Archive for the ‘Current Affairs’ Category
Not all diversity is good diversity, apparently.
Colourful cultural customs in Nepal have drawn the ire of animal protection and environmental groups.
The five yearly sacrifice of some 200,000 birds and animals at the temple of Gadhimai took place last week.
Bridget Bardot wrote to the President of Nepal saying the best gift she could receive would be an end to the ritual killing of animals. Thank you for sharing that with us, Bridget. I’d been wondering what to get you this year.
Activists said the sacrifices could cause bird flu, swine flu, cattle diseases and environmental devastation, and suggested the goddess might like a few nice chocolates or a chai latte instead.
Organisers were unimpressed. The goddess knows what she wants.
In related news, last week also saw the opening of KFC and Pizza Hut franchises in Kathmandu.
Democracy is also undergoing some disparagement.
In an unequivocal result in a referendum on Saturday, the Swiss said no to the building of any more minarets in their country.
Naturally, all the right people are scandalised.
‘It’s scandalous’ said French Minister of Complaining Loudly With Garlicky Breath, Bernard Kouchner, while Babacar Ba, a senior official of the Organisation of Islamic Whining, said this was evidence of growing islamophobia in Europe. Yawn.
Church leaders also spoke up, saying the ban was, well, bad and everything, and would not help Christians who were persecuted and oppressed in Islamic countries.
This is such momentous dimmness (or dhimminess, if you prefer) that it deserves a measure of respect.
European leaders are united: Something must be done to stop these uppity Swiss from thinking they can have a say in what happens in their own country.
Not to worry. The decision will be appealed to the European Court of Human Rights in Unamatrix 0-1, also known as Strasborg, where it will take years and millions of dollars to reach the conclusion that the Swiss are a bunch of rednecks who have no right to decide anything.
So all is well after all.
Democracy is OK as long people democratically decide the right things. If they don’t, then we have courts to help them decide properly. For their own good, naturally.
The Swiss decision is not about freedom of religion. Muslims are free to worship, and to proselytise, and to build more mosques. They just can’t build any more of those big towers with massive PA systems where people screech at the entire populace three times a day.
I remember the horrified tones of some commentators when the present pope was elected.
“Oh my God! This man believes the catholic faith. We are back in the dark ages. All our hopes are dashed.”
The ABC’s reaction to the election of Tony Abbott as leader of the Liberal Party is similar. The poor dears are shocked.
Australia’s conservative party has elected a conservative leader. This is not what was meant to happen. We thought we had Philby, sorry Turnbull, in place for years.
Some of the comments to the linked story also show a high degree of mental disturbance.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Bob Hawke shakes his head wisely and says Abbott won’t last.
His views are too far from the mainstream. Bob added that the government must roll out a public education scheme on the ETS as soon as possible.
You know, to convince the punters that, like, it really won’t cost all that much, we can spare $120 billion, and that it will, really, scout’s honour, make a difference to the climate, and anyway, doesn’t Kevin deserve to be the UN Secretary General?
No time to write now – I have a shop to run and clients to mollify.
But I have to sound a note of thanksgiving that in choosing Tony Abbott as leader this morning, the Liberal Party made a choice for policy rather than personality, for evidence instead of expediency.
The Liberals will now be a genuine opposition, and not just a bunch of cheer leaders for Labor.
Congratulations Tony, and well done all concerned.
One native title claim over the whole of Kangaroo Island has already been made, by the Ngarrindjeri people, the Murray River people.
According to most sources (eg Tindale), the Ramindjeri are a small local sub-group of the Ngarrindjeri, resident at Encounter Bay and the Inman Valley.
There is no evidence of indigenous occupation of Kangaroo Island for about 10, 000 years prior to European settlement. Neither Ramindjeri or Ngarrindjeri have lived on the island at any time since 7,000 years before the pyramids were built.
