Agree Or Else

I thought I had better post another discussion point for those who haven’t read Ayn Rand; so how about this article, by the Sydney Daily Telegraph’s Miranda Devine, to which Dr Dave and CommonSenseMajority alerted us the other day.

Basically, the Australian government is actively censoring any opinion which opposes, ridicules or in any way negatively highlights the all-encompassing effects of the Carbon Tax whose 18 legislative bills passed through the federal Senate last week. From the article,

On cue comes the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which this week issued warnings to businesses that they will face whopping fines of up to $1.1m if they blame the carbon tax for price rises.

It says it has been “directed by the Australian government to undertake a compliance and enforcement role in relation to claims made about the impact of a carbon price.”

Businesses are not even allowed to throw special carbon tax sales promotions before the tax arrives on July 1.

“Beat the Carbon Tax – Buy Now” or “Buy now before the carbon tax bites” are sales pitches that are verboten. Or at least, as the ACCC puts it, “you should be very cautious about making these types of claims”.

There will be 23 carbon cops roaming the streets doing snap audits of businesses that “choose to link your price increases to a carbon price”.

Instead, the ACCC suggests you tell customers you’ve raised prices because “the overall cost of running (your) business has increased”.

To be honest, I’m not overly concerned about it, given that, as I’ve been pointing out here repeatedly, the axe is due to fall on the mob responsible for this lot, and will be replaced by a new government that is committed to repealing it. But are there parallels of this in your own country? And how far-reaching into the future to you think they might be?

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46 Responses to Agree Or Else

  1. fenbeagleblog says:

    A sign of desperation. It should set everyone’s alarm bells ringing……What’s the word on the street though?

  2. Dr. Dave says:

    As I mentioned on a previous thread, we have experienced a (slightly) milder version of this under the Obama administration. ObamaCare was (and remains) largely unpopular with the American populace, yet it was rammed down our throats by an extremely partisan majority in Congress. Oddly, after the November 2010 elections this majority in the House was relegated to a significant minority status. Once ObamaCare was signed into law (following some parliamentary shenanigans heretofore unheard of in such major pieces of American legislation) the major health insurance companies pored over the gigantic boat anchor. Several of them sent letters to their customers informing them that because of the provisions of the new law they should expect rate increases and/or changes to their covered benefits.

    Well, this enraged the Obama administration so Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services had letters sent to each company instructing them to cease and desist or as a consequence these companies would be prevented from participating in any form of government reimbursement (which, at the time, was about 40%). They quickly shut up. Now, this ploy by the Obama administration was probably not “legal”, strictly speaking. But the health insurers were not about to risk incurring the wrath of HHS so they acquiesced. It was essentially thuggery. More than a few of them have chosen to simply pull up stakes and get out of the health insurance business, leaving their former customers to cast about for coverage from other companies (all part of the Obama grand plan for socialized medicine).

    Every GOP candidate for nomination has sworn to repeal ObamaCare. I believe all but three of them (2 of which are currently front runners). The problem is they are ALL politicians and ALL politicians crave power and control. I fear the lure of centralized control of vast sums of money and an unprecedented degree of control over the population may prove to be too seductive for the Republicans to resist. But more worrisome still are the taxes (some of which have already been implemented even though the actual benefits won’t start until 2014) and the vast supporting bureaucracies that are being established. Laws can be repealed. Getting rid of a tax to which the federal government has already become addicted (and budgeted for) or eliminating bureaucracies and bureaucrats is very, very difficult. Politicians of all stripes are loathe to surrender tax revenue. Imagine this headline, “New Republican administration to eliminate the jobs of 20,000 government healthcare workers.” The public would panic even before they realized (if they ever would) that these “healthcare workers” are merely unnecessary bureaucrats with better salaries and benefits and fewer credentials than those in the private sector paying for these parasites.

    This is where I think Ozboy might be a bit naive. Obama has a solid year to put in place as much ObamaCare infrastructure as he can (thanks to our feckless “deficit warriors” we elected last year). As I mentioned, many of the taxes have already been implemented. Ever tried to get rid of a tax? George Washington instituted a tax on distilled spirits to pay off the Revolutionary War debt. I’m pretty sure that has been paid off…yet the tax remains. The same is true for the “Federal Excise Tax” when you buy tires (or “tyres” if you prefer). That tax was instituted during WWII for the war effort. The necessity is history but the tax remains. Unnecessary bureaucracies and bureaucrats are almost as hard to eliminate and Julia will have a year to put as much of this in place as possible. Governmental policies are like cars. They’re much easier to wreck than fix.

    So Ozboy, consider all those “lower income” families who will be the beneficiaries of Julia’s wealth redistribution up until the time a new government is formed. Then think of the bevy of newly elected politicians staring at that big pile of carbon tax receipts on one hand and a big stack of welfare state liabilities on the other. How confident are you that they will do the right thing?

    G’day Dave, and thanks again for alerting us to this story.

    You’re absolutely right, of course, about welfare recipients and the politicians who enable them; both groups are going to act in their own interests which, in the short term, means looking after each others’ interests (a collective enterprise?). But I’m still confident this will be wound back.

    The answer lies in Australian society’s changing demographics, which I referred to back here in my article on the Australian Labor Party. Today, there are more self-employed service providers (like me) than there are welfare recipients or unionized low-skilled workers – the ALP’s traditional support base. And what’s more, the aggregation of the latter into geographically narrow areas works against Labor, who will retain a small core of “safe” seats while being increasingly uncompetitive in marginal seats. This has started already; in the New South Wales state election bloodbath earlier this year, the Liberals won seats in western Sydney that had been held by Labor for a century; a similar result is expected in Queensland in next February’s state election.

    Polls consistently confirm this trend is continuing, and Labor’s primary vote is below 30%, a position from which it will be unable to win elections anywhere except the Australian Capital Territory (the self-governing area surrounding Canberra, our equivalent of your District of Columbia) and Tasmania, and that with the help of the Greens.

    So, I’d say I’m being more calculating than naïve, but perhaps I should have articulated it more at the top – Oz

  3. Kitler says:

    Dr Dave spot on about the health care companies, lots of providers have pulled out of the market when the dust settles we will be left with maybe 6 max providers, hundreds of thousands of jobs have been destroyed because of that bastard Obama and the bitch Pelosi. It killed my wife’s health insurance selling business, no one bought a year before the bill was introduced and now it has no one can afford the increased premiums especially in a bad economy. It’s all deliberate because when millions more lack health insurance the government will step in and say the current system isn’t working (even though they caused the mess) and we need an NHS system so the Shamikwa’s of this world can clog up the system with a hang nail and serious obesity problems. I bet the numbers going into medicine has already dropped which will mean flooding the USA with foreign doctors from places with very extremely low standards.

