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Quite frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn if someone wants to burn a book, any book. If a person’s paid for a book, he can do what he likes with it.

I am not going to join the chorus proclaiming Pastor Terry Jones a try-hard loser. I don’t know anything about the man. I suspect he is more sought by the media than seeking the media.

What I do think is that his burning of the Koran was a reasonable act of protest.

This is a book which inspires murder, torture, the mistreatment of women and minorities.

It is a book which, read through the lens of the example of Muhammed, a serial rapist, torturer, murderer and child molester, means misery for hundreds of millions of human beings.

It is the book of a religious group whose default emotional setting is inflamed.

It is the book of a group of people who thinking burning a book (their book – burning other books is OK)  justifies burning and beheading people who look like, or may have once have been in the same country as, the people who burnt the book.

So go ahead and burn it. The trouble is not with the burning, but with the cringing.

General Petreaus described the Koran burning as ”hateful, extremely disrespectful and enormously intolerant”.

No it wasn’t.

He then went on to say that the fury this had aroused was an understandable passion.

No it isn’t.

Burning a nasty, racist, violent book is a legitimate act of protest. Burning and beheading people who had nothing to do with it is murderous brutality.

Jones was right. The reaction to his little protest proves there is something to protest about.

Kow-towing to bullies does not work. They need to be told stop it and grow up.

Forgiving bullies does not work, unless they have first shown that they have changed and will bully no longer.

Otherwise making excuses for inexcusable behaviour merits the warning JP Donleavy gave about forgiveness in general (no link, but from the Unexpurgated Code):

“Forgiveness. Be careful, those getting this then do the unforgivable. Which is frequently a lot worse than the first lousy thing they did to you.”

Now a couple of quotes from a woman who runs a small business in the rural US:

Ann – I am not a political activist.  I am the owner of three small businesses who looked around two and a half years ago and said, “Oh, HELL no.”  Politicians make me ill.  I can never and will never be a politician.  For the last two to three years I have been focusing heavily on explaining and exposing Marxism, Islam and the fraud that is Obama.  But that is triple-redundant, isn’t it?

iOTW – What is your take on what is known as the Ground Zero Mosque?
 
Ann – They can build a mosque at Ground Zero when we can build a Catholic Cathedral Basilica over the top of the Kaaba in Mecca.  You know what?  Check that.  They still couldn’t build a mosque at Ground Zero, because Ground Zero is the sacred burial space of 3000 people that THEY MURDERED.  No mosque at Ground Zero E.V.E.R.
 
iOTW – Islam uses the constitution to their advantage. How do we do battle with Islam without trampling the constitution?
 
Ann – Declare war against the Caliphate, just like we did against the Third Reich.  Same bloody thing.  And I’m not kidding.
 
iOTW- What do you think of General Petraeus and his assertion that inciting Islam puts our soldiers in harm’s way?
 
Ann – I have an offer for General Petraeus.  I’ll GIVE him one of my balls.  Then I’d still have two, and he would have one.  He is a politicking coward who cares only about his pension and cashing in on his rank after he retires.  The suicidal, defeatist Rules of Engagement he oversees are the unequivocal proof of that.  He should resign in disgrace – yesterday, and then present himself to each and every family of our war dead and BEG their forgiveness for failing in his duty as their son or daughter’s commanding officer.

Here’s a bit more, complete with Koran with bacon bookmarks:

You may disagree with some of what she says, or the way she says it.

Freedom of speech, and safety to speak what we believe, is a great privilege. To lose it is to lose civilisation.

Given odd exceptions (I wouldn’t want to live in Venezuela at the moment, for example) where would you choose to live?

Where are women treated as equals, and gays and lesbians accepted and safe? Where would you feel safer? Where would your children be safer? Where can people of any race and religion participate in business and politics? In which countries are there schools, universities, hospitals, stable government, a free press?

Where Would You Like To Live?

And which countries are people trying to leave?

Just a few brief thoughts.

One:

It seems to me quite clear, at the risk of incurring judicial wrath, that Justice Bromberg would very much like to find against Andrew Bolt and the Herald and Weekly Times.

There have been a few comments and questions from the bench which indicate this. For example, his remark that “It (freedom of speech) is not an unqualified right. Never has been.”

