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It is becoming increasingly clear that there is no prospect of a Liberal party led by Malcom Turnbull ever returning to the party’s former core values of social conservatism, fiscal responsibility and personal integrity.

Being determined to win at any cost, and make any promises to do so, is not a win at all. Certainly not for the Australian people. Unless there are principles, there is no point.

Three years of Shorten and Plibersek is a ghastly prospect, with its certainty of increased energy costs and costs of doing business, higher unemployment and debt, and a reopening and refilling of detention centres.

But it is more and more likely that ordinary and loyal Liberal voters will see this as the only alternative to the destruction from within of conservatism in Australian politics.

Those of us who believe that social conservatism and economic libertarianism offer the best path for peace and justice and prosperity for Australia may well believe that this will only be achieved, and with it, a sound future for Australia, by sending a clear message that the Liberal Party needs to return to principled conservative leadership.

The real question is, how to do that without the horrendous cost to Australia of three years (at least) of Shorten and Plibersek?

There has already been a substantial member level backlash against elected members who voted to replace Tony Abbott with Malcolm Turnbull. Turnbull is simply not a conservative. He is a big spending, trendy issue, promise anything to get re-elected salesman. This is not what Liberal Party members, or ordinary Australians, want or need.

No conservative or traditional Liberal voter should feel guilty about giving first preference votes to other, conservative, candidates. In my electorate of Mayo, for example, Bruce Hicks of Family First will get my first preference. I know Bruce. He is a good guy; hard-working, a successful businessman in a very difficult industry (dairy farming) and a school principal. He knows about balancing budgets, and is a person of intelligence and integrity. He won’t be elected though. The seat will be retained by Jamie Briggs.

There is nothing much wrong with Jamie. The press has been monumentally unfair to him on occasion, but he has generally done a good job for his electorate. Apart from supporting an idiotic $20 million white elephant airport development on Kangaroo Island, so that airlines can run routes from capital cities other than Adelaide direct to Kingscote. Except that every major airline has already said they have no interest in such routes and no intention of flying them.

Then there is his refusal to get behind the Kangaroo Island water gap/ferry as part of the national highway network. This is the single change that would do more than anything else to boost the island’s economy, make KI the jewel of South Australian tourism, and help to reverse SA’s declining attractiveness to overseas and inter-state tourists. At the moment it is often cheaper to fly from Adelaide to Bali for the weekend, than to take a family and car from Adelaide to KI for the weekend. Absurd. Jamie’s reason for refusing to support making the ferry part of the highway network (thus equalising transport and freight costs) is that it would give an unfair advantage to Kangaroo Island producers. This is equally absurd. How does partially removing a substantial disadvantage suddenly amount to an unfair advantage?

In addition, Jamie has given his support to what is surely the biggest pork barrel project in Australia’s history; the construction of submarines in Adelaide. Never mind the fact that the contract is to build submarines that haven’t been designed yet, using software that hasn’t been written yet. Never mind that the planned subs will be so much slower than surface navy vessels they will be unable to carry out escort duties, or effective intercept and denial. Never mind that it will take fifty years to build a fleet that will be outdated before the first one hits the water. Never mind that we could lease fast and tested Virginia class submarines from the US and have a functional fleet in five years at half the cost. And please don’t tell me we can’t use them because they can’t be serviced in Australia. A fully equipped service centre could easily be set up in Adelaide, with the subs returning to the US every ten to twenty years for an RCOH (Refueling Complex Overhaul).

Of course every Australian should mind all these things. Our defence focus is rightly on our navy. Defence personnel take enough risks and make enough sacrifices without having to worry about slow, second rate equipment. Tax payers make enough sacrifices that they should not have to worry about paying an extra $20 billion for submarines, even second rate French submarines, just so they can be built in Adelaide. The argument is that this will create jobs in Australia.

The argument is hogwash. The wages and on-costs paid to those employees is money taken from other businesses and wage earners.  The government is simply vastly less efficient than private enterprise at almost everything. That costs money and productivity. Then there is the weight of tax collection and compliance costs, and layers of bureaucracy on top. Every job the government “creates” comes at a cost of 2.2 jobs in private enterprise.

What the “build the subs in Adelaide” boondoggle will do is create about 5,000 jobs in key marginal Liberal seats in Adelaide, at a cost of 12,000 jobs elsewhere. That is behaviour by government, which means the elected members, which should not be rewarded.

In the Senate, the options for conservatives are fairly clear. We need to give Turnbull and his cronies a good thump, while not risking a balance of power held by Xenophon or the Greens. Xenophon is a charismatic character with absolutely nothing to say. He is simply, like Malcolm, a principle-less, headline seeking, big-spending populist. No thanks. The Greens, well, if you could run steel factories on unicorn farts, the world would be a lovely place. Until then, we live in a real world, with real profits and losses and energy needs. So again, no thanks.

