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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Socialist Pig

I have to thank my friend Andrew for sending me a "Capitalist Pig" cartoon as a potential (?) end point to a series of emails debating the merits of Free Markets and the pitfalls of Collectivism.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Rendition Bunny prays for crucifixion

Rendition Bunny prays to Jesus that some country, somewhere, still practices crucifixion.

Extraordinary Rendition.

Two Julian Assange and Wikileaks articles of note

There are plenty of stories doing the rounds on Wikileaks and Julian Assange. Following are two that I consider notable for their accessibility and precision.

The first is "The Shameful attacks on Julian Assange" by David Samuels in The Atlantic. He clearly states why the vast majority of traditional media can hang their snivelling little heads in shame for their spineless bandwagonning against Wikileaks.

"It is dispiriting and upsetting for anyone who cares about the American tradition of a free press to see Eric Holder, Hillary Clinton and Robert Gibbs turn into H.R. Haldeman, John Erlichman and John Dean."

"Assange may or may not be grandiose, paranoid and delusional ... But the fact that so many prominent old school journalists are attacking him with such unbridled force is a symptom of the failure of traditional reporting methods to penetrate a culture of official secrecy that has grown by leaps and bounds since 9/11, and threatens the functioning of a free press as a cornerstone of democracy."

"It is a fact of the current media landscape that the chilling effect of threatened legal action routinely stops reporters and editors from pursuing stories that might serve the public interest - and anyone who says otherwise is either ignorant or lying."

The second story is by Julian Assange himself. "Don't shoot messenger for revealing uncomfortable truths" appears in The Australian. He talks of a new journalism called Scientific Journalism where you can click on the original document that spurned a story and make your own judgements.

A part of the story that I find particularly appealing is a summary of what the US diplomatic cables have revealed:

  • The US asked its diplomats to steal personal human material and information from UN officials and human rights groups, including DNA, fingerprints, iris scans, credit card numbers, internet passwords and ID photos, in violation of international treaties. Presumably Australian UN diplomats may be targeted, too.
  • King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia asked the US to attack Iran.
  • Officials in Jordan and Bahrain want Iran's nuclear program stopped by any means available.
  • Britain's Iraq inquiry was fixed to protect "US interests".
  • Sweden is a covert member of NATO and US intelligence sharing is kept from parliament.
  • The US is playing hardball to get other countries to take freed detainees from Guantanamo Bay. Barack Obama agreed to meet the Slovenian President only if Slovenia took a prisoner. Our Pacific neighbour Kiribati was offered millions of dollars to accept detainees.
 Personally, I'd rather have the truth than pollywaffle.

Government regulated markets are not Free Markets

Government regulated markets are not Free Markets. They are like ripping the wings from a Wedge Tail Eagle and conning people into believing that it's an Emu.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Another successful Predator Drone attack

Gangsta Government - Rap Video

There is an entertaining and informative rap video out called Gangsta Government that addresses abuses of freedom by the current Obama administration, although the essence of the criticism is at least bipartisan. The lyrics are on the same page.

Some snippets from the lyrics are as follows:

"Don’t need a Constitution or the rule of law,
we abuse our power using shock and awe.

Thousand page bills, see that’s the new norm,
nobody reads ‘em no more so we’ll get our reform.

Private sector takeover nearly complete,
got health and auto industries under our feet.
Regulate your light bulbs, your car and your pad,
listen up kids, government’s your new dad!"

It is from the Minnesota Majority who are a busy body of moralising conservatives and statists. In pointing the finger at their current enemy, Obama, they manage to capture the essence of government corruption. As with many conservatives the problems only "started" at the beginning of 2009.

In this clip Republican Michele Bachmann actually uses the phrase "gangster government" 1 minute and 40 seconds (1:40) into her speech. She can get on her high horse all she likes but she's still riding around in the same glass house. As above, she is so intent on damaging her enemy that she fails to notice the government wide applicability of her criticisms.

Monday, September 13, 2010

TheAntiTerrorist on The Big Business of Being Behind Bars

The AntiTerrorist gives a useful summary of the prison situation in the United States (sorry to give away the answer to his quiz).

If you find the AntiTerrorist a bit disturbing then fast forward in 05:15 to the segment from QI starring the "fabulous" Mr Stephen Fry who questions his panel on U.S. prisons.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Conroy and Gillard reveal their true form


 An article by Ben Grubb in the Sydney Morning Herald - "No Minister: 90% of web snoop document censored to stop 'premature unnecessary debate' " - shows the despicable level of contempt that government officials like Stephen Conroy and Julia Gillard have for the people they purportedly "serve". 

