Archive for the ‘Current Affairs’ Category
For Putin and many Russians, the US is still Russia’s primary rival in global politics.
The projection of Russian power to the Mediterranean and Northern Africa depends on the Black Sea Fleet. The Black Sea Fleet is based at Sevastopol in the Crimea, an independent republic within Ukraine.
Russia will not want an avowedly pro-US, pro-Western government in Ukraine. It will not allow its access to Sevastopol to be restricted.
Russia will fight to protect its interests in Ukraine, if it believes force is necessary.
In 1994 The US and Great Britain signed a treaty known as the Budapest Memorandum, in which they agree to protect the independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine. This was part of a deal in which Ukraine gave up the nuclear weapons based there in the Soviet era, an arsenal larger that those of Britain, France and China combined.
On the basis of this treaty, Ukraine’s new Prime Minister, Arseniy Yatseniuk, has already appealed to the US and the UK for help.
President Obama has spoken with Vladimir Putin and asked for Russian troops to be pulled back out of Ukraine and the Crimea.
Putins’ response: “Russia retains the right to protect its interests and the Russian-speaking population of those areas.”
It sounds alarming, but my prediction is that the West will fail to stand up for Ukraine and the Crimea with sufficient confidence to stop Putin doing whatever he wants.
This looks to me like a repeat of the Sudetenland.
The confrontation will come next time, and it will be worse because we did not confront Putin earlier.
I got an email this afternoon from alleged CFS/Eurosoft scammer David O’Neil. This is what he wrote:
RE; DAVID O’NEIL – POSTINGS REGARDING EUROSOFT
I refer to the above and advise that several postings have been published on your website that are in breach of your terms and conditions and further in breach of the civil and criminal laws both in Australia and Elsewhere.
These postings contain personal details and other relevant contact details. As a result I have received threats against my life and threats to the life and safety of my wife and infant child.
This situation cannot be tolerated and I hereby demand that those personal details and page be removed immediately from your website. Should this not occur I will report the matter immediately to law enforcement agencies for prosecution and or other legal remedies.
I trust such unpleasant steps will not be necessary and look forward to your full co-operation.
In breach of my terms and conditions? Seriously?
Then I got this one:
I have now received another threatening phone call and my lawyers have advised the AFP (Australian Federal Police) to take over as this is a serious matter, my life and my families lives are being threatened and we are concerned for our safety.
Please act upon this email as a matter of URGENCY.
This was my reply:
David If there are particular comments you believe identify you personally or put you in danger, then let me know which ones and I will consider removing them.
But surely you cannot be surprised if you steal from ordinary working people and they get annoyed about it.
Perhaps you could pay back the money you have stolen and get an honest job?
Like that’s going to happen.
What is really intolerable and against the law, of course, is stealing thousands of dollars from ordinary working people and pensioners. But apparently that is not such a big deal for David.
On the other hand, threats of violence, no matter how angry a victim is, and no matter how right to be angry, are probably not helpful.
The trouble is that it is not clear what else will work. These arseholes have no conscience whatever, and they seem to be very clever at avoiding the law. They have felt no qualms about threatening and libelling me. I certainly feel no qualms about telling the truth about them.
Commenter Doug has pointed out that this same scam has recently been rebadged as OWS or Netway Solutions. Please do not fall for these cons! The awards and testimonials are fakes. The OWS website is a fake. The Shares Magazine website is a fake. OWS and Netway are the same fraud con scam ripoff as CFS, JBC and Eurosoft.
See my earlier posts and comments from readers for more information on the Eurosoft OWS Netway scams .
I have been a fan of Professor Elizabeth Loftus’ work for many years, so I am pleased to see her getting a hearing in the press at last.
From the Australian ABC news site:
When an eyewitness gives evidence in a trial, how much faith should we place in their testimony? At first brush the answer would seem to be, why not trust them? After all, if an impartial witness says with certainly they saw something—why be sceptical?
However, Elizabeth Loftus, a renowned professor of both law and psychology based at the University of California’s Irvine campus, urges caution. Professor Loftus has been at the forefront of complex and controversial debates around the nature of memory for many years, and her research has made her a much sought-after expert witness in both criminal and civil trials. In fact, she has testified in over 250 trials.
