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Come live in Australia… er, but not you with the funny kids

Peter Threlfall is a man after my own heart: he wants to migrate to Australia. Okay, in fairness it must be said that he wants to move to South Australia where, I am reliably informed by Mrs Exile, they’re all a bit weird (no idea, I think it might some long standing rivalry over who’s got the best arts festival or something). And also he wants to be a cop, though without actually knowing the guy I wouldn’t hold that against him, and really it’s pretty understandable seeing as he currently goes by Sergeant Threlfall in his job with the Metropolitan Police.

And he’s keen to live and work in Oz. From personal experience I can tell you that you have to be. The process is neither brief nor cheap, not even when your significant other comes with the blue passport with strange animals on. Just for a spouse/fiancé/partner type visa you have to have a medical with blood tests and chest X-rays, police certificate, references from two or three Australian Citizens who aren’t your partner, a shitload evidence to show that the relationship is genuine, and you both have to fill in a huge form which you send off with your pommie passport and all the other stuff to Australia House in The Strand, making sure to include the most important item of all on the very top: a big cheque. And then you wait for a call and if they’re happy with what you tell them over the phone they send your passport back with a visa in it, and you’re finally allowed to come and get sunburned at Christmas.

That’s a potted version, but let me say again that this is for people whose better halves are Aussie citizens. Peter Threlfall was applying through the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme, which is about getting foreign nationals to fill jobs in places out in the arse of nowhere that are vacant because the Aussies mostly want to live near the bigger cities. And that means he probably had bigger forms to fill in and more hoops to jump through than I did. It certainly cost him more – about $8,000 or £5,000 – and you also have to have a job offer already. Which Peter Threlfall did, as South Australia Police were going to give him a job as a constable in Ceduna, a small town of a couple of thousand souls a bit west of Adelaide. In fact quite a bit west of Adelaide – it’s nearly as far west as Melbourne is east, and if his missus had fancied nipping into Rundle Mall to do some shopping she’d need to allow for a good 9 hour drive. Each way. Ceduna isn’t exactly one of these pub + petrol station bush towns out in the middle of the GAFA* but it’s still pretty small and fairly isolated. But all the same Peter Threlfall and his family were prepared to live in Ceduna if that was the deal for being able to live and work in Oz, and it probably suited SA Police just as much as it did the Threlfalls.

Except the Immigration Department have just given him the flick.

AN English policeman and his family are devastated after being told they cannot move to South Australia because his stepdaughter, Sarah, is autistic.

[…]

Mr Threlfall was preparing to move his wife and family to South Australia, but was told in December they had been denied visas under the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme.

He had been offered a job as a constable at Ceduna, on the state’s West Coast, and was due to start work as soon as his visa was approved.

Mr Threlfall has spent the past few months trying to reverse the decision but his family is now resigned to staying in the UK.

And it appears that this is because to the Immigration people autism = will cost the state money. Not ‘might’ – ‘will‘.

The refusal to let the Threlfalls into the country was based on the presumption his step-daughter Sarah’s condition would place a burden on healthcare and community services in Australia.

This despite the fact that there’s autism and there’s autism, and you don’t have to be an expert to be aware that not everyone diagnosed with what’s now being called an Autistic Spectrum Disorder mumbles about being a very good driver and freaks out at the suggestion of flying with anyone other than QANTAS. Sure, some people with autism do, but not all. So you’d imagine that maybe they’d look at things on a case by case basis, which I thought was what they were supposed to do with visa applications anyway, and then see that Peter Threlfall’s stepdaughter seems to be on the high functioning end of the autistic spectrum.

Mr Threlfall said Sarah worked part-time as both a cleaner and a store assistant. His family was not seeking any assistance for Sarah…

She’s also a volunteer for the Scouts and Guides and planned to study hairdressing here. So, Immigration people, this girl may meet the medical criteria to be called autistic, but Rain Man she certainly isn’t. Volunteer work and two part time jobs? For Christ’s sake, she’s almost certainly paying taxes and if hairdressers in Ceduna cost anything like what my wife has to pay she’d end up a taxpayer here as well. And if she’s capable of paying taxes what’s the fucking problem? She’d put in like everyone else, and for all we know might even choose to buy health insurance and be even less of a potential – potential, Immigration weenies – drain on SA’s health resources.

But perhaps we can’t blame the Immigration Department (my bold).

An Immigration Department spokesman confirmed Mr Threlfall and his family had applied for visas. His daughter had not met the legislated health requirement, which was partly to restrict public expenditure on healthcare and community services.

In other words Canberra wrote the laws a certain way and too bad for the Threlfalls, though bizarrely they could appeal this if they were already in Australia – why this should be so I can’t imagine, perhaps it’s just easier to say no to someone ten thousand miles away – and getting this kind of thing overruled is not unprecedented.

Two months ago, Filipino doctor Edwin Lapidario avoided deportation only after directors at his Hackham Medical Centre workplace agreed to pay $52,000 towards his autistic son’s medical costs.

In 2008, a migrant doctor working in Victoria was threatened with deportation because his son had Down syndrome.

It took an international outcry and the intervention of then Immigration Minister Chris Evans to overturn the decision to deport German doctor Bernhard Moeller and his family.

Neither of which is any help to Peter Threlfall and his family since Lapidario and Moeller were both already living and working here, nor presumably SAPOL who will have to find someone else to fill the vacancy in the police force at Ceduna. And all because the rules seem to say that whether someone has a certain medical condition is more relevant than whether or not that prevents them from working and paying tax, which itself is only an issue because Australia, like many western nations, has a medical condition of its own: welfarestateitis. It’s very very difficult to cure, but you’d think there’d be some system that migrants could sign a waiver agreeing that they’d have nothing to do with it and would ensure they’d make appropriate arrangements for their own medical care, in return for which they’d be exempt from the Medicare Levy when it came to paying their taxes… ah, but that could mean a lot of people handing over less money to the federal government than they do now, and might even lead to Aussies demanding to be able to opt out of Medicare as well.

No, now I’ve thought it through it makes perfect sense from the government’s point of view. Far easier to label and pigeonhole individuals and be relatively indiscriminate when it comes to giving people who want to live here the flick. That someone might be willing and able to make a contribution isn’t relevant when Australia seems to need migrant families with mildly autistic hairdressers less than it needs families sadistic rapist kidnappers, though to be fair they did send that bastard back where he came from. Which was Britain.

* GAFA, abbreviation: Great Australian Fuck All. Australia’s secret seventh state, encompassing much of the other mainland states, a large part of the Northern Territory, and indeed most of the continent. Despite the vast areas of sunburned scrub, desert void and eerily silent forest almost all of the GAFA is more interesting to look at than anything in Canberra.

