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Non-whiny Students Leave the Plantation

Some Hispanic students express the view that their failings are their own fault, and that the way forward is to accept responsibility and work harder.

Naturally, academia is appalled. Can’t you see there’s no point in trying? You’re oppressed! It’s all whitey’s fault!

Thankfully more and more young people are rejecting the elite/liberal/luvvie/progressive philosophy that leads to a lifetime of failure, poverty and resentment.

Who Are the Fascists?

Wikipedia is not always the most reliable of sources, but its definition of fascism is a reasonable starting point for discussion. A fascist is a follower of a political philosophy characterized by authoritarian views, desire for a strong central government, and no tolerance for opposing opinions. All forms of socialism, including Germany’s national socialism, are inherently fascist. They embody the two key identifying factors of fascism; strong central government and no tolerance for opposing views.

So what about the US president the media consistently denounce as a fascist, an idiot, and “literally Hitler”?

The Trump administration has removed red tape as fast as practically possible, repealing twenty-two regulations for every one enacted. This removes the brakes on private effort and enterprise, and shifts power away from government to the people. The opposite of fascism.

One of the first actions of the Trump administration was to reduce taxes. This gives more wealth and more freedom of choice to the people, while reducing the power of government. The opposite of fascism.

The Trump administration has partially reversed the onerous, limiting and expensive burden of Obamacare, restoring the right of individuals and businesses to buy whatever health insurance they want, or not to buy insurance at all. This reduces the power of government and bureaucrats and gives more power and choices to the people. The opposite of fascism.

He is insisting on rule of law, acting on resolutions passed by Congress, ie, the will of the people’s elected representatives, rather than simply ignoring the law, or directing law enforcement bodies not to enforce laws he does not like. The opposite of fascism.

One example is the decision of Congress, made while Bill Clinton was President, and ratified by Congress every few years since, that the US embassy to Israel should be in Israel’s capital city, Jerusalem. This decision by the people’s representatives was simply ignored by Clinton and subsequent Presidents. But not by President Trump. The opposite of “literally Hitler.”

Trump is the only Western leader in sixty years to bring North Korea into direct discussions with South Korea and the West. With this he has brought the hope of peace and freedom for the first time to millions of North Koreans. South Korean leaders have expressed astonished gratitude and openly said they believe Trump deserves the Nobel Peace Prize.

Reporters asked in mocking tones whether Trump was happy with the level of respect he had shown Kim Jong-Un and other North Korean leaders, and whether he regarded Kim Jong-Un as an equal. Trump replied that he would do whatever was necessary to secure peace. The opposite of fascism.

OK, but what about his racist Muslim travel ban?

Firstly, Islam is not a race. It is a religious and political ideology. Secondly, the seven countries affected by the ban were highlighted as severe security risks because of poor control of identity and travel, not by Trump, but by the Obama administration. Thirdly, 80% of Muslim countries and ninety percent of Muslims are unaffected, and fourthly, two of the countries, Venezuela and North Korea, are not Muslim countries. A nation’s leader has not only has the right, but the responsibility to work to ensure the security of his country and its people. That is not fascism.

OK, but what about tearing children away from their asylum-seeking families?

Rules requiring that children not be held in adult detention centres were established under President Bill Clinton in 1997. They have been enforced ever since, including during the eight years of the Obama administration.

Just as the media in Australia suddenly discovered a conscience about children in detention immediately after a government was elected which did not put children in detention and was doing its best to get them out and into the community, so the US media suddenly discovered a conscience about children being separated from their families as soon as a President was elected who was not convinced that this policy led to the best possible outcomes for the children concerned, for their families, or for the US.

By the time Time Magazine published its article denouncing Trump’s policy (it wasn’t his policy) and picturing him looking down sternly at a little girl in tears after being separated from her parents (she was never separated from her mother, they were housed together in a family unit in Texas) and by the time the shrieking hordes gathered in the street calling Trump a fascist for this heartless policy and demanding its repeal, he had already signed an executive order requiring that minor children arriving illegally in the US with their parents be housed with their parents for the duration of any necessary detention.

