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Archive for the ‘Current Affairs’ Category

Lying:

Two reports came out recently making wildly inaccurate claims about sea level.

The first claimed that sea level was going to rise 12 inches in California over the next twenty years. Yet satellites show that sea level has been falling in California for the past twenty years.

US Sea Level Records 1992 -2012

Stupid:

A paper published today in the Journal of Geophysical Research finds that current global climate models make “very large” errors in determining solar radiation at the surface of the Earth “due to ignoring the effects of clouds.” According to the authors, these very large errors can exceed 800 Watts per meter squared, which by comparison is about 216 times more than the alleged effect of doubling CO2 concentrations (3.7 Watts per square metre).

In other words, those wild scary claims by IPCC scientists about runaway positive feedback causing catastrophic climate change were based entirely on not having a clue what they were talking about.

One of the best speeches I have read from an Australian politician; erudite, amusing, positive. Even Prime-ministerial.

A couple of excerpts to get you started:

The idea that each person should be free to become his or her best self: that, I’m sure, is what the Founding Fathers were grasping towards when they declared these truths to be self-evident, life liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The United States and Australia are separate legal entities but few Australians would regard America as a foreign country.

We are more than allies, we’re family. Around the world we seek no privileges, ask no favours, crave no territory.

Our objectives are to promote trade, prevent aggression and, where possible, to foster democracy based on the rule of law.

Narrow self-interest would have kept America out of Iraq, as it did the French and German governments of the time.

It would have kept Australia out of East Timor. Likewise, narrow self-interest would have kept America out of the toughest parts of Afghanistan, at least once the Taliban had been defeated.

Money, not military power, was enough to secure oil supplies.

Stand-off missiles, not boots on the ground, are normally enough to eliminate terrorists and degrade their bases.

America’s military expeditions may sometimes be mistaken but they’re always well-meaning; even if others are tempted to conclude, with Graham Greene of the Quiet American, that he’d never known a man with such good intentions for all the trouble he’d caused!

Australians are less self-consciously idealistic than Americans but Prime Minister Chifley’s “light on the hill…working for the betterment of mankind, not just here but wherever we can lend a helping hand” might be considered an antipodean version of Reagan’s “shining city on a hill”.

Australians have been proud to go into battle with Americans, starting at Le Hamel when Pershing’s doughboys fought under Australian command, and subsequently in the Pacific, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.

The United States shouldn’t take Australia’s support entirely for granted.

Australia’s national interest might not always be identical with America’s.

Our values, though, invariably coincide and Australia’s foreign policy should be driven as much by our values as by our interests …

The question now being pondered right around the world and, especially in Washington, fuelled by the rise of China, an inconclusive and unpopular war, and congressional gridlock here is: Have we reaching a tipping point in history? Has the United States passed from being a dominant to a declining power?

Facts, as opposed to fears, support no such conclusion.

First, America remains by far the world’s largest economy and has no systems-shaking transitions to manage.

Second, the world instinctively looks to America and to like-minded countries whenever trouble looms or disaster strikes.

Third, other countries’ success largely depends upon and substantially vindicates American traits such as intellectual curiosity, economic innovation, and political liberalisation.

And finally, the more other countries come to resemble America, the more likely they are to be forces-for-good in the wider world.

What’s remarkable is that right now, perhaps for the first time, the world appears to have more confidence in America than America has in itself …

Australia will continue to respect China’s economic achievement and to strive to improve the relationship on everything where we can sensibly work together.

We will try to avoid indulgent gestures over, for instance, live cattle sales to Indonesia or uranium sales to India where our friends want us to be a secure source of supply.

We intend to play our part in the wider world through contributing to humanitarian relief and fully participating in the security partnership with our principal allies.

Over the past decade, there’s been much “expert” advice that Australia would be a better ally by ostentatiously refusing to participate in America’s so-called follies, such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

To their credit, both the Howard government and the Rudd/Gillard government have refused to carp from the sidelines.

These days, America does not need to be told where it is going wrong but where it is going right.

By a large margin, the United States has the best universities, the most creative research, the most sophisticated intellectual property and the most accomplished high-end manufacturing.

America needs to believe in itself the way others still believe in it.

It needs once more to take to heart President Roosevelt’s advice that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

America is exceptional so exceptionalism has its place.

American world leadership might only truly be appreciated were it to disappear.

None of us should want to find out the hard way what a shrunken America might mean. 

