September 30, 2011

Bloody Blogger

Blogger is playing funny buggers. 

Apologies to those who have tried and failed to post comments during the last couple of days; appears to be a continuing problem.

Try posting using "Anonymous", rather than Google Profile, but even that isn't working consistently.   Also try accessing via Firefox (if you don't already), rather than MS Explorer.

Send complaints to Google. 

Avatar Briefs Management

Duck Friday

Bl

September 28, 2011

Andrew Bolt: Guilty


Class action against columnist Andrew Bolt succeeds in Federal Court … here.

But the Judge was very precise in his ruling, which could be read to suggest that minus the inflammatory language and inclusion of an iota of good faith, Bolt, or others, may question matters of racial identification without undue fear of being dragged to court.  Seems reasonable.   It also seems that the judgment could just as easily have gone the other way.  A suitable penalty is pending, with a possible appeal to the High Court, if the boss is prepared to continue to pick up Bolt's legal bill. 
Justice Mordy Bromberg found Bolt and the Herald and Weekly Times contravened the Racial Discrimination Act by publishing two articles on racial identity which contained "errors in fact, distortions of the truth and inflammatory and provocative language".

Justice Bromberg said it was important to note his judgment did not forbid debate or articles on racial identity issues if done "reasonably and in good faith in the making or publishing of a fair comment".
"Nothing in the orders I make should suggest that it is unlawful for a publication to deal with racial identification, including by challenging the genuineness of the identification of a group of people," Justice Bromberg said.
Fairfax takes a different tack, declaring that Bolt has been delivered a “stinging judgment”.  Meh.  Not really. 

The Age does a happy dance over Bolt loss 


Wednesday Wisdom

I don't care if people hate my guts; I assume most of them do. The important question is whether they are in a position to do anything about it.

William S. Burroughs

September 27, 2011

No more last tucker on Texas death row

They're going to be dead ... does it matter if they've enjoyed a final meal?
Why not a choice of final hair-do, clothes and shoes?  A final novel or film? 
Is it more humane to taunt those who are about to die at the hands of the state with a banquet and imbibing - the basics of human sustenance and joyous occasions?
Strangely, numerous commentors were concerned about this 'poor man' - the one who triggered the change to the last chance meal practice - not getting his last meal; except that he did - he chose not to eat it - he was also a brutal racists murderer.

Hate media points finger at the love media

When will Bob Brown and the Federal ALP initiate an inquiry into the love media?

All those journalists (and there are plenty of them) pounding away, day after day, contentiously talking up the greatness of Gillard, her cabinet, her government - shouldn't they be investigated, or at least offered appropriate care? 

They're  out there, and their objective is to make themselves, and us, believe that Joolya has been given a rough trot, that she's underrated as a PM, that she's actually, you know, pretty damned special when it comes to the whole running-a-country stuff; even if she's not great when it comes to wearing a frock or other warm, fuzzy, girly uterus-related stuff.

Oh, and she's only failing to engender shopping-mall-wide respect because she's a woman.  Not that being a woman stopped her from becoming Prime Minister, but now that she is, her ability to push voting intentions into the ninth level of hell for her comrades is widely regarded as a feminist issue (just like fat, only low carb).

The love media are a desperate lot, we could start calling them the reality deniers.

Notice the unquestioned use of loaded descriptions:   progressive media ... as opposed to the hate media.

The thin skinned and politically vacuous Bob Brown truly did not deserve his weaselly win; the ALP should be ashamed of having supported his temper tantrum demand for a Murdoch media inquiry.


September 25, 2011

Murdoch paper's positive spin to save Julia

Denis Shanahan - political editor for The Australian (you know, the Murdoch
ALP/Greens hate bugle) - has put a delightfully positive spin on Julia's
new and lower than ever poll results.

He must have stayed up all night to think of a positive bounce.

Compromise gives Gillard a bounce 

The race for ALP to be as popular as ... all the other minor parties

Empty lead for whomever is "preferred PM" - voting intentions are (almost) everything  (actual vote is everything)

Speed of light not so fast


The speed of light has a potential race spoiler and Einsteins theory* of special relativity might eventually have to be bumped after a reign of more than century.

*For the maroons out there:  in the realms of science a "theory" is a concept that has been accepted as true by the scientific community, having been tested and/or observed repeatedly and rationally shown to be so; usually with a null hypothesis getting a mighty good work out along the way.  A theory, then, should not be confused with a hypothesis or a happy consensus amongst the government-funding-reliant.

Laws of physics challenged 


The Super-Kamiokande neutrino observatory uses 50,000 tons of pure water surrounded by 11,200 sensitive light detectors 1 kilometer below ground in Japan. Neutrinos from space interact with the water and produce flashes of blue light. 

In 1930, Wolfgang Pauli first conceived of neutrinos—originally as a solution to a problem in nuclear physics. Neutrinos are so elusive that it would be 26 years before they were actually detected.

NSP?

Yes, you do need ESP to divine the meaning of this newly minted NSP sign in a regional Victorian town.

It has all the quality outcomes of collusion between eight levels of government, a committee of 50 and vetting by three dozen lawyers; however, everyone imaginable is denying knowledge or involvement. 

I demand that they own up, that they be paraded in Spring Street!

Signs of confusion

September 23, 2011

More evidence … of something

To hold the tide, during router outage (refer post of pain, previous ...)
Things are so crazy in Canberra politics that it's easy to miss the significance of Labor senator John Faulkner's attack on Julia Gillard this week.
Michelle Grattan (OMG – surely Fairfax hasn’t turned into the ‘hate media’?)
It is doubtful we’ve ever had two major party leaders less curious, by contemporary standards, about the outside world, about neighbouring countries, about different people, about ideas—more inward-looking—than these two.


One of the reasons many Australians say they want Kevin Rudd back is that he was actually a grownup. He seemed interested in that important overseas stuff. Had read a book or two. Gave the impression he thinks about things.


He had the highest satisfaction ratings in opinion poll history but we can imagine the backroom boys still admonished him to talk more about sport, use smaller words and speak slowly.


Be more like Julia, she’s really popular.
So much for the common touch (OMG – surely News Corp hasn’t started hating all political parties equally?)

Meanwhile Bob escapes all judgement, with straight-hand reporting (speaking for itself) from our friends at the Murdoch press:
Greens leader Bob Brown said yesterday he had made it clear to Julia Gillard that Australia should be supporting the Palestinian bid to be recognised as an independent observer in the UN with a similar status to the Vatican.