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Tobacco isn’t evil when you want to pay civil servants

Seriously, how else can you see it when the same government that drones incessantly about the evils of tobacco has a fund set up to make investments for paying the pensions of people working for the federal government which keeps investing in tobacco.

THE Future Fund’s stake in the tobacco industry has swelled by $78 million, an increase of more than 50 per cent, sparking criticism of the fund for investing in companies that are suing the government.

The taxpayer-owned fund, which also holds shares in nuclear arms companies, yesterday revealed its tobacco shares were worth $225 million in February, up from $147 million at the end of 2010.

Senate estimates also heard that a controversial report written by the fund’s new chairman, David Gonski, last year named himself as a possible next chairman before the government had even considered him. The $77 billion fund was set up by the Howard government to help pay federal public servants’ pensions, but is now under fire for its ”unethical” investments.

Cue teh outrages. Oh, the humanity!

Victorian Greens senator Richard Di Natale accused the government of profiteering from ”the death and misery of people dying with lung cancer”.

In a way that, say, forcing people to pay taxes for medical care and threatening to withhold treatment if their lifestyles meet with finger wagging disapproval from some bunch of wowsers or other would not be profiteering? Just asking, because I know that’s been suggested in Britain and while we don’t fund medicine at gunpoint to quite the same extent I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s been mooted here too. Anyway, it’s not profiteering when it’s needed to pay for something the government is committed to, i.e. the pensions of public servants. If you want to argue that they should be making their own individual arrangements that’s something else, but right now the government seems to have a commitment and the ugly truth is that the fund’s management reckons baccy, even with all the legislation aimed at hamstringing the trade, is a better investment than… well, I was going to say unicorn tears and fairy wishes but since the Greens aren’t reported as actually suggesting an alternative (how uncharacteristic of them!) let’s just say better than nothing. Not that that’s going to stop them.

“This undermines all of the good work we’ve done in tobacco control with measures such as plain packaging. It’s particularly galling when you consider they are the same companies taking legal action against the government,” Dr Di Natale said.

The good work? For fucks’ sake, that doesn’t come into effect for months. How the fuck can you know yet whether the effect will be good? Or if it is good in some way, for whom? If the chop-chop trade increases at the expense of the legit, regulated trade would that be good, Di Natale? Is the object only to fuck up that part of the industry that is prepared to be regulated and play by the ever shifting set of rules imposed on it? No interest at all in the tobacco trade that’s controlled by criminal enterprise? You know, I’m prepared to believe that’s the case.

And before I forget, what’s the problem with companies suing the government? So the small investors who feel they got screwed on the Facebook float can’t sue because they invested in the company? In the spirit of caveat emptor I could buy that argument, though not if there was any misleading going on, but I very much doubt we’ll ever hear you saying so. Bottom line, that the baccy trade have finally had enough and are trying to fight back is neither here nor there. It does not change the government’s commitment to those pensions and it apparently doesn’t change the potential value of tobacco as an investment.

And that should speak volumes about the whole concept of plain packaging. If it was really going to achieve what the nannies, finger waggers, theatrical coughers and various other wowsers desired then surely buying tobacco shares would be even riskier than a investing in a mixed portfolio of Facebook and Greek bank stocks while standing on a bloody beam over a shark tank on a windy day. The fund’s MD is very carefully not saying whether the increase in stock owned is as a result of them buying more or the value of shares already owned going up, but either case suggests that it’s far from all being doom and gloom despite the plain packs being just months away. I’m no expert but to me it looks like either investors don’t really expect this anti-tobacco legislation to hurt the industry after all or they expect the industry to still do pretty well despite it.

And fair dos, really. Because playing it the right-on way as the Greens, and probably Labor and maybe even the Coalition would prefer to do, is effectively saying “Fuck you and your pension, your life in retirement is far less important than us appearing ‘ethical’ right now” to a large number of public servants.

 

Declaration of interest to possible new visitors: though I did once, I am not a smoker. My body is now a cathedral, which is kind of like a temple but bigger. I speak up for smokers and drinker out of self interest – not because I am one but because the nannies will surely come after the rest of us for something once they’ve finished with the current ubermenschen of choice, those who like a smoke and/or a drink. While they’re being fought the rest of us remain (relatively) free, so I’m for supporting the smokers and drinkers and prolonging the stupid fight against adults being free to put stuff of their choice into their bodies for quite a while. The heat death of the universe wouldn’t be too long.

Censorship is [REDACTED]

The gay marriage debate rumbles and grumbles on, and while I’m not on the side of those who want to continue to use the state’s monopoly on force to maintain their preferred definition in law I have just as big a problem with those who don’t want this ended so much as to be given their turn at the controls. And what really gets my goat about this is their apparent enthusiasm for the kind of tactics they’d deplore, and rightly so, if used against the gay community.

As James mentioned at the Orphanage the other day and as I blogged here yesterday, Archbishop Cranmer has been taken to task by the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority for including on his blog an ad in favour of the current definition. It was, natch, ‘offensive’ and ‘homophobic’, though whether this is the ad or the act of carrying it isn’t all that clear, and the ASA have told him that they’re investigating and given him a time limit for response. I’d say this is pretty chickenshit of them because, as His Grace points out in his reply to the ASA, Guido and Conservative Home are apparently not being investigated despite carrying the offending ad as well. Helloooo, equality before the law? Where are you? Perhaps it’s worth approaching Muslim bloggers to see if they’d like to carry the ad as well, because I rate the chances of the ASA growing the balls needed to lean on the Muslims to embrace gay marriage as being so close to zero as makes no difference. Or maybe not since some of them would want the definition expanded in the other direction to mean man and ≤ 4 wives. and the ASA might just be capable of the kind of doublethink needed to deal with that. In any case His Grace has penned an excellent reply to the ASA and still has the ad up on his blog, and while I don’t agree with him long may it stay there. I don’t want his definition of marriage to have the force of law behind it but if his freedom to say what he thinks can be limited then anyone else in Britain can be similarly silenced, and that includes, if they’d only stop to think about it for a minute, the gay equality lobby.

And then we come to something else James mentioned, and actually what’s prompted this post. Here in Oz the Deputy Chief Trick Cyclist of Victoria (and I have to admit I had no idea we even had a Chief one – something else taxpayers are being squeezed for despite the state having some money troubles) and one time Christian missionary , Professor Kuruvilla George, co-signed a letter to a Senate inquiry into marriage equality.

Twenty-two Victorian GPs, anaesthetists, obstetricians, palliative care specialists and psychiatrists, including Prof Kuravilla George, have joined 150 colleagues interstate to argue gay marriage poses a health risk to society.

