Sydney University Bans Discussion of Banned Speech

In its Free Speech On Campus Audit 2017, the Institute of Public Affairs found that the University of Sydney had the worst combination of policies and actions as they related to the exercise of free speech and otherwise limit the expression of ideas on campus.  Thus, of Australia’s 42 universities, Sydney University was assess to be the university most hostile to intellectual freedom.

According to IPA report:

The University of Sydney has been named as the most hostile ­university. It topped the ranking, scoring 36 — more than double its nearest rival, Charles Sturt University.

As a consequence of the criticisms of its policies and actions, Sydney University has determined that any discussion of free speech on campus will be immediately banned from today.  Hence force, University employees risk termination for cause and students risk expulsion for any speech about speech.

At an emergency meeting of the University Council, it was agreed that any actions and discussions that can adversely impact on the University’s values of progressive thinking, breaking with convention, challenging the status quo cannot be allowed.

Commenting on the immediate change, University of Sydney Vice Chancellor Professor Michael Spence said “Free speech is not free.  If you want to speak freely, there are other places available. ”

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Posted in Uncategorized | 37 Comments

Monday Forum: December 11, 2017

Posted in Open Forum | 1,311 Comments

Catallaxy Exclusive – University of Sydney Changes Names of Degrees

The University of Sydney, Australia’s leading higher education and research University, today announces a world first change to the names of its degrees.

In recognition of the implicit and explicit bias and consequential inherent aggression, the University will no longer issue Bachelors or Masters qualifications.  From 2018, University of Sydney undergraduate academic degrees will be called Aeques and second-phase academic degrees will be called Neutrum Genus.

Aeques comes from the Latin for fairness and Neutrum Genus comes from the Latin for gender neutral.

As an example of application, undergraduate humanities degrees will be called Aeques of Arts or A.A.  Similarly, second-phase graduate humanities degrees will be called Neutrum Genus of Arts or N.G.A.

Commenting on the change, Univerisity of Sydney Vice Chancellor Professor Michael Spence said “This important change was necessitated because the prior qualifications of Bachelors and Masters were granted in the name of privileged white males, a practice that goes against the stated University values of progressive thinking, breaking with convention, challenging the status quo. ”

A spokesperson for the University also advised that a committee has been established to review graduation gowns and hats to ensure that there is no cultural appropriation or offense caused by their black colour and loose fit.  A random survey of Arts faculty students is to be undertaken early in the new year.

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Posted in Uncategorized | 38 Comments

“A shocking column of bias, vitriol and singular ignorance”

It’s getting to be as regular as the rising sun that the only value from most of the columnists at The Australian is so that they provoke replies from their readers. And so again, yet another anti-Trump screed, this one by Graham Richardson whose only skill has ever been to count heads in Parliament and present whatever is the latest version of the lies of the left. This one on Donald Trump’s singular moment of lunacy alienates the US further. To quote:

Barack Obama left office as a very popular President despite some obvious shortcomings. On the domestic front he was an undoubted success. . . .

If you thought that American foreign policy had hit rock bottom you were wrong. Donald Trump’s blunder this week leaves Obama and Bush looking adequate by comparison. When Trump released his bombshell statement that America would recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel he managed to alienate every US ally around the world, he gave live ammunition to every US enemy and Middle Eastern terrorist group.

I’ve left in the opening words, the bit about Obama’s “undoubted success” in domestic policies, as a kind of benchmark for what follows. Anyway, the comments thread starting from the top and going down right to the end without a single one in support of Richardson.

So the arabs are upset and threaten violence. What has changed exactly?

Well Richo after many years of appeasement failure maybe its time to do something different. Your side of politics will be horrified if this succeeds.

What you are forgetting G Richardson is that not only Obama, George Bush but also Bill Clinton declared that Jerusalem is the Capital of Israel. Trump has been the only President to keep his word. Long live Trump in the White House.

…but Richard, you’ve failed to mention that Jerusalem being recognised as Israel’s capital was also the policy of Obama and Clinton. You knew that. Hence you have been caught out again. Fake news indeed.

You really have this wrong. It was a masterstroke.

Time to hang up the pen, Richo.

I think that you summed it up in one sentence. 5 decades of sensible US policy has produced nothing because the Palestinians have no benefit in making peace. Better to infect the UN and continually deride Israel until such time as Iran goes nuclear. North Korea is another problem that needed to be tackled years ago but Clinton and Obama just sat back. It’s about time someone stood up to the likes of the Palestinians and Kim. Doing nothing doesn’t work.

