Thursday, November 14, 2013

Anti-civil liberties arms race
The thoughts below are reasonable in general but fail to take account of the infiltration of bikie gangs by Muslims, mostly Lebanese Muslims.  This has led to an escalation in bikie crime and difficulty in prosecuting it  -- with witness intimidation, codes of silence etc.  The government had to try something

The last few weeks have seen polarised views on the passing of controversial anti-bikie legislation by the Newman government in Queensland.

A bikie gang member or office bearer convicted of a serious crime will receive a mandatory additional minimum sentence because of their gang membership on top of the original sentence for the crime. There are also anti-association laws which bar bikies from riding together in groups of three or more. Victorian police are seeking advice on implementing similar laws.

Anti-bikie legislation was passed in NSW last year and changes to the right to silence earlier this year, where juries can be instructed to draw negative inferences from a defendant's silence in police questioning. The changes were inspired by a spate of gang-related shootings in Sydney.

This week, there were three separate incidences of shootings in Sydney linked to the Brothers 4 Life gang. Experience tells us that civil liberties are the first casualty when horrific tragedies happen. The O'Farrell government has already legislated against the right to free association of bikie gangs, and there is reason to be concerned that the response will escalate. According to The Daily Telegraph, there are plans to introduce legislation for a mandatory minimum sentence of five years for gang members found to be in possession of a firearm.

The community's concerns about gang violence are valid, but reducing the freedom of all is not a solution. Shootings are crimes in their own right. Criminals deserve to be punished under the full force of the law, but it is antithetical for a free society to apply extra punishment simply on the basis of group membership. It contradicts equality before the law. A gang member should be punished for any crime in exactly the same way as you or I.

Any expansion of NSW's existing anti-association laws could come at a great cost. Aside from the fact that they are a violation of civil liberties, such laws have unintended consequences. Legal opinion suggests that the Queensland legislation could catch innocents in its wide net, and the existing anti-association legislation in NSW has already had that impact.

The Queensland and NSW examples show that no matter how draconian, no matter how profoundly illiberal and no matter how they may counteract centuries of established tradition, serious threats to civil liberties are never off the table if the government thinks that the situation is dire enough.


Feminist circus defunded in Qld.

Vulcana Women’s Circus has lost funding in the latest round of funding allocations for arts companies in Queensland.  "We are shocked at the news,” said the arts company’s General Manager Kitty Carra today.

"We employ over twenty female trainers and support hundreds of women a year in their journey towards wellbeing, empowerment and arts employment. The news that the Government will not support us in 2014 is devastating.”

"Our funding priorities for 2014 include our Circus Anywhere Program, our ongoing work with disadvantaged youth, women in the deaf community and our ongoing Circus Dreaming program. This work is important and must continue.”

Vulcana Women’s Circus has been a part of the Queensland arts scene for over fifteen years moving from West End to New Farm when the Powerhouse opened. A place to train, learn, share and perfect skills, Vulcana has been a home and a haven to many of Queensland’s most well known female acts and circus performers.

"As anyone who has ever attended one of our classes, worked with any of our trainers or seen one of our shows knows, Vulcana is special, something rare and precious, something to be valued. Something to be nurtured.” said Ms Carra.

Celia White, artistic director of the circus, is calling on the community to step up to keep this incredible organisation going.
"Vulcana is like home. We need you all now. We need to your love, your ideas and your support. Women matter. Women’s spaces matter. And when women work together something extraordinary is created.”


Everything the Australian Green Party claims about this typhoon is wrong

Andrew Bolt

The Greens are despicable. They are enemies of reason, and the question is whether their sin is ignorance or deceit.  Here is deputy Greens leader Adam Bandt today:

"Well, I think if the Prime Minister is out there referring to the Leader of the Opposition as ‘Electricity’ Bill, then he can be expected to be referred to as Typhoon Tony himself. The head in the sand approach to global warming in the face of the leaders of the Philippines themselves saying this is what we are in store for unless we get global warming under control makes Australia an international pariah and shows that really at the end of the day Tony Abbott does not believe the science."

Here is Greens leader Christine Milne yesterday:

"In our region Typhoon Haiyan and 10,000 people if not more dead in the Phillipines from a storm with such intensity there is now debate whether it is the strongest typhoon ever. Prof Steffen, one our leading scientists, is out saying that it is the warming of the oceans off the eastern Philippines that has led to the intensity of the typhoon."

Almost everything both Greens have said is false, baseless or misleading.  Fact check:

* Was this typhoon the strongest ever? No. Typhoon Reming, which struck the Philippines seven years ago, was stronger, says the Philippine Met Agency.

* Was this typhoon the deadliest ever? No. The death toll, now estimated by the Philippines president at 2000 to 2500, is dwarfed by death tolls of 300,000 or even more from past typhoons and cyclones. The deadliest 35 cyclones in history all killed more than 12,000 people.

* Does data show we’re getting more or worse cyclones? No, says the latest IPCC report.

*  Did this typhoon pass over seas made warmer than usual, thanks to global warming? No. Sea temperatures in the typhoon’s path were at the 30 year average.

*  Have more cyclones struck the Philippines over recent decades? No, say experts.

This was an incredibly strong typhoon, and it has caused a terrible loss of life. But there is no global warming signal here.  Nor would anything Tony Abbott did - or failed to do - make cyclones more or less likely.

Adam Bandt has ignored all the science and all reason to slur Abbott.  He shames himself. This is ignorance posing as virtue.


The Greens have censored almost every sceptical comment from their thread on this topic:

Off-topic and abusive posts have been removed. Please do not allow conversation to be derailed by those people refusing to confront the scientific reality of climate change. The debate has been had, the science is in. Links to conspiracy theorists, deniers and the blog of News Limited’s highest-paid internet troll will be removed.


Negative  meaning of 'that's so gay' became popular in Australia because of South Park: educator

TEENAGERS fling the word 'gay' around as another word for 'bad' or 'stupid' -- "that's so gay" -- but what took the derogatory term mainstream may surprise you.

The word's meaning has been distorted so much it has even changed the definition overseas, it was revealed this week.

When a US high school student looked up 'gay' in her Apple MacBook's dictionary she found one of the three definitions was "stupid" and "foolish".  "It was just insulting," Becca Gorman told ABC News America, who hopes Apple will retract the definition.

Just how the term developed its derogatory meaning is startling.

Daniel Witthaus, an anti-homophobia educator who visits schools across Australia, said the phrase's popularity can be traced back to the adult-themed cartoon South Park.  Mr Witthaus noticed the phrase caught on after the TV show used the term in an ironic sense in the late 1990s.

"You can trace it back to South Park in the late 1990s," he said. "It exploded in terms overnight and certainly became part of the common language."

The term was sometimes used beforehand as a disparaging remark to people who did not fit, he said, but the TV show's producers made it even more popular.  "They tapped into something that was already happening and made it even cooler. They were like a catalyst."

"It was used to some extent in the '80s and '90s but it didn't really catch fire to become a popular term, it kind of happened overnight.

While there has never been a better time to be a gay or lesbian child. Mr Witthaus said the use of 'gay' as another word for 'shit' or 'crap' was damaging for young people.  He added that being called 'gay' or a 'faggot' is often the worst playground insult for young men.



Paul said...

"He added that being called 'gay' or a 'faggot' is often the worst playground insult for young men."

Gee, that's new..

Paul said...

"And when women work together something extraordinary is created.”

It was called the Gillard Government

(sorry, third one I know, but that's just too good to pass up)