In a letter to the Senate’s inquiry into marriage equality, the group wrote that it was “important for the future health of our nation” to retain the definition of marriage as being between a man and woman.

“We submit the evidence is clear that children who grow up in a family with a mother and father do better in all parameters than children without,” they wrote.

Leaving aside whether there’s merits in the argument it should be noted that Prof George signed that letter as a private citizen, not in his capacity as the No. 2 Official Brain Drainer of the state of Victoria or as a member of the board of the Victorian Equal Opportunities and Human Rights Commission. So why this?

… former national AMA president and gay rights activist Kerryn Phelps said the doctors should “hang their heads in shame” and that Prof George’s position on the board of the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission should be reviewed.

Or this (from a letter to The Age)?

… Professor George is no ordinary citizen. He has used his standing as a medical practitioner to support claims that are not only scientifically false but seriously undermine any objective assessment of equality or support for good mental health.

Attorney-General Robert Clark cannot pick and choose which laws he wishes upheld or not [referring here to freedom of expression as enshrined in the Victorian Charter of Human Rights – AE]. Professor George’s private views have demonstrated his unsuitability for both offices he holds. His positions are now untenable, and he should be immediately stood down.

That same freedom of expression that means someone can write to the papers and say that someone’s publicly expressed opinions should get him the sack also means that those opinions can be expressed publicly in the first place, and if lost it applies to potentially everyone. Sadly for free speech, though I imagine happily for Melbourne’s population of trendy Fitzroy lefties who I expect were all fashionably outraged by his views, Prof George has today resigned from the Equal Opportunities Commission.

I might agree with the Fitzroy lefties that Prof George’s argument is bollocks but it worries me deeply that someone can be successfully driven from a job merely for saying something others, whether representing a majority or just a powerfully vocal minority (which here can mean Christians as often as it means the gay rights mob), dislike or disagree with. As I said earlier, if this can be done to one person it can be done to anyone at all once political fashions change and a once accepted opinion becomes the Thought That Dare Not Speak Its Name.

Today it’s homophobic (whether actually homophobic or merely allegedly homophobic) views being frowned on and those who voice them being hounded, but what’s stopping a future in which it’s the other way round or an equally right-on contemporary view being declared unacceptable and attracting punishment? If freedom to criticise the goose is good for the gander then it’s just as important for the goose to be able to say something worth criticising. Without that they’re both mute. And cooked.

The single minded habit of neo-puritans

This blog post comes with a health warning. I don’t normally go in for such things beyond simple imparting of information, and not even then if the risks are patently obvious – standing on top of the helicopter while its engines are running may risk the user being cut in half, kind of thing – but I am going to refer to an article in The Age which is possibly one of the most infuriating things I’ve ever read. If you’re the kind of person who likes to live and let live and agree with Jefferson that the problems of too much liberty are vastly preferable to the problems of insufficient liberty, then you may prefer not to read beyond this point in case what you see makes you want to go and kick the cat.

For those that read on I’ll try to defuse the anger with a good fisking, and I apologise in advance because this won’t be brief.

Click for linky

And that’s just the opener. Here’s how Michael Jarosky, the author, begins the article.

I’m tired of obesity. I’m tired of the whinging and excuses. I’m tired of hearing about hospitals full of self-inflicted illnesses.

Somehow I don’t think he means people who’ve strained muscles at the gym or broken bones coming off their bikes and boards or spent so many long hours jogging in the sun that they’ve come down with wrecked knees and skin cancer. Well, if it’s a self inflicted illness when you get it (supposedly) from sun beds then surely it’s still self inflicted from pounding pavements under the Aussie sun. In any case it doesn’t matter because it’s not that kind of self inflicted illness we’re going to be talking spoken to about. It’s self inflicted illnesses from doing enjoyable things.

Yes, people who like riding bikes and surfing and indulging in all kinds of outdoor strenuous adrenality (my made up word for the day) are also doing things they find enjoyable, but that’s different.

Look, don’t ask bloody awkward questions. It just is, okay?

And it isn’t only the overweight that get me ranting and raving. I’m also tired of hearing about skinny model wannabe’s surviving on ciggies, energy drinks, and vodka-soda-fresh limes.

Fair enough, but nobody’s making him listen, are they? Yeah, okay, hearing [whiny voice] “Oh, I can’t give up smoking” or “I just can’t lose weight” [/whiny voice] from someone who’s not really trying to do it is a little tedious, but y’know, Jarosky, you can always leave the room. I mean, nobody’s nailed you to a chair and forced you to stay there all day and listen, right?

And while I’m asking you questions, Jarosky, let me ask you this: have you ever considered that perhaps deep down many of these people don’t want to give up smoking or lose weight. That maybe they enjoy smoking or eating bowls of chips in front of the TV or whatever, and that the only reason they’re even talking about how hard they find it to change is because of the vast number of self-righteous pricks in the world who are constantly trying to make the poor bastards feel guilty about it. Yes, of course many of them, perhaps most of them, are just making excuses, but are they doing so because you’ll give them a hard time for being honest enough to say that they just like the cigs or the grog or the food or whatever it is you don’t approve of? I ask because I can’t help but feel that if they weren’t being virtually judged – or with shows like The Biggest Loser, even literally judged – they wouldn’t feel the need to make excuses.

It is the dumb choices of unhealthy people that make me angry, and here are the eight that annoy me the most:

1. You say: “I’ll have a Diet Cola with that” as you order your lunch at the drive thru, thinking that gets you off the hook in the calorie stakes.

The addiction to junk food is one thing – but if you think adding diet cola will make a difference you’re kidding yourself.

Now I have to say that I can see his point with some of these. Ordering a diet coke and thinking it’ll magically make you into the shape you wish to be, or even the shape the the world’s Michael Jaroskys wish everyone to be, is stupid. But again, how many of these people are doing so more in the hope of a brief pause in the nagging or to assuage some of the guilt that’s continually heaped upon them for not being the mandated state approved shape than in the hope it’ll actually take a few pounds off for them? More than a few, I reckon.

And addiction to junk food? Christ, Mike, over egg that fucking pudding, eh (and pudding is bad for you, of course). Why is it so impossible to believe that often people eat what they do and smoke and drink because they like it? They. Just. Like. It. If doing something you like is all that qualifies as an addiction these days then nannying must itself be an addiction judging by the number of people who love telling others how to live. Go deal with your own addictions first, buddy.

2. You say things like: “But I hate broccoli”. Guess what? So do I. But I eat broccoli and other fresh veggies because they contain nutrients my body needs.

