Category Archives: Politics

Sport is a better culprit for violence than video games.

So it didn’t take long after the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings for the politicians to start blaming “Violent Video Games”. In the United States the blame game is in full swing:

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-West Virginia) has taken Congress’ first step in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre toward possibly regulating access to violent videogames.

Calls for gun control immediately followed the elementary-school shooting Friday, so it was only a matter of time before violent videogames became another target.

Rockefeller is proposing that the National Academy of Sciences study the relationship between real-world violence and virtual-world violence in videogames. Reading between the lines, the idea is to perhaps acquire conclusive fodder, if there is any, from this prestigious group of scientists that there is an association between the two. Wired, Threat Level

Assholes like Rockefeller have been trying to pin the blame on video games for years. Because it’s a lot easier to demonise video games than it is to tackle the real problems of a society where school shooting have almost become a routine. 

If we’re going to look for something to blame then why not blame sports? It would make much more sense to blame the violence in society on competitive sports, after all sporting events, particularly team sports foster an “Us Vs Them” style of mentality amongst their supporters who even wear the colours and fly the banner of their favourite team.

Throughout the Middle Ages banner men flew the flags and coat of arms of the lords and kings to whom they owed their allegiance. The tradition of flying banners and flags can be seen throughout most of human history and modern day sport, or warfare is no exception.

In Australia sports spectators are quite passive, but in Britain and North America there have been numerous incidents of violence breaking out amongst supporters of opposing teams, including large scale riots. But no one seems to be willing to blame competitive sports for outbreaks of violence. Instead they choose video games as their preferred scapegoat despite the fact the violence and aggression is better linked to sport than it is to video games. Has there ever been a riot resulting from a round of Halo or Counter Strike? None that I know of.

Should we blame sports for the Sandy Hook School shooting?

No, that would be just as absurd as trying to blame video games. But if scumbag politicians want something to blame, then I think team sports are a much more likely culprit than any video game. 

Dawson Drama Queen vs Trolls.

Charlotte Dawson has been in the news recently for being trolled on the Internet. That’s right just for being trolled this drama queen has generated headline across Australia for her alleged victimisation at the hands of some anonymous twitter users.

While I don’t agree with the actions of the trolls I also find it hard to have too much sympathy for Ms Dawson because she went troll feeding.

There is an old saying that goes back at least as far as the 1980s. “Don’t Feed the Trolls”

On the Internet a “Troll” is a person who attempts to incite an emotional response from others by either posting offensive material or performing an action that causes inconvenience and frustration to other users of the medium in use. The best way to deal with trolls is by NOT giving them exactly what they want so they get bored and leave. As someone who’s been dealing with internet trolls since the 90s I can confirm that this is a tried and proven method for dealing with the issue.

However Charlotte Dawson decided to engage with the trolls instead. First mistake, she has also been retweeting some of the trolls messages to her followers. Honestly what sort of moron thinks it’s a good idea to help spread the trolls’ message as far and wide as you can? These trolls are anonymous; as a result ALL publicity is good publicity.

Of course now the politicians are wetting themselves in excitement as they are now given a new excuse to remove free speech and privacy from the public internet.

HATE-filled Twitter trolls who anonymously taunt, threaten or urge their victims to take their own lives are on notice from today.

Today we launch a campaign to stand up to the faceless bullies and to urge Twitter to unmask them and turn them in to authorities so they can be prosecuted.

Kevin Rudd has 1.2 million followers – more than any other federal MP – and he last night committed to the campaign from China with the declaration: “The time has come for us to build a bridge over the trolls.”

Attorney-General Nicola Roxon is also behind the campaign: “Cyber bullying is reprehensible and has no place in our society.

“What we need is strong co-operation from governments, law enforcement and the community. But we also need the assistance of US-based social networks.”

It quickly gets to the point where the persecuted becomes the persecutor. This is where the #StopTheTrolls comes in. The aim is to bully Twitter into disclosing user details so the Australian Government can punish people for what they said online. That’s right; you can be punished for saying something that upsets people.

