Thursday, September 29, 2016

He / She said, What?

Time and events rob folk of memory. For this we can often be grateful but these days we get reminded all too easily, what with the internet and the propensity of people to remind us. Our current crop of Politicians certainly need such reminders.

I was reminded too of a politician long gone. Well nine years gone as he departed this land and life in 2007.  An old-school Gentleman and Knight, Sir Denis James "Jim" Killen AC, KCMG was an Australian politician and a Liberal Party member of the Australian House of Representatives from December 1955 to August 1983.

Much has been said of Sir Jim but it was he who had the turn of phrase. 
"Mr Whitlam has accused me of holding racist views.  
But may I say to him that I for one swam bare-arsed in the Condomine with Aboriginals."   
(House of Representatives, 13 August 1969)
He was once pursued down a busy street by an earnest young woman reporter for the ABC, who asked a question of long and involved complexity with at least ten subordinate clauses. Eventually, as she ran out of breath, he turned and answered, "No"

Shocked, she found another breath and said, "No? Is that all the answer you can give?" To which he replied, "And what would you have me do, my dear? Compose an essay?"

Chris Mitchell was in the Oz room reminding us of other politicians who cannot seem to remember what they said last year to the easiest of questions. He had the compliant and forgetful media in his sights too.
Amnesia suits the politics of today’s media generation
Something odd is happening in our media when journalists are so publicly contemptuous of everyday Australians; those people who make up journalists’ audiences.
It is hard to know where to start given how much rubbish was written during the past month about same-sex marriage 
For me the issue was crystallised by my friend Chris Kenny. “If Labor proposed a plebiscite, (media)gallery and #theirABC would endorse a wonderfully democratic and inclusive way to enact social change,” Kenny tweeted on -August 28.
The response on Twitter was a hoot but the point was correct. It’s just politics. Right up until 2013, Labor in government under the then prime minister Julia Gillard was implacably opposed to same sex-marriage. 
Were Gillard’s comments in favour of traditional marriage “hate speech”? 
Surely not and surely what could be safely said by our first female PM and one time queen of the Victorian Left of the Labor Party can be said only three years later by any thinking Australian.
Many in the media have lost their memories. 
But the amnesia suits their politics. More proof?  As Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, now a passionate same-sex marriage advocate who thinks the “plebiscite plebs” should not be trusted to vote on the issue lest hate speech be unleashed nationally, once supported what? You guessed it: a plebiscite, and as recently as 2013.
Why don’t passionate same-sex marriage advocates in the media ever point out the truth about Labor’s formal position on the issue? 
Shorten is sponsoring a private member’s bill because Labor’s formal national platform allows its MPs a free vote on the issue until 2020 and many on the Catholic Right of the party oppose changing marriage laws.
Wait.... wait..... a bon mot a'comin'.

Shorten could not remember his own “haters under a rock” words from before the election when he abused Anglican minister Ian Powell last week, claiming he was being verballed when Powell mentioned the comments after a Canberra parliamentary church service last Monday.
Many reporters rushed out to defame Powell and deny Shorten had said only a few months earlier what he claimed he had not said.
Robert Manne in 2001 wrote a wonderful book called The Culture of Forgetting: Helen Demidenko and the Holocaust. For senior media leaders in newsrooms around the country this culture of forgetting is accelerating with the 24-hour news cycle.
Many journalists can’t remember what was said by national leaders a week ago. With more young journalists bursting forth with naive opinions in this era of media “curation” (rather than editing), a much older book springs to mind. The Cloud of Unknowing, a Christian mystical text from the 14th century, reminds me what a mystery some of the opinions sprouting forth this past month are.
Like Kenny, I blame the ABC. 
In my view, the ABC has been slowly taken over from the inside, culturally at least, by Triple J. The anti-establishment ethos of the ABC’s home of alternative music eventually infiltrated television and radio.
It is fascinating to see how well the Triple J crowd has done. From European correspondent Steve Cannane, to radio broadcaster Angela Catterns, science commentator Dr Karl, comedian Wil Anderson, radio duo Roy and HG, radio announcer Robbie Buck and many more. There are prominent exceptions such as Leigh Sales and Chris Uhlmann but even Q&A and occasional Lateline presenter Tony Jones, admittedly not a graduate of Triple J, affects a Triple J kind of radical chic.
He once remarked about a propensity towards violent anti-Vietnam War street protesting and the turning over of police cars. Never mind he was a schoolboy in Year 9 at prestigious Sydney GPS boys school Newington College in 1971 when the war ended, as Gerard Henderson pointed out in Media Watch Dog in July 2011.
Not to be denied his ABC radical chic, he told my colleague Caroline Overington at the time that, yes, he was too young to burn police cars during the war, but he had good memories of the riots during the visits of US President Lyndon B Johnson to Australia in 1966 and 1967 (there were absolutely none) and at the Star Hotel.
Back to my music theme. As Cold Chisel famously chronicled, there was a riot at the Star Hotel in 1979 and police cars were overturned, but it was a riot about the closing of the pub and the end of free beer that night to celebrate. Zero about Vietnam.
That does not play into ABC skinny-tie political chic but it does fit my theory about the inversion of cultural power. 
Many of the kids from Triple J grew into real talents on ABC TV and radio. Even when they annoy us we often enjoy their shows, and their values affect and increasingly reflect those of their audiences.
This is not a conspiracy but a worldwide phenomenon as the generation of the 60s and 70s assumes cultural hegemony.
A conspiracy can be a phenomenon. 
The example is replicated across new media outside the public broadcaster. The Western world is facing a rise in identity politics, often driven by the values of the young who preach tolerance as the greatest virtue of all yet display intolerance of any dissent from assumed pieties. Journalists are not exempt.
Yet the radical Left was once the spiritual and intellectual home of dissent worldwide, at least outside Russia, China, anywhere in the Muslim world (which still loves beheading dissidents) and right across the developing world. The Left now warns against violence and violent language but intimidates anyone not on the same values page.
Hmmmmm. I pulled a pint and mused at his choice of words. The left was the spiritual and intellectual home of dissent, eh?. Maybe. But it was almost wholey destructive of traditional norms. There was much hatred and very little intellect about it. Veiled praise of communist inspired and paid-for destruction doesn't cut it in the Tavern. I had to give him a glass of water.
Still destroying.
The children of the revolution have become very good at thought control, as Pink Floyd described it in Another Brick in the Wall. So why fear a free vote on same-sex marriage? 
Why pretend the burka is anything other than an instrument of oppression. This was the standard feminist position only a decade ago.
Why defend the subjugation of French Muslim women as an exercise in those women’s rights to cultural identity? 
Can the ABC, Fairfax Media and other progressive outlets be serious about their defence of Section 18C?
Back to my Triple J music theme. Pete Townshend got it right with The Who’s 1971 single Won’t Get Fooled Again: “Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.” Except the new cultural leaders turn out to be a pretty moralising, humourless bunch who actually oppose freedom of thought and expression. 
For political reasons mind you.
Imagine such an overtly sexist white male record cover being released today. Who’s Next, the fifth studio album by The Who, depicted four men, having urinated on a concrete piling, doing up the flies on their tight denim jeans.
Twitter, which seems oblivious to all the racist and sexist abuse that abounds in US rap, would go into meltdown. The Drum and The Guardian would have a moral middle-class field day.

