Friday, August 20, 2010

The election

Tomorrow I'm going to be voting 1 Green. No surprise there right? I mean come on Sam, you're a lefty pinko commie terrorist appeaser, and about 10% of people are doing the same thing anyway! If anyone was voting green it would be you.

Many of those people are doing it to register a protest vote against the major parties (usually Labor). They wouldn't actually want the greens in government, they just want to scare the incumbents into doing a better job than the last 3 years.

The central claim at work here is that the Greens would be very bad economic managers; that their actual policy, if implemented would be so unbalanced in it's treatment of the environment/economy tradeoff, they would destroy the country. We would be "up to our necks in owls, and out of work for every Australian" to paraphrase George H W Bush.

When people say this, I often ask them what particular Greens policies they think would cause this. I can't see much that would harm the Australian economy, and they would get rid of some very bad policies which stupidly have bi-partisan support.

Take their carbon reduction strategy. They want to implement a very modest, $23 a ton, nearly revenue neutral carbon tax, with a slight overcompensation only to the poor. The average Australian uses about 18 tonnes per person per year, so would have to pay less than $450 extra a year in tax. The median wage in Australia is about $48000 and taxes probably account for about $15000 of that. To make the tax more or less revenue neutral would require only a tweaking of the tax system, say by reducing the GST rate by a percent or two. This would entail almost no change to the governments revenue, and almost no change to the net tax burden any individuals would have to pay. So your electricity bill would go up, but your tax bill would go down. What is so devastating about this proposal?

Contrast that with Abbot's unfunded, big government, winner-picking scheme, and Julia Gillard's non-solution in the form of a citizen's assembly. Who is being more responsible in fixing the biggest economic externality the world has ever seen?

Looking beyond the environment, we see waste on grand scale from both major parties. Both of them are gorging themselves on middle class welfare largesse, churning tax until it turns to butter milk, anything to appeal to the economically illiterate median voter. "So what if it's your money!", they cry; "Help yourselves!" It seems the solution to every problem in this country is; dump public money into the private sector as a free gift, and hope the problem solves itself. This isn't the free market, it's a free for all, heads I win, tails the tax payers lose. For examples of this take the following:

30% private health rebate. Disastrously expensive, reverse means tested, and only half of it gets to private hospitals at all. The rest is swallowed up by insurance company profits and administration. The Greens would get rid of it.

Petrol subsidies to mining companies. Need I say more? I don't want to insult my reader's intelligence by pointing out what's wrong with this. The Greens would get rid of it.

First home buyers grant. Disastrously expensive, reverse means tested, and incredibly inefficient. It's principle effect is to push up all house prices. The Greens would at least means test it. This is not enough but at least it's a start.

The Greens support public housing over faux market housing fixes, a very fast train from Melbourne to Sydney over continued subsidies to the South Australian car industry, the list goes on.

There are plenty of things I disagree with the Greens about. As a minor party they may not have acquired the technical expertise yet for government, but that can be learned. In not appealing to the median voter they bring some sort of rationality and fiscal responsibility to the table. Their best economic strength lies in rejecting Howard era "Big Government conservatism", the worst of both worlds; where politicians spend your hard earned money on anything and everything, the more the merrier, so long as it doesn't involve improving the government's bottom line, building infrastructure or transfers to the poor.

This year, I'm voting Greens, and not I'm doing it because I want to send a message to Julia, I want to see Bob Brown in the lodge.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Can you tell me who to vote for?

For the second 1 time in my life, I am unsure how to fill out my lower house ballot sheet.
This time it's more difficult. I want to lay out what I am sure of, and then explain.
  1. Green
  2. Democrat
  3. Assorted other greeny/social democraty micro parties
  4. Single issue parties where they're right about the issue; i.e. excluding shooting/fishing etc
  5. Independents (who cares what order, alphabetical let's say)
  6. Labor or Liberal
  7. National
  8. Single issue parties where they're wrong about the issue i.e. shooting/fishing etc.
  9. Socialists/Communists
  10. Family first and other Christian groups
  11. Racists, and Right wing conspiracy theorists 2
I always vote Greens first, Democrats second. I will continue this in the 2010 federal election with much more zest than previously. The acceptability gap between these and the major parties has widened significantly in the past 12 months (due to the intellectual implosion of Labor and Liberal, not because Bob Brown has starting making more sense).

