Friday, March 28, 2008

If you don't agree with my views

If you don’t agree with my political views, feel free to use the comments section to call me a Nationalsozialist (Nazi),
A Reaganite, a Thatcherite, a Blairtite or a Sodomite,

OR have me assassinated, sent to to a gulag, have a grand piano dropped on me from a height,

OR, alternatively, agree to disagree, and enjoy the non-political postings....

Wilson's Prom Camp

last photo:
OEG HQ at Eildon, Vic.
Been pretty busy since Feb, doing camps one after another, mostly center-based ones (little or no walking and no camping).

I was flown down to Victoria a few weeks ago for an OEG program of 5 days for PLC (Presbyterian Girls College). Flown out the day after the end of prog. – so sorry guys in Melb, couldn’t visit you…

Anyway it was quite a novel experience working for OEG which is huge and has 80% of the Vic. Private school market. There were 130 OEG instructors working that week, in several different parts of Vic. Including several flown down from Coefficient in Brisbane.
The Base camp of OEG is at Eildon, and there’s quite an atmosphere with a huge warehouse full of food and gear, staff accommodation nearby, and staff from overseas. On the last day, everyone is driven back to Eildon, u unpack and there is a free BBQ and beer.
I happened to bump into Selena, with whom I had worked with in Malaysia, which was nice.

The start of the program was a bit exhausting – getting used to all the gear and procedures that OEG uses. And the girls were rich girls – extremely, and annoyingly, chatty. And some were very silly or spoilt. I improved as the days went on, but things would have gone smoother if I had divided the large group up into small groups of kids and rotated them every day between:
Cooking, Cleaning, Leaders.
This method was used in Malaysia, but I thought I’d let the group organise themselves – which usually meant the same people did most of the work....

So I’ll know for next time. Avoids calling for volunteers to clean up – it’s just the cleaning group of the day’s responsibility.

There were times when I thought: “I’m not meant for this job”….
Thanks to the difficulty of getting the group moving, the silliness of the girls, and not a very cooperative or fit teacher.
Certainly, I would prefer true wilderness camping – something like mt Barney in August 07, or wilder again – 20 days in Alaska, with a fit and cooperative teacher…mmmm
We were in camping grounds and Nat.park campgrounds … easier to organize for OEG, but much less of a learning exp. For the kids.

We did have lovely debreifs under the stars on the beach, and sunsets.
I have pasted some of my debrief notes – which I write for myself after camps, below:

OEG wilson’s prom

3-7 march
12 girls, 13 yrs
1 teacher, 50s

5 days. Campsites at campgrounds,
half day walk
surf session
two medium walks along beach

teacher acting a bit like client on paid tour
difficult to be tour guide to teacher and taskmaster to kids…
argumentative re start times – while I gave briefs..
: oh, cant we get up later….

A bit “lordy” , physically not fit.
Bad of hearing ? saying: what ?? in a shockish manner when I spoke
Annoying behaviour sometimes – eg taking shower late and being 45 min late for debrief …

Teacher Interviewed by David (standard procedure);
She had some –ge feedback on me, re my relation with her, being too hard on the girls… (mmm - I’m not here to be their bestest friend, as she was trying to be).
But also some positive – my astronomy session was good.
She lied a bit,… saying debriefs on beach cold… when she had said: “lets go to the beach” on the last nite….
David: Good that I did debriefs – essential part of camp

Girls annoyingly chatty – rich kids thing. Annoying to have to remind them often to work, not chat.

Group management:
1 Leaders
2 Cooking
3 Cleaning dishes and area
4 Hygiene- digging toilet, placing signs, setting up hand wash station ( if necessary)

brief leaders nite before/ morning and get them to brief group.
Write list of names&groups on day1 then Rotate . keep list secure !

eg 12/4 = 3 people per group – ok

OEG programs:

Dishes net (buy)
Plastic ladle
Rubbish bags 2

Do trangia demo for whole group ?

Felt this was not my cup of tea on day1…. Girls too noisy, late dinner, difficult to get canoes back on trailer…
Got better after.

Up at 550, put on hot water for group milo on last day… good idea
My fitness- good : could run to get info and not be out of breath.
Back – lower sore to begin, got better with pack massage.
Worse was – trapezius tension, neck pain. – tension…. Other guy Julian also gets trapezius pain.

