Freedom for Palestine

Sibagraphics wholeheartedly endorses OneWorld’s new song “Freedom for Palestine” and the call from Palestinian people for boycott, divestment and sanctions of Israel until Israel respects international law, installs equal rights for all, ends its apartheid oppression and recognises the right of Palestinian people to return to their lands.

“Yesterday’s South African township dwellers can tell you about today’s life in the Occupied Territories… More than an emergency is needed to get to a hospital; less than a crime earns a trip to jail… If apartheid ended, so can the occupation. But the moral force and international pressure will have to be just as determined. The current divestment effort is the first, though certainly not the only, necessary move in that direction.”
– Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize laureate for his work against apartheid in South Africa

“The so-called ‘Palestinian autonomous areas’ are bantustans. These are restricted entities within the power structure of the Israeli apartheid system.”
– Nelson Mandela

“For over 20 years Israel has expanded by force of arms. After every stage in this expansion Israel has appealed to “reason” and has suggested “negotiations”. This is the traditional role of the imperial power, because it wishes to consolidate with the least difficulty what it has already taken by violence. Every new conquest becomes the new basis of the proposed negotiation from strength, which ignores the injustice of the previous aggression. The aggression committed by Israel must be condemned, not only because no state has the right to annexe foreign territory, but because every expansion is an experiment to discover how much more aggression the world will tolerate.”
– Bertrand Russell, 1970

“No people anywhere in the world would accept being expelled en masse from their own country; how can anyone require the people of Palestine to accept a punishment which nobody else would tolerate?”
– Bertrand Russell, 1970

Twitter for Business 2

Information supporting the use free social networking program Twitter in business is proliferating.

Paul Rasmussen has some very useful tips:

Follow industry leaders who post links to important resources and influence conversations

* Post questions for quick answers and answer others’ questions to establish your credibility and expertise
* Create links to your Web site or blog (don’t over do it!)
* Keep up on the buzz in your industry
* Network with like-minded people.

Twitter takes only a few minutes to set up and using it could prove to be one of the best business decision’s you’ve made. You can use your mobile phone to update your tweets and the immediacy of the medium means it can be used as a convenient instant contact and support facility for your customers while you are on the move.

To Bernadette McMenamin, Internet Censorship Advocate

Dear Ms McMenamin,

Yesterday I noticed your comments in the press that people protesting against Conroy’s ISP filters were “not fully aware of the facts and secondly, those who are aware are, in effect, advocating child pornography”.

This is a loathsome accusation which lambasts and belittles those like myself, who abhor child pornography and child abuse yet who also abhor unaccountable government censorship and ineffective, costly exercises which pander to right wing fundamentalists, social conservatives and wowsers, some of whom appear to be completely sexually repressed in wanting all adult material filtered and/or banned.

I don’t look for or watch adult material myself, yet will support the cause of those who wish to do so freely – there is no SOUND research I’ve been able to find that pornography causes harm to its viewers, in fact quite the reverse. Wielders of moral outrage slogans, on the other hand, have been responsible for a plethora of hideous pogroms and human rights abuses throughout history.

What people wish to do legally in the privacy of their own homes and bedroooms is their business, not the government’s or other interferring parties. Will random spot checks of people’s libraries be next? A sexually repressed society is a sick society – rightly, prudery and wowserism has ALWAYS been sneered at throughout Australia – healthy, sceptical Australians do not tolerate fools. The current moral panic expressed recently under the pernicious guise of “what about the children?” and now from you and Conroy – that those who are against filtering are “advocating child pornography”, is yet another manifestation of the wowser underbelly which occasionally rears its miserable head here. You’ve lost me.

Please desist from patronising Australians – you are damaging your cause and past achievements.

From both technical and democratic points of view, Conroy’s filters are intractably flawed.

Anyone with a slight understanding of how the internet works would be able to broach the filters within minutes – and please remember, that the ‘forbidden’ often radiates an irresistible attraction. The proposed ISP based filters would not affect the main conduits which are used by abusers, would do nothing to reduce the amount of child pornography travelling across the net, yet they would cripple the already very slow internet speeds of everyone and be rife with false positive and negative results – as a web developer, I am extremely concerned that my clients’ sites (and none of them are adult sites, I might add) could be adversely affected. (If they are, I would be advising them to seek legal opinion with a view to suing the government.)

The above counter-productive effects have already been proven by the outcomes of Tasmanian filtering tests this year, and are echoed in recent statements from ISP heads and technically knowledgeable system administrators throughout the country. In addition, our already way too high ISP costs will rise.

In making filters mandatory, the government would be sending a detestable message that all Australians are criminals, unable to be trusted. Our mindsets would change. In adopting unaccountable net authoritarianism, we would be setting a dreadful retrograde example to existing authoritarian nations which already filter their feeds for all sorts of things which their paternalistic, intrusive governments deem unfit for their citizens’ viewing.

Australians would not, as is with other material currently banned by the Film & Classification Board, be able to know what is on the banned url list, and it will be unaccountable, with a distinct probability, influenced by future wailing ‘moral champions’, insidious scope creep may occur – with banning or filtering of more vague “unwanted material”.

All these resultant effects are unacceptable.

A people which trusts government to make unaccountable decisions on its behalf is not a democratic, free people. Furthermore, free speech and free expression are inalienable individual human rights.