I must find some space on a wall somewhere for some Killen quotes. Meanwhile here are a few for you.
Killen To John Armitage - "If brains were water, your head could be declared a drought area."
(House of Representatives, 26 May 1976)
To Hon Clyde Cameron - "If you will wait for a few moments, even your dull mind will be able to gather up the fragments of the point as it passes by, or through you." 
(House of Representatives, 29 April 1959)
"I am delighted to be able to congratulate Mr Gough Whitlam on becoming Leader of the Opposition. Never before has a party been led with firmer assurance into the bleakness of the Opposition benches as was the Labor Party at the last election… May I further congratulate him on the speech he has delivered this evening. It surely would represent the most sustained, accomplished piece of moaning this Parliament has ever heard."
(House of Representatives, 24 February 1976)
"I now come to the Labor Member for Grayndler, Mr Fred Daly. If ever there was a well-merited slogan chosen by his political opponents it was "be decent, be clean, change Daly".
(House of Representatives, 21 May 1965)
Would that we could see and hear such fine language again in our parliaments.


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Don't Take My Word For It.

I am only the Tavern Keeper here and my job is to serve the Ale. I listen and occasionally add a little to what others say. And boy do customers talk. Mostly, in here, there are interesting perspectives seen at the bottom of tankards, and as the saying goes..."In Vino Veritas": but elsewhere...? 
Everyone has an opinion these days, ill-considered as they may be. Indeed, many people do not  have opinions at all but that does not stop them. They have their own prejudices or are happy to spout the ill-considered views of others and call them their own opinion.

Some people out there in Hillary's Village get the spotlight shone upon them as though their word was worth listening to. Nonebrities included. It is not all High Powered Debate between Presidential contenders. The past days have seen The Donald go up against the Great Hillary and the listening, watching public were treated to theatre. What these 'leaders' do is more worthy of scrutiny than what they say, unless one is simply seeking out hypocricy. 

I would have speakers consume four pints of my Ale before going on stage.

The TVs and Newspapers are chokka with the views of celebrities and nonebrities. If it is part of entertainment, we may forgive them and laugh. But sometomes they are serious. Often they can be found in that theatre we call the United Nations.

Take young Emma Watson for instance. She is probably a nice enough girl, but she still has the cradle-marks on her bum and her only claim to fame is in reading the lines handed to her when acting, as she did, in a film about kiddies doing magic stuff. She has done nothing else in her short life.  But for some unfathomable reason she is a 'spokesperson' at the UN. 

The mind boggles.

Rod Liddle had been in and fuming, and someone noticed. 
‘Whining, leftie, PC crap’: 
Emma Watson’s UN speech ridiculed by UK columnist
EMMA Watson’s recent speech at the UN summit in New York has gained attention for all the wrong reasons after it was ridiculed by a UK columnist as “whining, leftie, PC crap”.
In a blistering piece published in Friday’s edition of The Sun newspaper, journalist Rod Liddle mocked the 26-year-old Harry Potter star’s involvement in the summit, where she addressed on-campus sexual violence and gender inequality.
“Hermione Granger has been addressing the United Nations General Assembly. Nope, not kidding,” Liddle’s column began. “Anyway, instead of telling them all the rules of Quidditch or how to turn someone into a frog, she bored them all rigid with whining, leftie, PC crap. Just like all actresses do if people are stupid enough to give them the chance.”

