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Archive for the ‘Current Affairs’ Category

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.

Fogel Family Murdered by Palestinian Terrorists

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.

One example:

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:

Japan Earthquake - Before and After

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.

Via Riehl World View.

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.

That’s reassuring.

“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.

Via John Ray’s Australian Politics Blog

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.

Oooh…!

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…

 Exactly.

As I noted a few days ago, the only way a carbon price can have any affect on CO2 output is by reducing the use of fossil fuels.

It does this by making the use of those fuels more expensive. This increases the cost of electricity, of water (especially if that water come from a desalination plant), of manufacturing and mining, production of agricultural goods, transport and travel. A carbon tax increases the cost of everything, because everything in our economy depends on fossil fuels.

When the cost of production goes up, the price of the items produced goes up. People buy less, production goes down.

This is what the Prime Minister said would happen:

“It has price impacts. It’s meant to, that’s the whole point,” Ms Gillard said. “If you put a price on something, then people will use less of it.”

But now Simon Crean says money taken from CO2 emitting companies (ie, any company that produces anything) will be fed back into the economy in the form of compensation to consumers:

“The cost to the families will be compensated,” Mr Crean told ABC radio this morning.

“We have made that clear. We will ensure that the compensation is totally adequate. We will return all of the monies raised to people through the tax mechanism.”

So there won’t be price impacts, so people won’t be using less of anything, so there will be no reduction in CO2 output.

So what is the point? What is the Gillard government trying to achieve?

Ms Gillard also warned that Australia would miss out on new green jobs and be left behind the rest of the world if it did not create a “low carbon economy”.

But a paper released a few days ago by Verso Research confirms what other studies have shown – that every ‘green’ job created costs four jobs somewhere else.

The Verso study finds that after the annual diversion of some 330 million British pounds from the rest of the U.K. economy, the result has been the destruction of 3.7 jobs for every “green” job created.

The study concludes that the “policy to promote renewable energy in the U.K. has an opportunity cost of 10,000 direct jobs in 2009-10 and 1,200 jobs in Scotland.” So British taxpayers, as is the case here in the U.S., are being forced to subsidize a net loss of jobs in a struggling economy.

This is the grand plan: a huge bureaucracy to manage a tax to reduce carbon output that won’t reduce carbon output, and a green job scheme that will cause higher unemployment.

US Department of Justice statistics show that although they constitute only 1% of America’s population, Muslims have been responsible for 186 of 228 terror cases investigated since 9/11.

The Tamil Tigers and Columbian FARC are next with 32 cases between them.

And, no, of course we shouldn’t blame all Muslims for this. And we don’t. Despite scare stories about Islamophobia, Jews in the US are ten times more likely to be the victims of a hate crime than Muslims.

Why are Muslims in America and Australia so over-represented in terror related offences?

It is a question I would have thought moderate Muslims were as anxious to answer as the rest of us.

Yet the response to Republican Peter King’s investigation of the extent of radicalisation of American Muslims and the response of the Muslim community to this radicalisation has been protest rallies and personal attacks including death threats.

A little more from Rick Moran at Frontpagemag.com:

Why this has developed into such a wildly controversial matter says more about those who are threatening, smearing, and hysterically criticizing King than it does about radical Islam. When the left allies itself with extremist groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in order to wave the flag of political correctness in America’s face, you realize that the problem is bigger than simply rooting out extremism. The exaggerated, over-the-top, self-righteous posturing coming from media outlets like The New York Times bespeaks a refusal to face up to the challenge of radical Islam in America and how to combat it.

And if we’re not prepared to address the threat of extremism in our own country, how can we possibly fight it overseas?

Leftists and their Muslim grievance-monger allies are deliberately seeking to block efforts to discover the extent of the problem of terrorism by viciously attacking the New York congressman. They are opposing King in the name of some misguided belief that because terrorism comes from a specific religious group, we must blind ourselves to the danger, else we would be guilty of “bigotry.”

Canadian blogger Publius questions the priorities of government spending.