No one had said it was. Certainly Andrew’s team had made no such claim. So why make this comment?

I could be quite wrong. Justice Bromberg may genuinely intend to put aside any feelings or political values he may have or espouse, and make his judgement solely on the basis of relevant legislation and precedent.

But at very least, it is unwise for a justice, during the course of a trial, to make gratuitous remarks which could beconstrued as indicating a bias.

Two:

It is simply nonsense to suggest that public discussion of another person’s ethnicity is out of bounds because it is necessarily racial vilification.

Say I was to discover that my maternal grandmother had been a member of the Ngapuhi tribe. One of my adopted sisters is a Ngapuhi woman, and my family had lived in Northland for a long time before coming to Australia, so this is not beyond the realms of possibility.

Say I then decided on this basis that I was a Maori. I would expect some pretty merciless mocking from my mates.

If I decided to return to NZ and to claim benefits or awards on the basis of being a Ngapuhi man, I would expect that this claim would be scrutinised.

I would also expect to be able to show the basis on which my claim was made. I would not feel insulted by requests to do this.

Even I did feel insulted, that would say more about my own conceit than anything else.

There is no right under law not to be offended.

Three:

Underlying the complaint in the Bolt case, and, it seems to me in some of Justice Bromberg’s remarks, is the assumption that race is less about race than it is about identity, community and culture. Some of the comments from the complainants go as far as suggesting that anyone who does not hold this new view of race is ipso facto a racist or eugenicist.

There may be instances where it is helpful to take culture and identity into account when race is being determined.

But that is different from saying that culture, identity, community are what matter, and that actual racial background and inheritance do not. A person who is ethnically Han Chinese is still ethnically Chinese even if she was born in Australia and knows nothing of Chinese culture or language.

I would be happy to see some public discussion of this. But it would be extraordinary if people who still thought that race was primarily about race found themselves in trouble with the law because they held and expressed that opinion.

My mother’s grandfather was Norwegian. He was a very old man when I was young. He was born in the late 1800s, and was one of the last generation of merchant seaman to sail in commerical wind-powered ships.

I liked him – he let me have sugar in my tea. But even more I liked the idea that some of my ancestors might have been vikings. I remember seeing The Vikings and The Long Ships at the Kings theatre in Kawakawa. They seem remarkably violent now for a five or six year old boy to have been allowed go and see alone. But times have changed. One shilling and sixpence isn’t going to buy you a movie ticket and an icecream anymore.

So of course I had to be a viking. I had a horned hat, and conducted carefully planned raids on neighbouring fruit trees. I leapt out from behind bushes to terrify local maidens, and threatened passing dragons (cars) from my lair halfway up the bank beside the road.

If I was minded to, I could just as easily have been Welsh, or German. Germans were still a bit unpopular in the early sixties, and the Welsh, well who the heck were they? So I had to be a viking.

Now I’m just me.

My wife had just as interesting a range of choices. Both her parents have scottish ancestry. But she is also part Cherokee. About as much as I am Norwegian.

She is interested in her Cherokee heritage. but she would never claim to be Cherokee, any more than I would claim to be Norwegian. Why would we choose to ‘be’ something that is only a tiny part of our total heritage?

But some people do just that.

Let’s imagine two young people. We’ll call them the Malfoys. They are white in appearance and were raised by a European family in a comfortable home in a modern city. In early adulthood they discovered one of their relatives was aboriginal.

This makes them aboriginal, they claim. A lasting sorrow is that as they were growing up they were deprived of learning their aboriginal culture.

Later the Malfoys become so expert in aboriginal history and culture that they become teachers of it.

They do not appear to notice that growing up as aboriginal in an aboriginal community would have deprived them of learning about the European and perhaps other cultures, which are also part of their heritage. And of the educational opportunities and income which allowed them later to pursue their aboriginality.

The Malfoys might say they did not decide what to be. But in deciding to favour one tiny part of the totality of their heritage over all others, they have chosen to be aboriginal.

And fair enough. Why would I care, any more than they should care if I claimed to be Norwegian?

But if they claim special privilege at public cost because they are aboriginal, then it becomes my concern, and I and other tax payers are entitled to ask why they are favouring this tiny part of their heritage over all else.

