Protests against the Defence Industry Expo (D.I.E) called

11 06 2011

So those that know anything about South Australia will know that the Premier Mike Rann has been trying to brand the state “Australia’s Defence State” or something along those lines.  In short, we’re the place that builds the stuff our government uses to blow other parts of the world up.  Kudos to us.

Anyway.

Protests have been called for the 28th against an expo being put on by the Defence Industry to pimp their explosives to a series of international partners.  Adelaide Indymedia has published this background info for those interested:

According to the Defence Industry Expo’s own website: (www.defenceandindustry.gov.au) the Australian Government plans to replace 80 percent of its “war fighting” assets by 2020. This constitutes an “investment” of $150bn of taxpayers money.

While they brand this as “Defence” spending, the Australian Defence Force (ADF) has been fighting US wars that have nothing to do with the “defence” of Australia and its people.

In South Australia, tens of millions of dollars have been spent by the Rann Government to attract military industries to set up shop.

Weapons manufacturers will be concentrated in a walled precinct beside the Port River. Powerful US weapons manufacturers are even involved in “partnerships” with local public schools.

Is this how we imagined our future?

Left Unity has other ideas. We think taxpayers money should be spent on the creation of renewable industries and essential services like health, education, public transport and the like.

Why are thousands of public sector jobs being cut and services slashed while millions are being spent on the manufacture of weapons that are ultimately used to kill people in other parts of the world?

These weapons are being bought to help shore up the self-interested global military strategy of the United States. This course has caused people around the world, including Australians, needless suffering and loss in places like Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.

It’s time we said No! to the “Defence State”.

You can find the facebook event page here.





Election Season

12 03 2010

Soon South Australian’s everywhere will go to the polls.  It’s election season and politicians are out kissing babies and visiting places they would normally avoid like the plague to score cheap votes.  Signs have been erected at bus stops urging people to ‘Vote4You’ and all those annoying posters have been put up on street lamps around the place, with the particular candidate in a suit, sporting the faux grin, looking confident and, most importantly, competent.

And it’s that slogan, ‘Vote4You’ that’s the object of my current distaste.  You’ll see it around the place, on the static posters as bus stops and on buses, or you’ll see it on TV with the people jumping and pulling rebellious rock and roll-esque poses in order to connect with the young people of South Australia.  And just think about it for a moment; Vote–4–you.

Really?

Because last time I checked, I wasn’t the one going into parliament to vote on things such as whether or not the State government can attack freedom of association by first targeting unpopular groups such as the Bikies.  And let’s face it, we don’t get much choice in the matter.  Mike Rann has run the state with an iron fist since coming into parliament.  With an excellent Public Relations team preserving his public image, keeping the papers quiet, keep journalists on their toes so their too busy to be assignment with real issues and then allowing them just enough time, in a controlled environment, for Rann to get a final rebuttal to some opposing argument on a key issue.

Add into this the obscene focus on rebuilding the State’s hospital in front of the UniSA CityWest Campus, which has been the cause of so much mud-slinging between the two major parties, and it makes me sick into my own scorn — bottom line, lot’s of money is going to be spent either way.

Which brings me Isobel Redmond, who has just about as much charisma as Rann, zero.  She makes a point of walking Hindley Street late on Saturday nights to meet and greet all the youngsters out there and talk to them about her policies.  She even went so far as to be visiting Tea Tree Plaza to do the same to young people while they shop and suck their boost juice.

Rann has now promised ‘police-trained security guards’ for trains to improve the use of public transport.  They are to be armed with guns, batons and pepper spray.  Because placing armed, trained ‘officers of the law’ on public transport in a confined space is not going to get anyone killed, at all.

Yeah, that’s really going to go down well.  And I’m saying this as someone living in the Salisbury/Elizabeth area.

Which brings me to my point.  These people don’t care.  They’re focussing on getting re-elected so they can continue to enforce their particular brand of morality of morality on the rest of us.  Sometimes that morality comes in the form of Trevor Grace, other time’s it’s Rann kissing a baby somewhere in a city park.