People not just trolls, often choose to be anonymous on the Internet because they either don’t believe what they say strongly enough to put their name to it. Or because they face serious consequences for speaking out be it government persecution or litigation.

By removing anonymity and punishing trolls all that will happen is the trolls move to more secure form of anonymity and people with a “legitimate” need of anonymity might not have that option available.  Of course what is or is not a “legitimate” use of anonymity is purely subjective.

Terms like ‘Hate Speech’ are thrown about far too easily in today’s society. But classifying what is and isn’t ‘Hate Speech’ is a value judgement. I have people accuse me of ‘hate speech’ simply for disagreeing with them.  So the idea that the government could or should punish people for something based on opinion of another should be a concern to all Australians, not just trolls.

I deal with ‘trolls’ a fair bit. What I post online tends to attract them and it’s the reason user comments below need to be approved by a moderator before they appear. Yet, I still stand by what I’ve been saying for the last 14 years. Don’t feed the trolls, don’t give them the recognition and attention they crave, they will get bored and leave.

Also don’t do a massive Dawson Drama Queen. That only empowers them.

Classroom Socialism

I agree with this.

An economics teacher at a local school made a statement that he had never failed a single student before, but had recently failed an entire class. That class had insisted that Gillard/Brown  socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.

The teacher then said, “OK, we will have an experiment in this class on the Gillard/Brown plan”. All grades will be averaged and everyone will receive the same grade so no one will fail and no one will receive an A…. (substituting grades for dollars – something closer to home and more readily understood by all).

After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little.

The second test average was a D! No one was happy.

When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F.

As the tests proceeded, the scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else.

To their great surprise, ALL FAILED and the teacher told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed.
It could not be any simpler than that.
Remember, there IS a test coming up. The next election.
These are possibly the 5 best sentences you’ll ever read and all applicable to this experiment:

1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.

2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.

3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.

4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it!

5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation. -Received via forwarded email, original source unknown.

I didn’t write this but I found it interesting and wanted to share it. Particularly with the current socialist movements that seem to be making allot of noise these days with calls for ‘Wealth Equality’.

Dead people can be recycled too.

What’s the difference between the local cemetery and the local landfill. The answer is not much, both get filled with a waste product that is no longer wanted and could pose a health risk to the community if not safely disposed of into the ground.

Of course when a human body is disposed of in a cemetery it’s normally lowered gently into the ground rather than tipped into the hole as is done with the regular landfill. But the purpose of the cemetery is the same as the landfill, while the landfill takes care of general waste the cemetery takes care of human bodies that essentially become a waste product once the conscious person has ceased to exist. The family of the deceased often waste little time in disposing of the now vacant body into one of these cemetery landfill; an indication that they no longer want or need it.

But like many other things that our society disposes of the human body can be recycled. They say “one mans trash is another mans treasure” and vital organs that may survive the death of their owner can be used to save someone’s life. Instead of having a system where people have to opt-in to donate organs we should allow our doctors to use the organs of any deceased person to save lives. It’s allot better than disposing of them along with the rest of the body, and there are many people on waiting lists for organs that may save their lives.

With demand outstripping supply like this it should be considered a crime against humanity that we dispose of so many human bodies instead of recycling organs from them. Just because the family have no use for the body and wish to dispose of it as waste it doesn’t mean someone else doesn’t have a use for the Heart, Lung, Kidney etc.

You can see by the graphs above that our organ donor rate is pitifully low. I am confident that we could abolish the organ waiting lists if we got rid of the opt-in and let doctors do their job. A landfill is no place for valuable organs. If your loved one dies and you refuse to donate their organs if asked then you are an asshole; and I do not respect your decision to dump good organs into the ground.

Source of Graphs: Australia and New Zealand Organ Registry 2011 Report

Why I can't take #occupywallstreet seriously.

