Australia Day

Yesterday was our third Australia Day. In an effort to ‘integrate’ with the local community, we made the obligatory trip to our local (packed) beach armed with eskies of snags, lamingtons and VBs. We blended in with our fellow Aussies by moaning endlessly about the mortgage, the escalating school fees and Saturday’s 42C temperatures. Once the rain descended, we headed back home to watch the cricket from Adelaide and finished off the slab of VBs.

Many of our fellow beach-goers were dressed in yellow and green or had Australian flags tattooed onto their faces.  A number of the cars and houses were flying Australian flags.  It was a display of quiet patriotism that you do not encounter in England.    There are no grand ceremonies, no speeches from self-important politicians, no state processions and no organised silences where one is forced to remember someone or something. Just boardies, thongs, snags, slabs, stingers, sand and sea. We rather like Australia Day.

Australian of the Year, Mick Dodson, clearly does not

As an English patriot, i am very proud of my tiny island nation. I am proud of its history, its achievements, its advancement of liberty and its consistent ability to punch above its weight.  The establishment of a great country such as Australia is something we Brits are especially proud of and this little piece of history is (still) widely taught in our schools. Governor Arthur Philip and his band of crims and officers can lay claim to the title of some of our greatest exports.

However whilst i have no time for his welfarist policies, i do have some sympathy for Mr. Dodson.  Opting for the  landing of the first British fleet as your National Day of celebration does seem an odd choice. Whilst the achievements of Governors Philip and Macquarie should indeed be celebrated, the impact on the existing population was clearly not so wonderful.

I understand the day is now referred to as ‘Invasion Day’ in some quarters. This is plainly inaccurate but perhaps ‘Colonisation Day’ would be more accurate.

A poll for the SMH showed that a third of its readers would like to see the date changed.  Given its conservative readership, the national figure is probably even higher.

I can’t help but agree.  There has to be a better day for this nation to unite under the Australian flag.

Israel is Losing the Media War …. Again

Disclaimer – the ALS is not a pro-Jewish website and none of its writers are Jewish. It is firmly secular believing in the values of liberty and democracy. It is also in the main an anti-war blog.   

In a carbon copy of the 2006 conflict with Hizbollah, Israel is once again losing the media war.  The Hamas cheer squad of CNN, the BBC (funded by all British taxpayers), the New York Times and the Guardian is raining propoganda bombs on Israel as surely as the 6,000 Qassam rockets that have hit its southern borders from Gaza.

Despite a clear cut case of self-defence that even the Muslim countries of Egypt  (‘Hamas are more interested in having the injured serve as pawns in their propaganda war on Western TV networks‘),  Saudi Arabia  (‘Arab states should call a spade a spade…let Hamas accept responsibility for once..‘) and the Palestinian Authority (‘we talked to them and we told them ‘please, we ask you, do not end the truce. Let the truce continue and not stop’  so that we could have avoided what happened”) accept is of Hamas’ own making, the Western media continue to hold Israel to impossibly high standards. 

There are no street protests over the ongoing civilian deaths in Sri Lanka, no marches against Russia as it threatens to cut off gas supplies to Central Europe in the midst of a freezing winter, no petitions demanding ceasefires in the war-torn corners of Africa, no hysterical over-the-hill pop stars crying over the children of Afghanistan. But whenever Israel sheds blood, the world demands its pound of flesh.    Continue reading

Climate Youth

Meet the guys and gals at Hitler Climate Youth. You won’t find a posher, whiter or more earnest bunch of kids anywhere west of Point Piper.   Check out the size of that smile on the guy in the white shirt at the back.  

Their objectives are straight from K Rudd’s Little Red Book 

1. Build Capacity

(No, not generating capacity that would actually keep people warm in winter) but ‘support for member organisations’ capacity to carry out their own youth climate initiatives’.

2. Inspire: Build the youth climate movement
In just one short paragraph they have managed to find room for the words outreach, communication, training, diverse (x2), cultures, engagement (4 times), empowerment (x3), mobilization. 

3. Educate and Empower 
AYCC will educate, facilitate, educate, empower, enable and mobilize. 

4. Mobilise: Ensure youth climate organisers are included in decision-making
AYCC will ensure governments and business hear, and act on, young climate organisers’ voices at local, national and international decision-making on climate policy.’  Now they are really starting to sound like Hitler Youth.

5. Maintain a democratic, effective and inclusive coalition 
Key Orwellian bingo words in this short paragraph – strive (x2), democratic, functional, coalition, engages (x3), delivers, commitments, mission, youth (x3)  empowering (x2), effective, advocates.

6. Inform on adults who use the garden hose on Tuesdays or who leave a light on when they go out for dinner

ok – i made that bit up – but i bet it’s in next year’s agenda

Where do kids so young learn these empty words?

