Archive for the ‘Current Affairs’ Category
On the ABC’s Landline in 2007:
SALLY SARA: What will it mean for Australian farmers if the predictions of climate change are correct and little is done to stop it? What will that mean for a farmer?
PROFESSOR TIM FLANNERY: We’re already seeing the initial impacts and they include a decline in the winter rainfall zone across southern Australia, which is clearly an impact of climate change, but also a decrease in run-off. Although we’re getting say a 20 per cent decrease in rainfall in some areas of Australia, that’s translating to a 60 per cent decrease in the run-off into the dams and rivers. That’s because the soil is warmer because of global warming and the plants are under more stress and therefore using more moisture. So even the rain that falls isn’t actually going to fill our dams and our river systems, and that’s a real worry for the people in the bush. If that trend continues then I think we’re going to have serious problems, particularly for irrigation.
Now, floods everywhere:
Heavy rains hit central and southern parts of the Philippines last week, triggering floods and landslides which killed at least nine people and affected up to 150,000 others. In Tacloban, Leyte, a staggering 397mm of rain fell in the 24 hours to midnight last Thursday. The deluge submerged the city and sparked a landslide which killed a family of seven. This prompted the government to declare a state of emergency. Crops were flooded and dozens of homes were destroyed.
Parts of Australia were also hit by floods. In northern Queensland, onshore flow and the atmospheric instability combined to produce heavy downpours, with 238.6mm of rain falling at Rollingstone in 24 hours last Wednesday. In western Australia’s Kimberly region, severe floods destroyed 45 homes and forced 217 people to evacuate. The Fitzroy River rose to a record level at Fitzroy Crossing on Wednesday, topping that of 2002.
Also in NSW, where the town of Bega has been evacuated. And even here on Kangaroo Island, where unseasonably cool and wet conditions continue.
This is an old tractor that used to be used for harvesting oysters from one of the oyster leases on Min oil beach. I have been wanting to get a picture of it for a while, but it is usually mostly submerged. Very low tides today, so a perfect opportunity, even though it was raining. Taken with my Sigma DP1s (Foveon sensor). Some fairly mild colour and contrast post processing.
My wife Kathy and dog Hannibal walking along Min Oil beach towards Redbanks on a cloudy day.
A few days after the savage murder of the Fogel family, in which a baby had her throat cut and was nearly decapitated, and four others were stabbed to death as they slept, relatives were sitting in mourning in a nearby town.
Just as IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz arrived in Neve Tzuf to offer his condolences, a Palestinian cab raced towards the community’s entrance. In it, soldiers and paramedics discovered a Palestinian woman in her 20s in advanced stages of labor and facing a life-threatening situation: The umbilical cord was wrapped around the young baby girl’s neck, endangering both her and her mother.
The quick action of settler paramedics and IDF troops deployed in the area saved the mother’s and baby’s life, prompting great excitement and emotions at the site where residents are still mourning the brutal death of five local family members. …
Meanwhile, ambulance driver Orly Shlomo raced to the scene. “We joined the military paramedic and helped him cut off the umbilical cord…without the medical treatment, the fetus and woman faced genuine life danger,” she told Ynet.
“It was touching, but I couldn’t help but think that a few meters from there, people were sitting Shiva for another baby, who was murdered,” she said. “I was touched to see the face of the new baby, but I also thought about the face of the murdered baby.”
Gadi Amitun, who heads the Magen David Adom team at Neve Tzuf, said this was not the first time settlers assist Palestinians in distress.
“They know we have a skilled medical team here, and in any case of accident or injury they arrive and we help them,” he said.
The paramedic noted that on the day of the Fogel massacre, settlers saw fireworks and celebrations in nearby Palestinian communities, but added that the local medical team is committed to assisting anyone in need.
Meanwhile, yesterday, on the Sabbath, more than fifty mortars were fired from Gaza into Southern Israel.
Hayim Yellin, head of the Eshkol region where the mortars exploded, said they were the same type as those intercepted last week on a cargo ship loaded with weapons Israel said were sent by Iran to Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip.
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said he will file a complaint at the U.N. after Saturday’s unusually large barrage of rockets. In a statement, Lieberman said the Palestinians “primary goal is destroying Israel.”