So I end this by saying, simply, that I do not accept any of these candidates as my leader.  I do not want a leader and refuse to legitimise their positions.  In fact, our political leaders are no different to the Gang of 49, the Bikies Rann loves to hate and the ‘NewBoys’ street gang.  Only difference is that they wear less tattoos, more suits and employ a media management team.

So, when it comes time to perform my ‘encouraged’ democratic duty I will truly Vote4Me and by not casting a ballot.

Because only I can.





Expression

6 03 2010

A teenager has been arrested for listening to rap music in his card with the Windows down, while waiting for his mother.

Arrested for listening to explicit rap

A TEENAGER has been arrested for listening to what police deemed to be offensive rap music.

In what could be a legal test case, Nathan Michael Wilkie, 19, faces one charge of offensive behaviour after police arrested him while he was listening to music by underground rapper Kid Selzy on his car stereo.

Wilkie was parked outside a supermarket in Timboon, near Warrnambool, waiting for his mother, when he was arrested.

The Warrnambool Magistrates Court heard Wilkie was listening to rap with explicit lyrics such as “shut your f . . . . . . mouth bitch, f. . . motherf. . . . .”

The court was told the arresting officers found the music offensive and derogatory to females.

Mr Wilkie allegedly told officers: “You’re a joke, go do some real police work”.

The teenager is believed to be the first person charged under Australian law with offensive behaviour for listening to music.

Wilkie plans to plead not guilty when his case continues on June 11.

In a statement, Wilkie said he was thankful to have the support of Kid Selzy, who planned to attend the June hearing.

“As Selzy said, `I know what I mean and the people who buy it know what I mean, and that’s what really matters’,” Wilkie said.

“I have lost two of my best mates in the last couple of years in tragic circumstances and I feel that listening to his music relates to life.”

Kid Selzy, who gave his real name only as Jack, said he was astounded at the arrest. “It’s a joke that some kid’s been arrested for doing something that’s not illegal,” he said.

“It’s not illegal to have your windows down or to buy a CD. It seems to be a waste of taxpayers’ dollars. If profanity’s not your thing, don’t listen.”

And South Australian Attorney General Michael Atkinson, gets his Christian religious crazy on, yet again.

A GROUP that says video games and violence are like smoking and lung cancer has received tens of thousands of dollars in funding from SA Attorney-General and outspoken R18+ game critic Michael Atkinson.

An expert from the Australian Council on Children and the Media this week told a TV news program the link between violent games and youth violence was stronger than tobacco and cancer.

“It’s much greater than the effect of smoking on lung cancer,” psychologist Dr Wayne Warburton said.

It’s the strongest claim yet in the war of words over video game ratings which has heated up after a call for public input on the issue that drew 55,000 submissions.

A spokesman for Mr Atkinson told news.com.au his department provided an annual grant to the council under its trading name Young Media Australia.

The grant is to support a project called “Know Before You Go” that offers parents information about which films are suitable for children.

Relevance, you may ask?  Well this ties into the whole attitude of Australian instititutions towards censorship and expression.





“AbortSA.com”

25 02 2010

Looming elections always bring the crazies out of the walls and especially so in Adelaide, notorious for its quiet, rigid, conservatism.  No one else seems to epitomise the more… extreme end of that conservatism than Trevor Grace, self-proclaimed saviour to the ‘unborn’, ‘pro-life’ fanatic who runs the website AbortSA.com.  The website uses bad science, scare tactics and horrific imagery in order to denounce ‘Abortionists’ and implicitly defame any woman who has sought and/or undergone an abortion.  Reading the section on ‘Rape and Abortion’ is so condescending and infuriating but when Mr Grace finally comes to make his point we are provided with the following nugget of wisdom;

“Practically, there are numerous legal problems with rape exception clause in an anti-abortion law; in that rape and incest pregnancies are easy to fake and hard to prove. After considering this problem and the statistics, a New Zealand commission in 1977 (on contraception, abortion and sterilisation) which suggested a significant liberalisation of New Zealand’s abortion law, recommended against allowing abortion for rape because the incidence of such pregnancies was too low, and the likelihood of false reports too high, to warrant a rape exception.

The appropriate response to rape and incest pregnancy is not abortion, but counselling, support and creative caring, to minimise the damage done by the crime rather than adding the evil of taking life to the crime of rape.