Any claim on taxpayer money is a matter of public interest.

Some of those who have accepted prizes, awards and assistance designed to benefit aboriginal people who have suffered prejudice or disadvantage, have an appearance and family background which means they cannot possibly have suffered any such prejudice or disadvantage while growing up.

It is disingenuous to pretend to be insulted by questions about whether awards and assistance given to them is an appropriate use of funds allocated for that purpose.

Bill O’Reilly says that despite lack of clarity about process (eg, no congressional approval, no clear and present danger to the US), America’s involvement in Libya is a good thing:

On the left … Ralph Nader is calling for impeachment. Michael Moore has suggested that Obama give back the Nobel Peace Prize. Congressman Dennis Kucinich wants to cut off funding for any military action against Libya.

On the right, Pat Buchanan banged the isolationist drum: “Why is the United States, all the way across the ocean, got to go in and stop Arabs from killing Arabs? … Why are we in there?”

To prevent a massacre? I believe that’s the reason, Mr. Buchanan.

Congressman Ron Paul was equally blunt: “What are we doing? We are in this crisis, and they decide to spend all this money. It makes no sense at all.”

Here’s my question for Paul: Would you be comfortable, congressman, watching thousands of human beings being slaughtered by a terrorist dictator when you know that your country had the power to prevent it?

In fact, the no-fly zone was up and running in hours, and Gadhafi’s forces have been seriously damaged. Now the rebels have a chance to eventually overthrow the dictator, and mass murder has been avoided at least for the time being.

This is not a complicated issue. If America is indeed a noble country, it should act to save lives when it can. That doesn’t mean getting bogged down in quagmires like Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam. But when quick, decisive action can defeat evil, it should be taken.

I believe in the basic nobility of America. I also believe few other nations have the motivation and power to confront evil that this country does. If it’s all about us, if all we think about is our own sacrifice, then American exceptionalism disappears.

All of that is true. The strong have a responsibility to protect the weak. No one would ever want another Rwanda.

But once you begin to take on the job of the world’s policeman, where do you stop?

If we should intervene in Libya, why not Syria, where the situation seems to be just as bad. And if Syria, why not Burma? And if Burma, why not Zimbabwe?

If we have a responsibility to protect those who cannot defend themselves, why has there been no intervention in Sudan, where there has been much greater loss of life, along with uncounted rapes and mutilations, over a much longer period of time? Why no intervention to protect Christians in Iraq, or Nigeria, or Egypt?

I am not sure O’Reilly is right about Libya. A no fly zone, so rebels are protected against air attack while they fight their own battles might be justifiable.

Fighting those battles for them, so that one brutal government can be replaced by another, is not.

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do anything. It does mean we need to think very seriously about what we want to achieve, the cost of achieving it in human life and in relationships with other nations, and the likelihood that our goals can be reached, before we act.

It is not just intentions that count, but outcomes.

After the name calling, the next step of desperate malingerers is to take people who disagree with them to court.

So it should come as no surprise that having been caught fiddling with the facts yet again, Michael Mann is taking legal action against those who have pointed out that his deliberate manipulation of data to gain scentific notice and financial reward amounts to fraud:

Dr. Tim Ball received the second of two libel lawsuits from North Vancouver law firm of  Roger D. McConchie on Friday (March 25, 2011). Global warming doomsaying professor Michael Mann files the latest writ.

Mann, the infamous creator of the now discredited ‘hockey stick’ graph was once the darling of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a tax hungry government funded organization that blames mankind for raising global temperatures by 0.7 degrees during the 20th Century. Now he is desperate to hit back at his critics with the help of Big Green’s immense financial resources. Below we examine the shady background of Professor Mann and explain what Ball must do to defeat this latest legal challenge.

The IPCC plucked Mann from total obscurity after his problematic and “rushed” Ph.D was granted. His viva voce examination was in 1996 and he was required to make corrections. Such a two year delay suggests substantial errors and which would normally require a second viva, but this was strangely not recorded. Then, despite having no reputation as a researcher Mann was bizarrely appointed not only as an expert by the IPCC but as Lead Author for the 2001 Third Report.