The whole article is worth the read.  The link to the censored document is worth a look to give the government fundamentalists out there another insight into what their beliefs bring down on the heads of those around them.

Gerald Celente on the Financial Reform bill

I love Gerald Celente's passion for speaking his mind.  I don't agree with his implications that government is necessary yet his sociological points are nearly always spot on.

In this clip Gerald points out that the Financial Reform Bill signed by Barack Obama is unlikely to change the kind of Wall Street risk-taking that was part of the Global Financial Crisis.

Knowing the government propensity for unintended consequences and a bizarre residence in opposite world, I brace for the ramifications of a bill that will "Protect consumers ... [and make the] financial system stronger" (quoted from the Washington Post article "Congress passes financial reform bill").

Friday, June 25, 2010

Ralph Nader unemotionally puts the case for the return of Helen Thomas.

I'm not the biggest fan of Ralph Nader, however I am an admirer of Helen Thomas who Nader supports quite simply in this report from The Real News Network ("Nader says reinstate Helen Thomas").

He makes the apt analogy that her dismissal and treatment was like a professional execution.

More at The Real News

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Obama lies as competently as Bush, Clinton, Bush, Reagan, Carter, Ford and Nixon

Jon Stewart has compiled a dossier of US presidential lies on energy independence in his show of 16 June 2010.

He shows clips of the last eight US presidents all giving assurances that the US will become energy independent and setting ever further deadlines.

While it is disheartening, it is a very useful package of information to share with fanatical government fundamentalists.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
An Energy-Independent Future
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The frog and the scorpion

A young frog finished his first week of work. With money in his pocket he walked out of factory with two friends. At the gate was a red scorpion waiting to greet the three frogs.

“Give me a third of your wages!” demanded the scorpion.

“I worked hard for this money” said the young frog. “Why should I give it to you?”

“Give it to me or I’ll sting you” threatened the scorpion.

Intimidated by the threat of violence, the three young frogs handed over the money.

The young frog decided to speak to the wise old bull-frog who had been his neighbour for as long as he could remember. Confused and upset, the young frog revealed the events of the day.

The old bull-frog simply said “Do you know who the scorpion is?”

The young frog had no answer and returned sadly to his house.

Time passed and each week the young frog and his friends had their wages stolen. They were now conditioned to hand over a third of their money. While it enraged them each time, the fear of being stung outweighed their anger at the stand over tactics.

One week as they left the factory the scorpion was at the gate with three other scorpions.

“There are more of us now. You need to give us half your wages” rasped the scorpion as all three menacingly waved their stingers. “If you don’t give us your money then all of us will sting you!”

The three young frogs gave up their money and sadly went back home. The young frog stopped by the old bull-frog again and told him of this new development.

Once again the old bull-frog said “Do you know who the scorpion is?”

The young frog still didn’t know the answer and returned to his home.

As time moved on the number of scorpions grew, as did the amount of money stolen from the frogs.

One day as the three young frogs left the factory they were surrounded by thirty-two red scorpions. They handed over ninety percent of their wages and went to leave with their heads bowed but the scorpions stopped them.

“You three frogs must come with us. We need to attack the blue scorpions. They are threatening to sting you and your families. Without our help you will surely die!” they screamed.

Confused and terrified, the three frogs went with the scorpions to the battlefield. They were dressed in red and given weapons that maimed and tore.

“Fight for peace and your unborn children!” the red scorpions cried as they pushed the frogs onto the battlefield.

“Fight for peace and your unborn children!” the blue scorpions cried as they pushed their frogs onto the battlefield.

“Fight in our name or surely you will die!” cried the red and blue scorpions in eerie unison.

Red uniforms became stained with blood. Blue uniforms became stained with blood. Torn limbs undressed became unidentifiable.

A sudden blast of fire knocked the young frog to the ground. He lay there mortally wounded. In the distance he heard the maniacal cry of the scorpions.

“Keep fighting! We’re almost safe!”

The absurdity shook open his eyes and he saw the answer to his question.

“Do you know who the scorpion is?”

The scorpion is government.

Government kills your children

Business Pundit has an article on "The 15 riskiest children's products you can buy"

From the article:
"Children's Medicine. Over nearly 20 years, Tylenol has been plagued with massive recalls on a variety of their products, mostly due to sins repeated."