Not even sure if I can be bothered explaining why this is, how should we say, ‘bullshit’.  Any talk of ‘minimising’ the ‘harm’ caused by rape is absurd, and especially when, like Mr Grace, you want the woman to give up her life, her time, her youth, her money, her freedom to give birth to, raise and care for the baby of the man who assaulted and raped you.  But then Mr Grace wouldn’t really understand, since he can’t get pregnant if someone decided to force themselves on him.

Anyway, there you have it.  Debunk, ridicule and insult at your leisure.





Police Commissioner set to crush cars

14 02 2010

As of today, new laws will come into force in South Australia, allowing the Police Commissioner to crush the cars of ‘hoon drivers’ that have been impounded.  Why this even deserves a mention is that a great number of people apparently support such moves to punish ‘hoons’, a group which are characterised all too often as another one of those great, foreboding, malevolent forces which plagues the great state of South Australia.

But.

The potential for harm is huge.  The idea behind the scheme is that crushing the cars will provide a deterrent to all those rev-head’s out there driving their done-up cars at a speed for exceeding any limit.  Of course, that’s not how it works out here in the real world.  Hoon drivers can be broken up into either those with money who can afford the expensive cars as if they were toys, in which case the crushing of the car will have no real effect anyway, or those young men and adolescents who have no real direction or purpose in life and so spend what money they earn on enhancing their car — their pride and joy.  A majority of these people are from the North.

To put it bluntly, many of those in this category aren’t that bright.  They’ve never been academic or sporting heros.  These are the, mostly, young men who have dropped out of high school or finished it with no real idea of where they want to go or what they want to do.  Many work as mechanics, on factory lines, as removalists or occasionally in retail.  Some are in gangs.  With no purpose in life, these people have their cars and their girlfriends.  All their money is then funnelled into improving the car.  Making it go faster, look better, sound like it has more balls.  The car becomes their pride and joy, the reason for their existence.  When they drive, they drive it fast, granted and I make no apologies for this.

Enter laws that allow their cars to be crushed.

Imagine if you can, the line of logic these ‘hoon’ drivers are going to follow the moment they are discovered driving at 110kmph in an 80 zone.  You know something about cars being crushed.  You’ve heard about it.  Your friends have talked about.  One’s even had it happen to them.  If you pull over, your car will be crushed.  Your pride and joy, the very thing that drives you to get up in the morning to go to work, to see your girlfriend, to eat even.  If you pull over, it will be taken away and crushed by guys in a blue uniform.  What are you going to do?

The answer is simple; run.

You will run.  You will see those red and blue lights and you will plant your foot on the accelerator and take off as fast as you can.

If you ask anyone commonly classed as a ‘hoon’ their opinion on the subject, and more precisely what they will do, they will give you the same response every time;  “I will run.”

Then ask yourself, what happens when these people run?  Their speed increases exponentially.  They become not just a serious threat to themselves, but their passengers and anyone else on the road.  Every second that passes their speed increases and they become even more of a threat than they were when they were speeding just to get from point A to B.  They will exceed the the 110k’s you were doing moments before.  They are panicked, arrogant and dead-set on getting away.  The chances of an accident occurring increase to 99%.  They are almost guaranteed to kill someone else on the road, themselves or at least crash, come out alive and be thrown in prison for the rest of their lives for a series of driving offences.

And if they actually pull over and their car is crushed?  If they weren’t in a gang before, they’ll certainly join up soon enough.

So enjoy South Australia.  In the process of trying to fervently to cure a problem like hoon driving with authoritarian laws, you are exponentially increasing the chances someone will wind up dead, not to mention ruining the lives of your least advantaged members.  Oh wait, but they don’t particularly matter when all they do is build your houses, fix your pipes or work on a car assembly line.  Besides, they’re evil, rotten, criminal hoons anyway.  They deserve it.





Newspaper Anaesthesia

24 05 2009

I don’t usually know what to expect from the local newspapers.  The general consensus among everyone seems to be that they are not worth the read, particularly due to their bias, lack of understanding and that naughty little habit of standing up to demand from the powers that be some new element of a fascist police state.  Yet, even with this in mind, I persisted in performing the same ritual as thousands of other South Australian’s on a Sunday morning and cracked open the Sunday Mail.

