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>Sunday night Aussie rock

December 30, 2007 Leave a comment

>Silverchair is an Australian alternative rock band, formed in Newcastle, New South Wales in 1992. The group has had more top twenty hits in Australian charts during the last decade than any other local artist. Additionally, they have sold over six million albums worldwide. Every album released by the band to date has spawned at least one top 1 single and debuted at the #1 position on Australian charts. Silverchair is also one of only three Australian bands to have three number 1 singles on the Australian Singles Chart, and the only Australian band to have their first albums chart at #1 in the Australian Album Chart. They are the most successful act at the ARIA awards, having won more awards than any other act.

Silverchair was formed in 1992 as Innocent Criminals. Singer/guitarist Daniel Johns and drummer Ben Gillies started playing music together at their primary school, and when they both moved on to Newcastle High School, long time schoolmates Chris Joannou joined the band on bass. They played many shows around the Hunter Valley region in their early teens. They participated in Youthrock in 1994, a nationally recognised competition for school-based bands, although they did not win the competition.

The band’s mainstream breakthrough came in mid-1994 when, as Innocent Criminals, they won a national demo competition called “Pick Me” (conducted by the SBS TV show Nomad and alternative radio station Triple J) with a song called “Tomorrow.” The prize included Triple J recording the song and SBS filming the video. Innocent Criminals changed their name to Silverchair in August 1994.

Tomorrow

Freak

Ana’s Song

(Nothing Follows)

Categories: Australia, Music

>The new Cold War – UN vs USA

December 29, 2007 Leave a comment

>Since the fall of the Soviet Union the organisation that has been most virulently anti-freedom, anti-free market and anti-US has not been the EU, or China, but the United Nations.

No organisation has done more damage in the name of supposedly doing good in the history of the world than the UN, as the following article from Investor’s Business Daily notes. If the UN held one hundred percent of its members to even one-quarter of its Charter then the world would be a better place.

Forget radical Islam, the new Cold War is the United Nations versus the United States. Like the USSR, the UN can’t win this war but is doing terrific damage along the way.

The U.N. voted 178-1 to hike its spending 10% next year to an all-time high of $4.2 billion. The lone standout in voting against the record rise in spending? The U.S., which again finds itself alone at the U.N.

The U.S. has tried for some time to rein in the runaway United Nations and its various extremist political factions and bureaucracies, but to no avail. Now, the U.S. has become an outcast in the very organization it founded and has funded for 60 years.

Last Saturday, the U.N. announced its “marathon talks” had resulted in a $4.17 billion basic budget — even though the U.S. dissented. By the way, our dissent is meaningless, since we’re still obliged to pay just under a quarter of that budget, or roughly $922 million.

But we in fact pay much more than that each year.

In 2005, the most recent year for which data are available, we spent more than $5 billion on the U.N. and related activities, ranging from food programs to peacekeeping. That’s a rise of 67% during George Bush’s first term alone. So much for stingy Americans.

Too bad we’re not getting our money’s worth. In fact, the U.N. has become such a massive, unwieldy, corrupt organization that, at this point, it seems beyond repair.

To list the U.N.’s multitudinous sins here would require something the size of a phone book. Suffice to say, in recent years the U.N. has been involved in a variety of policy debacles and outright crimes.

These include the oil-for-food scandal, the largest financial scandal ever; charges that U.N. peacekeepers abused and prostituted young girls in Africa and the Balkans; did nothing about the genocide of millions of people in Darfur and Rwanda; turned its back on democratic Taiwan in favor of communist China; allows Iran to expand its illicit nuclear enrichment program; and so on.

Why such a bad record? Part of the problem is the U.N., which was started after World War II with the best of humanitarian intentions, has been hijacked by a variety of left-wing and anti-Semitic agendas, pushed by an aggressive pack of anti-U.S. and anti-democratic nations that tend to vote as a bloc in the U.N.