Liddle went on to question both the knowledge and increasing involvement of female actresses in such causes.
“Why do we indulge these luvvie slebs, most of whom know nowt?” he wrote.
“I don’t object to them having views and expressing them. I just don’t understand why we take them seriously. I suppose they got Emma in because Angelina Jolie is a bit tied up with other stuff at the moment.”
Over the weekend, Liddle’s comments about the star gained traction on social media and left fans gobsmacked. 
In her address at the UN General Assembly last week, Watson presented the HeForShe campaign’s report on gender equality in worldwide universities.
She urged universities and colleges to “make it clear that the safety of women, minorities and anyone who may be vulnerable, is a right, not a privilege.”
In recent years, the actress has become known for speaking out on humanitarian causes and equal rights issues. She was appointed UN Women Goodwill Ambassador in 2014 and is an advocate for UN Women’s HeForShe campaign, which focuses on gender equality.
The HeForShe campaign is one of those mendacious programs which try hard to maintain the image that girls are hard done by and that boys should help them. 

There is no such equal urge to get a SheForHe campaign going. 

Only the blind and deaf who have an excuse, or the stupid who are not expected to know much can be given a pass there. The rest who swallow her nonesense have no such excuse and are plainly deceiving themselves and us. I have no idea if Emma actually believes what she says or is just doing as she has done since 12 years old and read someone else's lines.

It is fortunate though that few in the UN actually listen.

The Oz PM followed in past Oz PM footsteps and went to tell the UN all the good news about the Great nation down under. 

Malcolm Turnbull Tells The UN That Australia Has 'The Solutions'
The PM has addressed an almost empty UN General Assembly.
To a less than packed audience, the Prime Minister described Australia's.......
I can't go on. Pints to pull have higher priority. Practically everyone at the UN had other priorities too and our Mr Turdball had the floor to himself.
Forget to send the invites, Malcolm? Turnbull gives his first United Nations address to an almost EMPTY room
Malcolm Turnbull addressed United Nations general assembly in New York
Prime Minister's first address seemed to be given to an empty room 
Mr Turnbull spoke about Australia's border controls and migrant intake
He also mentioned AFL player Aliir Aliir who fled Sudan for Australia  
As I said, he follows in footseps if the same sized bootees. This was a few years ago....
Kevin Rudd lectures an empty hall at UN
IT WAS the day the woes of Liverpool, Melbourne and Cairns were brought to the attention of the United Nations as Prime Minister Kevin Rudd humanised the impact of the global recession to world leaders.
In his second address to the 192-member world governing body, Mr Rudd was the last speaker on a tumultuous opening day of the general assembly in which US President Barack Obama was upstaged by maverick Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, who staged an anti-West rant lasting 90 minutes.
After more than 10 hours waiting, just before 9pm US time, Mr Rudd made a 17-minute address before a quarter-full chamber - many heads of state were across town attending Mr Obama's reception at the New York Museum of Metropolitan Art.
Maybe the UN is not so bad after all. It provided nonebrities, elected or not, to strut and burble for their 15 mins (or 17) without disturbing the rest of us too much.

Have a drink. 

Have an opinion. Any opinion will do. Express any opinion you have. But remember this.... you cannot form an opinion in any old way you want. There is only one way.

Review ALL the evidence. Study the facts. Read all you can about a subject. All. Not just a bit. Consider all the arguements that have been made pro and con over the ages. Weigh them carefully in your mind. Only then are you in any position to form an opinion.

Unless that process is properly conducted, all you are doing is making a judgement before all the available evidence is in. That is, pre-judging. 

It is what is meant by Prejudice.

Don't just take my word for it.


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Oh, the Humanity.

Oh the horror. Oh the tears. Some events you would not wish on your worst enemy. 

The Tavern is supplied with the very best and purest, brought in flasks on Angel's shoulders. But there are other, lesser tipples that even nice folk enjoy. It is to be regretted when it does what it is not meant to. 

I like a whiskey. And even that American brew, Jim Beam, despite it not having the cachet of fine Highland single malt.

But even I can weep at the waste. First, lightning struck a Jim Beam warehouse in Kentucky.

Then, hundreds of gallons of bourbon poured into a retention pond and caught fire.

Finally, forceful winds brought the fire into the sky, creating a firenado.

Oh the Humanity.

Drink here in the Tavern.


Sunday, September 25, 2016

Rotting from the Inside

You do not know them, probably. They are the faceless people. They answer the phone with their first name. You can't 'track them down'. They hide behind files. No, I am not talking of telemarketers or scammers, but of fine upstanding men and women in our government departments. Most are graduates, class of 2000.  Marx's finest. 

They are at all levels of the Education Empire that exists in each State and Federally. They do as they are told. And they are in the schools too. Heads, Principals. Teachers. All useful. Some, a few, scared.

Of course, Marx was an 'intellectual', not like that other Socialist. Ol' Karl prefers a different sort of storm trooper. 

Did it not occur to you that Roz Ward of La Trobe University didn't just 'strike lucky'?  Do you think that any old academic can just write a curriculum and get it all implemented in schools ? Did you think that a woman or a man with a PhD in Divinity could just forward a lesson plan in a fancy binder, along with ten carefully written books to get teachers to take kiddies through the finer points of altruism, and stand a chance?