Several fellow academics, including Dr. Judith Curry smelt something rotten among mendacious Mikey’s tree rings and their fears were confirmed when Canadian statistical experts, Steve McIntyre and Professor Ross McKitrick found a string of ‘errors’ in Mann’s work. All the errors warped the wooden data in favor of the man-made global warming hype.

It transpired Mann and his secretive clique of climatologists who ‘pal reviewed’ his junk science benefited to the tune of millions of dollars in government research grants.

Dr Tim Ball is a retired scientist, well respected, but with little in the way of financial resources. He is an easy target.

If you are not sure what was done in the ‘Hockey Stick’ data that was so wrong, watch this short video from Berkeley Professor Richard A Muller:

Earth Hour is a waning fad. A couple of years ago, when I left security lights on in my shop, people wanted to know why I was not interested in saving the planet.

This year, when I put a note in the window explaining why we would not be keeping Earth Hour, people said they had no idea it was happening.

Some more thoughts on this from Ira Levant:

What’s remarkable about this month’s Japanese calamities is how few people were actually killed. Ten thousand are dead and 17,000 are missing — a tragic loss. But compare that to another earthquake in Japan in 1923 that killed more than 100,000 people.

This month’s quake was more than 10 times as powerful, but a combination of better construction methods and better emergency response saved lives.

Japan’s earthquake was the fifth largest ever recorded, a startling 9.0 on the Richter scale — where each number is 10 times more powerful than the previous number. A 10.0 earthquake has never been recorded.

This is very encouraging — and it’s a testament to human achievement.

Saturday was so-called Earth Hour, a publicity stunt created by the World Wildlife Fund where enthusiasts were supposed to stop using electricity for an hour. Only a rich, luxuriant society would fetishize poverty and want. Japan is still rebuilding; there are still parts of that country where electricity is not back on. They are in a permanent state of Earth Hour deprivation — not as some fashion statement but because of a tragedy. How is that state of despair a morally commendable situation?

It was human development, industry, capitalism, electricity — and in Japan’s case, safe nuclear power — that has made the difference between their more modest death toll and the 230,000 who died in Indonesia’s earthquake and tsunami in 2004, or the 220,000 who died last year in Haiti. Haiti’s earthquake was less than 1% as powerful; it was their lack of industrial development that made it so deadly.

Is that really the state of affairs we want to be worshipped on Earth Day? For centuries, guilty, rich, white liberals have professed their admiration for the “noble savage” — an unspoiled man, typically in a pre-industrial civilization, not yet spoiled by our modern ways or troubles.

It’s a fantasy, it’s condescending, it’s political psychotherapy for the idle rich who feel guilty about how easy their own lives are, and who are clearly looking for some spiritual meaning they themselves lack. But in a world where there are enough natural threats to man’s happiness and longevity, fetishizing primitive economies is a suicidal fetish.

Japan will rise again — over the objections of those who would sentence it to a nuclear-free, industry-free, permanent Earth Day.

Andrew Bolt will appear in the Australian Federal Court this week to face complaints made against him and the Herald and Weekly Times under Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act 1975.

In 1995 provisions were introduced into that act which dealt with expressions of racial hatred. Specifically, those provisions made it illegal for a person (corporate or natural) to:

do an act, otherwise than in private, if:
(a) the act is reasonably likely in all the circumstances to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or group of people, and
(b) the act is done because of the race, colour or national or ethnic origin of the other person or some or all of the people in the group.

There are some exemptions. The racial vilification page on the website of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission explains these exemptions as follows:

To protect freedom of expression, the legislation sets out certain circumstances in which the prohibition will not apply, providing the person has acted reasonably and in good faith. First, if the communication is part of an artistic work it is not unlawful. Also excepted are academic and scientific works and debates or comments on matters of public interest. This permits a range of public policy issues to be debated such as multiculturalism, native title and so on. The media are given considerable scope in a third exception which permits fair and accurate reporting on any matter of public interest. This last exception enables the media to report on public issues, such as racial incitement or racially offensive conduct. It also allows editorial opinions and the like, providing they are published without malice.

As in much legislation, this is an attempt to balance different rights which may be in conflict. In this case, the right of citizens to engage in robust discussion without fear, against the right of persons to be protected against statements likely to provoke hatred against them on the basis of their race.

Now to the specifics.