According to Heritage Foundation fellow Brett Schaefer, these U.N. voting blocs include the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the so-called Non-Aligned Movement, and the Group of 77 developing nations (which has 130 members — not 77.) All these groups are, in fact, anti-American, anti-West and anti-free market.

“So, where the U.N. actually could have a role in advancing economic policies that enhanced freedom, that enhanced opportunity, that enhanced economic development,” former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., John Bolton recently explained, “the mind-set of the U.N. itself as played out in its conference rooms and corridors is actually exactly to the contrary.”

The U.N., in short, has become a major way for nondemocratic, noncapitalist countries to siphon wealth from the wealthy countries — without doing anything that remotely looks like democratic, pro-market reform in their own countries.

The U.S. goes along mainly because there are many people out there — call them UNICEF-Americans — who actually believe the U.N.’s propaganda about saving “the children.”

But, in fact, if you’re a child in the Third World, you have righteous cause to curse the U.N. and the nongovernmental organizations it empowers to control your life. Where the U.N. goes, democracy doesn’t necessarily follow. Nor does development.

Just look at the Palestinian problem, which has festered for more than a half a century due to the U.N.’s never-ending solicitude for the Arab world’s hatred of the Jews.

Again in 2006, Israel topped the list of countries subjected to human rights criticism — not China, not Zimbabwe, not Venezuela, not North Korea, not Sudan, not Cuba, places where millions have been murdered, imprisoned and denied the most basic of human rights and freedoms. (The U.S., by the way, came in fourth.)

This sick fixation on Israel and the U.S. has ruined the U.N. Yet, in 2009, it’s planning to hold its “Durban II” conference. The last conference of the type, held in the summer of 2001, was a monthlong hate-fest against both Israel and the U.S. Perhaps not coincidentally, just days after it ended the 9/11 attacks occurred.

We’ve had enough, thank you. The U.N. wastes billions each year, while corruption flourishes. It’s time for the U.S. to pull out.

Let the tyrants and bureaucrats go home. Maybe we can form a new organization based on the 89 countries classified as “fully free” by the nonpartisan human rights group, Freedom House. That would give us almost half of the U.N.’s 192 current members — a good start for a new beginning.

A good summary of the UN and the fact that it’s run by tyrants, thugs and murderers who enjoy picking the pockets of major financiers in the form of ‘aid’, which props up their terrible regimes.

If you support the United Nations then you really are a Moral Idiot.

(Nothing Follows)

>Bhutto’s inevitable doom

December 27, 2007 Leave a comment

>The death overnight of Benazir Bhutto seemed to be ‘a horribly inevitability’, as Mark Steyn described it in his article at the National Review.

In her time as Pakistan’s Prime Minister she oversaw a hugely corrupt regime that ended with her being ousted by the military. It seems unlikely, given her past, that any government led by her would be much different. At this time, though, it seems charitable to give her the benefit of the doubt and suggest that her intentions in seeking a third term as PM were pure and driven by a resolve to see her country deal with its significant issues.

By murdering her at a time when she was so prominent on the world stage her enemies – our enemies, too – have almost guaranteed that opposition to them and their barbaric ways will be galvanised around the world.

In this way, Bhutto has finally united people from all political persuasions and religious faiths in a common cause to fight for decency against the violent, backward societies that Al Qaeda and the Taliban represent.

Benazir Bhutto’s return to Pakistan had a mad recklessness about it which give today’s events a horrible inevitability. As I always say when I’m asked about her, she was my next-door neighbor for a while – which affects a kind of intimacy, though in fact I knew her only for sidewalk pleasantries. She was beautiful and charming and sophisticated and smart and modern, and everything we in the west would like a Muslim leader to be – though in practice, as Pakistan’s Prime Minister, she was just another grubby wardheeler from one of the world’s most corrupt political classes.