OK, but what about Melania visiting a detention centre wearing a jacket that said “I really don’t care. Do you?”

Let’s note first of all that the husbands of first ladies Clinton, Bush and Obama all placed children in detention separately from their parents. Not one of those ladies ever visited a centre where they were being held. Melania did. And she didn’t wear that jacket in, to, or anywhere near the detention centre. She wore it as she got on the plane in Washington as a message for the purveyors of exactly that kind of fake news.

Now let’s look at the self-titled “resistance.” Antifa wear masks to their violent riots, where they protest about laws they don’t like by beating passers-by, burning cars and breaking windows. That’s fascism.

Coddled university students stage sit-ins and violent protests to prevent speakers whose opinions they do not like from speaking or being heard. That’s fascism.

Democrat Maxine Waters said businesses should be forced to serve anyone who comes in the door anything they want, unless the customers are Republicans, in which case case they should be denounced and refused service. That’s fascism.

You don’t have to agree with all of President Trump’s policies. I am not convinced by his policies on trade. But I also know that a system where other governments, eg Canada’s, impose huge tariffs on US goods while expecting unfettered access to US markets, or, like the EU, provide huge subsidies to farmers and manufacturers while expecting the US to operate on a “level playing field,” is both unfair and unsustainable.

Disagreements about policies do not entitle me or anyone else to call Trump a fascist. He is simply not.

Gays, Bakers and Sarah Huckabee Sanders

I am astonished by claims of moral equivalence between a baker declining to make a cake with images and text contrary to his beliefs, and the refusal of service to White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders on the basis of who she works for.

The bakers did not refuse service because the customers were gay – they have other gay clients. They did not refuse to serve them because of their political views – they never ask clients what their views are because that is irrelevant to serving them. The bakers simply declined to make a cake with decorations and text they found offensive.

The clients, on the other hand, drove a hundred miles, past a dozen other bakeries, in order to find one they thought might decline to make their cake, so they could then pretend to be hurt and offended and take the bakers to court. That is not seeking freedom and justice, it is bullying.

Sarah Sanders was having dinner with her family at a local restaurant, when the proprietors ejected her because she held political views different to theirs. They then followed her across the street, abusing her as she went, and immediately bragged about doing so on social media. Instead of suing the restaurant or even making any fuss about it, Sarah did not say anything. She simply went somewhere else with her family. She only responded after the restaurant’s bragging about kicking her out was brought to her attention.

Who in these situations acted in ways consistent with fairness and respect for others?

More Anti-Energy Silliness

There is no reasons why activists should not be allowed to have their say, as long as policy is based on facts rather than ideology.

A saw a video recently purporting to be of a Norwegian fisherman lamenting the negative impact of the oil industry, and particularly of acoustic imaging, on Norwegian fisheries.

OK. Except that output from Norwegian fisheries has almost tripled over the last twenty years, at exactly the same time as huge growth in Norwegian oil exploration and export.

There is no negative impact at all. Just as there has been no negative impact in Australia, where whale populations in Southern and Western Australia have grown at close to maximum possible numbers at exactly the same time as large areas of ocean floor have been surveyed and new areas opened up for exploration and development.

I am reminded of the pioneering work of Professor Irving Janis on groupthink:

1. A group of people come to share a view or belief without proper refernce to real-world evidence, or wihout weighing other options or risks.

2. They then insist their belief is shared by all caring, right-thinking people. Consequently, people who disagree are perceived as evil or uncaring.

3. Those who adhere to the “correct” view attach themselves so strongly to their beliefs that it forms the basis of their sense of purpose and self-worth. Any disagreement is seen as an existential attack on them personally.

4. Because their view has little foundation in reality, they can defend it only by repeating the same falsehoods over and over, and by making irrational and sometimes savage attacks on anyone with a different view.

