Archive for the ‘Current Affairs’ Category
I watched Phelim McAleer’s documentary ‘Mine Your Own Business’ again last night.
It is difficult to watch and not feel angry at the easy complacency of western environmentalists who, from the comfort of their air-conditioned homes, tell people in the developing world that their way of life is quaint and worth preserving, and that even though they cannot afford basic medical care, or to feed their children, they are rich in other ways.
A bit like our own Russell Crowe, who knows far better than the people of Cape York and the government of Queensland what is really good for people in remote regions of Australia. In Russell’s view, it isn’t job opportunities, better housing or decent roads, or any of the things he takes for granted and would throw a massive trantum if he was deprived of for even a few minutes. No, none of those things matter when you have a spiritual connection to the land. What contemptible tripe.
A few excerpts from a review of Mine Your Own Business:
Half a world away, when confronted with the argument that denying the people of Fort Dauphin a chance to obtain jobs would keep them poor, the leading critic of the ilmenite project and the owner of a luxurious catamaran pontificates to Gheorghe Lucian, an unemployed Romanian traveling with the film’s crew: “I could put you with a family here and you can count how many times people smile … and I can put you with a family that is well-off in New York and London and you can count how many times they smile, and then you can tell me who is rich and who is poor.”
You can imagine what this esoteric interpretation of wealth sounds like to Lucian, the Romanian who graduated from Rosia Montana’s Technical College and is desperate to find a job. Two-thirds of his fellow villagers lack running water and use outside bathrooms even in freezing winter. For him, as for the other 700 prospective employees of the mining project back home, the choice is literally “between having a job and leaving.”
The film crew also traveled to the Chilean Andes to find out who was leading the fight against Barrick Gold. It turns out—as one local villager explains—that those who oppose the investment are mainly rich landowners who don’t want the peasants working on their lands for a pittance to flock to the mines for twice their current wages.
McAleer tells us that the claim the mining project will displace three glaciers that provide irrigation for local agriculture is false. The glaciers will not be affected and the company will build a reservoir to guarantee that local farmers have a decent supply of water.
Will this industrial progress in Romania, Madagascar or Chile pollute the environment? Well, the alternative is much worse. Communist-era gold mining, which was technologically backward, bureaucratic and unaccountable, turned Rosia Montana’s river into disgusting filth. In Madagascar’s Fort Dauphin, slash-and-burn agriculture—the sort the rural poor resort to in order to survive—has destroyed the rain forest.
As one of the people interviewed in the documentary points out, it is wealthy, well developed societies which are able to divert funds and energy into conservation. Wealth and development are not just good for people, but also for the environment.
And anyway, who are we to tell people whose children are starving that they cannot have jobs and industrial development because we would rather their cute lifestyle and pretty village stayed exactly as it is?
1. It’s raining on Kangaroo Island. I realise this may not be much of a cause for celebration for you, but it is for me!
Most communities on KI have no mains water. We rely entirely on rain water we catch and store at home. Rains usually come in April, and here they are. Just in time, too – the tanks are nearly empty. Yay!
2. Kevin Rudd is not a nice person. No one, let alone a Christian, who should have some idea of what hell is, should ever wish another human being to rot in hell.
I am sure people smugglers do not think they are ‘the scum of the earth.’ From their point of view, for very little return, and at considerable risk to themselves, they try to help people find new hope in a new country.
I imagine they think that ‘the scum of the earth’ is a title better reserved for politicians who try to give the impression that they are more caring, more welcoming and will be nicer to anyone who arrives in Australia, when they have no intention of being nicer to anyone, and the end result is more suffering for everyone.
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No doubt we will soon be hearing repeats of the ‘Jesus was a refugee‘ motto, with the implication that anyone who questions the instant acceptance into Australian society of anyone who turns up must therefore be unchristian and uncaring. Because if you turn anyone away, then you would have turned Jesus away.
It’s all very well wanting to appear compassionate. And if appearance is all you care about, then sure, let’s just take anyone who has the money or other means to push their way to our shores.
But the fact is we cannot take everyone who would like to come. We don’t have the water, we don’t have the infrastructure to take a large proportion of all the refugees in the world, certainly not in a short period of time, and equally certainly not without careful planning.