SA Native Title Services executive officer Parry Agius said the claim would be difficult. “It requires the traditional owners to prove their physical, spiritual and cultural connection to the land. It comes down to evidence and it will be a long haul.”
Given there is no evidence either group has any physical connection with the island at all, it should be a very short haul.
But Agius is probably right. It will be a long haul, involving large amounts of taxpayer funds being handed to ‘local’ consultants, solicitors and anthropologists.
After readng Matthew’s comment below I have done some further reading and research, and acknowledge that indigenous people may have lived on kangaroo Island more recently than I indicated above.
The SA Museum, for example, suggests that some sites may have been occupied until about 4300 years ago.
It is not clear who the first people to live on Kangaroo Island were. Whoever they were, they almost certainly did not call Kangaroo Island ‘Karta.’ That is a later, Ngarrindjeri name.
Although the dating of the most recent indigenous occupation is uncertain, there appears to be little doubt those early inhabitants were not related to either of the claimant groups.
I can understand that either or both of the Ngarrindjeri or Ramindjeri believe they had some cultural or spiritual connection with the island.
If this was shown, and it probably could be, I don’t see why anyone would have any issue with acknowledging it to be so.
What I think is lunacy (and I mean that in the ordinary sense of being not proportional or grounded in reality) is simultaneous landrights claims by two groups of people who have never lived on the island.
I am quite happy to be shown this is not so, but I am not going to be convinced by people calling me names or telling me I have no right to ask questions or to express an opinion.
Climatequiddick is best, because it reflects the media’s reluctance to acknowledge the problem posed by the evidence of fudging, fraud and bullying in the CRU emails and documents.
The media treated the embarrassment of Chappaquidick, and the fact that saving his career and reputation were more important to Edward Kennedy than the life of Mary Jo Kopechne, in the much the same way:
‘Let’s just hope it goes away.’
The almost miraculously reality denying Australian ABC radio presenter Jon Faine is a perfect example of this attitude:
“It was a small, even a tiny fragment of a sidebar of a secondary issue to the edge of the periphery of something people were talking about other than the main game. That’s how I saw it.”
Get some new glasses, Jon.
Mann, Briffa, Jones, et al were the ‘main game.’
Chappaquiddick didn’t go away, and the Hadley CRU documents won’t go away either.
The Washington Post has joined a few other mainstream media outlets in attempting to assess wht the CRU emails really do mean for the future of climate science and climate change policy:
Scientific progress depends on accurate and complete data. It also relies on replication. The past couple of days have uncovered some shocking revelations about the baloney practices that pass as sound science about climate change.
It was announced Thursday afternoon that computer hackers had obtained 160 megabytes of e-mails from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA) in England. Those e-mails involved communication among many scientific researchers and policy advocates with similar ideological positions all across the world. Those purported authorities were brazenly discussing the destruction and hiding of data that did not support global-warming claims. …
Repeatedly throughout the e-mails that have been made public, proponents of global-warming theories refer to data that has been hidden or destroyed. Only e-mails from Mr. Jones’ institution have been made public, and with his obvious approach to deleting sensitive files, it’s difficult to determine exactly how much more information has been lost that could be damaging to the global-warming theocracy and its doomsday forecasts. …
The content of these e-mails raises extremely serious questions that could end the academic careers of many prominent professors. Academics who have purposely hidden data, destroyed information and doctored their results have committed scientific fraud. We can only hope respected academic institutions such as Pennsylvania State University, the University of Arizona and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst conduct proper investigative inquiries.
Most important, however, these revelations of fudged science should have a cooling effect on global-warming hysteria and the panicked policies that are being pushed forward to address the unproven theory.
The wheels are turning!
Anyone who says nature abhors a vacumn has never read the Adelaide Sunday Mail. 112 pages of nothing, plus multiple vacumny inserts.
I bought a copy yesterday for the second time in my life. I had breakfast at McDonalds, and glanced through the Sunday Mail while munching my hotcakes.