He said giving the Palestinians recognition as "a de facto state" would bring a quicker end to the Middle East conflict by allowing them to negotiate as equals.


The Greens leader said the best option for progress in the Middle East was to have equals at the table.
"We don't have that at the moment," Senator Brown said. 
Err, no, we don’t Bob. There’s a reason for that.

Greens demand Gillard support Palestinian bid for UN recognition
 

Routed

Router is playing funny buggers, attempts to fix have failed.  Continuing to flail about, frown and flounder ... in search of minor technological miracle (such as: spontaneous resolution, no further time, effort on money on my part).

Meanwhile, expect to hear nothing* (or precious little) from me - until connections are restored - and you will not be disappointed. 

* Participants with greater expectations may be subject to bouts of the sulks or negative self-talk about their online desirability, for which the owner will not be held responsible; no compensation or substitute product will be offered.

Duck Friday


Duck Curry

September 22, 2011

Even Noam Chomsky knows BDS actions Antisemitic

Guest post from Geoffff ... with startling admissions from Chomsky:

Any remaining readers of WD [where they have resorted to publishing posts by the habitually hysterical  M.Sherp; threads on which she then posts almost all comments - Ed] will likely know my opinion of the hugely famous leading left intellectual, 2011 Sydney Peace Prize recipient and scrawny old git, Noam Chomsky.

Here's a video of the great man having a spray about BDS [the Bush Derangement Syndrome people want their abbreviation back - Ed] a while back. It's about fifteen minutes but well worth the listen. I've watched through three times now.

The underlying message is as disgusting as ever of course, but anybody who regards themselves of the thinking left [increasingly an oxymoron? - Ed] should at least listen to what this nasty old man has to say.  

BDS is hypocritical to the high heavens. Anything that targets Israel alone can be attacked as antisemitism and "unfortunately this is with justice". It harms the "whole movement"  It harms the Palestinians and this is so obvious it is probably intentional. It is a gift to the Israeli hardliners and their American supporters. "You may as well just join AIPAC and be done with it". 

Exactly.

Those are not my words.  This is what Noam Chomsky himself says!

There is something very strange about Chomsky, at the very core of the man, but no would deny the old goat is as cunning as a shtetl rat, as they say in Saudi Arabia. He knows when the dickheads are on a loser. They should listen to the man.

How on earth is this going to help those Israelis who still believe there is a chance for peace, and their foreign supporters? A global antisemitic campaign aimed at tearing down the Jewish state right on the eve of an UN general resolution "recognising Palestine" but not recognising any border to Palestine, explicitly or implicitly, between the "river and the sea".

A journalist in Libya reported the other day "an old Arabic saying" he picked up from fighters closing in on Tripoli.

"You can piss on me but don't tell me it's raining" 

Says it all really.



Everyone who has any remaining interest at all in this important subject need to be very clear about one central fact. Israel is not about to dissolve like a pillar of salt as if it was the old apartheid regime in South Africa. Israel is not the old apartheid regime in South Africa and those who would suggest this racist lie must be confronted.

Why not accept the Jewish state? It's been there for over sixty years now and it is one of the most successful and productive nations on the planet. That deluded old American man may actually believe that the US can be persuaded to abandon Israel as if it was the old apartheid regime in South Africa by some kind of American domestic campaign, but he of course is plain crazy. His job ultimately is to persuade Americans to abandon America. Israelis have their version. So does Australia. Every country does. It's just that in some countries they are free to say what they like and in other countries they get their heads chopped off  and in America they are freest of all. Surely that is the whole point on the subject of human rights.It is also at the very core of the relationship between the American and Israeli peoples and that's just for a start.
The nasty old hard core left just don't get that.

Sooner or later you must ask this question:

Is there space for the Jewish state between the river and the sea?

BDS says no.
Fatah says no.
Hamas says kill all the Jews.
So do a lot of other people.
Where do you stand?
Why do the "friends" of Palestine not ask their "friends" that question? Whoever "they" are.

If you have listened to that video you may also be interested in the great man again on the subject here in an earlier discussion in a classroom.

Note the rapt girl in the red top who at one point "outs herself' as on some Jewish network of some kind. I couldn't catch the name because she garbled it but obviously she thought this was important.

These people fascinate me.

The great man is due in Sydney later this year to pick up his peace prize.  November suddenly got interesting.

There might even be an opportunity for someone to put the question to the man himself. 

Where does he stand?


September 21, 2011

Stench of the BDS - A Response

 From our man Geoffff:
An extraordinary statement from the Executive Council of Australian Jewry:
'There has been widespread criticism of the recent BDS protests against Max Brenner outlets in Sydney and Melbourne. The criticism has come not only from Labor and Coalition members of parliament, Federal and State, but also from some of their Greens colleagues. The ECAJ thanks all of them for their efforts in opposing and speaking out against the Australian arm of the global BDS campaign against Israel.

The Max Brenner chain is a legitimate, privately owned business that operates in accordance with Australian law.  It provides employment to approximately 750 Australian workers and pays taxes that contribute to the public revenue.  Its alleged "crime" is to be connected in some way to a company that supplies chocolate and other food products to the Israeli army.

Recently, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) was asked by the Victorian government, with the near unanimous support of the Australian Senate (excluding the Greens), whether the BDS campaign against Max Brenner outlets constitutes a secondary boycott in contravention of section 45D of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.  The ACCC concluded that thus far there has been no contravention because the BDS campaign is unlikely to have had the effect of causing substantial loss or damage to the business of Max Brenner, as would be required to constitute a breach of section 45D.

Whilst in some respects that conclusion is disappointing, it highlights how ineffectual and unsuccessful the BDS campaign has been in persuading the Australian public not to patronise Max Brenner shops.  Indeed, the BDS campaign has, if anything, succeeded in alienating broader public opinion in Australia and engendering sympathy and support for the target businesses.

The ECAJ is, however, concerned about some of the rhetoric that has been deployed by both sides of the public debate concerning BDS.  On occasions, some of those supporting BDS have lapsed into both overt and implicit antisemitism, and some of those opposing BDS have inappropriately likened Greens leaders to "Nazis".  Neither infracyion excuses the other.  We note that no member of parliament, Federal or State, on wither side of the debate, have engaged in these extreme forms of rhetoric.