Since her last spell in power, Pakistan has changed, profoundly. Its sovereignty is meaningless in increasingly significant chunks of its territory, and, within the portions Musharraf is just about holding together, to an ever more radicalized generation of young Muslim men Miss Bhutto was entirely unacceptable as the leader of their nation. “Everyone’s an expert on Pakistan, a faraway country of which we know everything,” I wrote last month. “It seems to me a certain humility is appropriate.” The State Department geniuses thought they had it all figured out. They’d arranged a shotgun marriage between the Bhutto and Sharif factions as a “united” “democratic” “movement” and were pushing Musharraf to reach a deal with them. That’s what diplomats do: They find guys in suits and get ’em round a table. But none of those representatives represents the rapidly evolving reality of Pakistan. Miss Bhutto could never have been a viable leader of a post-Musharraf settlement, and the delusion that she could have been sent her to her death. Earlier this year, I had an argument with an old (infidel) boyfriend of Benazir’s, who swatted my concerns aside with the sweeping claim that “the whole of the western world” was behind her. On the streets of Islamabad, that and a dime’ll get you a cup of coffee.

As I said, she was everything we in the west would like a Muslim leader to be. We should be modest enough to acknowledge when reality conflicts with our illusions. Rest in peace, Benazir.

From the UK’s Channel 4 comes the following report:

(Nothing Follows)

Categories: Asia, Politics

>Hot days indicate global warming. Cold and wet days are just ‘the weather’

December 25, 2007 3 comments

>The Washington Times has a great article on the reality of the 2007 global temperature record. If the global warming crowd didn’t already have the high hand in climate politics then the global cooling people would certainly have a strong argument to support their case, particularly as it’s based on real world observation rather than predictions from models, complete fabrication (polar bear numbers declining, Antarctica losing ice, Greenland losing ice etc etc) and fiddling with the existing data record.

Al Gore says global warming is a planetary emergency. It is difficult to see how this can be so when record low temperatures are being set all over the world. In 2007, hundreds of people died, not from global warming, but from cold weather hazards.

Since the mid-19th century, the mean global temperature has increased by 0.7 degrees Celsius. This slight warming is not unusual, and lies well within the range of natural variation. Carbon dioxide continues to build in the atmosphere, but the mean planetary temperature hasn’t increased significantly for nearly nine years. Antarctica is getting colder. Neither the intensity nor the frequency of hurricanes has increased. The 2007 season was the third-quietest since 1966. In 2006 not a single hurricane made landfall in the U.S.

South America this year experienced one of its coldest winters in decades. In Buenos Aires, snow fell for the first time since the year 1918. Dozens of homeless people died from exposure. In Peru, 200 people died from the cold and thousands more became infected with respiratory diseases. Crops failed, livestock perished, and the Peruvian government declared a state of emergency.

That’s what cold does. It kills people. Not that the Climate Faithful care one whit about people, though.

Unexpected bitter cold swept the entire Southern Hemisphere in 2007. Johannesburg, South Africa, had the first significant snowfall in 26 years. Australia experienced the coldest June ever. In northeastern Australia, the city of Townsville underwent the longest period of continuously cold weather since 1941. In New Zealand, the weather turned so cold that vineyards were endangered.

Last January, $1.42 billion worth of California produce was lost to a devastating five-day freeze. Thousands of agricultural employees were thrown out of work. At the supermarket, citrus prices soared. In the wake of the freeze, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger asked President Bush to issue a disaster declaration for affected counties. A few months earlier, Mr. Schwarzenegger had enthusiastically signed the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, a law designed to cool the climate. California Sen. Barbara Boxer continues to push for similar legislation in the U.S. Senate.


California is nearly bankrupt. Will its people ever work out that it’s because of disastrous Democratic policies (even when implemented by a Republican) or due to global warming, capitalism or worse?