  4. Kitler says:

    Ozboy if this continues there will be violent revolution across the world ala 1848 and our glorious leaders are too arrogant and ego maniacal to notice they should be paying more attention to the needs of the plebs. It has already started in the middle east and our glorious leaders are interfering there to make things a lot worse for us all.

  5. Dr. Dave says:

    Ozboy,

    I fear I may not have made my point as clearly as I had intended. I don’t doubt you for a minute that the ALP is toast come the next election. My trepidation concerns the winners of that election, not the losers. Perhaps Australian politicians are all honest and virtuous. I can affirm that this is absolutely NOT the case in the US. And it’s (almost) equally true for both parties.

    We already have Establishment Republicans who are grumbling that perhaps they don’t want to repeal ALL of ObamaCare. “There’s parts of this legislation the people clearly like.” They point to things like being able to keep your kids on their parents’ insurance until they’re 26 (BTW – when I was 27 I was in professional practice, was married and had purchased my first home). Or the always popular mandatory discounted coverage for preexisting conditions. Hell, this isn’t insurance, it’s welfare…that everybody else has to pay for. No, no, no…repeal the whole damn thing and then introduce new legislation if you feel that strongly. But keeping what’s already on the books gives them political cover.

    My point is that politicians are politicians. They care more about their own power and influence and ultimately getting reelected than they do about campaign promises. Can you be certain that Tony Abbott would fire all 23 carbon cops or just “re-purpose” them to other federal jobs? Will Tony and his new government look at that big pile of carbon tax revenue and ignore it, simply repealing all the tax bills? Or might they reconsider it? “Maybe SOME of these taxes should be preserved to fund all the other vital elements of our government.”

    In envy you, Ozboy. You have far more faith in your government and its politicians than I do in mine.

    I do get your point Dave, about politicians and their self-interest. In fact, it’s their self interest, and not the politicians themselves, that I have faith in. I’ll explain briefly.

    Unlike the situation in the U.S. with ObamaCare, which I understand that both parties will benefit in one way or another from supporting, Tony Abbott’s Liberal/National coalition does not depend in any way on support from public sector unions. To him, it’s a straight calculation: every public servant axed is an a benefit to the government’s bottom line. While there will be a lot of noise made about it, and possibly even industrial action, there’s not much the PSUs can do if he forms government with a mandate to clean the situation up.

    As to the big pile of carbon dollars, sure there will be elements of the Liberal party who would be tempted to renege on their promise to roll back the carbon tax. But Abbott understands it would make him the leader of a one-term government. Were he to do so, Labor, with the help of the Greens, could easily make him look like the liar he was – in fact, propaganda of that sort comes much more easily to the political Left than it does to the Right. Given that Abbott will have came to office on the strength of a mandate specifically to repeal the Carbon Tax, and in fact has deliberately painted himself into a corner on it – check out this – it’s in his own political interest to follow through. Unless you believe the Australian electorate will be statistically more amnesiac in three years than they are today – Oz

  6. farmerbraun says:

    Dr Dave, it is not so much that we have more faith in our politicians; it is simply that they are far less remote or inaccessible than is the case in a much larger nation. We know that when a convoy of tractors arrive at Parliament grounds, and the farmers get a little agricultural in their demeanour, that we have the undivided attention of our politicians, of all hues. There is something about taking the protest right to their front door that provides a welcome sense of immediacy. “Deal with it someone; make them go away please.”
    Love it!

  7. Kitler says:

    Farmerbraun in Oz they built their capital in the middle of Nowhere for a reason.

  8. Dr. Dave says:

    farmerbraun,

    “…get a little agricultural in their demeanour…” Man I love that line! Consider it stolen by your Yankee pal far across the sea. In discussions of music I have been known to describe certain artists as being “too rural” for your tastes. Hell, I ain’t had this much fun since the pigs ate Billy!

    I agree with you regarding the size of countries. Our Founders envisioned something like a ratio of no more than 20 or 30 thousand citizens per elected representative . Today that could result in us having over 15,000 members of the House of Representatives. I can envision a scenario where this could work. Elected Representatives, instead of heading off to Washington DC to suckle on the teats of lobbyists, would remain in their districts and be immediately accountable to their constituency. They could carry out the business of government via video teleconference and secure, encrypted off-site computer voting. Of course we would have to drastically reduce their salary and benefits (not to mention the perks). This would make it VERY difficult for party rule as there would be just too damn many of them for party leadership to round up for arm twisting. They would be stuck voting the will of their constituency and there would too many of them for lobbyists to effectively bribe. Hey…I can dream, can’t I?

    If you have the time and/or the interest or inclination please tell me what you do with 500 head of goats. I’m actually quite curious. Raising goats has become more popular where I live (it has always been popular on the Navajo reservations). These guys rent out their goats to eat weeds out of ditches and for fire breaks. They may not be as efficient as Roundup and a rototiller but the locals like them because they’re “eco-friendly”. They’ve used them in my neighborhood (which is somewhat “rural” for a covenant controlled housing development of about 2,700 homes). I haven’t seen them but I’ve heard them and smelled them in the early morning hours. They must have to have tenders to keep them from wandering on to property where they don’t belong. I could just imagine my GF seeing one out eating her shrubs or lawn. We’d be eating cabrito for months!

  9. Kitler says:

    Goat is good for curries, goat cheese and completely devastating sub Saharan Africa.

  10. meltemian says:

    What I need is a bramble-eating goat!
    We have a local herd that manages to break into anywhere that isn’t triple-fenced and eat everything in reach but they STILL won’t touch the pigging brambles!!!!!!

  11. Dr. Dave says:

    Mel,

    Maybe what you need are a few creosote bushes. We have a nice, wild one in the front, side yard that was well established when I bought the house 17 years ago. We never knew what it was but it was quite an attractive bush. In the summer months it gives off a scent that is almost intoxicating – not sweet and overpowering like jasmine, but subtle, fresh and clean. My GF (a hard-core lawn & garden junkie) started developing garden area around it. Everything she planted near the creosote died. She didn’t make the immediate connection but out of curiosity she set out to find what kind of bush it was. Turns out it was a creosote bush and they are famous for releasing natural herbicides into the soil around them that keeps anything from growing near them. They’re self-weeding. Of course you could always become infested with pocket gophers. They’ll destroy the root system of almost any plant (including brambles such as raspberries), but they are wretched, noisome vermin that are difficult to eradicate. They spend 95% of their lives underground. You have to trap ‘em. My GF keeps a yearly tally of her annual gopher and squirrel kills. I think the great horned owls took care of our previous bunny infestation. Then again…I’m pretty sure a camel would eat brambles (they ain’t fussy eaters).

