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Labor Party – John Howard To Blame

But of course.

Australian treasurer Wayne Swan says that tough measures to be introduced in tomorrow’s federal budget, are the fault of John Howard’s big spending policies.

When John Howard and Peter Costello’s government left office there was zero public debt, a substantial surplus (about $22 billion) lower taxes, record low unemployment, and higher real wages.

But it’s not our fault, say Rudd and Swan. It’s the wrong trousers. And they’ve gone wrong.

According to Swan ‘The opposition does not understand that the planned deficit is not a consequence of government spending.’  Ah. Right. OK then.

In February Peter Costello predicted the Labor government would never deliver a surplus budget. And of course was told he was a dinosaur, out of touch.

I agree with some of the measures to be introduced in tomorrow’s budget. The government shouldn’t be handing out money to people who don’t need it.

There is no reason why people on substantial incomes of $120,000 or more need me to subsidise their health care, or insurance, or home purchase, or baby clothes. Welfare and government support should be kept for those who really need it.

The Labor government is right to limit that kind of pointless spending – even though doing so is a breach of campaign promises.

But the savings will be minimal in terms of the overall budget. As will the increase in revenue from increasing the tax paid by the small percentage of successful people who already pay most, both in dollar terms and as a proportion of total taxes paid.

The real problem is massive and counter-productive ‘stimulus’ spending which will saddle ordinary Australian families with a debt amounting to between $10 and $15 thousand for every person living in this country.

If figures from the UK apply here, there will be another $10 to $15 thousand per person to meet Kyoto and ETS costs.

Rudd, Swan and their honchos are hopelessly divorced from reality.

One can only hope that some sort of cognitive dissonance will set in, and changes be made, before the Australian economy becomes a mess to rival the Augean Stables.

DDT – From De Facto Ban To Real Ban

And more people, possibly millions, will die as a result.

Every 30 seconds someone dies from Malaria. The same number as were killed in the 9/11 attacks every day and a half.

Most of these deaths – millions over the last 30 years – could have been avoided, and Malaria largely eradicated, through consistent and careful spraying with DDT, along with other protective measures.

At the UN’s  Stockholm Convention in 2001, 12 chemicals were banned, including DDT. The convention declaration permitted limited use of DDT for Malaria control.

DDT has actually been banned in a number of countries including the US, since the early seventies. A de facto ban has effectively been enforced in developing countries since then because foreign aid, including food and medical aid has been provisional on the non-use of DDT.

Some environmental activists and others have claimed that no ban, de facto or otherwise, ever existed. JF Beck has answered some of those claims.

There has never been any recorded case of DDT causing harm to any person, and no evidence that it causes any harm to anything other than insects.

Despite efforts to find alternatives, there is nothing as fast and as effective in controling malarial parasite carrying mosquitoes as DDT.

Spokesmen for Greenpeace and the World Wildife Fund have agreed that where there are no alternatives, DDT should be used.

But now another UN conference of over 150 nations has agreed that DDT must be phased out over the next few years, despite the fact that there are no effective alternatives to the use of DDT.

The UN and the World Health Organisation have lost the plot, with one commentator claiming the worst emerging disease threat facing the world is incompetent and obstructive WHO bureaucrats:

UN agencies’ virtual ban on DDT for mosquito control and their stultifying regulation of agricultural biotechnology are lamentable examples. The result is a more precarious, more dangerous and less resilient world. Why is there such relentless incompetence within the sprawling organization?

For more information, I recommend Paul Driessen’s book Eco-Imperialism: Green Power, Black Death which catalogues in detail the hunger, sickness and death which are the frequent result in developing countries of ill-informed western environmental activism.

Or see this earlier post for another book recommendation on a similar subject.

Pakistan – Possible Good Outcomes

Possible good outcomes for everyone except the bad guys, that is.

There is strong local support for the government’s attack on islamic extremists in the North West Frontier province of Pakistan.

Army chief General Ashfaq Kayani said last week the army was aware of the gravity of the threat and would “employ requisite resources to ensure a decisive ascendancy over the militants”.

A quick defeat of the Taliban in Swat would allow the army to move on to tackle militant strongholds on the Afghan border, such as North and South Waziristan, part of a region from where the Taliban orchestrate their Afghan war and where al Qaeda plots violence. Public opinion is generally behind the offensive and quick success would reassure the many who are sceptical about the alliance with the United States. It would also bolster support for unpopular President Asif Ali Zardari.

But all depends on the willingness and ability of the government and military to move with sufficient force and determination to eradicate the Taliban before costs in life and cash, and strains on infrastructure to support refugees, become too great to sustain.

The problem, even now, is that many Pakistanis believe India (or Jews) to be a greater threat than the Taliban.

