Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2010 Road Toll

So here we are again near the middle of the holiday season - and the State Governments are doing it again. Blowing their horns about how "speed kills" and "alcohol is evil".

Their bad habits die hard.

But how would we know if what they say is true? Because they won't publish the evidence and allow third party analysis and validation of the data. Mainly because they don't actually collect the data - forget any real analysis. It's all back of the envelope stuff by junior staffers seeking votes or revenue.

Forgive my cynicism but how can we know that State Governments are on the right track with their road safety programs when they won't publish the data and/or their analysis of it?

Are we supposed to just *trust them*? Sure. I wrote this on 1st January this year - and nothing much has changed since. Except lots of hand wringing and wasted column inches.

While ever the state bureaucrats and their masters continue to obfuscate and feather their comfortable nests in response to this serious problem then someone like me will continue to talk and write about their hypocrisy.

Because the real problem is that State Governments have under-invested in their road infrastructure, network and services for decades and if anyone ever found out then a substantial *class action* would be the result.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

I suppose Bradley Manning won't be having a very Merry Christmas and nor will Julian Assange. And neither will the people in the Christmas Island detention centre.

But no doubt all the extreme right wing nutjobs in the US and elsewhere will be sitting down to devour large helpings of turkey with all the trimmings - after saying grace for their good fortune.

What an amazingly bunch of hypocrites they are. Pretending to be good Christians while calling for the *execution* of Julian Assange.

Black really has become White - If ever there was a graphic illustration of how far off beam the US has wandered - it is this ridiculous extremism that is promoted under the banner of Christianity. For Christ sake!

It seems that the harder President Obama works to re-build US credibility abroad - the more extreme the nutjobs and their cheerleaders at Fox News become.

Meanwhile, here is some of the Wikileaks story - straight from the horse's mouth.

And a very Merry Christmas to you all.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

It's Christmas

Well apparently its Christmas and that means that we all traipse about for lunch and drinks and dinner - and say nice things to the people we hate.

Or that is the business plan - but I find as I age that I have less and less interest in doing it.

Take today for example - I am dining with a billionaire, two or three captains of industry, a couple of bankers and half a dozen wannabes.

They all hate each other. But the wannabe's disguise it well - because if they play their cards right they will be at the big table again next year - and they wouldn't want to jeopardise that Virginia ;-)

Everyone here wants to be somewhere else - doing other things - with different people.

But of course the corporate world has its mores and everyone complies - or at least they comply if they want to be in the game with prospects for success next year.

And being in the game means understanding that what drives the corporate world is dumb blind loyalty - the ability to follow along in the footsteps of some completely dysfunctional and belligerent dimwit - as though it was the most natural thing in the world. It takes a special knack.

And then being able to efficiently hoover up the crumbs that his majesty sweeps aside from time to time.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Crikey gets better and better

My favourite news and information source just keeps getting better and better. This is a gem.

For those of you who haven't yet made the transition - what are you waiting for?

There is just no reason to keep reading Murdoch's manufactured mush. Unless you are sheeplike!

And this article by Bernard Keane is worth every cent of a subscription - all on its own.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Government by Remote Control

You have got to feel sorry for Julia. Someone in the US Administration - probably Biden or maybe even Clinton rang to tell her what *illegal SOB's* Julian Assange and Wikileaks were. It must be a bit of a shock when the big red phone rings Virginia.

And wanting to impress her masters she immediately called a press conference and announced that what Assange and Wikileaks had done was *illegal* and blah, blah, blah.

Now the US Administration is on fairly solid ground - because their government and right wing press run an amazingly effective *patriot* programme that just about every citizen supports. Mention the words *United States* *war* and *patriot* in the same sentence and they go all teary eyed and start saluting. Even the families of dead soldiers regularly stand up and tell the world how proud they are of their sons and daughters - who died in the service of a "big right wing war monger that is addicted to other people's resources".

They usually don't say the last bit ;-) It's also why they all have a copy of the US flag flying at their house, tie yellow ribbons around everything, have a pistol under their pillow and a shotgun in their truck and think that Oprah is Ms God reincarnated.

Anyway, fast forward to today's Essential Report and you will find that the US and OZ are totally out of sync with regard to Julian Assange and Wikileaks.

Most Australians support the release of the Wikileaks cables, think that Julian Assange should receive legal support, and are critical of the government's statements on the issue.

It's different in the US.

Because over there the government is much more sophisticated in their manipulation of public opinion. They don't shoot from the lip - they make sure that they have geed up the population first with mention of *war* and *patriot* etc - and then they send the Vice President out to talk absolute crap.

Julia needs to learn how it is done - I think I can feel a trip to the US coming up.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Democracy and Freedom

These are not my words - I found them here - but I thought they were quite appropriate for the times.

"Whatever its virtues, democracy is not freedom. As the 19th Century French philosopher Alexis d'Toqueville warned in his classic Democracy In America, a democracy can be just as tyrannical as a dictatorship once the voters decide to vote themselves money from the treasury.

Democracy is a method of deciding who shall rule. It does not determine the morality of the resulting government. At best, democracy means that government has popular support. But popular support is no guarantee that government will protect your freedom.

In a democracy, if most voters support freedom of speech, press, religion, association and enterprise, their elected government will probably respect such freedoms.

But if voters prefer that governments impose a welfare state and confiscatory taxes, ban unapproved drugs, impose censorship, imprison critics, seize the property of unpopular groups, torture prisoners, and draft the young, a democratic government will likely grant those wishes also".

Friday, December 17, 2010

Does Fox News make you dumb?

Pinched from Crikey today.

Some would argue Fox News devotees aren’t the sharpest tools in the American news shed - and now we have the empirical data to prove it. A survey conducted by World Public Opinion, a project initiated by the University of Maryland, has found Fox News viewers are "significantly more misinformed than consumers of news from other sources". So Glenn Beck isn’t a wellspring of informed enlightenment?

Participants were quizzed on several leading US news items, with their responses measured against the facts. Here are just a few choice misnomers, as propagated by the Fox News crew:

* 60% believe climate change is not occurring
* 63% believe Obama was not born in the US (or that it is unclear)
* 72% believe the economy is getting worse
* 91% believe the stimulus legislation lost jobs
* 72% believe the health reform law will increase the deficit.

Interestingly, the study also found that regular exposure to Fox News doesn’t just erode your intelligence, but also threatens the public’s collective IQ by giving misinformed views greater momentum. So, what are our treatment options? High doses of hummus and Omega-3 fatty acids, as part of a strictly Palin-free diet plan.

Lets Rewrite some History

The attempts of Chris Mitchell and his ahem - "News Limited Journalists" - ahem over the past few years to obfuscate with their treatment of the science of Climate Change is going to be a huge mistake.

Their plan was to be contrary and to capture the dingbat anti-science readership for their newspaper by dissing the actual science. Which they seem to have done - judging by the quantity and quality of letters to the editor.

But in the process, they have lost much of the educated and thinking readership that built and sustained the paper under earlier leadership. And they have trashed its reputation. No-body that I know actually reads it anymore. We talk about it but no-one actually pays real coin to read it - because it has gone feral.

I assume their advertisers already know that, Virginia.

And Mitchell obviously knew that there would be a downside risk which is why he is now running around telling everyone that "The Australian" has been alert to the science of Climate Change for a decade or more. And other meaningless blah, blah and blah.

Which is just another of his feeble attempts at rewriting history. I suspect there are quite a few students who have already analysed and dissected the "Climate Change" content of "The Australian" over the last decade or so and will be happy to present their findings when next Mr Mitchell decides to sue someone.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Kevin does have a pair

Pinched from Crikey yesterday - and this is good in sooo many ways ;-)

"Alan Kennedy writes: In all the excitement about Julian Assange, Oprah and Hugh Jackman our foreign minister has been flying under the radar more than somewhat. He has gone rogue and is daily presenting PM Gillard with a problem.

First he became a champion of Julian Assange saying he alone had the right to suspend passports, then dipping into the schools' laptop allocation to send one to Julian in prison. He also gave the US a kicking saying it was its fault all the stuff leaked out and maybe it should be more careful.

Yesterday, as the Assange case raged, Rudd was in Israel embarrassing Israel's right wing foreign minister by calling for Israel to open up all its nuclear facilities for inspection and for Israel to sign up to the nuclear non proliferation treaty. Have a look at the press conference -- it is hysterical.

Now, as Israel has trouble even owning up to having nuclear weapons, the foreign minister of Israel looked more than a little uncomfortable and p-ssed off about Rudd. No doubt he or Netanyahu were on the phone later to the US to tell them to tell Julia Gillard via Arbib to get Rudd back on the reservation. Afterall, when Downer was foreign minister he didn't speak until he got his daily riding instructions from Washington.

Of course, Rudd will ignore any such calls. But how long can he go on being an independent foreign minister? One hopes forever. But the US will be increasingly annoyed about this independent behaviour and may ask for action.