Citizenship and Australian Politicians

It is not controversial that if you are part of the government of a country, then your loyalty to that country should be undivided. It is perfectly reasonable to require that members of the Australian Federal Government should be citizens of Australia, and not of any other country.

Finding a clear way to make this work, however, has not been easy, as the recent spate of people forced to leave parliament because they are dual citizens of Australia and some other country has demonstrated.

In some cases this was simply carelessness. Those standing for election did not familiarise themselves with the law, or their parties did not undertake adequate checking. But in other cases, the law seems to have applied in ways its framers did not intend.

Barnaby Joyce, for example, was born in Australia, in Tamworth, NSW. He never considered himself anything other than Australian, never had any reason to believe he was anything other than Australian, and never felt any loyalty to any other country. But under New Zealand law, New Zealand citizenship was conferred on him at birth because his parents, though they had permanently moved to Australia, were still New Zealand citizens when he was born.

In another instance, Senator Lucy Gichuhi, who was born in Kenya, renounced her Kenyan citizenship when she became an Australian citizen in 2001. She took expensive legal advice, which confirmed that at the time of her election to the Senate she was a citizen only of Australia. However, in 2010, Kenya changed the law to allow dual citizenship. Those who became citizens of another country did not by doing so automatically void their Kenyan citizenship. This has renewed politically-driven speculation about Senator Gichuhi’s eligibility to be part of our government.

Senator Lucy Gichuhi
Senator Lucy Gichuhi

It is absurd for Australian law to be so unclear in its meaning and application that the laws of other countries can determine who is and who is not eligible to be a member of the Australian  government. At the moment, someone validly elected to our Parliament, and eligible to be elected at the time, can suddenly be rendered ineligible, not by any decision of the Australian people or government, but at the whim of a country half way around the world.

The stability of our government should not be dependent of the whims of the leadership of any other country, or on the vagaries of its laws. This needs to be fixed, now.

The solution is simple:

1. If a prospective member was born overseas or to parents who were citizens of another country, that person must show they have taken reasonable steps to ensure they are not a citizen of any country other than Australia.

2. All prospective members, whether born in Australia or not, or to Australian parents or not, must make a public statement that they formally and irrevocably renounce any other citizenships they may hold, or may become entitled to hold, during the period of their membership of the Australian Federal Parliament.

The law must be changed to note that this statement is an adequate renunciation of other citizenships for the purpose of membership of Parliament, regardless of laws or regulations in force in  any other country.

Every Day in Every Way …

“Every day in every way, I am getting better and better” was the catch-phrase of Émile Coué, French psychologist and pharmacist, who believed people could be healed and their lives improved through the power of aut0-suggestion.

His theories have long since fallen out of favour. But what is true is that every day, in almost every way, the world is getting better and better; cleaner, safer, healthier, happier.

The driving forces behind this change have been free trade, rule of law and secure property rights.

It is interesting how much of this progress towards a cleaner, safer, healthier, fairer world has been accomplished by three types of industry; pharmaceuticals, oil, and agri-science. Yet, those are the three types of companies the luvvies love to hate.

Free trade, rule of law and secure property rights are a recipe for a better world.
Free trade, rule of law and secure property rights are a recipe for a better world.
Cheap energy and science help too!
Cheap energy and science help too!

How Good is the US Economy?

When even the New York Times struggles to find words to say how good the US economy is, you know it’s good:

We Ran Out of Words to Describe How Good the Jobs Numbers Are

The economy is in a sweet spot, with steady growth and broad improvement in the labor market.

The real question in analyzing the May jobs numbers released Friday is whether there are enough synonyms for “good” in an online thesaurus to describe them adequately.

So, for example, “splendid” and “excellent” fit the bill. Those are the kinds of terms that are appropriate when the United States economy adds 223,000 jobs in a month, despite being nine years into an expansion, and when the unemployment rate falls to 3.8 percent, a new 18-year low.

