Archive for November, 2010

The Flaky Greens

November 29, 2010

Greens turning a dirty grey

At last, the Greens seem to be getting it in the neck. It is not just the outcome of the Victorian election but analysis of their policies and who they represent. The commentators are moving in and exposing them as the dangerous extremists that they are. A serious analysis of the policies and the allegiances reveal something less pure than saving trees and saving the planet.

Many are now suggesting that Julia Gillard take urgent action to distance herself from the Greens and their toxic policies. Janet Albrechtsen suggests

Labor can expose the Greens as a party with a BANANA agenda (build absolutely nothing anywhere near anything).

A couple of weeks ago Greg Sheridan likened the reverential welcome the ABC extends to Bob Brown as if he were an Anglican Bishop from 50 years ago. He analysed their website and was scathing about their policies.

However, a cursory stroll through the Greens website shows just how extreme and destructive their ideology is. It’s built on a hatred of modern Western society and as such is the logical successor to the Communist Party, just as many Greens were former communist activists or their progeny.

The latest wrap from Paul Sheehan in the Sydney Morning Herald, talks of the Greens flakiness with their kickbacks, union funding, voodoo economics, allegiances with Israel loathing activists.

The Greens are a fraudulent brand. There are not enough letters of the alphabet to encompass the image fraud this party is perpetrating on the electorate. It is simply not a party preoccupied with the environment.

Sheehan takes us letter by letter through the sins of the Greens. It is a wonderful summary.  People are indeed starting to understand that the love of nature can have impurities.

Agora – a film review

November 25, 2010

A promising film spoilt by political correctness

The promises made about this limited release film Agora by director Alejandro Amenabar, showing in Australia at the moment, were intriguing. The subject, Alexandria in the forth century AD at the time of the destruction of the famous library — the “Axial Age”, or, in the words of Karl Jaspers, ‘the most deep cut dividing line in history’ — seemed pretty promising and ambitious. Central to this film is one of feminism’s archetypal historical heroines, Hypatia, a philosopher and mathematician, grappling with the movement of the orbs of the heavenly bodies.

The film, one imagined, was to deal with the complex sets of interactions between the Judaic tradition, the propagation of the Christian message of St Paul, the Roman world and its Law, the decline and virtual disappearance of Hellenism with the gradual withdrawal from Aristotelian thinking, and the eclipse of the Hellenistic values that accompanied the fall of Rome and the subsequent plunge into the ‘dark ages’. It was what the enthusiastic ABC film review Margaret Pomerantz hailed as, “a rare film about something”.

The portrayal of Alexandria was physically fascinating, with a wonderfully convincing mixture of the Roman and the Egyptian, and the collision of their cultural values. There were delightful insights into the liturgy, vestments and character of the early Pauline church. Nevertheless, there was something disconcertingly uninvolving and unconvincing about the texture and narrative. For instance, it contrasted poorly with the splendidly visceral portrayal of the city of Rome in the film Gladiator, and had a strangely total absence of dramatic tension in the plot development.

A predictable dread about the film, as promoted in its advertising, was the inevitable potential for political correctness. The ingredients were all there. There was the fashionable, anti-Christian sentiment that painted Bishop Cyril of Alexandria as an irresistibly self styled Taliban leader, and the inevitable temptation to portray Hypatia as an unyielding and archetypally smug feminista with a rampant and satisfying dose of congenital adrenal hyperplasia. So it came to pass. What could, with generosity, be considered to be a cunning allegorical warning against present day Islamic terrorism in Europe and America, wasn’t really the film’s intention, or the director’s.  The film safely fell on the side of reactionary Christian bashing, including a pointed quote from St Paul about the importance of silencing women. No attempt was made to suggest that these views would have had their origin in the prevalent Jewish Synagogue Regulations of the time. The film’s treatment seems to suggest that these 2000 year old Christian values are more reprehensible that those of current Islamic sharia values that the West is feebly yielding to today. This lack of clarity thus manages to portray a fatuous anachronism. The implications are nasty.

Most disappointing is that the ‘ideas’ part of the film end up being trite. The endless ruminations and discussions by Hypatia, played, incidentally, utterly unconvincingly and blandly by Rachel Weisz, about the movements of the planets, with ‘learned’ references to Aristarchus, sounded more like a polite and earnest discussion of a ‘dangerous idea’ on Jennifer Burns’ First Tuesday Book Club. Aristarchus, along with other remarkable figures like Eratosthenes, Hypparchus and Posidonius had nailed the actual physical dimensions and movements of our solar system accurately hundreds of years before.

We should have been forewarned. The Pomerstratton team gave the film four and four and a half stars respectively, so politically correct, safe and predictable it inevitably was. For all its admirable qualities and the attempts to deal with one of the most truly fascinating periods in history, it ended up, as one reviewer put it, as “an overlong school trip to the planetarium, followed by a Romans-in-togas play in the gym”. But worse, it failed to see itself, judging by the reviews and commentary, as a powerful allegory concerning the threat of Islamic fundamentalism on our own doorstep today. A truly wasted opportunity.

Britain’s Trillion Pound Horror Story

November 22, 2010

Martin Durkin does it again

We all remember Martin Durkin and his wonderful documentary, The Great Global Warming Swindle, that so thoroughly upset and embarrassed the ABC a couple of years ago. The ABC Collective was so outraged that, from memory, it was the first time they had issued a formal disclaimer that the documentary in no way reflected the views of the ABC …  ahem … as if the ABC has a particular view in the first place.