The order difficulty in this case is in fact the only relevant one on the whole ballot. Should I vote Labor or Liberal?

Reasons to vote Liberal

  • I am in the seat of Griffith. It is safe Labor anyway so to an extent the point is moot.
  • I personally dislike my local member Kevin Rudd.
  • His Liberal challenger is hot, in a Frau Goebbels sort of way. This reason is very minor, but has not gotten more so recently, while both parties have failed dismally on everything else.
  • I want to send a message to Labour that I am not a "captured voter," that they can do enough to disgust me out of their camp altogether. The Hotelling law which underlies my whole dillemma may be disrupted by expectations of altruistic punishment. If ice cream sellers know that customers will walk the extra small distance to their competitor, out of frustration with the nearest duopolist's cynicism, they may site their stores more equitably.
  • The Labor party is crewed by a bunch of populist opportunists who believe in almost nothing and regularly change sides in a debate as soon as the spin doctors judge it is expedient to do so. Before any interview, we always know exactly what they are going to say, they are not even really pitching to the audience of the interview, but to the people who watch Channel 7's pithy 30 second extract of the interview. They view voters with intellectual contempt which is doubly annoying since they themselves are not smart.
Reasons to Vote Labor
  • Tony Abbot's Liberal party is further to the right than Gillard's Labor and I am left wing.
  • Tony is a weirdo conservative Catholic and I am an atheist.
  • If I vote Green first, and then Liberal, I may be viewed not as a protesting voter, but as a "light green." This may send Labor further to the right on social and economic questions.
  • Labor did an OK job on the economic stimulus
  • The Liberal party is crewed by a bunch of populist opportunists who believe in almost nothing and regularly change sides in a debate as soon as the spin doctors judge it is expedient to do so. Before any interview, we always know exactly what they are going to say, they are not even really pitching to the audience of the interview, but to the people who watch Channel 7's pithy 30 second extract of the interview. They view voters with intellectual contempt which is doubly annoying since they themselves are not smart.

Can you help me make up my mind internet?

1. The first was in my political youth when I was unsure whether the Socialist Alliance should receive priority over the Liberals or not. Going to a few SA meetings, doing a course on Soviet history and talking with them at political events helped me make up my mind then. As the great man said, "Clowns without power, Monsters with it."
2 who would be lynching black people in the street about an hour after the lights went out and the cops went away. The kind of people who exist only to remind us that humans are murderous, savage apes barely suppressed by social convention and the threat of retributive justice. I count One Nation as being the mildest of these, and the CEC somewhere in the middle."

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Zigzagging a motorcycle through the devastated city proved to be quite difficult. The streets were not just gridlocked, they were jam packed, and even though he took the freeway, Dave found it tough going. The death surrounding him was so over-powering he couldn't process it. He had to get away, get upwind, grieving could come later, feeling could come later.

About 5 miles into his journey, the devastation seemed to lessen, and not all the cars were on fire. Topping a rise, he saw what he'd been dreading. Movement. In the back seat of a station-wagon there was a person still alive. Swinging his legs over the saddle once again, Dave went to see what he could do. It was a woman, about 30 years old. She was blackened to a crisp, clearly dead, but somehow moving. He pushed the woman gently with his finger and she fell away. Dave saw what had been causing the female corpse to move. What was underneath was a sight too dreadful to behold, even for a cynic like Dave, who had seen many things in his long life, and who had had his natural compassion dulled by horror. A baby seat. With a small, burnt form in it. The sex was indiscernable. Blind, choking and writhing in agony, the baby was still trying to breathe, trying to LIVE. But it was failing.

