Swimming Pools: Our Children in Danger

In the United States in the period of 2005-2009 there were recorded deaths of 3,533 innocent people in non-boat related unintentional drownings.

Drownings accounted for more than 3,000 deaths between 2005-2009.

There are over 10 million private swimming pools in the United States, that’s roughly one swimming pool for every 35 people! Private swimming pools are often maintained by irresponsible owners, many of whom have small children or entertain guests who are small children, which would explain why a disproportionate number of pool drowning deaths are that of innocent children. Minorities are also at a higher risk of death from drowning in pools, with the CDC recording that the drowning death of a 5-14 year old African American child is three times as likely as that of a white child.

How can such a travesty occur in a modern, developed country like the United States? The answer is the swimming pool culture and lobby.

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The Slow Death of Free Speech

In trawling through the intertubes as I do, I came across an article written by Mark Steyn in The Spectator. Like the Brendan O’Neil article that I shared yesterday, it is a topical article that goes on the attack with regards to modern approaches to Freedom of Speech.

“I heard a lot of that kind of talk during my battles with the Canadian ‘human rights’ commissions a few years ago: of course, we all believe in free speech, but it’s a question of how you ‘strike the balance’, where you ‘draw the line’… which all sounds terribly reasonable and Canadian, and apparently Australian, too. But in reality the point of free speech is for the stuff that’s over the line, and strikingly unbalanced. If free speech is only for polite persons of mild temperament within government-policed parameters, it isn’t free at all. So screw that.”

Full story via The Spectator

Putin’s Persistence: The Ukrainian Crisis

Almost two months into the Ukrainian Crisis, and a diplomatic stalemate has ensued. Neither side wants to back down, and both want to return to normalised relations. Russia has gotten away with violating Ukraine’s sovereignty once, and is gearing up to do it again. Though will the West appease Russia’s whims? Can further escalation be avoided?

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The Future of The Lion’s Den

The bloody Syrian Civil War has raged for over 3 years, and as it creeps on and on it is becoming more and more plausible that Bashar al-Assad will prevail. However, and this may be a bit controversial, it is quite possible that this could be the best result.

 

A current map detailing the ownership of Syria by various groups, via The Economist

 

Despite the fact that Bashar al-Assad rules Syria as an autocrat, compared to how Ba’athist dictators go, such as his father, and the likes of Saddam Hussein, as well as Middle Eastern governments as a whole, al-Assad’s rule has been one of the less brutal and repressive, though it is a shame that that quality is cause for praise.

Originally pursuing a life of ophthalmology, Bashar al-Assad was never interested in political or military affairs, and it was only through the untimely death of his elder brother that the younger al-Assad was made heir apparent by his father. In the six and a half years prior to Hafez al-Assad’s death in 2000, Bashar was put through the military academy at Homs and rose through the ranks very quickly, while older officers who might pose a threat to the transference of power were pushed into retirement, and other officers loyal to the Assad family were promoted to ensure stability within the armed forces.

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The Endangered Political Species

I’ve always been a great admirer of Senator George Brandis QC, having had the privilege of meeting him on a number of occassions and hearing a lecture he delivered at the University of Queensland last year (my notes of which are lost somewhere in the confusing mess of terror that is My Documents), and it fills me with such hope that we have politicians, and more importantly an Attorney-General, like Sen. Brandis who stand ready to take on the media, the Leftists, nanny-staters, and even those from within the ranks of the Coalition, in order to deliver enhanced Freedom of Speech to all Australians.

This admiration of Sen. Brandis meant that I was captivated by an article written by none other than Brendan O’Neil, of which some of you may or may not have already read. I highly recommend it, just in the first paragraph I was hooked:

“Ever since Captain Cook set foot here, Australia’s exotic creatures have wowed the rest of the world. Mammals that lay eggs! Marsupials that hop! Well today, Australia contains what must surely count as the most exotic, rarely sighted creature of the twenty-first century: a politician who believes in freedom of speech. Extinct in Europe, seriously endangered in America, this most hunted of the modern era’s political beasts still survives Down Under, and it goes by the name of George Brandis.”

It’s a great piece about a very important issue, so follow the link provided and give it a read.

http://www.spiked-online.com/freespeechnow/fsn_article/the-state-should-never-be-the-arbiter-of-what-people-can-think#.U1fPIFd2Fe6

The day the Premier resigned

NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell has been found to have received a $3,000 bottle of 1959 Penfolds Grange as a gift, which he failed to declare, and failed to admit to ICAC, conveniently suffering from memory failure, and has accordingly resigned this morning.