Australia wills America to succeed because a strong America means a safer world.

A pill to reduce the risk of HIV infection in members of at risk groups sounds good, but I would put money on HIV infection rates increasing, rather than decreasing, where this drug is made available. Labor and the Greens will press for its early introduction.

But a genetically modified bacterium designed to destroy malarial parasites before they can infect anyone bitten by a parasite-carrying mosquito could save hundreds of thousands of lives every year. Wait for the Greens to start protesting about the use of GM organisms.

It is sometimes hard to believe that the AEU, the Australian Education Union, has any commitment to improving educational outcomes at all.

There can be no doubt about their commitment to making life easier for teachers. The constant refrain is “more pay, smaller classes.” Australia has amongst the smallest average class sizes and best paid teachers anywhere in the world. This has not resulted in any improvement in standards of literacy or numeracy. Cultural literacy; an understanding of Western values, history, music, literature and art, has declined precipitously.

The entirely predictable recommendations of the Review of Funding for Schooling (the Gonski panel) were more money and smaller class sizes. But once class sizes get below about thirty-five, further decreases make little difference to student learning. Simply hurling money at education will not help, unless spending is based on real-world research into what works.

Responses from the Labor Party and the AEU to questions from the opposition about the Gonski recommendations were just as predictable as the recommendations themselves.

“I’m not sure that Christopher Pyne’s plan to sack teachers and increase class sizes is the answer to the challenge we face in education,” acting School Education Minister Chris Evans told ABC News Online.

Except that Christopher Pyne said nothing about sacking teachers and increasing class sizes. He said that research and experience in other countries shows that simply focussing on class size does not help students.

The chairman of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), Professor Barry McGaw, agrees the focus on class sizes has been misplaced.

“We have wasted a lot of money in Australian education by reducing class size,” Professor McGaw told ABC NewsRadio.

“It’s a very expensive thing to do and the range in which we’ve reduced it has almost no impact on student learning.”

The AEU has a website called I Give a Gonski. Presumably ‘giving a Gonski’ is meant to indicate concern about education.

Anyone who really does ‘give a gonski’ about education should vehemently oppose these ‘more of the same’ recommendations, and insist on educational policies and spending which will actually improve learning.

The West has faced problems before; wars, the plague, depressions, climate change. We have survived and continued to move forward.

The level of comfort, medical care and nutrition taken for granted by the average Western family now is superior to standards expected even by royalty two or three hundred years ago.

We have moved forward by recognising problems, by researching them and overcoming them. We have always been good at facing reality.

We will keep moving forward. There is no reason for despair.

But there are reasons for concern. Poor economic management is one. Focussing vast amounts of attention and money on non-existent problems like global warming is another. It has been pointed out before that the amount of money spent by governments so far on global warming could have eradicated malaria and provided clean water and basic medical care for every person on the planet.

Another reason for concern is the unwillingness by Western leaders to acknowledge the threat to freedom posed by radical Islam.

Over the last week I have been reading William Shirer’s Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. Shirer says early on that even after all the horrors that came after 1933, the German people and the world at large could not say they had not been warned. The policies of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party were clearly set out from the beginning.

So when we have another large totalitarian movement which says it wants to exterminate the Jews, kill gays and destroy democracy, it might wise to consider the possibility, at least, that they mean what they say.

This unwillingness to be face the truth, or even to be truthful, is evident in our media in smaller ways. Over the last week I have been struck by three quite different news stories.

First, the mother of an autistic boy complaining to the media when, after five years of taxis to and from his school, paid for by taxpayers, he got a new driver. I understand routine is important to some autistic people. This is why someone went out of his or her way to ensure that for five years this child had the same driver every day.  But both SA Education Minister Grace Portolesi and Opposition education spokesman David Pisoni said that she had a legitimate complaint. Why? If consistency is so important, why not take your own child to school and back? Most parents do.

Second, the story of a Georgia (US) woman suing her husband’s new doctor after her husband died of a heart attack while engaging in three way sex with another woman at a motel. The doctor was found to have been negligent because he should have warned the husband about the dangers of strenuous activity. The wife was awarded $3 million.

Third, a South Australian woman convicted of stealing over $800,000 from her employers to play the pokies blamed hotel staff for not stopping her from gambling. Nick Xenophon offered his support. No surprises there. Nick Xenophon will offer his support to anything that will get him a headline. But why should anyone else consider her a victim? She stole money from people who trusted her and spent it in multiple pubs and clubs.