    In southern New Mexico some ranchers keep small herds of camels. They set their cattle to graze on sections of land and then pull them off after a number of months. Cattle will only eat certain plants and they leave behind the noxious plants they won’t eat. So then the ranchers put the camels on that land for a while. They’ll eat all those weeds and unlike cattle they eat ‘em right down to the roots. Then they pull the camels off and let the range land regrow. Over time, as they rotate the camels the grazing land constantly improves. The neat thing is that don’t need many camels. These camels actually become quite friendly. My ex-wife has a great photo from a trip she took down there many years ago. The camel came right up to the fence and “posed” while a photo was taken of her with his head right next to her’s.

    Back to goats… We took a delayed honeymoon to Jamaica in January 1984. We wanted to go somewhere tropical and warm during the winter months. We stayed in a nice place but they didn’t have a great beach. We were allowed to use the excellent beach of a resort just a little ways down the shoreline. Everything was in bloom. There were flowers everywhere you looked. While walking down to where there was a nice beach we walked past a long hedge of flowering bushes. There was a gardener down on his knees digging out thatch and right behind him he had goat that was eating everything he dug up. It was so simple and brilliant that it really made an impression on me.

    I had never seen goats used in such a utilitarian manner. A little over ten years later, after I had moved to New Mexico, I shared this story with a colleague of mine. He and his wife were big into to natural gardening. You could see the light bulb in his brain go on. In the Albuquerque area south of me they used to have huge problems every year with fires in Rio Grande Bosque (essentially the woods surrounding the river). About ten years ago they started running herd of goats through the Bosque. They would eat all the brush and the water sucking cottonwood saplings. There haven’t been big, dangerous fires in the Bosque in years. I don’t know why somebody didn’t think of it earlier. The rest of the world has been exploiting this wonderful symbiotic relationship with goats yet it appears we in the US have only recently caught on to it.

  12. farmerbraun says:

    Dr Dave, I started farming goats about 25 years ago when I was living on and farming a leased property that was one of the first organic farms in N.Z. A condition of the lease was that I not use the usual arsenal of agricultural chemicals, but the farm was fast being overun by this beast :-

    http://www.hortinfo.co.nz/factsheets/fs277-224.asp

    Normally I would control this nasty by mowing and silage -making, but it was a hilly farm; not tractor country at all.One of my Aunties gifted me her goats, and then the neighbours goats got in, and pretty soon I was a goat farmer with no thistles to worry about.
    Today the 500 odd goats just free range over the property where I run dairy cows and a couple of hundred sheep. The goats are not needed for weed control because it is all flat country which can stand a couple of silage cuts / year. But there is about 30 acres of river margin which grows every plant /weed under the sun; goat heaven really.
    Twice a year I round them up and sell all the males; it’s easy money. They look after themselves completely. They go into the meat trade which prefers the 2yr old billy goat.
    If I ever manage to get the last billy goat I’ll start castrating the male kids and buy a buck to improve the genetics in the direction of bigger carcasses.
    The only real hassle has been learning how to combine goats with agroforestry ; we plant about 100 trees every year. But we have tree protection sorted now , so goats just represent a bit of diversity in terms of grazing preferences and income streams.
    Ultimately I plan to have only live sales to the local populations for whom it is the traditional meat.

  13. farmerbraun says:

    Ozboy, what should I have done to smarten up that link?

    Next time don’t put :- without a space before it… sorted – Oz

  14. Dr. Dave says:

    farmerbraun,

    Thanks for the response. Really…I’m not being nosy, I’m genuinely interested in this stuff (and completely ignorant). For some reason I have a fondness for goats. I always looked at them like a cross between dogs and cattle. A very dear friend of mine had a nanny goat on his property (along with pea fowl, chickens, ducks and some cattle). Her name was Nancy and she was very dog-like. She always greeted visitors and loved to be petted. But these folks, aside from being flaming liberals, were consummate pragmatists. The first goat I ever ate was one of Nancy’s progeny. Not too bad…a little stringy…but overall pretty good.

    My ex-wife was into horses. All I wanted was a couple of goats and a few chickens. I can’t explain it (I grew up in the suburbs), but for some reason I like goats. But I don’t know the first damn thing about them. I’ve spent a lot of time around cattle, pigs and horses. I don’t know a thing about sheep or goats (other than the excellent tutorials Ian has provided). For the most part we don’t eat goat in the US. You’ll never find it in a (US) grocery store. You won’t find mutton or rabbit either. That’s why I was wondering what you did with 500 head of goats. Damn, that’s a LOT of goats. There’s a group of aging hippies down in Pie Town, NM that keep herds of goats up at about 11,000 feet above sea level. They make their own goat cheese. Although this stuff is ridiculously expensive, it’s the best goat cheese I’ve ever tasted. I reluctantly shell out almost $17 for an 8 oz jar every once in a while as a selfish indulgence (my GF won’t touch goat cheese).

    So apparently you have a meat market for goats. This is interesting to me. From 1930 to almost 1960 rabbit was commonly sold in grocery stores. Nobody eats rabbit anymore (although it is making a comeback in high end restaurants). The consumption of rabbit meat in this country is associated with po’ folk and it quickly fell out of favor. When I was a college student I remember seeing rabbit in the “exotic meats” freezer once in a while. Today one would be hard pressed to find rabbit, goat or mutton. Though I’ve only had it a couple times, I can say that cabrito ain’t bad.

  15. meltemian says:

    Thanks for the advice about bramble eradication.
    I think we’re a bit too wet here for the creosote bush, hot and dry in the Summer but mild and damp in the Winter. I looked the bush up and it seems to like deserts, looks interesting though. I’d probably be a bit worried about its ‘plant-killing range’ too – don’t want to lose the fruit trees!
    The chance of finding a camel here is a bit remote but it does sound like the perfect solution, don’t they spit though? Not sure how one would go down with the sheep and goat population. When I lived in Dorset, England someone brought in a load of llamas, they used to go llama trekking through the woods and I had to make sure not to ride my horse anywhere near them or I’d end up back in the stables pretty fast!!!
    The Greek’s favourite recipe for rabbit is stifado, it’s very good although there don’t seem to be many rabbits here on the island. We’re in the middle of the autumn hunting season at the moment, and all the greek men seem to spend Sundays shooting at anything that moves, so I expect the rabbits are either extinct here or lying very low. I thought the French hunters were bad but I reckon the Greeks come a close second. The countryside is littered with spent cartridges.