My advice would be, vote under the line. The Liberal Democrats, the Australian Liberty Alliance, Family First, are all thoughtful, well-rounded, principled conservative parties. They may get one candidate each in each state. Two would be brilliant. Then give the rest to the LNP. The result, fingers, arms and ankles crossed, should be a Senate where the balance of power is held by real conservatives, while still giving the LNP room to govern effectively.

So, pace Miranda, it is entirely possible to be a deliberate, delectable, delicious conservative, determined to deliver without delay while deleting de louses, and not be at all delusional.

Many of the media criticisms of Pope Francis have been unfounded, unfair, or simply silly. But this much more thoughtful article by Adam Shaw, an actual practicing Catholic, points out a history of mediocrity and confusing comments that are doing real harm. No question Jorge/Pope Francis is a great pastor and a caring man. But he does not have the intellectual capacity or discipline to be Pope. Of course, the fact is, he is Pope.

Some people would say this means he ought to be, and therefore whatever he says and does is part of the divine plan.

Yes but, yes but, yes but … human stubbornness or deceit or pride can get in the way of God’s perfect plan. That’s what sin does. There was a considerable amount of wrangling in the last conclave. That sends warning signs. What we can do is pray for Pope Francis, that God will lead and encourage him in the right way, and at the same time exercise the critical judgement, thoughtfulness and reason that the Church has always encouraged in its members.

All things work together for good, for those who love the Lord. Romans 8:28

In 2012 Stanford University’s Centre for Health Policy did the biggest comparison of organic and conventional foods and found no robust evidence for organics being more nutritious. A brand-new review has just repeated its finding: “Scientific studies do not show that organic products are more nutritious and safer than conventional foods.”

…  animals on organic farms are not generally healthier. A five year US study showed that organic “health outcomes are similar to conventional dairies”. The Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety found “no difference in objective disease occurrence.” Organic pigs and poultry may enjoy better access to open areas, but this increases their load of parasites, pathogens and predators. Meanwhile the organic regulation against feeding bee colonies with pollen supplements in low-pollen periods along with regulation against proper disinfection leads to sharply lower bee welfare.

Organic farming is sold as good for the environment. This is correct for a single farm field: organic farming uses less energy, emits less greenhouse gasses, nitrous oxide and ammonia and causes less nitrogen leeching than a conventional field. But each organic field yields much, much less. So, to grow the same amount of wheat, spinach or strawberries, you need much more land. That means that average organic produce results in the emission of about as many greenhouse gasses as conventional produce; and about 10 per cent more nitrous oxide, ammonia and acidification. Worse, to produce equivalent quantities, organic farms need to occupy 84 per cent more land – land which can’t be used for forests and genuine nature reserves.

Bottom line: Organic farming costs lives and is far worse for the environment.

Lots of assumptions were made following the Orldando shooting.

One assumption everyone seems to have made was that the murders were, at least in part, motivated by homophobia. The reason for this was that the shooting took place at a well-known gay nightclub.

But there is no evidence that the shooter was anti-gay. None.

His ex-wife thought he was gay. He frequented the Pulse Club, and used gay dating apps.

He also scouted other possible locations for the shooting, including the local Disney park.

There are no anti-gay remarks on any of his social media posts, or in any of his private messages. His calls during the shooting mention ISIS, and his desire for revenge on America. But he said nothing about gays.

Whatever his possibly confused sexuality, it now seems clear he chose the Pulse Club not because it was a gay club, but because it was a place he knew well, he knew there would be a large number of people in small place where it was difficult to exit quickly, and because it was a gun-free zone, and he knew he would face little effective resistance.

His ex-wife reports the FBI told her not to reveal her husband was gay. Why?

From the linked article …

“At least four Pulse clubgoers remembered seeing Mateen at least a dozen times in the past. But authorities said they had no further information when asked about the sightings on Monday. NBC reported that the FBI was looking into his alleged club visits.

“[He’d get] really, really drunk,” Smith told the Canadian Press. “He couldn’t drink when he was at home — around his wife, or family. His father was really strict . . . He used to bitch about it.”

They also shot down claims that Mateen had snapped after seeing two men kissing each other in public.

“That’s bullcrap, right there. No offense. That’s straight-up crap. He’s been around us,” Smith said. “Some of those people did a little more than (kiss) outside the bar … He was partying with the people who supposedly drove him to do this?”

Kevin West, another regular at Pulse, told the Los Angeles Times that Mateen used gay dating apps on a regular basis and even messaged him on a gay dating app, Jack’d.”

Global temperature tracks sunspot activity almost exactly. Number of sunspots now? Zero. Cold times are coming.

Sunpsots

Sunspots

Iran is building a military base in the Kurdish heartland of Northern Iraq, apparently specifically to target the Kurds, who are leading the fight against ISIS.