All expressions of antisemitism are repugnant not only to the Jewish community but also to the vast majority of Australians.  An ancient and pernicious form of antisemitism is known as the “blood libel”, a vicious and revolting smear to the effect that Jews as a group habitually shed and consume human blood.  (In point of fact, this is the exact opposite of Jewish teaching, which holds human life to be sacrosanct, a belief that has been inherited by both Christianity and Islam).   In the BDS campaign against Max Brenner, the ancient blood libel is revived in the protesters’ chants:


There’s blood in your hot chocolate.
You support genocide.
Max, Max murderer.

It is of course ludicrous to describe someone who merely sells chocolate products as a "murderer".  Yet in our view, it is no accident that the BDS protesters choose to make their points in these specific ways, which tap into an historical reservoir of anti-Jewish tropes.  They could make their points in other ways.  True moral leadership requires our political representatives to repudiate this sort of deeply racist rhetoric, regardless of where they stand on the BDS issue.

One aspect of the BDS campaign that is particularly troubling is that the boycotts are aimed at businesses with Jewish owners.  Thus, Max Brenner is targeted, but Intel or Microsoft or any other similar company, which operates significantly in Israel and supplies the Israeli Defence Force, is not targeted.  It is entirely legitimate to draw attention to this disparity and to question the motives of BDS leaders.

There is further antisemitism in the implied denial of the Jewish people’s right of national self-determination.  
  
Another frequent anti-Israel chant is:

From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.

This implies that all of the land situated between the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea is "Palestine".  Of course, part of that land consists of Israel.  What is thereby advocated is the end of Israel as a sovereign State and its replacement by "Palestine".  

Distinguishing between political comment and inappropriate rhetoric

The ECAJ does not suggest that all criticisms of Israel are antisemitic.  Israel is a vibrant pluralist democracy and its citizens (Jews, Bedouin, Palestinians and Druze) are often its most incisive critics.  But it is also false to suggest that no criticisms of Israel are antisemitic.   There is clearly an overlap, as the foregoing examples illustrate.

The existence of an overlap was also acknowledged in the Working Definition of Antisemitism developed by the European Union Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC), which monitors racism and xenophobia in the 31 countries and candidate countries of the European Union, in collaboration with key NGOs and representatives of the Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).

The EUMC, now called the European Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), adopted the definition in 2005 and distributed it to all its national monitors. In September 2006, the definition was adopted by the United Kingdom All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism.  It is also employed by units of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), representing about states. The definition has been translated into 33 languages including Arabic and Turkish.  In February 2009, it was adopted in the London Declaration on Combating Antisemitism.  The working definition includes the following:
Examples of the ways in which antisemitism manifests itself with regard to the state of Israel taking into account the overall context could include:
  • Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour.
  • Applying double standards by requiring of it a behaviour not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
  • Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.
  • Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
  • Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.
The way to combat these more contemporary and subtle forms of antisemitism is not, in our view, to fight fire with fire.  Whilst hyperbole is to be expected in any free-flowing political discussion in Australia’s robust democracy, special care is needed to avoid comparing any Australian political leaders or members of parliament to "Nazis" or comparing any political party in Australia to the former Nazi regime in Germany.   There is, thankfully, nothing in Australia’s history and experience that is even remotely comparable to the unique evil and horror of the Hitler period in Germany and Europe.
 
Yet the use of inappropriate analogies with Nazism has crept into political discourse in Australia with increasing frequency.  This has the effect of trivialising Nazi totalitarianism, particularly in the thinking of younger people who have no personal point of entry into understanding the realities of life under the Nazi jackboot.

For this reason our organisation some years ago adopted an express policy against inappropriate Holocaust rhetoric (see http://www.ecaj.org.au/ under 'ECAJ Platform').  The ECAJ: recognised that the Holocaust, the Nazi program of genocide, was a unique historical event; noted that the Holocaust is generally recognised as the benchmark of the most extreme case of human evil; and deplored the inappropriate use of analogies to the Nazi Genocide in Australian public debate.

The ECAJ is concerned that some of the media discourse has resorted to rhetoric that has been less disciplined than it should be. In particular we seek to discourage the use of imprecise analogies with the Nazi regime.  One must acknowledge that there are significant historical differences between rag-tag groups of BDS protesters outside Max Brenner outlets in Australia and a campaign backed by the Nazi state and enforced by state-sanctioned Nazi thugs who picketed shops owned by Jews in Germany in the 1930’s.   Yet Nazis commenced their campaign as purportedly private action before there was government sanction for it.

In another context which has nothing to do with the BDS issue cartoons were recently published in a syndicated newspaper depicting Greens leader Bob Brown as a book-burning Nazi, complete with swastika arm-band, Gestapo cap and SA (Sturmabteilung) uniform.  Prime Minister Julia Gillard was similarly portrayed.   Even allowing for the usual latitude accorded to political cartoonists, nothing can justify comment of this nature.  Political leaders are fair game for all kinds of criticism, but this exceeds the bounds of fairness and diminishes the uniquely evil character of the Nazi regime and the Holocaust.

Some BDS supporters have also been guilty of making inappropriate comparisons with the Nazi era.  It is not uncommon to see placards at their demonstrations which depict the Israeli flag with a swastika at its centre in place of the Star of David or contain other images which, as referred to in the Working Definition of Antisemitism, draw comparisons between Israel and the Nazis.   Clearly, BDS leaders and supporters are in no moral position to accuse others of lacking rhetorical virtue.

Rejecting inappropriate comparisons between the BDS campaign and Nazi Germany does not require us to accept the claim that the BDS protesters are merely opposed to Israeli government policies and actions with regard to the Palestinians, but are not in any way animated by anti-Jewish prejudice.  The BDS protests do not have to rise to the level of seriousness of the Nazi era in order, on occasion, to qualify as antisemitic.

Further, the BDS campaign is calculated to orchestrate public hatred, an ugly and unworthy tactic regardless of the alleged target.  The fact is that an unusually high percentage of Australian Jews are survivors of the Holocaust.  Nobody should callously dismiss the reaction of Australian Jews to the sight of Jewish-owned shops once more being picketed by chanting, aggressive demonstrators many of whose faces are contorted in hate, as can be seen on YouTube and other recordings of BDS events.   Even though the parallels to Nazi Germany are an historical over-statement, those who have suggested that that reaction is contrived should be ashamed of themselves.  The reaction is entirely genuine and understandable.

Nevertheless, the ECAJ is asking all of our political representatives who count themselves as supporters of Israel and opponents of BDS, and the media, to refrain from the inappropriate use of analogies to the Nazis, and to provide moral leadership to others to exercise restraint in their rhetoric.  This is the right thing to do even if it is a vain hope that supporters of BDS will exercise a reciprocal responsibility to eliminate express or implicit antisemitism from their rhetoric.'
---------------------------
This statement seems to overlook that BDS is a global campaign and while Jews are not yet being kicked  to death in the streets of Melbourne, those in Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere have no such guarantee. In Egypt you don't even have to be Jewish. You only need to be mistaken for a Jew as this BBC reporter discovered.  
"While walking in the street someone pushed me from behind with such force that I nearly fell over.