  16. meltemian says:

    I’ve just looked up ‘cabrito’, I’d never heard of it before. The English don’t go in for eating goat much.
    I have a bit of a problem eating anything I’ve been introduced to, so I’d be useless without butchers!
    At Easter time you find people killing and skinning sheep all over the place, I’m just too squeamish, I know I’m a wimp but so is Mr. M. – we’d end up vegetarians if we had to butcher our own animals.

  17. Kitler says:

    Dr Dave you will find Rabbit in your local Hispanic Grocery store along with the wibbly wobbly bits of animals I do not look at too closely. I never looked for goat but I’m sure they have it.

  18. Kitler says:

    Rabbit is nice but apparently if you try living off of it you die through some deficiency or other.

  19. farmerbraun says:

    Vilhjalmur Stefansson wrote as follows:
    “The groups that depend on the blubber animals are the most fortunate in the hunting way of life, for they never suffer from fat-hunger. This trouble is worst, so far as North America is concerned, among those forest Indians who depend at times on rabbits, the leanest animal in the North, and who develop the extreme fat-hunger known as rabbit-starvation. Rabbit eaters, if they have no fat from another source—beaver, moose, fish—will develop diarrhoea in about a week, with headache, lassitude and vague discomfort. If there are enough rabbits, the people eat till their stomachs are distended; but no matter how much they eat they feel unsatisfied. Some think a man will die sooner if he eats continually of fat-free meat than if he eats nothing, but this is a belief on which sufficient evidence for a decision has not been gathered in the North. Deaths from rabbit-starvation, or from the eating of other skinny meat, are rare; for everyone understands the principle, and any possible preventive steps are naturally taken.”

  20. Dr. Dave says:

    When I was a kid there was a family about a block away that ate wild rabbit. The boys were always out hunting.something. They would eat possum, squirrel, rabbit, venison, pheasant, duck, goose, etc. I wouldn’t eat possum or squirrel or wild rabbit. I don’t care for pheasant or wild duck. I’ve never had goose. Farm raised duck isn’t bad and I would like to try domestically raised rabbit.

    I don’t hunt largely because there’s nothing I want to kill that I want to eat. Gutting these animals is rather unpleasant. I’ve taken out several rabbits with my pellet rifle but this was vermin control. In less than 24 hours they would be recycled via the coyotes.

    But I wonder why rabbit isn’t more popular as a protein source around the world. The Arabic/Islamic countries won’t eat rabbit (cheweth the cud, but hath not cloven hooves). They won’t eat pig because they don’t chew cud. Oddly, in a lot of these Arab countries they will eat camel (which is in the same boat as rabbit re: lack of cloven hooves). Given the fecundity of rabbits and the relative ease of raising them I would think they would rival chickens as a cheap source of vital protein. I wonder if rabbit is more popular in Europe. There’s more interest in rabbit lately in the US because now it is deemed a somewhat exotic meat and because it is so incredibly lean it being promoted as healthful.

  21. fenbeagleblog says:

    The rabbit pie recipe I use, takes a while, but is worth the effort. Rabbit can be bought here locally, off the market, the fields would be overrun with them if not. A cheaper, and better alternative to battery farming (which is cruel.)

    Amen to that Fen – I remember about 30 years ago I was staying with a Maltese family in Adelaide who bred rabbits for food. I thought them a bit stringy and tasteless, and in need of plenty of seasoning. I shoot ‘em down here, where they’re a feral pest, but if the stuff ever hits the fan, I may change my mind about their culinary potential – Oz

    P.S. for your listening pleasure:

  22. Dr. Dave says:

    Ozboy,

    Let me get this straight. If I understand you correctly you shoot rabbits because they’re a pest but you don’t eat them. Is that correct? Yet raising them in pens is cruel? And if the proverbial ship hits the sand you might consider eating them. I’m sure you’re aware of tularemia. Wild rabbits harbor all sorts of diseases. Still, I bet if you wash your hands real good after cleaning them and cook them well you’d be OK. In the US I think most rabbit hunting is done during the winter months (or at least cold months) to limit the risk of exposure to Francisella tularensis. I don’t know, I’m not a hunter. At most I’m an exterminator but not even as prodigious a one as my GF. This woman has a blood lust hatred for certain animals which dare to invade her gardening zone. Late this last summer she finally caught and killed a squirrel she had been shooting at since spring. She was positively elated for the entire weekend. Nothing cheers her up like affecting a good vermin kill. I find this a bit curious because she’s very attractive and very feminine…almost girlie. Until she puts on her “yard workin’” clothes. Then she turns into Rambo. She’ll stomp on mice that run out when she’s turning the compost and chased down a wood rat and chopped him in half with a shovel. If we were allowed to have chickens I’d be the one collecting the eggs and she would be the one chopping their heads off.

    Shooting rabbits with a high powered pellet rifle (with a scope) is not much of a challenge…if you miss they generally remain within range for a second shot (cocking and reloading these rifles takes only a little less time than a muzzle loader). A few years ago we were absolutely over run with rabbits and jackrabbits (which are technically hares). One year there was a big, fat jackrabbit who almost by himself devastated my vegetable garden. Hell, he didn’t even run away…he casually walked away. This was before I bought the pellet rifle. We only needed it (for rabbits) for about a year. Then a pair of great horned owls nested in my backyard tree. No more bunny problems. For the last couple of years the owls have chosen to nest elsewhere (fickle owls) but you can still hear them at night and we don’t don’t have many bunnies. They’re BIG birds and every now and then I still see them sitting on top of my ham radio antenna at dusk.

    When I was a kid, in between cats, I had as a pet a Belgian Hare. He was very tame and enjoyed being handled and held. But he wasn’t a cat. I gave him to a neighborhood kid so I could get another cat. I like cats, but now I’m pretty much a dog person. I’ve always had a hard time looking at rabbits as food. Then again, for a long time I felt the same way about goats. Now that I’ve had goat, black bear, elk, venison and even rattlesnake I think I’m ready to give rabbit another try. My late mother said she used to prepare rabbit all the time and that I ate it as a little kid, but of course I have no memory of it.

    Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day in the US. The little woman told me in no uncertain terms that she had no interest in cooking a turkey just for the two of us. Now, I could roast a turkey myself (no problem), but only she possesses the magic knowledge for stuffing. So it appears that tomorrow’s feast shall consist of seared sea scallops with drawn butter, asparagus, baked potato with bleu cheese dressing, artichokes and freshly baked croissants. I’m not bitchin’…but it seems unlikely there will be any leftovers.

    Actually Dave, I get them with a shotgun – they rarely require a second shot to finish them off, so it’s no cruelty. I don’t kill anything for fun – ever. Rabbits were introduced to Australia in 1824 by an English aristocrat who brought out a dozen pairs and let them loose on his estate, for the pleasure of hunting. They now number somewhere between fifty and a hundred million. On the Ozboy estate alone, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve twisted my ankle on one of their damn holes. They’re the main reason I gained my firearms licence, in fact. So good riddance to them I say.

    I don’t eat them, nor would I in their wild state, as most have some degree of myxamatosis and/or calicivirus introduced to eradicate them; I’m not sure about the disease you mention. Were I to decide to eat them, I’d trap some breeding pairs and create a hutch with plenty of room. My mum’s family did this during the Great Depression, like many other poorer folk did. Their pelts are particularly good, and are what Akubra hats are made of. But truth be told, if I was required to hunt for meat, there are enough kangaroos and wallabies down here to last pretty much forever.

    Battery farming, on the other hand, is particularly cruel, as Fen pointed out, whether it be of rabbits, chickens or pigs. So I don’t think there’s any contradiction – Oz

  23. Dr. Dave says:

    Ozboy,

    I don’t view hunting as cruel rather it is for food or eradication of vermin. I think of it as a perk of position for being at the top of the food chain. I’ve actually considered taking up the sport of hunting wild hogs. No license is required. There are no bag limits. Feral hogs are an invasive species that cause millions of dollars of agricultural losses every year. And they’re tough to hunt because they’re mostly nocturnal. They devastate peanut crops in SW Texas. Peanut farmers are glad to let hunters in to kill all they can. Of course this would require a night vision scope to be fitted onto my Ruger Mini-30 and ultimately end up costing me time and money to kill an animal I’m not that interested in eating (I can buy pork chops anywhere). So this brings us back to killing for pleasure I’m opposed to this in principle except for vermin. I love killing vermin.

    Perhaps I don’t know what “battery farming” is. Maybe it’s what we call “factory farming”. Chickens and turkeys are raised on huge factory farms. It’s difficult for me to assign a level of “cruelty” to an animal that’s only going to be slaughtered anyway. Veal is a byproduct of the dairy industry and these calves are maintained under deplorable conditions. I won’t eat veal. But I’ll readily consume chicken, beef and pork. Hogs and cattle spend most of their life on range and pasture land. Perhaps I favor modern efficiency that makes essential protein affordable and available over concepts of “cruelty”.

    I’ve got no problem with killing vermin, and if you enjoy going about it, so much the better. I should have said, I don’t kill anything purely for fun. My Texan BIL goes wild boar hunting most weekends, and has sent me some pretty impressive photos. I’m currently looking at a highland property with feral deer roaming over it; if I end up buying it, then venison would certainly be on the Ozboy menu!

    Battery farming may well be illegal in the U.S. – I don’t know. It’s the rearing of animals in cages or pens of the minimal possible space required for survival. I’ve visited a battery egg farm, and I won’t eat them. If it was a poor country and it was a choice between battery farming and starvation, that would be different; but not in a wealthy country which could afford not to do it – Oz

  24. Dr. Dave says:

    Ozboy,

    I’m a little bummed out. Patti and I heard a whole bunch of sirens not long ago. We were alarmed when they stopped at our next door neighbor’s house. Patti knew that our neighbor, a VERY elderly lady, had family visiting as she saw and spoken to her son this afternoon when she took the dogs on a walk. Lots of us in the neighborhood have kept an eye on Julia (the old lady). We have her daughter’s phone number taped to the inside of one our kitchen cabinets (she and her husband live in Denver). More than once I’ve gone over there when her daughter called in a panic because the phone was off the hook. Every time Julia was OK, she just hadn’t hung up the phone and couldn’t hear that annoying “hang up the phone” signal.

    Julia’s husband, Jordan, died about 10 years ago on an Easter Sunday. I was very fond of Jordan. Julia remained, much to the consternation of her children, a very stubborn and independent woman. She was going to remain in her OWN home and had no interest in going into an “assisted living facility” in Denver. I think her younger daughter (who we know best) understood this. I think it pissed off her older daughter and son who live much father away. Interestingly, although Julia lives (or lived) in a humble household, she was worth a freakin’ fortune. Years ago we were given a key to the house. It was on the keyring of Jack B. Kelly trucking out of Amarillo. Jack B. Kelly became stinking rich just by running trucks that transported liquid helium. I knew Jordan had lived in Amarillo, but I never knew he was so connected to the home town super wealthy.

    Anyway…my bet is that my neighbor died tonight. Every emergency vehicle imaginable was out there tonight. I took a flashlight and walked next door. A “first responder” stopped me. Hell, I should have donned a white lab coat instead of a black leather jacket. If I had done the “doctor” thing as opposed to the concerned “neighbor” thing I would now know what the hell happened.

    My guess is that Julia died tonight…probably in her sleep. All the emergency vehicles left silently without light or sirens. I’ll be happy if I’m wrong, but the smart money says my neighbor is dead.

    Sorry to hear it mate… Julia sounds a bit like my mum. Keep us posted – Oz

  25. Kitler says:

    Dr Dave sorry to hear about your neighbour.
    As for rabbit if you are British then you really cook the damned thing so nothing bug wise survives and wild rabbit is best with a few herbs and roasted in the oven. British veal is unlike European veal very humane the animals have freedom to move so if you have to eat baby cow then try that personally I don’t like the taste.
    As for battery faming which is the same as factory farming they changed the law in the EU to ensure that the chickens have more space in the cage these days that stops them killing each other.
    Pheasant is actually delicious for a game bird but like all game including venison you have to know how to cook it or frankly it will taste like rubber. I love venison but have not been able to get any for over 18 years but I don’t hunt so it’s a bummer best meat in the world in my opinion.

  26. Dr. Dave says:

    I’ve got some good news on this Thanksgiving Day. It turns out my 92 y.o. neighbor was bringing in her trash barrel yesterday (pushing it with her walker!) and fell and hurt her elbow. Her family arrived and they were all talking together when suddenly Julia lost consciousness. They freaked…as did our local emergency response team (who dispatched two ambulances and about another half dozen vehicles to the scene). Julia awoke from what the paramedics termed ” a seizure” (more likely a TIA in my opinion) and didn’t know what all the fuss was about. They transported her to the hospital and today she’s fine. She’ll probably have Thanksgiving dinner with her family today. She’s a tough ol’ bird!