Gillard, who has been disgracefully silent in the face of the latest outrage against Assange, will try to comply but it may not be that easy. Arbib and his sycophantic mates of the NSW will want Rudd to shut up but he seems to be Teflon man, untouchable in the current state of play. It's wonderful to watch. For Kevin revenge is a dish best eaten cold".

More Unintended Consequences

An interesting story on the European Arrest Warrant - here.

Well worth a read - because it does look like it is being abused.

Eventually there will need to be a day of reckoning - and governments everywhere will need to get back into line or risk revolution. But I have no doubt that once they step over the line and taste this excessive power that they won't want to give it up easily.

That is one of the reasons why Wikileaks is so important.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Julian Assange and Bail Money

As usal Michael Moore is on the case - I can feel a movie coming on ;-)

But it the meantime - you must read this.

Blind Mayors

There is a wonderful story told by the Mayor of Kuala Lumpur about maintenance of the city infrastructure. Apparently the eagle eyed former Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad would phone him regularly after his arrival in the office to point out some ailing piece of public infrastructure that he had noticed on his way to work. A pothole here - a broken signal there and so on.

And the Mayor would then despatch someone to fix the offending item - while hoping that he wouldn't receive another phone call tomorrow morning.

Imagine that happening in Australia?

There is an intersection near the commercial centre of North Sydney - that for more than 10 years has had quite a large pothole smack bang in the middle of it. It was there so long that I was beginning to think it was a design feature ;-) Probably more than 20,000 people moved around or over it each workday. But someone has obviously noticed because it was recently fixed. After ten years?

And there is a dangerously uneven road surface near the local oval entrance in Port Lincoln - on the main highway into town that has been that way for over 30 years! OK it's probably a bit of a challenge because it involves a manhole cover, a misaligned road, an entry ramp and a roundabout - but 30 years for christ sake?

There are hundreds - no thousands of similar situations - and that is just on the roads that I traverse and which my tired old eyes have observed. What about the rest of the nation, Virginia?

Now I don't expect Julia to drive around and report these things to the local Mayors - but surely we can find people to become Mayors and represent these cities that don't walk around with their eyes closed - for up to 30 years.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Australia's free trade agreements - just a moron

Peter Martin reports - here.

"A year-long investigation of Australia's free trade agreements has found they are often nothing of the kind.

The Productivity Commission has told the Gillard government there is little evidence to suggest Australia's six free trade agreements have produced "substantial commercial benefits".

Some may have actually reduced trade by introducing complex rules that make it difficult for Australia to sell goods made with products imported from countries not party to the agreements".

So as usual the people are shafted - while the politicians have long retired with their gold passes.

Australia's free trade agreements are just another crock of sh*t imposed on the nation by lazy, incompetent and thick politicians.

Who Do You Trust?

According to Yesterday's Essential Report, ABC TV's news was regarded as always or usually trustworthy by 82% of voters. ABC Radio wasn't far behind on 78% and SBS TV also 78%.

One in five voters believes these PUBLIC broadcasters are "always trustworthy".

Newspapers are trusted by 65% of voters, but there is an HUGE level of distrust towards them - 29% of voters believe newspapers can seldom or never be trusted. Who woulda thought?

I guess that is *one in the eye* for our private media Virginia ;-)

So now we know why the *Murdoch Press* is "all over" the ABC. With their dingbat right wing commentators attempting to gain some credibility by their cosy association with the ABC.

I can just imagine Rupert's instruction to Andrew - "Write more rubbish and then get on ABC Insiders - and everything will be OK".

We know what is in it for Murdoch and his minions - but what is in it for the ABC?

As a citizen I really want to know - so could someone get Mark Scott to open the kimono please? Or do I need to contact Wikileaks?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Dead Hand

There has recently been a bit of dialog and lots of hand wringing about the *Innovation* that is not going on in OZ. At least some of our politicians seem to have woken up to the fact that buying and selling real estate and importing bogan celebrities is not a very clever way to generate national wealth.

One area that the *dead hand* of government has stifled for decades is with personal transportation. The rules which apply to specialist vehicles vary considerably between the states. Each state government has a small cadre of self appointed "experts" who decide what is and what is not registrable. And very seldom do they speak with each other - let alone anyone who actually knows anything.

We have at least six different sets of rules across the nation and the effort required to get registration approval for unusual vehicles is usually much more trouble that it is worth. The net effect is that modern, innovative personal transportation design, development and manufacture is just too hard in this country. And that's just the way the big vehicle manufacturers and the state governments like it ;-)

I have some experience of an imported specialist vehicle that was finally registered in one state after much effort and cost. The owner then moved interstate and was lucky enough to get it registered there with a little less effort. But when he moved to a third state he had to go through the whole rigmarole again - and had to make significant and costly modifications to the vehicle. WTF?

We ain't going to get any innovation with personal transportation while this nonsense continues Virginia.

The UK has had a vibrant specialist vehicle industry for decades - it is very creative and innovative and is leading the charge toward lightweight, fuel efficient personal transportation vehicles. But we can't even bring them here - because it's the state government "experts" who decide what can be registered - and these vehicles aren't on their list. I doubt they would even know about them.

Despite a poorly performing economy, the UK specialist vehicle industry is booming and employing lots of designers, engineers and craftsmen - and continuing to produce innovative vehicles - like these.

But you won't see anything like them in OZ anytime soon.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Idiots We Are

We aren't smart enough to have our own bogan celebrity so we have to import one and her entourage from the USA for christ sake.

And then we spend all afternoon waiting around for her chubby cheeks to appear.

This is a huge embarrassment - we deserve to be treated like the idiots we are.

Moron Central

Pinched from Crikey today - with a little tweaking ;-)

Peter King, the Republican Congressman from New York, who recently called for the assassination of WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange as a "terrorist", is a long-time supporter of the Provisional IRA.

Of course, beginning in the late 1960s, the IRA was considered to be one of the most dangerous "terrorist" organisations in the world.

King will be the new chair of the *Homeland Security Committee* when the 112th Congress begins sitting in January.

He has earlier remarked that Assange should be treated the way the US treats any enemy combatant with "drones and Gitmo" -- i.e. piloted bombs and torture in Guantanamo prison camps.

So with a US hysterical about terrorism, how is it that King is permitted to be the chair of the Homeland Security Committee, while labelling Assange a terrorist?

A very good question - it seems that *black* really has become *white*. Or is the US Government really just moron central?

More on Julian Assange

Got this email from my mate Robbo this morning - it seems that quite a few Australian's are bothered by what is happening to Wikileaks and Julian Assange.

Hi Roger,

I share your grief and dismay over the Wikileaks developments and Assange's incarceration and likely rendition extradition to Sweden. What a farcical yet chilling episode and what a dreadful disappointment our little mates the Swedes are turning out to be. A few questions occur to me in regard to this:

* What are the Swedish precedents for criminal investigations into males on similar grounds to those that appear to be levelled at our boy Julian? Specifically, how many times has a Swedish prosecutor picked up an equivalent case?

* If any such cases have been prosecuted in Sweden, how many have lead to convictions and what have been the sentences?

* If there are any precedents, how many have resulted in extradition proceedings?

* What is known about the Swedish prosecutor, especially in regard to her affiliations? The little I've discovered so far is great cause for concern:

"Marianne Ny is regarded as a prosecutor who goes especially far. In one case of a woman being mistreated she voiced the opinion that men accused by women but not convicted should in any case be preventively locked up – to give the women “space to think things over”.

* Given this last point, we may not need to look for direct collusion between the Swedish judicial system and the US, but it is certainly a windfall for the Yanks and I've little doubt they'll exploit it any way they can. They'll make strange bedfellows, the Swedish femonazi enclave and the US - if it does go that way. I'm referring of course to the risk that Sweden will hand Julian over to the US if he winds up in their care.

As to Assange's accusers, what I've heard so far completely beggars credibility.

* Two young women, one of whom seemed to have been virtually a stalker, wind up bumping uglies with Julian over a similar time period.

* Both appeared happy with events at the time, and for some time after, and then what?

* Superficially, it looks like resentment, some kind of reaction to his neglect after the fact, some lack in returning affections?

* How can a notion of molestation and rape be retrospective? If it hadn't been experienced as such at the time, (and one supposes therefore, Julian wouldn't have been made aware of any problems at the time), how can we accept that reflecting on it makes it so, especially to the extent that it may satisfy a senior prosecutor?

* In particular, how can we accept the integrity of the case when it didn't even make it to a police report until the two women had colluded?

* Who advised these women to *seek advice* from the police rather than putting themselves at risk by actually making accusations that could have been proven false in a subsequent court case?

* We're also expected to believe that action was taken because they were concerned about STDs and Julian wasn't returning calls. If they wanted him to see a doctor, what's wrong with Facebook or Twitter? "Oi, Julian, get your bits checked mate and let us know how it goes". It's not like they were concerned about anyone's privacy.

