Monday, March 21, 2016
Student Fascists trash Conservative Senator's office
Violence is never far beneath the surface among the Left. Note that the banner calls for something to be "smashed". Just naked hate. Trotskyists use "smash" a lot too
THE “full force of the law” should be brought to bear on protesters who trashed Senator Cory Bernardi’s office and targeted his children’s school, he says.
The university students and high-school pupils, who were protesting against his opposition to the Safe Schools anti-bullying program and ongoing debate about same-sex marriage, engaged in abuse, vandalism and threats.
Both Flinders and Adelaide universities released statements condemning the action.
Branding the protesters “a bunch of cowards”, Senator Bernardi labelled the fracas a form of intolerance and intimidation that only “strengthened his resolve”.
He said: “They also headed down to my children’s school and sought to target it as well. They had to lock gates and take other preventive measures.
“If peaceful protests turn into violent and damaging protests the people responsible for that need to be held to account. “I’m happy for the full force of the law to be brought upon those who’ve done property damage and threatened my staff.”
Police reported one man for graffiti damage to a road sign and are reviewing CCTV evidence from the scene.
About 20 students — from Adelaide and Flinders universities, UniSA and high schools — occupied the Grenfell St office at noon and scrawled abusive messages on the outside walls and veranda.
They also overturned tables and chairs, wrote messages in chalk on the carpet and chanted slogans such as “racist, sexist, anti-queer, Bernardi is not welcome here”.
Senator Bernardi’s wife, Sinead, and staffers retreated into other rooms.
Once police arrived, the students went outside, knocking over a fence on their way and leaving paper and rubbish strewn around the office. One sign read: “Eat rainbow, bigot.”
Senator Bernardi tweeted: “What a bunch of cowards. Lefty totalitarians have trashed my office and threatened my staff because their agenda has been exposed.”
Tom Gilchrist, Adelaide University’s Student Representative Council president and several other SRC members from the socialist group Student Voice were among the protesters.
They included SRC ethno-cultural officer Angelo Tavlaridis, who was last year banned from campaigning on campus after allegedly calling one female student a “c ...” and another a “bitch”.
One of Senator Bernardi’s employees, Adelaide University Union board member Robert Katsambis, then passed censure motions against Mr Tavlaridis’ behaviour and Mr Gilchrist’s failure to condemn it.
Mr Gilchrist defended the protesters’ actions on Friday, saying the damage was “completely superficial, paper and chalk — things that can be cleaned off easily”.
“This is nothing compared to the damage being done to LGBTI people,” he said of the Federal Government’s decision to “gut” the Safe Schools program, announced on Friday shortly after the protest.
“That is the really disgusting thing.”
During the office protest, the students claimed they were heading to the school because it was where Senator Bernardi was educated. Mr Gilchrist later said they had not caused any disturbance at the school. “We put up the banner and walked away,” he said.
Senator Bernardi was a vocal critic of Safe Schools, a program to prevent bullying on gender and sexuality grounds. He said the program was intimidating, indoctrinating, and bullying children by picking on heterosexual children.
Pressure from backbenchers forced Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to announce a review of the program. Tensions over the issue heated this week to the point where Queensland MP George Christensen tried to link the program to paedophilia and started a petition calling for a full inquiry.
On Friday, the Government released the review and announced a compromise, radically altering the way the program works but saying it would remain in place.
Education Minister Simon Birmingham said review author Professor Bill Lowden, an education expert, found some content was “not necessarily appropriate for all children”.
A student grabs his deputy principal by the THROAT in a NSW high school playground
Something not mentioned below: The students at that school are almost entirely Muslim. It is just Muslims being Muslims and showing their usual contempt for the rest of us. Their religion teaches them that contempt
The shocking moment a senior student grabbed his deputy principal by the throat has been caught on camera.
The Granville Boys' High School student was caught on tape storming towards one of the school’s three deputy principals, Noel Dixon, before taking hold of him by the throat.
The deputy principal resisted the attack and removed the boy’s hand from around his neck.