Muammar Ghadafi (or however we’re supposed to spell his name this week) is not a nice guy.
He doesn’t seem to me to be quite at the Saddam Hussein level of gassing the Kurds and running over Shi’ites in tanks, but nonetheless, not a nice guy.
Barack Obama thinks Ghadafi’s level of not niceness is now sufficient to justify the use of US forces to bring about a regime change:
“This is not an outcome the U.S. or any of our partners sought,” Obama said from Brazil, where he is starting a five-day visit to Latin America. “We cannot stand idly by when a tyrant tells his people there will be no mercy.”
Obama said that embattled Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s continued assault on his own people left the U.S. and its international partners with no other choice.
But how is using force to bring about regime change in Libya OK, when using force to bring about regime change in Iraq was not OK, was about oil, meant that George Bush was Satan, or acting for the bushitlerchimphalliburton global industrial machine?
Hussein (Saddam, not Obama) had treated his own people worse for longer, had a history of violence against neigbouring countries and of use of weapons of mass destruction.
Interesting that a substantial number of comments on the HuffPo coverage of this story ask the same question: Why good in Libya if bad in Iraq?
Some of them are even quite amusing, like this one on claims the war is about oil in both cases ‘Actually, we never get the oil, just the shaft.’
Who exactly are the people we are supporting, protecting and probably putting into power in Libya?
WikiLeaks cables, independent analysts and reporters have all identified supporters of Islamist causes among the opposition to Col Gaddafi’s regime, particularly in the towns of Benghazi and Dernah.
An al-Qaeda leader of Libyan origin, Abu Yahya al-Libi, released a statement backing the insurrection a week ago, while Yusuf Qaradawi, the Qatar-based, Muslim Brotherhood-linked theologian issued a fatwa authorising Col Gaddafi’s military entourage to assassinate him. …
The military chief (of the rebels) is Abdul Fattah Younis al-Obeidi, a former leader of Col Gaddafi’s special forces who was his public security, or interior, minister until he went over to the rebels.
He has described Col Gaddafi as “not completely sane”, and worked with the SAS during the now curtailed thaw in British-Libyan relations. But it is still ironic that the West is taking sides in a battle between the leader of a much hated regime and his former effective deputy.
More on the perils of large scale Western intervention at Israel National News:
… imposition of a no-fly zone is a full-scale assault. It’s a war. People will be killed, some of whom will be innocent civilians caught in the crossfire. And even if mistakes never come about, Libyan President Moammar Qadhafi will make certain that pictures and movies of staged massacres become major hits on Youtube, al Jazeera, and the rest of the international media. He will play to turn public opinion against the U.S. who voted for it. After all, movie production of seeming massacres presented as authentic news is an Arab specialty.
The Arab League wants the U.S. and NATO to launch a war on Qaddafi, to help the Libyan rebels defeat the dictator, while, all the while, making it look as if the Libyan people, on their own, were able to overthrow their ruthless tyrant.
Why should the Euro-American forces lead the way? Where is the formidable Egyptian military? Where is the best American-trained, American-equipped Middle Eastern war machine? If the Egyptians can’t handle such a “simple humanitarian act,” what was the purpose of building their military up to that sky-scraping level? Why do the Arabs always look to the West to take care of their own dirty laundry? And why is the West willing to go ahead and comply? …
The U.S. and Europe should stay out of Libya. If the Arab League wants a no-fly zone over Qadhafi’s head, let them have our permission; let them go ahead and move on it — not the other way around. In its aftermath, no Arab propaganda will be able to blame the West for its imperialistic, satanic tendencies.
He is right. No matter what the outcome, no matter how good the West’s intentions, no matter how free of commerical imperatives, no matter how driven by humanitarian concern, 1500 years of history tell us we will come out looking like the villains.
Is such an abject idiot it is probably not even worth engaging in conversation with her.
Seriously. Violence never solved anything? What solved the problem of Nazi Germany? Butterfly cakes and Darjeeling tea?
When you are faced with evil, it is simply cowardly not to stand against it, even if standing against it sometimes means using your fists.
If someone was attacking my family, for example, I wouldn’t hesitate to do whatever it took to protect them. And if someone was attacking your family and you stood by and tried to negotiate while they were being beaten or worse, I would think you a miserable excuse for a human being.
