pathology_doc: Ginny Weasley (film) clutching Riddle's diary: Ginny/Horcrux OTP (Default)
ELECTRIC cars could produce higher emissions over their lifetimes than petrol equivalents because of the energy consumed in making their batteries, a study has found.

Why am I not surprised? Rule One of Greens and technology - the first has no comprehension of the limitations (or the power) of the second.

An electric car owner would have to drive at least 129,000km before producing a net saving in CO2. Many electric cars will not travel that far in their lifetime because they typically have a range of less than 145km on a single charge and are unsuitable for long trips. Even those driven 160,000km would save only about a tonne of CO2 over their lifetimes.

129km a day over three years, or shorter drives over a longer time, would just about do it, but there's that annoying range limitation. Electrical energy is very difficult to store 'densely' - petrol is several orders of magnitude more efficient, and far quicker to recharge. I hear the recharge time for an electric is absurdly long (twenty to thirty minutes), totally unsuitable for long-distance driving. You'd be sitting idle for one hour out of three!

The British study, which is the first analysis of the full lifetime emissions of electric cars covering manufacturing, driving and disposal, undermines the case for tackling climate change by the rapid introduction of electric cars.

Assuming that the case for anthropogenic dominance is correct, which I am firmly convinced - given previous ice ages and warm cycles - that it is not. It may be an answer (or part thereof) to a separate and unarguable problem: the finite nature of hydrocarbon reserves at present rates of consumption. This presupposes that one has a significant reserve of non-fossil electrical power which can be relied upon for charging purposes (and yes, I am talking nuclear).

The Committee on Climate Change, the UK government watchdog, has called for the number of electric cars on Britain's roads to increase from a few hundred now to 1.7 million by 2020.

Pointless chasing after numbers plucked out of the air - the worst kind of government policy. This brings me back to what I said at the start, which is that starry-eyed environmentally-deluded bureaucrats (envirocrats???) simply don't understand how to develop or deliver technology.

Britain's Department for Transport is spending $66 million over the next year giving up to 8,600 buyers of electric cars a grant of $7700 towards the purchase price. Ministers are considering extending the scheme.

The DoT would do far better to spend the money ensuring that recharging infrastructure is in place, and that research funds are given for technology development to make that recharging fast (more in the order of three to five minutes) and safe (large currents have a tendency to cause fires if not properly controlled).

The study was commissioned by the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership, which is jointly funded by the British government and the car industry. It found that a mid-size electric car would produce 23.1 tonnes of CO2 over its lifetime, compared with 24 tonnes for a similar petrol car. Emissions from manufacturing electric cars are at least 50 per cent higher because batteries are made from materials such as lithium, copper and refined silicon, which require much energy to be processed.

Provided you can get that energy from nuclear or other such sources, the cost to your precious CO2 balance is a lot less, but it does highlight that these fucking morons are seeing everything in terms of CO2 emissions and not even looking at the fossil fuel conservation aspect.

Many electric cars are expected to need a replacement battery after a few years. Once the emissions from producing the second battery are added in, the total CO2 from producing an electric car rises to 12.6 tonnes, compared with 5.6 tonnes for a petrol car. Disposal also produces double the emissions because of the energy consumed in recovering and recycling metals in the battery. The study also took into account carbon emitted to generate the grid electricity consumed.

Again, the way to solve this is to do what France has done - or to develop more esoteric things like tidal and ocean-thermal, which are not sunlight and atmosphere dependent for their power source. There will always be tides, and there will always be a cold deep ocean beneath the warm upper surface. Temperature gradient = energy.

Greg Archer, director of Low CVP, said the industry should state the full lifecycle emissions of cars rather than just tailpipe emissions, to avoid misleading consumers. He said that drivers wanting to minimise emissions could be better off buying a small, efficient petrol or diesel car. “People have to match the technology to their particular needs,” he said.

The Times

I think Mr Archer is right - the whole "no carbon emissions" sales pitch is excellent for dragging in rich Greenbots with more money and desire for penitence than common sense (or understanding of anything even remotely resembling "science"), but there would appear to be hidden costs. Now those costs might be mitigated by a careful nationwide consideration of technology requirements, but without a lot of expensive research (and, I am happy to admit, road time) that range and time limitation is not going to go away - and there's going to be a glut of shiny new one-owner electric cars on the market, going cheap.

Lord I'm one, Lord I'm... shit, not even two hundred miles from home. Time for a recharge already? On a bright note, here's an excuse for Tim Horton's to put a store up every 150km on the Trans-Canada Highway with squillions of outdoor powerpoints.

"How do you take your coffee, sir?"

"With 1.21 GIGAWATTS, my son!"
pathology_doc: Ginny Weasley (film) clutching Riddle's diary: Ginny/Horcrux OTP (Default)
WAYNE Swan will today move to reinvigorate the government's carbon tax sales pitch, unveiling Treasury modelling that predicts Australia's income will be $8000 a person higher by 2020, even with a $20 a tonne carbon price.

The Treasurer - in a major speech aimed at boosting the government's carbon tax plans and cutting down Tony Abbott's cost-of-living attacks - will release modelling that shows average annual growth in real national income per capita will be 1.1 per cent until 2050.

Modelling is only as accurate as the assumptions you feed into it. This government has made a botch job of everything since it's been elected, and hasn't even managed to deliver a surplus budget yet. This despite declaring, three years ago, its intent to keep the budget "in average surplus over the cycle."

The Treasurer will declare that national income will continue to increase under a carbon tax, telling the National Press Club: "This means a carbon price will only reduce growth in GNP per person by about one-tenth of one percentage point."