I was interested in their poll on the ETS and the Liberal Party leadership. I didn’t have a pen to write the figures down there, so I had to go to newsagent and buy a copy.
Then I lost it. Darn.
Well, I wasn’t going to buy another copy, so here goes from memory:
In relation to the ETS/CPRS/RAT scheme the poll said that a substantial majority of voters, both Liberal and Labor, want the implementation of an ETS delayed till after the Copenhagen bullfest.
Both Liberal and Labor voters said they needed more information about the ETS.
They certainly do. The mainstream media has failed to provide the public with any substantive information on the costs of an ETS (huge) or its environmental benefits (none).
On the Liberal leadership, Joe Hockey was in the lead, with Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott slightly and equally behind.
An unsurprising result. Turnbull is not a viable leader for the Liberal Party (and never has been, in my view). Hockey is affable and charismatic.
But as I said two days ago, the current strife in the Liberal Party is not about personality. It is about policy. It would be madness to appoint as leader someone who is, like Turnbull, unable to distinguish his policies from those of Labor, simply because people like him.
Leadership isn’t about being liked. It is about doing the right thing for the right reasons, and convincing others to do the same. Despite his earlier dithering, Tony Abbott is the man for the job
Whoever leads, the future of the Liberal Party depends on clear enunciation of policies developed on the basis of evidence, not on the basis of wishful (or doomsday) thinking.
So Joe, if you do get the nod, don’t sell your soul, just use your brain.
I have been looking through my electricity accounts for the last twelve months, and find that my primary residence (OK, I only have one) has consumed 6100 kWh for the year.
This compares very badly with the average US home which consumes about 20,000 kWh per year, and of course, is absolutely abysmal when compared with Al Gore’s sterling effort of over 200,000 kWh.
Even with the half ton of CO2 that I emit just by breathing each year, this amounts to a miserable CO2 contribution of about 6.5 tons per year.
I apologise, and will do my best to do better next year.
I admit I do drive 50 kilometres to work each day, but I carpool, and there are usually four people in the car, so I can’t take credit for that either. It certainly doesn’t compare with a private jet, or using 34, 000 litres of fuel flying to plant a tree on Earth Day.
I think I have CO2 production envy.
Maybe Tony Abbott did not ignore my fax. And maybe Kevin Andrews was willing to run just to test the level of support for Malcolm Turnbull, with another stronger candidate in the background.
In any case, it looks like there will be a vote on the Liberal leadership on Monday.
It is absolutely clear now that Malcolm Turnbull cannot continue.
He has not been able to set out clear policies which make the Liberals a genuine alternative to Labor, he has not been able to score any effective points against the government or Kevin Rudd, even when the points seemed to be there for the taking, and he is simply not liked or trusted by the majority of voters or even Liberal party members.
If that sounds harsh, it is not meant as any kind of personal criticism. Turnbull is clearly an able man. But equally clearly, he is not the right man to be leading the Liberal party.
The two possibilities are Joe Hockey and Tony Abbott.
I like Joe Hockey. I think most people do.
On personality and communication skills he is more likely to be able to steer the Liberals to victory than Malcolm Turnbull.
But the reason the leadership is in dispute is not personality or communication. It is policy, and in particular the determination and ability to put forward well researched, well-argued alternatives to government proposals.
Because the ETS/CPRS/RAT scheme has the potential to cause such devastation to the Australian economy, to businesses and to families, this determination and ability have never been more important.
I have seen little evidence that Joe Hockey’s views on the ETS or other major current issues can easily be distinguished from those of the Labor government. If he is not able clearly to articulate how his views are different, and how he would oppose the government’s plans, then electing him as leader would be a fatal mistake.
Tony Abbott does not quite have the likeable charisma of Joe Hockey. But he is well-liked nonetheless. And on policy he is clearly in front.
I would have preferred a little more decisiveness and a little less pragamatism on the RAT scheme from the beginning.