If this marks a new level of understanding betweeen Iraq and Iran, then it amounts to the creation of a Shi’ite arc extending from Hezbollah in Lebanon, through Syria and Iran down into Shi’ite majority Iraq.

The Saudis won’t like this.

Visit Blissyoo.

Don’t let Facebook decide what you see and what you can post.

Blissyoo means no censorship of posts, freedom of speech, videos, music, groups, pages, news, and soon, revenue sharing.

Visit, join, invite your friends.

Fukushima, vaccines, chemtrails. It is always the same.

CT (Conspiracy theorist) “Something really bad and scary is happening!”

Me “I don’t think there is any evidence to support that.”

CT “That’s because there is a massive cover-up. The (government, power companies, big pharma, Monsanto) are deliberately hiding the truth from the public.”

Me ” How do you know that?”

CT “Because there is no evidence. If they weren’t covering it up, there would be. Isn’t that obvious? Are you crazy or something?”

In response to the customary whining on the ABC about possible reductions in the government spending other people’s money:

Cuts to arts funding are not ‘tantamount to the Coalition Government standing bang in the middle, right on top of Uluru with a megaphone, shouting “Oh just work for free! You know you want to!”‘

It is simply that ordinary tax payers are getting fed up with paying for other people’s hobbies. Artists do not have to work for nothing, nor are they expected to. Like the rest of us, whether butcher, baker, or candle-stick maker, they simply need to produce something other people value enough to pay for.

If they can’t or won’t, that’s fine, but then they have no right to demand the government force working families to pay for what is often mind-bogglingly dull and uncreative “art” that no one would buy if they had a choice.

Government funding for the arts encourages dependence and mediocrity. Time to can it completely.

If you want people to pay for something, make something people are willing to pay for.

An update on the new website, www.blissyoo.com.

As some of you know, for the last several weeks I have been working on a new website, www.blissyoo.com, an alternative to Facebook.

There were two major reasons for this. Firstly, Facebook has made Mark Zuckerberg and a few others very, very rich, while those who do most of the work and provide all the content – you – get nothing at all. It is fair enough that most advertising income goes back to running the website. It is hugely expensive to develop software, run servers, provide support, etc. But how is it right that the people who put in what makes everyone keep coming back – you – get nothing for your efforts?

We have done the sums, and believe we can give users back 20% of all advertising income from their home page/wall/timeline (we call it your journal, but more on that later).

The second reason is that Facebook actively edits out news stories and posts it doesn’t like. That is just wrong. Who is to say that your opinion, photos, likes and and dislikes, should simply be ignored because they don’t fit somone else’s political agenda? We take the view that while anything publicly viewable should be family friendly, on your own journal, among your own friends, and in groups and communities you create, you should be able to post anything you like (as long as it’s legal, obviously!).

The other side of that coin is that this site is not a “safe zone.” If you are someone who is offended by the thought that some people might see things differently from you, or becomes distressed when you hear an opinion you do not share, this is not the community for you!

Below is the site logo, designed for us by Simone Halloran of Little Birdy Design.

It is a B for bliss. It is also a heart, and suggestive of a winding road – a journey – and perhaps a mother holding a child. I couldn’t be happier with what Simone has done for us.

We have just finished sorting some minor issues with text size and colour, chat system and music sharing, and are now in the middle of the move from shared hosting for development, to dedicated servers in the US and Singapore plus CDN for live/production mode.

Once that is done, two days of testing to ensure all database settings have moved across and then bang! A blissful flight into the future 🙂

Bliss logo - blue on white300

Ah, the good old days. And joined by Rob Oakeshott? What a triumph!

Malcolm Turnbull Votes Against His Own party

Malcolm Turnbull Votes Against His Own party

It is becoming increasingly clear that there is no prospect of a Liberal party led by Malcom Turnbull ever returning to the party’s former core values of social conservatism, fiscal responsibility and personal integrity.

Being determined to win at any cost, and make any promises to do so, is not a win at all. Certainly not for the Australian people. Unless there are principles, there is no point.

Three years of Shorten and Plibersek is a ghastly prospect, with its certainty of increased energy costs and costs of doing business, higher unemployment and debt, and a reopening and refilling of detention centres.

But it is more and more likely that ordinary and loyal Liberal voters will see this as the only alternative to the destruction from within of conservatism in Australian politics.

Those of us who believe that social conservatism and economic libertarianism offer the best path for peace and justice and prosperity for Australia may well believe, as I am coming to do, that this will only be achieved, and with it, a sound future for Australia, by sending a clear message that the Liberal Party needs to return to principled conservative leadership.

Even if the short-term cost is three years of Shorten.

Frost Strikes France’s Burgundy and Loire Wine Regions.