So when I saw this video of an incident at Chifley College’s Dunheved Campus in western Sydney, gol darn if I wasn’t cheering at the end:
That is one bully who will hesitate to bully again.
When this was posted on Facebook and Youtube (and then removed), the vast majority of commenters supported and even celebrated the right of the boy who was attacked to defend himself. I think he showed admirable patience and restraint.
Police and bullying experts are concerned by the video’s publication on Facebook and the overwhelmingly positive reaction to the older boy’s retaliation against his attacker.
“We don’t believe that violence is ever the answer,” Mr Dalgleish says. “We believe there are other ways that children can manage this.”
What a jerk.
Both the boys were suspended by school authorities.
The boy who was attacked had a right to defend himself. No one else was. No teacher was in sight.
That other young people agreed so strongly gives me hope that despite the best efforts of counsellors and social workers, a large part of this generation is refusing to be moulded into a bunch of lily livered nancies.
I don’t usually post on the same topics as Andrew Bolt or Tim Blair, on the basis that anyone who reads Qohel is likely also to be a regular visitor to their sites.
However, the ‘serve you right’ attitude of some caring leftists towards the Japanese is just too remarkably horrible to pass without comment:
A key identifying characteristic of the diversity crowd is how vindictively angry they get when someone, or some group, thinks differently from them.
In this case, having different taste in food is enough to cause a sense of smug moral superiority which justifies rejoicing in a disaster in which thousands, including children, have drowned or been crushed alive, and many thousands more lost their homes and livelihoods.
It never seems to occur to them to ask how they would feel if their children were killed and their homes and communities destroyed, and Hindus were to post messages rejoicing because karma had caught up with the cow eaters at last.
Not just vile, but stupid.
The Prime Minister is scheduled to speak at Adelaide University tomorrow on ‘Governing for Reform: Values in Practice.’
Short talk, then.
Late notice, but a good opportunity. Copied from menzieshouse.com.au:
We have just received word that Julia Gillard will be speaking at Adelaide University tomorrow evening!
We are sorry for the late notice, but this is a great opportunity for us to send a clear message that Australians oppose this destructive and unnecessary tax, and some of our friends have quickly put together a rally to show her what Australians really think!
Axe The Carbon Tax has arranged a last minute protest, and have asked us to pass on the following message:
Julia Gillard will be speaking at Adelaide University tomorrow evening (7pm, Wednesday, 16 March 2011).
Sickeningly, she is addressing the Don Dunstan Foundation on the topic “Governing for Reform: Values in Practice”. One wonders what values she was demonstrating when she broke her promise and announced a carbon tax!
RALLY AGAINST THE CARBON TAX
6.00 – 7.30pm
Wednesday, 16 March 2011
Adelaide University, North Terrace (outside Bonython Hall)
Please note the following:
This is a peaceful and silent rally. There will be a large police and security presence, not to mention another, completely separate rally on the issue of same-sex marriage. Those attending the rally against the carbon tax are expected to refrain from argument with those attending the Gillard function, the other rally, passers-by, etc.
Rally attendees are to obey any and all instructions given by security or police.
Sensible carbon tax-related posters are welcome. However, we have been advised that any poster affixed to a stick or pole will be confiscated and could see us removed. Sticks, poles and the like are considered potential weapons. Do not bring them.
Above all else, remember that our rally is intended to demonstrate to Julia Gillard, the media (who will likely be present) and anyone passing by, that we are grassroots members of the community, peacefully presenting a legitimate grievance by our silent presence.
I hope to see you tomorrow night at 6pm. Together, we can defeat the carbon tax.
Obviously, most of you will not be able to attend this rally, as it is in the evening and at rather late notice, however, thought we should still pass the message on. Please contact rally organiser Damian if you have any further questions, or visit AxeTheCarbonTax.org.
We hope to see you, if not at this rally, then at the main Adelaide anti-carbon-tax rally on the 23rd.
Together, we WILL win this battle! While our opponents are flushed with millions of dollars in union funds, and Julia Gillard has already laid plans to use a staggering 30 million dollars in taxpayer funds to produce propaganda, we have truth and the Australian people on our side and WE SHALL PREVAIL!