Carried by the mining sector and what's left of the manufacturing sector until both become uncompetitive, and maybe by the farming sector if the impact of this tax doesn't drive it to the wall.

The Treasurer will argue that carbon pricing is "the next crucial frontier" in economic reform, likening it to the abolition of tariffs and the introduction of compulsory superannuation.

Oh, so THAT'S what it's about. When things like this are said, I really have to doubt whether it's about saving the planet at all - or whether it ever was.

Arguing that as Treasurer, "I refuse to let this country become an old-world, high-polluting, technological backwater", Mr Swan will release the modelling showing real national income per capita will be 16 per cent higher than current levels by 2020, an increase of more than $8000.

This government has had since late 2007 to begin an extensive, integrated program of constructing every "renewable energy" option known to humanity, not to mention the option Britain is currently going for in order to slash CO2 emissions - nuclear power. What we should have seen is something on the scale of the Snowy Mountains hydroelectric scheme (look it up). What we've got is... nothing like that.

By 2050, the increase is about 56 per cent, more than $30,000.

So unrealistic as to be unbelievable. This is a carrot dangled before the people they have browbeaten into fear and ignorance - a great big money carrot. It's a political bribe with no hope of realisation; because if they get it wrong (as they have got everything else wrong), just how much will thirty thousand Weimar Deutschmarks Australian dollars buy in 2050?

"That's before you take into account the long-term benefits of carbon pricing - like protecting tourism icons such as the Great Barrier Reef or Kakadu, or the agricultural wealth of the Murray-Darling Basin," Mr Swan will say.

No point in protecting the Murray-Darling basin if you're going to bankrupt half the bloody farming sector!! As for the Reef or Kakadu - sorry, but service industries like tourism just DO NOT MAKE THAT MUCH MONEY. And much of that tourism is international tourism, which (funnily enough) creates heaps more of those "carbon emissions" Mr Swan and his fellow-travellers want to see reduced!

Although the numbers to be unveiled by Mr Swan relate to a carbon price of $20 a tonne, it is understood Treasury has modelled a range of figures and that the government is yet to make a final decision on the starting price.

A painless foot in the door - or wedge in the castle wall - that can be ramped up and up and up without the need to consult Parliament, is what I'm predicting. Our only hope, funnily enough, may be the rampant lunacy of the Greens - who (as with the ETS) will not come to the party unless the starting figure is set ruinously high, even for those who believe in this mad scheme.

Mr Swan's speech comes as the government's multi-party climate change committee enters its final weeks of deliberations on the shape of the carbon pricing package and before the imminent release of a Productivity Commission report into relative carbon prices overseas.

A sensible treasurer waits until after his Productivity Commission reports back, before shooting off his mouth. If the PC report sinks what he says, it will probably be quietly buried. Watch this space.

The modelling will show renewable energy is expected to soar under a carbon price. Renewable electricity sector generation (excluding hydro-electric power) is projected to be 1700 per cent larger by 2050.

WHAT? Just how the hell are they going to build all that with the manufacturing sector crippled by the penalty it needs to pay for the CO2 that is generated in the course of manufacturing the technology, IF it's built here, and the national debt spiralling into unheard-of depths if it's bought off the shelf? Note the exclusion of hydroelectric power - this is the price of political union with the Greens, to whom it is as much anathema as is nuclear, and who will have a large balance of power in the Senate in less than four weeks. I fear for my country.

Declaring that placing a price on carbon pollution is the "most cost-effective way to decouple economic growth from emissions growth", Mr Swan will confront the opposition's campaign against the carbon tax, arguing that "most of our most important reforms were once described as a potential disaster for our economy".

Oh, it will decouple it alright. Economic growth will go into a death-spiral while emissions will continue to rise, because there is no hope in hell they can provide enough solar and wind to run the country (especially with all the people they're letting in - they expect to have an extra ten million by then) and they will have to fall back on coal and gas. It's either that, or go nuclear.

"But in time they reaped big dividends for the country, helping secure two decades of uninterrupted economic growth," he will say.

This is NOT the same thing, and they bloody well know it's not. The other economic reforms of which they speak did not cut to the fundamental heart of the thing which makes our civilisation what it is - electrical power. Strangle electricity and you strangle civilisation - it's that simple. Most of the people who are publicly in favour of this are wealthy enough to keep their heads above water without affecting their standard of living. "Bugger the rest of you, I'm all right thanks, Jack." Well I'm certainly all right, but I know quite a few people who are NOT going to be, and I don't want to see them "buggered". Sure, they're going to give a lot of it back as "compensation", but how do you "compensate" a pensioner who dies of heat-stroke because they know their "compensation" cheque won't arrive in time to pay the electricity bill, and elect not to use the air conditioner in high summer (40-plus degrees CELSIUS for days on end)? I'm not kidding - this happens EVERY FUCKING YEAR in Australia, to the point where emergency departments trot out treatment protocols, and it's only going to happen more often now.

The Treasurer will argue that tax reform opened up opportunities for businesses to take advantage of China's boom and that the superannuation guarantee had achieved a rise in national savings and retirement incomes, setting a platform for dealing with the global financial crisis and the pressures of an ageing population.

I'll say it again - THIS IS NOT THE SAME THING. Also, Swan's and Rudd's way of dealing with the GFC was to play class politics and shove money into the pockets of people who spent it on foreign goods when they spent it at all, preferring in many cases to do the sensible thing and clear some of their debts - something neither Swan nor Rudd seems to understand is a good idea.

"The Liberal Party knows direct-action policies cannot entrench fundamental economic and behavioural changes, but they don't care," Mr Swan will say.

For "behavioural changes" read "we will make electricity so fucking expensive that candles will be a gateway drug to dynamo-powered torches."