Altered state of concsiouness. When listen to MP3 player fri nite – tired… so that brain slow, and normal parasitcal thoughts not there… feel almost disembodied as I listen to randomly selected tunes. Listen late into the nite.

Come back to Noosa, like an old friend - go to beach Sunday. Feel a bit tired, but in a good way – better than after center-based stuff – I have burnt myself completely in the work – so there is nothing left to burn. This is a good feeling.

Would be good to do several OEG progs, and become master at it… like in Malaysia. Hardest part – group manage. Helped by making groups with: leader,cooking etc. also teacher manage.

My nav was good on last day – copied topo map from penny. And used initiative to go around beach and not use inland track.

Very interesting to be at OEG HQ and meet people from USA, etc..
And to talk to Jenny – very outdoorsy woman re NZ mountaineering, nepal daulaghiri .
She said – just go to NZ, don’t put it off.

Staff quarters – surrounded by small climbing walls, etc… good place to be amongst outdoor leaders.

Victoria – like foreign country – cutesy towns with 1900s signage, small shops, old buildings. Very different to Queensland with it’s very modern buildings, huge signage… prefer frontier mentality and easy-goingness of Queensland. But like beautiful forests and mountains in Vic, and presence of snow.

Several people talked of NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School, , Wyoming USA) … and the greatness of having 30 or 40 day programs in true wilderness… length of time means you see real change occurring in kids.
Darren doing instructor course at NOLS.

I remember looking at their website back in 1998 and considering flying over to do a course of some kind.
Like Their whole attitude of being in wilderness – away from showers, roads… for extended period.
3 week program costly – but parents less taxed than in aus – can afford it. Very American situation – you pay the true cost, get good quality, and with some work, you can afford to get good quality, as you can make money by taking on as much work as you want and keep most of the earnings. The US scouts and others organize no-cost camps.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Consequences of Europe’s Ostrich posture

(Ostrich as in: Head in the sand, denial).

Got this from a feb 07 article in the SMH. I have long been an admirer of Ayaan Hirsi Ali:

"Europe's media, when confronted with events or statements that vividly illuminate the goals of Muslim leaders and agitators, either don't report on them or edit out key facts," Bawer wrote recently on his website. "Few media accounts of the 2005 Paris riots, for example, mentioned participants' cries of 'Allahu Akbar'. A 2006 [London] Telegraph poll found that 40 per cent of British Muslims want Britain to become a sharia state, yet politicians still respond to every new riot, rape, honour killing or foiled terrorist plot by reassuring the public that the overwhelming majority of European Muslims are law-abiding, peace-loving supporters of democracy."

It's a bleak view, but Western Europe's 15 million Muslims today will be 30 million in 10 years. A similar argument is made in another book, Infidel, published last week by a former Dutch member of parliament and former Muslim, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who is fluent in Arabic and Somali, has lived in Saudi Arabia, and worked for 10 years as a translator with the Muslims of Holland. Since criticising Islam and the oppression of Muslim women, she has been subject to so many threats and murder attempts she now lives in the US.

In an interview last week I asked her why there was such censorship, denial and silence from so many European liberals in the face of so many attacks on liberalism.

"There is a combination of imperial guilt, and the civil rights movement," she said. "It created an attitude that all cultures are equal, that Western culture is not superior, that Christianity is not superior. This is especially so in the intellectual elite, the media, the education systems, in politics. But for the intellectual elite this belief is only theoretical.

"It is the working-class communities who were the first to experience the realities of immigration and cultural differences. When there were the first protests in these communities about problems with immigration, and about problems with how immigrant women were being treated, the elite immediately turned on them by calling them 'racists'.

"Instead of facing up to this new face of misogyny, the elites pretended it was because of discrimination. The immigrants became the new working class. The proletariat was reinvented …
"Holland's multiculturalism has deprived many Muslim women and children of their rights. It is tolerance for the sake of consensus, but the consensus is empty. Many Muslims never learn Dutch and reject Dutch values of tolerance and personal liberty. I read rants about Islamophobia, but none of this pseudo-intellectualising had anything to do with reality.