Genius move by Trump and US.

Sheesh. Obama was not an “undoubted” success on domestic policy. That’s not even close to being accurate.

Clinton, Bush (GW) and Obama Presidencies ALL made public, on the record statements that recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and there’s PLENTY of video evidence to support this. Why is THIS instance so different from every other?

Western Jerusalem has been capitol of Israel since 1948. Russia and the Czechs also have recognized that reality. The recognition changes nothing for final state negotiations. Finally the entire world at UN voted as per UNESCO that there is NO Jewish presence , history or emotional ties for Jerusalem. Palestinians wanting to pressure jerusalem /Israel without actually having face to face negotiations. It is fitting that they all now feel the reverse in the actual final recognition of reality…and that they feel what Israelis felt from the put downs and prejudice in denying any jewish connection to jerusalem. Palestinians are very noisy when it does not go their way, aren’t they!

“Barack Obama left office as a very popular President despite some obvious shortcomings. On the domestic front he was an undoubted success.” Well obviously. The Democrats lost 1,030 seats in state legislatures, governor’s mansions and Congress during Obama’s presidency. They lost control of Senate and House of Reps. The Republican dominance was greater than it had been since 1860. Undoubted success. Obama, Bush and Clinton all promised to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel before reneging. Trump promises it and delivers. An “act of lunacy”. Sorry Richo, but your leftism is showing.

Garbage. The city of Jerusalem has been the traditional capital city of the country we now call Israel since the beginning of recorded history. Pandering to the Arab movement has never achieved one single thing as they are solely focused on the destruction of Israel. He has called a spade a spade.

Richo, you are aware that recognising Jerusalem as the capital and moving the US embassy there, has been part of every presidential election campaign for decades, right? Barack Obama’s policies included recognising Jerusalem. So did George W. Bush, Bill Clinton. In 2008, then Democratic candidate Barack Obama called Jerusalem the ‘capital of Israel’. In 2000, then Republican candidate George W Bush promised to move the US embassy to Jerusalem. In 1993, former president Bill Clinton also came to office saying he supported ‘the principle’ of moving the US embassy to Jerusalem. In fact, the US Congress even passed a law in 1995 called the Jerusalem Embassy Act which described Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and said it should not be divided. Trump is just the first one who is not all talk and simply gets the job done. I know that must be a very strange, almost alien, approach to a politician, but that’s how stuff is done outside politics. In the real world.

Tell me if I am not correct: The US Congress has acknowledged (by vote), for some time, that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, but no President has acted on that decision in an administrative sense, and say they will move the US embassy to Jerusalem, until now? A President enacting the will of Congress is how things should work in a democracy (and thankfully does most of the time, until lately, perhaps). Right or wrong, if it is a will of Congress, it is the will of the people.

What Mr Richardson knows about foreign affairs and geopolitics, you could write on a small postage stamp. All his knowledge is local, parochial and partisan. Not a single idea in this article is explored beyond its bald assertion. He is out of his depth on this subject, and is only parroting what he has heard–and what he has heard is essentially the Democratic/U.N. party line.

In his last two columns, Mr Richardson has sadly revealed that moments of lunacy are becoming his personal trademark. A shocking column of bias, vitriol and singular ignorance.

So Israel are just bombing Gaza for no reason? No provocation Richo?

Maybe spend 30 seconds researching what successive POTUS policy has been on recognition of Jerusalem. Yes, even the messiah Obama. But then of course, the narrative is more important then the facts in the post-truth age.

Oh Richo – so poorly informed on this one. 90 -0 the US senate voted for this issue only 6 months ago. So, its all Trumps decision, thought the President followed the government, not dictated to it. This decision (finally some one makes one, and sticks to it) forces the Truth to be faced. There is no peace process, not while the Arab world desires jus tone thing, the genocide of Israel. Also, you might want to ask why did Congress, on the same day, announce that the 887 million, yes, that’s 887 million dollars of aid it gives to the Palestine authority” will cease after Christmas unless the 334 million it “gives to its “martyrs” also stops. The Children in the room, and that appears to include you, need to understand, this is a message to the Arabs, recognise Israel, face the Truth, and then maybe, just maybe, a real peace can begin. There can be no peace when one side teaches its children, and has as part of its constitution the death of a its neighbour. Lunacy, I think not, Trump derangement syndrome, I think, on your behalf, yes.