Turning around, I found myself surrounded by five men, one of whom tried to punch me in the face. I stopped the attack by pointing out how shameful it was for a Muslim to assault a guest in his country, especially during Ramadan. 

Relieved that a seemingly random assault was over, I was appalled by the apology offered by one of my assailants. "Sorry," he said contritely, offering his hand, "we thought you were a Jew."

Shaking his head in disbelief on hearing the news, an Egyptian friend sympathised: "That's stupid, you are obviously not a Jew."

The chilling implication I was left with was that, had I been Jewish, the assault would have apparently been justified."
 
Of course Bob Brown is not a nazi, but we should certainly question the sincerity of the Greens' "sympathy" for the Palestinians.  There is the unmistakable stench of the political climate of the 1930's  about BDS and I for one intend to keep on saying so at every opportunity.

Wednesday Wisdom

I  know very well what the temptation of the devil are and one of the greatest is to give a man the idea that he can compose and publish a book and thereby win as much fame as fortune ... 

Miguel de Cevantes

September 19, 2011

Cap'n Slappy

It's that favorite day again - talk like a pirate; knock yourselves out.

September 18, 2011

Refugee program versus free pass for illegal immigration

I have always found it astonishing that more than 90% of people with the money and the wherewithal to get themselves, or their children, on a boat (sans visa) to Australia, are eventually assessed as being genuine refugees.  It's an extraordinary figure, and one that's never discussed.

Hundreds of thousands of refugees, with no home, no means, no future, languish in camps (yep, that's right, in camps - they're not allowed to roam free in other countries either), with no chance of grabbing one of the 14,000 places in the Australian annual intake.  Most of those places are now taken by people arriving in boats (and you wonder why the boats keep coming!).

Sure, 60,000 people over stay their visas each year, having arrived by plane, and a few of those people eventually apply for and are given a refugee place, but most of them are wayward tourists, or just a bit slack, or maybe hoping to stick around and no one will notice .... they're opportunistic, as opposed to even pretending to be refugees.

I'll be blunt here, so that I can't be accused of fudging it:  I do not believe that more than 90% of people arriving by boat are genuine refugees.  Never have, never will.  The figure is too staggeringly high.

What a happy coincidence that pretty much every person who can pay to get on a boat is a real refugee, under the legal definition.  It's bullshit of the highest order.  We all know this, but we acquiesce to the notion that the people in question are "so desperate" and "are willing to risk their lives" ergo, they must be refugees.  Those arguments are emotive, not rational; they don't even make a tiny bit of sense.  It's absolute rubbish.  A criminal will risk 30 years in jail to protect his drug dealing territory - does that mean he or she is a deeply committed entrepreneur, a deeply valuable business person, willing to roll the dice, willing to risk their life?  Come on, it's stupid.  People take no end of risks in pursuit of a short cut or some easy solution to reaching whichever goal they have in mind.  The sincerity of their urge doesn't make the pursuit laudable, genuine, good or deserving, otherwise I would have won first prize in lotto by now.

As I rarely have the time, and often lack the patience, it's always a delight when I stumble across a substantive piece of journalism that sets out in logical and thorough manner my own thoughts, particularly if on a topic that has long bothered me.  Back in April, Greg Sheridan wrote just such a piece (see, it's September, and I'm only now getting around to cutting and pasting - nearly five months!), couched in terms of his conversion away from the cause of multiculturalism; it's much more than that though.  The framing of the issue is far narrower than the content, which takes a clean scalpel to the matter of our refugee intake (who we are taking) and, in particular, the high number of Muslims being processed and accepted as refugees, most of whom arrive by boat.

Sheridan argues that multiculturalism has failed, and he is right, it was never a concept that could succeed; we'd all need to know what it meant if we were ever going to measure the extent to which it was a worthy and successful credo.

But he argues a great deal more, including that the people arriving by boat are not the refugees we should be accepting; that the intake of Muslims as refugees has gone through the roof and isn't warranted by any definition of refugee; that Muslim refugees are uniquely socially problematic, demonstrably so, and that we have to stop this and stop it now.

He presents the argument, in other words - one I have long believed - that our refugee program has become (especially via the continual flow of boats) nothing more worthy than an illegal immigration program:  we are not admitting refugees, we are permitting illegal immigration, and most of those immigrants are Muslims who aren't fleeing anything in particular.  I must emphasize that these are not Sheridan's words, he is far more delicate, and also more convincing.

Sheridan presents his case carefully and with deep understanding, having clearly contemplated the matter for decades, so lets dip in a little ... and do read the full piece, if you've still got an open mind on the matter, which most people don't.

A worthwhile reminder from Sheridan, his thoughts circa,  The Australian, November 1996:
There is nothing in multiculturalism that could cause any worry to any normal person. Multiculturalism officially promotes an overriding loyalty to Australia, respect for other people's rights and Australian law, recognition of people's cultural origins, respect for diversity, the need to make maximum economic use of the skills people bring to Australia and equity in access to government services.

What mostly passes for "debate" about multiculturalism is really the psychology of paranoia as a political style. That is why opinion polls on these issues are often self-contradictory. People will say they think there should be fewer migrants from Asia, but that the policy should be non-discriminatory. Or people might say that everybody should speak English, but then denounce funding for multiculturalism when its chief expenditure is to teach migrants English.
And Sheridan now, April 02, 2011:
The three great settler immigrant societies of Australia, the US and Canada have not seen an anti-Muslim backlash on anything like that of Europe's. Australia, the US and Canada are more successful immigrant societies than those of Europe in the modern era, but the usual self-congratulatory explanation we offer for this is simply that our settlement practices are superior to that of Europe.
.............................

There is some truth in all this, and in any event it's a mostly benign myth, but it doesn't really stand up to scrutiny as a serious intellectual explanation.

Certainly the presence or absence of multiculturalism as a state policy seems to have no effect. Canada practices multiculturalism. Australia did for a while but then stopped and is now, apparently, half-heartedly starting again, according to a recent speech by Immigration Minister Chris Bowen.

The US, on the other hand, does not practice multiculturalism, yet is the biggest and most successful immigrant society in history -- more than 310 million people live there from every corner of the globe.
.............................