And on the bright side? Well, not counting our rather strangely sycophantic PM, I've been slightly heartened by the responses from Australian politicians from both sides. Rudd, Turnbull and even Howard have all come out and said that Assange hasn't broken any Australian laws and the the US needs to attend to its own security issues, not pursue Assange. We'll wait and see if anyone balls up enough to actually do anything about it.



PS - and now we have over 5100 comments on the Open Letter to Julia Gillard - here. And not a whisper from the *Bogan in Chief* about it. Perhaps she will reveal all when she meets with *Oprah* this afternoon ;-)

PPS - You must check Glen Beck's interpretation of events on YouTube - it's hilarious.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Lazarus Declining

So not only was John Howard an average Prime Minister - but he is also a pretty average author. Because the great tome that he has spent over 3 years on - and which he has called "Lazarus Rising" is a dud.

You can read any review of it to discover what the reviewer said. The ones that I have read are not at all complementary. Two out of five stars seems to be the consensus.

"From the first word, I knew it was all written by John. I could feel it. It reads like a Howard speech: easy to understand, it flows well. Of course, the book is all about him; fair enough, because prime ministers are at the centre of the action and nothing big happens unless they want it to happen". Says Peter Reith - and he is an ex Howard minister. The reviews don't get any better than that, Virginia ;-)

But here's the rub. With few exceptions nobody who actually votes Liberal will have read it. Because the people who vote Liberal don't actually read anything of substance. They get their news and information from Channel 10 and the test pattern. And some of them read look at the pictures in the "Women’s Weekly".

And nobody on the other side is going to read it - because they all despise the man. There is no way that any thinking person is going to read Howard's story - because there is far too much good stuff to read and not enough hours in the day - to take on his rewriting of Australian political history.

Which probably explains why it is in the “remainder bin” at my local bookshop? Along with "The Costello Memoirs". Both political tomes are sitting their unloved and unread for between $10.00 and $15.00 each. It's just hilarious.

So if you have a conservative relative and can't find a Christmas present for them - then this is the perfect gift. It is cheap, the bookshop will love you for taking it, the relative will think you are *one of them* but he/she won't ever read it and it will end up in the trunk under their bed.

Which is precisely where it belongs?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Power Corrupts

The most interesting thing to me personally is how the US is acting with regard to Wikileaks and Julian Assange.

As usual, they are behaving like a big schoolyard bully. No dialog, no acknowledgement of their bad behaviour, just more aggression as they flail about yelling and swinging.

Don't believe me?

* They had and others pull the plug on hosting Wikileaks. No US ISP will dare to host it again.

* They intimidated Pay-Pal into withdrawing its services from Wikileaks.

* "MasterCard is taking action to ensure that Wikileaks can no longer accept MasterCard-branded products" a spokesman for MasterCard Worldwide said Monday.

* And now Visa has joined in and has denied access to its services by Wikileaks.

* And no doubt there are others that we haven't heard about yet.

Dan Gillmor in his Salon column says this - "If journalism can routinely be shut down the way the government wants to do this time, we'll have thrown out free speech in this lawless frenzy".

And we think they are our friends?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Barack Obama

I have been a supporter of Barack Obama since before he became President - today I told him that I am withdrawing that support ;-) Here is my email.

I have been a supporter of President Obama since well before he was elected. I worked hard to help him get elected. I have donated money and time and I am now sorry that I did.

Because today I changed my mind and you need to know that.

I changed my mind because of what you are doing with Wikileaks and Julian Assange. They have shown you up as the big right wing bully that you are. Many of us thought that those days were gone when Junior Bush left office - but apparently Hilary has just continued the tradition. And probably even made it worse.

And we don't like it. It is a friggin disgrace that you can't deal with the truth and that you persecute an Australian who has shown you up for what you are. No wonder the rest of the world is against you.

I was expecting change - and all we got was more of the same BS.

Not good enough President Obama.

Elephant in the room

The big issue of the month/decade/year is Wikileaks and Julian Assange and today we have a letter to the Prime Minister signed by 200 prominent Australians and presented at "The Drum" - here.

The letter was signed by 200 citizens and at last count there were 1488 2016 2093 2295 comments in support - but the last number is clearly wrong - because it seems the ABC infrastructure is unable to cope with demand - which is huge. There are probably many thousands of comments in support. Check back regularly to see the final total - assuming the ABC can get its act together.

And many comments are from people who are *pissed off* that our Prime Minister is being puppeted by the USA. What on earth is PM Gillard doing by supporting a big rabid right wing bully who is picking on an Australian? I dunno.

And clearly many other Australian's don't like it either.

Not that it seems to bother our Prime Minister - who is planning to meet with *Oprah* this week for a "nice little chat" for christ sake.

So our PM can't be bothered to support and defend an Australian citizen who is being picked on and badgered by the US but is quite happy to appear on television with a US "celebrity".

This is a friggin disgrace.

Julian Assange

I read this and wept.

Because it is obvious to us all that the *vested interests* will pursue Wikileaks and Julian Assange until they break it and jail him. There is far too much at stake for the powerful war mongers to let this one go. They are used to ruling the world and pushing everyone around and they don't take kindly to anyone upsetting their deadly little game. Especially if it involves informing the proletariat.

So pretty soon Wikileaks will disappear and Julian will be locked up or otherwise neutered. I really feel for him and his family. And it's no good expecting our government to help - clearly they are batting for the other side. To verify that all you have to do is look at the prior treatment of David Hicks. Pity the next Australian who gets caught up in something like this.

So the net effect will be to push the next Wikileaks and the next Julian Assange underground. And to build a network centric organisation that can survive when one of the nodes is disabled. I wonder if it might look a little like the way that al Qaida run things - because for nearly a decade big brother has been unable to neuter them?

And it won't go away - while ever governments are corrupt and manipulative and people have a conscience then that corruption will be exposed by whistleblowers.

It's just a shame that the powerful states don't use this opportunity to moderate their behaviour and to take a more transparent approach to exercising their power. I guess there aren't many students of history running big government these days.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Conspiracy

So the USA State Department has been exposed as the manipulative bunch of dipshits they actually are - by Wiki Leaks. And Hilary's minions are all working overtime to close the thing down.

Julia - our Prime Minister even had a few harsh words - so the yanks must be feeling the heat. I reckon Obama needs to resurrect his *change* agenda - probably starting with Hilary.

Wiki Leaks is a breath of fresh air - finally the rest of the world can see the forest for the trees and now we have a good feel for how the big right wing war monger actually behaves. It's shocking stuff.

And the dingbats on Fox News even want Julian assassinated.

Really, the place deserves to go down the gurgler - even faster than it is.


In my view there is no more important project than this.

"MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) is a web-based publication of virtually all MIT course content. OCW is open and available to the world and is a permanent MIT activity".

This is one of the most valuable sources of accumulated knowledge in the world and it is available to you for free.

There are few more important things than a quality education - and while this won't get you one for free - it is an important step on the path toward achieving one.

And just think about the potential for on-line education delivery using material such as this - if we were ever to get a fast broadband network? The mind just boggles ;-)

Perhaps this is what Julia meant when she was talking about "Moving Forward"? I wonder if we can encourage Tony to get on board and show some support?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

NBN Business Plan

I have been working in the IT Industry for nearly 35 years. I started exploring IT in 1975 when I was actually employed on a complex civil engineering project - and needed some software to do a specific task - but the software wasn't available.

So I wrote my own on a HP programmable calculator. In those days the only portable computers were HP calculators and we all had one. From memory I think it was an HP25c and it fitted in your back pocket but of course was too precious for that. And I was working in Asia which meant that I didn't have access to the mini computer in head office or the mainframe at the university. No NBN anywhere then either.

Reverse Polish Notation - or RPN was the language the calculator used and if you understood that and how the stack worked then you could design and build a fairly complex program to run in about the 8k bytes that were available.

We designed and built roads and bridges and stormwater and sewerage systems and infrastructure with those calculators. We didn't need PC's let alone a NBN. And most of that infrastructure is still in use today.

The increase in productivity was incredible. Previously we had been working with slide rules and pencil and grid paper - but the HP 25c changed all that and meant that we could design and document things much faster - often by an order of magnitude.

My view is that the NBN could become the HP25c of the 21st century. If we are lucky.

As a nation we spent the last 25 years of the 20th century playing catch up - there was always an opportunity to become the *clever* country or the *smart* nation but it never actually happened.

We even had (at least) four attempts by various State Governments to attempt the development of *Silicon Village* - and they all failed. Billions have been wasted in the pursuit of *cleverness* by a range of Australian governments.

And the reason is that we aren't very clever - politicians and bureaucrats who try to *pick winners* usually end up by *picking losers*. It's a grand tradition of our state governments Virginia ;-)

And that is why the NBN is so important - it is ENABLING technology. It will enable the 21st century version of the HP25c user.

So we might argue about why it is necessary and debate the costs and think we need a business plan but I say go for it - because if we don't then we will never know if we are the *clever* country or not.

And I for one don't want to die wondering ;-)

It's all a bit too hard

I must confess that I did laugh my head off when I read this. And then I ordered another glass of wine.