In April, a killing freeze destroyed 95 percent of South Carolina’s peach crop, and 90 percent of North Carolina’s apple harvest. At Charlotte, N.C., a record low temperature of 21 degrees Fahrenheit on April 8 was the coldest ever recorded for April, breaking a record set in 1923. On June 8, Denver recorded a new low of 31 degrees Fahrenheit. Denver’s temperature records extend back to 1872.

Recent weeks have seen the return of unusually cold conditions to the Northern Hemisphere. On Dec. 7, St. Cloud, Minn., set a new record low of minus 15 degrees Fahrenheit. On the same date, record low temperatures were also recorded in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Extreme cold weather is occurring worldwide. On Dec. 4, in Seoul, Korea, the temperature was a record minus 5 degrees Celsius. Nov. 24, in Meacham, Ore., the minimum temperature was 12 degrees Fahrenheit colder than the previous record low set in 1952. The Canadian government warns that this winter is likely to be the coldest in 15 years.

Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri are just emerging from a destructive ice storm that left at least 36 people dead and a million without electric power. People worldwide are being reminded of what used to be common sense: Cold temperatures are inimical to human welfare and warm weather is beneficial. Left in the dark and cold, Oklahomans rushed out to buy electric generators powered by gasoline, not solar cells. No one seemed particularly concerned about the welfare of polar bears, penguins or walruses. Fossil fuels don’t seem so awful when you’re in the cold and dark.

…but they still do to the Climate Faithful.

If you think any of the preceding facts can falsify global warming, you’re hopelessly naive. Nothing creates cognitive dissonance in the mind of a true believer. In 2005, a Canadian Greenpeace representative explained “global warming can mean colder, it can mean drier, it can mean wetter.” In other words, all weather variations are evidence for global warming. I can’t make this stuff up.

Global warming has long since passed from scientific hypothesis to the realm of pseudo-scientific mumbo-jumbo.

Correct. The inconvenient truth of real world observation that completely destroys the credibility of climate models is simply ignored by those people who are using global warming as a surrogate to bring down free market capitalism.

(Nothing Follows)

Categories: Climate Change

>Merry Kerplunkin’ Christmas

December 24, 2007 2 comments

>Wishing all of my readers – and, yes, even those that disagree with everything I stand for – a very merry Christmas and a safe new year.

May 2008 be prosperous and fulfilling for all of you.

(Nothing Follows)

Categories: Culture

>Al Gore’s totalitarian future

December 24, 2007 3 comments

>Spiked Online’s Brendan O’Neill gets it pretty much right, Al Gore and his Climate Acolytes are little more than totalitarian misanthropes whose ideal future world is inhabited by environmentally obedient, mono-cultural, ‘right-thinking’ socialist automatons.

That his political philosophy wiped out a hundred million people in the 20th century and created environmental damage on a scale not witnessed in the western world is an irony missed by the man himself, and his dedicated followers.

As he flies around the world to tell people that they should fly less, or organises rock-star extravaganzas to tell the masses they should live more meekly, some sceptics have asked: ‘Who the hell does Al Gore think he is?’

Well, now we know. He seems to think he is the spokesman for the human species, the legitimate representative of every human being who has ever lived or who will ever live in the future. He thinks he and his supporters ‘control the destiny of all generations to come’, a boast that even the worst dictators in history never dared to make. Al Gore is an enviro-tyrant with delusions of global domination.

In his speech at the climate change conference in Bali last week, Gore expressed some deeply anti-democratic views. He told an audience of 1,000, including NGOs, green campaigners and journalists, as well as UN representatives and government officials, that they should ‘feel a sense of exhilaration that we are the people alive at a moment in history when we can make all the difference’. He suggested the audience should not be worried about being seen as a minority, a tiny brave group that recognises the ‘planetary emergency’ facing Earth and its inhabitants, but rather should consider it a ‘privilege to be alive at a moment when a relatively small group of people could control the destiny of all generations to come’.