Federal Opposition To Offer Alternative ETS Scheme

The Australia Federal Opposition (The Liberals, which means the conservatives, or would do if they had any backbone) is planning to offer an alternative to the government’s proposed emissions trading scheme.

Unless their proposed alternative is to scrap the whole stupid idea, they all deserve a kick in the pants, and we would be better off if the Wiggles were running the country.

We would definitely be better off if Chuck Norris was running the country, but he is probably too busy kicking someone else in the pants.

If you were trying to come up with another scheme as pointless and expensive as the ETS, you would have to imagine something like the government deciding that in order to save a newly discovered worm from extinction, it would completely fill in the Sydney Harbour with large concrete blocks.

The Liberals proposed alternative is like someone saying: ‘Hey no, concrete is the wrong colour, you should be filling up the harbour with shiny plastic blocks instead.’

Man Falls Out Of Boat Swatting Shark

This wouldn’t be funny if the guy had been hurt. But he wasn’t, so it is:

When a shark began to chew on the boat’s outboard motor, the man tried to fend it off with an oar. The man dropped the oar into the water and then fell in while trying to retrieve it.

“So he’s now in the water, his boat’s in gear and it’s heading off.”

Fortunately the shark, a Great White, merely circled the man a couple of times before heading off itself.

An entirely unrelated and probably photoshopped image of a Great White Shark and some divers somewhere in Australia: 

Great White Shark and Divers
Great White Shark and Divers

Australian Swine Flu Victim Fine

She caught it overseas, didn’t know she had it, and was better by the time she got back to Australia.

Of course the headline is ‘Health Chief Warns of More Swine Flu’

A six year old girl was listed as a ‘suspected case,’ the Herald Sun article tells us, to squeeze out the maximum scariness, just before admitting that in fact the girl doesn’t have anything at all.

Sorry guys, we’re not buying it any more. Time to go back to global warming.

Update.

Andrew Bolt points out that three times as many people (183) have died in the last six months in the Australian state of Victoria from medical blunders, than have died from Swine Flu in total, everywhere in the world.

Stimulus Plans As A Proportion Of GDP

This graphic from GlobeandMail shows the amount of  ‘stimulus’ spending in selected G20 countries in dollars and as a proportion of GDP. I have linked to GlobeandMail, but article content is subscription or pay per view.

Stimulus Spending as a Proportion of GDP
Stimulus Spending as a Proportion of GDP

Australia’s spending is proportionally higher than the US (though not by much), which means the amount of debt incurred for each citizen is higher. Which you would expect to mean a longer recovery.

But in spite of this absurd level of ‘stimulus’ spending, and directionless economic policy by the current Federal government, Australasian Investment Review believes that Australia is better equipped to cope with the global recession than most other advanced nations.

Surely the previous government’s careful economic management and years of surplus budgets wouldn’t have anything to do with that?

Chuck Norris Bites The Frost

And I bet he bites global warming as well. And communism. And terrorists.

Check out these Chuck Norris facts:

There is no ‘ctrl’ button on Chuck Norris’s computer. Chuck Norris is always in control.
Chuck Norris is the reason why Waldo is hiding.
Chuck Norris is so fast, he can run around the world and punch himself in the back of the head.
Chuck Norris can slam a revolving door.

But as well as being the ultra toughest guy in the universe ever, Chuck Norris also has a regular column at Town Hall. And guess what? He can write as well as he can punch stuff.

On Foreign Aid

Know-it-all Sir Bob Geldof is the former front man of the Boomtown Rats, a one hit wonder band from the seventies, and therefore qualifies (in his eyes) as an expert on foreign policy and development. Well, Leonardo De Crapio thinks he’s an expert on the science of global warming, so why not?

Two years ago Sir Bob called Australia ‘one of the meanest countries on the planet’ saying our level of foreign aid was amongst the lowest in the world, as a proportion of GDP.

That would be a moral issue worthy of consideration if there was any evidence that foreign aid, other than emergency aid, did the slightest bit of genuine good. If it could be shown, say, that countries which received development aid actually developed more than those that didn’t.

But as Fredrik Erixon, chief economist with Timbro, a Swedish think tank and book publisher, has shown, development aid to developing nations does not work. The more aid a country receives, the more likely it is to be locked into a cycle of increasing poverty. The graph below (taken from the BBC article linked above) shows that when aid received is high, economic growth is at its lowest. 

Aid to Africa and Growth Inversely Proportional
Aid to Africa and Growth Inversely Proportional

Kenyan economist James Shikawati explains why this is so in an interview with Der Spiegel. In essence, providing free food and clothes undermines any local industry, and encourages corruption and a passive expectation of rescue, which then leads to increasing resentment.

SPEIGEL: The industrialized nations of the West want to eliminate hunger and poverty.