Here in Australia Bowen, in his February 16 [this year] speech, titled "The genius of Australian multiculturalism", posited the comforting notion that it is the superiority of our own multiculturalism policies that have made so big a difference between us and the tensions of Europe.

I'm afraid Bowen's speech had the opposite effect on me. It completed my transformation.
Whereas once I wholeheartedly supported multiculturalism, I now think it's a failure and the word should be abandoned.
.............................

It's very unclear that the term made any positive contribution to the happy settlement of migrants. In the 1990s and beyond  .... Bob Carr abolished the NSW ethnic affairs commission. He felt the constant repetition of ethnic this and ethnic that was not productive and he didn't think migrants needed a special bureaucracy to watch over them. ...

Community relations is a more inclusive term than ethnic. It includes everybody, not just migrants.

Similarly the immigration department acquired the word citizenship in its title and lost the word multiculturalism. This was a natural and sensible evolution and one that reflected the maturing, the normalisation, of a welcoming diversity within Australia.
.............................

But at the declaratory level, European multiculturalism has also stressed the national language and a commitment to democracy.

Bowen accuses Europe of not welcoming immigrants in the way Australia has.

Certainly some European nations have not been generous in making citizenship easily available to immigrants in the way Australia has. Citizenship is the great integrating instrument of government policy in Australia, the US and in most immigrant societies.

But Bowen's broad accusation is not true for most of Europe. Certainly in Britain migrants can become citizens. Similarly, it would be absurd to suggest, at the official level at least, that Britain has not had an officially welcoming attitude to immigrants. London, with New York, is one of the great, diverse metropolises of the world.

And most important, while all of western Europe seems to be suffering a variety of the same immigration problem, European nations have had radically different settlement policies.
Britain has practised multiculturalism, France has not.

There are two obvious, logical flaws in the way Bowen treats immigration into Europe.

The first is that he puts the entire burden for the success or failure of an immigrant community's experience down to the attitude of the host society and places absolutely no analytical weight at all on the performance and behaviour of the immigrants themselves.

Second, the problems that Bowen is talking about are problems with Muslim immigrants, not with immigrants generally. Chinese and non-Muslim Indian immigrants have been immensely successful in Britain. Indeed, being Indian in Britain is extremely chic.

These minorities for the most part have done OK in France, too. Certainly immigrants to Britain from the rest of Europe don't display anything like the alienation of a serious minority of Muslim immigrants.

So this must, logically, lead to one extremely inconvenient, politically incorrect and desperately fraught question. Could it be that the main difference between Europe, with its seething immigration problems, and the US, Canada and Australia, with their success, is not actually a difference based on some footling interpretation of multiculturalism?
 
There is one other variable that is consistent with the results. The US, Canada and Australia have far smaller Muslim migrant communities as a percentage of their total populations than do most of the troubled nations of Europe. Could this be the explanation?

Several trends in Australian society give pause to wonder whether we, all unintentionally and all fast asleep, may be heading away from the US-Canada-Australia success story and towards a European future. That would be a very bad outcome for Australia.

Discussing these issues is very difficult. It goes without saying that most Muslims in Australia are perfectly fine, law-abiding citizens. The difficulty with discussing Muslim immigration problems is that you don't want to make people feel uncomfortable because of their religion.
.............................

For Ruddock, who had argued very strongly on behalf of the Vietnamese, there were two moments that told him things had changed.

One came in a coastal Vietnamese city, when he met a manufacturing boss, who was also a senior figure in the local Communist Party. He was looking after his grandchildren because his son and daughter-in-law had left as boatpeople, trying to win the prize of resettlement in the US, Canada or Australia. That certainly did not make them bad people, but neither did it make them genuine refugees. The outflow of real refugees had ended and the refugee system for the Vietnamese had become a channel for immigration.

The second epiphany for Ruddock came when members of the Vietnamese community asked him why the government was admitting so many former Viet Cong to Australia as refugees. Being a former Viet Cong doesn't make you a bad person, even in the eyes of a South Vietnam partisan like me. But neither does it mean logically that you are a refugee from your own political force.

Because of my passionate commitment to the refugee issue, it took me a long time to wake up to the routine scamming of refugee processes today.

The Vietnamese outflow ended before I faced up to the change, and when the Muslim boatpeople started to arrive in Australia I mistakenly applied my old paradigm to the new situation.
.............................

Christopher Caldwell's book, Reflections on the Revolution in Europe, the best book of any kind on public policy I have read, establishes definitively that this has been overwhelmingly a determined illegal immigration, not a refugee question.

The same is happening in northern Australia now, and as the Gillard government loses control of the situation, the number of illegal immigrants, almost all Muslim, will increase, exactly replicating the dynamics of Europe's disaster, though of course on a much smaller scale.

So while I remain an advocate of a bigger immigration program, and would be happy to have the refugee quota enlarged, I am now a strong critic of lax borders and allowing illegal immigrants to turn up without papers and then settle permanently. [Ditto! - Ed]

Caldwell's book, along with the evidence of my own eyes, also convinced me that many North Africans were not going to Europe to embrace European values but to continue their North African life, with its values, at a European living standard and at the expense of the European taxpayer.
.............................

This is the only explanation consistent with the fact other immigrant communities, which may have experienced difficult circumstances in the first generation, don't display the same characteristics in the second generation.

But there is a deeper reason as well. As the great scholar of Islam, Bernard Lewis, has written: "The community of Islam was church and state in one, with the two indistinguishably interwoven."

This isn't just a theoretical observation. It means that imams at mosques tend to be preaching about politics, and doing so from a cosmology deeply influenced by paranoia and conspiracy.
Many Australian Islamic institutions receive funding from Saudi Arabia, but I know from my work in Southeast Asia and Europe that the Saudis almost always fund an extremist interpretation of Islam.

To have concerns about these matters is not racism or xenophobia. It is reasonable.

It may also be that when young men of Islamic background experience failure and alienation they are much more readily prone to entrepreneurs of identity who offer them purpose through the jihadi ideology, which has a large overlap with what they hear at the mosque and what they see on Arabic TV.

This is simply not true for Buddhists or Confucians or Sikhs or Jews or Christians, and to pretend so, to make all religions seem equal, is to simply deny reality.
.............................

However, the Koran itself contains numerous injunctions to violent jihad and suppression of infidels. It also contains passages against violence and against compulsion in religion.

These things are to a considerable extent matters of interpretation but it is undeniable that at the very least a sizeable minority of Muslims choose an extremist interpretation.