There are so many jobs on offer in the US that almost everyone who wants to work will find work
There are so many jobs on offer in the US that almost everyone who wants to work will find work

Large numbers of black and Hispanic people are starting to feel they are better off under the present administration. Less resentment means less violence and other crime, and fewer votes for the Democrats. That may be one of the reasons the Democrats are still so strenuously pushing the “Trump is a racist” line. Fewer and fewer people are buying it.

Energy Exploration and Development in Australia

Australia’s economic stability depends on reliable supplies of cheap energy, mostly in the form of coal and oil. Members of remote communities would be the first to suffer if fuel became difficult to obtain, or if prices surged. For example, in my community of Kangaroo Island, everything depends on oil. Without oil there would be no ferry or planes to the island. There would be no fishing, no farming, no way for tourists to travel to or around the island, or on boat trips or safaris, no food or furniture transported to the island, no building, no maintenance of infrastructure. In other words, no way to live.

It is in the best interests of all Australians to support and encourage responsible local energy development. Even more so for those who live in remote locations, or in communities dependent on tourism, fishing or farming.
This short survey will help you to review your knowledge of energy development, and your interest in balancing energy needs and concern for the environment.

Question 1
By far the greatest proportion of oil spilled into the ocean, about 45%, is from natural seepage. The highest proportion of human caused oil spills, about 25% of the total, occurs as an accumulation of day to day losses, the oil change tipped into a drain, for example, and minor operational spills like Sea Shepherd’s 500 litre diesel spill near the Great Barrier Reef in 2012. Another 20% comes from major transportation spills. Only about 5% of the total occurs during exploration and development. One key way of reducing ocean oil spills is to reduce the total volume of oil transported over long distances. Would you rather:
a. Continue the present risk of spills from large volumes of oil transported over long distances?
b. Reduce the risk of spills by encouraging responsible local energy development?

Question 2
Most of our current oil supply comes from Middle Eastern states. Most of these states are dictatorships, or ruled by a small elite. Some of them, including Saudi Arabia and Iran, use oil revenues to support terrorist groups. Would you rather:
a. Continue the present system of supporting states which fund terrorism and support undemocratic regimes?
b. Build Australian employment and expertise by encouraging local energy development, and have energy producers pay royalties which help fund local hospitals, roads, schools and pensions?

One of twenty-three oil rigs operating in the Bass Strait.
One of twenty-three oil rigs operating in the Bass Strait.

Question 3
Australia has very high environmental and safety standards for any energy development. Coal mining in China, for example, results in over 1,000 deaths per year from accidents, and a similar number from mining related pulmonary diseases. Pollution from poorly regulated mines and wells in countries governed by dictators or highly centralised non-democratic governments continues to be a major problem. Would you rather:
a. Continue present support for energy sources with a high risk of accident and pollution due to poorly regulated exploitation and transport operations?
b. Reduce the risk of environmental damage, disease and accident by encouraging responsible local energy development?

Question 4
Scientists have expressed concern that constant high levels of artificial ocean noise – noise pollution – may interfere with the migratory patterns of marine species including turtles, whales and salmon. The noise of waves slapping against the sides of an empty tanker is at a similar volume to that of acoustic imaging, which allows energy developers to identify likely sites for further exploration, reducing the need for and impact of exploratory drilling. But acoustic imaging is carefully monitored and takes place in any one location for only a few days. The sound of freighters and tankers plying the oceans is constant. Would you rather:
a. Continue the present system of high levels of ocean noise pollution and risk to migratory marine species?
b. Reduce ocean noise by encouraging responsible local energy development?

Question 5
Many of the states which supply our current oil needs have very poor human rights records. In particular, immigrants, women and gays are frequently treated as chattels or with horrendous brutality. Some of these states would not survive without the income from oil supplied to Western countries. Would you rather:
a. Continue to support regimes which torture and oppress gays and minority groups?
b. Work for human rights and justice by encouraging responsible local energy development?