Oh, get down off your cross. Just because you force yourself to eat something you don’t like that means everyone else has to do the same? Here you are talking about other people whinging and it sounds like you haven’t even listened to yourself. Oh, woe is poor Michael, he has to eat broccoli and he doesn’t really like it. Look, I’ll have your broccoli if you don’t want it, as long as it shuts you up. Though somehow I doubt it would.

3. You turn into a robot. You’ve got your new tablet, computer, video games, and smartphone strapped to your belt like some kind of techno-sheriff. You’re obsessed with stuff, but you’ve let your body and your health go.

And how’s that hurting you? Their bodies, their choice. If they were forcing you to live as they do and sit in front of a computer all day with an iEverything and it made you miserable and fat I’d be 100% on your side here, but as far as I can see the situation is more or less the other way round and you’re the one demanding that others live your way (not that we can say there’s anything at all robotic about meekly hitting the gyms and eating correctly as we’re all so frequently exhorted to do these days, can we?).

Well, I don’t see any reason why they should. Fuck off.

Real value lies within a healthy body.

To you, perhaps, and I certainly wouldn’t say that that’s valueless. But surely there’s real value in a life lived with maximum enjoyment. If the enjoyment you get from your healthy body is greater than that lost from foregoing unhealthy things then good for you, but how dare you assume that that’s the only correct perspective. If someone else gets their enjoyment in life from burgers, scotch and cigarettes their choice is every bit as valid as that of any gym junkie, and arguably more so when so very few of them are ever found trying to persuade the gym junkies to give it all up and have a big plate of chips. Maybe they’ll change their mind and regret it in the future, maybe not. Either way, again it’s their body and their choice, nobody else’s.

4. You have an energy drink for breakfast.

Really?

How many people do you see walking around with a jumbo can of fizz thinking they are providing ‘energy’ for their morning?

Very approximately none. I’m sure there are some – and again that’s their choice – but personally I know of nobody who does not have either tea, coffee or fruit juice. But do go on.

These drinks are loaded with strange chemicals, sugar, and caffeine.

And then they came for the caffeine drinkers, as many of us always fucking knew they would, and which of course gets everyone drinking tea and coffee as well. Three sinners for the price of one very very mild stimulant served in titchy doses. Oh, and that well known deadly poison sugar as well. Yes, folks, switch to something nice like polonium sprinkled on your cornflakes – see how much weight you lose. Again, if people are doing this – drinking energy drinks for brekkie, I mean, not putting polonium on cereal – I have to wonder if they’re doing it just because they’ve been bullied into feeling bad about themselves and hope it’ll make it all stop for a bit.

And lets just read that sentence again.

These drinks are loaded with strange chemicals, sugar, and caffeine.

So there’s the chemophobic dog whistle of ‘chemicals’ – always chuckleworthy considering that absolutely everything you eat and even everyone you meet is made out of chemicals – followed immediately by sugar and caffeine so that they’re associated with the strange (i.e. scary) chemicals. This is an old trick: name a thing people are scared of (justifiably so or not, doesn’t matter), throw a comma down and then follow it with one or two things you want people to be scared of. The film industry makes hard core arse porn, Disney flicks and Adam Sandler movies. Every week the papers talk about people dying, football scores and crosswords. The Sound of Music is all about Nazis, nuns and singing. Those are deliberately ridiculous and exaggerated examples but even so I’d expect Adam Sandler and Disney would be a bit pissed off if that sentence made it into mainstream print because of the association. It’s clear that there is no association at all beyond the meaningless fact that it’s all still film making, but putting it that way makes it sound like there is. In the past it could have been criminals, Jews and gypsies or communists, pinkos and civil rights marchers. These days it could be terrorists, Muslims and arabs… or even strange chemicals, sugar and caffeine. Whether Jarosky is doing this deliberately or simply because he treats something as innocuous as small doses of caffeine, let alone substances like sugar that are actually required by the body, as being synonymous with ‘strange chemicals’ is something I’ll leave the reader to speculate on. Personally I’ll give the benefit of doubt and assume the latter.

5.

Oh, God, are we really only up to 5?

5. You dial 1800-Fitness. You think you’ve tried it all because you’ve ordered it from some infomercial. The low carb diets with shakes for meals. The Ab Dominators. The Shake Weight. The Detox Plans. And yet your body stays the same.

Ah, yes, the Shake Weight, a real product that I honestly believed was a joke when I first heard of it. And that was before I even saw the parody ads.


Gentlemen, did you shake your weight today? I did.

And I mention this with a serious point (Ooooh, Matron!) in mind: as with the diet Coke and the energy drinks I have to wonder how many milk shakes, fad diets, dumbbells, spring loaded pec stretchers and so on are sold to people who are perfectly happy being the shape they are apart from the fact they’re constantly being told how bad they are for being that way. In particular I find it hard to believe that they’re going to buy what looks like a wank training aid because they really want people to think they’re so weak and flabby they lack the strength to hold an average cock. No, I suspect that much of the demand is not ultimately driven by those Jarosky dismisses as whingers and excuse makers but by the people badgering the so-called whingers.

6. You let machines do all the work. The escalator is moving but you are not. You jump on the bus or in a taxi when you could walk. You drive to the store when you could jog or ride a bike.

And this is always because these people are lazy rather than just short of time? Or because it’s pissing rain? Or because it’s past dark and you’re female and on your own? Or because Christ alone knows where the architect told the builders to put the stairs but you can see four escalators, albeit with too many people on for you to jog up without rudely pushing past some of them? Am I alone in getting the feeling that on Planet Jarosky it’s only ever your fault if you’re not working up a sweat? Maybe we should all take our Shake Weights with us everywhere we go.

7. You take ciggie breaks throughout the day. If a cigarette takes eight minutes to smoke, and it takes you two minutes to get downstairs and two minutes to get back to your desk, then you are spending an hour for every five ciggies you smoke each day. That’s a big waste of time that you might have spent doing something productive.

Tobacco had to be mentioned eventually, didn’t it? I may be wrong here but this sounds like a tobacco time and motion study pulled straight from the arse of a non-smoker. Back in the day when I still partook of the weapon of mass destruction known as Benson & Hedges it took me about 5-6 minutes to smoke one, and less if it was a rollie I’d made myself (which of course I could make in advance on my own time). It didn’t take anything like two minutes to get downstairs and two more to get back to my desk because I never left it in the first place, and since I was smoking while working the effect on productivity was as close to zero as makes no odds. Even if I accept Jarosky’s numbers, and I think they’re arbitrary at best, it doesn’t alter the fact that the issue of lost productivity is entirely artificial in the first place.