    A neighbor down the street is a volunteer fireman. He’s also about 72 and in better shape than I am. He, too, keeps an eye on Julia. He explained to us that Julia damn near refuses to let anyone take out her trash, retrieve the barrel or pick up her newspaper or mail. That’s HER job. This ol’ gal is fiercely independent and hates being coddled by her family or anyone else. She allowed us to do some grocery shopping for her and to take out her trash when she was recuperating from hip surgery a few years ago but that was about it. She doesn’t like, expect or even much appreciate favors but she does like company. Personally, I’d rather chop wood and fetch water. She’s VERY hard of hearing and refuses to buy hearings aids so she’s rather difficult to talk to. What’s more, she keeps her house closed up and at about 85 deg F all year round so it’s generally not a pleasant experience.

    But I’m glad Julia is OK. I’m genuinely fond of her. I know she’s coming up to the end of her string. I’m just glad that end wasn’t last night.

    Glad to hear it – happy Thanksgiving to you both, and to all my American readers – Oz

  27. meltemian says:

    We went to our American neighbours yesterday for our first ‘Thanksgiving Dinner’, followed by watching an American Football game so we could recover from all the food!!
    There seemed to be several opinions on why it’s called ‘Thanksgiving’ so do any of you have the definitive answer?
    Whatever, it was wonderful……

  28. Dr. Dave says:

    Mel,

    You ask a very good question. Most Americans today associate Thanksgiving with the 5 Fs – Family, Friends, Fellowship, Food and Football. It is a time to pause, reflect and give thanks for the bounties too many of us take for granted. But the REAL story is perhaps best told by Rush Limbaugh. He wrote about it in one of his books many years ago and now it’s a tradition that he reads this story every year the Wednesday before Thanksgiving on his radio show. But this is the true account and it has been corroborated by many historians. The following may offend the sensibilities of atheists.

  29. Luton Ian says:

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Now to bunnies,
    Because of all the gamekeepers on the grouse moors around here, there are no natural predators, and rabbits are very numerous.

    Before myxi was released in the 1950s, many of the small tennanted farms paid their rent with the cash from the rabbits they sold, One neighbour of my grandparents bought a farm and told his son he couldn’t afford to pay him a wage, but he could have the rabbits instead. The son was soon earning more than if he had been paid a wage. Poor bloke died of a massive heart attack in his late twenties, leaving a widow and a couple of daughters.

    During and after WWii, rabbit was not rationed, other meats were rationed until about 1952. There aren’t any bunny diseases here which I’ve ever heard of affecting humans. Myxi is disfiguring, and you wouldn’t want to eat a scabby infected animal if you had a choice. With the viral haemorrhagic disease, the poorly bunnies tend to die underground.

    In some of the Mediterranean countries, rabbits are reared in pits. Farmed rabbit is very tender and a bit tasteless.

    The wild ones are a bit like chicken, still a white meat, only with a pissy sort of flavour. Sealing the meat, then casseroling with garlic onions and tomatoes plus or minus peppercorns, juniper berries or chilis gives it a better taste.

    The long sort, but seldom found bunny around here, was one with a humpty back – to hold the pie crust up.

    By contrast, hare meat is very red with a very strong game flavour.

    I saw a book in a second hand shop last weekend, called “sea elephant”, it was an illustrated memoir of a blubber hunter, hunting seals in the falkland islands and south georgia. I was tempted to buy it.

  30. Luton Ian says:

    Izen,

    Re: apriorism,

    How does the possible association of Plato affect the truth of a proposition?

  31. Luton Ian says:

    Addendum to last comment:
    That would be the fallacy of “Poisoning the well”.
    ————————————————————

    Hi Oz,
    Murray Rothbard points out very clearly in his, “Man, economy and the state” (occasionally referenced, “Man; economic and state”), that it is the price which customers are willing (or are expected to be willing) to pay which induces business to incurred costs of producing goods or services.

    Anything else requires a labour theory of value (ie; expending labour polishing a turd, somehow makes it valuable).

    Yes, businesses do use “rising costs” as an excuse for trying to raise their selling price, but we must ask the questions, “why were the businesses willing to pay those increased costs?” and, “if the business had to wait for costs to rise before trying to raise its selling price, why hadn’t it raised the selling price earlier?”

    The Tax will result in Aussie jobs and businesses going over seas, and this will be blamed on greedy capitalism which needs more regulation to make it behave, it is “inherently unstable (c)” as every “Right thinking person (TM)” knows…

    Dr Dave is, to my mind, right.

    The twin “Ratchets” of sacred JOBS and lovely lovely tax income for the new incumbents to re-distribute to their cronies (who among them cares, this is the position they’ve all worked to get into and in five years they’ll all be voted out of office anyway) will both be in place.

    The media manipulation stinks, and of course their complicity in it has absolutely nothing at effing all to do with the shot over their bows that is the Murdock inquiry (intellectual body guard that they are to the parasite itself…)

  32. Luton Ian says:

    Did anyone hear about the massive payroll robbery which took place today?

    It is reckoned the crooks got away with a sum equivalent to about 40% of the months wages for the entire developed World.

    Reports are of anonymous callers threatening businessmen with kidnap, beatings, shootings, further robberies and theft of property as well, if they refused to give money to the robbers.

    It seems that multiple gangs were involved, and,it is rumoured that they are all coordinated and claim to be acting as some sort of Robin Hood and mob protection racket fashion, though there seems to be little evidence that either of these are in fact taking place.

    I’ll update you if I find out any more.

  33. Dr. Dave says:

    Kitler,

    Have you ever grown zucchini? IF you put in 2 or 3 healthy zucchini plants you will end up with more zucchini than you can possibly eat. Your neighbors will be gifted with zucchini rather they want it or not. When I was growing up in Michigan venison was almost the same. Deer are plentiful and so many people took a deer every season that “extra” venison was freely gifted. You might not end up with the best cuts (e.g. tenderloins), but you would get steaks and roasts. They usually kept the venison burger and venison sausage for themselves.