Excellent and game changing move by Trump – executing a move that previous presidents promised, but never delivered.

Trump has signaled the USA – remember he is the President, like it or not, Richo -backs the only functioning democracy in the region, which Barack ‘Red Line’ Obama abandoned. Whose side are you on, Richo? Bob Carrs’?

Past Presidents had dithered for 25 years, delaying a decision every 6 months.(Bush & Obama). Along comes a President (Trump) who does what he promises and some get upset, but he made a decision. Go Trump, Make America Great Again, that helps the world.

Sorry, but the Israelis founded Jerusalem in BC, Christians in Anno Domini, and Islam barged in in the 7the century. So ,having driven a million or so Jews out of their countries since 1948, the Arabs should give them their s bit of their middle east land, that is now Israel, permanently. The Catholics have the Vatican, the Muslims have Mecca, and quite justly , the Jews should have Jerusalem.

Exactly Graham! WE MUST APPEASE, APPEASE, APPEASE, hey comrade?

Seriously tho, when did Australian politics devolve into a bunch of wimps frightened of upsetting anyone? And before anyone calls me an armchair general, I have more time in uniform than anyone in parliament, including Mr Hastie.

Posted in American politics, International | 57 Comments

AGL’s proposed power station closure would ensure continued excessive electricity prices

Yesterday AGL confirmed its plans to close the Liddell coal powered electricity generator in 2022.  It did so in the face of calls from the government – even by notorious green aficionado Malcolm Turnbull – for its life to be extended.

AGL epitomises the sort of firm that Warren Buffett invests in – that is a “business any fool can run, because someday a fool will”. It has previously been managed by a fellow fresh from running a Danish wind turbine manufacturer, Paul Anthony, who wiped out much of its value leaving it to now retired CEO Michael Fraser to rebuild value.  Fraser did so largely by some astute purchases of coal generators including the planned-to-be-closed Liddell.  AGL is now Australia’s largest energy supplier and on top of the 2,000 MW in Liddell it has over 6,000 MW in major fossil plant capacity (Loy Yang A, Bayswater and Torrens Island) plus other smaller fossil fuel plant and, of course, some wind generation.

Under its present management, led by American Andrew Vesey, the firm has taken the opposite tack to that adopted by his predecessor, firmly embracing the notion of wind and solar energy and lobbying for increased and longer-lived subsidies, without which that form of electricity could not be viable.  Renewable policies have been responsible for Australia losing its pole position in electricity competitiveness transforming the industry into, on some measures, one of the most expensive in the world.

At the heart of this is the boosting of the wholesale price for electricity from around $40 per MWh to north of $80 today (in addition to which wind/solar receive a subsidy from the consumer of $85 per MWh)  That price rise results from the subsidised renewables displacing cheaper coal and, in an outcome the green rent-seekers and their modelling auxiliaries assured us would not happen, bringing about the premature closure of the coal power station – most notably the Victorian Hazelwood facility.  It also has brought additional costs to compensate for the intrinsically less reliable wind/solar facilities, costs that the government recognises with its requirement for renewables to have “firming” insurance.

AGL, in its statement to the stock exchange justifying its decision to close Liddell plant showed the costs of different options.  With Liddell remaining open it maintained its “levelised cost of energy” would be $106 per MWh;  with the plant closing and its output replaced by additional generation from its remaining fossil fuels stations the cost would be $83 per MWh.  Not shown is the cost of the subsidies AGL receives for its renewables – these are $85 per MWh at present and $50 in 2022 according to the forward price curve.  In other words, the renewable power which is partly to replace the lost generation from Liddell receives between $150 and $165 per MWh.  According to work commissioned by the Minerals Council a new power station in Australia would be profitable at an energy price of under $50 per MWh.

AGL claims that it is only closing Liddell because the plant is too costly to maintain.  This is untrue – if AGL were to offer to give the plant away, there would be numerous takers but the firm’ s profit depends on the plant’s closure boosting prices throughout the market.  With 30 per cent of the nation’s generation and a strong retail position, AGL is well placed to ensure that its activities maintain the current excessive price of electricity.  Closing a key and expensive power station is essential to this and the loss of revenue from Liddell is easily recouped by the higher prices received by other power plant the firm owns or has contracted.

