Justice for the Bombers UPDATED

Update: Wait – don’t sign just yet. The petition is being redrafted to be compliant with Senate submissions. The draftee is working closely with, at least, one of the named Senators on the petition.

You don’t have to be an Essendon supporter to recognise an injustice. So please give some thought to signing this petition.

We believe these players were denied:

  • The presumption of innocence 
  • The right to an independent Hearing
  • The right to remain silent
  • The right to privacy and confidentiality 
  • The right not to be tried twice for the same offence
  • The right to be dealt with promptly and not subject to unnecessary delays
  • The right for an appeal to be heard in an Australian Court

We believe:

  1. None of the sporting or governing bodies involved in the investigation, interim reports, and prosecution of these players have given the appearance of objectivity in the selection of evidence.
  2. None of the sporting or governing bodies involved in the investigation, interim reports, and prosecution of players, perhaps with the exception of the AFL Tribunal, have given any regard to whether evidence could be regarded as expert or scientific. In fact, some supporting evidence needed to be discounted on the grounds of relevance.
  3. The sporting and governing bodies involved in the investigation, interim reports, and prosecution of the players ran their own agenda in order to achieve a preconceived outcome.  As a result, the outcome that was reached contains numerous factual errors and is based on suppositions which in many cases are unsupported.    
  4. As a consequence of 1, 2, and 3, we believe the prosecution of the case was built on inexact proofs, indefinite testimony, and indirect inferences that do not reach the standard of ‘comfortable satisfaction’ and therefore has no place in Australian sport.

Innocent or guilty, we want the players to receive a fair go. That’s the Australian way.

Therefore, this petition requests a Senate Inquiry in order to:

  • Investigate and consider all the relevant facts so they are publically available.  To date, the evidence against the players has been based on taking ‘bits out that might compromise what we need’. 
  • Investigate the role, motives and ethics of each sporting, government body and the media during the investigation and prosecution of the case. 
  • Identify if any person or organization has breached an Australia law during the investigation and prosecution of the case; make sure everyone is held accountable for their actions; and if warranted, prosecute the offenders.  
  • Investigate a mechanism for a review of this matter in Australia to ensure the players are given the opportunity to clear their names if they so wish.   
  • Review and amend legislation and rules so any identified injustices can never happen to Australian sports people again.
Posted in AFLgate | 57 Comments

Rubio would be a disaster

The Republican establishment is now backing Marco Rubio to the hilt against Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. I actually saw Rubio speak in Las Vegas the day before Trump and I could not believe how weak and ineffectual he came across. The words were all right, but the lack of conviction was palpable. No one came away fired up about his prospects, unlike my experience when I had listened to Rand Paul (the year before) or Donald Trump. Hillary will eat Rubio for lunch.

But what makes Rubio likely poison is his lack of creds on border protection. This was published just two months ago, in December, The Ugly Truth About Marco Rubio And His Gang-of-Eight Amnesty Bill and represents a very strong attitude among Republicans:

Rubio was a Jeb Bush acolyte who embraced the Tea Party and ran for senator in Florida against Charlie Crist. Crist was the popular sitting governor in the state and Rubio was thought to be a huge underdog. However, the grassroots embraced Rubio. Just to give you an example, very early on I organized a coalition that endorsed Rubio and encouraged people not to give money to the NRSC over its endorsement of Crist. I even called for NRSC chairman John Cornyn to RESIGN over his decision to get involved in the race on Crist’s behalf.

Back then, Rubio was talking very tough on immigration by necessity. Although Rubio is significantly more conservative than Crist, the conservative base would have never rallied to his side if he had supported amnesty; he would have lost in a landslide. In other words, Rubio’s anti-amnesty position was one of the central promises of his campaign. In fact, Rubio slammed Charlie Crist for being pro-amnesty and very specifically said he opposed giving illegal aliens citizenship. Back then, Marco Rubio sounded like Jeff Sessions on immigration. . . .

Unfortunately, even though Marco Rubio is only in the Senate today because he claimed to be in favor of securing the border and stopping amnesty, his position shifted 180 degrees and he became the front man for the Gang-of-Eight amnesty bill. . . .