Freezing temperatures from Chablis to Côte Chalonnaise to Chinon and Montlouis damage young vine buds, threatening this year’s crop

Early reports from the Loire were not hopeful. “In the memory of vignerons, there are two major freezes: 1991 and 1994. This is on the level of 1994. It’s historic,” said Guillaume Lapaque, director of the federation of the Indre-Loire wines trade group and the Bourgueil wine syndicate. “It froze on three nights—April 18, April 25 and then April 27.”

Lapaque said he does not have exact estimates of damaged vines yet, but the early word is bad. “In Bourgueil and St.-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil it’s between 50 and 60 percent. In Chinon, it’s a little less, about half. In Montlouis, it’s very serious. And in Vouvray, happily it’s not too serious overall, although some vineyards have problems.”

More cold is in the forecast, but Lapaque adds that the damage has already been done. “You can’t set fire to a forest that has already burned. The lower vineyards froze, it doesn’t matter if they freeze again. The upper slope vineyards didn’t, and we don’t expect them to,” said Lapaque.

I spent some time at QUT studying law. It was an interesting experience. I knew when one of the lecturers made the claim that the Blackstone contained the “rule of thumb” – a provision in law that men could beat their wives with a rod provided it was no thicker than a thumb – that theory was more important at QUT than reality. Blackstone of course says nothing of the sort, if anything highlighting the greater protection women have under English law.

So when I first read about this story almost two years ago, I was not surprised.

Two students entered a resource room. Several computers were free and they began to use one. They were confronted by a staff member who demanded to know if they were indigenous. They said they were not and she told them they would have to leave because that room was reserved for the use of indigenous students. They left without fuss, but later asked on Facebook how anyone expected segregation and racism to be overcome by a policy of segregating people and resources on the basis of race. Their posts were polite and intelligent.

The staff member concerned, Cindy Prior, made a complaint that their comments constituted racial vilification. She has been so traumatised she has been unable to work for the last two years.

Just to repeat. A staff member throws two students out of a resource room because they are the wrong race, and when they ask questions about this, they are accused of racial vilification. This is 18C. It is worth noting that the only reason this particular case has come to public attention is the the students have persisted in asking their questions, and in denying that they acted with any racial animosity. The vast majority of cases are “settled” in a Kafkaesque and labyrinthine system without any possibility of public scrutiny.

Now read on, from The Australian:

Two students accused the Human Rights Commission yesterday of “recklessly” breaching their human rights in a row stemming from a $250,000 damages claim brought by a worker who barred white students from a room at the Queensland University of Technology.

Jackson Powell and Calum Thwaites, who lodged separate complaints with the commission, are seeking a formal apology and compensation for their costs in defending racial hatred claims.

calumthwaites

QUT student Calum Thwaites prepares to defend himself against claims of racial vilification.

They say the commission has treated them with “flagrant indifference” because they are “white Anglo-Saxon heterosexual citizens who maintain a male gender identity”, have no criminal rec­ord, no outspoken political opinions and no record of participation in trade unions or religious sects.

Their lawyer, Tony Morris QC, said the commission’s conduct in managing the case had been “illogical, irrational and ­patently bizarre”, leading to gross unfairness to Mr Powell, Mr Thwaites and other students.

The students say their rights were infringed because the commission failed for at least 14 months to notify them they were being accused of racial vilification under section 18c.

The delay meant that while QUT, its staff and its lawyers had 14 months to prepare a defence to the claims by QUT staffer Cindy Prior, Mr Thwaites was told of the serious complaint days before he was told to go to a conciliation conference ordered and run by the commission. He had no funds and little time to get legal advice or achieve a resolution before the case escalated to the Federal ­Circuit Court.

The racial vilification case was lodged in the commission in late May 2014 by Ms Prior, who ­alleges she was severely traumatised by Facebook posts from students responding to her action in preventing the men using QUT’s Oodgeroo Unit in May 2013.

The unit has been described as a “culturally safe space” for indigenous students, but there was no sign suggesting it was off-limits to white students who wanted to access computers that were not in use.

Ms Prior has been unable to work for 2½ years and wants $250,000 from QUT and the students.

Well I was wrong about 4,000 new jobs in Adelaide at a cost of an additional $18 billion to build the subs here. Christopher Pyne says it’s 2,800 jobs. Let’s be generous and say 3,000.
 
That’s $6 million per job.
 
I have an idea. Why not let the Federal government pay 3,000 unemployed people in Adelaide $100,000 per year for ten years to sit around and do absolutely nothing. That’s a million dollars each. That would cost $3 billion.
 
Then we could get the subs built in France and save $15 billion, and Christopher Pyne would be so popular he would still get to save his seat.
 
Why not? Because it would be absolutely freaking ridiculous, that’s why not.
 
But nowhere near as freaking ridiculous as paying $18 billion for the same 3,000 make-work jobs.