In Sydney yesterday, Tony Abbott moved to exploit a Galaxy poll showing 73 per cent of voters believed they would take a hip-pocket hit from the carbon tax, 58 per cent opposed the move and 64 per cent believed Julia Gillard should call an early election to seek a mandate to introduce it.

And rightly he should, because the people polled at least, and possibly the population of which they are claimed to be representative, are fucking furious that the PM swore up and down upon every little hair on her head that she would NOT do what she is doing now, and that any attempt by Tony Abbott to claim that she would was "fearmongering."

I guess that makes it a fully justified fear, then.

"It is pretty obvious a lot of people in our community feel badly ripped off by this government. In particular, they feel badly ripped off by this government's attempt to sneak a carbon tax through a parliament that has no mandate for it," the Opposition Leader said.

This, I believe, is correct. Trouble is, Gillard knew that a Carbon Tax would sink her at the last election: she BARELY sneaked through, and that only with the help of some highly interesting fellow travellers, plus one doctrinaire fanatic whose boss (Bob Brown, the leader of the Greens) is possibly the reason she has elected/been obliged to backflip. Why? Because loss of Greens support means automatic loss of government, and a thrashing at the polls that will put Labor out on its arse for at least two terms and possibly three (which is approximately how much time it will take the Liberal/National coalition to fix the damage done).

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet cited weekend rallies in favour of carbon pricing, support from senior economists, eminent Australians and climate change adviser Ross Garnaut as evidence of support for carbon pricing.

None of these "eminent Australians" is a climate scientist or an engineer, as far as I know. That makes Mr Combet's call an appeal to authority, which is an automatic sign of a lost argument.

"I know the Galaxy poll of course is suggesting people have a considerable degree of concerns about the issue," Mr Combet said. "The government understands those concerns."

Just what the hell do we have to do to make him acknowledge what that poll is telling him? It's telling him that the Australian people think HIS PLAN SUCKS, and maybe we should prepare a plate to print that in 72-point type, affix it to a baseball bat and (metaphorically) apply it to his head over and over again until he gets the message.

He said Mr Abbott's claims were "absurd, unsubstantiated and ridiculous".

Oh - does he mean like the claim that Mr Abbott made before the election - you know, that the Labor Government would introduce a carbon tax if it got back into office? If that's "absurd, unsubstantiated and ridiculous", I'll take Abbott over Combet (or any of these Labor/Green muppets) any day. His predecessor Penny Wong's first act as Climate Change Minister should have been to walk out of the Senate and into the Lower House chamber and slam Kevin Rudd's head repeatedly into the dais until he agreed to nuclear power, and her second act should have been to fire the bureaucrats and administrators from her department and replace them with engineers and industrial chemists. Likewise Combet with Gillard, although she's got the excuse that she's pretty much the Greens' puppet until she develops the moral backbone to do the needful, break the coalition with them and go to the polls all over again (with the grim expectation that she WILL lose).

If she does that, she should wait until after the new Greens senators take their seats and have had time to nail their colours to the mast (you will find those colours a combination of green with a strong tinge of red). Then she should ask for a double dissolution which will wipe them out and take the albatross off Labor's neck when it (one day) returns to power.

One thing is for certain - at the next election, Labor is going to take a hiding. And even if it's not a full senate election, the sitting Green members who are there now (and vulnerable at the next half-senate poll) are probably for the high jump. After that, we might get someone sane like Martin Ferguson in charge of the Labor Party - at that point, and with most of the thumb-sucking special snowflakes cleaned out, Labor might be prepared to rethink its ideological opposition to nuclear power and help the Coalition push it through over the heads of the screaming, fanatical "Greens".

Just how much in the way of hydro, tidal, ocean-thermal and nuclear power could have been bought for the $150bn worth of deficit spending the Rudd/Gillard Labor Government has done since November 2007? And how many Australians (including immigrants, refugees, etc) could have been employed on those projects? THAT is how you build national wealth and "decrease carbon emissions" along the way - not by shuffling money around and making atmospheric CO2 levels an end in themselves (if they are even an end anymore). THAT is something the Chinese and the Indians understand perfectly, which is (among other reasons) why the Chinese built the Three Gorges system and the Indians wanted to buy our uranium to feed their power reactors. Mind you, the Chinese are also building coal-fired power stations at a rate which will match Australia's entire output every YEAR - or to put it in perspective, if Australia reverted back to pre-European conditions TOMORROW and stayed that way, the "accomplishment" in "emissions reduction" would be wiped out in twelve months; certainly less than twenty-four.

pathology_doc: Ginny Weasley (film) clutching Riddle's diary: Ginny/Horcrux OTP (Default)
So why penalise them?

A TAX on power used in electric cars should be considered by Treasury, a parliamentary committee says.

An inquiry into the Government's plan to increase LPG fuel excise heard that electric cars should be treated similarly.

The committee's report said while few cars run on electricity, it is an emerging issue.

In other words, electric cars would be free to draw their energy from the power grid at large, putting them at an advantage over petrol vehicles and hybrids. Gotta tax that!

Treasury should start consulting industry "with a view to developing an excise equivalent tax for the electricity used by electric vehicles in the medium term".

"One of the key motivators behind the legislation is to reduce distortions in the fuels sector," the committee said.

The Government said it would consider the report.

With the credit card maxed out and the shopping spree by no means over, the dollar signs will be rolling in the Treasurer's head. For 'consider', I figure one should read 'jump on with obscene eagerness'.

Blade Electric Vehicle director Ross Blade said the recommendation was "breathtaking".

He's not the only one.

"I find it extraordinary to think that's being talked about now, before people have an incentive to drive (an electric car)," he said.