"Until I came on the scene, no one wanted to say that the criminal behaviour of so many young Muslim men had anything to do with culture. There is such a resistance to quantifying, to statistics, because everybody knows where the statistics will lead. And if you publish that Muslims commit most violent crimes, there will be violence from the Muslims, and they will be supported by the Social Democrats, the Greens and the Socialist Party, which will explain away this behaviour as 'poverty'."


Sunday, March 23, 2008

The pseudo-intellectuals

(click on cartoon for a larger view).
I like this cartoon from Promethean Antagonist

and his comment:
I've posted it here again because I think one picture -- and a few words -- "is worth a thousand words." When I hear or read the remarks of Chomsky and other classic leftist "thinkers" or debate someone from this predictable crowd of intellectual charlatans, this is what I see.
It's hard to take someone seriously when they claim to be coming from a position of deep insight and honesty, yet can only see good in the most horrid of political systems. Such partisan sympathy for genuine devils is what elites in academia call, "skepticism." I prefer to call it arrogance and insincerity.

How Kids are dis-educated

This blogger teaches English and Japan, and offers some scathing comment on the bland politicised rubbish and disrespect of knowledge that goes on in Education schools in the US (and elsewhere), and the non-education of kids as a result. the satire below is from his blog.
Read his full dissection of Ed-schools:
The History of Math Teaching since 1950:
1. Teaching Math In 1950 A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price. What is his profit?
2. Teaching Math In 1960 A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price, or $80. What is his profit?
3. Teaching Math In 1970 A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80. Did he make a profit?
4. Teaching Math In 1980 A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80 and his profit is $20. Your assignment: Underline the number 20.
5. Teaching Math In 1990 A logger cuts down a beautiful forest because he is selfish and inconsiderate and cares nothing for the habitat of animals or the preservation of our woodlands. He does this so he can make a profit of $20. What do you think of this way of making a living? Topic for class participation after answering the question: How did the birds and squirrels feel as the logger cut down their homes? (There are no wrong answers.)
6. Teaching Math In 2005 Un hachero vende una carretada de madera para $100. El costo de la producciones es $80.

# posted by Promethean Antagonist @ 10:00 PM

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Irak Boohoohoo on SBS

last 2 images:
1. Saddam's mass graves near Milla, Irak
2. Japanese Hostage with Michael fat pig Moore's friendly freedom fighters.

Watched SBS’s short round up after 5 years of US presence in Irak. Pathetically bad journalism and reflexive anti-americanism. Interview of one or two women who’lost loved ones (this happened all the time under Saddam, but you couldn’t interview the women), Inference that all the killing since the invasion has been the US’s fault (ever heard of Al-quaeda’s attempted take over of Irak, with mass public bombings, journos ?). All very cursory and dismissive- I think many Irakis would be pretty disgusted at watching their new nation being dissed of as “a mistake”.

check this article out if you think the US Abu Graib scandal was "torture" (rather than maltreatment), and for an idea of what went on under Saddam on a weekly basis, including on teenagers

Among the most horrific objects retrieved by Mr Badawi and his team from the notorious torture rooms of the mukhabarat, and now included in the museum, is a wooden table covered in a worn strip of leather and with a domestic iron placed at one end.
"This is an electrocution table," he said.
"The naked prisoner was bound to the table with a steel bar strapped to his shoulder to ensure maximum immobility as his torturers electrocuted him or used the iron to inflict burns.
"Electric shocks were delivered via electrodes attached to a plastic syringe, the needle of which was inserted into the urethra of the victim's sexual organ. The pain was atrocious.


East Timor is still unstable, 10 yrs after the Australian intervention to stop the Indonesian Genocide, so I guess that’s a mistake as well…

If saddam had not been removed, we would have more mass graves, mass torture and misery in Irak, and outside – Civilians and soldiers being blown up in terrorist bombings, funded by Saddam (he was funding terrorist orgs. In Somalia, the Palestinian territories, and elsewhere). Also Iraks’ 5 million refugees and dissidents living overseas would still be living in fear of murder or worse by the Mukhabarat, (Saddam’s secret service).
Not to mention the global emboldening of al-quaeda versus the civilized world: “look the US can’t face up to Saddam”. And even the emboldening of tyrants worldwide from Syria to Serbia and Russia…
Would we then have newspapers running headlines and body counts: “the cost of NOT going to war in Irak” ?
Don’t count on it. Much easier for the small brains and resentful minds of journos to zero in on the casualties due to the war, than the more subtle and complex job of counting casualties due to NOT facing up to tyrants like him.
Let’s get beyond: “War Bad” , “UN Good”:
mmmm. Ask the Kosovars or the Irakis or the Tibetans what the UN ever did for them. Sending in Observers or so-called “Peace”-keeping forces to watch old ladies and teenagers being shot by serb snipers in Sarajevo and then issuing “strong condemnations” of Milosevic. Words are Not gonna work guys… It takes Military action or the threat of it to make tyrants take notice.

What about this Lebanese fellow on Irak:

Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt explained to David Ignatius of the Washington Post. "I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, 8 million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world. The Syrian people, the Egyptian people, all say that something is changing. The Berlin Wall has fallen. We can see it."

And a true comment, valid also for Tibet right now:

Those now waxing rhapsodic about the courage of the natives and the beauty of people power need to ask themselves the obvious question: Why now? It is easy to get sentimental about people power. But people power does not always prevail. Indeed, it rarely prevails. It was crushed in Hungary 1956, Czechoslovakia 1968, Tiananmen Square 1989--and Iraq 1991. Matched against tyranny at its point of maximum cruelty, people power is useless.
In the 1991 uprising, tens of thousands of Shi'ites and Kurds were killed by the raw power of Saddam's helicopters and tanks and secret police. What was different this time (recent Irak elections) ? No Saddam.

And what do the Irakis think ?:
A teacher in Basra put it well:
life under Saddam was a living- death.

Oct 2006:

Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani yesterday predicted on a visit to Australia that Iraqi forces would be able to look after their own security within 12-18 months. But he expected the international community to stay the course with Iraq in the struggle against terrorism. “The Iraqi people are committed to win this battle, but they do need help,” he said. “They do need time to build their own forces.” Dr Shahristani, a nuclear scientist, was tortured by Saddam Hussein’s security forces and spent 11 years in prison for refusing to work on a nuclear weapons program for Saddam.
Iraq’s deputy prime minister Barham Saleh speaks out against the Beazleys and other defeatists:

It has become traditional, apparently, in Washington to start any speech on Iraq with an acknowledgement of mistakes made and regrets for errors past. Apparently, we live in a world of perfection, and Iraq is required to be the perfect forum. Democracies do make mistakes, and their mistakes are visible. There are mistakes that have been made in that difficult venture of the liberation of Iraq that need to be commented on. It is true, and I have said this before as well, missteps and many missteps have taken place, some of them with disastrous consequences, by the Coalition as well as by the Iraqis.
What we must aim for, however, is far less imperfection that has been the case in these tough years of transition. Unlike dictatorships, however, we must learn from our mistakes because we have open debate. We can also put them in a context. No error in Iraq should detract from our progress. Quibble the rationale for our liberation as much as some people may, nobody who has seen the mass graves, and as we discover more of them almost every month, nobody who has met the victims, nobody who knows of our decades of suffering can look the Iraqis in the eye and tell us that we would have been better off with Saddam Hussein still in power.

Journos: Uh-duh ? ever heard of al-quadea trying to take over the country, kidnapping aid workers such as CARE’s Margaret Hassan, journalists, including French ones, bombing crowded public places such as Mosques, and disgusting even the sunnis who were trying to re-instate a Batthist regime. So much so that they are now fighting al-q with militias of their own.
US forces are “part of the problem” UHH? That’s like saying the Sicilian mafia in the 80s was killing and intimidating solelly because of the presence of tough Italian judges. So I guess Al-quaeda will just melt away and leave the Irakis alone if the US leaves ? what kind of western-self-flagellating bullshit it that ?

Remember the elation on the faces of men and women cheering on the US tanks in the first weeks of the war ? uh – memory gap maybe ? How could they be cheering if life was “OK” under Saddam ? And a country of 30 million that had 5 million refugees overseas must have been pretty awful to live in.

Journalists seem to get lobotomised at journo school – their knowledge of history and thinking skills are so poor. Ever heard of WW2 ? – 400 000 US deaths – getting rid of a nazi regime and an imperialist Japan came at a high price.
Do they remember what Irak was before 2003 ? with Saddam’s minions killing, abducting and torturing horribly, eg feeding people feet first into shredders.
And Saddam’s sons cynically reselling the pharmaceuticals destined for Irak’s millions (in the oil-for-food program) to Jordan… or Saddam cynically throwing apples at starving young kids ? All of this was changed with american deaths equal to one month in 1968 Vietnam.

The cost of action is visible – what about the cost of not acting in Irak – life was so horrendous there that Bernard Kouchner, head of Doctors without Borders, was pro-armed intervention (he got fired from the Socialist party for his heresy).
Before 2003, Kurds to the North and Shiites to the south protected by Anglo-US no-fly zones, which had to engage the Irakis weekly – it was already a war zone before the war. How long was that supposed to go on for, and at what cost ? How long could the sanctions have gone on, when Saddam clearly didn’t give a fuck about the suffering of his people ?

So people are killed in wars and when terrorists try to take over (as the FIS did in Algeria in the 90s) ??? noooo really ? so if terrorists try to take over Sydney, we should just wave the white flag then ?
Hello ? welcome to the real world guys – fighting terrorists who have no limits or scruples , kidnap, torture, mutilate, bomb crowded public places – is hard and bloody. And letting them win results in a hell on earth wherever they are (just read accounts of life under the Taliban) – so neither choice is “Peaceful”. Peace doesn’t exist unless thugs are warded off on a regular basis.
All the finger waving at the US ignores the consequences of the alternative – leaving Saddam in power would have sent many 10 of thousands of people to mass graves and torture rooms, as he did in his years leading up to the war – killing 100 000 Shiites when they tried to topple him.
Quite apart from the emboldening effect on terrorists and tyrants all over the world if the US had not taken on Saddam and his army of psychopaths.

Positive outcomes of the Iraki war:

Libya was so scared, it gave up its quite advanced program of WMD over to UN inspections.
Ukraine successfully held up against Russian intervention (maybe they wouldn’t have if the US was perceived as weak)
Kosovo had the confidence to declare their independence despite neibouring Serbia.(as above. Note the profusion of “thank you America” signs and USA flags in Kosovo, shown on SBS, but interestingly no such images on German TV we get on SBS….too embarassing for the Euros to acknowledge that people know the US means business and the EU means waffle.)

Municipal elections in Saudi Arabia, men only, but still a first. In Egypt, demonstrations for democracy--unheard of in decades--prompting the dictator to announce free contested presidential elections, a historic first.
The Cedar Revolution in Lebanon, in which unarmed civilians, Christian and Muslim alike, brought down the puppet government installed by Syria. There is even the beginning of a breeze in Damascus. More than 140 Syrian intellectuals have signed a public statement defying their government by opposing its occupation of Lebanon.
The Middle East witnessed the first free elections in that region, and the first fair public trial with prosecutor and defence [Saddam] (both of these, revolutionary for arabs, used to the rule of tyrants.)
The Irakis came out of a circus of horrors under Saddam, with no end in sight, to a sel-determined future, admittedly made tough by al-quaeda’s attempted takeover

In a long list of living standards improvements, Iraki schools now have toilets (!), Irakis own more cars and appliances than ever before, and salaries have gone up several fold.
But the most important thing is that Irakis now have hope and the possibility of improvement– something journos seem to stupid and ignornant about what life is like under a bloody tyranny to understand.

The Iraki blog “irak the model” explained it all quite well, from a Iraki's point of view. And a cursory read of books on Saddam’s reign is enough to make you have nightmares.
Freedom is not free… that is so very true.