The tide of public opinion has now definitely turned. An election argued on this one policy will be winnable for the Liberals if they simply present the evidence.
But whether it is an election winning issue is beside the point, or should be. The ETS is wrong. It is bad for Australia, bad for ordinary people. It will achieve nothing good.
Doing what is right is more important than appearing to do what is right. And sometimes doing what is right means saying loud and clear, ‘This is wrong, and I won’t support it.’
Whoever is chosen as leader on Monday must be willing to do what is right.
Tony Abbott ignored my fax.
I was glad Kevin Andrews, at least, had the courage to stand against Malcolm Turnbull.
The ABC’s description of him as a ‘stalking horse’ (how many people would understand that without looking it up, I wonder – and that’s a comment on the mentality of the ABC, not the general public), is unfair.
To save you the trouble, a stalking horse is a fake candidate put forward to test the water, before jumping the shark and falling on his sword. Whatever.
But it is true that Kevin Andrews could never be a serious contender for the leadership. He is a capable and intelligent poliitician (although I would have to be dragged to the polling booth to vote for someone who uses phrases like ‘vibrant businesses’). He simply does not have the public appeal, saleability, or leadership qualities of Abbott or Hockey.
The implementation of some form of RAT scheme now seems inevitable. I can’t be angry at the Labor Party for this. One expects expensive, evidence-free, ideology driven polices from the Labor Party.
I can be angry at the Liberals. You are supposed to be THE OPPOSITION, for heaven’s sake.
I say some form of RAT scheme because it is now so heavily modified that it cannot even pretend to do what the government says it will do. Which is nothing. Well, no, it will do that. Or be a positive example to the rest of the world. Of monstrous stupidity. Or something.
The Government calls it a ‘Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme’ – because the idea of the RAT/CPRS is to reduce pollution. Never mind that CO2 is not a pollutant but a vital part of the atmosphere, necessary for all life on Earth, and currently at low levels compared with most of Earth’s history.
Let’s assume for a moment that CO2 is a pollutant. Very nasty stuff. Got to get rid of it before it destroys the planet.
So the idea is that the RAT scheme makes it more expensive to pollute. So people stop polluting. So we can all breath again. And go for holidays on the Gold Coast without burning our feet on the footpath.
Except that that the new improved Turnbull approved RAT scheme takes billions of dollars from ordinary taxpayers …
Takes billions of dollars cash money from ordinary taxpayers and gives it to industry and power producers to help cover the fines imposed by the government to make them stop producing CO2. Which isn’t a pollutant anyway. So they can keep producing it without worrying.
All clear so far? And even with the billions of dollars added to my tax bill each year, major industry spokesmen say that we will see massive price increases for energy (and consequently everything else), job losses, mine closures, loss of competitiveness for Australian industry, etc, etc.
It just gets better and better.
Meanwhile Komrade Rudd is telling us to ‘get real’ on climate, and Komrade Turnabull is saying the opposition need credibility on climate.
I couldn’t agree more.
Except, doesn’t getting real imply some connection with reality? And doesn’t credibilty depend on searching for and standing up for the truth?
The Hon Tony Abbott
Fax No (02) 6277 8407
Dear Mr Abbott,
Please stand for the leadership of the Liberal Party.
I know you are reluctant to do so, and I understand the extra pressure the leadership would put on you and your family.
Malcolm Turnbull, for all his positive qualities, cannot win an election for the Liberal Party.
At least as importantly, you will have the courage to put an end to what is possibly the worst piece of legislation ever to be put to the parliament – a ration and tax scheme on every aspect of transport and industry.
Opposition and government both have an absolute obligation to ensure that legislation which would attack the wealth of every Australian is necessary and based on clear evidence. The ETS is neither.
Please allow yourself to be considered for the leadership, and put an end to this nonsense.
I have a number of friends who are members of The Voice of the Laity, an organisation of lay people in the Anglican Diocese of The Murray.
Their website was recently hijacked. They have started a new website at murraydiocese.org
The contents are an older copy of the original website, so some updating needs to be done, but it is still interesting reading.
The situation in relation to the leadership of the Bishop of The Murray is complicated by two factors – one legal and one political.
The legal complication is that each diocese within the Anglican Church of Australia is a separate incorporated body.
The Primate or Archbishop can ask for an enquiry or tribunal into a diocesan bishop’s behaviour, but the bishop concerned is under no legal obligation to co-operate with any such enquiry, nor is he obliged to act in accordance with any recommendations such an enquiry may make.
In the case of the Diocese of The Murray, the Diocesan Council has already passed a vote of no confidence in the bishop. This was ignored.
The Bishop has indicated he will not co-operate with an enquiry, and that he will not comply with recommendations made by any tribunal.
In these circumstances the only purpose of an enquiry into his behaviour as bishop, or a tribunal to consider whether he has acted in ways which are scandalous or bring the church into ill-repute, is to give the Synod of the Diocese, or Diocesan Council, which is Synod’s standing committee, a clear and legally defensible reason for ending his employment, and the courage to do so.
The political complication is that there have also been moves in the Diocese of Ballarat to force an enquiry and tribunal into the behaviour of Bishop Michael Hough.
Enquiries and tribunals are expensive, time-consuming and embarassing.
But the real difficulty for the Primate and for the Archbishops of Adelaide and Melbourne is that the Dioceses of Ballarat and The Murray are the last two traditionalist Anglo-catholic dioceses in the country. Starting tribunals into both bishops at the same time may look like persecution by a large liberal power group of a small, unpopular and largeless voiceless minority.
The traditionalist minority in the Anglican Church of Australia (I am part of this minority) has been quick to claim persecution, and quick to demonise its liberal opponents. It is possible, even likely, that claims of theologically based persecution would be made in the media if tribunals were called into both bishops.
It would not be persecution. For the sake of the complainants, the persons complained of, and the wider church and community, allegations of abuse of any kind need to be promptly, carefully and impartially investigated.
I am not suggesting there is any parity between the situation in Ballarat and in The Murray. I have little knowledge of allegations made against Bishop Hough, and have deliberately distanced myself from events in The Murray.
From publicly available information and news reports, it appears the complaints in The Murray are largely from lay people, with some 200 written complaints made to the Archbishop over the course of Bishop Davies’ ministry, and nearly 100 statutory declarations made in support of a tribunal, the declarations alleging various kinds of verbal, spiritual and emotional abuse.
In Ballarat, the move for a tribunal seems to have come largely from a group of disaffected clergy.
In both cases answers and closure are needed.
Catherine Deveny, comedy writer, stand-up comedian and perpetual sad sack.
I have never encountered a column writer who has such an immense talent for finding something offensive or hurtful in ordinary day to day life and human interaction.
But she manages to slip beneath even her former underwhelming efforts in her column variously titled private schools muck up, watch those grammars, or private school values.
Firstly she is offended by the idea that a private school principal might have some friends who could assist someone in need.
Did you read about the boy who may lose hearing in one ear because a Melbourne Grammar boy threw an egg at him during a muck-up prank gone wrong? Did anyone else feel sickened but at the same time not at all surprised when the principal of Melbourne Grammar said in an interview: “[The injured boy’s mother] asked for help because . . . her son was not able to gain access to a surgeon. I was able to, through contacts, get him an appointment with a surgeon the very next day.’
Well, actually no. I was not sickened by this. I was pleased to hear of school authorities taking responsibility and doing what they could to assist.
It is still not clear to me what Catherine found so distressing.
The idea that some people actually have friends? The idea that some people might be willing to help someone in need? The idea that some people might be in a position to help someone in need?
Then she is offended by being invited to mentor a gifted student at another private school. Well, offended that no pay is offered. The school is surprised that she asks. No one else has done so.