Way to treat an emerging "green" industry - step on it and eliminate one of the few practical incentives for ordinary Australians to get in on the ground level. Under the fucking abortion known as a "carbon tax", electricity would be expensive enough as it is without some sort of "fuel excise" being slapped on it. Is there any decision this government can make that isn't littered with incompetence from start to finish?

The recommendation comes as the heated debate on a carbon tax continues, and Australians are told to use cleaner fuels.

Prof Ross Garnaut sang the praises of electric cars in his final report into climate change this week.

"Zero emissions road vehicles now seem set to be the most promising source of abatement in the transport sector," he wrote.

So why isn't he doing his utmost to bury this obscene recommendation with a stake through its heart and its head lopped off?

Opposition members on the economics committee argued against increasing tax on gas.

The Coalition continued its attack on the carbon tax proposal yesterday, with environment spokesman Greg Hunt calling for the Government to rule out petrol being included.

Why? Because it will hurt lower-income-bracket Australians badly. You know, the blue-collar sort who used to be Labor's guaranteed constituency and who stand to lose the most from Labor's morally repugnant cosying-up to the Greens. And all the "compensation" in the world won't stop that hurt on the day-to-day level.

I want to find the people who made this recommendation, tie them into chairs, fit them with headphones, and blast the song "Greased Lightning" into their heads at maximum volume. As soon as they stop screaming in denial and start tapping their feet and singing along, we'll know its safe to let them make decisions about the future of road transport in this country.


I don't care if you're male or female, I don't care if you're a car enthusiast or not. Just watch this, and let your inner child out to play.

pathology_doc: (controversy)
Young voters silenced as they fall through electoral cracks.

Waa waa waa, rage rage rage, nasty government blah blah, oppressed young people blah blah blah.

In less than two weeks time, while the majority of Australians flock to the polls and cast their ballots, young people across the country will sit in silence, stripped of their democratic rights by our cumbersome and anachronistic electoral system.

Um... no, you're stripped of your democratic rights when a heavy with a gun or truncheon stands outside the polling booth and turns you away because of your sex or race, or because they recognised you from the Opposition electoral rally last weekend (the one which was disrupted by police violence).

Last Friday, the High Court overturned the Howard government’s 2006 changes to the Electoral Act. The amendments had resulted in the electoral roll being closed a matter of hours after the writs were issued.

I've hardened my previous stance. Shortly after dumping Rudd, PM Gillard said quite plainly and clearly that she would be going to an election in the near future. So why weren't these politically motivated youths, who now feel so shut-out, running to the AEC as fast as their legs could carry them as soon as she made that comment? Don't know about you, but that was my cue to update my enrolment. And I did so. Tell you how afterwards.

In an action brought by political advocacy group GetUp!, the court held these changes to be unconstitutional, thereby restoring the original seven day grace period in which individuals may place themselves on the roll.

As a consequence, an estimated 100,000 additional Australians, predominately youth, are now able to take part in this year’s election.

Predominantly idiots who didn't realise that one of the responsibilities of adulthood is ensuring that you are enrolled to vote.

Although this decision represents immense progress, systemic limitations in our electoral system still persist. In particular, the lack of an automatic enrolment mechanism causes widespread and ongoing disenfranchisement among Australia’s youth.

What fucking bullshit. The lack of an automatic enrolment mechanism does nothing of the sort. Disenfranchisement? That means you no longer have the right to vote. Disenfranchisement would be the ripping up of their applications and a letter in the post informing them of the same, or the absence of their names on the roll despite having put the papers in. What we have here is simply a failure of these brainless twits to place themselves on the roll the instant they turned eighteen.

Recent statistics from the Australian Electoral Commission reveal an alarmingly high proportion of eligible young people are absent from the electoral roll. At the beginning of July, over half a million people aged between 18-24 had not enrolled to vote, including one in two 18 year olds and one in three 19 year olds. Similar levels of disengagement were recorded during the 2007 election.

And who exactly is stopping them? Why weren't GetUp out there screaming their heads off as soon as Gillard replaced Rudd, that we were likely heading for a general election and it'd be good if people got out there and placed themselves on the roll? Why weren't they doing this as far back as late 2009, when a double-dissolution election was in the air? Because those "disenfranchised youths" weren't needed in view of what GetUp thought was going to be either a landslide loss (by Rudd to Abbott) or a landslide win (by Rudd over Turnbull)?

It would be easy to dismiss these figures as evidence that Australian youth are simply lazy and apathetic. Young people, however, vehemently deny this claim. Instead, they point to the high burden of the current enrolment process, which involves completing and signing a physical enrolment form and sending it to the AEC, as well as advising the commission of any changes in address.

The high burden of what? Filling out a form and mailing a fucking letter? Pig's arse. If you're going to whine about that, you fucking don't deserve the bloody vote. I don't see them whining about the effort they have to go through to get their bloody fucking drivers' licences!!!

This requirement of material postage constitutes a barrier to the political participation of today’s youth - a generation which has grown up relying on new technologies such as mobile phones and the internet. Similarly, the obligation to inform the AEC of residential movements weighs heavily upon young people, many of whom move states following secondary school, leave the family home for the first time, or shift between rental accommodations.

Oh, Christ on a fucking cracker. Now you're going to blame the internet and mobile phones? Typical namby-pamby soft-Left bullshit - blame everything but yourself; push the locus of control outward; show how pathetic and helpless you are. Half the problem is that probably none of these kids has even written a fucking letter in their lives. Do schools still teach that? It wouldn't surprise me to know they didn't. If you're too hopeless to fill out a form and shove it in a pre-addressed, postage-paid envelope, are you actually competent to vote?