Getting beyond the Gang-of-Eight bill, as late as June of this year, Marco Rubio was openly saying that he wanted to make illegal aliens citizens. However, today he tries to muddy the waters about the subject by merely saying he thinks illegal aliens should eventually be able to get green cards. Of course, people who have green cards are allowed to apply for citizenship; so it’s the same difference over the long haul.

I don’t think Rubio can win – he is no JFK – but really what difference would it make if he did. As noted in the article:

If Rubio’s lying, it doesn’t really make much of a difference over the long haul whether you elect him or Hillary because his immigration policies would permanently cement liberals in power without securing the border or doing anything of significance to stop illegal immigration.

If Marco Rubio becomes the President of the United States, the future of our republic depends on Rubio telling the truth this time after he already lied about the same thing to people who walked over broken glass to get him elected.

So now, are you ready to walk over broken glass to get Marco Rubio elected? Choose wisely because if Rubio becomes President and he’s lying about immigration again, it will be the end of the road for conservatism in America.

All you need to know is that Rubio is the choice of the Republican establishment who have been trying to get amnesty passed over the massed opposition of the people who actually vote for Republicans. Rubio would be a disaster as president but why worry? He would anyway almost certainly lose to Hillary if he became the nominee. It is either Trump or Cruz. Rubio is no answer, which is why the media is now doing everything it can to help him along.

Posted in American politics | 16 Comments

Open Forum: February 6, 2016

Posted in Open Forum | 196 Comments

Cities policy ends up the playthings of politicians

Cities policy as far as the Coalition is concerned came out of the blue.  It is uncertain where it is heading but likely, unless it can be turned against itself, to be the harbinger of new regulations and winner picking regimes.  Here is a piece of mine from today’s Herald Sun that addresses the policy.

One significant change Malcolm Turnbull has introduced is the creation of a mini-department for Cities.  This is in spite of the Commonwealth having few city specific taxation and regulatory responsibilities.

The original ministerial choice, Jamie Briggs, has yet to be replaced after being sacked for unwanted familiarity with a female public servant in a Hong Kong bar.

The Gillard government had previously developed a Cities policy and issued a 90 page glossy publication, “Our Cities, Our Future”.  This had catch-all goals of “productivity, sustainability and liveability”.

The ALP policy featured a range of “positive” programs to promote its objectives including creating jobs to green the cities, incentives for green buildings and promoting healthy lifestyles.  The program’s credibility was undermined by the ludicrous claim that it was building upon the ALP’s non-existent deregulatory program!

Interventionary features also appear to be attractive to Prime Minister Turnbull.  He has announced a $1.1 billion innovation support package, talked about “integrated planning” and has advocated a “greening” of cities, capping this off by placing the Cities’ mini-department within the generally anti-development Environment Department.

In bundling retailing, entertainment, and business services, cities are key growth generators.  Yet, an examination of success stories reveals none, other than Houston with its space industry-oriented development where government guidance was significant.

The real driver of successful cities has been private enterprise with combatting crime and keeping down costs the essential elements of government support.

In terms of crime rates, Singapore, Asia’s leading tech start-up city, is legendry.  The top US cities for innovation, including New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle, also have low crime rates.

Low housing and business operating costs are also important.  Although, of the top 10 world cities hosting high-tech start-up firms, only Chicago has low cost housing, but only Singapore has lower house prices than those of Sydney and Melbourne. (Sydney, incidentally, is a creditable 16th on the high tech start-up ladder).

Good transport and communications area major features of successful cities, though this rarely means rail/trams – public transport is absent in Silicon Valley, the world’s leading start-up venue.

Education, especially in science and technology, is a major factor in creating technology focussed growth cities: Silicon Valley, Boston, New York, Los Angeles, and virtually all the major success stories have top science and technology universities nearby.  In this regard Melbourne University is Australia’s highest rated science and technology university, and is a respectable 32 in world rankings.

Clearly the ease of starting a business is a critical ingredient in successful cities.  Low red-tape costs are important and Australia needs to improve to match the US and UK as well as Hong Kong and Singapore.

A Cities vision policy was pursued by the Hawke Government of the 1980’s.  Its focus was on establishing a high tech “multifunctionpolis”.  Millions of dollars were spent picking the location and devising incentives before governments literally buried the planned technological oasis in a swamp near Adelaide airport.