Professor Loftus says eyewitness testimony is the major cause of wrongful convictions in the USA. In one project where more than 300 cases of wrongful conviction were established using DNA testing, the major cause of these wrongful convictions was faulty eyewitness testimony.
I am glad the muslim terrorist attack in Nairobi was so widely reported, even though the real horror of what happened was underplayed – the torture and mutilation of children, for example.
Perhaps this signals a change of heart in the mainstream media, and a willingness to acknowledge at last the reality of widespread jihadist terror – over 21,000 deadly attacks in the name Allah since 9/11, three murderous terror attacks very day.
But why did the even worse attack on a church in Pakistan the following day get almost no media coverage? And why the media silence about the ongoing wholesale murder and torture of Christians in Egypt and Syria?
From the Federalist:
The next day, two suicide bombs went off as Christians were leaving Sunday services at All Saints Anglican Church in Peshawar, Pakistan.
“There were blasts and there was hell for all of us,” Nazir John, who was at the church with at least 400 other worshipers, told the Associated Press. “When I got my senses back, I found nothing but smoke, dust, blood and screaming people. I saw severed body parts and blood all around.”
Some 85 Christians were slaughtered and 120 injured, the bloodiest attack on Christians in Pakistan in history. The hospital ran out of beds for the injured and there weren’t enough caskets for the dead.
The situation for Christians in Egypt has also gone from bad to worse. August saw the worst anti-Christian violence in seven centuries. Sam Tadros, a Coptic Christian and author of Motherland Lost, says that there has been nothing like this year’s Muslim Brotherhood anti-Christian pogrom since 1321, when a similar wave of church burnings and persecution caused the decline of the Christian community in Egypt from nearly half of Egypt’s population to its current ten percent.
The violence of just three days in mid-August was staggering. Thirty-eight churches were destroyed, 23 vandalized; 58 homes were burned and looted and 85 shops, 16 pharmacies and 3 hotels were demolished. It was so bad that the Coptic Pope was in hiding, many Sunday services were canceled, and Christians stayed indoors, fearing for their lives. Six Christians were killed in the violence. Seven were kidnapped.
Maalula, Syria, is an ancient Christian town that has been so sheltered for 2,000 years that it’s one of only three villages where people still speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus. Until September 7, when Islamist rebels attacked as part of the civil war ripping through the country.
An eyewitness to the murder of three Christians in Maalula—Mikhael Taalab, his cousin Antoun Taalab, and his grandson Sarkis el Zakhm—reported that the Islamists warned everyone present to convert to Islam. Sarkis answered clearly, Vatican news agency Fides reported: “I am a Christian and if you want to kill me because I am a Christian, do it.”
There seems to be a large dose of confusion in some circles as to what the climate change debate is really about.
Firstly, no one doubts that climate change is happening. The climate is in constant flux. Temperatures are up and down like, well, the Assyrian Empire.
Secondly, there is no doubt human activity has some impact on climate, at least at a local level. The Urban Heat Island effect is one obvious example, and we also know that changes in land use can change local rain and snowfall patterns.
Third, there is substantial agreement that so-called greenhouse gasses are responsible for retaining sufficient of the heat from the sun to enable the earth’s temperature to stabilise at an average just over the melting point of H2O.
Substantial, not compete agreement on that point. Some scientists believe the chemical composition of the atmosphere has very little to do with temperature, and that warmth at lower levels of the atmosphere is a product of pressure. The same way a bicycle pump heats up when you use it.
There is also general agreement that doubling the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere to about 700ppm would result in an increase of about 1 degree Celsius in total.
This mild warming would occur mostly in cooler parts of the world and mostly at night. It would have very little if any negative impact, and combined with the positive impact of increased CO2 (current levels are so low that they almost at starvation point for most plants) which include increased crop yields and resilience, increased forest growth and reduced desertification, would likely be a very good thing.
So what’s the problem?
The problem is the assumption that slightly increased CO2 would result in increased water vapour in the atmosphere, and that this increased water vapour would produce a run away warming effect, raising temperatures by much more than for CO2 alone.