From Wikipedia:
"The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or USFDA) is an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, ... responsible for protecting and promoting public health through the regulation and supervision of ... prescription and over-the-counter pharmaceutical drugs (medications)"

While the other 14 products are "apparently" also being supervised by government I found the warning on children's medicine the most telling. 20 years of "sins repeated" spans time in office by both the red and the blue teams.

This is the system that is meant to run financial markets, create laws, look after the environment, fight the "war on drugs" and provide social security. Twenty years and they can't even ensure that the medicine you put in your child is uncontaminated?

Don't believe the hype.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Government to make mortgage foreclosure illegal

Interesting comment by Larry Levin 1:25 into this clip where he reveals that government is planning to once again interfere in our lives by making it illegal to foreclose on mortgages.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Great Game continues

The Times online has a geopolitically interesting article “Latin America backs Argentina as Britain begins Falklands oil quest” by Hanna Strange
It’s always fascinating to see the Great Game continue. It makes for a change of pace that this time (yet?) the main player is not the mob North of Hugo Chavez.

Beneath the waving of flags, the shouting of accusations and the tear smudged hand over the heart lies one of the story's most pertinent quote:

"The British Geological Survey estimates that up to 60 billion barrels of oil could be beneath Falklands waters..."

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Whistleblower on Writing Speeches For The Government

In this article from The Age Myles Peterson whistleblows on his time as speech writer in the Health Department. Spin, lies, deceit and waste - this well written article details it all. Probably best avoided if your blood vessels have thin walls.

This story took my level of disgust for government to new heights. Following are some choice quotes but the article is worth reading in it's entirety.

"Our section was under-budget by hundreds of thousands of dollars, necessitating we blow all the unspent money before the end of the financial year."

 (as a result they went on an almost meaningless conference junket)

"I was surprised to discover the minds behind these [Public Health] campaigns were not health professionals. They had backgrounds and degrees in marketing, communications and advertising, not medicine. Under their watch, the government became the No.1 spender on free-to-air television."

 (good for everyone ... except?)

"The ministers' staff were as fond of cancelling events as they were of commissioning them."

(no need to explain why you're wasting everyone else's time when you're the "important" person in the finery)

''The PM is going to make a health announcement and you have to organise it,'' we were told.
''When's it happening?''
''Monday.'' (It was Friday afternoon.)
''When did we first learn about it?''

(Oh my google they're good. I remember hearing this and not having the faintest idea that it was so hastily cobbled together).

As stated above it's my opinion that you must read the article.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Taxman given all clear to break into homes

Phew! I was beginning to think Australia was a bit of an also-ran when it came to unwarranted home/work invasions by government bodies.

Now we can hold our head high with the rest of the world governments.

This article by Peter Martin in the Sydney Morning Herald details how the Australian Taxation Office have been given the all clear to conduct searches in your home and business without a warrant.

"The visits, which involve locksmiths and do not need court-issued warrants, have received the all-clear from the Ombudsman after an investigation in which his staff accompanied 100 tax officers on a co-ordinated raid on homes, cars and workplaces in four states."

"An earlier Senate report found that the ATO conducted as many as 280,000 raids without warrants yearly."

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Stephen Conroy attempts to slay the Google-monster

There is an article in The Melbourne Age Technology section by Asher Moses titled "Google balks at Conroy's call to censor YouTube"

From the article:

"Google says it will not "voluntarily" comply with the government's request that it censor YouTube videos in accordance with broad "refused classification" (RC) content rules.
Communications Minister Stephen Conroy referred to Google's censorship on behalf of the Chinese and Thai governments in making his case for the company to impose censorship locally.
Google warns this would lead to the removal of many politically controversial, but harmless, YouTube clips."

Goodonya Google!

Stephen Conroy and the Rudd government can stick their intrusive, ill-conceived, puritanical controls in a place with no sunlight ... sideways and painfully as far as I'm concerned.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Duck and Cover. Obama’s first Afghan assault

ABC News has published a Reuters based story titled “NATO warns villagers to ‘keep heads down’
Afghan villagers are being advised to keep their heads down during an upcoming planned assault. This almost absurd advice reminds me of the old “Duck and Cover” advice given all those decades ago as a way to avoid the effects of nuclear war.
Duck and Cover!
When that RPG comes screaming into your house - just duck and cover.
When those .50 cal rounds are tearing through your flimsy walls - simply duck and cover.
When combatants from either side are kicking your door down and spraying your room with bullet all you need do is duck and cover.
Keep your head down and everything will be okay!