In two columns published on his blog and in the Herald Sun on April 15th 2009, and August 21st 2009, Andrew Bolt drew the public’s attention to a number of persons who had claimed benefits intended to assist indigenous Australians, but whose basis for claiming to be aboriginal was not clear. Most of those identified looked as white any full-blooded dutchman, and some had little or no identifiable aboriginal descent or heritage.

Andrew made it clear in his columns that part of his concern was that if awards intended to assist underprivileged aboriginal persons were being given to educated middle-class white people, then the persons who should have been helped by those awards were not being helped at all:

…  when a privileged white Aborigine then snaffles that extra, odds are that an underprivileged black Aborigine misses out on the very things we hoped would help them most.

Take Mellor’s art prize. This white university lecturer, with his nice Canberra studio, has by winning pushed aside real draw-in-the-dirt Aboriginal artists such as Dorothy Napangardi, Mitjili Napanangka Gibson and Walangkura Napanangka, who’d also entered and could really have used that cash and recognition.

DOES this make sense? What’s an Aboriginal art prize for, if a man as white and cosseted as Mellor can win it, and with a work that shows no real Aboriginal techniques or traditions?

What’s a black Aboriginal artist from the bush to think, seeing yet another white man lope back to the city with the goodies?

That hardly seems calculated to to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or group of people … because of the race, colour or national or ethnic origin of the other person.

Those claiming to have been offended, insulted, humiliated and intimidated are represented by Joel Zyngier from the legal firm Holding Redlich. Zyngier told The Age on Sptemeber 18 2010 that:

‘‘We see it as clarifying the issue of identity — who gets to say who is and who is not Aboriginal. Essentially, the articles by Bolt have challenged people’s identity. He’s basically arguing that the people he identified are white people pretending they’re black so they can access public benefits.’’

The argument, then, is that any discussion of who is aboriginal and who is not, except by aboriginals themselves, amounts to racial vilification. In other words, that the only persons who have the right to determine who is aboriginal and who is not, are aboriginal people and aboriginal communities. Any discussion of this by other persons is foreseeably likely to cause offence, insult or humilation, etc.

Others have pointed out that questions of aboriginal identity and entitlement have been raised before, frequently by aboriginal people.

For example, in Quadrant September 2010, Keith Windschuttle noted that:

In 2001, after the Commonwealth government announced it would tighten eligibility for the right to vote in elections for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, the head of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre, Michael Mansell, declared there were “more phoney than real Aborigines in Tasmania, and more than half the voters in the 1996 ATSIC election were not Aboriginal”. According to the Canberra Times, Mansell added:

“With the coming of ATSIC, we got stuck with people trying to rort the system. Saying you’re Aboriginal is the password into ATSIC and its money. It’s happening all over Australia, though Tasmania has had one of the sharpest increases.”

This is discussion of aboriginal identity by aboriginal people, or at least, by people claiming to be aboriginal, so no one should feel offended, humiliated, or intimidated.

But let’s say that those excluded by Mr Mansell’s criteria do feel offended and humiliated. Let’s further say that they produce evidence of their aboriginality, and ask the court to overturn the decision made by Mr Mansell and his group.

This will necessarily involve the court, a whitefella organisation, in consideration of who is aboriginal and who is not.

This is a circumstance in which it would be both appropriate and necessary for non-aboriginal people to consider what constitutes aboriginality.

Are there other circmstances in which such discussion might be reasonable?

To avoid any appearance of focussing on aboriginals, imagine that the Federal government has determined that red-headed dwarves are under-represented in Australia’s sports teams, political parties, art galleries and boardrooms. It is clear that they are frequently subject to humiliating insults – rusty, ginger, shorty, runt, etc – and that they face considerable obstacles in gaining employment and recognition.

A number of measures are introduced to remedy this situation. Special benefits are offered including access to education, prizes and scholarships.

After a while, members of the public notice that some of those claiming benefits seem to be of average, even more than average height. Some even have brown hair. It is hard to imagine that these broad-shouldered six footers with chestnut curls have suffered a great deal because of their red headed dwarfiness.

But when questions are asked about this, the questioners are met with outrage, and even threats of lawsuits. It is, they are told, the exclusive province of the red headed dwarf community to determine who are its members, and who are not. Any such questions raised by others are offensive and humiliating, and dwarfist.