A roundup of Islamist violence from the last few days from The Religion of Peace:
March 12th 2011 (Kandahar, Afghanistan) – Four civilians are cut to shreds by a roadside bomb.
March 12th 2011 (Baghdad, Iraq) – Seven Iraqi soldiers on their way to work are brutally machine-gunned in their car at point-blank range.
March 12th 2011 (Itamar, Israel) – The Fogel family including a baby and two young children are stabbed to death in their sleep at home.
March 12th 2011 (Hairdin, Pakistan) – A married couple and their four young children are turned into debris by an Islamist mortar attack on their home.
March 11th 2011 (Karachi, Pakistan) – A seminary teacher is assassinated by sectarian rivals.
March 10th 2011 (Peshawar, Pakistan) – Mujahideen fire on a car containing a peace committee contingent, killing the driver.
It is hard to imagine anything more revolting than sneaking into a house at night and stabbing a baby to death. Though vile, brutal and cowardly, acts like the murder of the Fogel family are not uncommon, as the above list shows.
Especially concerning was the celebration of this family’s murder by Palestinians, and the distorted coverage, or non coverage, of these events in the mainstream media.
Binyamin Netanyahu is right to note that the incitement of violence and hatred against Jews is part of the daily life of Palestinian arabs, and something approved of by Israel’s ‘peace partners’ Hamas and the PA, despite their claims to the contrary.
As Israel on Sunday was mourning the slaughter of the five members of the Fogel family in Itamar, members of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction named a town square after Dalal al-Mughrabi, the leader of the 1978 bus hijacking in which 37 Israelis were killed and 71 were wounded.
“We stand here in praise of our martyrs and in loyalty to all of the martyrs of the national movement,” Fatah member and Abbas adviser Sabri Seidam said at the unveiling of a plaque showing Mughrabi cradling a rifle against a backdrop map of Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The square was festooned with Palestinian flags.
Pamela Geller has more on the Fogel murder, including photos of the family, a video, commentary on the press coverage, photos of Palestinians handing out sweets on the street in celebration, the glorification of past family murderers by the PA, and quotes from the Koran and hadith showing how this murderous hatred and violence is justified.
For their communities, for those who are lost, for the dead and dying, for courage in the days ahead:
Comfort and heal all those who suffer in body, mind, or spirit; give them courage and hope in their troubles, and bring them the joy of your salvation. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The devastation caused by one of the most powerful earthquakes in the last century is horrifying:
The death toll is expected to exceed 10,000. Many more are still missing.
The Japanese are a brave and resourceful people. They will rebuild.
They have been our trading partners, friends and allies for the last fifty years. We owe them whatever help we can give.
That might begin with honesty in reporting.
Ten thousand dead, massive devastation, and the ABC TV news led off last night with a story suggesting a nuclear explosion. There was no ‘nuclear explosion.’
The two plants at Fukushima shut down automatically and successfully following the earthquake. The dramatic looking explosion was was caused by steam expansion.
Drastic measures were taken to keep the reactors cool following the quake, and the tsunami which flooded the backup diesel generators. Minimal radioactivity (not much above normal background levels) has been released. The Fukushima reactors have three levels of containment, the third of which is designed and tested to contain even a core meltdown.
To be instigating a panic about this, or demanding urgent answers and updates, as Foreign Minister Rudd has been doing, is to show an appalling disregard and disprespect for the people of Japan.
A bit like like coming across a major car accident in which several people have been killed, others seriously injured, and then demanding that one of the victims do something about the stain you got on your pants getting out of your Rover.
If any lesson at all can be taken from the experience of the Fukushima reactors, it is that nuclear power is extraordinarily safe.
These are older reactors. Safety and containment has improved dramatically since they were built. They survived a massive earthquake, following which their backup power generators were flooded by a tsunami. Yet their containment procedures worked, and virtually no radiation was leaked.
So please, Mr Rudd and media organisations, stop the grandstanding, and get on with the job of honest reporting and helping our friends in their time of need.
There is one of these on just about every conceivable subject. A few are clever and amusing. This is one.
Carbon Tax Downfall:
Just found this quote, and thought it was worth sharing.
