Archives for posts with tag: citizens

The day Australian freedom died

Ask yourself this simple question. It needs just a yay or nay, with no middle ground. Do you believe in freedom of speech? No shades of grey. You either believe in it. Or you don’t. No picking and choosing about who gets to employ it, and who doesn’t. One in, all in. Unless you’re in China of course, or Russia.

And, so it would seem, Australia.

Freedom of speech is fundamental to … well, our freedom. Funny isn’t it. We take it for granted in these days of over-sharing until we say something inflammatory. Some keyboard warriors give us a lashing and send us to our corner. But we don’t have our tongues cut out.

We take it for granted that we can say what we like, as long as we are not encouraging people to hurt others, or, indeed, themselves. Inciting violence is not the same as enjoying freedom of speech. Being hateful is also not inciting violence; it’s being nasty. There’s a difference and knowing this difference is the defining line between those who believe in the fundamental tenets of freedom of speech and those who believe in it as long as it suits their politically correct, pandering agenda.

This week, Immigration Minister David Coleman couldn’t have played a more honest hand if he tried. I’ll give him that. His cancellation of leading conspiracy researcher David Icke’s visa just hours before he was due to fly to Australia was as swift as it was malicious. There was no warning – despite the speaking-tour visa being approved in September – and its timing was obviously designed to cause maximum disruption to Icke.

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Like him or loathe him, David Icke deserves the right to speak.

Coleman’s letter was clear. “Open source” (ie. the media) information detailing Icke’s views on Zionism, vaccinations and global warming meant he was no longer a suitable candidate to be espousing his views on our fair shores.

I don’t remember giving the government permission to decide what views I’m permitted to hear.

Icke has spent 30 years detailing through myriad books his views on everything from mass population microchipping to Big Pharma. His contemporary dot-connector videos provide weekly headlines showing how his predictions during the years have become reality.

He sounds like a good candidate for the government-funded Festival of Dangerous Ideas doesn’t he?

I couldn’t care less if Icke was trying to enter this country to say the sky was green and the grass blue, but I have every right – as an allegedly free citizen – to hear what I want to hear.

And even if he is a holocaust denier, which he isn’t, why isn’t he allowed to argue his point? So what if he says vaccinations are dangerous or that climate change is caused by government weather modification. It’s his view, and he’s entitled to it.

If people think he’s such a nutter then they can avoid his shows and bitch about him on Facebook.

But banning him because the government doesn’t like his views – as detailed plainly in the Minister’s letter – is a direct and unmitigated assault on my freedom.

I did not immigrate to this country from South Africa – so I know a thing or two about government censorship and oppression – to be told by a bunch of self-serving, corrupt and ignorant politicians to whom I can listen and who I can’t. It’s worth noting that Labor supported the ban. I’d be curious to know what the Greens think about this apparent guilty verdict of thoughtcrime.

Contrary to popular belief, Icke is neither a holocaust denier nor a Jew-hater. If ANY of the journalists doing little more than copying each other’s ideas actually took the time to read his books they’d understand Icke takes issue with Zionism as a political organisation, not Jews. Since when are people not allowed to diss politics?

I’m a Jew. And I know what’s happening to Palestinians is a crime. But you can’t say that for fear of being anti-semitic. Incidentally, the term semite is actually defined as “a member of any of the peoples who speak or spoke a Semitic language, including in particular the Jews and Arabs”. So being an “anti-semite” would be akin to saying a person is anti-languages of the middle-east.

You can’t even criticise a Jew without being called racist. I lost family in the holocaust and claims of holocaust denial levelled against Icke, who repeatedly says he sees all people as equal, are completely unfounded.

Not that journalists would know this, because they never read his stuff. They’re too busy rehashing his reptilian theories. So while 2.2 billion Christians are allowed to have their healer who walked on water, rose from the dead, and their saints who could perform miracles, Icke can’t have his otherworldly beliefs. The hypocrisy never ceases to astound. People kill for their religious beliefs. Icke just wants to talk about how our governments are controlling us.  I’m seeing a pattern here.

Icke coins it the totalitarian tiptoe: the slow erosion of our freedom in the name of so-called progressive protectionism that ultimately indulges the few at the expense of the many. One radio journalist actually said freedom of speech was important as long as the speaker was being sensible. Seriously? Let’s call Conditional Freedom of Speech then. Is that more like it?

Call it what you like but when a bunch of Zionists (I won’t even afford them the label of Jews because they sure as hell don’t represent me) think they can speak on behalf of the 99.6% of the Australian population who aren’t Jewish I call it fascism. When some Melbourne Zionists can lobby a half-wit Labor candidate and find success because he knows it will help him secure votes in his Jewish electorate you know we’re screwed.