Moments later another student pulled the dark-haired boy away from the altercation.
The angry student led dozens of Granville School students through the playground before launching his attack.
Some of his peers tried to stop him before he got to the deputy principal, but were unable to.
The Department of Education told 7 News the school doesn’t tolerate violence, and that strong disciplinary action has been taken against the young man in the video.
The student is believed to be in Year 12. Police have been notified of the assault.
It is not the first time the western Sydney school has been in the media for violence.
In 2011 a student was stabbed in the stomach six times.
In 2008 18 people were hospitalised after the students were involved in a brawl at Merrylands High.
F-35: A flying white elephant that may never work
It's a white elephant that may never work. There have been great difficulties and some disasters in getting computerized civilian aircraft to work. The far greater requirements of a military aircraft may never be met
Australia would be better off getting new planes from Russia or France. The Dassault Rafale is an "omnirole" aircraft that already works and is available for export. It has fewer stealth characteristics than the F35 but there are large doubts about how effective the F35 stealth features would be anyway
Dr Keith Joiner was responsible for signing off on the testing and evaluation for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter for Australia — of which 72 were ordered for a cost of more than $17 billion, starting over 14 years ago.
Now, due to numerous concerns — among them major software issues — Dr Joiner says "the Senate should put a dirty great big stop work order on any sign-up to any production aircraft that we’ve not already committed to."
In an interview with Radio National’s Background Briefing, Joiner revealed the software weaknesses of the aircraft.
"The Joint Strike Fighter is a completely software driven aircraft," Joiner said.
"Some systems like the radar control are fundamentally worse than the earlier version, which is not a good sign. You don’t want your software testing going backwards. The next software version is block 4. It won’t be available until 2020. So there’ll be nothing but fixing bugs in the original software between 2013 and 2020."
"That’s seven years with nothing but fixing bugs. That doesn’t give you a lot of confidence for a completely software driven aircraft going into the future."
"It hasn’t done any cyber security testing yet, the aircraft. The only system that has done cyber security, vulnerability and penetration testing is the logistics software. So ordering spares. And it didn’t go very well."
"So the most software driven aircraft ever built hasn’t yet been tested against cyber security and the modern cyber warfare threats."
Australia to Register Its Concern About Foreigners Buying Its Water
BARHAM, Australia–The muddy river [Murray] that flows through this farming town feeds both verdant citrus groves and a growing unease among some lawmakers and regulators over foreign ownership of water rights.
Australia —the world’s driest inhabited continent— plans to require foreign investors to declare their interests in water rights like to this river used by farmers in three southeast states. The proposed register, which for the first time would create a public record of the level of foreign ownership, comes at a time when the country is seeing a wave of deal-making in agriculture. Public submissions close Friday.
Demand for water is rising ahead of government plans to turn the empty expanses of northern Australia into a food bowl for the rising middle classes of China and India. Water is already a scarce commodity, but climate change is expected to make droughts even more frequent.
Since 2007, investors have no longer needed to own land to be eligible to buy and sell water rights. That’s allowed landholders to either use water on their property or offer it for sale—creating one of the world’s most advanced water-trading systems.
Some lawmakers and farmers see rising foreign ownership of water rights as a threat to food and water security, driving up water prices and making it too expensive for Australian farmers to irrigate crops. The number of agricultural water entitlements with at least some level of foreign ownership increased by more than half in recent years. Around 14% of farm water rights were partially foreign owned in 2013 compared with 9% in 2010, government figures show.
"The Australian people have every right to know exactly… who owns our most precious asset—the land we stand on, the water we use, and how many of them come from overseas," Minister Barnaby Joyce said in an interview.
The angst over water rights in Australia comes as places from California to northwestern India and Africa are running out of water.
A recent University of California study using data from NASA satellites found about a third of the world’s 37 largest aquifers are being used at unsustainable rates. Thirteen of those are close to being depleted with little or no replenishment. Climate change and population growth are expected to intensify the problem of water shortages, creating a potential political flashpoint like what has happened with mineral and land rights around the world.