It comes as a shock. Julie Cross spoke in the Oz Room
Gender lessons ‘bordering on pornographic’, says parent
A PUPIL at a northern beaches school was left “violated” after being asked to analyse sex scenarios of fictional middle-aged people as part of a personal development lesson.
The girls were asked to categorise a number of examples of sexual behaviours of middle-aged fictional characters, including “Joseph”, a middle-aged married man who fantasises only about men but talks negatively about homosexuals, although he is attracted to other males.
Another involves a promiscuous heterosexual woman, “Zarita”, who has multiple sexual partners during her 16-year marriage.
And “Philip” was a further example — he started having sex with adult men as an adolescent.
The material, a teaching resource from the NSW Education Department available to all state schools, was brought to the attention of a P & C committee member at Northern Beaches Secondary College, Mackellar Girls campus, who took it to principal Christine Del Gallo.
While Ms Del Gallo was reluctant to comment she said she had “reviewed” the material and had decided to “modify the case studies for future lessons”.
The Principal had not seen the materials? Are they expecting anyone to believe that? 
It is believed the examples were used in a personal development class and was heavily based on the Safe Schools program.
 Christine Del Gallo is the Principal of Northern Beaches Secondary College, Mackellar Girls Campus.  This is she >>>>>>
How did such a know-nothing persom get to be a Principal? 
The program has been criticised for encouraging teachers to “de-gender” their classroom language and promoting activities that encourage students to think about sexuality as not exclusively masculine or feminine.
P & C member Ali High, 44, said her friend’s Year 10 daughter surreptitiously took a photo of the document on her mobile phone because she felt “shocked” and “violated”.
Anyone else outside of a school feeling 'shocked and violated' would have been able to invoke Section 18c for such an offence, or one of half a dozen 'ombudsmen'. But not for this. It's official. Protected.
“Adult behaviours such as those described, should not be relevant to the lives of these underage girls,” Mrs High, a Manly mother of four, said.
“It borders on the pornographic.”
She said her daughter was in the younger years at the school, but she would not want her first idea of sex to come from these examples and her husband was concerned about how middle-aged men, like himself, were being portrayed.
Mrs High said she was also saddened they had used an example of a married woman as having “many” sexual partners.
She said she supported the idea behind the Safe Schools program, which advocates creating safe, non-bullying spaces, but said this material was not relevant.
Mrs High said she was pleased the principal had acted “quickly and decisively”, but she was concerned about the source of the material.
“I’ve sent a letter to the Department of Education with my concerns,” she said. “How is this happening? It is very sad.”
The Department of Education said the resource was supporting a PDHPE unit of work linked to the Teacher Toolbox and to the Stage 6 Crossroads program.
Boxes within boxes; files behind files. All 'approved' through goodness knows how many public servant's in and out trays. No-one raised a red flag? Of course not. Career. Salary. Do as you are told. Someone higher can always veto it.

Except they do not, of course.
“The Minister for Education has asked the Department to review the Teacher Toolbox and the gender diversity material in the Stage 6 Crossroads program,” a spokesman said.
Review, eh?  Well that should fix it. 
Meanwhile, NSW premier Mike Baird is considering a fundamental change to the Safe Schools program where parents would have to “opt in” to the program rather than the current situation where all students take part unless their parents choose to “opt out”.
How about scrapping it? How about firing twenty of thirty people starting at the top? 
Do you object to something your child is being taught? 
WELL Mums and Dads 
'They' Are Attacking YOUR Children