It's mother must have seen the blast wave coming, and thrown herself over her infant to protect it. If she had not, the baby would have died a relatively quick death. As it was her form was just enough to protect the baby from the worst of the bomb's immediate effects, but in a twisted, awful caricature of the maternal instinct, she had condemned her child to suffer in hell for the last awful hours of it's existence. There was no way this horribly burned creature was going to survive, even if it could get to a hospital, and anyway the nearest one was part of a 10 million Kelvin atomized cloud of gas, pluming 100 000 ft into the sky.

Dave stared at the scene, unable to find words appropriate to explain the horror. "The problem is so big. What can I do?" The dry voice inside him warned him not to intervene. "There will be thousands of children in as much pain as this little wretch. You can't fix them all. What can you do indeed? You're just one man. You need to find the Others. You can do more with them than you can on your own. You need to get away. " Yeah, he was just one man. But he could do something on his own. Afterwards he would link up with Kissinger junior and fight to save the American race. But first he would do this; he would make things right, right here, right now. The future was uncertain, and he didn't have any spare ammo clips. But in this, he could help. He could reach out and save one child. Maybe not quite what the World Vision folks had in mind, but this earth was imperfect. Dave cupped the baby's stricken head in his hand one last time, reached to grab his gun, and fired it into the innocent's temple. The report echoed across the otherwise silent freeway, marking him for all time as a child murderer. The spasming stopped. This killing had been an act of compassion, and he would have to live with it for the rest of his life.

Dave turned away from the car, and vomited. He was tired, so very tired. He felt old, older than the Earth. He needed sleep. Bitumen on a gridlocked freeway felt suddenly soft and inviting. More than anything in the world he wanted to sleep now...

But he couldn't. He had a duty. He needed to regroup, needed to find Kissinger. He needed to fight the good fight. There was plenty of time to rest when he was dead, which might not be that long if he stayed within 10 klicks of a fucking H-bomb blast for more than a few hours. There were people in this world that needed killing, the end of their life stories had Dave standing over them, a Magnum 45mm lodged in their brains. And more than anything in the world, David Barry needed to find the Vaginal Orgasm, and keep her safe. It was only the craven part of Dave that wanted to sleep. Yeah, the Vaginal Orgasm might have perished in that 4-th dimensional Manchurian Tesseract. But right now, he had to operate on the assumption she was alive, and needed his help. With a superhuman effort, Dave shrugged off his weariness and got back on the bike.

From here on, traffic was thinner. this must be the point where people started not being instantly fried by the radiation. Dave thought, "Things can only get better from here. I'm gonna make it, we're ALL gonna make it. We're gonna be ok."


The stairwell was a little cooler and more strongly built, but it was still a scene of death. By chance a cop had been visiting the surgery, he was now lying face down on the floor, holstered gun by his side. Dave pocketed the weapon, you just never know when such a thing might come in useful. Running down the stairs, he got to the parking level. All the lights were out, and his Zippo didn't cast much gleam, but he managed to find his Harley. For Dave, the second half of the twentieth century had been a time of technological regress. He had always shunned electric starter motors, and now was his vindication. EMP would have taken out all the other vehicles. He kicked the stick, and his pride and joy roared to life. Old faithful, just like the geyser. His headlights glared , and revealed a probable homosexual slumped in a dead Prius just opposite. "Would it kill you to buy American?" Dave muttered under his breath.

Time was short, but Christian charity is a wonderful thing, and even now our hero was moved to render whatever assistance he could. He dismounted, and moved cautiously to the traitor's pathetic excuse for a car. Through the window, Dave could see "The New York Times" in the likely sodomite's lap. The headline proclaimed "Health-Care passed through House-Senate reconciliation: 53 senators can't be wrong!" A fitting epitaph for the noble American experiment. That must be why the federal government dropped the nuke! Dave realized in a flash.

The near-certain fairy stirred. He was half-conscious, and badly burnt but babbling. "Change, change we can believe in. I voted for change!" "Yeah, and how's that working out for you friend?" Dave asked quietly? The fancy-boy opened his black, soulless eyes, and saw the conservative. He started to laugh. "Well I'm done for", he rasped, "but at least you'll die too, even if you can get out of here. Cancer from this bomb's radiation will finish you off, Obamacare 'll make sure of that." His face seemed to be overwhelmed by pain from his burns for a minute, but he whispered, "The America you knew is already over. We've won!"