In reality (much abused and ignored!) increased water vapour produces increased cloud cover, which has a cooling effect.
The large temperature increase from increased water vapour is a guess. Various levels of guesses have been programmed into computer climate models used by the IPCC and others. None of them produces results which match reality.
Thousands of scientists from around the world have been saying for years that this is a perfect example of GIGO – garbage in, garbage out, that the amplification effect of water vapour is much milder than that inputted into the models, or doesn’t exist at all, or is negative – that is, that increased water vapour is cooling rather than warming.
In Australia this includes Professor Ian Plimer, Professor Robert Carter, David Evans, and Murray Salby. There are many, many others, whose peer reviewed work is summarised in the work of the NIPCC (the Non-governmental International Panel on Climate Change).
Climate alarmism is a mixture of zombie science, profiteering and scams, and a failure of leadership in journalistic, scientific, and political circles. It is the worst and most expensive scientific fraud ever perpetrated.
Emma Alberici and Julian Burnside must have read the same strategy book, one in which distorting your opponents’ views and values is perfectly acceptable.
The last thing anyone should want is to have Australia’s relationship with Indonesia defined by this boats issue, which I am sure will be but a passing irritant.
What the ABC’s Emma Alberici, interviewing the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, says Abbott said:
How do you feel about a world leader describing asylum seekers as “irritants”?
What the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights dutifully replies:
I am appalled.
As should we all be, but not with Tony Abbott.
My latest for Quadrant Online:
One of the most interesting phenomena of the last weeks has been the enthusiasm with which media pundits who have previously expressed the opinion that the Church is dying and irrelevant have expounded upon the importance of the right person being elected to be the new Pope. Like liberal nuns and other anti-Catholics, most of these media persons (I decline to call them personalities) believe the world would be a much better place if someone was elected who had the same opinions they do.
Alas for them, it is likely, as Philippa Martyr has pointed out in her usual delightful style, that the next Pope will be a Catholic. Which means no gay marriage, no women priests, no abortions.
Going to Mass, trusting in Jesus, reading the Bible and the whole religious thing will still be a large part of what the Church is about. It might be interesting to spend some time talking about whether it is possible to identify exactly where any culture is less than healthy, by noting at which points its demands conflict with the teaching and practice of the Church. In our case, I suspect, in the areas of gender, sexuality, and ‘self-realisation.’ But instead I’ll stick with wondering who the next Pope might be.
We start with a potential field of all unmarried baptised adult male Catholics. Betting website paddypower.com offers odds of 666 to 1 on Richard Dawkins. You can also bet on Fr. Ted at 1,000 to 1 if you are absolutely determined to lose your money.
Read the rest at Quadrant.
One of four.
Andrew Wakefield and the faked link between MMR vaccinations and autism.
Andrew Wakefield is one of the heroes of the anti-vaccination crusaders. In 1998 prestigious British medical journal The Lancet published a paper by Wakefield and others which implied a link between autism and the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccination. Not only was there no such link, but Wakefield’s data was faked. The article was retracted by The Lancet on February 2, 2010.
Wakefield must have known the likelihood that his faked research would reduce vaccination rates and lead to increased levels of preventable infectious childhood diseases. That is, he must have known than faking data so as to suggest a link between MMR vaccinations and autism would lead to increased child deaths.
Whatever Andrew Wakefield is, he is no hero of child health.
Apart from faking the results, there were several other ethics violations. These included failing to disclose cash payments from a lawyer representing families claiming MMR caused their children’s autism, failure to disclose financial interests in patents for MMR alternatives, failure to include data which contradicted his conclusions, and the use of contaminated samples to support his conclusions.
On January 28, 2010, Wakefield and two of his co-authors, John Walker-Smith and Simon Murch, were found by the UK’s General Medical Council to have acted irresponsibly, dishonestly and not in the clinical interests of the children involved in the study. The Medial Council found, amongst other things, that Wakefield had used colonoscopies, MRIs and lumbar punctures when such procedures were not clinically indicated. On May 24, 2010, the General Medical Council issued a determination that Wakefield and Walker-Smith were guilty of professional misconduct and should be struck from the Medical Register in the U.K. His license to practice medicine has been revoked.