In using its strong market position to manipulate supply and boost its profits, AGL is exploiting and magnifying the damaging effects of renewable subsidies.  It supports its actions in a most sanctimonious manner starting with the ads where an actor impersonating a bearded lefty introduces the future of renewables with, “let’s face it! Things are changing.”

However, calling AGL a rogue firm for this role may be unfair.  Its management is, after all, only seeking to maximise shareholders’ wealth.

The upshot of AGL increased income at the expense of the nation as a whole is the clear derivative of years of subsidies to accelerate the onset of the ever receding future of low cost renewable energy.  It stems from government policies, and the Turnbull government is only maintaining a policy set by John Howard, 17 years ago (a policy Howard now says he deeply regrets).  The policy was not curtailed by Abbott, who with Australia’s accession to the 2015 Paris Agreement set the stage for its continuations but now appears to be saying he’d terminate all subsidies forthwith.  That approach is also favoured by the Lib Dems, One Nation, and the Australian Conservatives, (but not Bob Katter who’ll take any subsidy he can get).

It is five years before the scheduled Liddell closure which offers windows for policy change but if the nation is not to face almost irreparable harm to industry competitiveness early policy corrections are essential.

Posted in Uncategorized | 78 Comments

The poetry of F.C. Meyer and why he is still discussed today

Discussed here: “The joy of ‘real’ bad poetry lies, of course, in the fact that it is unconsciously bad” but comes via Ace of Spades. It’s the kind of thing that makes me proud to be an Australian. And yet, the point of it all is not to be discouraged since Mr. F.C. Meyer did indeed have his poetry published, and it is only because of that rejection letter that his name has come to your attention all these years later.

So a bit of Mr Meyer’s poetry:

I think – I understand thee well,
Rub my nose now for a spell!

You at least have to admit it rhymes and although not perfect, the scansion seems OK. As for what the words mean, not even the editor at A&R could tell you that.

Might further mention that if you go to that Ace of Spades link you will also find this.

I’m Becoming a Big Fan of Sarah Huckabee Sanders

Is she the best Press Secretary we’ve ever had? Dunno about that, but she’s the perfect Press Sec for Trump. Not only did she tell reporters trying to gin up outrage over Trump calling Warren “Pocahontas” last week that what was outrageous was Warren falsely claiming to have Indian heritage, but then there is this:

Press Sec.jpg

Posted in Australian Story, Books and writing | 26 Comments

Sunshine conservatives revisited

LIQ has raised the ridiculous and entirely spurious condition that my failure ever to criticise Donald Trump is somehow proof that my defence of PDT is beyond reason. What really can one make of this?

Trump is a false messiah who is leading many so-called conservatives down a dead end. If you can’t accept the flaws in Trump and argue rationally rather than dogmatically you really have no place in conservative thought. Because such behaviour is the antitheses of western critical thinking and logic.

Cultural warriors for Trump are no better than those idiots chanting and disrupting speakers at universities.

Some people are just too stupid to see what’s right before their eyes and going further, are too stupid to change their minds in the face of more evidence than anyone could have imagined to have been presented in even less than a year since the inauguration. The following is the article I wrote that was posted at Quadrant Online on October 16 last year, which I titled Sunshine Conservatives. I might better have titled it Idiots and Morons. And if you would like 390 additional pages of the same kind of material on Donald Trump, warts and all, you can go here.

This is the article I wrote then.

“These are the times that try men’s souls: The summer blogger and the sunshine conservative will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”

This has been a fearfully clarifying US election. There are people who declare themselves on the right side of politics, who are in truth sham defenders of freedom and our way of life, and who will be forever shunned by those of us who stood for saving the American Republic and the Western world at this moment of great peril.

The American election will determine the fate of the West. An America with open borders, unprepared, unwilling and unable to defend our freedoms from predators of every kind, from Islamic terrorists, from economic vandals, from those who masquerade their profound ignorance as concern for the environment — it is from these we must defend ourselves against or our way of life will be lost. The American Republic as it has been since 1776 will disappear. We will live to see our own fall of Rome.

Sunshine conservatives: those who pretend to represent freedom, individual rights and personal responsibility, but who refuse to stand with the only person who could make a difference. They are people whom history will recognise as the enemies of freedom, who refused to stand for the right when the moment arrived. It is Trump alone, the most improbable candidate in American political history, who provides even this sliver of hope. He is elected or Hillary is elected. There is no other possible outcome.