We have been getting away with it because we are the *Lucky Country* and well it doesn't much matter if we act dumb - because *something* will turn up and we will be OK - won't we Virginia?

Or that is what we are used to. Our national plan appears to be built around three things - not necessarily in this order ;-)

* Remaining uneducated.

* Paying too much for shonky real estate.

* Driving around in monster trucks.

All the while worshipping at the altar of the nearest *Retail GOD*. Nothing else matters - this is what everyone has been conditioned to believe is true heaven on earth in the land of OZ.

We worship Credit Cards and Harvey Norman for Christ sake. Can I have another wine please?

I think it's because we live in an upside down world - where BS has become fact, lies are the new truth and black is now looking like white. All courtesy of Uncle Rupert and his friends.

These days I just write about it - and frankly I don't care if anyone listens - or understands.

Because when the sh_t hits the fan - I will be floating around out there in the middle of the Pacific or the Indian oceans - blissfully unaware. And having another wine.

And I got carried away with the wine but I also meant to say that this is a classic example of the "Dunning Kruger" effect - here.

Black is now White

Following on from a long tradition of science bashing and climate change obfuscation, The Australian has yet another go as pointed out by Tim Lambert - here. Tim's count is up to number 52.

I am pretty sure that Chris Mitchell didn't tell his writer what to say. In fact Mr Mitchell is so busy not telling his writers what to say that he apparently forgets to check the stories that they produce.

Fresh from threatening a lawsuit against a Twitterer who dared to tweet *the truth* - he has become emboldened and is now invincible ;-)

Surely tomorrows editorial will pronounce that *Black* will now be known as *White* - as decreed by said Mr Mitchell. And the drones who read his newspaper will all nod sagely.

What was it about Lemmings and cliffs?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Father of Lies

So Rupert Murdoch gets called the "Father of Lies" here and probably didn't even notice.

But Chris Mitchell gets his ego ever so slightly bruised here - and he goes ballistic with lawsuits all over the place. I wonder if he has read "Man Bites Murdoch"?

People, it's all just a game - a little game that is about trying to slow the decline of the Murdoch press in Australia. The best thing we can all do is ignore it and him - because they are on a death spiral anyway and it doesn't really matter what Mr Mitchell does - that spiral will continue.

His petulant little hissy fit might delay the end game by a moment or even a month but in the end it will be inconsequential.

Rupert has moved on to other things - apparently ***Fox News***!!! is the new "growth engine".

So keep your eye on Channel 10 ;-)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Evidence and Road Safety Policy

Fred Wegman is a thinker in residence who has been engaged by the SA Government - he is a road safety expert - and he is asking questions about how to improve things. Check out the commentary here ;-)

My contribution below.

"Fascinating isn't it how so many commentators here provide their opinion on how to fix the road safety problem. Let’s not collect the data, let’s not then analyse it and find the options for implementation - hell no lets jump right in and talk about the solution ;-)

So I congratulate you on your efforts to ask questions and understand the nature of the problem and the issues in the local context. Culture is likely to be a big part of the problem - and also a big part of the solution ;-)

But there is one key thing that will make sure that we end up with a *real* solution. Data. The single most important thing that will make a difference is data - its collection and analysis and subsequently the "evidence based policy" that is built upon it.

So may I suggest that if you have any ability to influence the local system then it will be of great benefit if you can help introduce a culture of real *data collection* and *analysis* - and help ensure it is a scientific one? And preferably one that makes the data available for external analysis - to validate the decisions that are made with it.

As opposed to what happens now which is mostly about pandering to popularism.

An evidence based road safety programme will save lives - because it will be based on facts. Everything else is based on emotion and opinion and political expediency".


Following on from my previous post - if anyone out there thinks that State Governments are mostly competent and that anyone agitating for their abolition is pushing excrement uphill - then I ask you to reflect on this.

How is it possible dear reader, that the State of Victoria could have been acting in a competent and professional manner if the recent "2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission" found it necessary to issue sixty seven - yes count them 67 recommendations in its final report?

Sixty Seven recommendations to fix the system - after 173 people died!

If the State Government had been doing its job then no-one would have died and no Royal Commission would have been necessary.

And who - apart from a few bureaucrats lost their jobs over it? Well until now no-one but I suspect that Mr Brumby and his Ministers will get plenty of time to reflect on that over the next few months.

This event was a big deal that showed how *incompetent* this state government had become in just one policy area. But why would anyone think that it is their only failure? And why would anyone imagine that this disease does not extend to the other States and Territories?

It's a problem that extends across all policy areas and all States and Territories. I wonder how is it going to *magically* get any better after 109 years of failure - just by changing the colour of the governing party?

The solution is to find a new governance model - my personal preference is to abolish the states and expand local government - but with real checks and balances and competent administration - but that is probably far too radical for the lucky country.

Game Changer

Just back after a week in Asia - must be getting old because I was knackered and slept for ~20 hours ;-)

Plenty of thinking time on the way back and that caused me to wonder if it isn't time for us to have a re-think about our system of governance.

Because the current one of *pseudo democracy* clearly doesn't work. If it did them we would have a Federal Government competently looking after the big picture items and State Governments competently delivering key infrastructure and services. All in the national interest. The place would be humming along like a well oiled machine.

Plainly, none of this is happening. And it hasn't been for more than a decade.

It looks like changes are afoot at the State level - with Victoria going conservative and NSW, QLD and SA Labor Governments being seriously on the nose - WA is already there.

Pretty soon every state will be run by the conservatives and then free enterprise will magically bloom and blossom and save us all Virginia ;-)

Although State Governments have more of a service delivery role than the Feds, it really doesn't matter which political colour gets to pull the levers there - because usually they are all incompetent.

So the best strategy for voters to adopt is one of constant change. If the Federal Government is Labor then install a Liberal State Government - and vice versa. If a State Government has been in power too long then turf them out and install anyone else. Muddy the waters by electing a few Independents and Greens when things get too cosy. Be contrary.

This is really the only way that long suffering voters get to express their displeasure - and have some level of control over proceedings. Voters know that State Governments have become irrelevant and so they will continue with this strategy until they can actually get to abolish the states. One day.

Now the political parties and their politicians also understand this and so they use their term or two or three in power to feather their own nests and to do what they want - while ever obfuscating with spin. And then they take their gold pass and pension and retire to somewhere exotic.

I think everyone understands what the game is.

But my question is - "Do we really want to keep playing it"?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

35 Years On

This week I am away in Kuala Lumpur - a town that I first visited 35 years ago. Doesn't time fly when you’re having fun ;-)

And I have just finished a fantastic Dim Sum lunch at the hotel that we used to work out of all those years ago. It was called the Merlin then but it's the Concorde now - on Jalan Sultan Ismail. Of course the place has changed a lot - but still recognisable. I wonder what has happened to the old PPK crew?

You might know Dim Sum as Yum Cha - how about some steamed jade crystal dumpling, deep fried phoenix prawns, bean curd roll, and mango custard pudding. No wonder it's called yum. Just fantastic.

And for some reason the KL streets are choc-a-bloc today but not a big ugly 4wd to be seen. How refreshing. But there is a bit of wealth about - just spent 10 minutes gawking at one of these - outside the Concorde.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


I got roped into listening in on a conversation between a small group of Gen-Y's yesterday. Let me assure you that this is not my natural habitat.

This was a conversation that lasted for an hour and a half - and the only topic they deemed worthy of discussion - was the housing market.

They spoke of this suburb or that, this home style or that, the merits or otherwise of a sauna or a spa and a pool, whether they needed a garage and a large yard or a small courtyard - and on it went. Even down to the colour of the paint that was used to adorn the walls. Complete obsession.

And why were they discussing housing? Because of this small group of six - most thought of themselves as potential *Real Estate Millionaires*?

Of course none of them are - they all have part time serving jobs or similar that they need to generate a cash flow - but the wannabe *REM's* were actually buying houses. Or more correctly, they somehow had managed to borrow enough money to acquire a residential property which they now called their own. And they were planning to acquire more of them just as soon as they could.

As I mentioned, this conversation went on for an hour and a half - now it was supposed to be a *guided* conversation - and the moderator tried to steer them off onto other topics.

* It was suggested that their education, career, job future were worthy candidates for discussion - no not interested.

* Business was suggested as a topic but the only business they were interested in was acquiring real estate.

* She tried to get them to discuss the GFC and its impacts - but they didn't know what it was. I kid you not!

* Politics, the nation, our national leadership - couldn't care less.

Because as we all know - acquiring real estate is the path to true wealth and happiness. Or that is what they told us ;-)

Friday, November 19, 2010


Its funny how there is so much analysis about why people blog and what drives bloggers to say stuff.

There are many thousands of reasons why people feel compelled to write about their world and to say what they think. And fortunately current technology enables anyone and everyone to express an opinion - often in real time.

Once upon a time expressed opinion was the exclusive domain of the newspaper, radio and television industries. And the old white males who control them. Not now.