Furthermore, given Australia’s status as the only English-speaking country in the world with enforced compulsory voting, many young people assume they are automatically placed on the electoral roll when they turn 18. The lack of adequate education concerning the enrolment process serves to perpetuate such misunderstandings.

I repeat my comments about GetUp dropping the ball in the shadow of the threatened double dissolution election in late '09.

Here it is for the masses: No, you are NOT automatically placed on the roll when you turn eighteen.

Why not? Because this is not Hogwarts, where a magical quill writes your name in the book when you're born, for the offer of a place to go out when you're eleven. Because the AEC is not Big Brother; is not watching you; and does not necessarily know where you are in order to put you on the roll. And if it were, you'd probably be screaming about the invasion of your privacy and the degree to which everyone knows everything about you, blah blah blah.

In light of this, it has been suggested that a system of automatic enrolment should be introduced. This proposal was put to the government by the AEC itself in 2007, was a recommendation arising from the Australia 2020 Youth Summit in 2008, and is a key policy of the Greens in the impending election.

Despite this, Labor did nothing in the three years intervening since the AEC proposal and nothing since the Youth Summit, and the Greens as much as GetUp must own part of the failure to warn the unenrolled that they should pull their fingers out and do something about it.

Under such a model, voters would be automatically entered onto the electoral roll as soon as they are eligible. The information required to do this would flow from Medicare, Centrelink, Australia Post, state education offices, driving license registration centres or other government departments. Additionally, a capacity for automatic updating may also exist, eliminating the need to declare variations in address.

If we're going to do that, we should link to the Department of Immigration too. Just to make sure the person who is being enrolled is actually an Australian citizen.

Interestingly, the AEC has operated a Continuous Roll Update process since 1999, which allows information obtained from various government agencies to be used to strike individuals from the electoral roll. Utilising the same resources to add and update people on the roll seems to be the reasonable next step.

The only reason you are struck from the roll AFAIK is when you are dead. In that case you MUST come off, lest someone use your name.

Both New South Wales and Victoria have now adopted systems of automatic enrolment for state elections. Such a mechanism is employed nationally in Canada, and is common throughout countries in Europe.

Such a system relies on centralised government data-sharing that a lot of left-wing groups find uncomfortable. So do I, and I'm not exactly a leftie. No, if you're going to go on the rolls it should be through YOUR writing and YOUR signature on a paper form that can't be faked by a bot or malware, and the Electoral Commission computers containing the rolls should be independent of all others. By law. Inefficient? Yes. But also somewhat more secure.

As we move towards 21 August, we must also consider the future of our democracy and the ways in which we might improve it. Moreover, as this Thursday marks the beginning of the International Year of Youth, it is more important than ever to focus on empowering the young people who will shape our nation’s future.

I don't want the future of my nation shaped by some dimwitted fuckhead who couldn't be bothered to watch the news, sniff an election in the air and IMMEDIATELY ensure that his or her enrolment details were up to date; or who found themselves incapable of filling out a form, putting it in an envelope (postage-paid, IIRC) and shoving it in a mailbox. Such persons don't seem like the sorts of people who should be given the right to 'shape the nation's future' even if their apparent terminal helplessness didn't stop them from doing so.

Implementing automatic enrolment on a federal level is not only logical, it is necessary. Doing so would ensure the integrity of our elections, facilitate the enfranchisement of our youth, and strengthen our democracy.

These youth ARE NOT DISENFRANCHISED. They are just lazy and ignorant. Not very long after Gillard hinted that she would be going to the polls sooner rather than later, I filled out a form (one page, if that), put it in a pre-addressed, post-paid envelope that the Electoral Commission had provided me, walked down to the post-box and shoved it in. It was that easy. Don't fucking try to tell me that an eighteen year old who has just completed twelve years of compulsory schooling, and who has probably gone through far more bureaucratic hoops to get a driver's licence or even a library card, is not capable of doing the same thing.
pathology_doc: (controversy)
On a mountain halfway between Reno and Rome
There sits a machine in a plexiglas dome
Which listens and looks into everyone's home...

So went the tale in Dr Seuss' "Sleep Book", but at least his machine was limited in its output - every time someone went to sleep, it would drop a ball into a cup to be counted by a human.

Now we have the Smart Meter, which will sit in your power-box and enable the energy companies to control how much power you get:

VICTORIANS hit with soaring electricity bills could have their power rationed under a smart meter plan.

Some companies want to "choke" or restrict amounts delivered to homes to help families cope with costs.

Victorians' electricity bills have surged in the past two years, racing ahead of inflation.

Meanwhile, NOT ONE BIT of 24/7 baseload power has been introduced into the grid. Just what are these people paying for?

New meters that are being rolled out to every household and small business can ration power to control debt for individual customers.

Or to make life uncomfortable for one's critics. Especially if the Labor government is re-elected and introduces a global internet filter. Don't like what someone's saying online? Brown out their power, wreck their laptop, diminish their ability to cook and clean and wash...

An Essential Services Commission review reveals retailers are expected to push for contracts that can cap consumption as a "credit management tool" once all the meters are in place.

Consumer Action Law Centre energy spokeswoman Janine Rayner said the development was "dangerous territory with all sorts of social, health and safety implications" that should be outlawed. "The electricity market is complex, and consumers don't understand how much power they are using and the different energy loads for different appliances," she said.

Damn right. The potential for abuse is incredible.

Limiting kilowatts used or getting consumers to agree to a maximum dollar use could cause a spike in unintended cut-offs, curbs on heating and cooking, and appliance damage, she warned.

ESC spokesman Gavin Clancy confirmed a recent draft ruling had paved the way for "supply capacity control" products to be used with consent. But for customers in a hardship program, such restrictions could not be offered until at least December 31, 2013.

