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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

From a justifiably angry column in the Jersusalem Post

“Even if the Palestinians want peace, Hamas won’t let them have it, because Hamas knows best, and jihad “is the only solution.” Don’t believe me, read the Covenant. It likes nothing better than killing Jews, and the bigger bully in Teheran thinks that’s a damn fine thing too. No one says a word, because the UN is dominated by the Islamic states, and the Western governments know where the oil comes from, and nobody likes the Jews much anyway. The people calling for the end of Israel while they march on the streets of London and Dublin aren’t all Muslims by any means.” 

“In a bizarre reversal of all their commitment to human rights and the struggle of men and women for independence and self-determination, the European Left has chosen again and again to side with the bullies and to condemn a small nation struggling to survive in a hostile neighborhood. It is all self-contradictory: The Left supports gay rights, yet attacks the only country in the Middle East where gay rights are enshrined in law. Hamas makes death the punishment for being gay, but “we are all Hamas now.” Iran hangs gays, but it is praised as an agent of anti-imperialism, and allowed to get on with its job of stoning women and executing dissidents and members of religious minorities. If UK Premier Gordon Brown swore to wipe France from the face of the earth, he would become a pariah among nations. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad threatens to do that to Israel and is invited to speak to the UN General Assembly.”

It is worth reading the whole article.

Worth noting too, that Hamas says that the condition for any reconciliation between itself and Fatah, in other words, the condition for a unified Palestian Authority, is that Fatah must cease any discussions or negotiations with Israel.

How many times does it need to be said? No matter what Israel does, there can be no peace with Hamas. For heaven’s sake, Hamas says the same thing. 

Australia Day honours and all that. A chance for recognition for people who have made a substantial contribution to their local communities or to state or nation.

In addition to many other awards, numbering in the hundreds, each year one person is selected by a committee to be ‘Australian of the Year’. My understanding is that the Prime Minister makes the final decision, but I cannot imagine the PM not accepting the committee’s recommendation.

This year’s choice is Mick Dodson. Pardon?

It is hard to think of anything positive Mr Dodson (or his brother Pat, for that matter) has done for Australia. In fact Mick Dodson is likely to be most closely associated in the minds of ordinary Australians with two mischievous and dishonest reports: that of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, and the notorious ‘Bringing them Home’ report about the Stolen Generations.

Dishonest because the Royal Commission (Dodson was counsel assisting) knew very well that the research showed clearly that the proportion of aboriginal deaths in custody was no higher than that of other ethnic groups, and in some cases lower, yet perpetuated the lie of higher aboriginal death rates. The report recommended special treatment and conditions for indigenous people based on the alleged additional difficulties faced by aboriginal people in coping with imprisonment, even though the research showed that some of the proposed special options, for example home or community detention, actually resulted in higher suicide rates than imprisonment.

Dishonest because despite page after page of tragic tales of separation from family (and some of them truly are tragic) the authors of the Bringing them Home report (Dodson was one of them) have not at any time been able to name even ten aboriginal persons who were removed from home or family because of government policy to ‘steal’ aboriginal children. No such policy ever existed anywhere in Australia.

There has been one case where a court has given compensation to an aboriginal person for being improperly removed from his home – that of Bruce Trevorrow. But Mr Trevorrow was able to claim compensation precisely because he was able to show that his removal was contrary to goverenment policy, and that the social worker who removed him (though it was clear she thought she was acting in his best interests, and rescuing him from a violent and abusive environment from which parental care was frequently absent) had acted beyond the powers granted to her.

These reports were mischievous because they falsely exposed Australia to international ridicule, harmed rather than improved actual outcomes for aboriginal people, and encouraged an ongoing refusal by some indigenous groups to acknowledge any responsibilty for their own life, work and well being.

Much more could be said, about, for example, Mr Dodson’s vocal and vindictive opposition to the Federal Government’s attempts to reduce the appalling rates of child sexual abuse in remote indigenous communities.

On what possible basis is Mr Dodson an appropriate or reasonable choice for Australian of the year?

For the first time ever, New Zealand Police have shot dead an innocent bystander.

This was a tense and complicated situation, in which other lives were at risk. The criminal the police were trying to stop was at that moment aiming a shotgun into the cab of a truck he was trying to hijack. The driver of the truck is convinced the police action saved his life.

Without the slightest evidence the shooting of seventeen year old Halatau Naitoko was anything other than a tragic accident, some are already demanding that the officer concerned stand trial.

How about letting the same rules apply to police as apply to everyone else, and have an investigation first?

Or even a single seat in a by-election? How many elections now is it since the Liberals had a victory? (Not counting the minority government of Colin Barnett in WA).

For non-Australian readers, the Liberals are the conservative party in Australia – we’re on the opposite side of the world, so this is perfectly logical, really.

But some things to note about the Frome by-election (South Australia’s first since 1994).

First, it may still be too close to call, with only thirty votes between the leading candidates, and the certainty of a recount.

Second, there were three conservative candidates: the Liberal Party’s Terry Boylan, the National’s Neville Wilson, and popular Mayor of Port Pirie, the independent Geoff Brock. The conservative vote was thus split three ways. The National Party candidate directed preferences to Geoff Brock, who appears to have won the seat. If those preferences had been given to Terry Boylan, he would have won comfortably.