This illustrates where problems arise with a Cities’ policy.  A focus on cities can be useful if it is directed at promoting administrative efficiency, lowering private business’s costs in meeting and creating needs for services.  Unfortunately, too many politicians prefer to concoct programs to mould cities in accordance with their own preferences.

Posted in Uncategorized | 34 Comments

Europe is Finnished

This is from Finland advising women on what to do if they are attacked in the street, as if it would be in broad daylight in the middle of the road. First at Tim Blair there was this:

And then Andrew Bolt added this from Sam I Am:

Both are equally idiotic although the second at least is not intended to be a genuine response to a serious problem. To bring in large numbers of people who do not speak the language, who have few marketable skills and are products of a different social culture seems to have been asking for trouble. What I do not get is why these governments are not being thrown from office and Tony Abbott brought in to run the country. A debilitating sentimentality seems to have replaced common sense across the Western world.

Posted in Cultural Issues | 69 Comments

“We know what to do but we don’t know how to get re-elected after we do it”

I used to say often during the great Peter Costello years that everyone would see what was happening but never understand why it worked. Public spending would come down – even in the midst of the Asian Financial Crisis – and the economy would simply go from success to success. Falling unemployment and falling taxes followed year on year. Not just a zero deficit but ZERO public debt. And on we would roll. Why it would work you cannot find in a single modern economics text (well, actually there is one). What you saw before your eyes was specifically ruled out by the economic theory everyone, including everyone at Treasury, is taught. Peter Costello did what he did in the face of Treasury opposition and set a standard for performance that no one is ever again likely to match.

So we have this from the paper today: on the Government trying to think through what to do on the economy.

As Coalition MPs speak out against a GST increase, Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison are examining other ways to pay for an ambitious agenda centred on tax cuts designed to encourage workers and lift economic growth. . . .

“The only realistic option for very significant income tax cuts is by changing the tax mix, and that is why a number of people have advocated increasing the GST for the purpose,” Mr Turnbull told parliament.

The strategy is to increase the goods and services tax to pay for a fall in personal tax. The Peter Costello option, of cuts to spending, is off the table, not even being considered. How this change in the tax mix would create growth seems incomprehensible to me, since no matter how you slice it, no cuts to public spending are involved so no additional space for the private sector is opened up. But there was also this I found quite interesting.

The Prime Minister insisted yesterday that he had not made up his mind on a GST increase”.

Is this to be a captain’s pick? Is it not a cabinet decision? Are we to understand that an increase in the GST rate is up to Malcolm alone and the rest must merely fall into line?

I was given a great quote yesterday apparently from some European Prime Minister:

“We know what to do but we don’t know how to get re-elected after we do it.”

The problem here is I don’t think these guys even know what to do. If they think raising the GST is the answer, they have lost the plot.

Posted in Budget, Federal Politics | 82 Comments

Jacques Barzun on race

From Race: A Study in Superstition by Jacques Barzun, 1937/1965

The principle of judging individual cases must apply whenever a group, thinking racially, feels attacked through a representation of one of their members in a work of art. The repeated attempts to have The Merchant of Venice banned and Huckleberry Finn removed from library shelves proceed from the same associative tendency which the interested group should on the contrary combat…The children in school must not be protected from reading about Mark Twain’s lovable creation but from thinking that Negroes are born slaves and fated illiterates.
The anxious wrangling which goes on about books and plays at times seems trivial but is in fact fundamental. If democratic culture yields on this point, no prospect lies ahead but that of increasing animosity among pressure groups. A dozen years ago a Broadway play was picketed by a union of domestic servants because the maid in the play was made fun of…

It is clear that in the absence of such limitations on race-thinking and group solidarity as I am suggesting, every self-conscious group will have to engage in raucous self-defense and self-praise or risk being slandered and abused by a more powerful group or cartel of groups. In social and cultural relations the law rarely intervenes effectively; the protection of rights and feelings only comes from decency and self-restraint…