There have always been people who are lazy, dishonest, greedy, unwilling to take responsibility. What is different is that now these people are often told they are victims, that they need support or therapy, that what has happened to them is someone else’s fault, that someone else should pay. Anyone who disagrees ruins the risk of being called uncaring. But real compassion is based on truth and responsibility.

In foreign relations, in economic planning, in energy infrastructure, and in personal life, we need to make decisions based on reality. This has been the West’s great strength. It is the only way we will continue to make progress.

We should not have to be afraid to call a spade a spade.

But hey, let’s blame him anyway!

For any company to make money out of aborted babies is monstrous. Anyone who knowingly invests in or works for a company that does so is seriously morally challenged.

So if Romney had been CEO of Bain at the time Bain invested in Stericycle, a company that incinerates the remains of aborted children as medical waste, and if he was aware that this was part of their business, that seriously undermines the credibility of his claim to have been consistently pro-life.

But, as even the person who wrote this ‘gotcha’ article agrees, he wasn’t and he didn’t.

So why pretend it reflects on him at all?

I have had some doubts about the EDL – the English Defence League. But the more I hear from Tommy Robinson, the more I like him.

Some of the things to note in this video are his absolute rejection of racism, his pointing up of the double standards in policing and reporting of islamist protests (frequently violent) and any expression of any concern (no matter how mild) by ordinary people about islamism, and his statement that if we do not act now, despite the cost, future generations will never understand why we failed them.

It really is worth watching this video in full. Just ignore the poor sound quality at the beginning. It improves quickly.

Given a recent court case, the gubmint’s plans for media regulation to shut up people who say stuff it doesn’t like, because it’s like, unfair and stuff, and the legal and personal persecution of anyone in Australia who even asks publicly what race means, Morgan Freeman’s claim that Barack Obama is not the US’s first black president because because his mother was white so he can’t be black, is, well, interesting.

Heck, it is probably against the law in Australia even to think about whether Obama is really black. Or Anita Heiss, or Ray Robinson, or Michael Mansell.

Sadly, Freeman goes on to make a clot of himself by saying that the reason Obama hasn’t been able to do anything at all really, is because Republicans are mean. They haven’t co-operated in all his cool plans. Which is dumb, considering Obama had both Congress and Senate for the larger part of his incumbency.

Jihadist operations, martyrdom operations, to drive every Jew out of the sacred land of Palestine (home to the Jews for over 3,000 years).

Apart from the fact this guy looks like Fagin, there are two other interesting things about this video.

First, there is no pretence that jihad means an inner struggle for righteousness. Jihad means killing people, especially Jews. Second, this Jew killing will happen soon, because the Arab peoples are throwing off the yoke of oppressive regimes, so that Islamic principles can rule as they should.

Ugly inside and out.

Amused by Rush Limbaugh’s description of Obama as Barack Kardashian? You shouldn’t be. It is a libel on the Kardashians.

As Marc Hopin points out on American Thinker, the Kardashians are hard working wealth creators who are also socially aware and actively involved in their community:

If I were a Kardashian, the association of my last name with one of the most unsuccessful presidents in American history would mortify me.  I’d be talking to my lawyers trying to figure out a way to get Rush to stop.  Kardashian is not just Kim’s last name; it’s the last name used by her three siblings and her mother.  Working together, they have turned the name into a money-making franchise.  Beginning in 2007 with the first season of the reality TV show, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, they have successfully parlayed their various talents into multiple financial successes including modeling, movie and TV acting roles, singing, authoring, TV production, clothing design, fragrance creation, jewelry design, and the founding and running of a small chain of boutique clothing stores called D-A-S-H.  In addition, Kardashian designs are sold on QVC and in Sears stores. …

Hard as I try, I can find nothing Kardashian about Obama.  If anything, Barack is the anti-Kardashian.  Kim Kardashian is far from perfect, but she is a hardworking, successful, job-creating capitalist who treats people as individuals, goes and gives to church, supports various meaningful charitable causes, is close with her extended family, doesn’t use drugs or drink alcohol, and has no friends who are admitted terrorists.  Obama doesn’t want to work other than on the campaign trail.  He is a man who leads from behind.  He starts his workday late and ends his workday early, unless there’s a party at the White House or a fundraiser somewhere.  Obama wants to golf, vacation, bike-ride, and read off of a teleprompter from time to time.  If Obama and Kim were on Donald Trump’s The Celebrity Apprentice, I have little doubt which would be the earlier recipient of the infamous “You’re fired!”