At about this point baccyphobes occasionally like to talk about vague future productivity losses from those smokers who have the unspeakable temerity to die before finishing their allotted lifetime’s work, but there are two problems with that argument. First, companies don’t own their staff. Employment is exchanging one’s time for money, and since employees who permanently cease work through illness or dropping dead normally stop receiving wages the loss of productivity is irrelevant – someone else will be hired to take over the work or it’ll be split up among other employees. Secondly, as I mentioned near the beginning, this kind of argument is never brought up if Bob can’t come into work because he set his sciatica off doing leg presses in the gym last night.

Incidentally, along with all these ‘bad’ habits Jarosky identifies he also offers a solution to each. Predictably enough the one he suggests here is to join a quit smoking program or otherwise find a way to give up the – his words – ‘evil habit’. Naturally it’s not an option to return to the days of letting smokers smoke and doing what you could to amicably accommodate those who want to and those who don’t like the smell, even if that meant having a smoking room somewhere away from the main workspace (yes, they’ll be away from their desks for a bit but they’ll spend half their time talking shop anyway, which will probably be at least as productive as dragging someone, smoker or non-smoker, into some pointless time-stopping meeting, or even just leaving it up to the person who, y’know, owns the fucking building the work’s done in. No, Michael Jarosky and his fellow nannies couldn’t countenance that.

A healthy employee is a more productive employee.

And how very strength through joy of you to say so, Jarosky, even if it doesn’t consider how productive a miserable, joyless, defeated employee might be versus one who actually enjoys coming in to work.

And last but not least, Jarosky goes on to demonstrate what I’ve said here repeatedly: whatever you do it will never be enough.

8. You comfort exercise at the gym.

Seriously, Jarosky? Seriously? You’ve got these poor bastards drinking diet cola to try to glean a nanosecond’s approval from you, and it’s not enough. You’ve got them on isotonic drinks instead of the coffee they’d prefer, and you still want more. You’ve got them putting down their cigarettes and picking up their hundred dollar Mastor-bator Bicep Gainer machines, and it’s too small a sacrifice for you. And now, even at the point you’ve got them coming into the gym and, since I note from your by-line that you’re a personal trainer, paying your salary, it’s still not good enough for you. Jesus H. Christ on a fucking exercise bike, Jarosky, what will it take to please you? What do these poor sods have to become to meet your standards? Other than Michael bloody Jarosky, of course?

Bad food and low energy turns into a 30 minute stroll on the treadmill or cross trainer while you mime old Hanson videos on the screen. You think ‘something is better than nothing, right?’ Well, not when it distances yourself from your goal.

What? How does that distance someone from their goal? Do you put on weight if you get on the treadmill the wrong way round and walk backwards or something? Look, I do understand that exercise regimes are regimes and that if you rock up to the gym without any kind of plan and expect magic results simply by turning up then you’ll be disappointed, and equally that eating a huge dessert at lunchtime and working it off in the gym later isn’t going to turn anyone into Adonis. But Jarosky, has it not occurred to you that for some that isn’t the goal? That for some the goal might be no more than being able to eat a huge dessert at lunchtime and the gym sesh is as much a part of the payment as paying the extra ten bucks was after they ate it?

On the whole I think the answer to that is ‘probably not’, because Jarosky finishes his piece by talking about how we can all change our lifestyles. So that ours become more like his, presumably.

Some of these are tough solutions that will require big commitments, but I really do want Australians to change for the better.

[…]

I know it is possible to make lifestyle changes, because I’ve done it myself. How did I do it? I wrote down three bad habits that I needed to change. Then I wrote down three healthy habits I needed to commit to. And I stuck that piece of paper on my bathroom mirror and committed to turning my lifestyle around day by day.

Bully for you, Jarosky, and I don’t say that sarcastically. I mean it sincerely and honestly. If doing so has made you happier then good on you for getting rid of unhealthy habits and adopting healthier ones in their place. Really. No, really really. But I feel it’s a great shame that you didn’t identify a fourth bad habit, one that wowsers, nannies and healthists universally slip into: holding the vicarious desire, well intentioned though it may be, for other people to live according to the values, standards and, sorry to say so, the rules they set for themselves. Look, I’m a little guilty of it too – Jeez, I make no secret that I wish the world was full of minarchist libertarians who’ll approve or disapprove as each sees fit but will live and let live and harm no one who harms no one, but I feel there’s a big difference in that I don’t demand it of others and ask that laws change to achieve it by coercion. To be fair to him Michael Jarosky doesn’t either, but the overall tone of his article is that of someone who supports coercive measures such as smoking bans and so on – and I’ll happily eat those words if he doesn’t.

And as well as that bad habit there’s something else I think he could have written on that piece of paper. Something on the plus side, though not something that could be called a good habit per se. I forget who it was but someone once said that the hardest thing to become is what someone else wants you to become, which is why I’ll never demand that Michael Jarosky or anyone else be libertarian, or ask for more from them than to leave me free to live as I choose providing I harm no other by it. I may say I think things would be better if they were libertarians, just as they can say they think the world would be better if nobody inhaled or ingested anything that wasn’t a proven nutrient and we all took it in turns to jump up and down and shout at each other on treadmills, but don’t think they should be made to if they don’t want to.

I just wish I could believe they feel the same way.

Touched a nerve, Jamie?

I may have mentioned this before but I’m not a fan of Jamie Oliver. I used to be, at least a bit, back in his Naked Chef days when he was about cooking tasty food with fairly basic facilities, because at the time I had a flat with a kitchen even smaller than the one he used in the show. No kidding, if I was in it there wasn’t room for a stick of celery to join me – and no, before you say anything, that’s not because I’m a fat bastard. But the Naked Chef days are over and Jamie Oliver has long since morphed from rubber lipped Mockney celeb chef into rubber lipped Mockney celeb nannying crusader twat. Frankly it’s not a bad thing to wake up every morning knowing that I live ten thousand miles away from the fucker.

Unfortunately he’s touring Australia again, and yes he’s been invited – I can hardly believe this – by various politicians for his input, or perhaps his output, to help tackle the obesity crisis.* And it might be because of this that a journo asked him if he hadn’t put on a little weight himself recently.

This is 'ow yer use chopsticks, righ'? Now 'ow abaht some more dim-sum, me ol' china?

And it went down like a scallop that had been deep fried in batter for an hour and a half and left in the shell.

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver says he regrets snapping at a reporter in Australia when he was quizzed over his weight.

Oliver was answering questions from the media during a promotional trip to Sydney when the journalist asked if he’d piled on the pounds since his last trip to Australia.