And pay attention. Michael Cook has been on the case for a while and he is standing up and he is souting it out.
The new religion of transgenderism in Australian schools
Australia's Safe Schools program is so bizarre and fact-free that you can describe it as a cult, says an academic
Around the world, at least the English-speaking world, parents and politicians are under pressure to accept the scientific and moral validity of same-sex relationships and the transgender lifestyle. 
Fortunately, there has been a pushback from academics dismayed by the lack of academic rigour in many claims. Today we feature the main ideas of a report by University of Sydney law professor Patrick Parkinson. Tomorrow we will summarise the ideas of a landmark article by Kansas State University sociologist Walter Schumm. 
One of the biggest setbacks for same-sex marriage in Australia has been the uproar around curriculum materials produced by the national Safe Schools Coalition (SSCA) for children in years 7 and 8.
These are supposed to stop bullying of homosexual and transgender students, but they also involve educating all students about sensitive topics, including sexual morality. 
Hundreds of schools, mostly government-run, have signed up. After noisy protests from parents, religious groups and politicians, the Federal Government stepped in and forced the SSCA to make significant changes.
However, the state of Victoria decided to forgo Federal funding and maintain the original program. Its Safe Schools group, based at La Trobe University, seceded from the national coalition and the state government plans to roll out its curriculum in all of its schools.
Perhaps because opponents are being painted as homophobes and knuckle-dragging right-wingers, there has been no comprehensive evaluation of the program (although MercatorNet did publish our own analysis last December.) The Federal Government commissioned a critique by a professor at the University of Western Australia, Bill Louden – but he had a mere two weeks to cobble his whitewash together.
Now, however, an Australian expert in family law, Patrick Parkinson, a professor at the University of Sydney, entered the fray. 
His review, posted on the internet over the weekend, is scathing.
Academically, he says, the Safe Schools program is so bad that it presents “a reputational problem for La Trobe University”. 
Medically, its guidelines are reckless. 
Legally, it offers misleading advice.
“There is certainly a place for an anti-bullying program that addresses the issues with which the Safe Schools program is concerned,” he writes, “but this program needs to be rescued from its progenitors.”
Professor Parkinson has several serious reservations.
Dodgy statistics. As MercatorNet pointed out last December, the Safe Schools program invents statistics about the prevalence of homosexuality and transgenderism. It claims that 10 percent of people are same-sex attracted, although only a few years before the La Trobe team reported that this figure was only 1 percent. The statistic, he says, “cannot be validated by any reliable research”.
The volatility of same-sex attraction. Parkinson says that the Safe Schools program is stuck in the psychology of the 1980s, when it was believed that a stable and fixed sexual orientation emerged in adolescence. But all the evidence suggests that most teenagers with same-sex attraction grow out of it. “It is not the case that someone who identifies as being same-sex attracted at 13-14 years of age has a fixed and stable orientation,” he points out. “Teenage same-sex attraction may or may not say anything about their adult sexuality.”
Insisting on a fixed identity could be dangerous. Most same-sex attracted children do not aspire to live as homosexuals. So insisting that they are doomed to live in the LGBTI lifestyle, never to have children of their own, could lead them to despair. Instead, they should be “assured that it is a very common, and normal, aspect of teenage psycho-sexual development which may or may not say anything about what they will grow up to be as adults.”
This may well be a message that is likely to prevent depression and suicidal ideation. 
Conversely, educational materials which are premised on the idea that sexual orientation emerges in early adolescence and remains fixed, so that it is sensible for young adolescents to identify as “gay” or “lesbian” as if this were a stable identity, should now be regarded as.. 
 unscientific and irresponsible.
Transgender statistics are wildly exaggerated. The curriculum claims that 4 percent of the population is transgender or “gender diverse”. But this figure is based largely on surveys of high school students. “A gender identity disorder cannot be diagnosed by survey,” Parkinson writes. “It is a medical diagnosis requiring careful medical assessment.” 
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5, the bible of the American Psychiatric Association, estimates that .. 
a maximum of 0.014 percent of the population have a gender identity disorder. 
This implies that the Safe Schools estimate is wrong by about 30,000 percent. 
“It is really not clear why it is thought that year 7 or 8 children need to learn anything about such rare conditions,” Parkinson comments acerbically.
Medical hazards. What if a student is thinking about transitioning to another gender? “Remarkably, nowhere in this document is there any reference to the need for any advice from a psychologist, doctor or psychiatrist, let alone anyone expert in the field,” he points out. “There is no requirement even to involve parents.” But international guidelines insist on the need for great caution and “careful and expert clinical management”. The Safe Schools program is throwing caution to the winds.
What’s behind the lack of common sense?
A number of critics have detected a Marxist plot to capture the hearts of school children. 
The manager and co-founder of Safe Schools Victoria, Roz Ward, is a La Trobe University academic and an unreconstructed Marxist (a species of intellectual which still flourishes in some Victorian universities). 
She told a conference last year, for instance, that “Marxism offers both the hope and the strategy needed to create a world where human sexuality, gender and how we relate to our bodies can blossom in extraordinarily new and amazing ways that we can only try to imagine today,”
So the Red label is tempting, but Parkinson prefers to describe the ideology of the Safe Schools movement as a religion, a bit like Scientology, with its own language and rituals. 
The differentiation made between sex and gender, and the notion that gender is fluid and may be socially constructed, lie at the heart of the Safe Schools program … This is now quite a widespread belief system, especially in parts of the western world. This belief system is deeply held by some, and has many characteristics of being a religious belief …[It] is not the more rational because it is a belief that is sincerely held. Sincere people hold all sorts of strange beliefs.
Perhaps religious fervour explains the dodgy statistics. Convictions which are not based upon empirical observation do not need to be validated by facts. Parkinson continues:
Should such odd and unscientific beliefs, emanating from philosophy and gender studies departments rather than medical faculties, be taught as fact to primary and secondary school age children? There would be uproar if the beliefs of Scientologists that the personality or essence of oneself is distinct and separate from the physical body or the brain were being taught in state schools through state-funded programs. Yet the belief system that what gender you are is a matter for you to determine without reference to your physical and reproductive attributes may not be dissimilar in kind.
It will take more than one report to uproot an ideology which is defended so ardently by its supporters. But Patrick Parkinson’s attack on its academic credibility is a good beginning. A lot is at stake. Not only are young children being indoctrinated with ideas which would horrify their parents, but troubled young people may be shunted into a lifestyle which will make them bitter and unhappy adults.
Michael Cook is editor of MercatorNet.
I can understand the views of the professor in all but one point.  The analogy to a 'religion' draws a long bow. A religion may well be a 'belief system' but not all belief systems are religions. A religious person may have 'fervour' and may prozletise, but not all fervent people are religious and not all prozletisers are religious. 

A better descriptor of the Roz Ward type - and more accurate - would be 'Fanatic'. Indeed a host of technical and commonplace terms would also. Pervert, for example. Mentally deficient: morally bereft

Marxism is not a religion anymore than that other perversion of thought, Islam. And the fact that the people we elect and those we appoint to run our schools cannot see the danger of these obsessive, compulsive mental disorders is as much a worry as the content of the Safe Schools scheme.

From my place behind the bar, I would like to see all of those involved in pushing this filth and stupidity into and through the Departments of Education and implemented in our schools, named and shamed.

These faceless corrupters and destroyers of your children might be living in your street.

Drink deep.


Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Moving Tavern

I was reminded of a Japanes cartoon film 'Howl's Moving Castle' the other day when someone told me that the Tavern had moved. I had actually noticed that my walk to the front door took just a little longer lately and had put it down to old age or that Hollywood cowboy practice of getting off one's horse a long way from the hanging tree one is appraoching. But no. The place itself is indeed moving. 

For those who like Japanese films, Howl's Moving Castle is actually a fantasy (not real, like the Tavern) novel by British author Diana Wynne Jones, first published in 1986; it won the Phoenix Award twenty years later, recognizing its rise from relative obscurity. In 2004 it was adapted as an animated film of the same name, which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

Howl's Moving Castle is the first novel in the series of books called the Howl Series. This series also includes Castle in the Air, published in 1990, and House of Many Ways, published in 2008.WorldCat reports that Howl's Moving Castle is the author's work most widely held in participating libraries, followed by its first sequel Castle in the Air.

For the idea Jones "very much" thanked "a boy in a school I was visiting", whose name she had noted but lost and forgotten. He had "asked me to write a book titled The Moving Castle."

But I digress. The Tavern has moved and along with it, it seems the entire continent of Oz, dragging Tasmania with it. It is causing some problems too. (Not the Tavern: where Oz actually is). 
That map of Australia you have? It’s wrong. 
And the whole country is going to officially relocate to correct the error.
The trouble is caused by plate tectonics, the shifting of big chunks of the earth’s surface. Australia happens to be on one of the fastest-moving pieces of all, and by geological standards it’s practically flying: 
about 2.7 inches northward a year, 
with a slight clockwise rotation as well.
People on the ground may not notice, but the Global Positioning System does. So Australia needs to adjust its longitudes and latitudes so they line up with GPS coordinates.
Four times in the last 50 years, Australia has reset the official coordinates of everything in the country to make them more accurate, correcting for other sources of error as well as continental drift. 
The last adjustment, in 1994, was a doozy: about 656 feet, enough to give the delivery driver an alibi for ringing your neighbor’s doorbell instead of yours.
“You might think, ‘Where’s my pizza?’” said Dan Jaksa of Geoscience Australia, the government agency that worries about the coordinates. But something bigger is at stake, he said: intelligent transportation systems that rely on the finer accuracy that will come with the next generation of GPS technology.
The next adjustment, due at the end of the year, will be about 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) — not really enough of a discrepancy to throw off consumer-grade satellite navigation systems, which are generally accurate only to within 15 to 30 feet.
But the next generation of GPS devices, using both satellites and ground stations, will be accurate to within an inch or less, and new technologies that depend on precise location will be important to Australia’s future.
The mining company Rio Tinto already has 71 immense ore trucks rumbling around iron mines in the remote Pilbara region of Western Australia that are guided remotely from an office in Perth, 930 miles away.
Pilots who patrol the Anna Creek cattle ranch in South Australia must pick out small water bores in the ranch’s 8,880 square miles of dry pasture, an area larger than Israel, where small errors can equate to big misses. “If we get a new pilot, he’s relying on GPS until he finds his way around landmarks,” said the ranch manager, Norm Sims.
Not to mention driverless cars. 
“If you’re 1.5 meters out,” Mr. Jaksa said, 
“you’re potentially on the wrong side of the road.”
One can see the problem. I can't have my customers being on the wrong side of the bar, now can I?  

The local Uni is on to it (which also reminds me that I have some experiment going on over there on Monday: I am a 'subject' in a study of really really brainy older folk. I think I may be the only subject over 900 years old). They are seeking some likely lad or ladette to do a bit of research and get a PhD for their effort.  They advertised thus:

The ongoing motion of Australia's crust 

is dominated by horizontal tectonic motion of approximately 6 cm/yr towards the northeast. This motion is relatively well-constrained by geodetic measurements including GPS, VLBI and SLR (Altamimi et al., 2012; Argus and Heflin, 1995; Tregoning et al., 2013). 

Recent analysis of GPS data observed across the continent reveals a large portion of the Australian Plate (excluding the SE region) is deforming at < 0.2 mm/yr, making it one of the most stable crustal regions in the world (Tregoning et al., 2013). 

Non-linear post-seismic relaxation is however clearly evident along the along the east coast of Australia, occurring in response to the 2004 Macquarie ridge earthquake. 
By contrast, the vertical motion of the Australian continental crust is much less well known and observations and theory appear to be in conflict. Recent GPS measurements have suggested the vertical motion of the crust at about a dozen sites across Australia is between zero and -1 mm/yr (Altamimi et al., 2011; Burgette et al., 2013; King et al., 2012; Santamaria-Gomez et al., 2012). 

By contrast, large scale geophysical models and tectonic theory suggest the motion of the crust should be much closer to zero or slightly positive (Mitrovica and Milne, 2002; Tamisiea and Mitrovica, 2011). If the observations are correct this suggests the existence of an unknown large-scale geophysical phenomena; if the observations are biased they will in turn bias estimates of sea level change around the Australian coastline and suggest implications for such measurements globally.
This PhD project will examine a new and spatially extensive GPS data set for Australia, combined with data from new and long-term VLBI sites, to provide the most spatially comprehensive vertical velocity field for the continent. 