Catherine suggests the school is greedy, attempting to shame her into working for nothing to increase their company profitability.
But private schools are not businesses. They are non-profit organisations whose income goes entirely into providing facilities for students and their communities.
Private schools receive substantially less government funding than state schools – on average $5000 less for every student. Parents and school communities work hard to make up the rest.
Catherine told the schoool that she would mentor a student if the school agreed to donate $200 to the Asylum Seekers’ Resource Centre. They agreed, and she mentored the student.
The school should have just said ‘No thanks’ right at the start.
There are some people who walk into my shop whom I know within thirty seconds of their opening their mouths that I do not want as customers. There are some people you will just never be able to please.
But having agreed, it should have given the money.
Catherine claims the school reneged on the agreement. Maybe they did.
She took their not wanting to communicate with her as proof. Maybe they had just reached the same conclusion about her that I reach about some of my customers – too much trouble when weighed against possible benefits.
If they did not give the money, their failure to do so is reprehensible.
But one incident of one school not doing the right thing does not make greed and dishonesty ‘private school values.’ There is something wrong in thought processes that can lead to such a claim being made with such blind certainty.
What is wrong with Catherine Deveny?
This article in the Wall Street Journal Hacked Emails Show Climate Science Ridden with Rancor may be the beginning of some very reluctant coverage by the commercial media.
They were always going to be a bit slow. After all, disastrous global warming has been one of their major headline grabbers for the last decade.
Higher sales of papers, higher number of viewers and listeners, mean more advertising revenue.
So the media are not going to give up on global warming until either it is clearly a scam, and they look like hypocrites if they continue to support it, or some other story comes along which will sell as many papers as AGW (anthropogenic global warming).
It has been clear for several years to anyone who examined the evidence that the anthropogenic global warming scare was a scam.
It has been clear for several years that there is no ‘consensus’ on the nature and causes of climate change.
But just how carefully and successfully this has been kept from ordinary people is demonstrated in the comment by Donna on this story by Miranda Devine Science Cooks the Books, in which Miranda mentions the book Global Warming False Alarm by Ralph Alexander.
Donna says: If your one scientist and his one book are right and the rest of the scientists are wrong, well, then our world would still benefit from less pollution, but if the scientists are RIGHT and Mr Alexander and his book are WRONG, then we may be destroying a world’s health and the health of all our future children. Now, I don’t think I’m prepared to take that gamble. Are you?
There are two things to note here.
First that Donna, who seems an intelligent and concerned person, has bought completely the line that CO2 is a pollutant.
CO2 is not a pollutant. It is a natural part of the atmosphere that is essential for all life on Earth, and which is at very low levels compared with most of Earth’s history. Increases in CO2 reduce desertification and increase crop production. More CO2 is a good thing.
Secondly, Donna seems completely unaware that a large number of scientists have not fallen for the IPCC view.
See previous posts for 450 peer reviewed articles questioning the fundamental science of AGW, or visit the Petition Project site to view the petition signed by over 30,000 US scientists rejecting the claim that human activity is causing harmful climate change.
An objective look at the evidence shows very minor warming of less than 1 degreee over the last 100 years, warming that occurred over the same period on Mars and other bodies in our solar system, and which matches perfectly the natural cycles of climate change which have been part of Earth’s history from the beginning.
But there were vast amounts of money to be made, so evidence was manufactured, graphs were faked, opposing opinions were shut out. See the Hadley emails.
The emails and documents apparently released from the Hadley CRU by a disgrunted insider do not prove that AGW is a scam – there was already plenty of evidence for that.
But they may be turning point at which the mainstream media is finally forced to acknowledge that the science of global warming is very thin indeed.
And that may just be enough to give courage to the sceptics on both sides of the Australian parliament. Which might just be enough prevent the implementation of the devastatingly stupid wealth-of-the-nation-destroying ETS proposed by the current government.