That might be true if the question of who was in and who was out related to events and benefits solely provided and organised by the red headed dwarf community. But it does not.

It becomes a question of public interest because public money is involved. The public has set aside money to assist members of a group which appears to be under-privileged.

Money has been taken from tax-payers and allocated for that purpose. This money could have been used elsewhere, for roads, water supply, medical equipment, etc.

The public is entitled to be reasonably confident that the persons to whom their money is given are genuinely members of the group intended to be assisted.

This is not dwarfist. Nor is it racist. Persons claiming public money on the basis of membership of a particular group should expect the public to take an interest in whether they really do belong to that group.

Andrew Bolt is entitled to ask such questions. It is in the public interest that they be asked, whether by him or others.

This does not mean he is right in every instance.

I have an aquaintance, a friend of a friend, who was the daughter of a white man and an aboriginal woman. She grew up in a remote camp, speaking only pidgin, and subject to years of sexual and physical abuse.

She escaped when she was fifteen and went to work in a pub. She learned to speak standard english. She taught herself to read and write, and eventually went to university. She is a strong, couargeous, intelligent woman. She has red hair and light coloured skin. She lives in the city.

But she identifies, because of her mother and her childhood, as aboriginal.

If anyone deserves recognition and acknowledgement it is she. But she has never accepted any special benefits, prizes or scholarships.

I suspect she would regard reliance on those things, and the sense of entitlement that they encourage, as being as much a poison, a cause of paralysis and lack of progess for indigenous people, as Jarndyce and Jarndyce was for Richard Carstone in Dicken’s Bleak House.

I also suspect (and will ask her one day) that if she had accepted some special award for aboriginals, and been among those listed in Mr Bolt’s columns, she would have rung him and talked to him, rather than ringing her lawyer.

Muslim extremist Yahya Ibrahim has made many useful suggestions about effective methods of killing Jews and Americans, including the use of chemical weapons, the conversion of SUVs by adding blades to their wheels so they can mow down pedestrians, and random shootings in crowded cafes.

Mr Ibrahim objects to being called an extremist. He is, he says, a moderate teacher committed to religious tolerance. And he will behead any kuffirs who say otherwise. Or sue them, at least.

Mr Ibrahim is suing the Sunday Telegraph over an article which suggested he might have discriminatory or anti-semitic views, and that he might share such views with students in the UK.

Mr Ibrahim is hurt and confused by the claim that calling Jews pigs and monkeys and suggesting ways to kill them and other infidels is discriminatory.

Incidentally, Mr Ibrahim works at Australia’s largest Muslim school.

Meanwhile, Melanie Philips is in trouble for calling the arab savages who murdered the Fogel family ‘arab savages,’ along with the people who handed out sweets and danced in the street when they heard that a group of triumphant islamic warriors had managed to cut a baby’s throat and murder her parents and siblings in their sleep.

Clearly Melanie is wrong, wrong, wrong.

The people who did this thing worked for Mossad, and so did all the people in the street. Or if they were arabs, they only meant to borrow the Fogel’s stamp collection and things got out of hand. And anyway, those Jews shouldn’t have been there in the first place. In their house. In a Jewish village. And the people in the street were handing out sweets and dancing because the weather was so nice. And also, it’s judgemental to call someone a savage. His feelings might be hurt.

Nope. Sorry. They’re savages. Slime. Filth. And that’s probably an insult to other savages, slime and filth.

And finally, Israel Apartheid Week, (aka Hate Israel Week), is off to a flying start in the UK.

Israel is the only country in the Middle East where men and women are equal under the law, where people of any faith can worship without fear of persecution, where gays and lesbians need not be in fear of being mutilated and murdered, where people of every faith and race have equal rights to property and to vote and to assemble.

In Palestinian controlled Bethlehem, by contrast, where the Christian population has fallen from about 60% in 1990 to about 15% now:

There are many examples of intimidation, beatings, land theft, firebombing of churches and other Christian institutions, denial of employment, economic boycotts, torture, kidnapping, forced marriage, sexual harassment, and extortion,” he said. PA officials are directly responsible for many of the attacks, and some Muslims who have converted to Christianity have been murdered.