These days you only need two things to be a blogger - "an opinion and the courage to write about it". And you need a third if you are a Twitter devotee - "a limited vocabulary" ;-)

This is what differentiates the bloggers from the rest of the population. Everyone has an opinion - but not everyone has the courage to write about it - to believe it, to put it in words and to argue for it.

Because the opinions of most people are often *soft* and formed by listening to the view of the last person who had the courage to express theirs or by watching someone on television who *looks nice* - express their boss's.

And some people have been clinging to a world view that is discredited - but they have too much invested in it to change now - and so they ignore reality. Sound familiar?

That is why leadership is so important. That is why a strong and capable and credible leader can make a huge difference and bring the people with them as they "Move Forward".

Perhaps we need a Leader who blogs?

Volvo Drivers

Contrary to popular belief, I am not picking on 4wd owners. Actually the reverse is true.

One of the characteristics that I have noticed - at least in the suburbs where I live and drive - is that when you become a big 4wd owner then you seem to automatically become a *much* more aggressive driver.

Now I don't understand why this happens but I have noticed that the young, demure, petite females who get behind the wheel of a *monster* truck seem to acquire a totally new persona. They don't give way, they barge into traffic, they back out in front of you and they tailgate even closer. It's like a switch gets flicked.

They think they are invincible. And with their children they look down on you from on high as though you are a mere ant. Now all this is rather intimidating when I am sashaying along in my classic Citroen - and trying to keep it intact and scratch free. It makes me very nervous. I now know why so many American motorists carry handguns in their vehicles Virginia ;-)

Clearly, the acquisition of one of these monster 4wd's triggers some animal instinct that causes bad behaviour. If the State Governments were actually interested in road safety instead of revenue raising then they would be studying this phenomenon and be ready to introduce legislation as the facts emerge.

In the meantime, I am just keeping my head down because the young female 4wd driver is the 21st century equivalent of the Volvo driver.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


So James Packer and Lachlan Murdoch have combined forces to take over Channel 10. Good on them - media diversity is good for the nation. Can't believe that I just wrote that ;-)

And it reminds me of the last attempt of the Packer and Murdoch boys to run a serious Australian business. Who can forget One-Tel? Certainly not the investors and probably not Jodee Rich or Brad Keeling either.

But seriously - good luck to them. I hope it goes well and with any luck they will be able to project all that excellent News Ltd content onto many more Australian eyeballs. I just can't wait to see Fox News on free to air television.

The only question is what will they call their new venture? My suggestion is "One Oh - Tel Evision". Or if they don't like that, how about "Two-Tel" or even "A^Sky^A"?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Carbon Price

Jeez - the monk is back into it again today talking about how a *price on carbon* will push the price of electricity up and other blah, blah, and blah.

Haven't we gotten over this yet? Didn't the people repudiate this *delay and deny* climate nonsense from the Coalition at the last election? Surely there can't be more than two or three dimwits left in the nation who haven't yet got the message?

The Government just needs to get on with it. There is more than enough information about what to do and how to do it - ask Ross Garnaut to give you a précis if you are not clear. You could develop a competent plan just by googling "Climate Change Mitigation" for christ sake.

The simple reality is - "The longer the delay then the higher the cost and the bigger the impact". Did you understand that? If not then I will repeat it - "The longer the delay then the higher the cost and the bigger the impact".

Everyone who is even half smart about the problem gets it - why not our friggin politicians?

I reckon we should give them a deadline. Either you have a price on carbon regulated and up and running by close of business next Friday - or you don't have a job - simple.


Like many Australian's I am hoping that one day soon we might see a small glimmer of the leadership that is needed to ensure we are *Moving Forward* in the right direction and heading toward a destination that most of us will be happy with.

But then I have been hoping for that since November 2007 and all we have seen is *me too* popularism and an almost complete *shirking* of responsibility by our political leaders.

Now part of that is because both major party leaders - the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition - and their staff are so disconnected from reality that it hurts.

The Prime Minister looked like an OK sort of person when she was the Deputy. She was coherent and had some passion and a persona despite the fact that she comes from Adelaide. But since she got the main gig she has become Madame Bland. She needs to resurrect some passion, acquire some courage and start to do the things that are expected of a leader and Prime Minister. Like lead and take some risks. Do some good and don't be evil. Stand up and be counted. And so on.

And the Opposition Leader really needs to take a long holiday and book himself in for the necessary surgery to have his personality bypass reversed. Because the man is seriously on the nose with a large subset of our population. He obviously knows this because he has moderated his approach recently and has turned on the invisible shield - hoping we won't notice. Where's Tony they all say? The trouble is that everyone knows he is faking it and can't wait to start rampaging again.

One of the bigger problems is that both parties have a quality problem on their front benches and so support for the leader is thin. But there are actually some good people in the Parliament - the biggest problem is that the party systems tend to bypass the doers in support of the yes men. And mostly they are old white and male ;-)

The real issue is that the party system hasn't grown up - they are still operating as though it is 1970 - fix that and I suspect that you will fix the leadership problem.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Three Things

I want to nominate three things that our government can do to earn itself some credibility while demonstrating leadership on three issues of national importance.

1. Our Media - Have the Communications Minister inform the ABC Leadership that they are to no longer provide a forum for News Ltd to push their right wing agenda. Make sure the ABC Board understands that this includes getting rid of the News Ltd staffers who *appear* on ABC shows. Tell them that if News Ltd wants a television platform then they should go see James and Lachlan and get engaged to Channel 10 - and pay the appropriate commercial rates.

2. Our Housing System - Get the Productivity Commission (or some other appropriate body) to enquire into the housing market including the banks, the developers, the state governments and everyone else who makes money by selling housing and its components to the poor old *buyers*. With the objective being to "level the playing field" and to remove the "distortions" that end up by lining the pockets of the *sellers* while ripping off the *buyers*. Regulate if necessary to ensure that all participants have equal knowledge, information and power - starting next week. Heavily tax the excessive profits of the profiteers - including the State Governments.

3. Our Personal Transport - Introduce a large *annoyance* tax on our oversized personal transport vehicles - that has the effect of seriously *increasing* the tax on large, heavy and fuel inefficient vehicles. If necessary, double or even triple this tax on large truck like 4wd's that are garaged in urban areas. Use this tax to actively discourage the use of heavy vehicles in urban areas. Introduce a rebate (that is funded by this tax) to people who choose to walk or use bicycles or other non-polluting urban transport. And do it now.

And use these things to buy some breathing space while you work out and start to execute a real plan for the nation.

Monday, November 15, 2010


I don't know who watches Q and A and why they would - but I won't.

Doesn't anyone else wonder why your ABC makes extra special effort to accommodate many of the right wing dingbats from the Murdoch press every other week?

I am happy to fund the ABC - but I choose not to read the crap that oozes from Rupert's minions. My choice.

So why do I have to listen to and look at those same people who have a semi-permanent invitation on QandA and Insiders and a raft of other ABC shows?

Is Rupert owed something by your ABC? Does the ABC leadership think they owe him something? Are they all interviewing at NEWS Corp? Is there something Mark Scott should be telling Australian's? Is this the Board's idea?

It's weird - and it is outrageous - your ABC is not NEWS Corp yet - so please get the dingbats off the friggin show!

Immigration Scam

Finally Immigration Minister Chris Bowen has got his act together and *fixed* one of the worst immigration scams that was perfected under the Howard government.

"The existing points test has not always led to outcomes consistent with the objectives of the skilled migration program." Mr Bowen said.

"For example, the current test puts an overseas student with a short term vocational qualification and one year’s work experience in Australia ahead of a Harvard educated environmental engineer with three years relevant work experience."

"The new points test will ensure we select the best and brightest people from a large pool of potential migrants."

The previous system was a smokescreen - designed to enrich at least three conservative constituencies.

Firstly, the not quite tertiary education colleges who were making money hand over fist from migrants who were here to gain residency - with an education being a secondary consideration.

Secondly, the real estate industry who were using this large inflow of tenants to sell us all on a manufactured property *growth* story in our mainland capitals - but particularly Melbourne.

Thirdly, the fast food and convenience store industry and other casual employers who were hiring these people on very low and sometimes quite illegal rates.

This immigration scam was a way to satisfy all three and keep everyone voting conservative. You could view it as a prototype for what was to become WorkChoices.

Isn't free enterprise a marvellous thing - especially when you have a nice little scam managed for you by the government? The amazing thing is how it went unreported for so long - clearly our media have lost the ability to inquire and expose. What a surprise?

OECD Economic Survey

There has been and will continue to be a lot of nonsense written about the recently released OECD Economic Survey of Australia. Most people won't get to read the detail for themselves and will have to make do with having it presented to them through the *filter* of our "high quality" media ;-)

There are lots to digest and most of it is top notch. Chapter 3 focuses on infrastructure - and as some of us will be aware various Australian governments have underfunded the national infrastructure for decades.

Nothing illustrates this more than "Figure 3.4 Commonwealth spending on road and rail infrastructure" - sorry but I can't show it or point to it here.