Throughout history, from the feudalistic era through the Stalinist dictatorships of the twentieth century to places like Burma and Nepal today, vast swathes of mankind have considered it a drag to be ‘alive at a moment’ when ‘small groups of people’ controlled theirs and others’ destinies. Now we’re supposed to see it as a privilege that an apparently right-minded clique, which claims to represent ‘the human species’, would like to shape the human destiny as it sees fit.

Gore openly expressed hostility towards the democratic process. He described certain elected governments as ‘obstacles’ to the environmentalist agenda being drawn up in Bali, and called on the ‘relatively small group’ of eco-enlightened ones to ignore or leap over these obstacles. ‘My own country, the United States, is principally responsible for obstructing progress here in Bali…’ he said. ‘But if we look realistically at the situation that confronts us, then wisdom would call for moving forward in spite of that obstacle.’ Who needs to take into consideration the views of a government elected by tens of millions of Americans when you have ‘realism’ and ‘wisdom’ on your side?

Gore seems to believe that it is precisely the fact that he is unelected, and thus above the grubby process of winning public support and representing public interest, that makes him an honourable and fearless representative of humankind. ‘I am not an official of the United States and I am not bound by diplomatic niceties’, he boasted. ‘So I am going to speak an inconvenient truth [about the planetary emergency facing humanity].’ Here, planetary interests, as represented by a self-styled, unelected spokesman for Mother Earth, trump the public interest, as represented by politicians who worked to win the support of millions of Americans. President George W Bush might represent the desires – yuk! – of a majority of the American people, but Gore represents something far more important: planet Earth itself, and all of the billions of human beings yet to be born. As the numerous newspaper headlines said in celebration of Gore’s speech: ‘The world cannot wait for George Bush.’ Or for his 50 million supporters, presumably.

Gore opened his speech in Bali with the words: ‘We, the human species…’ Nothing better sums up his megalomaniacal delusions than those four words. American governments have claimed to speak for ‘We, the people’ (some with more right and legitimacy than others). Outside of the democratic process, tyrannical leaders have often claimed to represent ‘the nation’ or ‘the masses’: apparently they have some special emotional insight into what the people need and desire. But no one has ever claimed to represent the human species before.

Unlike those who merely represent a people or a nation, the self-described representatives of the human species, that ‘relatively small group’ of privileged warriors for planetkind, have a blank cheque to do and say as they please. Legitimate representatives of the people are dependent on the people’s support: they are confined and directed by the electoral process. Representatives of the nation are restricted by borders: their writ extends only to the ends of their sovereign territory. But a wannabe representative of the human species like Al Gore recognises no democratic mandate or territorial border, because he thinks he represents every human being who has ever existed, who exists now, and who will exist in the future: the species itself. Gore’s mandate is timeless and borderless, and it most certainly does not require the rubber-stamping of the mass of the population, that relatively large group of people who apparently do not appreciate the urgency of today’s ‘planetary emergency’.

For the past seven years, Gore and his supporters have claimed that he was robbed of presidential victory by the conniving Bush regime. Gore has posed as a sincere democrat whose place in the White House was stolen from him by Dubya. Yet today, Gore claims to speak for future generations (who cannot vote, on account of the fact that they aren’t born yet), the planet (which has no vote, on account of the fact that it is not a sentient or rational organism), and the human species itself (a natural/biological category that falls outside of the political process). And he is cheered by the very same people who wept when Bush allegedly stole his election. It seems that when it comes to ‘saving the planet’, you can be as undemocratic and dictatorial as you like.

Gore’s off-planet fantasies about being some kind of new Timelord who speaks for the human species expose the anti-democratic strain in the politics of environmentalism. Many green-leaning leaders and spokesmen claim that the threat facing the planet is so dire that normal democratic debate and processes must be suspended in order to deal with it. Dictators of old used to impose states of emergency in order to freeze democracy; today’s eco-megalomaniacs use the more PC phrase ‘planetary emergency’ in an attempt to justify allowing small groups of people to override the ‘obstacle’ of individual nations’ democratic processes.