And the wish of others to come has to be balanced against the right of those already here to be protected from people would would bring to Australia the violence or intolerance or whatever it is they want to escape from in their homeland.
In other words, we have to be selective. We should be generous. If we want to continue to be able to be generous, we must also be careful about how many, and who, come to Australia.
Those who appear in Australian waters uninvited may not be, and probably are not, the most needy or deserving. They are simply those who have the money or other means to try to shortcut a system of review that is designed to find and help those most in need of help. In the case of the last few boats, the people on them had already travelled half way around the world, and through at least half a dozen countries to get here.
A truly compassionate approach will do everything reasonably possible to discourage illegal immigration, because the need to shelter, feed and process illegal immigrants, and to provide them and their children with medical care and education, all takes money and resources that could be spent finding and welcoming people who do not have the resources to push their way to the head of the queue.
As I have noted before, the result of the Labor government’s wanting to appear compassionate is actually more suffering, both for those who come expecting a softer welcome and are turned away, and for those who wait in refugee camps around the world, and will have to wait longer because resources that could have gone to preparing them to come to Australia must instead be utilised supervising queue jumpers.
This from the current edition of The Professional Edge, the journal of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geo-Scientists of Saskatchewan. This links to a PDF file. See from page ten on.
A couple of excerpts:
Add a dash of guilt and fear of the apocalypse, and how can the citizenry resist the call to “save the planet”? But when you stop and think about it, the apocalyptic predictions don’t quite make sense scientifically…
Therefore the suspicions of any scientist should be aroused by glib assertions like “the science is settled” or “there is a consensus,” because this is not how scientists and engineers operate. Al Gore’s movie and books are so appallingly riddled with mistakes and outlandish exaggerations that they would be laughable if they weren’t taken so seriously by so many…
There has grown a whole industry of taxpayer-funded climate modellers whose equations can’t reproduce last week’s weather let alone past climate change at all, but whose crystal balls universally forecast impending disaster (and of course the urgent need for more research money)…
Why haven’t physicists pointed out the basic mistakes in the science? Why haven’t more geoscientists stood up to correct the misconceptions about natural, long-term climate change?
The U.N. Durban II (Geneva) conference for racism and anti-semitism was planned and organised by the world’s worst perpetrators of racism and human rights abuses. A representative of Libyan dictator Col. Muammar Qaddafi, Mrs. Najjat al-Hajjaji, has chaired the Durban II Preparatory Committee for the past two years, and at the beginning of the conference was elected chair of the Durban II Main Committee.
The rank hypocrisy of Durban II was exposed before the world this week when UN Watch surprised the Libyan chair — by bringing a victim of Qaddafi torture to confront her on Libya’s brutal torture and scapegoating of five Bulgairan nurses and a Palestinian doctor.
From UN Watch – this links to the video.
No they didn’t. They said hundreds of millions would be hurt by climate change.
It is true that lots of people are hurt each year in natural disasters. But apart from increased casualties caused by more densely concentrated populations, there is no reason to believe that there are more ‘climate’ disasters than ever before.
The claim is that a warmer world means more hurricanes and major storm disasters. It doesn’t. Models of climate change which assume anthopogenic warming say the poles will warm more than the tropics. Major weather is driven by the difference in temperature between the tropics and poles. That difference decreases when the poles get warmer. This should result in not more, but fewer, major storms.
But in any case the world has been cooling for the last ten years and the net change in global temperature over the last century is now approximately zero.
No one is going to be hurt by man-made climate change.
People are going to be hurt if industrialised nations deny developing countries the opportunity to build power stations and major industries because of ‘climate concerns.’
So yes, unless world leaders really begin to look at the evidence, and base environmental and development policies on that evidence, then hundreds of millions will be hurt by stupidity.
Queensland commuters may get free rides on trains, buses and ferries if they travel at off-peak times, says Qld Minister for Transport Rachel Nolan.
This is being considered because public transport is overloaded at peak hours and under-utilised at other times.
What made that news story of interest to me was that Rachel Nolan noted that the state government subsidises the cost of public transport by $3-$4 for every dollar spent by commuters. I guess the figure would be similar in other states.