How ridiculous and even offensive to be told that one must love one’s fellow man because the geneticist tells one to – via UNESCO. The point is not to love one’s fellow man but to be fair to him; is not to show that social groups, previously despised, are all good companions and budding geniuses who will shortly reinvent the electric light. The point is to render absurd (not to say obscene) the hostile or friendly attribution of qualities to men otherwise than as individuals…

Despite modern cant, there is no duty to “get to know” the members of an alien group towards which one is not attracted, no obligation to like foreign food, art or manners, provided one is content to let them be. Forced encounters and even voluntarily acquired knowledge of other peoples do not guarantee friendship…With the known or the unknown the right to quarrel must not be denied. Only, the moral man’s quarrel is always with some aspect of reality. Race-quarrels are with a phantom which will not let men sleep and which ultimately imbrues them with blood. The moral remedy, imperfect but aimed at the heart of the problem, is to uproot the habit of hating and despising en masse on the basis of imputed traits.

More on Jacques Barzun, and others including Bill Hutt.

Posted in Cultural Issues, Freedom of speech, Politics of the Left, Rafe | 17 Comments

The science is settled, so get another job

There is a certain logic here:

CSIRO is set to cut dozens of jobs from its climate research units, as part of a wider series of job losses to be formally announced today.

In a message to staff, chief executive Larry Marshall said that the question of human-induced climate change has largely been answered, and outlined a list of new priorities for the agency, including health, technology, and “big data” research fields such as radioastronomy.

With the science being settled and all, there is no need for further basic research and valuable research funds need to be allocated to other purposes.

Posted in Global warming and climate change policy, Hypocrisy of progressives, Shut it down. Fire them all. | 78 Comments

Progressive taxation is immoral

Posted in Economics and economy, Oppressive government, Taxation | 25 Comments

Inflicting on-going damage: the relentless green energy push

Yesterday saw the publication of one of the regular horse-chokers that emerge from the electricity regulators and government funded analysts.  This one was looking at the Queensland situation, with a view to examining how the ALP can implement/diverge from the crazy policies they proposed for an election they never expected to win.

One piece of good news? “Modelling of a Queensland 50 per cent target for renewable generation by 2030 suggests an average increase in retail electricity prices of 0.5 per cent for households and 0.3 per cent for industry, and a reduction of 0.7 per cent for commercial customers for the period 2015–16 to 2034–35.”

Less than good news “The ACIL Allen modelling estimates that (this) would require a subsidy of about $10.8 billion (real) over the period to 2030.”

Doubtless the renewable cheer squad will highlight the former but not mention the latter.

But even with the $10.8 billion subsidy (say, $650 million per annum) the numbers have a credibility shortfall.  If we lift the share of renewables (which cost three times fossil fuels) from 5 per cent to 50 per cent, the annual cost, given a 70 terawatt hour demand, on the present price differentials, ends up in 2030 being about $1.2 billion a year.

Depending on the path to 50 per cent, that might be consistent with the average cost to Queensland energy customers of $650 million a year.

However, the irregularity of renewables will mean very big additional investments required  in storage and fast start gas plant.  To protect political sensitivities, there are clearly some hidden assumptions contained in the report.  Doubtless these will include fables about how renewables are going to become comparable to the cost of the demonic fossil fuels they’ll replace, how fast storage costs will be reduced in price and so on.  

At the Commonwealth level, the ALP, Greens and motleys have also combined to institute a new Senate inquiry into greenhouse to put pressure on businesses to declare how they are to move towards the fabled zero emission future. 

There is some gnashing of teeth in the “concerned” media about the climate change propaganda unit in CSIRO being considerable downsized by 110 positions in the Oceans and Atmosphere division, hopefully Turnbull’s need to save money is overpowering the case for this me-too climate activist unit.

But the ceaseless propaganda and regulatory intrusion has an effect.  The new green AGL CEO saw the Paris Conference as reinforcing his preference for getting out of “dirty” coal and into renewable investments – he discusses the need to get consumers to exercise choice in energy consumption – what a joke when energy choice is dictated by regulatory measures that force people to use high cost renewables!

In line with its anti-fossil stance, AGL has today announced a cessation of coal seam gas exploration and a $750 million hit to the firm as a result of low prices (and the ceaseless opposition of green groups to the activity).

Posted in Uncategorized | 13 Comments