“I don’t know. I think the last time I had a filling in my teeth, which was quite recently, I was in good nick (condition). But really, I am not really sure. Are you from a tabloid? Thanks for noticing, you bitch,” he retorted.

Tone says a lot and there’s no mention of whether this was in an angry tone or a more light hearted and jokey manner, though the fact he’s saying he regrets it makes me think that it might not have come across as jokey as it could have been. However, the fact that he’s said it at all makes me think that it’s a sore point. Nobody likes being called on hypocrisy, even though we’re all guilty of it now and then. But when you’ve changed the course of your career to point due Nanny it can’t be all that comfortable to feel that you’re being criticised for not practising what you preach. And so…

But News Limited papers report he had time to think about the remark on his way to Melbourne on Wednesday.

Oliver told Myer representative Nicky Buckley he eats fresh food and trains twice a week but could “do better”.

Which seems to have prompted a response from Oliver mate, upside down sleb chef and supermarket TV ad regular, and also owner of Australia’s biggest shit eating grin, Curtis Stone.

Australia's best loved shit eating grin. Pictured here on a chef.

Chef Curtis Stone has weighed into the debate about Jamie Oliver’s size, saying his fellow celebrity chef needs to practise what he preaches.

Stone was co-hosting a US talk show on Friday when he criticised Oliver for calling an Australian journalist a ”bitch” after she questioned whether he had gained weight since his last visit here. He has urged Oliver to show more responsibility because of his stardom, The Hollywood Reporter revealed yesterday. Stone was on a CBS television show The Talk when he spoke up about Oliver’s behaviour during his Australian tour.

”The interesting part of this for me is that Jamie is a big voice and he preaches, you know his show is called The Food Revolution,” Stone said. ”So, he’s there talking about healthy food and you’ve got to practise what you preach.”

And I can’t disagree with that except inasmuch as I’d rather Oliver and Co. didn’t preach at all – my body, not yours, and if I decide to put one or six of Mrs Exile’s delicious cookies into it that’s entirely up to me. But I also have a question. Jamie Oliver’s squeezed a tour of Oz into his hectic advertising and nannying schedule. Curtis Stone, similarly, has managed to fit in co-hosting a talk show in the US around making adverts for Coles supermarkets in which he says he personally visits the farms that supply Coles’ fresh produce.

Do any celebrity chefs (with the possible exception of the culinary version of a B-movie mad scientist, Heston Blumenthal) actually cook anything anymore?

 

* Tackling the obesity crisis is easy: between the ankles and knees while it’s moving so that its own momentum brings it down. Never try to tackle an obesity crisis above its hips.

A boot on the other flipper

Click for linky

The conservation group Sea Shepherd has accused Japanese whalers of trying to sabotage one of its ships which is pursing the whaling fleet in the Antarctic.

Sea Shepherd’s long-range ship Bob Barker is in pursuit of the whaling fleet in Antarctic waters 2,500 kilometres south of Tasmania.

In the most recent clash, Sea Shepherd accuses the two Japanese harpoon ships of trying to foul the propeller of the Bob Barker with thick cables and of training its spotlights on the ship’s bridge in an effort to blind the crew.

I don’t particularly care for whalers but I’m not a fan of Sea Shepherd either, and I find it pretty weak of them to complain about whalers using the same kind of tactics (not for the first time) against their vessel as they do against the whalers. No doubt the whalers will claim Sea Shepherd began this kind of thing and Sea Shepherd will claim it was the other way round. Don’t know the truth and don’t care – the point is that whining that what you do to others is being done to you doesn’t invoke much sympathy in me.

“The harpoon ships trained their spotlights on the bridge of the Bob Barker in an effort to blind the crew but backed off when the Bob Barker crew retaliated with lasers.”

Lasers. Which they just happened to have aboard. For absolutely no particular reason, I’m sure.

Fuck all of them.

Chutzpah overload

David Cameron, not so much a gift that keeps on giving as a hypocrite who keeps on talking.

David Cameron has attacked the “madness” of European regulations and taxes in a speech to global business leaders in Davos, Switzerland. The Prime Minister said Europe is still at a “perilous time” because of its debts and must stop throttling growth with excessive bureaucracy.

Ahahahahahaha. Ahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

He said European leaders must stop destroying jobs and growth by “tinkering” with regulations and “hoping we’ll drift to a solution”.

Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.Oohooo.

He said: “In the name of social protection, the EU has promoted unnecessary measures that impose burdens on businesses and governments, and can destroy jobs.”

Come on, Davey boy, this is pots and kettles meeting motes and beams and settling down to raise a nice little family of über-hypocrisy. You’ve got a national debt that has grown so mindfuckingly huge even by conservative estimates that wrapping your head round it is only possible by means of weird thought experiments, you’ve got huge numbers on the rock and roll because they don’t have skills and their labour is worth less than the six quid an hour – as someone at Davos has kindly pointed out – you’ve got heaps of rules, laws and regulations, more than a few originating in the EU and gold plated by Whitehall to a standard of stupidity not actually demanded by Europe in the first place, all making life for small businesses just that bit more difficult when compared to their large competitors who can more easily hire an extra body or two to deal with red tape… and all that’s before we get to taxation and the 50% income tax rate that probably isn’t putting anything extra into the kitty and looks like it’s being kept for political reasons, import duties that are keeping manufacturing jobs abroad, and a shitty rate of 20% for VAT. Oh, and contrary to popular belief the Cobbleition hasn’t cut a single penny of expenditure and is in fact going through money even faster than Gordon Brown’s government.

Now, we all know that much of this is how it is because that’s what the Cobbleition inherited from Labour, so I’m not having a go at them for causing it. I’m not even having a go at them for failing to fix it, or not as such. I’m having a go because, as I’ve said numerous times, they’re doing much the same bloody things as Labour did and that there really doesn’t seem to be a fucking Rizla paper between them. Yes, they’ve planned to spend a little less than Labour had planned to spend, but when you’re two to four trillion in the hole and the economy’s in the shitter then something has to give, so I think it’s pretty likely that Labour would have scaled back those spending plans in the unlikely event they’d won. Other than that the government is basically pro-EU while talking tough on Europe, pro-tax and redistribution, pro-regulation and state control (though against regulation and control of the state, of course), pro-nannying and paternalism, and against letting people get on with their lives. Oh, and by their inaction I assume they’re anti-undoing even the most egregious legislation of the previous governments (Great Repeal Bill? Where’d it go?). Different on some specifics but broadly much the same breed of authoritarian cock sockets, and here we have the authoritarian cock socket-in-chief ripping into his counterparts for doing more or less what he’s either doing off his own back or carrying on from the Brown days through not having any better ideas.