Somewhere between the articles concerning truancy, which made the front page, calls for the police to saturate Hindley street and a badly written editorial towards the end that lamented the rise of video games with a sort of ‘back-in-my-day’ feel (written by someone who could not have been more than 20).

The two pieces devoted to truancy alone completely missed the point.  I have high standards, I admit, but the grasp of the fundamental issue by each article’s author was non-existent.  I like a little more from my newspapers than the logic behind, ‘kids missing school is bad, we need the strong arm of the law to deal with it, or create some statutory mechanism to punish truants by making it more difficult to get a license’.  Of course this all sounds well and good, with the obvious fact that it’s completely wrong.  The reason for most truancy, is that the current formulation of ‘school’, is a prison.  Where else in the world must a person be forced to spend their time in a place where the routine is dictated to them from on high, where they must ask permission to do so much as piss and where guards with dogs and guns patrol the perimeter.  Perhaps it can simply be said that so many kids of high school age are truants because they don’t want to be there.  Even the teachers, many of whom are intelligent, bright people and actually give a damn about these kids, often don’t want to be at school and must not only put up with a similar domination by the powers that be, but are themselves forced to run their classes like a concentration camp.  In many cases, that fact that many kids don’t want to be there impacts negatively on the kids that do, leading to all the bullying problems, and even, the problems our society is facing in regards to teen drinking.

But, the argument goes, that education is a right and the kids are missing out on the prospects for better employment or higher education and so on and so forth.  The problem here arises where a right is something that an individual may or may not choose to exercise.  A child not attending school isn’t the violation of that right, so long as the opportunity is there.  As for the whole ‘jeopardising’ the child’s prospects, it is in my experience and the experience of others who I talked to that kids who do not want to be in school, generally aren’t looking to be a astro-physicist, let alone want to spend another 3 years of their lives in university.

As for younger children, primary schooling becomes more a case of baby-sitting.  Experts will often say this time of a child’s life is critical and that they need schooling and so on.  But in the end primary school achieves nothing.  Children from the ages of 5-9 are taught to colour inside the lines and make pretty creations out of paper, card and so on.  The thing about primary school is that it’s about socialising with others and learning the basics of reading, writing and math.  Unfortunately, it’s not like kids miss much when they don’t attend.

There also leaves something to be desired when a writer demands that statutory offences be applied to truants; it stands to reason that if you want to help them avoid a life of crime, it doesn’t help to introduce them to the criminal justice system for ‘wagging’ school at 12.

After truancy, came a massive article discussing the need for more police on Hindley street to curb the violence or whatever.   Now, it’s been said before and it needs to be said again, Hindley street is the only street in Adelaide with real character; there are people there from all walks of life come to frolic and on occasion, vomit.  The street has its nay-sayers that love to point out all that bad that is frequent there, but as in the words of comedian Dylan Moran, ‘so is everything else, including sex, coffee and conversation.’  Still, the nay-sayers go on and, in their mind, the only solution to the decadence of Hindley street is to saturate the place with police in a manner truly reminiscent of Singapore.  Unfortunately, the downside to this isn’t mentioned; that if there isn’t stuff going on to arrest people for and there a whole bunch of paid, bored police, saturating Hindley street, stuff gets created… once again, reminiscent of Singapore.  Just without the bribes.

While it may be better of me to avoid bringing attention to the small editorial towards back of the ‘news’ section of the paper, I’m going to do so anyway.  On principle.  The piece, as I said earlier, is the poorly written opinion of someone in their 20’s getting a head start on the nostalgia that plagues the elderly, conservative mindset — the kind of people that propose national service as a solution to all the country’s problems.  Basically, ‘video games are bad’ is the battle cry and the author laments the decline in plastic lego blocks and Barbie dolls, even though I suppose the author is ‘concerned’ about global warming and a reduction in lego blocks and Barbie dolls might does the planets ecology a little good, what with all that oil be used to create little plastic blocks and unrealistic representations of woman-hood.  There was also included a comment made by a researcher at Adelaide university claiming that video games do not stimulate the imagination; and he would be right save for the existence of entire genres of games designed, specifically, to stimulate the player’s imagination such as RPG’s, Simulations (Sims2 and Life, for example, as well as the entire Sid Meier portfolio) and even those dastardly strategy games.  Don’t even get me started on how playing video games has lead many people into programming or anohter area of the IT industry, where they have to be creative problems solvers.