How can Australia sensibly take account of all this while maintaining a non-discriminatory immigration program? Three obvious courses suggest themselves.

In the formal immigration program, there should be a rigid adherence to skills qualifications so that the people who come here are well educated, easily employable and speak good English.
The inflow of illegal immigrants by boat in the north, almost all Muslim, mostly unskilled, should be stopped.

Within the formal refugee and humanitarian allocation of 13,500 places a year, a legitimate stress should be placed on need but also on the ability to integrate into Australian society.

And, finally, we simply should not place immigration officers in the countries with the greatest traditions of radicalism.

A few years ago there was an informal view across government that very few visas should be issued to people from Afghanistan, Pakistan or Iraq, as these were the three likeliest sources of extremism.

These sorts of discussions take place all the time among senior officials, politicians and others. But I have never encountered a policy area in which private and public positions are so different.  

It is right to be sensitive and avoid needless offence.

It is wrong to avoid reality altogether in such an important area of national policy.

No one in Europe, 25 years ago, thought they would be in the mess they're in today.

Australia has been a successful immigration country. But the truth is not all immigrants are the same. And it may be much easier than people think to turn success into failure.
How I lost faith in multiculturalism - Greg Sheridan 

September 17, 2011

Not yet the eulogies

Christopher Hitchens still walks amongst us, but neither he, nor we, know for how much longer.  It has been enough time for the production of one more book, one more round of reviews - many an almost visceral regret for the man who will soon be lost.

Where in our landscape - in Australia - in our woefully empty public discourse, are the missing provocateurs, the clinical clear sighted public intellectuals, the academics, the polymaths, the crisply honest journalists?  Where is our Hitchens?  Of the boomer generation; or of the younger generations (pick any letter of the alphabet)?  If they're being bred in a basement of CSIRO, the program remains absolutely secret and far too slow in coming. 

Even the likes of the often charming and erudite Phillip Adams (he too will pass soon enough), uses his mind and significant skills for nothing more than pale regurgitation of well worn ideologically-based assertions. Richard Neville?  Vanished; perhaps off somewhere provoking his suburban neighbors.

We have no one of the calibre or likes of Hitchens, yet we are in desperate need of many dozens like him; to restore seriousness, complexity and precision to our political and social landscape, which is currently dominated and sodden with the limp, the weak, the banal.
Hitchens is the kind of writer who quite deliberately uses words like evil, and wicked, and shameful, and sinister. He reclaims these words from the religious; he deploys them in a robustly humanist way that maximises their meaning and weight. When Hitchens is standing up for a violated or threatened principle, he can attain a rhetorical white heat that no one else writing today can match.

What places him beyond Left and Right is his readiness to apply his moral anger across the board. Orthodox leftists, and indeed orthodox conservatives, exercise their senses of outrage more selectively. But Hitchens has no time for sniggering relativism. In 1989, when the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued his fatwa against Salman Rushdie, Hitchens unequivocally took the side of the condemned novelist. He treated the death-dealing holy man with no more respect than he would later extend to Kissinger. If more flexible progressives, such as John le Carre, preferred to discuss the nuances and grey areas of Rushdie's death sentence, we should hesitate to conclude that this made them more enlightened than Hitchens. Perhaps this was Hitchens's first brush with an emerging pseudo-Left, identifiable by its tendency to retreat into sophistry when confronted by the topic of Islamic extremism.
...............................

He travels to Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran, whose regime he abhors not because it is an official enemy of the US but because it is an enemy of its own people. He traces the "wretched . . . counter-evolution" of Pakistan, a place where women can be sentenced to be raped . . . if even a rumour of their immodesty brings shame on their menfolk" and where "moral courage consists of the willingness to butcher your own daughter".

Nor is Hitchens worried solely about extremists of the Islamic stripe. He travels to Uganda, where the Christian death squads of Joseph Kony employ child soldiers as young as nine. He goes to Venezuela, where the increasingly erratic Hugo Chavez is getting "very close to the climactic moment when he will announce that he is a poached egg". In North Korea he sees people drinking from the sewer and notes that the average North Korean is now, because of malnutrition, 15cm shorter than the average South Korean.

In his book reviews, which occupy a good half of this volume, Hitchens frequently has call to revisit the totalitarianism of the past. Reviewing the wartime Diaries of the German Jew Victor Klemperer, he plucks out an "appallingly eloquent" illustration of Nazi cruelty: Klemperer, having been progressively stripped of all his other rights and dignities, is eventually denied the right to own a pet and must send off his beloved cat to be put down. Elsewhere, Hitchens analyses Hitler's increasingly psychopathic conduct near the war's end, by which time he had become a "howling nihilist . . . [who] didn't care if nobody outlived him". Again the word nihilist: the essays in this book merge into a compelling argument that all the various forms of zealotry, beyond a certain point of madness, begin to resemble one another, no matter what ideology they nominally embody.
............................... 

You can see, right there, why some in today's Left resent Hitchens so extravagantly. Such people are comfortable enough telling you what they are against: Bush, Tony Blair, the so-called war on terror. But they're considerably less audible about what aspects of civilised society, if any, they might theoretically be prepared to fight for, let alone kill for. Hitchens, on the other hand, is grown-up enough to acknowledge that history contains unpalatable lessons and he has the moral honesty to try to get to grips with them. He's ready to say that there is such a thing as civilisation, which must be prepared to use violence to defend its way of life against the kind of people for whom violence is a way of life.
Hitchens must also be given our gratitude for calling out the obvious, and placing in print, this assessment of Martin Amis:  "he goes on to "set down a judgment I would once have thought unutterable": he accuses Amis of a "want of wit" that "compromises his seriousness".

Let's not miss him too much just yet, there will be endless time for that ... 

There's just one Hitch 

Christopher Hitchens - a man of his words

Arguably - By Christopher Hitchens

September 16, 2011

September 15, 2011

Lush: tender and juicy, luxuriant vegetation; from old French lasche loose, slack

Bang goes the Lush gift baskets ... and they smell so purdy! 

In truth, over-priced goop, but fun, and yes, very girly.  It's a seriously first world problem deciding how long one should boycott their dumb arses. 

Guest post from Geoffff (fast becoming our 'protest guy on the spot'):

Lush is one of those smug supercilious private British companies that love to bathe in a self righteous glow about "Green" issues but they crossed the human rights line in the UK with this nasty pro-BDS song. 

Lush makes huge profits out of selling up market hand made cosmetics and soaps. No doubt some of the customers are men buying products for wives and girlfriends, most likely under direct orders, but the market unmistakably is female.  