I couldn’t stand Gordon Brown and still hold him in great contempt, but I really am coming to loath David Cameron with a passion.

That didn’t take long

Back at the blog for only a couple of days and already someone has destroyed another cognitive dissonance meter.

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, [Permanent Secretary for Tax at HMRC] Dave Hartnett says that householders have a duty to ensure that other people do not evade paying their share of tax.
Paying a builder or cleaner in cash, allowing them to evade VAT or income tax, will result in even deeper government cuts to public services, he says. People who contribute to the cash economy cannot then complain about austerity measures, he adds.
“Tax provides the funding to run the country: hospitals, schools and everything else,” he says. “Every time someone pays cash in order not to pay VAT, the nation gets diddled.”

Oh, is that so, Dave? Well, do tell us how you’d describe the state’s regular spunking away of billions of pounds on unnecessary shit, necessary shit that’s overpriced and doesn’t work properly, quangos, clampdowns on victimless crimes, subs for EU membership and more recently the use of taxpayers’ money to prop up private companies which through their own mistakes should naturally have gone to the wall. Plus the interest payments needed because all that on top of the cost of actual public services comes to rather more money than you can raise through tax anyway.

And while you’re scratching for an apt description – you could use ‘diddled’ again though I’d suggest ‘fucking ripped off’ – you might also tell us how you’d describe coercively taking half of what people earn, much of it before they’ve even get their own hands on it in the case of those on PAYE and under threat of violence for those doing returns, with no better justification than a vague assertion that you’ll be handing it over – minus that needed for your ≈£160K salary and £1.7M pension that you’ll be retiring several years early to enjoy, natch – to people who at best have vague good intentions to spend it in ways that benefit those from whom it was forcefully taken. ‘A sophisticated way of demanding money with menaces’ is one oft repeated description, though I don’t see what’s wrong with something like ‘legalised theft’. No doubt you’d call that ‘duty’ (badoom tish!) as well, eh, Dave?

Prick.

That’s not a hack – this is a hack

As I mentioned back in July The Age, the Melbourne based sister paper of Sydney Morning Herald, was all over the News of the Screws phone hacking scandal like flies on a piece of shit.

The thing is that Gingery Dullard, unlike the Yanks, may have rather more cause to investigate the Aussie media. And interestingly it’s not the Murdoch owned mob but their competitors, the Graun friendly, lefty-loving, phone-hack hating Fairfax group, who have been accused of being up to no good.

THE editor-in-chief of The Age, Paul Ramadge, has refused to detail his personal involvement in the newspaper’s unauthorised access of an ALP database now being examined by the Australian Federal Police.

And how did this happen?

The Age accessed the database from its own computer terminals using an unauthorised password provided by an undisclosed source.
“This story came through entirely appropriate journalistic methods,” Ramadge said. “Entry to the ALP database came via a whistleblower who raised concerns about private information held on it.
“This whistleblower had authorised access to this material and we reported in the public interest.”
[…]
The Age used material obtained from the database to inform a story run in the final week of the Victorian election campaign about Labor keeping a “secret” file on citizens. Several people whose details were accessed were contacted by the newspaper before publication. Others, such as Mr Faris, were contacted after publication and assured their information would not be stored or misused.

Okay, so they may have had good reason but it sounds like it’s fair to ask the question. And even if they have good reason if they commit a crime in the process does it somehow un-crime it? I’m not sure a good reason would let me off something as trivial as a speeding offence – actually I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t – so I can’t help thinking that if a crime has been committed with good intentions it’s probably still a crime and that there’d be a case to answer.

And this week a police investigation looks more likely as the body overseeing elections in the state have got involved at the same time as a member of the public has placed the blame squarely on the newspaper that was so tumescent with joy when bashing the Murdoch rags in distant country for listening to people’s voicemail.

A VICTIM of The Age’s hacking of an ALP database has come forward claiming the newspaper breached her privacy, as The Weekend Australian reveals the Victorian Electoral Commission asked police to investigate the claims of illegal activity.
Claire Watson, 24, has expressed her concerns about how and why The Age accessed personal information about her, which she had agreed to share with a local MP but not with the newspaper. The public servant, who appeared in a story by Age journalist Royce Millar last year as part of the broadsheet’s investigation into the ALP database, said her views had been “distorted” and “words had been put in my mouth”.
“I feel my privacy has been breached by the journalist, not the ALP,” she said. “I agreed to share information with the ALP, but not with The Age. He seemed dodgy and was pleased with himself. He was so indignant with the ALP, but it is clear he was hacking my file. He was trying to whip me into outrage about it.”
[…]
“The journalist kept trying to put words in my mouth; he was saying it was outrageous, but I didn’t think it was outrageous,” she said. “The whole thing was weird. I tried telling him I wasn’t outraged as I understood large organisations keep that sort of data. I think it is reasonable and good practice to keep the data.”
She said she was more concerned Millar had then accessed the information.
“He knew a lot about me – my date of birth, where I lived, my phone number, opinions I had shared with a local MP . . . he was hacking into my file.”

As with the voicemail thing ‘hacking’ seems to be an inappropriate term for what looks awfully like a simple, old fashioned leak, but for whatever reason people seem to want to believe that any electronically stored information that isn’t given out voluntarily must have been hacked. I think this is a bit like insisting that when you can’t find your car it can only have been stolen rather than thinking that you just forgot where you left it or you parked in a tow away zone, but the real point is that if this is all hacking how did The Age have the front to throw so many stones at the Murdoch media for the phone not-hacking when they too had been accessing information they had no bloody right to? Was the temptation to throw those stones and hopefully damage their competition at the Melbourne Herald Sun and The Australian so strong that they forgot they lived in a greenhouse?

An injunction by The Age against Victoria Police to stop the removal of computer equipment remains in place since Thursday’s eight-hour raid. Two detectives from the e-crime squad remained at The Age overnight to ensure none of the computer equipment, which had been pulled apart, could be tampered with.
A spokesman for the Victorian Electoral Commission confirmed to The Weekend Australian that it had been the first to raise the issue with police.
Electoral Commissioner Steve Tully is believed to have been concerned about the manner in which the database was allegedly penetrated by The Age.
[…]
The Weekend Australian believes that police have been given access to ALP records and computer equipment but that there are mixed views in the party about how to handle the hacking issue. This is because of the potential blow-back on the Labor Party if The Age were to campaign against the party. “It’s not something we wanted. There are some senior people who just want it to go away,” a source said.
However, the fact the VEC approached police means investigators will have to push ahead with their inquiries. Either way, it appears police were honour-bound to proceed given the potential offences at stake and the role the VEC plays as an independent and impartial statutory authority.