But the numbers are telling - during the last 5 years of the Howard/Costello government spending was at an average of a little more than $2 billion each year. The first five years of the Rudd/Gillard/Swan government (actual and projected) has spending at an average of a little more than $5 billion each year. A 2.5 times increase!

That well illustrates the scale of the problem that was created by the conservatives - and which now needs to be addressed by our national government. But you probably won't see that discussed in the main stream media.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Bastard Banks

So the Government, the Opposition, the media, various blowhards in the commentariat, and those poor old mortgagors have lambasted the banks for their most recent act of bastardry.

How dare they increase their rates by more than the Reserve Bank increase? Well people the reason they did is simply because they can.

Where else in the commercial world do we have contracts between a buyer and a seller where one side (the seller) can change the price of the contact at their whim - at anytime during the term of the contract? That is the issue folks - you want a mortgage in Australia then you will be captive to the form of mortgage contract that is used by Australian banks. So get over it or move elsewhere.

The truth is that the Australian housing market has been seriously skewed in favour of the lenders and the builders and developers and the state governments and everyone else who earns a living from exploiting the poor old *buyers*. And if they ever find out - then the place will go belly up faster than a Roger Bannister mile.

And adding more competition will not change that fact Virginia. The truth is that various Governments State and Federal, Liberal and Labor have encouraged allowed this nice little risk free earner for the banks to continue for eons. How else do you think they got to be so profitable?

Ahh - free enterprise is a wonderful thing isn't it? Especially when it is built around a sanctioned scam of young naive and innocent home buyers ;-)

And there is some thinking that suggests the banks are getting a bit tetchy about the number of mortgages that are starting to look a little shaky - and they are using some of these *extra* rate rises as a bit of insurance.

So it looks like their risk management processes are putting the price of mortgages up - does that suggest anything to anyone?

No I didn't think so.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Thinking Bogan

I don't know about you lot but I would prefer for the nation to have a bit of a plan to accompany the "Moving Forward" mantra that was adopted by the "Bogan in Chief" at our last federal election.

Just so the people have a bit of a clue about where we are moving forward to? I hope it's not Melbourne Virginia ;-)

It is all very well for the professional politicians to manage the nation on our behalf and to regularly tell us that they have our interests at heart - but I for one don't believe them.

So might I make a request for Julia and the crew to think about and develop a *National Plan* that they can talk about and which may even be used to guide their actions and investments. It might even allow us to identify their *core values* if they have any?

Now I don't want them to get too excited about it - because we all know how a poorly thought through plan can go awfully wrong. But surely we should have some ambition and goals that will help us to face the challenges of the 21st century.

Because meandering along in the wake of the resources boom is probably not a very clever or sustainable approach.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


A great article on innovation by Terry Cutler in Crikey today - here. I had a few other words to say about innovation last year.

It's scary that the nation and the vast majority of our people and politicians and so-called leaders seem to just bumble along - all living on the wealth generated from the mining boom. Because that is what has been happening for quite a while now.

We had a lucky escape from the full impact of the GFC and most of us didn't even seem to notice. The thing about living in "The Lucky Country" is that eventually our luck will run out. I suspect that it already has - it's just that we haven't noticed yet.

Two things define for me how dumb this "lucky country - she'll be right" attitude is.

* The housing bubble which just about everyone (except Steve Keen) seems to think is a permanent paradigm shift and;

* The acquisition by many people of truck like 4wd's for their daily transport.

These two things symbolise our national stupidity identity. They should be on the national flag and displace skippy and his mate from our coinage ;-)

We have been madly pouring our resources into a housing bubble that has the potential to decimate the personal wealth of a large number of our citizens - when it goes *poof*. What then Virginia?

For nearly a decade we have been ignoring productive business investment and hoping to get rich quick by buying jerry built McMansions and on-selling them to other gullible bogans.

And the inconvenient truth is that most of us know we are severely impacting the planet but we have such a cavalier attitude that we don't seem to care about that - and continue to acquire monster fuel guzzling vehicles as if there was no tomorrow. Perhaps there isn't.

And Terry Cutler wants to see some more innovation - it won't happen here mate because we just aren't clever enough.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


In the upheaval of the American election I found this gem from Sam Wylie - here. Nothing to do with the mid terms but a fantastic commentary of how politics produces the stuff that it does ;-)

"My wife and I gave money to the Gore campaign in 2000. We were living in Hanover, New Hampshire (the ‘live free or die’ state). Because New Hampshire has the first primary all the campaigns go through Hanover and we got to see all the main candidates. At the end of the primaries it was down to just four: On the Democrat side Bill Bradley and Al Gore and on the Republican side John McCain and George Bush. It was evident that three of those candidates were men of real statue and the other should have been running a gas station somewhere. No need to mention which one was not the like the others".

And as they say the rest is history. Hilarious.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Few Days

It only takes a few days to work out what big Joe is up to.

He started his little bank bashing campaign a few days ago - because he knew that the banks were about to announce their profits and he also knew that the Treasurer was nearly ready to announce a package of measures to enhance competition in the banking industry.

Is there another Godwin Grech hiding away in the Treasury?

So just as I speculated recently, Joe has no interest in regulating banks - but he does have an interest in capturing media attention for his great pronouncements on the banking industry. And that is what he has done.

And he will hammer away at it relentlessly until Wayne announces something.

And it looks like our media folks are unable to see the forest for the rhubarb - jeez maybe we need a *paradigm shift* in the Australian media or something. Are they really all on Valium?

Skill Shortages

Thanks Virginia for your note yesterday about the skill problems that are affecting us - of course it's all the Government's fault.

I will acknowledge that we have been a little slack with our processes - perhaps we should have been thinking about workforce planning a little earlier than last week but I always thought that Tony would get in and that the Coalition would then do what they always do - and let employers dictate employment terms to the workforce. Big disappointment that.

Plus I was hoping that he would re-introduce WorkChoices (of course he would have called it something else) and that would have allowed us to screw our workers while screaming for a change to those bloody restrictive imported worker rules that the Labor Government have introduced.

And I note that they are now clamping down on the numbers coming here to attend University - jeez where are the fast food and convenience store industries going to find slave cheap labour now?

And don't talk to me about training. The last time we spent money on training people was at the junket conference in Bali in 1988 - and the Tax Office only allowed us to claim 20% of that! Never again Virginia.

And that is the real problem - how can we run an Aussie Icon business when we have to pay Australian's real wages? Lets get real here - there is just no possibility of us making any more super profits if we have to pay anything like $18 an hour? Surely the Government understands that?

So your first task will be to ensure the Government gets back to a real employment system of letting us import all those Asian and Islander workers. They are the workers we want because we can pay them peanuts and claw back much of that with bogus services - like housing and transport. And who cares if they don't speak English - at least then they won't be able to complain. Couldn't we just use Google Translator?

And keep talking up those "Skill Shortages" because if we can get the media to focus on that then perhaps they will overlook the fact that we haven't been doing any workforce planning or educating our workers or paying them very much.

And then I can get back to the real issues that concern us all like trying to work out which new 4wd to buy and how to acquire the 10th new investment property using negative gearing - to house our new "workers".

Monday, November 1, 2010

Knickers in a Knot

So the main stream media have their knickers in a knot over big Joe and his proposal to neuter the banks.

They seem to like it (his proposal) but are concerned that it comes from Joe. Because Joe and his friends are members of the political party that has encouraged let the banks and their big business mates ride roughshod over the nation - for decades.

Find me a sizeable business that is actually looking out for their customers - as opposed to their shareholders and executives? There simply isn’t one Virginia - that's the sad truth.

And if you are so out of touch that you don't know that then you should turn the page now.

Because friends, the Coalition exists to run cover for big business and the rent seekers and vested interests in the corporate world - that is their job. They don't give a rats about small business or our citizens - because we don't *donate* enough folding stuff. And all they have to do is bribe us every three years to get what they want anyway.

* Mining taxes - no way lets be rid of them.

* Concentration of Media ownership - no problem we'll let Rupert and Co. do as they like.

* Climate Change - nothing to worry about there - let the big emitters continue to crap on the nation.

* Boat people - yes they are the bad guys - but we'll let you buy residency with a Mickey Mouse little degree.

* War Mongering - sure thing - where else can we start one?

So why do you think that Joe is trying to *neuter* the banks?

Well he isn’t - this is just another Coalition scam - like the ones that they introduced prior to the last election. Remember them - and Joe's attempt to buy some credibility by telling us their "costings" had been audited? And remember how it was all BS? Same old thing folks.

That's the thing about the Coalition - they lie through their teeth and then they think that we will have forgotten it all 5 minutes later - sorry but I haven't.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Joe is back in his box

So big Joe is in trouble with the Banks. All because he dared to suggest that they are gouging their customers - and he wants an enquiry.

It's just hilarious. Doesn't Joe know what the game is? The Coalition are not supposed to *question* the social and ethical standards of big business - hell no they are supposed to help let them do what they like to maximise profits, feather their own nests and rip-off Australian's.