After last weeks debunking of an #occupywallstreet promotional image/poster I have been able to gain a little more of a glimpse into the Occupy Wall Street movement. One of the problems with this protest is that it does not appear to have any defined goals, so it’s hard to know exactly what these protesters want. However a list of demands has now appeared but there is a disclaimed on the page stating that there is “No official list of demands”. So how can any take these people seriously if there are no demands? Is the Occupy Wall Street movement just protesting for the sake of protesting?

Let’s look at some of these demands for the proclaimed ‘unofficial’ list. Without an official one this is all there is.

Demand one: Restoration of the living wage. This demand can only be met by ending “Freetrade” by re-imposing trade tariffs on all imported goods entering the American market to level the playing field for domestic family farming and domestic manufacturing as most nations that are dumping cheap products onto the American market have radical wage and environmental regulation advantages. Another policy that must be instituted is raise the minimum wage to twenty dollars an hr. –Source

Bring the US minimum wage to $20 an hour. Currently the US minimum wage is $7.25 so that is a 176% wage increase. That is equivalent of raising Australian minimum wage to $42.80 an hour. Now you don’t need an economist to realise that doubling the income of a large percentage of people is going to cause huge problems. Why should a person working a minimum wage job suddenly be paid more than double their normal wage. How would employers cope with such a labour cost increase? My bet is Replacing workers with automation, reducing number of staff for same work load, more stringent employee selection (only employ those who are worth the higher wage).

Such a downright silly demand will at best cost allot of jobs, clearly this demand was never though out. Not that I expect much thinking from protesters without a cause. Otherwise they might think “Why the fuck am I protesting?”.

Immediate across the board debt forgiveness for all. Debt forgiveness of sovereign debt, commercial loans, home mortgages, home equity loans, credit card debt, student loans and personal loans now! All debt must be stricken from the “Books.” World Bank Loans to all Nations, Bank to Bank Debt and all Bonds and Margin Call Debt in the stock market including all Derivatives or Credit Default Swaps, all 65 trillion dollars of them must also be stricken from the “Books.” And I don’t mean debt that is in default, I mean all debt on the entire planet period. Source

This is almost laughable, if it wasn’t so stupid. Suggesting that people should be able to borrow as much money as they like an never give it back is just ludicrous. Would you be willing to lend people money and have them never pay you back? In fact if you think debt forgiveness is a good idea you can lend me money via PayPal to or mail cash to PO Box 72 Northbridge, Western Australia, 6865, AU and I promise not to pay you back. After all that’s what debt forgiveness is all about.

Between these insane demands, the conspiracy theorists and the apparent lack of central purpose I cannot take these Wall Street protesters seriously. They seem to consist of idealistic hippies, paranoid tin-foil hatters and people with too much free time on their hands.

The conspiracy theorist. Apparently I’m a Christian.

At the end of the day Occupy Wall Street will achieve nothing. It’s one thing to bitch and protest, but getting something done actually requires effort. Protesting is a good way to get media attention, but you need to have a message you can present. It’s not enough to just protest and that’s all this appears to be. A protest for the sake of protesting. Yes, some people are bringing their own messages to the protest but the lack of consistency and consensus about what that message is ultimately means that the protesters are wasting time and effort that might be used elsewhere. Encouraging people to become involved in the political process is a good start. The United States is still a democracy, despite what the conspiracy theorists claim. Protest to popularise the idea (you need to have a message), and political action for the change.

#occupywallstreet lies, deception and photoshop.

For the past 10 days protesters have been camping in lower Manhattan in a protest called Occupy Wall Street. Twitter, Facebook and Blogs all over the internet have been alive with talk of the protest.

This is the image that has been doing the rounds of Facebook. See the streets jam packed with protesters. A protest that big certainly is impressive, but are there really that many protesters?

#occupywallstreet promotional image.

No, the photo is a fake, it was made by Jason Wettstein in a dishonest attempt to make the protest seem bigger and more significant than it really is. The forgery came to light when Travis Roy of the Granite State Skeptics posted it to the Skeptalk mailing list questioning it’s authenticity. Within 41 minutes fellow skeptic Tim Parkinson exposed the photo as a fake.