And as I said back in July, since The Age isn’t part of the Murdoch press and is fairly strongly left leaning politically this is not something British readers can expect to see in The Grauniad. You kind of get the impression that bashing lefties for their misdeeds and alleged misdeeds is against some kind of lefty journo code, but it’s only fair to give The Age a little credit for running the story themselves.

Click for link – incidentally, I don’t know if Paul and Royce Millar are related

Now, remind me. In all those column inches in The Graun slagging off companies for perfectly legal tax avoidance and minimisation was it ever mentioned that Guardian Media did the same thing or did we have to find out from Guido?

It’s not wrong if lefties doing it – UPDATED

Compare and contrast. First, something that needs no source and which the Righteous and right-on are saying is very, very bad, though as we should all know by now is lacking in context.

Frankly, I’d have them all shot. I would take them outside and execute them in front of their families.

Second, via Churchmouse writing at The Orphanage, and which he notes has gone entirely unremarked and without complaint by the Righteous and right-on in general and Unison in particular, something from the Birmingham Mail reporting on the public sector strike activity in their area.

A small group of protestors carried a mocked up guillotine with images of Nick Clegg and David Cameron, with a slogan saying “heads will roll”.

I do hope that’s cleared things up for everybody.

UPDATE – Churchmouse has left another example at the Orphanage, this time of an overdrive of leftie foam-flecked. outraged, offence seeking because some student Conservative Society burned an effigy of the Obamessiah, preceded three years ago by a deafening silence when someone else burned an effigy of Sarah Palin. And not forgetting that Camermong/Clegg guillotine thing.

That what’s good for the goose is also for the gander is something the left and right alike struggle with, though I’ll credit the right with less absurd examples of hypocrisy, while those libertarians who’ve been similarly hyperbolic have tended to be consistent and asked for enough lengths of piano wire to string up left and right wing statists all at the same time.

A question for the public sector strikers

Yeah, but why is it that for most people you can only get one if you join the public sector?

Pots and kettles

Half inched from Zerohedge.

From the Mail:

Countries will be forced to submit their budgets for EU approval before they go to national parliaments, will have to sign up to strict new rules on the size of debts and deficits and will be sued for any breach in the European Court of Justice.

Mrs Exile comments, wondering if this would be the same EU that hasn’t had its books signed off by the auditors for 17 years in a row. Damn good question. But in the absence of any sane answer I’d say that countries all over Europe can look forward to seeing headlines like the Irish did a couple of weeks ago.

Unless the whole bloody Euro train wreck finally comes off the rails first, of course. Who knows, that might even have happened by the time this post goes up.

Contrasting receptions

Peter Costello, former Liberal party MP and Federal government Treasurer for the Coalition under John Howard, writes in The Age on an interesting difference in receptions given to US Presidents.

When the American president addressed joint Houses of the Australian Parliament back in 2003, Greens Senator Bob Brown interjected. In fact so worked up was he that the Speaker ordered his removal from the chamber. He was yelling about Iraq and Guantanamo Bay.

This time Brown joined a conga line of MPs clamouring to shake hands with the President, Barack Obama. He had to jostle with Greens MP Adam Bandt (who has a PhD on Marxism) to get his chance. Both of them were beaming. It was a good speech. The President declared America’s commitment to a military presence in the Asia-Pacific region, including a new proposal to train up to 2500 marines in the Northern Territory. One can only imagine what Bob’s reaction would have been had George Bush announced that 2500 US marines would be stationed on Australian soil. They would have had to cart him out of the House of Representatives.

[…]

Bob Brown was all worked up about Guantanamo Bay when George Bush visited Australia, but he does not seem to worry so much now that Obama is in charge. Julia Gillard used to complain that Australia was subservient to America. Now she claims she has made our alliance stronger than ever before.

In opposition, Labor harvested votes on the left. In government it wants to appeal to conservatives….

[…]

Labor MPs may feel happy to see Obama and Gillard standing in front of troops in the Northern Territory – it is a great photo opportunity for their side of politics. But alliances are between countries. They are designed to outlive the political office-holders of the day. In the future it could be Newt Gingrich and Tony Abbott standing there being cheered by US marines in the NT. The principle is either right or it is wrong and it doesn’t turn on who happens to be in office.

That is why it is so useful to have the left of Australian politics now locked in to traditional Coalition policies. Bipartisan support has been firmly established. And in the future if there is ever a complaint about marines based in Australia, just pull out the footage of a beaming Bob Brown grasping the hand of the president who announced it.

Some excellent points made there, and while I have no more love for Peter Costello’s party than the ALP – in one sense rather less love because the bastardisation of the word ‘liberal’ to describe a party of paternalists that like telling other people how to live their lives simply infuriates me – I can’t argue that Leftists can be pretty inconsistent if not hypocritical when it comes to the US. The bottom line is this: all the things I disliked about George W Bush, the wars, Gitmo, the loss of individual liberties, cosying up to big business and lobbyists, have by and large continued under Obama.

I’m aware some that Rightists care less about what is done than that it’s one of their men doing it – witness David Cameron’s actions of late and the deafening silence from his supposedly right of centre party – but if anything it seems to be even more true of Leftists. Is something bad done by a right winger made less bad when a left winger takes over and carries on?

All I’ll want for Christmas…

… is a new cognitive dissonance meter. After replacing the one destroyed by Deborah Arnott earlier this year my shiny new one has just exploded after reading Quiet_Man’s most recent post over at the Orphanage.

In a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black Labour have accused the government of intending to borrow more than they originally intended. This would be the same Labour party behind the tax and spend initiatives which have pretty much left the country bankrupt and needing to borrow in the first place.

BBC.

The government could borrow over £100bn more than it planned to up to 2015, according to Labour.
The party compared Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts from November 2010 with the latest estimates.
Labour said it showed the government’s plans were “reckless” but Economic Secretary to the Treasury David Gauke said the claims were “nonsense”.
Meanwhile, Labour leader Ed Miliband will later urge ministers to change course away from economic austerity.

So we have a case for Labour accusing the government of borrowing more and the leader of the Labour Party calling for an end to austerity economics, which I suspect would mean the government borrowing more. Clearly a case of open mouth, insert foot, after all if I can see it, what are real economists going to think?

Yep, if anyone’s going to display meter wrecking cocknitive dissonance it’s going to be politicians, and Labour are the league champions at it. I suppose it’s my own fault for buying a cheap one. While I go look for a replacement do pop over to the Orphanage and read the rest of Quiet_Man’s post if you haven’t already.

Occupational therapy

From Watts Up With That.

Chuckle. Do go read the rest.