    Venison is very lean. It’s OK but I find it a little gamey. Elk is VERY good. Black bear isn’t bad but it’s a little stringy. My former BIL was a good guy. He was an avid conservationist and hunter. Some years he would take three deer. In Michigan you can get separate licenses for bow hunting, shotgun or muzzle loader, and (up north) rifle. My late former father-in-law LOVED ice fishing after he retired (go figure). He had a huge chest freezer in his basement. It was stuffed with venison and freshwater fish (perch, bass, bluegill, etc.). I ate well when I stayed with them. My former mother-in-law spoiled me rotten (much to the consternation of my ex-wife). This sainted woman would prepare fresh coffee and a large bowl of of fresh peaches, cantaloupe and blueberries for breakfast.

    I think most wild game is better if it’s marinated before it’s grilled or slow roasted with herbs and onions. Seems like every hunter I’ve ever known owns and uses a crock pot. Every once in a while I consider deer hunting. We have a bunch of deer where I live, although I think they’re smaller than the deer I’d see in Michigan. I’ve got the appropriate firearms. I even know good places to hunt. But I priced this out once. You have to count your time as being worth something. Ammo ain’t cheap but it’s a trivial expense if you already own the weapon. The license isn’t too prohibitive. So you hunt down a deer and deliver a fatal shot. Now you have to field dress this animal. This is messy, smelly and somewhat unpleasant. Then you have to tag and drag the carcass out of the woods (it is mountainous where I live). Like most hunters of large game I have no butchering skills so I would have to haul the carcass to a meat processor and pay to have it butchered and reduced to white paper packaging suitable for the freezer. In the end you pay dearly for that venison.

  34. Kitler says:

    Dr Dave as I’m not in bowing Bambi’s brains out myself and our local grocery store does not stock Venison I’m out of luck. Also gutting and cleaning an animal correctly is an art. However I could do my own butchering or rather I could if I could my hands on the special saw they use to cut the meat and the host of filleting knives you need.
    As for gamey were you eating buck or doe it makes a big difference, the bucks will be gamey.

  35. Ozboy says:

    Coming home once on the Spirit of Tasmania, I shared a cabin with a bloke that had been up in the Snowy Mountains of NSW hunting deer, where they’re a feral pest. He had two buck heads, both with enormous antlers, roped onto the roof of his 4WD, which gave Quarantine Tasmania a blue fit. He told me he cleaned and dressed the kill in the field, and gave the meat to a friend of his who ran a restaurant up there, while the heads he took to another friend back in Tassie, a professional taxidermist. Now that would have looked like something, mounted on the wall of your den!

  36. izen says:

    @- Luton Ian says: November 26, 2011 at 6:10 am
    “Re: apriorism,
    How does the possible association of Plato affect the truth of a proposition? ”

    Because ontological dualism is arrant nonsense!
    -Grin-

  37. izen says:

    Modern societies have governments that seem to take between 25% and 40% of the GDP as revenue.
    I have been trying to find out if the Australian Carbon tax has an impact on the revenue as a % of GDP – anybody got credible data?
    Will the Australian revenue take rise as high as the New Zealand value?
    -g-

    It hardly matters, Izen; the fact that the tax base is once again being broadened, means ever-greater opportunities for governments to re-distribute wealth; which, in the “collective” minds of those governments, is how they stay in power. For the socialist Left, wealth re-distribution is its métier, with income-levelling and an ever-increasing welfare state; but in truth, the crony-capitalist Right are little better, with legislated monopolies, tax breaks, bailouts and the like for their favoured mates.

    When you have an all-encompassing tax, like your VAT or our GST, or now our Carbon Tax, increasing the total take becomes simply a matter of a single vote passing parliament – the moral hazard facing any government in possession of such a tool is enormous. Of course, Gillard and company will make sure the total take does not increase on Day One of the tax, but who believes they will resist for long the temptation to ramp it up? Even if you believe in AGW, as you do, the government’s own figures show that Australia’s CO2 production will drop not a molecule. So “saving the environment” can’t be the reason for introducing it. What, then? – Oz

  38. Luton Ian says:

    I’m reading ip on ontological dualism, initial impression is that it has nothing at all to do with Mises’ apriori true propositions. :-p

    Can’t say that I’m much of a fan of the author of as hideous a dystopia as “Republic”, but I’m not going to write off all of his ideas on the basis of many of them being bad ideas.

    I’ll give you an example of a geological apriori:

    “a rock has to be already in existence before it can be cut by a structural feature like a vein, or an erosion surface”

    The idea cross cutting relationships is a vital tool for geologists trying to figure out relative timing of geological events, and even in trying to figure out which way up a sequence of rocks is, as rocks can end up being turned upside down.

    In the terms of the still largely dominant “Logical Positivist” or Popperian “Critical Rationalist” views of science, the proposition is neither;

    empirical (a hypothesis, with an “If, then” structure and, contingent on confirmation, or in Popper’s case falsification, saying something about the real world.)

    nor is it

    Analytical (a tautology, dealing only with conventions in the use of words and symbols, and saying nothing about the real world)

    In the epistemology of Carl Popper, and of the positivists there is no third option, though how their philosophy of science fits itself – is it empirical and hence in need of falsification, or is it analytical and hence just a tautology, and therefore saying nothing of the real world, they have never satisfactorily explained…

    Returning to the idea of cross cutting relationships.

    Clearly it says something about the real world (as do both euclidean geometry and mathematics in engineering – though the positivists tell us that as analytical statements they can not possibly do that, or as empirical statements, then we must continually attempt to falsify such statements as “two planes cannot enclose a volume” and Pythagoras theorem ).

    could data ever have lead anyone to the idea of cross cutting relationships, or was it reasoning?

    Does it require falsification – and would you even be able to falsify it?

    I have in front of me non existing rock, but I’m having difficulty getting a vein to form where the rock will be at sometime in the future…

  39. Luton Ian says:

    Seems I missed the news about

    Climategate Two

    As Elmer at M4GW writes:

    “Just when you thought it was safe to hide the decline”

  40. izen says:

    @- Luton Ian says: November 27, 2011 at 4:31 am
    “I’m reading ip on ontological dualism, initial impression is that it has nothing at all to do with Mises’ apriori true propositions. :-p ”

    The Platonic realm of absolute concepts leads to moral realism. The idea that ‘TRUE’ propositions can be made about moral principles.

    @- “I’ll give you an example of a geological apriori:

    “a rock has to be already in existence before it can be cut by a structural feature like a vein, or an erosion surface”

    could data ever have lead anyone to the idea of cross cutting relationships, or was it reasoning?
    Does it require falsification – and would you even be able to falsify it?
    I have in front of me non existing rock, but I’m having difficulty getting a vein to form where the rock will be at sometime in the future… ”

    That geological a priori is a formalised narrative, a conceptual tool to enable human neurology to derive temporal sequences from complex patterns of data.
    It doesn’t need falsification, its credibility resides in its utility.