While refusing treatment for a 35 year old mother of two with cancer (cost $40,000), Canada manages to find $42,000 to fund extra classes in French for a dyslexic tax collector.

Here’s part of what he has to say:

These two stories are eloquent expressions – for those still paying attention – of the nature of modern Canada. Bilingualism in its current form, especially as it relates to employment policies in the federal government, is a continual act of appeasement toward Quebecois nationalism. Rather than being an attempt to promote a more bilingual Canada – which is an impracticality – official bilingualism was instead a covert form of pro-Francophone affirmative action.

Yet so central has this policy of appeasement become to our government that nothing is thought of paying a small fortune to educate a dyslexic paper shuffler in French. There is, of course, no practical reason for training this bureaucrat in another language. Unless we are to believe there is a shortage of Francophone tax collectors in Canada.

The myth of national unity through appeasement contrasts with the myth of socialized health care. We are told that a system of socialized medicine is more compassionate than private alternatives. There is nothing in the story of Jill Anzarut that suggests compassion. There is also no such thing as socialized health care. It is a polite euphemism for monopolistic and bureaucratic health care. The Medicare Cult’s defenders argue that the alternative to government care is a heartless free market, interested only in penny pinching and profit making. Does not, however, the actions of the Ministry of Health sound exactly like the caricature of a heartless corporate penny pincher?

In a free market Jill Anzarut would have had the choice to buy private health care insurance that provided coverage for the treatment being sought. Instead she – and the other twelve million residents of Ontario – have no choice in what OHIP will or will not cover.

On Monday March 7th Tim Blair alerted his readers to the work of blogger Alene Composta.

Andrew Bolt picked up the story the following day.

Alene’s writings were a mixture of demented rantings about current political debates, meditations on her state of mental health, and personal attacks on people who disagreed with her.

So naturally she was immediately invited by the ABC’s Unleashed editor Jonathon Green to write a guest post for ABC online. After less than a day, that post was removed from the ABC website. It is still viewable through Google’s cache.

Alene’s article is a wildly paranoid take on Sean Nicholl’s story in the Sydney Morning Herald about a single New South Wales Liberal (conservative) Party member’s description of the coming NSW election day as ‘moose day.’

Right from the start there was speculation on Tim Blair’s blog that Alene Composta was a hoax.

Yesterday Gavin Atkins noted that a commenter on Tim’s blog had found that Alene Composta’s publicity photo actually came from another blog with very few posts. The subject of the blog is Wartrol, a purported treatment for genital warts. It belongs to someone called Marian Roldans.

There really is a treatment called Wartrol. War troll? It sounds like Crikey and the ABC already. Also, it’s homeopathic so it doesn’t have any active ingredients, or do anything useful. Another similarity.

At very least, Alene Composta’s photo is a fake. Or Marian’s is. Or both. I suspect the latter.

Alene Composta is one of the best thought-out and most amusing hoaxes for a long time.

Alene is a Dutch name, incidentally, related to ‘alleen’ – ‘alone.’ It could also be Celtic, in which case it means a revealing light.

Roldans? Well, there is a basque story called Roldan’s Bugle-horn, which tells of a terrifying adventure and a horn which when blown causes rocks to break and mountains to catch fire.

And Composta? How did the ABC fall for that? She might as well have been called Ophelia Bullshit.

So, a Dutch name, manure, bugle-horns and genital warts? More than fairly played by Tim and Andrew, and well done!

Update:

JF Beck points out that Alene Composta is an anagram of ‘moose placenta.’

This just gets better and better.

Just a few things.

1.  I note that Channel Ten newsreader Ron Wilson is under attack for suggesting that some parts of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras were an exploitation of sexual imagery, and crossed the line between colourful and disgusting.

I wouldn’t have thought Ron’s questions were all that controversial. The Mardi Gras is deliberately provocative. It provokes by using openly sexual imagery, and by mocking anyone who may be offended by this, or who holds different views about human sexuality or the public display of sexuality.