If Conroy’s undemocratic filters are instituted, I will be amongst the first to ‘opt out’ as a declaration of freedom and distaste for wowserism.

Please reconsider your stance. The government is not the parents of our children – we are, and we are adults who are capable of discriminating what is best for our children, and should insist our government treat us as such. As you would be aware, there are free filters and ISP feeds available to those who want them now. Even if Conroy’s anti-democratic censorship filters are instituted, they will never be a substitute for appropriate parental supervision, education and better funding for our police task force which is doing a wonderful job catching child abuse perpetrators at present.

Please help keep the internet and our society free from interferring pseudo-intellectual religious and secular mind control freaks who pathetically claim to know what’s best for everyone else. As has been shown very obviously in the past few years with the exposure of long term abusers in the churches, it is often these people who have the most to hide. I don’t trust moralisers who claim to know what’s good for me and I don’t need or want Big Brother or Big Church in my house.

Prosperity, intellect and wisdom for 2007

This year, we send our best wishes for prosperity and peace – it’s about time all of us had a bit of a rest from interminable bloodshed over resources, religion and global supremacy. Rather than using reason to develop a logical, secular code of ethical behaviour which considers the best interests of fellow human beings as well as their own, it seems too many humans depend upon crude instincts and irrational brutish faith to justify baseless feelings of cultural superiority and barbaric slaughter of and stealing from other humans.

To celebrate our alternative peaceful vision for enlightenment in 2007, we’ve made a desktop wallpaper featuring Ganesha, a Hindu deity symbolising intellect, wisdom and prosperity.

We’ve also taken the time to add some of our latest artwork and greeting cards to our online art gallery.


Noosa Holiday Accommodation

Looking for holiday accommodation in Noosa for your Queensland wedding and honeymoon? The Noosa Wedding Ring can recommend the best places to stay in Noosa Heads and Noosaville, close to beaches and restaurants. Featured in the holiday accommodation directory are On the Beach Noosa at famous Hastings Street, The Islander Noosa Resort and Villa Aqua Holiday Villas in Noosaville.

Noosa is the best place in Queensland for affordable, yet indulgent Australian holidays. With uncrowded long beaches for surfing and relaxing, a preserved natural beauty with unsurpassed diversity of flora and fauna, world class national parks close by, superb restaurants, eclectic shops and relaxed, friendly lifestyle, Noosa has an abundance of activities to offer international tourists and domestic visitors in search of a uniquely memorable Australian holiday experience.

Mary River Dam – travesty at Traveston Crossing

With the Queensland State government’s irresponsible fire sale of South East Queensland to southern immigrants and developers who feast from the spoils of unrestrained growth, the latest shortsighted move is to foist the self-inflicted water shortage problems of the profligate, ever-expanding Gold Coast and Brisbane slums onto areas close to our heart – the Noosa/Gympie region.

This is the third attempt to dam the Mary River and I predict the exploiters will lose this time too.

Apart from the direct impact on prime agricultural land and 900 outraged landowners, the area is home to at least three endangered animal species, including the Mary River lungfish, Mary River turtle and Mary River cod, let alone representatives from our national treasure chest of plant species with their potential valuable pharmaceutical use. The region’s forests form part of one of the biodiversity hotspots identified by Professor Norman Myers. This proposed travesty of a dam at Traveston Crossing is also likely to impinge on the health of fisheries along Wide Bay.

And what about the region’s old cattle dips and their arsenic loads which will leech into the dam? Humans are the only species who don’t seem to mind poisoning themselves in the name of so-called ‘progress’ – the long term self-defeating result of suspect economic irrationalism which relies ignorantly and unquestioningly on increase in population and production for prosperity. Prosperity for whom? our children’s children? I don’t think so.

No more dams! There are plenty of other more sustainable, responsible options to address water consumption needs in South East Queensland.

For more information, visit the Save the Mary River site, NUSER and the Sunshine Coast Environment Council.

Wisdom from Father Peter Hansen

It’s not often I feel compelled to add quotes from a priest to my blog, however Father Peter Hansen, the parish priest at Our Lady’s Church, Craigieburn, affected me profoundly with his homily to Caleb Nguyen Tuong Van.

“There are some voices – I believe no more than a minority – who call for vengeance and retribution, because of what Van had done. But these voices belong to people who do not understand the fundamental truth that human beings can change, can move from a life that does harm, to one that does good. I say to these people, if you build a world upon the so-called values of retribution and vengeance, then you will build a world in which some people will always seek to take drugs, because you will build a world of such unbearable harshness that people will do anything to escape it. But if, instead, we build a world based on values of tolerance and forgiveness, on remorse and atonement, on compassion and mercy, then we will be building a world which has no need of the culture of death, which heroin, like capital punishment, represents.”

Father Hansen’s words offer hope for a revival of decent, caring, cooperative values in our present retrograde, barbaric, desperately competitive society where even so-called democratic countries blatantly exhibit classic symptoms of oppressive totalitarianism.

I’d include some large pharmaceutical companies, the legal drug dealers, and their political pushers who often have direct financial interests in them, as part of that culture of death as well. Perhaps it is not surprising then, that it seems to be those same politicians who also peddle the ‘necessity’ for capital punishment and other abhorrent means of social control.