Shikwati: Such intentions have been damaging our continent for the past 40 years. If the industrial nations really want to help the Africans, they should finally terminate this awful aid. The countries that have collected the most development aid are also the ones that are in the worst shape. Despite the billions that have poured in to Africa, the continent remains poor.

SPIEGEL: Do you have an explanation for this paradox?

Shikwati: Huge bureaucracies are financed (with the aid money), corruption and complacency are promoted, Africans are taught to be beggars and not to be independent. In addition, development aid weakens the local markets everywhere and dampens the spirit of entrepreneurship that we so desperately need. As absurd as it may sound: Development aid is one of the reasons for Africa’s problems. If the West were to cancel these payments, normal Africans wouldn’t even notice. Only the functionaries would be hard hit. Which is why they maintain that the world would stop turning without this development aid.

What works to bring nations out of poverty, as South Korea and Taiwan have demonstrated, is open trade, democratic government, and reward for effort and invention.

For related insights see Hal G.P. Colebatch’s article ‘Giving It Away’ in this month’s Quadrant magazine.

Experts: We Have No Idea If This Could Happen

And it has never happened before. But hey, you know, anything’s possible. So just be scared, OK?

A ‘top flu expert’ is warning of the dangers of a mutant swine/bird flu – one that is as infectious as swine flu (that is, about as infectious as any other flu) and as deadly as bird flu.

Bird flu is pretty deadly – mortality rates of up to 60% in the elderly or those in poor health. But only those already in poor health or with compromised immune systems seem susceptible. And there has never been a recorded case of human to human transmission of bird flu.

But who knows, swine flu and bird flu could get together and end up being a super flu with the worst characteristics of both. It is possible. Just. Viruses change and develop all the time.

But is it so likely that we should be worried about it and spend lots of money on it?  Definitely not. Especially not when the death toll from TB and Malaria are so high, and we could quite easily do something about those right now.

After all, leprosy and TB could get together, or bubonic plague and tooth decay. But we aren’t panicking about them. Yet.

I’ve Just Been Stimulated

By Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

My wife was stimulated at the same time.

Then we got a letter from the Tax Office telling us we had been stimulated, just in case we hadn’t noticed.

Most Australians will get a one-off stimulus ‘tax bonus’ of $900 from the Federal government.

I just don’t get it. How is it stimulating the economy to take money away from people who are earning it, working for it, producing something to get it, and handing it out willy-nilly to everyone?

It’s not free money, Mr Rudd.

I have been offering a stimulus special – a decent computer package for $900, with a tie-in to the education tax refund.

It has been going pretty well. But not as well, I suspect, as the ‘Let Us Stimulate You’ deal offered by the After Dark brothel in Sydney.

If experience is anything to go by, it will be liquor stores, brothels and gambling houses that benefit most.

But even if it wasn’t, you cannot spend your way out of debt. You don’t create jobs and increase production by taking extra money from productive people to give to people who are not. And you certainly don’t create any incentive to work, or to be responsible.

Heaven And Earth

Ordered and on the way:

I read Ian Plimer’s Telling Lies for God: Reason vs Creationism some years ago. I found his writing style difficult, but the content was superb – clear and well-organised.

Plimer explained very clearly why creationism is a betrayal of science. In ‘Heaven and Earth’ he does the same thing for global warming alarmism.

‘Heaven and Earth’ has already sold some 25,000 copies, making it (for a book published in Australia) a three times over best-seller.

Even MSN Says Swine Flu Warnings Overdone

A longish article with lots of quotes from poeple saying the Swine Flu alarms were a perfect example of authorities crying wolf.

Many blame such alarms and the breathless media coverage for creating an overreaction that disrupted many people’s lives.

Coming from the breathless to the point of asphyxiation MSNBC that’s…   interesting.

The so-far mild swine flu outbreak has many people saying all the talk about a devastating global epidemic was just fearmongering hype. But that’s not how public health officials see it, calling complacency the thing that keeps them up at night.

Yes but when you are constantly screeching about dangers that don’t materialise, why would you expect people to be anything other than complacent?

What Not To Do In A Horror Movie

Via the Drunk Report.

The top 13 stupidest decisions ever made in the history of horror films.

And some general thoughts on staying alive if you find yourself in a horror film.

5. Don’t read from any books covered in human skin, or which have lain undisturbed under the egyptian sands for the last 3,000 years.

4. Don’t try to bring pets or girlfriends back from the dead. And on a related note, if your friends start growing tentacles, frothing at the mouth or swearing in Latin, leave the room.

3. Don’t go searching in wells, basements, attics, or deserted villages. If you must do so, turn on the lights.

2. Do not open gateways to hell.

1. Never have sex.