This Labor policy of offering something that doesn't start until beyond the next election is a fairly common one. It means you have to keep voting them in if you want them to perform action X. Sort of like a battered-wife situation, really.

Smart meter specialist Silver Spring Networks has told the ESC that choking power "will be of considerable advantage" to customers in financial difficulties.

"They will be able to choose to reduce their consumption as a credit management tool," a submission summary notes.

"This would allow, for example, sufficient power to be provided at a premises to run a few lights and the fridge only ... either as an alternative to disconnection or as an additional step prior to disconnection."

Pity if grandma is visiting and has a portable oxygen generator or CPAP machine... or is high-quad and on a ventilator... or needs a powered wheelchair recharged.

The ESC said: "Low-income customers may benefit from these products, but the commission is concerned that there is insufficient detail of how these products may be offered to customers ... "

A decision is due next month.

The meters are being installed over three years.

Hopefully by then the Victorian State Labor Government will be history, and so will this insane plan. I wouldn't mind a "prepaid" system (like the old gasmeters), so long as control on the device was local only, but the thought that someone could reach out from a control centre somewhere and cut my power when I might need it for a life-and-death situation is damn scary. What's more, I can easily see the Federal Labor Party adopting this.

Whatever you do, don't vote Labor and don't vote Greens. If you do, this is the nightmare you're voting for.
pathology_doc: Ginny Weasley (film) clutching Riddle's diary: Ginny/Horcrux OTP (Default)
High Court decision could change election result. Basically the argument was that the current rules made the electoral roll close too early after the election was called. I've blogged about this before, and it turns out that the rule-change was made by the previous government. Again, I'm of mixed feelings. On the one hand, one should have more than just one working day to get one's papers in to enrol. On the other hand, enrolling to vote is one of those things which any sane person of the appropriate age should be responsible enough to do of their own accord.

It's been obvious since Julia Gillard deposed Kevin Rudd that we'd be going to the polls in the near future. That should have been a tipoff to the unenrolled to pull their fingers out and get the job done.

So while I'm pleased that this case has been brought and won, I despise the snotty little twentysomethings who brought it. They're intelligent enough to bring and win their case, but somehow not intelligent enough to read the political scene and ensure they were registered. One of them is twenty three years old, which means he should have been enrolled at the last federal election. I know I got a reminder (sent to my current address) to change my enrolment address (at my previous address) weeks before this election was called. So why did someone who should have been on the rolls for the last five years miss out?

Negligence and political blindness. Either that or deliberate failure to register on the part of an activist who planned to make a fight of it. You decide.

2. Bungling the education revolution: The facts are inescapable: the BER, particularly in NSW, has been an obscene waste of taxpayers' money. The graph on page 29 of Mr Orgill's report showing a state-by-state comparison of project management fees makes it clear that in NSW these fees were, as The Australian has reported, highly inflated.

Sixteen billion on school buildings, and not one cent for books or computers or lab equipment or anything of the like to fill them. The Catholic and Private (i.e. independent) schools managed their own projects and got value for money. The public schools had it managed for them and got royally shafted. The interesting bit is that there are a lot of polling booths located at schools (their halls are useful for this), and every one of those schools now has a sign in front of it advertising what the Government has supposedly done. Free election advertising, at taxpayers' expense. The person who presided over this is currently the Prime Minister of this nation. I would not be voting for her or her party if I held the welfare of my nation to be of any importance.

3. Meanwhile, it seems ex-PM Kevin Rudd's return to prominence in an attempt to help his party in the polls is not going well at all.
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1. An Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery in Iran has pleaded to be allowed to hug her children, in a letter attributed to her released by human rights activists in London. Muslim immigrants to the West, please note - either leave shit like this at the door or turn around and go back where you came from. We don't want it here. If this is your culture, fuck your culture. That having been said, those Muslims coming in who do leave their homeland's cultural baggage at the door shouldn't have to deal with shit like this:

2. A US church plans to publicly burn copies of the Koran on the ninth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks. The announcement, from Florida's Dove World Outreach Centre, has prompted threats from Islamic groups and warnings the move will trigger a rise in hate crimes. Dove World Outreach Centre? More like a pack of vultures to me. No better IMNSHO than the stone-age savages who passed the death sentence on that Iranian woman.

3. Say you're a Brazilian soccer player who's just murdered his porn-star girlfriend and you're looking for a way to hide the body. Why not turn to Man's best friend? Among the macabre details divulged by police: they believe Bruno was in a home near Belo Horizonte home with Samudio last month at the time of her murder, and that her body was later cut into pieces, some of which were fed to Rottweiler dogs kept at the house in a bid to cover the murder. A wise man once said "Murder will out" - and here it has. This strengthens all the prejudices I've ever had about testosterone-overloaded men who keep testosterone-overloaded dogs.

4. Headline: WORLD'S OLDEST MAN LIVES IN JA... wait:

A home visit by Tokyo officials to a local resident to congratulate him on his 111th birthday instead led to a police search that uncovered his three-decade-old skeleton.


5. What a waste: A British teen girl who fell seven floors from the window of a Spanish hotel on a schoolies week celebration has died of her injuries. Grace Ford, 17, plunged 30m when trying to climb out of the window of a male friend's room in an apartment where visitors were not allowed, UK newspaper the Telegraph reported. Apparently they thought the window was a conduit that led to another part of the building. Please note that "drug-induced coma" almost certainly means "sedated in intensive care" in this context, but she must have been pretty hammered in the first place to make a stupid mistake like this. The saddest part of all is that she died of complications - she seems to have survived the fall itself. Nevertheless, it's why I disapprove strongly of end-of-year debauches by school leavers, something which has become pretty much institutionalised here in Australia in the event known as "schoolies week".
pathology_doc: (controversy)
Debating the Greens could chop them down to size.

