So members of the Exclusive Brethren don’t vote?

Philip Hunt writes: Re. Yesterday’s editorial. One gets the sentiment of your editorial that the “Exclusive Brethren are (not) Australian citizens just like anybody else” but your evidence is dangerously exclusive itself. The implication is that anyone who practices some behavior or holds some belief not held by the majority of Australians is somehow disqualified from citizenship. Seems a familiar and disturbing theme. Wanna clarify what you really mean?

Mick Hidden writes: So members of the Exclusive Brethren don’t vote? As the PM and Treasurer said, they are just like any other Australians. Any other criminal Australians presumably. Are their members on the electoral roll? Have they been fined for not voting? If not, why not? Do any other members of the criminal classes regularly get hearings from the government on issues of concern to them, or is it only the religious nutcases? Come to think of it, it’s a similar criterion to that which applies to some of the foreign governments we have special relationships with really…

A poor understanding of basic economics:

Trevor Best writes: Re. “$17 billion budget surplus and pork” (yesterday, comments). Why do you keep giving space to people who betray a poor understanding of basic economics while spewing negativity? A responsible government in times of burgeoning prosperity will need to suppress inflation, so instead of pork barrelling, they resist demands for tax reduction and salt away large portions of budget surpluses to meet future needs when economic times are less rosy, and consumers are borrowing/spending less.

Cave dwelling over BHP:

Tim Le Roy writes: Re. “Nice profit BHP, shame about the environment” (yesterday, item 7). As a very happy BHP shareholder I was bemused to read the hysterical drivel by Greenpeace’s energy ‘campaigner’, Ben Pearson, attacking BHP’s sources of income, particularly coal. Australians should be proud that such a world class company is headquartered here, employs so many Aussies and contributes to our economy. BHP’s coal production of 150 million tonnes represents 3% of world consumption in 2005. Consumption grew that year by over 7% so even if BHP closed every mine and made their workers grow hemp it would not even register on the greenie radar! What’s your solution, Ben? Windmills? Germany has 16,000 turbines and has recently completed 26 new COAL FIRED power plants. Wonder why Australia’s ‘quarry’ mentality produces jobs, quality lifestyle, innovation and prosperity. What is so wrong with that? Even eco-heroes like Peter Garrett have accepted the reality of world energy production. Please get over it unless you have a viable solution that offers an economy and standard of living that exceeds that of a cave dweller.

Peter Garrett. MIA:

Brett Howard writes: Re. “The Incredible Shrinking Julia Gillard: silence the best policy” (yesterday, item 12). What about Peter Garrett? M.I.A. or what?

There is no left, just 2 variations on right:

Mark Webb writes: Re. “The Right hits a wall — damn myopia!” (Yesterday, item 19). I wish Guy Rundle’s piece on the death of the right made sense. It doesn’t. The right may appear to have been done in by the so called “left” adopting identical policies with a twist of leftness. Just look at the blinding difference between John Howard and Kevin .07, Tony Blair was pretty much Thatcher in sheep’s clothing and look at how much has changed regarding Iraq with a democratically controlled Congress? We now have a situation where the left have become economic rationalists too and abandoned any sense of social justice or dare I use the word “socialism”. We frequently see the “left” outflanking the right from the right. This actually signals the death of left wing politics. All those people (like me) who want to vote for a party that doesn’t put business first have no one to vote for. There is no left, just two variations on right.

A safer Nuclear energy future?:

Mal van der Veer writes: Re. “But does India want our uranium?” (Wednesday, item 16). I thought that the Indian government was busily developing Thorium based generation technology using Russian technology and designed nuclear plants. India reputedly has about one third of the world’s known deposits of Thorium (Australia and Canada have the balance apparently). Perhaps we in Australia should co-operate with the Indians and create a safer Nuclear energy future?

Crikey is becoming the old Truth :

John Purcell writes: Re. “From the grassy knoll” (yesterday, item 8). 25 Nuclear Stations down the east coast? Do you print real sh-t or just plain sh-t!? Figure the figures! Who needs that many! Get your mind around it. Maybe Crikey is becoming the old Truth ! Anything goes and reality doesn’t matter.

Being civil:

Mike Hughes writes: Director of the Centre for Civil Society, Vern Hughes (yesterday, comments), wrote: “Crikey remains stuck in an inner-city progressivism where throwing money at blacks is still your instinctive response to indigenous dysfunction.” Really Vern. Explain how referring to Aboriginal Australians as blacks is somehow a civil thing to do?

Misdirected anger:

John Kotsopoulos writes: Peter Hatch (yesterday, comments) is probably correct when he says that most Australians are conservative. He is however, in my view, wrong to imply that this means they are necessarily enamoured with this tax and spend neo-con cabal which poses as a ‘liberal’ party. Crikey’s success in exposing the shoddy credentials of the current federal government seems to be getting to Mr. Hatch but his anger is misdirected.