"The assault, the first since US President Barack Obama ordered 30,000 extra troops to Afghanistan in December, is the start of a campaign to impose government control on rebel-held areas."
Congratulations on your first assault Obama. My guess is there will be many more.

"We very much hope the military phase of this operation will go ahead swiftly and with as little incident as possible."
"This of course very much depends on the conduct of those people who are in Marjah at the moment, their choices about whether to resist or to lay down their weapons."

If it all goes horribly wrong then it's their fault not ours.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Geithner says U.S. will 'Never’ lose it’s AAA Debt Rating

US Treasury secretary Tim Geithner has assured the economic world that the US will never lose it’s AAA Debt Rating. When assurances of this strength are given it raises one question – When are they going to lose their rating?
The news story by Rebecca Christie appears here on Bloomberg.

Some choice quotes:

On whether a downgrade is a concern (after this comment by Moody’s Investor Service):
“That will never happen to this country.”
Government track records are not crash hot on “never”.

When will the predicted USD$1.6 trillion deficit be reigned in?
“The U.S. plans to rein in the deficit once the labor market recovers”
One day, definitely, maybe, providing that …

When will homeowners get promised reworked loans?
“Treasury chief responded that the administration is ‘absolutely committed’ to following through on its promises.”
A government promise? I’m not holding my breath.

Would tighter financial regulations put U.S. banks at a disadvantage?
“I’m very confident we can make sure that we are working very closely to raise global standards around the world so we have a level playing field”
Read – we’re going to use our economic muscle to make sure that everyone else has the same crippling, over-the-top controls on their financial institutions.

If (and it’s not a large if) the downgrade happens it will not happen straightaway as there are enormous forces at play. Unfortunately the red flag is raised for me when I hear politicians state categorically that nothing is going to happen.

(pre-modified photo from Bloomberg, in the same article)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Burn the climate change denier

Maybe it's time to start burning the climate change deniers?

(thanks for the inspiration Ian Plimer).

Some scientists who have questions about climate change:
Wikipedia list
The Petition Project

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ron Paul vs Paul Kanjorski on Bernanke reappointment – CNBC Squawkbox

In the course of this debate Ron Paul ends up giving an easily digestible summary of the problems with the Federal Reserve.
This clip is great for an overview of the Audit the Fed bill and economic problems caused by the Fed Reserve.

Monday, January 25, 2010

I Like Guns video by Steve Lee

Music - meh. Sentiment - yeh.

Album Available at www.ilikeguns.com.au and in all good Australian gun stores. Purchase the MP3 through iTunes. Also available through www.CDBaby.com

Written by Steve Lee
Produced by Bill Chambers
Video Filming & Production: Scott Richardson - Vision TV

Drums: BJ Barker
Electric Guitar, Bass, Dobro, Harmonys: Bill Chambers
Mandolin: Raechel Lee
Acoustic Guitar & Lead Vocals: Steve Lee

For more information visit www.ilikeguns.com.au

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Airport Body Scanners - Full Body Scanning Scam

UPDATE/CORRECTION 21/3/2011 - Full nude photos are a scam, but images can be stored and transmitted.

I was wrong about the body scanner photos that were in my original post. It turns out that they were a mock up. I can't find why the TSA didn't deny this and let people worry but these are not actual photos.

Two blog posts will give you the full story:

  • tatumba.com details the faking and shows the source.
  • gizmodo details the leaking of 100 saved images

Sorry about the mistake.

Original Post Follows:

Here's three good articles on full body scanning. The technology being pushed by the TSA for use in airports.

In summary:

  • They can store images
  • They can transmit images
  • They can produce 100% recognisable, full body nude images
Wikiprotest Blog article

Shows the images that can be generated:
(photo from stephenkinsella.com)

Wired.com article by Kim Zetter

"Contrary to public statements made by the Transportation Security Administration, full-body airport scanners do have the ability to store and transmit images, according to documents obtained by the Electronic Privacy Information Center."

Newsweek article by Jason Chaffetz

"In Utah, submitting to these scanners is optional, so I refused. I was given a pat-down search instead, but only after arguing with the TSA about my rights. I worry that, soon, none of us will have an option."

(and this is a congress critter whingeing!)

Update 10th February 2010 - Australia is now set to get body scanners

According to the ABC story "New airport measures not enough: expert" (By Brigid Glanville for PM and staff):

"Body scanners will be introduced at Australian international airports from next year to screen outbound travellers as part of the Government's $200 million plan."