Forgery exposed by skeptic Tim Parkinson.

By forging this image Jason Wettstein has undermined his own cause. His image proclaims “DON’T TRUST THE MEDIA THEY LIE” so it is with great irony that I can now say. Don’t trust Jason Wettstein he lies.

I hate hypocrites; especially dishonest hypocrites. Checkout Tim Parkinsons blog about this. (especially the comments section.)

Internet Censorship is 21st century book burning.

Internet Censoship is the 21st century equivalent of book burning. You cannot be inspired or educated by a book that you’ll never read, and you will never read that book if it is destroyed. In 1933 the German Nazi Party began it’s campaign of burning books that didn’t correspond with Nazi ideology. Censorship has always been a favorite tool of authoritarians because it limits peoples access to information and silences dissent within the population.

However the existence of the Internet has now made book burning largely redundant because books no longer need to be printed and shipped to those who will read them. Now ideas can be posted online where they are accessible anywhere in the world. I do not need to print pages of this site and send them off in the hope that someone might read them, instead I can post things here on my own corner of the web and anyone with an internet connection can access them. The internet provides a sort of immunity to book burning because not only can ideas be easily accessed without the need to ship a tangible item but they can also be electronically copied an infinite amount of times. Even destroying the server that hosts a particular website cannot guarantee that the ideas have not been copied and made available elsewhere.

But governments do not give in very easily. While there may not be many books left to burn there are still ideas that may need to be silenced. So authoritarian governments of the 21st century have come up with the idea of Internet Censorship. It may be impossible to burn the pages of a website but if the government can prevent people from accessing that website then the end result is the same as burning a book. People cannot be inspired or educated by an idea that they never read. Dissent can be silenced without the need to destroy all copies of the original.

Here in Australia the Gillard Government has plans to introduce legislation that will require all Internet Service Providers to block access to content that is “Refused Classification” that is any content that the Australian Government has deemed undesirable for public consumption. In 2009 Wikileaks released to Australian Governments blacklist of website that it wants banned for all Australians.

University of Sydney associate professor Bjorn Landfeldt said the leaked list “constitutes a condensed encyclopedia of depravity and potentially very dangerous material”.

He said the leaked list would become “the concerned parent’s worst nightmare” as curious children would inevitably seek it out.

But about half of the sites on the list are not related to child porn and include a slew of online poker sites, YouTube links, regular gay and straight porn sites, Wikipedia entries, euthanasia sites, websites of fringe religions such as satanic sites, fetish sites, Christian sites, the website of a tour operator and even a Queensland dentist. Sydney Morning Herald

It seems like nobody in Australia is safe from the Gillard Governments censorship regime. Many of us already know better than to run our website off servers located within Australia, but this regime of censorship is aimed at everyone. It doesn’t matter if your content is 100% legal the Australian Government may still silence you at their own discretion. Some people who find themselves on the government blacklist already reside within Australia. So I think it’s fair to ask; Why are they not arrested if the content of their website is so bad? The answer is of course that many of the websites that our government wishes to censor are not actually illegal. If the blacklisted content was illegal they would at least arrest the people who own it and live in Australia.

Internet Censorship is the 21st century version of Book Burning. Essentially a Book Burning 2.0 and it must be stopped at any and all opportunities. The internet gave us the freedom to share and discuss ideas without boundaries and those in power seek to reinstate those boundaries and limitations on behalf of vested interests. Silencing Dissent is the dream of every authority but it must not be allowed to happen here in our western democracy.

The Census is more important than your Jedi.

The census campaign is just days away and I would like to point out writing Jedi, Pastafarian or anything else along those lines will not get counted. Neither Pastafarian or Jedi is a recognised religion in Australia as a result identifying yourself as one gets you marked as “not defined”. The problem with this is that Government policy is sometimes guided by the census statistics so if a percentage of people are recorded as “not defined” the Government will use those incorrect statistics in policy planning by assuming the accuracy of the census data.