Iran is elected to a position of global power in policing the international arms trade. This is the same Iran that wants to blow the “Zionist entity” off the map, and supplies weapons to terrorist groups including Hamas and Hezbollah.

Great. Next step, Syria on the Human Rights Council.

No responsible body could give that kind of credibility to those vicious lunatic states.

So why are Britain, the US, Canada, Australia, Japan, India and other democratic states continuing to support this massive and destructive bureaucracy?

By Andrew Bostom in American Thinker, and worth quoting in full:

Notwithstanding the latest hysterical claims from the sadly politicized climate scientologists of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), insisting 2011 was somehow “a year of extreme weather,” serious investigators at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz have just published a sobering analysis in Nature Climate Change  which reconstructs 2000 years of climate within northern Europe.   Utilizing tree-ring density measurements from sub-fossil pine trees in northern Scandinavia, the investigators created a sequence dating back to 138 BC. The density measurements are closely correlated with the summer temperatures in a targeted region on the edge of the Nordic taiga, enabling them to create a temperature reconstruction of unprecedented quality. Their high-resolution representation confirmed temperature patterns in the Roman and Medieval Warm periods, but also demonstrated the cold phases that occurred during the Migration Period and the later Little Ice Age. (See image, below)

2,000 Years of Not Much Really

In addition to depicting these cold and warm phases which were not influenced at all by anthropogenic warming, but rather “by solar output and (grouped) volcanic activity changes” – the new climate reconstruction curve also reveals a striking if unexpected phenomenon. Professor Dr. Jan Esper of the investigative team provided this apt summary assessment of the main findings:

We found that previous estimates of historical temperatures during the Roman era and the Middle Ages were too low. Such findings are also significant with regard to climate policy, as they will influence the way today’s climate changes are seen in context of historical warm periods.

What we really need to be concerned about is the possibility that we are drawing near to the end of the current interglacial. Deliberately increasing the volume of CO2 in the atmosphere may help delay this, even if only a little. More importantly, it will result in higher crop outputs. Carbon taxes and emission targets are the opposite of what the world needs.

This time from Roger Helmer on the global warming scam, and the consequences of government policies which increase the price of energy:

If it weren’t so gol darned alarming.

University students and teachers, nearly all of whom claim to be in favour of free speech, enthusiastically sign a petition to take conservatives off the air:

From Exposing Leftists.

Imagine a well-armed enemy which has sworn to destroy the US launches a series of rocket attacks on civilian targets in Washington, or Los Angeles, or Miami. Or a similar series of attacks on Sydney or Adelaide.

The response would be furious. There would be international condemnation and emergency meetings of the UN Security Council. There would be strong responses to ensure the capacity to make such attacks was removed.

But when those attacks are made on Israel, nothing. Nada. Zip. Hardly a mention in the US or Australian media.

For those who live in southern Israel, the ongoing attacks feel like war.

From an American Jewish woman volunteering in the IDF:

The nights are hell. I cannot sleep. I lie in bed, fully clothed, boots and helmet on, waiting to hear the alarm, waiting to dash out of the room to safety.  

Hours go by without a rocket, and I start to relax. Maybe it’s over. The media, even the Israeli newspapers, are saying that it is no big deal. I start to believe them. But then another bomb hits without warning, and this one falls just feet from us. It’s like an earthquake. The room sways, and I fall out of my bed. The next few minutes seem to move in slow motion. Screaming, frenzy, smoke. Everyone running. Hands covering their ears. Wiping their eyes. Holding tissues over their mouths and noses.

As I run, trying to get to safety, I flash back to my family’s apartment in Manhattan, or to the house in which I grew up in Maryland. It’s inconceivable to me that something like this could happen there. There would be shock, outrage, even international condemnation. Or maybe such a massive American response that the rocket attacks would finally stop—forever. Instead, I am sure tomorrow’s Facebook page will be filled with more criticism of Israel and more justification for the attacks.

I am a New York City girl who came to Israel to defend the Jewish state. I am proud of my service and of all the remarkable young men I have met who risk their lives every day to keep this country safe. I am the girl in the bunker, and I can tell you that these rocket attacks are a big deal.

Our allies in Israel deserve better, from us and from our media.