Jeez this must have come as a big shock to the Australian Banking hierarchy and its leadership - sitting in their plush offices with their feet up, overlooking a big brown land, dreaming up new fees and charges while raking it in.

They have the Government covered and have effectively neutered Wayne and Penny and Julia - who wouldn't dare suggest such a thing.

But they forgot to cover off on the Coalition - and who can blame them with Tony running around like a mad monk and following along compliantly in Rupert's wake.

Who would have expected the Coalition to grow a pair and take their responsibility to Australian's seriously? Rupert will be most unhappy.

But it's alright now folks; big Mike got up yesterday and read the riot act to Joe - so he is back in his box today. Thank goodness someone is managing the Coalition.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fools and Broadband

So let me see if I understand this correctly.

During its 12 years in Government, the Coalition had no clue about fast broadband and was not at all interested in fixing up the mess that it had created with Telstra. In fact they made things much worse by trying to apply a US corporate dictatorship to this Australian communications icon - via the *three Amigos*. OK it was the Telstra Board rather than the *actual* Coalition - but the key people were intertwined. And you call that policy?

And ever since they lost control of the levers they have been outmanoeuvred by the current Government - who does actually understand broadband and has a plan to implement it for the benefit of the nation - including the regions.

But today we see a *new* policy from the Coalition which is apparently their "broadband plan" number 3 or is it 4? I have lost count but anyway you can find the detail - here.

Why would anyone take these clowns seriously?

* They couldn't understand it or get it right in the 12 years they were in the big seats in Government.

* They have had 3 or 4 different plans since they lost Government - will this one even work? I am looking forward to the next one ;-)

* They have been bagging the Government's NBN plan for a couple of years now.

* None of them actually use broadband for anything much and they clearly still don't *get it*.

* Except perhaps for Malcolm - who has a *Twitter* account - D'oh.

But a much bigger issue is that all this new plan will do is slow down the NBN rollout - and that is probably what they are hoping for because they see the NBN as a threat and are trying to kill it.

Just goes to show that the Coalition is not about looking out for the people and building infrastructure to help the nation advance - they are merely about power and politics and point scoring.

If they manage to kill fast broadband then the smart ones amongst us will get the message and move elsewhere.

The Coalition should change its name to "Delay & Deny" - because that is their dumb little game.

Monday, October 25, 2010

On Yer Bike

So Howard has written a book - and he is appearing on every TV and Radio show that will have him - trying to promote it. Good luck.

Please tell me again why I would want to look at or listen to his feeble little attempt at re-writing history? All designed to make him and his horrible right wing mate’s look a little more acceptable to the people?

It's all so boring and predictable. The man was a waste of space when he was occupying Kirribilli House - and nothing much has changed in that regard since he moved a couple of suburbs up the road.

In fact, I find his appearance on our television screens downright offensive - and won't watch or listen. It would take hours and pages to write about all the shitty things that he did and the resulting impacts on Australians. But I won't do that today.

There is only one substantial thing that remains on my list - everything else has been dulled by the passage of time or been reversed by the current Labor Government. So much for his "Legacy".

That is his "War Mongering". Particularly his sending of Australian's to War in Iraq and Afghanistan - without even a momentary thought for the people or the soldiers or even the Parliament.

If I had my way then he would be bundled off there with a uniform and a rifle and told to fend for himself. Good Luck.

Because it is clear to us all that with his mates "W" and "Bliar", he has created a monster that will take decades to fix - if at all. Wikileaks have shown us the full extent of the nightmare that has resulted from the "War Mongering" of the "Coalition of the Willing" and it ain't pretty folks.

In fact, it is so ugly that the man should hang his head in shame.

Woodside Wingnuts

I am saddened a little by the words and actions of the "Woodside Wingnuts" - and the exploitation of them by the local Liberal MP - all as described here by Grogs Gamut.

This particular phenomenon is the result of a long term assault on the culture of the place and its people - by rich and powerful vested interests.


* A Premier who prefers "spin" over "substance" - and has done so for a decade or more.

* Encouragement of an insular, self focussed and unreal view of the world - all designed to keep "confidence" up and citizens "spending".

* Using an organisation dedicated to marketing the "benefits" of the state - to the "people" of the state.

* Combined with a major education deficit in the State - resulting in the lowest education achievements in the nation.

* All fanned by 40 plus years of *Murdoch Manufactured Mush* from the daily newspaper.

* Which has resulted in many citizens having a "pig ignorant" view on most issues of substance.

And now we are seeing the result of all this - so why is anyone surprised?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Man Bites Murdoch

Been reading Bruce Guthrie's account of his life as a newspaper man for the past few days - it's been hard to put down. And it is a great read - funny, informative with lots of inside information about Australian newspapers and their people and culture. A review is here.

It's an incestuous and belligerent little industry - dominated by the right wing moguls and their friends and hangers on and bum boys in the Melbourne Club and elsewhere. I am afraid that Melbourne has got a lot to answer for. John Elliott for Christ sake. And Jeff Kennett.

Successive Australian Governments have lost the ability to regulate and control our media - and that is why we have ended up with Prince Rupert force feeding us his world view - through the *numbnut* filters of "Andrew Bolt" and "Chris Mitchell". What sad personal lives these people must have - with their thinking having already been worked out for them?

I think Bruce is a good guy and there may even be more of them out there but this is not an industry that can or will survive in its current form for too much longer.

The post Murdoch world will look significantly different - I just want to be around to celebrate it in style.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Let Me Be Clear...

"Let me be clear: We will vigorously pursue the truth – and we will not tolerate wrongdoing".

D'oh - wonder if he has bothered to tell his Australian Editors about this new plan?

The man is personification of "Portnoy's Complaint" and this speech is a painful reminder that the person who owns and operates 70% of Australian Newspapers is just another right wing *numbnut*

Stealing more Crikey Content

Found this in Crikey today and just had to share it - and you must watch the speech that Adam Bandt made in the Parliament yesterday. Truth is finally meeting Politics head on.

Chris Hunter writes: Re. "Video of the Day: Adam Bandt's speech on Afghanistan" (yesterday, item 8). Adam Bandt's premise that Australia is engaged in Afghanistan because the US asked it to be there serves the Australian argument about involvement but fails to illuminate the big picture question "why is the US in Afghanistan?"

Before the twin towers fell, Osama Bin Laden was asked in an interview what it would take to cease hostilities by his organization against the west, namely the US. His answer was simple enough "The US must get out of Arabia". In short the US must economically decouple from Arabia to avoid future antagonism, such as September 11. Anyone who cares to peruse the Guy Debord literary classic Society of the Spectacle will recognize that the US is the ultimate "spectacle" -- totally hooked on consumption, sickeningly overweight, a grotesque spiritually bankrupt community chewing up world resources alarmingly, with a bevy of willing backslappers such as Australia, Britain, etc.

If the US cannot "survive" without dominating the resources of other countries then it must accept that terror is the price it must pay. And we as its doppelgangers must also pay. If China were to invade Australia for its resources then who would be surprised if Australians fought back, using whatever tactic given the inequality of the fight.

No, I am not endorsing terror. But if the west is seeking a solution then it should be prepared to slim down, demand less, unhook itself from the terrible addiction that has befallen it.

Our politicians have to grow up and get over the fundamental greed that has poisoned their thinking and morally bankrupted our society. Terrorism and economic domination go hand in hand.

We want to live like kings when most of the world goes without and not pay the price? Tut tut.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sorry Julia

Sorry Julia - you are wrong and I suspect that you have a very misplaced and uninformed view of Australia's interest with regard to Iraq and Afghanistan and the United States.

Just goes to show how the US military/industrial complex has taken control of our military decision making. But why is anyone surprised by that?

It was a disgrace when Howard started these wars and it is still a disgrace now that Rudd and you are continuing with them.

I personally don't mind if you and your family and the family of the Opposition leader want to head off to Afghanistan and participate in this shitty little war. Go for it - the closer you get to the front line the better as far as I am concerned. I will even be at the airport waving you off. And don't expect to be treated any differently from David Hicks if and when you get back.

But I do object rather heartily - to you and him agreeing to send our Australian boys off to fight this unnecessary war - and then standing up and telling us that we will be there for decades.

You have no friggin idea.

We elected you to govern our nation - not to pander to a US military that exists to acquire and use weapons of mass destruction against the people of Iraq and Afghanistan and anywhere else that takes their fancy.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Here's the Rub

Not only is the average Australian not informed on significant issues like "Climate Change" but apparently neither are Coalition MP's. According to Lenore Taylor - here.

The argument that Australia is considering "going it alone" on a carbon price flared during an estimates hearing yesterday.

The Nationals' Senator Ron Boswell said: "The one thing that is indisputable is that for Australia to go ahead alone is going to achieve absolutely nothing".

The secretary of the Climate Change Department, Dr Martin Parkinson, replied "the presumption that no one else is acting is a peculiarly Australian perspective - it is absolutely nonsense to say no one else is acting".