Third, despite Premier Mike Rann’s claim that the result (the first ever loss of a by-election in SA by the opposition) is devastating for the Liberals, there was a net loss of 16% in the Labor Party vote.

While losing the seat is disappointing for the Liberal party, the result, with its massive loss in the primary Labor vote, is surely much more concerning for the Labor Party.  A swing of even half this amount across the state would see the return of the Liberals to power.

That said, this does confirm there are some real issues for the Liberals. The Liberal Party, both state and federal, has continuing difficulties finding credible leadership, and maintaining clear policies which are distinguishable from those of the Labor Party.

To regain their position as the pre-eminent political force in Australia, the Liberals need: strong leadership; clear and consistent conservative policies; to reinvigorate their partnership with the Nationals; to take more note of local issues; and to be more open to fielding popular local candidates.

Simple really.

It does not mean the Church agrees with every opinion expressed by the person concerned. It does not mean the person has been ‘reinstated.’ It simply means that the Church no longer regards the person as being outside its fellowship, and therefore excluded from salvation (always allowing for the hope in the constant mercy of God, it should go without saying).

So there is no reason at all for anyone to be up in arms because the Pope has lifted the excommunication of any person who has reaffirmed his commitment to Christ, even if that person happens to be a compete idiot who would do himself and the Church a big favour if he left his moronic opinions unsaid.

Debt collectors chase outstanding school fees.

In the category of making a flock of pigs out of a sow’s ear, the article claims that parents are unable to pay fees because of the worsening economic situation. This despite the Association of Independent Schools specifically saying they haven’t noticed any increase in the number of parents having difficulty making payment, and that this time of year typically sees some schools taking action to recover outstanding debts.

Ha ha.

Computer Games: Global warming is really bad for frogs because nasty UV rays get into their evaporated waterholes and cause mutations.

The Real World: Cold weather wipes out a whole generation of frogs.

OK, it’s not funny.

Another reason to cut it out with the fantasies and look at what’s really happening. The world is not getting warmer, and we are much more likely to be in trouble because of cooling than warming.

Via John Ray

President Obama will keep his Blackberry.

Wanting to have some privacy in communication with close friends and advisors sounds reasonable. But since it is a way to bypass the normal official communication channels, it will have to raise questions of access and openness. Perhaps more importantly, any kind of mobile device is vulnerable to hackers, who are not necesarily the most scrupulous persons when it comes to protecting the privacy and interests of others.

Microsoft laying off workers for the first time (?) and shares down by almost 8%.

Samsung, which accounts for about 20% of South Korea’s total exports, records its first ever quarterly loss.

Palestinian deaths greatly exaggerated. Most of those dead Hamas activists.

I guess the real surprise is that it is a Palestinian doctor who says so, and that it is actually being reported (even though not widely).

Any deaths are regrettable, and there is still (and will be for some time) disagreement about the total casualties, but given Hamas’ predilection for hiding behind women and children, this seems to me to confirm just how careful the Israeli forces were to minimise harm to civilians.

Via Instapundit and Samizdata, a request for funds to assist Geert Wilders in his defense against charges of inciting hatred against Muslims. The charges are based on Wilders film Fitna, in which verses from the Koran were read over visuals of Islamic terrorism.

According to the panel of three judges, Wilder’s insults against Islam were so serious as to outweigh his right to free speech. Hmm… We’ve had cases in Australia where quoting embarrassing verses from the Koran, or pointing out that Mohammed had sex with a nine year old girl, tortured his enemies, raped captured women, etc, have been called hate speech. Legislation in the state of Victoria specifically states that truth is not a defense.

You don’t have to agree with everything Wilders says to  believe that the charges against him are politically motivated, cowardly and wrong. He has said the Koran should be banned, since it is a genuine example of hate speech. I don’t think so. Its nasty and dull. But that’s not a crime. If it was dictated by God directly to the angel Gabriel, then God is a small minded bigot with little imagination and no poetic skill. I don’t think Mein Kampf should be banned either, or Silent Spring.

Suggesting the Koran or any book should be banned is wrong, but it is not evil. Radical Islamism is evil. Pointing this out, even in a society where people are accustomed to politer debate, should not be a crime.

You can donate to Wilder’s defense here.

via Tim Blair, this story from the Australian ABC. Hamas leaders declare victory, having defeated the zionist entity. So why are they still in hiding?

If the right person were pressured out just because of the family she comes from.

I’m not sure that Caroline Kennedy has had a fair run from the media, although she certainly hasn’t been subjected to the kind of outright malice directed at Sarah Palin. I’m not suggesting she was the right person. Cuomo certainly has more experience. But there seems to have been an assumption that she considered herself entitled to the senate seat simply on the basis that she is a Kennedy, and had nothing else to offer. I can see no reason to believe that is so.

And nearly three million displaced. There were angry protests around the world about Israel’s attempts to disarm Hamas. Where are the protests about the real genocide in Sudan?

Banning torture makes good headlines. But what is the point if it wasn’t being done anyway? It seems to me this is another case of trying to take the moral high ground, not by doing anything different or better, but by subtly suggesting that others were doing something bad that you needed to stop. My understanding is that for all the fuss about torture, water-boarding had only been used three times, and not at all since 2003.

Of course that still begs the question about when discomfort and embarrassment become torture, and under what circumstances making someone feel uncomfortable or embarrassed in order to obtain information might be acceptable. Comments welcome.