But it’s not just the government that use census data. Many lobby groups and corporations also use data collected by the census. If you’re non-religious and you mark anything other than “No Religion” (which is a recognised and counted response) then you are balancing the statistics in favour of religion. In 2006 55,000 identified themselves as Jedi, not a single one of those individuals was counted in the “non-religious” category as a result of writing Jedi instead of ticking the “No Religion” box.

I think it’s a fairly safe bet that people who mock religion are predominantly non-religious and while it may be fun to mark Jedi or Pastafarian on the census form doing so will ensure that you aren’t counted correctly and as a result religious lobby groups have more power to persuade the government because statistics may show fewer non-religious people than there actually are.

Another way that people screw the statistics is by marking the faith they were brought up in despite no longer belonging to that faith. So unless you genuinely believe in the doctrine of a particular faith the only thing you should be marking on the census form in “No Religion”.

The census is all about statistics, and ensuring that the government has the most accurate dataset possible is that best way to ensure that your interests are represented in government policy and decision making. So don’t screw the statistics in favor of religion: instead answer the census honestly to ensure that you are not incorrectly counted.

No Religion? Just mark “No Religion”.

More information is available at:

United States policy is at odds with Australian politics.

The United States government is funding the development of systems that will allow citizen in foreign countries to evade government internet censorship. However meanwhile in Australia the government is moving ahead with it’s draconian plan to censor the countries internet service. So we are left in an interesting situation where our own government is gearing up for a massive assault on our human rights while an allied nation is seeking to develop tools to mitigate such an attack.

THE US Government is reportedly financing the development of “shadow” internet systems to enable dissidents abroad to get around government censors.

Financed with a $US2 million ($1.9 million) State Department grant, the suitcase could be secreted across a border and quickly set up to allow wireless communications over a wide area with a link to the global internet.

So how will this work with the proposed internet censorship here in Australia. Will we be able to import this technology from the US to help Australian citizens evade the governments censorship?

You would think that with all that’s been going on in the middle east recently, that our government would be taking a pro-democracy and pro-freedom of speech stance. Unfortunately it is not and senator Conroy remains as committed to the filter as ever. How can our government persist with it’s ideology of censorship and control while one of its closest allies (at least in the public spotlight) is developing tools to thwart such control.

The United States stance against internet censorship is incompatible with Senator Conroys desire for control. Is it wishful thinking for me to hope that the United States will take an agressive stance against this policy?

3 years is the price of free-speech in Western Australia

A local Perth man has been sentenced to 3 years in prison for daring to exercise Freedom of Speech in Perth, Western Australia. Brendon O’Connel posted anti-semetic videos on YouTube, yes O’Connel is a jackass but that isn’t the point. Regardless of whether or not you agree with Brendon O’Connel part of living in a democracy is the freedom to think and say what you like. Even if others don’t like it.

A 39-year-old Perth man has been sentenced to three years’ jail for posting an anti-semitic video on the internet.

Brendon Lee O’Connell is the first person in Western Australia to be convicted under the state’s racial vilification laws.

A jury found him guilty last week of six offences.

O’Connell posted a video on YouTube showing him insulting a young Jewish man in 2009.

The video also showed O’Connell standing in front of the Perth Bell Tower telling Jews their days were numbered. ABC News

This is pretty discusting. Australia is a Western Democracy and one of the foundations of that democracy is the Right to Freedom of Speech. Although poorly understood our society recognises and values the right to free-speech. However Steve Lieblich the other jackass in this storey seems to disagree.

Steve Lieblich, who represents the Jewish community and is on the Australia-Israel and Jewish Affairs Council, says racial vilification must be stopped. ABC News

The best response to distasteful speech is in fact more speech. Don’t seek vengeance against someone just because you disagree with them, instead find a reasonable way to address their speech with some of your own and you can still hold the moral high ground. Because demanding someone be punished or censored only pushes yourself towards moral bankruptcy.

So in the interest of Freedom of Speech in Australia I really do hope Steve Lieblich’s days are numbered. Feel free to respond in kind and use your Freedom of Speech however you see fit. (Caution Advised for Western Australia)