So we come to our conclusion and my justification for spending 935 or so words ranting about the quality of material in a newspaper.  My reason is because these are the people who have control over what is discussed over coffee at breakfast tables and in cafes, but more importantly, the scope of that conversation.  It is all too often portrayed that the only solution to our problems lies in the hands of the state, to be paid for by sacrificing what liberty we have for greater restrictions — a process which will only end moments before we realise we have hung ourselves from the rafters with the red tape we demanded.





.urbandissent: soon to be posting from a police state near you

7 01 2009

Over the course of a conversation, Australian’s have this frustrating habit of expressing how happy they to be living in Australia.  To some extent I can empathise.  Australia is free from civil war, attacks from arrogant and militarised neighbouring states while being relatively excellent place to live, lacking in both pollution and overpopulation.  The food is good, the people are fun and generally friendly, the cities are interesting and are full of things to discover.  The problem is that Australians have this strange way of missing, or ignoring, anything that threatens the upbeat image of this country in what seems to be an effort to maintain a certain naive image of reality.  Even when there is outrage, it’s only temporary and when it is decided from some high-up post that, once and for all, things should be a certain way, the dissent dies people go back to their BBQ’s and draping themselves in the Australian flag on Australia Day or during the cricket season.

Just for example, in between playing the part of the little dictator and working to achieve his vision for South Australia, Mike Rann  (whose wikipedia entry reads like a election-day pamphlet) has gradually turned the state into the nation’s premiere example of foot-in-the-door fascism.  I say this merely because over the past few years, the Rann government has set about abolishing double jeopardy, creating legal loop holes that subvert the right to remain silent, has allowed for organisations to be branded ‘criminal’ without the ability to challenge the label, concerned itself with all kinds of nanny statism, allowed illegal immigrants to be imprisoned within the state, regularly taken steps (both official and unofficial) to make achieving a full driver’s license extremely difficult and costly — and that’s just for starters.  It’s ironic that the state founded on the idea that it should epitomise a respect for civil rights, democracy and the best of the Britain could fall so far from the tree.  But there’s even an irony in that as Britain’s come a long way with it’s massive surveillance systems.  However, I digress.  The point is at state level there’s an ever-present danger that government in Australia is advancing leaps and bounds towards a police state and where you can find evidence of something in a small sample, you’ll be able to find it on a larger scale elsewhere.

You don’t need to look very far either, for the federal government has constructed a prison on a remote island off the coast to incarcerate illegal immigrants until they can be “processed” — which is a term that seems to mean treat these people like criminals until they’ve been ran through the bureaucracy like bits in a computer processor — and continues in it’s ridiculous plan to produce a nation-wide internet filter which bring it into line with the likes of China, Burma, Pakistan and all the other dictatorial nations.  When ideas like these start cropping up, you know there’s a problem. Australia has always been notoriously pro-censorship and not very user friendly when it comes to free speech, which itself is a horrible crime.  The Australian government has taken it upon itself to ban books, art and intimidate writers of various forms in the past, even recently.  While free speech isn’t protected in Australia, which allowed the Howard government to pass sedition laws in the anti-terrorism legislation, political freedom of speech is guaranteed in the constitution under the iffy term ‘implied human rights’ but was only established during a trial in the last few decades.  To all intents and purpose censorship is entirely legal and I’m sure that if political freedom of speech became a problem there would soon be created a loophole.  Though if we are to take the following writer’s words for truth, it could be that you won’t be hearing from me soon enough — at least if you’re in Australia — as a legal loophole wouldn’t be needed to have me and others censored, just the poor practical implementation of a rigid technology,

The Minister has stated that political speech will not be filtered under the proposal, but fails to define acceptable free speech and does nothing more to articulate his previous comments that “unwanted” material will be filtered under the scheme.

Overblocking

The Minister notes that in the last round of tests, overblocking, that is filters blocking legal content came in at 3-6%. He only notes that this is an advance on previous tests, but fails to address the very serious implications.