Here are the ghastly lyrics of that song they are pushing (1% of Lush's revenue goes to this wing of the BDS campaign):

So many years of catastrophe, more than six million refugees,
it could be you and your family,
Forced from your home and your history.

We are the people, and this is our time,
Stand up, sing out, for Palestine
No matter your faith or community, this is a crime against humanity,
Gaza turned into a prison camp, apartheid wall divides the West Bank.

We’ll break down the wall, Freedom for Palestine
Demand Justice for all, Freedom For Palestine
Enough illegal occupation, violence and racial segregation, all religious communities unite.

Freedom is a human right,
We are the people, and this is our time,
Stand up, sing out, for Palestine,
We’ll break down the wall, Freedom for Palestine
Demand Justice for all, Freedom For Palestine.

(Some incoherent rapping)
We are the people, and this is our time,
Stand up, sing out, for Palestine,
We’ll break down the wall, Freedom for Palestine
Demand Justice for all, Freedom For Palestine(repeat X5)
We are the people, this is our time, unite together, for justice in Palestine.

Freedom for Palestine indeed.

The Israelis are to be enslaved forever for the crime against humanity of not all being Muslims in their own homeland. The Palestinians are to be left in the grip of a regime that has thrown political opponents from their office windows and murdered their children in their schools as political tactics.

They call this a human rights campaign.

BDS is an antisemitic campaign pure and simple and it should shame everyone who has anything to do with it.

It has however focused attention on an important point.

The solution to the Arab/Israel "dispute" is two states. An Arab state and a Jewish state. Simple. Problem solved.This has been obvious since 1917. There has been a Jewish state for over sixty years and it is one of the most successful nations on the planet.

Why do they not accept it? Why do the "friends" of Palestine refuse to ask their "friends" why they will not accept the Jewish state in return for their own state? Instead they march in an openly antisemitic campaign to tear down Israel and the Jews.

It's a fair question to ask the BDS campaigners. Why not accept the Jewish state? Of all the states in the world why is Israel to be torn down and all its citizens disenfranchised?

Those looking for moral certainties in this old and ugly game will find them in the answer to that question.

Recently Lush got it's smug fingers burnt in Canada where it was pointed that the greenwashing multinational corporation does substantial business in Saudi Arabia.

Lush Australia has sought to distance itself from the BDS campaign but it is a private company, so when they boast back home about funding antisemitic propaganda with a 1% levy, consumers everywhere should know this.

These businesses operate through networks of private franchises, licensees and suppliers and the Name is everything.  These are products directed at young women. But do feminists and "human rights" activists care about rights for women outside their own environments let alone outside the West?

Maybe the smug preachy people behind this company need a lesson in modern business. Same with BDS. BDS is a global campaign of course but it is just as easy to respond globally.

The next time the BDS thugs are trying to bully people in the streets around Max Brenner maybe someone should quietly be asking an obvious question outside Lush.



Women handing out information leaflets outside Lush while wearing burqas.  

Sheer genius.

(Their point was well made, with women leaving the store being responsive - and surprised over with whom Lush chooses to do business, as opposed to whom they protest against.   Clearly not a lot of thinking going on either side of the mushy hemisphere in the decision-making realms at the top of Lush. 

The Lush defense for doing business in Saudi Arabia:  they don't have free speech in that part of the world ... or something along those lines. 

 Err ... so it doesn't matter, apparently, and neither do women in those misogynist countries.  Editor)

September 14, 2011

Wednesday Wisdom

Language most shows a man; speak that I may see thee.

Ben Jonson

September 10, 2011

Not for Sale: Privacy, Anonymity and Pseudonyms

Facebook set the standard for demanding that people use a real name (or at least a name that sounded real) on the web, just as Apple set the standard for taking people out of the web and into the Apple silo - which, in case you never paid attention, is not on the www - a standard that Facebook later copied.

Now Google wants people to use their real names, or at least one identity.  They want to hold people "sort of" accountable.  Crap!  They want to be able to mine and link your data in an ever richer manner, which, out here in the real world, would require use of a single name, not a real one ... not that people should be compelled to adhere to a single identity on the web, no matter how much that would suit the Google business plan.
As for Eric Schmidt's comments on people doing the right thing under their real name, he said: "If you bother to dive into research and the evidence, people have been saying dumb stuff and smart stuff both under their real name and under pseudonyms for a bloody long time on the internet. And Eric Scmidt, or whoever the CEO is now, Larry Page, knows that for sure. It's such a disingenuous statement.

"Google are gathering data because it's good for them to have that data. Not for any other reason. They've essentially dropped the 'do no evil' to 'do no deliberately obvious evil'."
Though Google might be leaning towards being more evil according to Collins, it appears to be open about admitting the additional reasons as to why they are collecting real names.
"So if we knew that it was a real person, then we could sort of hold them accountable, we could check them, we could give them things, we could you know bill them, you know we could have credit cards and so forth and so on, there are all sorts of reasons," Google's Eric Schmidt said at a recent gathering.
Google has no moral authority to hold web users accountable - for anything.  It is not the role of Google to impose moral standards, most especially not when their real reason (a legitimate business aspiration) is unsubtly tucked away in a dingy dark corner.  It's not just doing evil, it's doing stupid.

We're not that dumb guys. 

Death of anonymity online

September 9, 2011

September 8, 2011

The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra

Guest post from Geoffff - last week chocolate protests, this week orchestras ... maybe next week we could have some wine?



It is now a week since that most strange and offensive insult and even in a world full of outrages, it may well endure as an image, even though it killed nobody, for its sheer audacity. It is certainly worth a second visit ,even if the news cycle is so short, saturated and amnesic, and the world is right now deeply pondering another event ten years earlier. Perhaps because of that we should also think about what happened in London last week.


I am talking of course of this attack on a performance by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra at Prom 62 at the Royal Albert Hall.

The video shows all the incidents and is about five minutes long. Watch as much as you can stomach but you will get the general idea quickly.

The IPO is among the very finest classical music orchestras in all of history and has been since it was founded. Among the finest musicians in modern times have been associated with it from the start; well before the state of Israel was finally established. Anybody who has any interest in this form of music knows this.