There is no moral difference between this faking of medical research with foreseeably lethal consequences, and adding Melamine (a poison) to milk with foreseeably lethal consequences.
Some supporters of the MMR/autism theory claim that just because a few bad apples faked their results doesn’t necessarily mean there is no connection between vaccination and autism. No it doesn’t. But there isn’t. Not a speck. Not a jot nor a tittle.
In the next few days I will explain exactly how scientists know this. I’ll also examine the story that when Japan stopped vaccinating children, SIDS (cot death) stopped completely. It didn’t.
Ninety per-cent of Facebook and Twitter causes are based on false information, bigotry or both.
From scare stories about preservatives in food, to stories of dogs being hooked alive and used as shark bait, to stories about how people who don’t look like us eat something we don’t like eating and it’s disgusting and they are horrible and it should be stopped, almost every “Please pass this on, this must be stopped” story turns out to be based on false or misleading information, or cultural bigotry so blatant that it verges on racism.
These campaigns have real consequences. A campaign against the use of lean beef trimmings was bulldust from beginning to end. But the facts fell before a tidal wave of disgusting pictures of pink slime, and assertions the slime was loaded with ammonia and other deadly chemicals used as preservatives. None of the slimy pictures had anything to do with lean beef trimmings, and claims about high levels of preservatives were false.
It didn’t matter. The US beef industry responded with factual information, photos of the real product and descriptions of production methods. No one cared. Lean beef trimmings are high in protein, reduce the overall fat content of burgers and other meat products to which they are added, and in blind taste tests, were found by a majority of people to improve the tenderness of processed meats. It didn’t matter. The facts had no weight compared to the emotional fervour and manufactured horror of the pink slime campaign.
The end result was that factories were closed, businesses were forced into bankruptcy, hundreds of workers lost their jobs, and hundreds of families their incomes.
It may feel like you are doing a good thing when you click ‘Like’ to some circulating campaign against something, or pass it on to your friends. But when ninety per-cent of such campaigns are simply wrong, then clicking ‘Like’ or passing it on is not good, or even morally neutral. It is wrong.
At very least, we should check, every time, that what we are being told is true. Look for opinions opposed to those expressed in the message. Ask yourself “Is this reasonable?” “Is it really likely to be true?” Even if it is true, local governments may have the matter in hand, and demands for action in a Twitter campaign may be counter-productive or insulting.
Don’t pass on alarm stories without checking first, and if you have any doubts about the accuracy or fairness of a story, don’t pass it on at all. The truth matters. Don’t be a party to lies.
There is a point, though, at which the merely lazy, ignorant or bigoted nature of most Facebook campaigns tips over into actual evil. This point is the ongoing campaign against vaccination, and especially vaccination against childhood diseases such as measles and polio.
Over the next week I will write four articles explaining why this opposition is based on false, and in some cases deliberately false or misleading information. I will explain why the campaign is not just misguided but evil. And I will explain what you can do to help the truth be heard.
Green activists are once again turning Japan’s annual dolphin hunt to their financial advantage, deep-sixing facts in favour of fund-raising propaganda. Sure, the slaughter at Taiji Cove is not for the squeamish, but neither is any Australian abattoir …
Lies, damned lies and dolphins
Villagers in Taiji in Japan are halfway through their annual dolphin harvest, which runs from September to May. Villagers in Australia are halfway through their annual feeding frenzy of self-righteous indignation. Twitter accounts gurgle with rage. Facebook pages quiver with fury. Post after post proclaims the Japanese to be vile, murderous, and deserving of the same fate as the dolphins.
There are clear emotional benefits to participating slacktivists. A scrumptious sense of moral superiority. The feeling of purpose that flows from with aligning oneself with a righteous cause. Being part of a community of like-minded believers.
But the hunt continues. The Japanese are disinclined to change their behaviour on the basis of what they see as the petulant posturing of a group of ignorant, hypocritical, glory seekers.
Read the rest at Quadrant Online.