Alcohol induced blackouts:

Alex Wodak writes: Re. “Kevin Rudd and alcohol induced blackouts” (Tuesday, item 19). This week’s astonishing revelation that a leading Australian politician had got drunk and exercised poor judgment prompted a national psychodrama. The temporary memory loss associated with a high and rapidly increasing blood alcohol concentration frightens many who have had this experience. The memory for several hours is just blank even though during this period, the drinker may have conversed or engaged in quite complicated behaviours without appearing to be severely intoxicated. Drinking alcohol impairs the ability of the brain to form new memories. Subtle forms of this memory impairment can be detected after only one or two standard drinks. For example, the number of words remembered correctly in dictation tests drops off noticeably after just a drink or two. The greater the quantity of alcohol consumed, the greater the memory impairment until an ‘alcoholic blackout’ is reached after large quantities of alcohol have been consumed quickly and often on an empty stomach. Memory blackouts are more common in heavy drinkers because heavy drinkers are more likely to reach a high blood alcohol concentration more often and more quickly than others drinking more moderately. But the odd alcoholic blackout is a not uncommon experience for occasional drinkers who have given it a bit of a nudge now and then. Individual drinkers vary in their susceptibility to experience a blackout at a given high blood alcohol concentration. The speed of the increase also seems to be very important. Alcohol has little impact on the ability to recall information processed either immediately or long before getting intoxicated. Blackouts are often confused with passing out or becoming unconscious. Yet the two experiences are quite different. Blackouts often terrify heavy drinkers and prompt them to seek help. However, when politicians appear to have a poor memory for certain embarrassing events, factors other than alcohol are much more likely to be the cause.

Peter Faris and Islamophobia:

Irfan Yusuf writes: Re. “Islamophobes of Australia: an award to die for” (yesterday, item 18). Few journalists have travelled as far and wide through the troubled-zones of various Muslim-majority states as author and Chief Reporter for the Observer Jason Burke. In his 2006 book On The Road To Kandahar: Travels Through Conflict In The Islamic World, Burke writes of:

… a wave of appallingly misinformed statements on Islam or ‘the Islamic world’ in general. The huge variety of practice, belief and observation in Muslim-dominated societies, so much of it fused with local cultures and conditions, so textured and so complex … reduced in much of the debate … to a single stereotype … based on the vision of the most conservative, the most rigorous and the most belligerent interpretations for the faith. A single thread of a huge and rich tapestry had been drawn out and declared representative of the whole. All major religions have resources within them that can be exploited for different uses, belligerent or pacific, tolerant or intolerant, yet it [is] a minority strand within a minority strand, epitomized by Osama bin Ladin and his fellow extremists, men who mined Islam for all that was most inflexible, violent and bitter, that [stand] for the faith …

Peter Faris epitomised this kind of tunnel vision yesterday when he wrote of the vision constantly in his mind of “the unstated but real threat that some crazy Islamist will try to cut your head off, as happened in 2004 with the Dutch Islamophobe Theo van Gogh”. As if Dutch Muslims are going around chopping off heads everyday in Amsterdam. As if Victorian Muslims do the same in Melbourne.Then Faris talks about “the sensitivity of Islam to any criticism as is demonstrated by the 1989 death fatwa by the Iranian leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, against Salman Rushdie and also the more recent matter of the Danish cartoons”. It isn’t just the Federal Police who have trouble with Dr Haneef’s ancestral language of Urdu. Faris also needs to learn some Urdu. Let him read some poetry of Faiz Ahmed Faiz or other Urdu poets who openly lambast mullahs and Muslim religious symbols. What happens to such poets? To this day, Faiz is a national hero in Pakistan. Yet there is nothing exceptional about him. In Faris’ mind, those blasted Mozlems are violent and out to get him regardless of where they are. Had Faris been alive 60 or 70 years ago in Western Europe, he may have written about nasty Jewish bankers who charge exhorbitant interest rates and who then eat Christian children whose parents default. Imagine if we all thought like Peter Faris. Imagine if I thought all Victorian Barristers thought I and anyone else deemed Muslim was just a “crazed Islamist” trying to cut their head off. I’d be telling all my Victorian solicitor friends to send their briefs north of the Murray! What is saddest of all about Peter Faris’ jaundiced thinking is that he himself has a surname popular among Arabs and Muslims. If he arabised his given name and became “Boutros”, he’d be welcomed in a Coptic Egyptian church. And if he switched his name back-to-front’ he could walk into a ‘Cape-coloured’ mosque in Cape Town and join the congregation without anyone asking any questions.

Mary Kostakidis and SBS:

Geoff Perkins writes: Re. “Kostakidis not returning to SBS as morale hits rock bottom” (yesterday, item 21). Why is everybody talking about Mary being “long serving and loyal”? Is this all part of the continuing “Aussie cringe”? The point here is surely that she is a very talented newsreader! Survey after international survey has pointed that out for many years. Longevity and loyalty are what is wrong with Australian management and dare I say it, politicians. Let us have talent and ability, everywhere, and then maybe this country can achieve the greatness that is long overdue.

Paul Dwerryhouse writes: Anyone who wants to see the steep decline of SBS needs only to look at the difference between their website of 2005 and that of today.




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