It is also a breathing  testament to the human spirit, priceless beyond all earthly wealth, more moving than any memorial. . To repeat part of that remarkable Times editorial :  
"The IPO was founded in 1936 to assemble the talents of Jewish musicians from Europe who had lost their livelihoods under Nazi persecution. Its work testifies not to Israeli politics but to Israeli culture, the remarkable Jewish contribution to music, the role of cultural contact in defusing conflict, and the power of music itself."
This  is an outrage because it is was another calculated attack on the symbols of culture and humanity and especially because of what motivated the attack. Jews are at the core of this so to attack the Jews they must attack the culture. Classical music is a good thing about us. I don't know for sure but I would  take the bet the only young Arab classical musicians in all the Middle East have been supported by the IPO. Hardly a big claim.

Israel is a good thing about the Middle East and the IPO is a good thing about the world. When Hezbollah or Hamas get up an orchestra to perform at the Proms then that will be a good development for humankind. Better still if it was from Iran.

So here is a brief interlude in honour of the IPO

Here's the Young IPO with Beethoven's Sixth

Here's the cello section with the Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations 1/2

Finally, the 1812 Overture with real cannon.

Those who would stand in a famous music hall and try to tear down an orchestra because they want to tear down Israel and the Jews, and those who support them, must know exactly what they are doing. This is only the start of what they say they want to do. Music and the arts are just the beginning; like the last time.  The very suggestion they do this because it is about anybody's human rights at all is the insult of the bully.

September 7, 2011

Dumbing down project finally concluded

Walmart Checkout Sign

Wednesday Wisdom

Total abstinence is easier than perfect moderation. 

St Augustine

September 6, 2011

Steve Jobs: hold the canonisation


The super rich aren't obligated to give their money away; it might be a social and ethical expectation - to those who have much, much is expected - but it's not enforceable, nor are there any sanctions for those who fail to meet a rudimentary standard of generosity of spirit and cold hard cash.

Sure, there might be the odd whisper, or the odd article offering up public questions, but that's not a moral judgment that will penetrate the cloistered walls of the lives of the very rich.

Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, and designer and PR superstar, is worth about $9 billion, and is generally acknowledged for lacking the philanthropic gene.  Indeed, when he returned to Apple in 1997, he abolished all of the company's philanthropic activities.  Not keen on giving away his own money, Jobs didn't even want his publicly listed company to build social capital or good will via the well worn path of good deeds.

Sure, charity is a diversion from designing ever thinner mobile devices, but does it really take all the hours of every day to invent large, small and middle-sized versions of the same thing?  Does it really take all one's energy - and that of all employees - to negotiate contracts with skim-off-all-the-cream margins in favor of Apple?

Jobs has a wife, one son, and two daughters.  He denied that his first daughter was his, claimed he was sterile, until paternity tests proved otherwise, and, we assume, some dollars were eventually contributed to her upbringing.  There's something horribly weaselly about a man whose response to the birth of a baby - and wishing to shirk financial and emotional responsibility - is to promptly squawk that he's shooting blanks.  It's also dumb.  Fertility, like fatherhood, can be tested in a laboratory.
In 2006, in a scathing column in Wired, Leander Kahney, author of Inside Steve's Brain, wrote: ''Yes, he has great charisma and his presentations are good theatre. But his absence from public discourse makes him a cipher. People project their values onto him, and he skates away from the responsibilities that come with great wealth and power.''
Jobs is unperturbed, and unimaginative about his singular focus:
He told The Wall Street Journal in 1993: ''Going to bed at night saying we've done something wonderful … that's what matters to me.''
It's moot to ponder the extent of the wonderfulness of "i" everything.  Apple products are nice.  Apple worshippers believe, incorrectly, that buying an Apple product confers something magical - something more magical that some other product that does the same thing.  It's just a thing.  It doesn't have powers.  Every Apple product, just like other brands, becomes obsolete with remarkable speed. 

It should probably not surprise that Bono - of U2 and tax avoidance fame, not to mention global ambassador for asking governments for money, but not giving his own - quickly jumped to defend Jobs, following publication of the mildly critical article in The New York Times.  The piece is more quizzical than damning, and while offering no answers, it raises intriguing questions about the Jobs' personal values, his - perhaps overly Messianic - belief in himself and his technological legacy and what it is, exactly, he thinks he is leaving behind, what worldly contribution, what lasting change he believes has bequeathed.  Not that he's obliged to leave anything of value to anyone other than his family.  Clearly he thinks, as do others, that his existential contribution to the world is something "wonderful", as opposed to a mere suite of products that break easily when dropped and smear instantly when used.
“I’m proud to know him,” Bono wrote about Jobs. “He’s a poetic fellow, an artist and a businessman. Just because he’s been extremely busy, that doesn’t mean that he and his wife, Laurene, haven’t been thinking about these things.”
That would be a long and private think.

Not wishing to be indelicate about it, but there's not much time left for Jobs to think about "these things" or any other things. 

It might be that Jobs will leave it to his wife and children to dispense his wealth to good causes, or some might be named beneficiaries when he leaves this mortal coil.  Perhaps he didn't want to sully himself with having to choose the most worthy causes, or didn't want anything to detract from his business contribution - nothing at all, not even charity.  Yes, it's still possible he will give, but wants to do so when he's gone, and doesn't have to discuss or justify his choices or amounts given.  Fair enough; that's understandable.  Time will tell. 

Meanwhile, there remains something strikingly vain about a man who is amongst the super-rich who can't bring himself to give, even modestly and quietly, in his own lifetime.

In five years, the "i" devices will have moved on or been replaced.  Wonderful will have proven to be more fleeting than Jobs imagines.  

For Steve Jobs - charity not in the realm of "something wonderful"

Bono - not big on paying taxes or donating his own money, defends Steve Jobs

September 5, 2011

Salvation Army Helps Self First


So as not to offend their regular hosts - clubs with lots of slot machines - the Salvation Army has come out in opposition to the government's proposed mandatory pre-commitment plan, which is aimed at reducing the the social damage of problem gambling. 

You'd think that drinkers and problem gamblers are a major source of work - cleaning up the damage - for the Salvo's, and that any steps to reduce the number of constituents would be viewed, by them, as an excellent thing.

Not so.

Must protect their patch, and the tens of millions of dollars in government funding that comes with it.

Must also, oddly enough, protect - first and foremost - their happy relationship with clubs, so as to be able to clomp through with their donation tins on a regular basis, collecting from ... well, gamblers down to their last dollars and drinkers intent on doing maximum damage to their livers.
Salvos spokesman Glenn Whittaker said the organisation did want to keep its good relationship with the clubs movement but maintained the group "would stand firm on our beliefs".
And what an ugly set of beliefs they have been revealed to be.

Salvation Army pulls support for pokies cap