    I hope that last sentence is merely an observation, and not a principle – Oz :shock:

  41. izen says:

    @- Ozboy
    “Even if you believe in AGW, as you do, the government’s own figures show that Australia’s CO2 production will drop not a molecule. So “saving the environment” can’t be the reason for introducing it. What, then? – Oz”

    I gather the claim is that it is a Pigovian tax.
    Trouble is that estimating the real external cost is something between highly uncertain and impossible. Which reinforces you point about the moral hazard facing any government in possession of such a tool. The tax on tobacco in the UK far exceeds its external costs; not sure about alcohol duty……

  42. izen says:

    Re:- …its credibility resides in its utility.

    “I hope that last sentence is merely an observation, and not a principle – Oz :shock:

    -Grin-
    Well actually, it might be the one absolute a priori axiom I would defend !!

    I see… I’ll try to bear your Utilitarian proclivities in mind.

    Meantime, here’s another thread – some more political follies from Down Under:

    http://libertygibbert.wordpress.com/2011/11/27/parliament-on-a-knife-edge-part-iv-the-rise-of-slippery-pete/

  43. farmerbraun says:

    re. Utilitarianism; I seem to recall a brief flurry of ruffled feathers on the last occasion when this ineveitably reared its head. From memory , it was caused by this:

  44. izen says:

    Perhaps a clarification is in order.
    When I used the word ‘utility’ I was not intending to reference Benthamite Utilitarianism. I am aware that such arguments are circular and the evaluation of utility is always context dependent.
    Perhaps I should have used ‘usefulness’.

    I know discussion of epistemology tends to lead to a glazed look, but at the risk of boring all those that think its a trivial irrelevance…

    Shorter materialist epistemology:-
    There is no a priori epistemological method to determine whether we inhabit an objective material universe that is discoverable by rational investigation; or whether our mental inputs and cognitive processes are the result of a Decartian daemon or we are all bottled brains in a ‘Matrix’.
    However it is rational to assume that we live in a discoverable material universe because if false that is the best way of reveal our mistake, and if true it is the best way of exploiting material reality.
    Its the usefulness of the outcomes that validates the a priori assumption of a rationally discoverable material reality.

    As evidenced by the medium used to convey this message….

  45. farmerbraun says:

    Izen , thanks for the clarification; I should have spelt it with a small u(tilitarian).

    Ozboy, I’ll park this interesting column here for now(where it shouldn’t upset too many people) so that it can be recovered later. I’ve had a look at the FAO report and I don’t like all the climate change justifications in it , but in my view they are unnecessary anyway. Arguments about sustainability assume that climate will vary considerably over longer time-scales.
    The opinion piece is from The National Business Review:

    I write with joy today. Who would think the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and British government would encourage agricultural sustainability? They are advocating an emphasis on soil health and careful tilth. They have turned their back on monocultural systems that require a few plant varieties and massive inputs of energy, pesticides and fertilisers in favour of mixed farming with crops, animals and trees.

    They remind me of the “high farming” style that evolved in parts of Britain. Farms produced cereals, roots, seeds but maintained fertility by careful rotation and the use of natural manures from their herds. They were big employers and used Shire horse rather than fossil fuels. They used locally successful varieties of seed and animal. My grandfather was a noted breeder of Lincoln Reds (shorthorn cattle)and gun dogs. He had Lincoln sheep and Lincoln pigs and used a variety of seeds suited to his different fields.

    I squirm when crossing the Canterbury plain. A new generation of agribusiness is ruining the work of generations of farmers. Excellent sheep farmers had built up soil fertility and established wind-breaks for shelter. The new companies have ripped out hedges, resown paddocks, and stocked them with one breed of cow (often with mutilated tails). The system produces large quantities of milk but lacks flexibility to adapt quickly to changes in price, markets or climate.

    When I see their huge irrigators wasting water in a hot nor’wester I recall Oliver Goldsmith’s angry The Deserted Village: his lament for the loss to outsiders of a viable social group.

    New Zealand is generally curiously insular in its lack of sustainable food and agriculture practics (exception: organics). The incumbent elite maximises profit while diverting costs to the taxpayer and environment. It makes a gesture toward preserving waterways while water is deteriorating. It objects to paying for carbon pollution and gets irrigation water for free. Gigantic tankers and trailers exploit roads and bridges built to different standards. This privileged elite has little reason to change.

    The thinking world, especially the UK’s Government Office for Science and the FAO, has created a consensus: “sustainable intensification” in agriculture – producing abundant food while reducing agriculture’s negative impact on the environment. It would prize biodiversity and reduce the water pollution and soil degradation so apparent today.

    Sustainable farming has enormous benefits: reducing use of synthetic fertilisers, increasing the carbon content of soils, protecting watersheds and groundwater and also improving human health by reducing exposure to toxins. It would increase the appeal of New Zealand’s goods in discerning and discriminating markets.

    Sustainable agriculture has little to do with genetically modified organism (GMO) technology. GMO damages biodiversity and locks agricultural systems into fossil-fuel dependence, expensive seeds and excessive fertiliaer and pesticides. I do not trust this government to maintain our invaluable “clean ,green “image in trade negotiations: the US will press for GMO crops in New Zealand and our deferential negotiators may lack the backbone to resist.

    The performance of GMO over the past 15 years has been poor, with many negatives. Weeds are predictably becoming resistant to Roundup. GMO enthusiasts also claimed less pesticide usage but an analysis of 13 years of commercialised GMOs in the US actually found dramatic increase in the use of pesticide because they also killed pest predators. On the other hand, an FAO project in six West African countries helped farmers reduce chemicals by up to 92% while increasing their output by about 60%.

    GMO experts spent 10 years and millions of dollars trying to grow a virus-free-potato in Kenya. They failed. Conventional breeders in Uganda have developed varieties of sweet potato that are virus-free and contain large amounts of carotene.

    The FAO says clearly that GMO “cannot meet the challenges of the new millennium.”

    It also says sustainable farming has reduced crops’ water needs 30% and reduced energy inputs by up to 60%. In one of the largest studies of ecological farming in 57 countries, researchers found an average yield increase of 80% – in East Africa by 128%.

    Sustainable interventions also build communities and social capital. One study involving 10 million African families found sustainable practices increased production but also increased the wealth of communities and encouraged women’s participation and education.

  46. Dr. Dave says:

    Sorry, but I had to include this for Kitler and Ozboy”

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