Under the scheme, three to six percent of perfectly legal content gets blocked. Anything other than a 0% rate is unacceptable.

Imagine the Australian Government waking up one morning and deciding that 6% of Australian businesses could no longer open their doors to their customers, and the outcry this would cause. This is EXACTLY what this proposal will do to online businesses, and companies with a primarily Australian focus online could find themselves out of business for no other reason that the Government’s filter has decided to block them, even though they were doing no wrong.

So it’s conceivable that my blog, as well as the blogs of other Australians, may become trapped on some government blacklist, whose selection process is being kept secret, and will then no longer be visible to other Australians. That is even if my connection functions fast enough to even log on, write and update this blog.  Nanny-statism is a wonderful phenomenon of the modern age.  As one commenter on the above cited article pointed out,

it is ridiculous. the gov want to control our lives. soon we wont be able to walk in our own back yards because it would be to dangerous and harmful to children…

Though he went back on this thought, he was indeed spot on.  When this system is implemented we will see ‘difficult’ political critics being added to the list, effectively silencing independently published criticism of the government.  It’s an inevitable result of legislation and government ‘programs’ that they’re initially applied for one purpose or emergency, but then the power granted to that various government department is never given up.  When the department finds it has little to do, the powers are then recycled in another way and so take on another function, such as an internet filter designed to block ‘child pornography’ being used to block the more general ‘unwanted’ material.  This ‘unwanted’ material will no doubt be described as extremist, terrorist, racist and those with an ‘anti-Australian’ agenda, or something similar.  Considering that the word ‘terrorist’ is loosely defined (I could easily and accurately label any military terrorist as I could the KKK or Osama, unlike politicians who label anyone they don’t like ‘terrorist’) no doubt many sights that bear the label ‘Anarchist’ will find themselves removed from the internet.  Even the word ‘extremist’ throws up some interesting complications when you look at the meaning of the word, ‘radical’…

Taken From Here

  • extremist: (used of opinions and actions) far beyond the norm; “extremist political views”; “radical opinions on education”; “an ultra conservative”
  • a person who has radical ideas or opinions
  • revolutionary: markedly new or introducing radical change; “a revolutionary discovery”; “radical political views”

  • arising from or going to the root or source; “a radical flaw in the plan”

So, although I don’t take to ‘radical’ to be a bad word based on definitions 2, 3 and most of all 4, that has attained a far more villainous meaning, care of politicians who use ‘radical’ interchangeably with the word ‘extremist’ means we have a very twisted definition.  Any political stance that exists outside of some brand of conservatism, socials democracy, liberalism or statist socialist is ‘radical’ , therefore ‘extremist’ and no different from the ‘Islamic extremists’ who are ‘terrorists’ and like to blow people (along with themselves) up.  Therefore they must be ‘censored’ so ‘democracy’ can continue.

It seems to me that Australia, or at least it’s administrative government, is plagued with the same mindset that must have existed since the administrations that presided over the first convict colony.  You know, those guys in wigs backed by British marines with muskets who laid down a flag and claimed everything as far as the eye could see as ‘theirs’ — the usual routine back in those days. We have never really broken out of that psyche, particularly as there always seems to be some new effort under way by governments of differing proportions to keep us in line.  Lest anyone mistake this to be an appeal for reform, this is not.  The Australian government, in every degree or incarnation has repeatedly shown its true colours in its complete disregard for liberty.  Be it Hicks, Haneef, the pacific solution, the children overboard scandal, Iraq, Afghanistan in little Johny’s administration, or now in Kevin’s the continued presence in Iraq and Afghanistan (even though we were supposed to be out of Iraq) the prison-like detention centre and now this disastrous internet filter proposal that has been allowed to proceed — and these only within the first year of Rudd’s term!  No, you can’t reform that: the structure is rotten.

It’s amazing that the vast majority of Australian’s aren’t paying any attention to such issues.  Mostly there is indifference while people go back to their beer and allow themselves to be shocked into submission by yet more stories of shootings, stabbings and violent murders.  Then they conclusively announce, “government is for our own good,” and we are one step closer to prison sentences for the crime of spitting.








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