Ron’s two ‘offensive’ questions came in the context of eight minutes of positive coverage of the Mardi Gras. But this seems to be one of those subjects where there is zero tolerance for diversity of opinion. You can be a supporter of gay rights (as Ron is) but any questioning whatever, of anything, ist verboten. Ron has been forced to apologise.

The outraged demand for an apology is the behaviour of spoilt teenagers, not responsible adults. And given that Mardi Gras participants take it as their right to offend and belittle anyone who disagrees with them, it is also monumentally hypocritical.

2.  People tend to believe in global warming when it is warm, and to be sceptical when it is cold. So lots more people in the Northern hemisphere should be coming over to the side of evidence and reason right about now.

3.  I thought this was amusing:

How Does Solar Power Work?

From Mitchieville, whose motto is “Think globally, act locally, and demand handouts.”

4.  40 Days for Life runs through Lent – from the 9th of March to the 17th of April.

Being pro-life means being committed to the value of all human life – people are people, and valuable, even if they look different, or are smaller, or less intelligent, or less aware. If a society abandons this insight in relation to the unborn, it will soon abandon it in relation to others.

Via Australian Conservative.

Mardi Gras means fat (or big) Tuesday. It is the day before Lent.

It is also called Shrove Tuesday because it is a day to be shriven, that is, to confess your sins and ask for absolution so you can enter into the season of Lent with a clear mind and heart, and the determination never again to do anything contrary to the will of God. Mardi Gras because Christians fast during Lent, and luxury foods like eggs and meat are to be finished off on that day – even if there is plenty. So it is a day both to reflect and to feast.

Tonight is the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in Sydney. It’s the Saturday night before Shrove Tuesday, not Shrove Tuesday itself. But this has to be just about the most egregious appropriation of a religious festival in human history.

Christians may find the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras offensive. I certainly find some aspects offensive. The sisters of perpetual indulgence, for example, a group of self-obsessed morons who mercilessly belittle and abuse the group, Roman Catholic nuns, who do more on the ground work to relieve AIDS suffering than any other. 

But Christians being offended doesn’t matter. We will go out of our way not to be offensive in return. We certainly won’t subject those who offend us to physical violence.

If the gay and lesbian population really want to make a stand for what they perceive as their rights, why not hold this festival at a time or in a place when it is confronting to a culture that regards them as less than human, which decrees that gays and lesbians should be hanged, stoned or beheaded?

How about the Ramadan Gay and Lesbian Festival? Held in Lakemba?

No?

A clear majority of Australians, including me, believe that gays and lesbians should be treated equally under the law. Not subject to sanctions, and able to register long-standing partnerships for tax or pension or bequest purposes.

But where the heck do they get the idea that a clear majority of Australians believe two men or two women should be able to marry one another?

Marriage is a lifelong union between one man and one woman. Nothing anyone says is going to change that. And nothing anyone says is going to change the fact that most Australians believe the law should reflect what marriage really is, not whatever passing trends claim it should be.

And no, you can’t marry your pet dolphin.

Well, bickering mums really.

Bonds Baby Search, an online competition to find babies and toddlers suitable to model Bonds brand of babywear, has been rocked by the discovery that not all babies, and not all parents, are cute and cuddly.

Some parents don’t think that some other parents’ babies are all that attractive. This is apparently not allowed. All the babies are gorgeous, even the ugly ones. And no one is allowed to say otherwise.

But why would you enter your baby in a competition where the whole point is that people make judgements about your baby’s appearance, if you are going to get distressed when people make judgements about your baby’s appearance?

And then there’s the race row. Oh dear. A race row.

Actually, of over 50,000 entries and half a million visits to the site, one person (one, 1, uno, a single person) left a mildly racist remark about an asian looking baby – ‘Bonds Australia, not Asia.’

You might think if you had a baby competition in Malaysia, to find a baby to represent a Malaysian brand, that it was quite appropriate that the baby be ethnically Malaysian.

But that is not the way we do things in Australia. And rightly.

Everyone who comes to Australia legally is as much an Australian as anyone else. Any baby in Australia is an Australian baby. It is wrong to suggest otherwise.

But this was one comment, from one person, out of over half a million visitors.

That is not a race row.