Their bios are here – it gets creepier and creepier.   

via Tim Blair

Israel Gets Tough

 

The United Nations has predictably accused Israel of a ‘disproportionate response‘ but also of breaking the international rules of war. Apparently Israel is culpable because it is punishing the entire population for the actions of a few.  

Yes, technically true (although the population of Gaza is wildly anti-Israel, much more so than, say, the German population was anti-English in 1939) but the act of declaring war is not usually decided by a national referendum but by the ruling party.  

Israel is being surprisingly direct in its words and actions; ‘Israel is in all-out war with Hamas‘, said Defence Minister, Ehud Barak.  

Most of the usual suspects are demanding Israel cease fire in Gaza, but support for its actions is coming from some unexpected places.   Deputy PM, Julia Gillard is clear that Hamas is to blame. So is Egypt.

Obama’s not sure.

These are the International Rules of War.

2008 Loves and Hates

In 1992, the Queen described the year as an ‘annus horribilis‘. If you happen to work in the finance industry or for the Liberals, you might feel the same way about this year. Whilst 2008 will not go down in the history books as a vintage year, there were many inspiring stories to take heart from.

These are my loves and hates of this year.

Love; Barack Obama

During eight dismal years of ever increasing spending, more commitments to foreign soil and dreary rhetoric, the USA had lost its friends and its confidence.  Yet the world needs a confident and respected USA.  The passion Obama has aroused in ordinary, normally apolitical people has been both astounding and a joy to watch.  Yes – expectations are ludicrously high and disappointment will set in, but Obama is exactly what the world and America needs. If nothing else, he will force the lazy band of Bush-haters to think about policies they actually stand for.   

Hate;  Moralising busybodies

The anti-fun Nazis were in the ascendancy in 2008. For forcing us (occasional) smokers to congregate outside in the driving rain, to producing adverts designed to terrorise our Alcopops-imbibing teens, to warning us of the horrors of Betfair (the new Marlboro?), to convincing the population that a single joint will turn you into a paranoid schizo, my vote for Hate of the Year goes to the new Victorian arch-conservative moralisers – and in particular, the truly appalling troika of Clive ‘I’m Only Happy When I’m Miserable’ Hamilton, WorldVision chief Tim ‘I’m shocked and appalled’ Costello, and Senator Nick ‘Family Values’  Xenophon.

Continue reading

Bali Trio Finally Executed

iman1_wideweb__470x3540Imam Samudra and brothers Amrozi and Mukhlas were shot to death by separate firing squads in the early hours of the Indonesian morning, six years after the Kuta nightclub explosions that killed 202 people.

Australia’s official policy on such matters is to oppose the use of the death penalty but only to intervene if Australian citizens are involved. Amnesty says this is hypocritical and endangers the lives of Australians on death row. 

 

Many people that i have spoken to are confused about the executions.   Has it merely elevated the trio to martyrdom status or has it finally enabled the grieving families to accept closure? Are those in favour of capital punishment uncivilised folk or is life without parole a more inhumane punishment than a painless instant death?

Personally, i have no emotional hang-ups about killing murderous psycopaths who indiscriminately kill (many Muslims also died in the bombing, which was carried out in the name of Allah). I don’t view this as an uncivilised or barbaric standpoint – but pragmatic. However i do accept the martydom argument. 

The reactions of the parents of those killed in the bombings are as diverse as the rest of the population.

David Stewart, whose son Anthony died in the nightclub attacks, has said he would be happy to pull the trigger on the firing squad rifle, adding that “I’d check the rifle to make sure I wasn’t given the blank.”

However, former Adelaide magistrate Brian Deegan, who lost his son Josh in the Bali bombings, says he’s full of trepidation about future reprisals after the executions of three bombers. 

Though i can’t even begin to imagine what losing a child must be like, i can sympathise with Mr. Stewart. I just cannot understand the latter viewpoint. Fear mustn’t prevent us from removing this cancer from our societies. We have to stand up to bullies, even though there will be consequences.

They killed 202 people. They weren’t sorry. Now they too are dead. Good.

Achmed The Dead Terrorist

This is now one of the most watched videos ever on YouTube (behind the absolutely brilliant ‘Evolution of Dance’) .  

“I’ve skewered whites, blacks, Hispanics, Christians, Jews, Muslims, gays, straights, rednecks, addicts, the elderly, and my wife. As a standup comic, it is my job to make the majority of people laugh, and I believe that comedy is the last true form of free speech.”

Texan ventriloquist and comedian, Jeff Dunham.

Comedy is not only one of the last forms of free speech but one of the most powerful.   It’s far more effective to ridicule religious psycopaths like OBL than to fear them, or worse, to try and understand them and their ’causes’.

Three cheers for Jeff and Achmed.

nb – if you are at all offended by jokes at the expense of Catholics, Jews, Muslims and Michael Jackson then exercise your right not to watch this video.

Enjoy.