The mounting hostility among those supposedly on his own side is a disgrace. The array of enemies who have been uncovered from within what is nominally his own side of politics has demonstrated, better than anything else might have, that the Republican Party as it has become is a rotting curse on everything it is supposed to represent.

Those who stand with Hillary in this dark hour will have revealed they cannot be trusted and their counsel is without value. They are enemies of freedom. If you support Hillary Clinton in this election, nothing you write and say will from this time forward be worth the slightest attention. Your judgements will have been revealed as eternally worthless.

So, You Thought He Was a Choir Boy?

Donald Trump has not yet lost this election. If anything, this latest attempt to distract voters from the genuine issues which confront us may finally have focused the election on what actually matters. No one defends Trump’s words, or his attitude to women, least of all Donald Trump. This was his own assessment.

Let’s be honest, we’re living in the real world. This is nothing more than a distraction from the important issues we’re facing today.

We are losing our jobs, we are less safe than we were eight years ago and Washington is totally broken. Hillary Clinton and her kind have run our country into the ground. I’ve said some foolish things, but there’s a big difference between the words and actions of other people. Bill Clinton has actually abused women, and Hillary has bullied, attacked, shamed and intimidated his victims. We will discuss this more in the coming days.

The American election is not about who has lived the most blameless life. It is about who can best protect our collective interests. Trump has been from the very beginning the only person running in this election who has understood the nature of the times in which we live and the actions that must be taken. You are either a sunshine conservative, or are instead prepared to fight this to the very end which means supporting Donald Trump for president.

Posted in American politics, Conservative politics | 93 Comments

The balkanisation of public policy

One of my greatest concerns in public policy is the tendency for each side to admit no error and to hold certain “truths” which are defended at any cost. There is no room for introspection in such an environment and it is no wonder that bipartisan economic reform is no longer feasible.

So on one side are those who have been campaigning for same sex marriage as if it is the most important thing in the world. This really is a first world problem – most gays live in fear of their lives and yet here in Australia the Parliament has decided that same sex marriage is more important than any other area of public policy. Those who opposed SSM have been held in contempt and labelled bigots etc. There was no effort to engage in an open debate; merely destroy one’s opponents seems to be the attitude.

The same can be said of many of the left’s pet causes where opposition to any of these marks one as an unacceptable person in civilised company.

On this blog we frequently see similar behaviour with respect to blogs supporting Donald Trump. Several bloggers admit no flaw in Trump and will punish and abuse any person who dares question Trump’s government and his abilities and his fitness for office.

This is simply childish. No individual is perfect, but when reading the hagiographies about Trump on this blog one would think that Trump is the messiah. Anyone – like me – who dares critique Trump must by definition be in a pact with the devil. Well that’s the argument effectively made and it is foolish indeed.

What I see on both sides is the infantilisation of public policy. We are becoming progressively more tribal – wanting to belong to one tribe or another and that requires the acceptance of doctrine which may never be challenged unless you wish to be excommunicated.

If this trend continues the outlook for Australia is dire. The people of Australia are being let down by boorish behaviour with third rate politicians behaving as if they were in first year university. Bettina Arndt is correct in today’s Australian: the preponderance of young females to leftist causes because of their humanities studies such as gender relations etc. has led to them being perpetually aggrieved and perpetually ‘victims’.

Libertarians and conservatives must act rationally and argue respectfully if this is to be defeated. That is the way to win, not to get in the trenches and adopt the methods of the left.

Trump is a false messiah who is leading many so-called conservatives down a dead end. If you can’t accept the flaws in Trump and argue rationally rather than dogmatically you really have no place in conservative thought. Because such behaviour is the antitheses of western critical thinking and logic.

Cultural warriors for Trump are no better than those idiots chanting and disrupting speakers at universities.

Posted in Uncategorized | 148 Comments

Remember Crooked Hillary?


Following on from Steve’s post below, it’s incredible that Trump barely slurs a few words and the whole media melts down.

Conversely, when Hillary did things like this, we were expected to make nothing of it whatsoever:

PS: I posted on Hillary’s health during the 2016 US Presidential election campaign. A little bit over a year on, a couple of the video links have interestingly gone dead.


Posted in American politics | Tagged , | 18 Comments

Open Forum: December 9, 2017

Posted in Open Forum | 1,042 Comments