We cannot absolutely prove that those are in error who tell us that society has reached a turning point, that we have seen our best days. But so said all before us, and with just as much apparent reason … On what principle is it that, when we see nothing but improvement behind us, we are to expect nothing but deterioration before us?
Thomas Babington Macaulay.
We have a bit of a mouse plague on Kangaroo Island at the moment.
I caught four last night – three with traditional traps, and one by hurling the cat in its general direction.
But after reading this story from the New York Times, I have been expecting an unwelcome knock on the door:
The trouble began, Theresa Smith said, shortly after she bought a hamster for her 9-year-old son. A few months later, the hamster, Princess Stephanie, was playing in its exercise ball on the floor of their apartment in Bushwick, Brooklyn, when an older son, who is 25, flew into a rage.
“He kicked it deliberately, the ball flew across the room, the hamster flew out of the ball, and it died,” Ms. Smith said. After he had calmed down, the older son felt terrible, she said.
“He was very remorseful,” Ms. Smith said. “He bought my son three more hamsters.”
This act of contrition, however, only angered Ms. Smith’s daughter Monique, Theresa Smith said. Monique picked up the biggest of the three hamsters, Sweetie, “took it out of the cage, and she slammed it on the floor,” Theresa Smith said. “It died on impact.”
This was on June 7, 2010. Tuesday night at 7, after a nine-month hunt for a suspect they described as evasive and uncooperative, law enforcement agents from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals arrested Monique Smith, 19, along Knickerbocker Avenue in Bushwick.
She was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals — a felony that carries a sentence of up to two years in prison — along with two misdemeanors, torturing animals and endangering the welfare of a child.
A nine month hunt. By ‘law enforcement agents.’ For someone who killed a rodent. Quickly and painlessly.
Clearly, gratuitous hamster killing is not something to be encouraged. But a nine month hunt ending a in a felony charge and possible two year jail sentence?
Monique and her brother have some issues, but so do the ‘law enforcement agents.’ And theirs are a lot more worrying.
I guess most people have noticed that pharmacies seem to be expanding the range of their stock to include jewelry, perfume, lollies, etc.
It seems redundant, but if it works for them, why not?
But the core of their business is health related products, and most fundamentally, the dispensing of prescription medications.
Pharmacists are well trained, and have a high degree of credibility. Not unreasonably, they take advantage of this, and their advertising suggests that one good reason to buy goods from a pharmacy that could be bought elsewhere is the quality of advice available.
But Choice Magazine has pointed out that a large number of pharmacies also sell products which do not do what they say they will. These include anti-snor rings, herbal weight loss programmes, plastic ‘power’ bracelets and homeopathic remedies.
Pharmacists should know better. Offering this kind of quackery is a betrayal of their customers’ trust.
“There is an onus on pharmacies to sell products that work and for pharmacists to stand by the safety and effectiveness of products in their store,” said CHOICE spokeswoman Ingrid Just.
“Pharmacists hold a four year specialist degree in chemistry, and consumers rely on their expert advice.”
The sale of non-pharmaceutical products was not an issue, she said, where items for sale did not have a therapeutic of health claim attached to them.
“But when it comes to health products, they should stick to selling ones that are safe, effective and supported by scientific and clinical evidence,” Ms Just said.
The CHOICE probe also asked pharmacists about the efficacy of certain products and some offered “insightful, medically sound advice when asked.” Others were “indifferent or who gave advice on quack products with no scientific or medical basis”.
Ms Just said the problem was consumers could find themselves out of pocket, and with no relief for the problem they are seeking help for.
“When products don’t work the consumer may not only have wasted their money, they may have also delayed the opportunity to seek more appropriate treatment,” she said.
The Pharmacy Guild of Australia agrees.
“Pharmacists take their professional responsibilities very seriously,” a guild spokesman told AAP.
Except that Choice has just found that a significant number of them don’t, at least to the extent of being willing to offer scientific sounding advice on products which have no value whatever.
“The guild agrees with CHOICE’s recommendation that the best course of action is to speak to the pharmacist about any new or novel product you’re considering, and ask for further information.”
No, the best course of action is for the Pharmacy Guild to advise its members that stocking quack products, no matter how profitable, damages the reputation and standing of all pharmacists.
And even more importantly, potentially damages the health of consumers who rely on their advice.