Soaring global demand for food—much of the appetite from China and India—is fueling a rush of global deal-making in agriculture and water, seen by some investors as the new oil.
In Australia, which exports about 70% of its food produce, farmers worry they’ll be priced out of the water market by speculators.
In Queensland state– a target for new dam building as part of a plan to develop the tropical north— dairy farmers offering $250 Australian dollars (about US$190) a mega liter for water expected to flow from new reservoirs are being outbid by investors offering up to A$16,000 a mega liter to be pumped into higher-return crops like strawberries. It takes 2.5 megaliters to fill an Olympic swimming pool.
"We are very aware about sensitivities about the price of water," said Mr. Joyce. "It has a very direct correlation to the profits you make from a product you produce. [The water register] is all part of getting that proper transparency."
Last year, the government established a register of overseas farm ownership and lowered the threshold above which foreign deals would be assessed for whether they are in the national interest by the country’s investment watchdog to A$15 million from A$252 million. It also moved to cap a heated domestic property market, forcing the sale of trophy homes purchased illegally by foreign residents in Sydney and Melbourne.
After years of over exploiting the Murray-Darling basin —a vast system of interconnected rivers and tributaries in eastern Australia that feeds the country’s major food bowl—the federal government is spending A$3.2 billion buying up and cancelling some water entitlements, seeking to repair environmental damage stretching back a century. Critics say the program has triggered volatility in the water market, driving up prices and hurting rural communities that rely on irrigation.
Some say concerns about investors forcing up water prices are overblown, however.
"While there have been concerns in the community that water speculators are driving up prices, this does not appear to be currently the case," Tim Cummins, a water market analyst said in a recent report into water use in Victoria state. Water ownership not linked to land has remained largely stable in northern Victoria between 5% and 7% since 2010, he said.
One way foreign investors gain exposure to water is by buying up farmland with water on it.
TIAA, a $900 billion New York-based retirement fund for many university professors, says roughly half its Australia farm investments have water entitlements, including Milo Farm in northern New South Wales, which produces cotton, wheat and sorghum across more than 21,000 acres and has over 26,000 mega liters of water.
"One of the of the primary ways we try to invest in water is by being smart about which farmland we buy and making sure we’ve got good water rights," said John Goodreds, TIAA’s head of agribusiness. "That’s a very valuable subset under agriculture."
Government declares war on cheap prices
The Harper Competition review describes the debate around the need for an effects test as "one of the enduring controversies of competition policy in Australia." The report helpfully provides a table that actually better summarises the position: despite 11 previous competition reviews over 40 years, only one found in favour of adding an 'effects test' to the misuse of market power prohibition.
The report proposes reshaping the regulation to prohibit "a corporation with a substantial degree of market power from engaging in conduct if the conduct has the purpose, effect or likely effect of substantially lessening competition."
Despite both the Abbott government and the Turnbull government initially rejecting this recommendation, it will now become law. That this was pushed by the Nationals, no friends of free markets, should warn you there are problems with this proposal. Of the many, two are important.
First, the very idea that government can create, corral and control competition is a farce. The more government tries to regulate market behaviour, the more it distorts the market with intervention and legal uncertainty, the less true competition there is -- especially since so much competition policy is based on the fallacy that companies can enter a market, force the competition out of business and then jack up the price forever. In a free and open economy this is basically impossible. There are always other competitors.
Second, the effect of this change is to protect smaller, inefficient businesses from larger, more efficient ones (there is no need to protect efficient small businesses from anyone). While there are a number of industries where this may be relevant, the most obvious targets are the major supermarket chains, hence the interests of the Nationals.
The purpose is to force the supermarkets to pay more at the farm gate, and prevent them trying to rationalise their supply chains by dealing only with larger farmers and companies. This can mean only one thing: food prices are going to rise. What a win for competition.
Whatever people like to say about supporting small business, the truth is consumers almost always go for the cheapest or best option. They would never vote with their dollars in favour of these changes. If only the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission took the second 'C' as seriously as the first.
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.). For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me here