Anyway, Durkin has produced a new and timely documentary on Britain’s financial woes, Britain’s Trillion Pound Horror Story. According to James Delingpole in the Spectator, it is the most important programme to have appeared on British television this year. It has not, to my knowledge, been reviewed or discussed anywhere in Australia.

From what I have gleaned from the British press reviews and seen from the promos, it is quite a confronting piece, just as his Swindle was for believers in global warming. Whilst most of us know about debt and the shake up from the GFC, there is still much disquiet. In our hearts, most of us don’t really believe that it is all over, or that our leaders have much of a clue. Delingpole recons that unless David Cameron actually does something to reduce government spending, rather than just cutting the rate of increase of government spending, Britain will end up like Honecker’s East Germany.

Last year our government spent more in benefits than it raised in income tax. One third of households in Britain now receive more than half their income in state benefits. Yet our national debt now stands at £4.8 trillion — a figure so large it’s hard even to imagine. If you stacked that figure up in £50 notes, you’d have a pile reaching 6,500 miles into space. If you sold every single house and flat in Britain to try to pay off the debt, you’d still be £1 trillion short …

‘Ah,’ goes up the bien-pensant cry. ‘But if we cut government spending too drastically front-line services will suffer.’ Oh, really? Of the £700 billion-plus of our money currently being squandered every year by the government, only around £200 billion goes on doctors, teachers, police and other ‘key workers’. Most of it simply goes on administration, on diversity-outreach consultants, on climate-change advisers, on entirely pointless government ‘initiatives’ such as the various ones devised to cope with our failing education system: the Numeracy Task Force, the National Skills Academy, Early Learning Partnerships, Excellence Hubs, Learning Outside the Classroom, Parenting Early Intervention Pathfinders, The Framework for Personal and Learning Skills.

I wonder if our ABC intends to show this doco, even forgetting their bad experience with Durkin. The problem for them is that whilst Australia is at the moment in a more fortunate place than Britain, it will remind viewers very much of the Rudd/Gillard profligacy that Mr Swann, the Independents and almost all the commentariat are helping to justify, especially with their obstinacy over the NBN.

What Durkin, and many other international commentators like Niall Furguson are reminding us, is that our politicians, including Obama and the Fed in the US, just don’t seem to know what they are doing.

British schools teach stoning and amputation

November 21, 2010

Six of the best is so passé

 

A news item posted on Andrew Bolt’s blog today reports that schools across England are teaching sharia law, or how to chop off a criminal’s hands or feet, and stone or burn homosexuals, along with the predictable rabid anti-semitic material about the “main goal” of the Jews being to “have control over the world and its resources.” Apparantly these schools are part of the “Saudi Students Clubs and Schools in the UK and Ireland” organisation.

 

 

Charming stuff in cool Britannia.

 

The Education Minister Michael Gove reassured the public on the BBC in no uncertain terms:

I’m clear that we cannot have anti-Semitic material of any kind being used in English schools. Ofsted (Britain’s education watchdog) will be reporting to me shortly.

However, he gave a wonderful display of you beaut cultural tolerance, notably towards the restorative punishments of stoning and amputation actually being taught to his hapless British students, by telling the same BBC audience:

I have no desire or wish to intervene in the decisions that the Saudi government makes in its own education system.

Now, that’s a bold and open Education Minister.

Muslim veil deceit earns six months prison

November 18, 2010

Dishonesty and identity

 

A Sydney Muslim who was pulled over when driving and then  claiming falsely that the police officer tried to forcefully remove her face veil, has been sentenced to six months jail.

At a time when there is a national groundswell of annoyance and  indignation at Muslim women hiding their faces in public and playing the ‘religious sensibility’ card, this is a timely outcome. However, it must be stressed that it is a sentence given for knowingly making a false declaration.

Apparently, the woman went to the police station to sign a statutory  declaration in which she made her false declaration. She then went on to claim that it was not she who had signed it — she was wearing a hijab at the time.  Her complaint was rejected with Magistrate Rabbidge who said the signature on the declaration was almost identical to that on her driver’s licence.

The incident nevertheless puts a focus on the silliness of our appeasement to religious sensibilities when it comes to identity, and the expectations almost all of us have of openness in our society. In a court case in Perth recently, the judge insisted that a Muslim woman, a key witness, had to appear without her veil. However, he accepted the humiliation of dhimmitude by banning male journalists from his court.

The absurdity of this reality is eloquently illustrated in this mock licence from New Jersey [above]. As is now being realized in Europe, even apart from legal considerations, we all like to know who we see in front of us. Covering up is nasty and makes no sense, and certainly ill serves the Muslim community.


A lesson in economics and optimism

November 10, 2010

On what principle is it, that when we see nothing but improvement  behind us, we are to expect nothing but deterioration before us?

Thomas Macaulay

I have just reviewed an outstanding book that I consider the perfect foil for the pessimism of the Left, and an ideal primer for the economically illiterate. It would be an inspiring Christmas present for anyone floundering with notions of economic progress, who doubts man’s ability to respond to environmental problems, or for those worried by peak oil or climate change. It is the perfect response to silly books like Affluenza by Clive Hamilton,  or irresponsible alarmism Australian of the Year Tim Flannery, who so confidently predicted water shortages for Australian cities. But don’t expect this book being discussed in a literary festival or a “dangerous ideas’ talkfest. It is far too dangerous…


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