According to news.com.au:
Being born black in Australia is as much of a health risk as being a regular smoker or drastically overweight.
Many of us start planning a Friday night pub session, with alcohol, cigarettes and junk food… your lifestyle choices take years off your own life. And here is a sobering thought – Indigenous Australians face a similarly shortened life span even from birth.
What nonsense. Being aboriginal does not automatically make you unhealthy or shorten your lifespan.
The news.com story has an interactive thingy (which I couldn’t get to work) which purports to show how much fatty food and alcohol you would need to consume, and how many cigarettes you would need to smoke, to reduce your lifespan to that of the ‘average’ indigenous person.
They have unwittingly hit the nail on the head. It is not being born black, white or purple that makes you unhealthy. It is your lifestyle choices.
Incidentally, this is another argument against socialised medicine (in addition to inefficiency of service provision and the massive additional cost of the bureaucracy required to administer it). That is, as long as people know that someone else will pay if they get sick, there is less incentive to make positive choices about food, alcohol, smoking, exercise, etc.
Indigenous Australians are not less healthy because of the colour of their skin. Like everyone else, their health depends largely on the choices they make.
To suggest that this must be somone else’s fault, and therefore someone else’s responsibilty to fix, is effectively to claim that indigenous people are not able to make responsible choices about their own lives. That is racism.
It is also to condemn them to continuing, paralysing, victimhood.
At the moment, of course, many do not make responsible choices.
But the answer is not to pat them on the head and say ‘Oh dear, it’s all our fault, let us fix it for you.’
Nor is it to continue to spend vast amounts of money trying to repair damage already caused by those lifestyle choices:
COAG calculates $40,228 is spent on indigenous people per head of population compared with $18,351 for non-indigenous Australians.
That cost is for total services provided, not just health services. No one would mind this expenditure if it was making a difference. But it is not.
Nor is clear what can be done.
The welfare management system that applies to vulnerable people in the Northern Territory ensures that up to 50% of welfare payments is quarantined – set aside for use on essentials like food and clothing.
It is possible to get off the scheme by demonstrating you can manage your own affairs responsibly. More than 75% of the people who have been able to do this are white.
Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda says this shows the scheme is racist. Withdrawing or managing people’s benefits is ‘punishment’. What he says is needed is rewards, incentives, for people to send their children to school, to behave in ways that will help them stay healthy.
But for heaven’s sake. If people need to be promised rewards before they will send their children to school or stop using the grocery money on alcohol and gambling, then no government programme, and no amount of government spending, is going to affect health or educational outcomes.
Indigenous Australians taking responsibilty for their own choices will make a difference. Until that happens, nothing else will.
That big scary Mr Garnaut has a big scary splash in the Daily Telegraph claiming that rising seas and increasing incidence of extreme weather events mean that Sydney will be swamped by the sea every year instead of every 100 years.
What is really scary (for Garnaut and Gillard) is that of 38 comments on that story as at time of writing, not one is supportive of Garnaut and the Carbon Tax.
Here are just a few:
Thanks Professor, for your thoughts. I accept without question your ‘global warming’, whoops sorry, I meant ‘climate change’ warnings. As soon as we introduce the carbon dioxide tax (on the air we breathe!) I am sure the oceans will take head and not inundate us any more!!!
Interesting report, from what is undoubtedly the Gillard government’s stooge, no science or data to back up the claims, yelling from the roof top that disaster is upon us unless we act now, confirming the Looney Lefts view on climate change and Labour calls Tony Abbott a fear merchant. I suspect we have a Chicken Little in our midst
Hell we are about to be flooded and the one of the biggest polluters America hasnt signed up to reduce emissions. Damn that, Julia was just over there giving speaches and she forgot to tell them.
Oh Puurrlleeese, enough already. The carbon tax is starting to bite into Labor’s stocks so in rides the White Knight (Professor Garnaut) on his White steed to save the day. The climate is going to change as long as we (the world) keep chopping down trees that breathe in Carbon Dioxide and breathe out Oxygen. So start talking honestly instead of this big Con of just trying to get more money off us.
And even if it were true, the carbon tax would not save us. The nonsense coming from these people just gets louder, shriller, and more bizarre…