Josh Burns doesn’t gives a toss about our freedom, he just wants votes like so many other repugnant men and women who call themselves politicians in this nanny state of ours.

If you don’t like Icke’s views then ignore him. He’s been here 10 times before and never once has he preached hate or violence, nor has there been any incidents at, or in relation to, any of his events. He sees all people as equal and his only agenda is freedom from oppression. For everyone.

He said to me this week: “Australians now have a choice between two parties who have utter contempt for the freedom of the people. If we’re going to sort this world out we need to put labels aside and treat everyone as an individual. I would challenge anyone to provide a clip of a politician in parliament standing up and saying the answer is for everyone to love each other. ”

Obviously that has never happened, but we can only wait.

In the meantime I keep hoping to wake up from this Orwellian nightmare.

Eve Fisher is a journalist and former local government politician. @evefisher1212

 

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Buerger Energie Berlin’s Steffen Walter.
Photo courtesy: krytykapolityczna.pl

A group of Berlin citizens is trying to do something that has never been done on a grand scale before.

Buerger Energie Berlin is a co-op of about 700 members who are bidding for the rights to own and operate the city’s electricity grid, which supplies about 2.5 million homes.

Although some smaller co-ops have taken control of the grids in small towns around Germany, including at Schoenau which now runs its own electricity utility, never before has a bid been made for such a large take-over. The new 20-year contract for Berlin’s grid is up for grabs at the end of next year.

While success is a long shot it is the sentiment that is proving to be making the difference, showing that community groups have not only the desire but the impetus to take on big organisations and big tasks.

The co-op estimates it will need about €200 million to be a serious contender and has already collected around €8 million from contributions by the 700-odd members who all paid €500 each.

Buerger Energie also has more than 1000 people who are considered supporters because the money they have contributed will be refunded if the bid to buy the grid fails. Sustainable banks are considering helping to finance the operation.

While a Dutch municipal group Alliander looks to be the strongest contender, Buerger Energie is hoping to acquire even a share in the grid – ideally 49 per cent – if it cannot buy the whole thing.

It also hopes that the current owner Vattenfall, a Swedish state company that has interests in fossil fuel, will not be successful.

The Berlin grid has 35,000km of powerlines – mostly underground – and is valued at about €1 billion.

The response to the bid has been varied.

“It’s mixed,” says Steffen Walter, who has been with the co-op since the early days and was one of the 30 founding members.

“They say it’s ok that a player comes from outside and just redefines the boundary of what’s possible, to shake the old processes up a bit.

“On the other side, the process might get too restrictive for us to remain in the running until the end.

“We don’t know if our government will remain will be flexible enough to really (do it). In the governing coalition there are mixed feelings about it. The social democrats are more open to us, to a co-operative interest; the Christian Democrats they are rather reluctant. There are disputes and debates going on within the governing coalition.”

The biggest hurdle right now, with about a year until the decision is made, is to determine exactly how the co-op plans to operate its business and find the experts needed to make it all possible.

“We are an initiative with roots in NGOs. We are not energy experts. We need partners with expertise. We need technical expertise. We are not the grid experts,” Walter says.

Buerger Energie also wants to promote renewable energy either through generation or supply but that would require forming a separate legal entity. There are already about 800 renewable energy organisations in Gemany. Unfortunately many relied on the high feed-in tariff – it started just below €1 euro, but has fallen to around 12 cents and is too low for many projects to be viable.

Now the time has come where co-ops are realising that integrating with the grid is the key to success.

“We want to promote anything to do with a transition to renewables,” Walter says.

“We need to take this one step further – from a strategic point of view it’s not only useful to operate your own power plants or wind power, but to own the grid and modify the grid to prepare it for renewables, to adjust it to the needs of renewables, by integrating storage. A lot of things you can do on a micro level.”

Walter says teaming up with housing co-operatives could be the vital link that makes community owned renewables realistic for more and more people.

“One idea is to go into renewable generation together with housing co-operatives because there is a huge unused potential in Berlin,” Walter says.

“In terms of consumption, or generation, it is only 2 per cent. There are hundreds of thousands of roofs that could be used for solar. There is a lot to be done in Berlin.”

Combined heat and power is another avenue that is garnering support. One co-operative in Berlin that has done that. They converted a former kindergarten to a residential building to about 30 or 40 units. All those people are members of the housing co-operative. They then set up a second co-operative to generate electricity for exclusive use of the members of the housing scheme. They included all the people living there and put a big solar system on the roof. It is split consumption. Some of the electricity is used by the building and part earns money from the feed-in tariff.

Community renewable co-operatives are being developed in different forms to combat legislative and regulatory change and limitations.

Walter says this is the only way the transition to renewables can work without adequate government support.

“There is not clear strategy to push that forward from the government,” he says. “It needs pressure from the bottom.”

http://www.buerger-energie-berlin.de/