most don't give a toss.

In all the places I know some follow the faith to the letter, pray or go to the place of worship as often as required.

Many more go to the place of worship once a week or once in a while, or only on special days.

The vast majority don't do any of that.  While nominally of the religion, they don't go to the church/mosque/temple and have no formal contact with the religion.

For example, Christians only go to a church for weddings and funerals. So it is with Muslims.

In the UAE you hear the call to prayer but you don't see everyone rushing to the mosque any more than you see people here in Oz rushing to the church on Sundays. They simply carry on doing whatever it is they're doing.

With all religions only a small minority are passionate, fanatical about it.

That fact makes nonsense of the paranoia that sharia law is about to be forced on Australians.

We have around half a million people who say they're Muslim. If even an unlikely quarter of them wanted to live under sharia law, that's 125,000 people.

How do the Reclaim Australia mob work out that 125,000 people can impose sharia law on the other 25 million of us?

Here are some of them:

If that lot claim Australia I'm outa here.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

The paranoids are out

The rain brought the loonies out today. Nothing much else to do on a typically rainy Easter weekend I guess.

The current banner they're gathering under is Reclaim Australia.

Apparently, if you're paranoid enough, all 2% of Muslims in Australia want Sharia law and are going to exert their will over the 98% majority to have it introduced for all of us.

Twitter, Facebook etc are full of stories and photos - most of them are along the lines of mobs of red faced macho men screaming abuse and jostling women who disagree with their bigotry, of red faced macho women screaming insults like 'I bet you went to university' at women who disagree with their bigotry.

I picked out some of my favourite photos:

Difficult word to spell, halal.  Or maybe he doesn't like someone called Hala...while she seems to want Russian dolls banned.

I'm not sure about this mob - are they anti-Roman/Italian? Or are they Italians seeking asylum?  I'm as confused as they seem to be.

And it goes without saying that tatts are on display:

I really loved this comment from Adelaide, although I'm sure it would have been beyond the understanding of the Reclaim Mob:

Then , as usual, a cartoon said it all in a few strokes of the pen and a few words: