Crazed Libyan Leader Muammar Gaddafi to tell UN to Abolish Switzerland

A year ago, Gaddafi’s youngest son, Hannibal Gaddafi, and his wife were arrested in a Geneva luxury hotel after beating two servants with a belt and a coat-hanger.

According to a New York Times article, “Hannibal Gaddafi had previously been busted in France and Italy for beating a woman and fighting a cop, and once for driving drunk down Paris’ Champs Elysee at 90 mph  – the wrong way.”

How do you think Hannibal’s dad Muammar reacted? By issuing an apology to the Swiss? By taking some perks away from his son? By paying compensation to the beaten servants?

No, of course not! He reacted like a typical Arab Dictator – he threw a tantrum like a 3-year old boy – that is, a 3 year old boy with money and autocratic power. Gaddafi’s regime did the following:

  • Recalled Libyan diplomats From Switzerland
  • Suspended visas for Swiss citizens
  • Withdrew funds from Swiss banks
  • Blockaded the Tripoli office of the Swiss food company Nestlé

And the Old Arab Favourite trick:

  • Threatened to cut off oil deliveries to Switzerland.

Oh and also they kept two Swiss businessmen as ‘guests’ [hostages] until Libya received an apology for poor little Hannibal’s arrest.

Now as you can imagine, such financial pressure can even crack most principled of people, especially the Swiss who are known for their love of other people’s gold. Two weeks ago, Swiss President Hans-Rudolf Merz travelled to Tripoli to issue a grovelling apology, hoping to pacify madman Gaddafi and get their businessmen back.

In true Arab style, Libya reneged and the businessmen are still there. Now Merz, having made a fool out of himself, is apparently facing calls for his resignation from outraged Swiss citizens.

But that’s not all. Gaddafi is still angry as hell and he now plans to demand the dissolution of Switzerland when he next addresses the United Nations. If Gaddafi can sway enough of his fellow Arab, Muslim and African dictatorships, maybe he’ll muster a UN majority to pass a Switzerland dissolution resolution.

After all, similar tactics got Taiwan kicked out of the UN in 1971, and get Israel criticised every other week for defending itself from destruction at the hands of its Arab Muslim Neighbours. That’ll teach the Swiss who’s boss!

Another Example of the Herald’s Poor Middle-East Journalism

In today’s Sydney Morning Herald, there was an article on two Arab families who were evicted for squatting in two properties in Jerusalem, after a court ruled that they were not the owners.

The Herald article, written by middle-east correspondent Jason Koutsoukis, completely ignored the evidence and judge’s reasoning for this judgement, instead preferring to use cheap emotive descriptions to portray the Arabs as victims of ‘Club-wielding’ Israeli police and noting that there were ’19 minors’, as well as quoting other peoples’ smears and criticism of Israel.

For a mainstream newspaper, this shows a complete lack of journalistic standards and readers deserve better.

Regrettably, when it comes to Israel, this is the norm for the mainstream media, and this explains why ordinary people, who have not gone out of their way to research Middle-East history, can easily be manipulated to be hostile to Israel – the only Western, democratic state in the region and a historic ally of Australia.

The Teenager Who Almost Became an Airline Tycoon

I am always inspired by creative young people who start with with no money, connections and end up doing really clever things to hit the big time.

In the media, it has been reported that a 17-year old British ‘autistic’ teenager from Yorkshire was attempting to set up a new Channel Islands-based airline that would service most of Europe.

He pulled this off by creating a number of bogus websites, and using virtual office services in a number of countries and writing convincing letters and emails to air industry bosses, which led to telephone conversations and face-to-face meetings.

His mistake came undone after an aviation magazine, who ran an article on his business, got suspicious and started snooping – his biggest mistake was using his own voice to impersonate several different people. In my opinion, he should have invested in one of those voice changing gadgets and learnt to speak and switch between several British regional accents.

His real name has not been published, but he is referred to one of the pseudonyms he used – Adam Tait.

The reports said that he was autistic, but I find this very hard to believe considering the number of social interactions he had. At worst, he would probably have suffering from some form of Aspergers syndrome, in which individuals are high-functioning.

Here are a few articles that tell the story in details:

http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/transport/article6719191.ece
http://www.airliners.net/aviation-forums/general_aviation/read.main/4487857/
http://www.muscletalk.co.uk/17yearold-with-autism-pulls-off-identity-stunt-of-the-decade-m3504726.aspx

Still, I am not convinced that he would have failed. I wish they had let this go on a bit more and see where he would have gotten up to. I do believe that creative young people have to struggle to get a fair go and face many forms of discrimination in society.

Music Legend Michael Jackson Passes Away

June 26, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: International News, Music 

Online media has reported that Michael Jackon suffered a heart attack at his home and could not be revived. He was declared dead earlier this morning at the UCLA Medical Centre.

His artistic contributions to pop music will withstand the passage of time. His trademark ‘moonwalk’ is widely known and imitated by many (including me), and some of his most played songs on video hit shows  include ‘Thriller’, ‘Beat It’, ‘Billy Jean’ and ‘Bad’.

He was not a living god, but a human being with imperfections. It is my opinion that media gossip about his private life was a mixture of truth and fiction, his prominence and eccentricity fuelling opportunistic individuals seeking attention and money.

Perhaps his suffering children and family may now live a more normal life, with fewer media intrusions.

Ponzi Schemes and Carbon Reduction Schemes

December 26, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Australian News, International News 

There is a Russian proverb – ‘when you live beside the graveyard, you can’t cry for every funeral’.

Recently in the news, there has been nothing new, just repetitions of the same themes over and over – economic bailouts, corporate fraud and distraction politics. As a result, I have become desensitised and no longer feel any shock.

I will comment on two piece of related news: Bernie Madoff’s $50bn Ponzi Scheme and Kevin Rudd’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. How are they connected? They are both scams.

Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi Scheme

For many years, New York investment manager Bernie Madoff  operated a hedge fund that consistently returned 12% per annum to investors for many years.

Early this month, it all fell apart when investors wanted out. The fund turned out to be a Ponzi Scheme that merely used new investors capital to pay distributions to previous investors.

This has been described as the “world’s biggest corporate fraud by a single individual”, resulting in estimated losses of $50 billion US dollars. I personally doubt that he acted alone.

Incredibly, the alarm bells were raised as far back as 9 years ago when an analyst named Harry Markopolous sent a report to the SEC titled “The World’s Largest Hedge Fund is a Fraid”. It is not clear if the SEC took any action on this.

How did he get away with it? I’m not sure, but he did have many friends in high places – after all, he was a former chairman of NASDAQ.

Regulators generally don’t care about small investors, but now that some  rich and prominent people got hurt, perhaps the SEC will start taking corporate transparency seriously.

Kevin Rudd’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd set a token 5% Carbon Dioxide reduction target for the year 2020. Expectations were as originally as high as 15% and some were demanding a reduction of 25%.

Clearly, he wanted to maintain his popularity by doing something to appease the Climate Change believers,  but not dare risk anything to further exacerbate our economic problems.

So what was has been achieved by this? Apart from the fact that Global Warming Alarmism is bullsh**, China’s own CO2 emission growth will of course outstrip our savings within several months. Even if we ignored China, the flawed computer models (that others believe in) indicate that a much much larger cut would be needed to reverse a warming tread.

The Man Who Lost His God

December 5, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: International News, Religion 

A 22 year old American man, Jesse Kilgore, committed suicide in October by walking into the woods near his New York home and shooting himself. According to the original article, his father Keith Kilgore attributed his death to his son having read the book book ‘The God Delusion’, by the British atheist evolutionary biologist, Professor Richard Dawkins.

Jesse’s death is a tragedy and my heart goes out to his family and friends. Sadly, in their anger, they place blame on three parties – the book author Richard Dawkins, the Professor who recommended the book to Jesse and the secular public school system.

Instead, they are ignoring the underlying issues that may have led this to happen – after all, a normal healthy person does not commit suicide after reading a book!

I believe that the real factors are:

  • Jesse’s fear of being ostracised or isolated by his family and friends. Would Jesse have been able to discuss the book with his father, a ‘retired military chaplain’, without being shouted at or abused?
  • His sheltered upbringing may have prevented him from being exposed to multiple different belief systems that would have built up his mental ability to deal with uncertainty and doubt.
  • It is also possible that he was suffering from an undiagnosed mental illness like depression or anxiety that he masked by sheltering in his religious observance.

There are a few points in the article which I will also answer:

“One of his friends, and his uncle (they did not know each other) both told me that Jesse called them hours before he took his life and that he had lost all hope because he was convinced that God did not exist, and this book was the cause,” Keith Kilgore told WND.

Religion was clearly a pillar of Jesse’s identity. I can understand why his spirits were broken by a book that convinced him that his religious beliefs were illogical and that his past observance had been a waste of time.

Does this mean that the correct course of action was to kill himself? Of course not! Jesse clearly drew the wrong conclusions from the book. Here are some conclusions that a person of healthy mind could have made:

  • “I was misguided, but it was not my fault – I was brought up that way.”
  • “I am glad I found this out at a young age”
  • “I can live out the rest of my life free of unnecessary restraints”
  • “I can be still be a kind, virtuous person – even more so, as I am now doing what I personally think is right, and not just because I fear the wrath of god”
  • “I will talk this over with my local priest or a counsellor and see what they think”
  • “I can still maintain my relationships with my family and friends by going to church and celebrate religous holidays with them”

He was pretty much an atheist, with no belief in the existence of God (in any form) or an afterlife or even in the concept of right or wrong,” the relative wrote. “I remember him telling me that he thought that murder wasn’t wrong per se, but he would never do it because of the social consequences – that was all there was – just social consequences

Absence of religion does not imply that there is no morality. For example, the Golden rule ‘Do unto others as you would have others do unto you’ has a solid logical basis and does not need a god to back it up.

If one reads the Bible (and many other religious texts), there are in fact plenty of examples of religiously sanctioned murder that are considered highly unacceptable and immoral in secular western societies, e.g. the stoning to death of homosexuals, idolaters and others.

“I’m all for academic freedom,” Keith Kilgore said. “What I do have a problem with is if there’s going to be academic freedom, there has to be academic balance.

“They were undermining every moral and spiritual value for my [son],” he said. “They ought to be held accountable.”

He suggested the moral is for Christians simply to abandon public schools wholly.

I’m glad that he supports academic balance – unfortunately in this case the balance came in the form of Richard Dawkin’s book – a large undigestible chunk, too big for Jesse to swallow after being brought up immersed in religious dogma. If he wanted proper balance, it should have happened from a young age.

It is the job of a responsible education system to present truthful information and teach the ability to discern fact from fiction. Moral and ‘spiritual’ values need not be based on falsehood.

During my childhood, I was educated in an Australian public school. On Friday’s, we would have a 1-hr period set aside for religous education, where representatives of various faiths would come in and teach those who followed their respective religions. Why can’t religious schools have a weekly 1hr period where an atheist can put forward their case?

“Here’s another thing,” he continued. “If my son was a professing homosexual, and a professor challenged him to read [a book called] ‘Preventing Homosexuality’… If my son was gay and [the book] made him feel bad, hopeless, and he killed himself, and that came out in the press, there would be an outcry.

“He would have been a victim of a hate crime and the professor would have been forced to undergo sensitivity training, and there may have even been a wrongful death lawsuit.

I find this most amusing. American Christian churches frown upon homosexuality, don’t they? And there are books on preventing homosexuality that are readily available, aren’t there?

In order for a book to be implicated in a hate crime, the book would have to incite readers to illegally discriminate against or mistreat people. Does Dawkin’s book advocate such a view? I haven’t read it, but I don’t think it did.

Barack Obama wins US 2008 Presidential Election

I’m sure it came as no surprise to many that the Democratic candidate Barack Obama, defeated his Republican opponent, John McCain in the US general elections last week.

As an outsider I will make the following comments:

It appears that McCain’s faux pas was having Sarah Palin as his running mate. In my opinion, the Republican’s decision to have a female vice president was a gimmick needed to counter the Democrat’s choice of a black president, i.e. promoting the emancipation of black people vs promoting the emancipation of women. Unfortunately, the Republicans did not appear to choose a suitably qualified person and Palin quickly became an object of ridicule in the media.

Considering the current financial crisis and ongoing international conflicts, the incumbent party would have needed to make a superhuman effort to retain power – that made things easier for the Democrats.

I do hope that Barack Obama will prove to be a good leader and not just the outcome of an ‘affirmative action’ mindset.

My concerns at the moment are that the new Government will go soft on fighting religious fundamentalism and preventing the nuclear arming of fanatical regimes like Iran. Russia and China may continue to gain power and influence, unhindered by US intervention.

The Great Short-Selling Swindle Explained

The recent decisions by major market regulators to reduce market volatility by restricting short-selling have generated much controversy.

Most media coverage has sought to educate the public as to what short-selling is and debate whether the growth of the practice is a cause or merely a symptom of the financial crisis gripping the world. Questions have also been raised as to whether it should be permitted or not.

Despite this, I have not seen anybody attempt to explain how short-selling has been abused in the last year to lead us to the situation we have today.

This article aims to uncover how short-selling has been abused as a tool of market manipulation and deception on the Australian Markets (the ASX). Before continuing, it is essential that you understand the following terms: short-selling, hedge fund, short-position, long-position, margin calls and stop-loss order.

Read more

Satirical US Election Campaign Videos

I found these satirical US election propaganda videos earlier today. The first, I’m Voting Republication,  was released by Democrat supporters a while ago. The latest video, I’m Voting Democrat, was released in response by Republican supporters a few days ago.

For those of us outside the USA, we can poke fun at both sides.

The US needs a Bailout, not a Sellout!

Last night, the US Congress correctly rejected the proposed $700 Billion Sellout package for the troubled Financial sector. It is my opinion that American taxpayers simply do not want tax dollars, generated through their own hard work, to be used to absolve greedy financial firms of their irresponsibility and recklessness, without asking for something in return. Anything else would set a bad precedent and allow the problem to recur in the future.

The US Democratic Senator for Ohio, Dennis Kicinich explained his own reasons for rejecting the bailout in an interview with the community media network, Demoracy Now!.

I agree with the need to stabilize the market, but it should be done in a way that is fair to the American public. Just as when a criminal is released on bail, he or she is subject to stringent conditions, so should the corporations being bailed out.

If a corporation wishes to receive some kind of Government assistance, e.g. the Government taking over its bad debts, there is no way that they can be permitted to keep any of the ‘booty’. Possible conditions could include the following:

  • NO payouts for executives that choose to resign or retire
  • Cancellation of all outstanding stock options issued to executives
  • Any stock issued to executives in the last 5 years should be returned to the corporation
  • Confiscation of personal assets purchased with bonuses awarded to executives over the last 5 years

This of course should happen independently alongside a comprehensive investigation of all lending and risk management practices with criminal charges laid against those suspected of fraud.

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