Where the modern democratic system has been defined by ideas of sovereign independence and territorial integrity – where a people are, at least on paper, the masters of their nation’s fate – today we are told that the threat of climate change makes the institutions of sovereignty obsolete. Because pollution and CO2 emissions are, in Gore’s words, ‘invisible’ and ‘global’, climate change activism must override borders and do away with ‘diplomatic niceties’. In the real world, the new green disregard for sovereignty has allowed powerful nations in the West to demonise India and China for daring to develop, on the extremely dodgy basis that India and China’s development is poisoning us over here.

Modern democratic politics was also traditionally defined by time constraints. In America, presidents can only serve for four years at a time, and never for longer than eight years; in Britain the PM must submit to the electorate’s interrogation and judgement every four or five years. But in the name of saving the planet, both elected officials and unelected campaigners now push through far-reaching policies to ‘protect future generations’. They draw up 50-year plans for tackling climate change, and demand that nations cut their emissions by 60 or 80 per cent by 2020 or 2050, without thinking about what voters in four years’ time might consider to be an acceptable level of carbon output or a desirable level of industrial development. Democratic politics was also once driven by debate: it involved putting forward proposals, arguing the toss over them, and then deciding whether and how to act on them. Today, green-fingered officials and activists frequently argue that the threat to Gaia and her organisms (that includes us) is so great that we must ditch debate. Instead we should have ‘action, action, action’. As Gore says, ‘The debate about global warming is over’.

Once an individual or a campaign group can pose as the mouthpiece for the needs of the planet, there is no limit to their authority. Freed from the shackles of responsibility to an electorate, and from the time and territorial restraints of democratic politics, campaigners can make sweeping declarations about the needs of the human species and about what is good for people now and in time immemorial. ‘We are one people on one planet with one destiny’, said Gore in Bali. That sounds nice and hippyish. But it is actually an attempt to deny and undermine the stuff of politics itself: debate; disagreement; the clash of interests; heated scraps over the destiny of mankind. We don’t only have ‘one destiny’. My desired destiny for mankind is a whole world away from Al Gore’s, just as the needs and desires of people in poorer parts of Africa are different to the needs and desires of those 1,000 well-heeled people who packed the conference hall in Bali.

Airing these differences, and arguing over them, is politics itself – or it will be, once we do something about the anti-democratic, debate-phobic Al Gore and his acolytes in the environmentalist lobby.

Say you’re concerned about the environment. Tell us you support Gore. But don’t tell us you believe in liberty and democracy.

(Nothing Follows)

Categories: Climate Change

>Sunday night Aussie rock

December 23, 2007 Leave a comment

>Grinspoon are an Australian Post-Grunge band from Lismore, fronted by Phil Jamieson with Pat Davern on guitar, Joe Hansen on bass and Kristian Hopes on drums. Founded in 1995, they came to fame when they were Unearthed by national, commercial-free radio station Triple J thanks to their track “Sickfest”. This won them the competition for the Lismore area. The band was heavily influenced by “grunge” music in their early career, including the band Helmet, and developed a strong following among mosh pit crowds. Their sound changed in their later career to a more mainstream rock sound with their 2002 album New Detention and at this point they lost many of their earlier fans and gained a lot of fans in the mainstream. Lyrically, the band are very cryptic and disjointed, most lines from their songs are not related to the next line and the songs rarely make sense as a whole. This has been attributed to the writer Phil Jamieson and his tendency to pen short lyrics of only a few lines each, and then tying many of these together into a song, creating a lack of consistent themes. The band name was taken from marijuana supporter Dr. Lester Grinspoon.

Saw these guys when they toured with Kiss a few years ago. They were really good.

Chemical Heart

Hard Act To Follow

Black Friday

(Nothing Follows)

Categories: Australia, Music