Before all thoughts move to who will move on up into the top spot, our anti-lockout friends at I’m Not The Problem Barry – No Lockouts NSW have been taking advantage of this scintillating story to have a bit of a laugh. The full gallery is here, but some of my favourites are below!

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iguessivehadmylastcabernetmeeting

whinesforlockoutslockedoutbywine

chrisnewman

 

 

 

The Freedom to be Wrong

Recently the Attorney-General, George Brandis’ amendments to the Racial Discrimination Act have come under fire by the political elite, claiming they are in support of bigotry. In fact these laws simply take human rights out of the hands of the government and allow the free-exchange of ideas without external interference. Few people on either side of parliament are bigoted or want to make it easier for serious verbal damage to be done to our ethnic communities but the fact is that it is very difficult to legally define what constitutes ‘offensive.’

The 1995 amendments section 18 to The Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) by the Keating government made it illegal to ‘offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate’ others based on their race or ethnicity. At first glance these provisions may seem reasonable after all, for example, their is no doubt as to the humiliation that survivors of the holocaust must feel when extreme-right fringe-dwellers undermine their experiences by denying the atrocity ever happened. However it is by being able to withstand critique that the truth is all the more relevant. As John Stuart Mill said ‘If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.’ To have strength in our convictions we must be exposed to all contrary viewpoints. You cannot simply oppose something while being forbidden to know precisely what it is that you oppose.

Furthermore, with pre-existing statutory conditions on defamation and vilification there is adequate scope for the rights of individuals to be protected without imposing rigorous sanctions on the freedom of speech.

But this isn’t enough for ethnic advocates  with Jewish community leader Jeremy Jones fearing that the new legislation could open the door for holocaust deniers. Left-wing intellectuals argue that freedom of expression must be counter-balanced with the freedom to be free from verbal persecution.

I argue however, how can freedom of speech remain uncompromised if it is to be qualified by the  subjective standards of the government?

To bind free expression to the caveat of whether it conforms to the standards of the government of the day is to nullify it completely. If you believe in freedom of speech you believe in it on a sunny and a wet day, and uphold that no matter whether the speaker is Andrew Bolt or Sarah Hanson-Young, in the eyes of the law, their opinions are no more or less legitimate.

There are many that say that society is not comprised of an even playing field and that individuals like Cory Bernardi and Alan Jones are given a disproportionate  voice compared to the minorities they denounce  and that the government is required to step in as an independent arbiter. These people should be reminded that the government is in itself a class compromised of the upper echelons of society from the top-tier, sandstone universities and beset with a born to rule mentality fixated from birth. To have them as the qualifier of what is in good taste is to place severe boundaries on culture and expression.

Moreover, is there any practical outcomes to be achieved by the prohibition of free speech? History shows that when you try to put a cap on the bottle, the cap bursts off. With almost every government intervention there is a reasonable backlash which quite often strengthens the cause of the suppressed individuals. The fact remains that people aren’t cured from being a racist by governmental legislation, the process is cultural and starts from the bottom up.

To combat racism and bigotry the onus is on individuals, families, schools, work-places and media outlets to inform the people that that is not okay conduct. The suggestion that we need a centralised body to do so shows a fundamental distrust for humanity arguing that teachers, family members and colleagues are incapable of taking the initiative themselves to combat discrimination. The attitude that only government can save us from ourselves ultimately plays into the hands of the policy-making elites in allowing them to dictate the terms in which we interact and, in doing so, depriving us of our individual responsibility.

Edited by Matt Russell

A Free Society Does Not Mean Free Higher Education

John Slater

In a recent submission made to the Government’s review of the demand driven funding model of Australian universities, universities within Australia’s “Group of 8” have argued that they should be able to abandon the system of Commonwealth supported places. Predictably, the case for charging students full fees is an unpopular one. In our rights inflated culture, education is often framed as the most basic of entitlements. As appealing as this may sound, rights don’t exist in the abstract.

What subsidized higher education really means is transferring the cost from the individual who stands to benefit to the anonymous silent majority of tax-payers.

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Having Your Yellowcake and Eating It

global-warming2

One of the greatest concerns of policy makers, corporations, academics, and private citizens is the matter of man’s impact on the environment, increasing scarcity of resources as well as what this bodes for the future and how to address the issue without curtailing economic growth. However, the best solution to this problem has been around for more than half a century.
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