Sensitivity of determined rates to analysis strategies will be explored in order to establish bounds on potential systematic errors. The GPS observations may be biased by errors in the realisation of Earth's centre of mass and/or scale, and global vertical motion estimates will be explored to determine the magnitude of such errors. Considering the measurement uncertainties, the observations of Australian continental vertical motion will be compared to geophysical models of crustal uplift, notably those that consider glacial isostatic adjustment. The project may be extended to apply the new GPS vertical velocities to sea level studies by correcting tide gauge measurements for vertical land movement.
Hey, don't gag. This is good stuff and should keet the Post Grad student interested and busy for a few years. And don't forget you are going to pay for it.

But wait: there's more. Shocking news !!!

We always thought Tasmania was different, and now geology can explain why. New discoveries from Tasmania’s oldest rocks at Rocky Cape reveal that about 1.5 billion years ago Tasmania was not part of Australia, but wedged between two other continents. The geology of north-western Tasmania may have more to do with North America and Antarctica than it does with the rest of the Australian mainland.

All this has some bearing on the sea levels, which the Greenies and Global Warming fraudsters are always banging on about. It is fortunate that we have a free-lancer, unencumbered by  University Policies and Government (that is, taxpayer's ) funding in Jo Nova. She keeps an eye on such matters.
It’s hard to measure sea levels, because land often moves up and down too (which is known as “isostatic“). But Australia is stable tectonically, so the Australian sea-level record is more useful than most. It preserves the holocene era and the rises and falls, and correspond more with glacio-eustatic (ice equivalent) sea-level changes, rather than changes in land masses.
During the coldest days of the last ice age (known as a glacial maximum) 20,000 years ago, the oceans were 125m lower than today. They peaked at around 1 -2 meters higher than present between 9000 and 5000 years ago, and have been trending down ever since. Our current rate of 30cm/century (if that continues) hardly seems unprecedented or highly unusual. 
And 10% of that is apparently due to an isostatic “adjustment”. Worse, if you look at the raw data, the rate is closer to zero. Hmm. Lucky we have all those adjustments eh?

Just so long as the Tavern does not slip down from its hiding place on the Mountain, I shall not worry.

Enjoy, drink up, and..... perhaps you will miss the formatting cock-up.


Friday, September 23, 2016

The 'Other' Antipodean

There are folk who come into the Tavern who have no idea where they are or even what this part of the world looks like.  Some mistake Tasmania for New Zealand. Can you imagine that !! Just how they find their way here, up the mountain, in the forest, hidden from eyes that cannot see, beats me.  I take it that my Supplier sends them here.

The Tavern's place in the world - on the map, that is - is about as far south as Christchurch. Serendipity, I suppose.

Once upon a time, not all that long ago, what is now New Zealand could have been a State of Oz, just like Van Deiman's Land.  They were contenders. They were included in the 'talks'.

A chap claiming to be Spartacus in the Catallaxy corner was overheard talking about it. He was, I think, disparaging South Oz, for some reason. I could be mistaken.... I was busy at the time. But it led to a fine lesson in Economics - a subject with which most are unaquainted, thank goodness. Who enjoys the dour company of an economist ? 
Is it possible to trade South Australia for New Zealand
A long, long time ago, in 1890, the Federation Conference was held in Melbourne.  Politicians from the 6 Australian Colonies and New Zealand got together to discuss creating a Federation, a Common Wealth.
It came to pass that the 6 colonies got together to form Australia, but New Zealand decided to sit it out.
He is a photo from the 1890 conference.  The fellow, standing second from the left, the one with the stand out light suit, was New Zealand’s representative, Captain Russell MP, Colonial Secretary.  The fourth fella standing from the left, with the white bushy beard was Sir Henry Parkes.

Looks a little like the Tavern Keeper, if truth be told. 

But, onward. As I moved out of hearing he was mentioning another fellow: Dan Mitchell, who it seems rather likes some of the things our eastern off-shore cousins have been doing with their economy that we have not. Nor many other anglophile countries. Perhaps some note might be taken. It is a salutary tale he tells.

The Unsung Economic Success Story of New Zealand
When writing a few days ago about the newly updated numbers from Economic Freedom of the World, I mentioned in passing that New Zealand deserves praise “for big reforms in the right direction.”
And when I say big reforms, this isn’t exaggeration or puffery.
 Back in 1975, New Zealand’s score from EFW was only 5.60. To put that in perspective, Greece’s score today is 6.93 and France is at 7.30. 

In other words, New Zealand was a statist basket cast 40 years ago, with a degree of economic liberty akin to where Ethiopia is today and below the scores we now see in economically unfree nations such as Ukraineand Pakistan.
But then policy began to move in the right direction, especially between 1985 and 1995, the country became a Mecca for market-oriented reforms. The net result is that New Zealand’s score dramatically improved and it is now comfortably ensconced in the top-5 for economic freedom, usually trailing only Hong Kong and Singapore.

To appreciate what’s happened in New Zealand, let’s look at excerpts from a 2004 speech by Maurice McTigue, who served in the New Zealand parliament and held several ministerial positions.
He starts with a description of the dire situation that existed prior to the big wave of reform.
"...........New Zealand’s per capita income in the period prior to the late 1950s was right around number three in the world, behind the United States and Canada. But by 1984, its per capita income had sunk to 27th in the world, alongside Portugal and Turkey. 

Not only that, but our unemployment rate was 11.6 percent, we’d had 23 successive years of deficits (sometimes ranging as high as 40 percent of GDP), our debt had grown to 65 percent of GDP, and our credit ratings were continually being downgraded. 

Government spending was a full 44 percent of GDP, investment capital was exiting in huge quantities, and government controls and micromanagement were pervasive at every level of the economy. 