In other words, if someone pays a dollar for his or her train fare, the taxpayer pays another $3-$4. Every time.
I’d like to know that there has been some sort of evidence based, not just wishful thinking based, study that shows that this level of subsidy for public transport is a reasonable and cost effective investment. In other words, that the benefits to the wider community outweigh the cost, and that tax payers would not be better off if this money was spent somewhere else.
If that is the case, then I don’t mind paying for other people’s bus tickets.
Ban Ki Moon described Imanutjob’s speech and the subsequent walk out by the few civilised nations still at the Geneva racism conference as a “very troubling experience for me as a Secretary General.”
Oh, please. Spare us.
Every one of the nitwits now complaining that gosh, they had no idea Imanutjob was going to be so nasty, and gee whiz, if they’d only known, etc, etc, is telling porkies.
When addressing the conference, Ahmadinejad criticised the creation of a “totally racist government in occupied Palestine” in 1948, calling it “the most cruel and racist regime”.
Durban I was a rascist hate-fest. Mr Imanutjob has repeatedly asserted that the Zionist entity should be wiped from the face of the earth. He claimed as he was on the way to Geneva for Durban II that the ‘Zionist ideology and regime are the flag bearers of racism.’
It is just a nonsense for Ban Ki Moon or any other UN official now to act all innocent and dismayed. They knew exactly what was coming.
Can’t wait for this CBS made for broadcast movie to be shown in Australia.
As a Polish Catholic social worker in the early 1940s, Irena Sendler created and led a conspiracy of women who moved in and out of Warsaw’s Jewish Ghetto disguised as nurses employed by Warsaw’s Health Department. Though they worked under the guise of merely attempting to prevent and contain the spread of Typhus and Spotted Fever, Sendler and her brave cohorts emerged each time with the children of consenting Jewish parents. The children were sometimes sedated and hidden inside boxes, suitcases and coffins as a means of rescuing them from their imminent deportation to death camps. They were given new identities and placed with Polish families and in convents. Sendler kept a hidden record of their birth names and where they were placed with the hope that they would some day be reunited with their own families.
In 1943, the Nazis discovered Sendler’s daring and dangerous ruse and arrested her. She was tortured by Gestapo agents and suffered broken feet. On the day of her scheduled execution she was rescued by “Zegota,” the underground network with which she worked to save the Jewish children.
As a result of Sendler’s efforts, approximately 2,500 children were smuggled to safety. Not a single child she rescued was ever betrayed or discovered by the Nazis.
Eric at Big Hollywood writes about real beauty – the kind Susan Boyle has, and real ugliness, the kind Janeane Garofalo has.
I won’t say much more – it’s worth reading the whole thing.
But I share his frustration at the view expressed by Garofalo and others that the only possible reason any one could disagree with Barack Obama about anything is because he is black.
Worried about tax policy? No you’re not. You’re a racist redneck.
Worried about where money for massive ‘stimulus’ spending is going to come from? No you’re not. You’re a racist redneck.
Worried about Obama’s foreign policy? No you’re not…. You get the idea.
One of the convenient things about that kind of thinking is that you never have to bother engaging with people’s concerns or answering their questions. You can just dismiss them because they are, you know, racist rednecks. But given the kind of nonsensical nastiness Garofalo apparently believes, a lack of further engagement with her is probably a good thing.
And aren’t rednecks ordinary working people, the kind the Democrats were supposed to represent?
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad — who has called for Israel to be “wiped off the map” and described the Holocaust as a “myth” — arrived in Geneva late on Sunday as one of the few heads of state attending the conference.
Setting off for Switzerland, Ahmadinejad , who is seeking re-election in June, was quoted by Iran’s state broadcaster as saying ‘The Zionist ideology and regime are the flag bearers of racism.’
Various UN and human rights organisations have claimed that by not attending the Durban II conference the US, Australia and others are ‘turning their backs on victims of racism.’ Rubbish.
They would have a lot more credibility if they told Imanutjob to shut up and tidy up his own back yard.
How can anyone with a shred of decency or intelligence attend a conference where Imanutjob and others dominate proceedings, whose countries routinely hang or behead gay men, stone women who have been raped, and permit the marriage of girls as young a six to much older men, or, as in the case of Burma and Sudan, are carrying out systematic murders of any of their own citizens who are not the right race or religion?
The whole thing is just an bloody, expensive, embarassment.
Miss North Carolina Kristen Dalton won the Miss USA title earlier today. Good for her.
But trouble started after runner-up Carrie Prejean (Miss California) was asked this question: ‘Vermont recently became the fourth state to legalise same-sex marriage … do you think every state should follow suit? Why or why not?’
Carrie said: ‘We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage. I think in my country, in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offence to anybody out there, but that’s how I was raised.’
Some in the audience obviously agreed. But many others booed her.
She was asked her opinion. What was she supposed to do – lie?
But no, it’s not good enough. No one is allowed to doubt the all encompassing beauty of gay marriage, far less actually voice such a repugnant opinion.
‘It’s ugly,’ said Scott Ihrig, a gay man, who attended the pageant with his partner. ‘I think it’s ridiculous that she got first runner-up. That is not the value of 95 percent of the people in this audience. Look around this audience and tell me how many gay men there are.’
Yes there are lots of them, so they must be right, and no one is allowed to think any different.
Fights then broke out in the lobby. Something is ugly here, but it isn’t Carrie.
I wrote about the effect of condom use on HIV infection rates in general terms about three weeks ago, but Andrew Bolt’s post this afternoon titled Pell’s Killer Argument has prompted me to add some more detail.
I noted last time that the only people whose behaviour is likely to be influenced by Catholic theology are Catholics. It is simply silly to suggest that the Catholic Church does not have a right, indeed an obligation, to advise the faithful on morality.
Second, I pointed out that the more likely people are to disobey the Church’s teaching in one area, the less likely they are to be troubled by breaking the rules in others. In other words, encouraging Catholics to ignore Catholic teaching on the use of artificial contraception is also likely to encourage them to ignore Catholic teaching on chastity. And that, of course, will encourage, not discourage, risky behaviour.
Finally I suggested that it is simply silly to believe that someone who is deliberately going to commit a mortal sin by stealing from his family to pay a prostitute or by having sex with another man in a public toilet is at the same time going to be so constrained by his conscience that he will refuse to wear a condom out of a desire to act in accordance with the faith.
All of the above seems to me to be simple common sense. Common sense may be mistaken. But as Cardinal Pell has noted, actual research seem to confirm that the Pope and the Catholic Church are right.
For example, Edward Green, writing in the Washington Post on March 29th, said:
In theory, condom promotions ought to work everywhere. And intuitively, some condom use ought to be better than no use. But that’s not what the research in Africa shows. Why not? One reason is “risk compensation.” That is, when people think they’re made safe by using condoms at least some of the time, they actually engage in riskier sex.
He also noted that when early studies found this to be so, organisations like United Nations’ AIDS programme simply refused to acknowledge or publish them. But more recently, a succession of studies published in journals such as Lancet, Science and BMJ have confirmed that promoting the use of condoms simply has not worked as an AIDS prevention programme in Africa. This is despite millions and millions of dollars being spent on publicising condom use and making condoms easily and freely available.
Note that Edward Green is not a Catholic, and supports the use of condoms. He believes that condoms have worked in places other than Africa (I do not – there are other factors at work in the Asian countries he mentions, and very low HIV infection rates in the Catholic Philippines is a strong counter-argument). But he acknowledges that what works best is faithfulness.
So when Pope Benedict, Cardinal Pell and the wider Catholic Church say that chastity outside of marriage and faithfulness within marriage is right for spiritual reasons and is also the healthiest choice, the evidence is on their side. It is not on the side of the wholesale condom sellers.
At the last possible moment, Australia has been done the right thing and said it will not be sending delegates to the UN’s Geneva Conference for Racism and Anti-Semitism (commonly called Durban II).
The conference is due to start on the 120th anniversay of the birthday of Adolf Hitler.
This means our illustrious leaders will miss words of wisdom from planned speakers like Iranian President Imanutjob.
Australia will join the US, Italy, Germany, Canada, and a number of other countries.
Some in the US have complained that by not going, President Barack Obama is losing a chance to show leadership. The truth is exactly the reverse.
Well done Obama. Well done Kevin.