Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Evil versus evil

I love Australia, and I count myself blessed to be living here. Sadly, just as it is in other parts of the Western world, Neo-Nazism is on the rise here. Blood and Honour is one such group. Taking its name from the motto of the Hitler Youth, it is using the recent upsurge in anti-Islamist sentiment to embark on a recruitment drive.

When I saw this sticker affixed to a roadside safety barrier, I discovered that this group is active in my area. They organise underground skinhead music events and give their members combat training under their affiliated Combat 18 movement. The 18 in its name comes from the initials of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler. A and H are the first and eighth letters of the Latin alphabet.

Knowing that this group is active and very likely running clandestine events in Melbourne makes me sick in the stomach. We have one set of extremists preparing to take on another set. Perhaps they envision one day battling Islamists on the streets of Melbourne. Whether it is white supremacist groups or Islamism, evil comes in many forms. We live in dangerous times.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

What a year

What a momentous year 1974 was. Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam appointed Sir John Kerr as Governor-General of Australia. Australian road signs were converted from imperial to metric. To top it all off, Tony Christie released his hit single, Happy Birthday, Baby. It's a decent enough song, but the video clip is very distracting to watch. Notice that the audio track appears to be out of sync with the vision.

Monday, March 16, 2015

A throat full of phlegm

Today I present inexplicably popular American crooner Michael Bolton's biggest hit, How Am I Supposed to Live Without You?, released in 1989. At the time it became a fixture on easy listening AM radio stations.

I remember my father saying at the time, "What a terrible voice." Even though he had no musical ability to speak of, I heartily agreed with him. Mr Bolton sounded like he needed to take decongestants. I couldn't stand him then, and still can't now.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

In denial?

I groan inwardly whenever a member of the Australian Greens make a pronouncement on any issue. In her latest press release, Australian Greens leader Christine Milne expresses her disagreement with the Abbott government's strategy for dealing with Islamic radicalism in Australia. It has announced $630 million for counter-terrorism efforts, $13 million of which will be used to fund deradicalisation programs in Australia.

The Greens propose establishing a Centre for Social Cohesion, which will work with young people to combat social exclusion, so that they're less at risk of joining Islamic radical groups. So far this proposal has been ignored.

They strongly oppose the Abbott government's decision to send Australian troops to Iraq to act as advisers to Iraqi troops who are fighting Islamic State. Supposedly this action is "pressing the fear button...pressing the terror button," but not actually dealing with the problem.

Actually, Islamic radicals are doing a fine job of pressing the terror and fear buttons on their own. They don't need any help from the Abbott government. Groups such as Hizb ut-Tahrir and the Islamic Research and Educational Institution (IREA) are on public record as being extremist.

Also, this press release offers no solution on how Islamic State should be dealt with. The Greens think that Australian troops are being sent into a quagmire in the Middle East. They also raise the spectre of "mission creep." They think that Australian troops will eventually be dragged into combat, just as they were in the Vietnam War.

The situation in Iraq is hardly comparable to that in Vietnam before the war escalated. The difference here is that the Viet Cong could be negotiated with. Islamic State are not interested in negotiating with any of their enemies. They want them either subjugated or dead. Are the Greens aware of that?

The Greens believe that any military action must be mandated by the United Nations, and "can only be justified if it is necessary either to avert a major violation of human rights or attempted genocide." Try telling that to the victims of Islamic State. For them, that point was passed a long time ago.

We are going to be in a lot of trouble if the Greens are ever in a position to put their naive idealism into practice and have influence over Australia's defence policy.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Doggy breath

Back in the golden days of 1993 Christian rock band PFR released their second album, Goldie's Last Day. The song is about bass player Patrick Andrew's beloved late dog, Goldie. I don't know if the song has a Christian subtext. I speak from personal experience when I say that through the unconditional love and loyalty they offer, dogs can often be a source of comfort to their owners in times of suffering and sadness. I often wonder if they can be an instrument of God's grace.

If a dog sees that its owner is sad, it might offer consolation in the form of a paw on his or her lap, or gently nudge you to put your arm around it. In times of crisis, some human beings aren't much help at all. They either ignore you, offer empty platitudes, or offer unwanted advice. Just like Job's friends, they amount to "miserable comforters." (Job 16:2). Unlike some humans, dogs never let you down.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Deluded fanatics

The Islamic State continues on its murderous rampage throughout Iraq, Syria, eastern Libya, the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt, and other areas of the Middle East,  North Africa, South Asia. They are truly inhuman. Each day seemingly brings more news of their atrocities. As if this isn't bad enough, now they have ransacked a Mosul museum. They have destroyed artefacts that are thousands of years old, claiming that they are "idolatrous." In like manner, they've destroyed thousands of irreplacable books and manuscripts in Mosul libraries.

Where will this end? As I write this, world leaders seem incapable of finding a solution to stop them. All I know that their mad vision of global domination will never come about, because the one true God always thwarts tyranny. ISIS are deluded fanatics, and it seems that a swift and decisive military action is the only way to deal with them.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

War is hell

Chris Kyle (1974-2013)
Last weekend I finally got around to seeing American Sniper, based on the true story of Chris Kyle. Kyle was the most lethal marksman in American military history, with 160 confirmed kills

Even though it has polarized audiences and critics alike, I thought it was an excellent film. I'm not going to buy into arguments about whether or not the film is pro or anti-war. It impressed me with its realistic depiction of battlefield conditions, and showing the emotional impact of combat upon soldiers. I'm not a pacifist, and believe that sometimes war is necessary. In similar manner to when I recently visited the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, I came away from the film with a greater sense of respect for service personnel and the sacrifices they make.

Postscript: Eddie Ray Routh, the former marine who killed Kyle and another veteran, has just been found guilty of his murder. He will be sentenced at a later date.