We had foreign exchange controls that meant I couldn’t buy a subscription to The Economist magazine 

without the permission of the Minister of Finance. 

I couldn’t buy shares in a foreign company without surrendering my citizenship. There were price controls on all goods and services, on all shops and on all service industries. There were wage controls and wage freezes. 

I couldn’t pay my employees more—or pay them bonuses—if I wanted to. 

There were import controls on the goods that I could bring into the country. There were massive levels of subsidies on industries in order to keep them viable. Young people were leaving in droves."
Does this sound familiar, even in part, to others? 

Maurice then discusses the various market-oriented reforms that took place, including spending restraint.
What’s especially impressive is that New Zealand dramatically shrank government bureaucracies.

"..........When we started this process with the Department of Transportation, it had 5,600 employees. When we finished, it had 53. 

When we started with the Forest Service, it had 17,000 employees. When we finished, it had 17. 

When we applied it to the Ministry of Works, it had 28,000 employees. I used to be Minister of Works, and ended up being the only employee. 

…if you say to me, “But you killed all those jobs!”—well, that’s just not true. The government stopped employing people in those jobs, but the need for the jobs didn’t disappear. 

I visited some of the forestry workers some months after they’d lost their government jobs, and they were quite happy. 

They told me that they were now earning about three times what they used to earn—on top of which, they were surprised to learn that they could do about 60 percent more than they used to!
And there was lots of privatization.

…we sold off telecommunications, airlines, irrigation schemes, computing services, government printing offices, insurance companies, banks, securities, mortgages, railways, bus services, hotels, shipping lines, agricultural advisory services, etc. 

In the main, when we sold those things off, their productivity went up and the cost of their services went down, translating into major gains for the economy. 

Furthermore, we decided that other agencies should be run as profit-making and tax-paying enterprises by government. For instance, the air traffic control system was made into a stand-alone company, given instructions that it had to make an acceptable rate of return and pay taxes, and told that it couldn’t get any investment capital from its owner (the government). We did that with about 35 agencies. Together, these used to cost us about one billion dollars per year; now they produced about one billion dollars per year in revenues and taxes.

Equally impressive, New Zealand got rid of all farm subsidies…and got excellent results.
…as we took government support away from industry, it was widely predicted that there would be a massive exodus of people. But that didn’t happen. To give you one example, we lost only about three-quarters of one percent of the farming enterprises—and these were people who shouldn’t have been farming in the first place. In addition, some predicted a major move towards corporate as opposed to family farming. But we’ve seen exactly the reverse. Corporate farming moved out and family farming expanded."
Maurice also has a great segment on education reform, which included school choice.
But since I’m a fiscal policy wonk, I want to highlight this excerpt on the tax reforms.
""...........We lowered the high income tax rate from 66 to 33 percent, and set that flat rate for high-income earners. In addition, we brought the low end down from 38 to 19 percent, which became the flat rate for low-income earners. We then set a consumption tax rate of 10 percent and eliminated all other taxes—capital gains taxes, property taxes, etc. 

We carefully designed this system to produce exactly the same revenue as we were getting before and presented it to the public as a zero sum game. But what actually happened was that we received 20 percent more revenue than before. Why? We hadn’t allowed for the increase in voluntary compliance.''
And I assume revenue also climbed because of Laffer Curve-type economic feedback. When more people hold jobs and earn higher incomes, the government gets a slice of that additional income.

 Let’s wrap this up with a look at what New Zealand has done to constrain the burden of government spending. If you review my table of Golden Rule success stories, you’ll see that the nation got great results with a five-year spending freeze in the early 1990s. Government shrank substantially as a share of GDP.
Then, for many years, the spending burden was relatively stable as a share of economic output, before then climbing when the recession hit at the end of last decade.
But look at what’s happened since then. The New Zealand government has imposed genuine spending restraint, with outlays climbing by an average of 1.88 percent annually according to IMF data. And because that complies with my Golden Rule (meaning that government spending is growing slower than the private sector), the net result according to OECD data is that the burden of government spending is shrinking relative to the size of the economy’s productive sector.
P.S. For what it’s worth, the OECD and IMF use different methodologies when calculating the size of government in New Zealand (the IMF says the overall burden of spending is much smaller, closer to 30 percent of GDP). But regardless of which set of numbers is used, the trend line is still positive.
P.P.S. Speaking of statistical quirks, some readers have noticed that there are two sets of data in Economic Freedom of the World, so there are slightly different country scores when looking at chain-weighted data. There’s a boring methodological reason for this, but it doesn’t have any measurable impact when looking at trends for individual nations such as New Zealand.
P.P.P.S. Since the Kiwis in New Zealand are big rugby rivals with their cousins in Australia, one hopes New Zealand’s high score for economic freedom (3rd place) will motivate the Aussies (10th place) to engage in another wave of reform. Australia has some good polices, such as a private Social Security system, but it would become much more competitive if it lowered its punitive top income tax rate (nearly 50 percent!).
I am a Tavern Keeper, Knight and an ex-King who never levied a groat in tax on anyone, so this 'ruling with a light hand' is well in my experience.  I don't charge tax on what I dispense in the bars either. 

People with a socialist bent love to levy taxes. It is a pleasure to see the effects of taking the heavy weight off.

I like New Zealand. I like Kiwis... the people and the birds.

I drink to our Anglophile cousins who keep very quiet about their successes.