Exactly. So my questions are these.

"Why is it that people like Senator Boswell don't know what is happening in the rest of the world? Might it be that they *choose* to remain thick and ignorant?

If our members of parliament can't be bothered to access information that is readily available - then how will our citizens be informed? Or is that the *numbnut* plan? And why do we tolerate these "thickwits"?

Monday, October 18, 2010


The thing about the current Coalition leadership is that "they clearly don't do Strategy". Which means they don't know *how* to win. What they "do" are "tactics" - because they think short term and they think no-one else is paying attention.

If they did "Strategy" then they would have a *real* plan to depose our Government. And they would do these five things.

* Win over the people with their competence, charm, knowledge and smarts.

* Have a capable, trustworthy and articulate shadow ministry.

* Build a reputation of credibility and competence.

* Take a moderate but firm approach on policy.

* Always act as an alternative Government.

But the conservatives and their leaders are so angry, so thick, so conflicted and so impatient that they can't do any of this. And that's why they won't get to pull the levers anytime soon Virginia.


My previous post got me thinking a bit - a very unusual event I know ;-)

For a couple of decades now the "Liberals" have been moving further and further toward the *right* and further and further away from the philosophy that Menzies established when he created the "Liberal Party" - after the second world war.

I mean it was called "Liberal" for a reason Virginia.

Quite simply the *Conservatives*, the *Tories*, the *right wingers* and the *numbnuts* have taken over - the party has become a loose amalgam of everyone with a barrow to push - all masquerading as "Liberals".

For evidence I present Exhibit A - Tony Abbott. And Exhibit B is Eric Abetz ;-)

This tells us a few things about the "Liberals" post Menzies - they clearly didn't have the strength of leadership, character or commitment to fend off the takeover. So they let the *Conservatives* run the place but they didn't bother to tell their constituents or to change their name.

Now fast forward a decade or two and some of the rest of us have finally woken up and noticed that - "Liberals ain't Liberals". So what to do about it?

Well, as Andrew Leigh has pointed out in his maiden speech - Menzies "liberal" philosophy is now owned by the Labor Party. Pretty soon there will be no-where left for the small-L liberals to go - even if they do grow a pair and take on the usurpers.

Shifting Ground

Andrew Leigh, the new Federal Member for Fraser (ACT) gave his maiden speech in the parliament today and it's a ripper - you can find it here.

One interesting thing is that he was born in the same year that Gough Whitlam won office - 1972. I was a *nasho* at the time based at Holsworthy and was hoping for a Whitlam win - because Labor had promised to end National Service. And it was one of the first things he did - we were all out-of-there by Christmas.

But these two paragraphs of Andrew's are what reinforced for me the changing nature of Australian politics. Especially the "Shifting Ground" that has been evident since the "Liberals" discarded "liberalism" and embraced right wing "conservatism".

"The Labor Party today stands at the confluence of two powerful rivers in Australian politics. We are the party that believes in egalitarianism – that a child from Aurukun can become a High Court Justice, and that a mine worker should get the same medical treatment as the bloke who owns the mine.

But what is sometimes overlooked is that we are also the party that believes in liberalism – that governments have a role in protecting the rights of minorities, that freedom of speech applies for unpopular ideas as for popular ones, and that all of us stand equal beneath the Southern Cross. The modern Labor Party is the true heir to the small-L liberal tradition in Australia".

Yes absolutely - go for it Andrew.

The Libs and Murdoch

This comes courtesy of "Tips and Rumours" in Crikey today - and is soooo interesting that I just had to pinch it ;-)

"A senior federal LNP member (and good friend) tells me that senior LNP "faceless men" have an appointment with his highness, Prince Rupert Murdoch, for next month's visit. The purpose is to argue in favour of Mr T, in an attempt to consign the Prince's personal loathing of Mr T to the sidelines in the best interests of the Conservative movement.

Why, you ask? Abbott is now regarded as utterly unelectable by all but the most recalcitrant, hard-right members of the LNP federal caucus. Were a leadership spill called tomorrow, it is suggested that the numbers would go for Mr T -- by roughly 10-15 votes, a landslide win in contrast to the last spill. The meeting with the Prince is regarded as paramount to the LNP's objective of winning in 2013, let alone forcing an early poll".

Friday, October 15, 2010


Don't we need an easily accessible place where Australians can go to get some real, accurate and up to date information about our politicians - especially the ones that we are about to vote for?

* Imagine standing in the queue on polling day - with your pencil and ballot paper at the ready - and being able to drag out your portable internet device to search for the history of the candidates who are seeking your vote?

* Imagine being able to rank them - based on their voting record and beliefs - against criteria that you have personally selected?

* Imagine being able to send a trusted *netbot* off to search the candidate base - using criteria that you have selected - to find the candidate that best matches your personal requirements and beliefs.

* Imagine having access to a deep and detailed database of all our Politicians, complete with knowledge of their voting history, ideology and personal behaviour?

It would scare the bejesus out of me too Virginia ;-)

And it would change politics as we know it.


Yesterday I had a bit of a rant about the North Sydney "Liberal" MP Joe Hockey and how he told some enormous porkies AND got a swing TO him at the recent election.

I suspect that there are a couple of reasons for this. Many of us expect our politicians to lie and we are so conditioned by this that we have stopped listening to them. Unfortunately when it comes time to apply the pencil to the ballot paper we don't know what they stand for and so we revert to what our parents did - and many of us vote Liberal. Sad but true.

This theory explains why most Liberal voters don't seem to have noticed that the "Liberal Party" candidates are no longer "Liberals".

But a bigger issue for me is that if these "Liberals" are quite happy to tell big lies to their constituents then what about the other important people in their lives?

Do they lie to the wife and kids? Mum and dad? How about their friends and neighbours? The Tax man? The various welfare agencies? About their Parliamentary expenses? Did they lie during their education and did they end up with qualifications they don't deserve? Did they lie to their previous employers? Is their CV real?

I dunno - but it seems likely that if they are so disrespectful of their constituents - then a few small lies to friends and family would be nothing to worry about - right?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Here We Go - Again

Looks like we are now doing to the Tertiary Education sector what we did to the IT sector a decade ago.

What is that I hear you asking? Stuffing it royally - is my answer.

The Tertiary Education sector has been living in a fool’s paradise for a while now - especially given that they have been trading their Mickey Mouse degrees for residency to opportunistic fee paying overseas students - all courtesy of Little Johnny and the Liberals.

Free enterprise is a wonderful thing - especially if you have a nice little scam like residency to use as a carrot ;-)

Dumb commerce if you ask me - it was always going to end in tears. And the chickens have now come home to roost.

And so the "once vibrant" Tertiary Education sector is now in serial decline - perhaps they can take the opportunity to get back to their core business of "educating Australian's". Or perhaps not.

If this was the manufacturing industry there would be hand wringing all over the place - closely followed by millions of dollars in *special assistance* packages.

But because it involves a "services industry" - especially one that is not valued by our politicians - it will be left to fend for itself.

Good luck people - sadly you are in the wrong Country - at the wrong time.

Buffoonery Works

In the recent 2010 election, the Liberal Member for North Sydney achieved an 8.55% swing to him and got 64.06% of the two candidate preferred vote. Because North Sydney is a hotbed of Liberal Party activism - or perhaps alternatively because it's two-thirds full of slow thinking rusted-ons ;-)

The Liberal Member for North Sydney is Joe Hockey.

Yes Virginia - the same Joe Hockey who told us that the Coalition *costings* had been audited by one of the largest and most respected accounting firms in the nation.

But as Peter Martin points out here - "Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey was not telling the truth when he claimed days ahead of the election the Coalition's costings had been *audited* by a big Australian accountancy firm".

I personally don't care much for what Joe says - but as a North Sydney resident I am *really pissed* that he lied to the people AND got a serious swing TO him.

All I can say is that this is a sad indictment of the quality of the "thinking organs" that are attached to the voters of North Sydney.

Clearly buffoonery works - which explains a lot about why the Monk is rampaging around like a dipstick.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


1. A person without curiosity - someone who isn't able to think for themselves.

2. A reader of "The Australian" aka "Fox News in Print" - someone who is captive to the Murdoch echo chamber and who thinks that "Climate Change" and "Mining Taxes" and "Broadband Networks" and "National Water Policy" are socialism in disguise - and the work of the devil.

3. Someone who thinks that the mining entrepreneurs and their fellow travellers have the long term interests of the nation at heart without realising they have been duped by the multi millionaires whose intent is to steal wealth from the nation.

4. A large subset of current "Liberal Party" MP's - someone who allows an angry little right wing bully and his slow thinking cronies to take control of the Liberal Party and to run around like a bull in a china shop - all without a thought for their own constituents.

5. A larger subset of current "National Party" MP's - someone who blindly follows along behind the "Liberal Party" MP's identified above - usually a couple of paces behind - while mumbling incoherently about "Great Big New Taxes" and "Stealing My Water".

And so on.