The author of this article used to work for former Prime Minister John Howard, so his opinions need to be taken with an appropriately sized grain of salt. My comments, as always, in bold - and then a reversion below the line for the final discussion, to save your poor bold-blasted eyeballs. Let us begin...
Cut for friendspage friendliness )

All in all, I have to admit this article wasn't what it seemed to promise. Its author started off talking about the Greens and couldn't resist veering off into a general discussion of Coalition vs. Labor politics. The Greens were shunted off to the sidelines (which is where I think they belong).
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The line is from "2001: A Space Odyssey"; the context is here, and the full text is below, with my comments in bold.

DUMPED Liberal candidate David Barker doesn't know why he has been disendorsed despite making controversial anti-Muslim comments.

Hmm, let's read on and find out; shall we?

Mr Barker was replaced as the Liberal candidate for the safe Labor seat of Chifley in Western Sydney today by Venus Priest, 40, a former nurse and small business owner who emigrated to Australia from the Philippines in 1995.

Safe Labor means we never expected Barker to win and take his place in Parliament, which is pretty good news given what we're about to learn IMO. Opposition parties put up candidates in seats safely held by incumbent governments in the event of a surprise backlash, and they're usually an insurance policy to prevent independents or third parties (e.g. the Greens) taking advantage of such an electoral windfall.

The disgraced candidate used his Facebook site to accuse Labor of moving the nation closer to a Muslim country and attacked his ALP opponent in Chifley, Ed Husic, over his religion.

Paranoia. I don't think we're ever going to become "a Muslim country", but what I do sometimes fear is that Sharia law or fundamentalist Islamism will gain some sort of foothold through blindly applied "tolerance" policies - which is very bad for the people we often hear about suffering its effects overseas (e.g. women, young girls, homosexuals of both genders, and minority Muslims - i.e. Sunnis in Shia localities and vice versa).

Today Mr Barker stood by his statements, telling the ABC there should not be a Muslim in parliament and questioning whether the country was ready for an atheist prime minister.

I couldn't care less if there's a Muslim in Parliament, so long as they uphold the Constitution and the rule of secular law just as everyone else does. MPs who go saying the stupid things some prominent Muslims have said in this country - e.g. about scantily dressed women deserving what they get - tend to be ostracised pretty quickly, and frequently don't get returned at the next election.

“I'm not anti-Muslim,” he said.

Oh yes, you are.

“I believe everyone should have their own beliefs.

“But I don't know if we want at this stage in Australian politics a Muslim in the parliament and an atheist running the government.”

I'm quite happy to have a Muslim in the Parliament, or even several - with the above provisos, of course. As for concerns about an atheist running the government, well, that enables us to buttonhole Mr Barker pretty quickly.

Mr Barker said he did not understand why he had been disendorsed.

How do the words "because we think you are intolerant and stupid" sound?

“I made a comment that I believe God is the only way to heaven and we shouldn't have a Muslim candidate running in that area,” he said.

Um... yeah. Right. Christians are perfectly within their rights to believe that the Christian God is the only way to heaven - it's arguably a central tenet of the faith. But what, I ask you, does this have to do with a Muslim running for Parliament? Pretty much nothing, which suggests that Mr Barker and common sense are nobody's OTP except his own, and that he is far better off being paired with OMGWTF.

Liberal Party state director Mark Neeham said Mr Barker had not conducted himself in a way the party expected of its candidates for the August 21 election.

Nor with common human decency.

And Opposition Leader Tony Abbott endorsed the party's decision, saying Mr Barker is “gone, he's finished”.

Well done, Mr Abbott.

Mr Abbott said it was not appropriate to attack people because of their religious convictions.

Qualified support. Some people's religious convictions are beyond the pale - e.g. people who want to sexually mutilate little girls or shove their women into cloth sacks with eyeslits, or who go to soldiers' funerals ranting about filthy gays burning in hell or whatever crap it is the loons at Westboro are screaming this week - but this is more a function of those people being fucking arseholes who are hiding their cultural and psychological baggage, their lust for power, or all of the above behind one religion or another.

“Attacks on people based on their religion have no place in this election campaign,” he said.

(Ending bold, for eyestrain's sake.)

Mr Barker comes across as that sort of Christian who makes me loath to admit I believe in the existence of the same God. Who gets through the Pearly Gates and who doesn't is God's business alone, and certainly has nothing to do with who governs this country. We are a Christian country inasmuch as our cultural observances, laws and morals are rooted in and informed by that faith. They are not dictated by it, and have not been for some time. Render unto God what is God's and unto Caesar what is Caesar's - and that includes a Muslim sitting in Parliament.

Personally, I want the new Liberal candidate to win (though "safe Labor seat" means I don't like their chances) - but only because I think Labor are a mob of incompetents who deserve to be shown the door for the next generation, and every seat they lose is one more step on the road to repairing the damage they have done this country in the last three years. But if a Muslim gets voted in fair and square, that's the democratic process at work. Who am I to object?

(Unless of course they are to Islam what Fred Phelps is to Christianity, in which case no sane political party in its right mind would endorse them, and no sane electorate in which they stood as an independent would give them any more than a handful of votes).

One thing I think this shows up the need for is for very careful vetting of potential candidates. The Liberals are not alone in having been cursed by idiots. I hear Labor has already had to dump a rather loose cannon and the Greens seem to be nursing at least one 9/11 Truther in their ranks (cache link to source article has failed) - although Heaven knows the Greens have been known to put up some pretty loopy people as candidates. The sooner the electorate wipes them out, the better - and it won't harm the environment one little bit.
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Not content with its all-inclusive super firewall, the Rudd Government - you know, the one that ended Howard's era of fear and repression - now wants to put you under the microscope. Original article here.