History will show Irak’s democratisation to have been a major pivot point in getting the middle east out of it’s no-hope sordid tyrannies. Irak may even have real Uni-verse-ities where people actually debate ideas and truly think, in the near future (contrary to the extreme-left group-think/dictatorship campuses we have now in the West). As with countries like Slovakia, Irak has actually known tyranny and is unlikely to be seduced by some crackpot nihilist or marxist European philosopher into the virtues of tyrannies or terrorists (as French educated mass murderer Pol pot and scores of others were). I may even end up teaching outdoor ed there…

Mark Steyn wrote a good article on the subject in 2006:

In Donald Rumsfeld's words, weakness is a provocation. So the immediate objective was to show neighboring thugs that the price of catching America's eye was too high. The long term strategic goal was to begin the difficult but necessary transformation of the region that the British funked when they cobbled together the modern Middle East in 1922.

The jury will be out on that for a decade or three yet. But in Iraq today the glass is seven-ninths full. That's to say, in 14 out of 18 provinces life is better than it's been in living memory. In December, 70% of Iraqis said that "life is good" and 69% were optimistic it would get even better in the next year. (Comparable figures in a similar poll of French and Germans: 29% and 15%.)

Il faut lire et relire l’un des rares esprits libres de ce côté-ci de l’Atlantique, Guy Millière:
Nous sommes dans une guerre planétaire déclarée au monde libre par l’islam radical. Le commencement de cette guerre (qui dépasse l’Irak), se situe bien plus tôt. Certains font remonter les choses au premier attentat contre les Twin Towers en 1993, d’autres vont jusqu’à la prise du pouvoir par Khomeyni en 1979.

Cette guerre marquera le xxie siècle. Si (ce que je n’ose imaginer), elle ne devait pas se solder par la victoire de la liberté, cela signifierait la fin de la civilisation dans laquelle nous vivons. Les dirigeants américains le discernent, tout comme les penseurs les plus éclairés des contrées musulmanes. La gauche américaine, en proie aux fantasmes venus du temps du Vietnam, ne discerne rien. La gauche, les gaullistes et l’extrême-droite en Europe ne discernent rien non plus, cachent leur mépris pour les populations arabes derrière des propos veules, dissimulent leur lâcheté derrière l’illusion que l’apaisement peut fonctionner, et préparent, en fait, consciemment ou non, une soumission globale à l’islam radical qu’ils semblent trouver préférable à une victoire d’un monde libre conduit par les États-Unis.

On sait depuis longtemps que l’alternative à la libération de l’Irak eût été le maintien d’une situation intenable de sanctions, de charniers et de corruptions qu’il n’était possible de lever, hors recours à la guerre, qu’en permettant au régime irakien de redevenir pleinement nuisible. Et on sait aussi que la « décision sage » de Chirac devait tout aux corruptions et à la peur.

(partial translation:
the left, Chirac etc hide their contempt for the arabs, hide their cowardice behind the illusion that appeasment can work, and prepare, consciously or not, a global submission to Radical Islam which they seem to think is preferable to the victory of a free world led by the USA).

Man’s Destiny is Inter-Stellar travel

Photos from:


(Has a great selection of pictures of the solar system. Eg check out Saturn, it has pictures from different missions, including Voyager 1.)
and an easy to use website:

Yikes ! there’s so much awe-inspiring stuff on the net. Brushing up on black holes so as to be able to do accurate Star-sessions with kids, and for my own interest. Found the NASA website – full of information, lessons about nebula etc, and great photos.

I remember looking at the “Figaro magazine’s” full page spreads of the amazing photos sent back by the “Voyager” space probe in 1979… Saturn and it’s rings, huge Jupiter and it’s red spot (itself several times bigger than the earth). At 9, I was enthralled by the size of these beasts in our solar system, and the awe-inspiring colour beauty of the planets. I stared at the swirls of the red spot and imagined the earth fitting into it several times. Later in physics, I learnt about the tremendous gravitational forces near planet like Jupiter, so much more massive than the earth.

It’s worth remembering that for all man’s technology, nuclear power and so on, it’s all piddlingingy small compared to the forces in suns, on planets. And the natural resources and energy out there is infinite, and will be mined, most likely in this century.
Man’s destiny is in the stars, with interstellar travel, advanced levels of consciousness and out-of-body experiences brought about by meditation taught at schools, 12 yr olds with a knowledge of Physics equivalent to a Bach. In Physics today….

It’s so much more than the Greens will ever imagine in their narrow dislike of technological progress and economic progress.

I envy those who will be able to do interstellar travel – looking at such scales and beauty must have a permanent effect on people.