At this Dave had to laugh too. There was really nothing else to do. He laughed big, hearty gaffaws. The dry, analytical part of his mind, warned him there was a tinge of hysteria in his voice, but he couldn't help it. "Cancer," he shrieked, "Cancer from the bomb! Well just tell that radiation to get in line!" Dave took a pack of cigarettes from his pocket, and lit up. The dull, familiar pain in his chest was beginning to burn again. "I'm already dying of lung cancer! Friend, when it comes time to reap the soul from my body, only horseman that's gonna do it's gonna be the Marlborough man!"

The now-confirmed sapphic had lapsed again into unconsciousness, and clearly he wasn't going to make it. Dave swung his legs over the saddle and roared off into the smoke.

Dave and Henry Kissinger

Ok guys first of all, big shout-out to my brothers and sisters working tirelessly in every city you can name in the contiguous 48 plus Alaska. From Seattle to Washington .D.C., Miami to El Paso, they never give up hope, their energies never flag. Whether it's town hall meetings in Olympia, rallies in Chicago, or just organizing internet campaigns out of small-town USA, these patriots fight, struggle, and yes sometimes die, all the way across this vast, eternal, God-given Tea-party Nation. And if by chance we should give up the fight and say it's all too hard, or if the enemies of the light should triumph? Well let's just see what life would be like under ObamaCare.

The strange hum of the CAT scan machine shut off abruptly, and Dave was plunged into darkness. Startled out of his reverie, he sat up, just before realizing where he was, and bumped his head on the low, curved ceiling. The curse words were barely out of his mouth when the red emergency lights sputtered to life. Somehow the hellish, dusky gloom accentuated the CAT machine's coffin-like appearance, and Dave fought back a rising tide of claustrophobia. Firmly, and contemptuously, he suppressed the moment of irrational weakness, but resolved to get out anyway, clearly the scan was over.

Dave had no sooner completed the thought when two things happened at the same time. The whole lead-lined concrete room shook from a sound like a thunderclap, and the emergency lights winked out. "What the hell is going on?" wondered Dave. Groping toward his jacket, he felt for his Zippo lighter, nestled snugly in a pocket. He was getting out out of here, something was very wrong. The room was heating up now, and Dave scrambled for the only door, but found the electronic access panel dead. Snarling, he reached for a steel chair and began using it as a club to break the lock. It was strong, but made in China - and to keep people out rather than in, ultimately no match for an old cagefighter. With a snap, the
lock broke. Dave pushed the door open - and stared at the vision of hell which confronted him.

What had been a peaceful doctor's surgery waiting room just minutes ago was now a burning wreck, ghastly corpses strewn everywhere. Everything was on fire, and of the cadavers not completely burned to a crisp, Dave could see by the contortions on their face that death had not been pleasant. The building was utterly destroyed. Through gaping holes in the walls, he could see buildings aflame half a mile away, burning so fiercely they shone through the atomic cloud. Judging from the scene of devastation before him, and the long lag between the initial EMP burst and his "thunderclap," this had to be a big one, a hydrogen bomb. He had to get out of here, the radiation would kill him. Automatic fire suppression sprinklers had kicked in, cooling the air somewhat, but the toxic fumes were choking. Wrapping a cloth over his mouth, Dave crawled toward the fire escape.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


The wide eyed Student is now a world weary cynic.
The Teacher is but a memory.
The Grandson follows in his forbear's footsteps.
The mission? Same as always.
Dave and Henry Kissinger (junior) Liberate the Vaginal Orgasm.
Coming soon to a blog post near you!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Best Wedding Ever

From Wellreadhead. What a fantastic way to walk down the aisle. Such a vibrant celebration life, and love. Congratulations to the happy couple! May all the days of your union be as fun-filled as the first.
Update: Guess I spoke too soon. Although technically, my blessing was fulfilled.