Cast them out. Smash them at the ballot box and fling them into oblivion.

Full text of article:

Companies who provide customers with a connection to the internet may soon have to retain subscriber's private web browsing history for law enforcement to examine when requested, a move which has been widely criticised by industry insiders.

The Attorney-General's Department yesterday confirmed to ZDNet Australia that it had been in discussions with industry on implementing a data retention regime in Australia. Such a regime would require companies providing internet access to log and retain customer's private web browsing history for a certain period of time for law enforcement to access when needed.

Currently, companies that provide customers with a connection to the internet don't retain or log subscriber's private web browsing history unless they are given an interception warrant by law enforcement, usually approved by a judge. It is only then that companies can legally begin tapping a customer's internet connection.

In March 2006, the European Union formally adopted its data retention directive (PDF), a directive which the Australian Government said it wished to use as an example if it implemented such a regime.

"The Attorney-General's Department has been looking at the European Directive on Data Retention, to consider whether such a regime is appropriate within Australia's law enforcement and security context," a statement from the Attorney-General's Department to ZDNet Australia said yesterday. "It has consulted broadly with the telecommunications industry."

The EU regime requires that the communications providers from certain EU member states retain necessary data as specified in the Directive for a period of between six and 24 months.

One internet service provider (ISP) source told ZDNet Australia that the Australian regime, if implemented, could go as far as recording each URL a customer visited and all emails.

That source said such a regime "would be scary and very expensive".

Another industry source said Australians should "be very f***ing afraid".

They said the regime being considered by the Australian Government could see data held for much longer than EU Directive time of 24 months — it would be more like five or ten years.

"They seem quite intent [on implementing the regime] and they keep throwing up the words 'terrorism' and 'paedophiles'," the source said. "We're talking browsing history and emails, way beyond what I would consider to be normal SMS, retaining full browsing history and everything."

Internet Industry Association (IIA) chief executive officer (CEO) Peter Coroneos also confirmed that the industry was having discussions with the Attorney-General's Department.

"There has been some preliminary discussions with the Attorney-General's Department about a proposal for a data retention regime in Australia, but I think those discussions are at a very early stage," Coroneos said. He said the IIA hadn't "seen any firm proposals yet from the government".

"It's more along the lines of [the Attorney-General's Department asking] 'What do you see the issues of being if we were to move to a position similar to the EU'," he said.

"But as I say, there wouldn't be any intention, I wouldn't think, to move to any policy position on this unless there was a full public debate about the proposal."

If the idea were to move to a more "serious proposal", Coroneos said the IIA's view would be "to engage not only with the industry but also the community in a proper discussion".

Electronic Frontier Australia (EFA) chair Colin Jacobs said the regime was "a step too far".

"At some point data retention laws can be reasonable, but highly-personal information such as browsing history is a step too far," Jacobs said. "You can't treat everybody like a criminal. That would be like tapping people's phones before they are suspected of doing any crime."

He added that browser history could reveal all sorts of personal information. "And furthermore, the way the internet works, it's a huge amount of data to be kept and it requires some snooping on the part of the ISPs into which [web] pages people are looking at."

In February, the senate passed a Bill allowing ISPs to intercept traffic as part of "network protection activities". According to an ISP source, it's likely another Bill would be required for a data retention regime to be implemented.

"It is likely that new legislation will be required to put any [data retention] obligations in place," the source said. "It seems to be early days yet, and we have an election looming, which means there will be some time required to get any new law in place."

And no, I'm not putting it behind a cut. It's too important that people see this.
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Or at least, that was the general idea when the Federal Government decided to kill two birds with one stone - it would pay the cost of applying insulating material to the homes of ordinary Australians, thus reducing their heating/cooling energy costs (anthropogenic climate change) and stimulating the economy (global financial crisis).

All well and good, but since then, things have come off the rails. Fly-by-night operations sprang up... well, virtually overnight, offering ceiling insulation to all and sundry, including those who didn't want it and/or already had it. Untrained teenage kids were employed right off the street to become insulation installers, including at least one who was mentally deficient. The stereotype of a used car salesman would be hard-put to better the sort of dodgy behaviour that went on. And as you can expect, things went really badly from there.

Unfortunately for the Government, it has now come to light that a Government-commissioned report detailing the risks inherent in their scheme (particularly those of poorly-trained fly-by-nighters doing a job that actually required some skill and thought) had existed for months, before the scheme actually became active, and yet none of those responsible at ministerial level had supposedly so much as seen it, let alone absorbed its contents. Nor was this the only warning given.

The Government now admits it's overworking its bureaucrats, and Mr Rudd, the Prime Minister, has stated once more that he takes full responsibility for that that goes well and that which doesn't go so well.

This scheme has not gone so well. It has driven conscientious operators out of the business, has killed four workers, has resulted in the avoidable destruction of eighty-six homes, and has possibly rendered hundreds of others unsafe to live in. Meanwhile, those dissatisfied with what's been done to their houses could well be left to sort it all out themselves.

The only question now is exactly what "taking responsibility" means to the Prime Minister. If it means any more than mouthing words, he should sack the ministers directly involved and should seriously consider resigning himself. I suspect that the censure motion the Australian Green Party is planning is but the beginning. Unfortunately for the Government, 2010 is an election year.

Paedo Fail

Jun. 8th, 2009 07:06 pm
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Whoever came up with this idea for a shipborne children's-charity gala dinner really wasn't thinking, were they?

Source here.


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