Naturally, ignorant nitwits around the world are complaining about – Israel.

Last Sunday was the first Sunday of Lent, the forty day period of fasting which ends at Easter. Christians remember Jesus’ forty days of fasting in the desert prior to his baptism and public ministry.

The purpose of the Lenten fasting and self denial (which need not be in relation to food) is to remind us of our reliance on God, and to take some less important or distracting things out of our lives, in order to make more room for prayer, service, study, and other things which really matter.

Hundreds of churches around the world are keeping this Lent as 40 Days for Life, a focused pro-life effort that consists of three key areas of participation:

•40 days of prayer and fasting
•40 days of peaceful vigil
•40 days of community outreach

So on that subject I note with sorrow that in New York city in 2008, there were 82,475 induced abortions. This figure is only for surgical procedures, and does not include use of the ‘morning after’ pill, or any of the unknown number of non-recorded abortions.

The total number of deaths in all age groups from all other causes was 55,391.

82,475 abortions. 55,391 deaths from all other causes.

A black baby is three times more likely to be aborted than a white baby.

Every culture has its moral black spots. we look back at the Nazis with horror. Not just at the comparatively few who were actively involved in the wholesale murder of Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals and other ‘undesireables,’ but at the vastly greater number who knew what was happening and did nothing.

Western society’s argument in relation to abortion is that an unborn child is not really human. The Nazis thought the same about Jews and Gypsies.

Future generations will look back at us with the same bewildered horror.

Muammar Ghadafi (or however we’re supposed to spell his name this week) is not a nice guy.

He doesn’t seem to me to be quite at the Saddam Hussein level of gassing the Kurds and running over Shi’ites in tanks, but nonetheless, not a nice guy.

Barack Obama thinks Ghadafi’s level of not niceness is now sufficient to justify the use of US forces to bring about a regime change:

“This is not an outcome the U.S. or any of our partners sought,” Obama said from Brazil, where he is starting a five-day visit to Latin America. “We cannot stand idly by when a tyrant tells his people there will be no mercy.”

Obama said that embattled Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s continued assault on his own people left the U.S. and its international partners with no other choice.

But how is using force to bring about regime change in Libya OK, when using force to bring about regime change in Iraq was not OK, was about oil, meant that George Bush was Satan, or acting for the bushitlerchimphalliburton global industrial machine?

Hussein (Saddam, not Obama) had treated his own people worse for longer, had a history of violence against neigbouring countries and of use of weapons of mass destruction.

Interesting that a substantial number of comments on the HuffPo coverage of this story ask the same question: Why good in Libya if bad in Iraq?

Some of them are even quite amusing, like this one on claims the war is about oil in both cases ‘Actually, we never get the oil, just the shaft.’

Who exactly are the people we are supporting, protecting and probably putting into power in Libya?

Well, (coughs apologetically) al-Qaeda, actually.

WikiLeaks cables, independent analysts and reporters have all identified supporters of Islamist causes among the opposition to Col Gaddafi’s regime, particularly in the towns of Benghazi and Dernah.

An al-Qaeda leader of Libyan origin, Abu Yahya al-Libi, released a statement backing the insurrection a week ago, while Yusuf Qaradawi, the Qatar-based, Muslim Brotherhood-linked theologian issued a fatwa authorising Col Gaddafi’s military entourage to assassinate him. …

The military chief (of the rebels) is Abdul Fattah Younis al-Obeidi, a former leader of Col Gaddafi’s special forces who was his public security, or interior, minister until he went over to the rebels.

He has described Col Gaddafi as “not completely sane”, and worked with the SAS during the now curtailed thaw in British-Libyan relations. But it is still ironic that the West is taking sides in a battle between the leader of a much hated regime and his former effective deputy.

More on the perils of large scale Western intervention at Israel National News:

… imposition of a no-fly zone is a full-scale assault. It’s a war. People will be killed, some of whom will be innocent civilians caught in the crossfire. And even if mistakes never come about, Libyan President Moammar Qadhafi will make certain that pictures and movies of staged massacres become major hits on Youtube, al Jazeera, and the rest of the international media. He will play to turn public opinion against the U.S. who voted for it. After all, movie production of seeming massacres presented as authentic news is an Arab specialty.

The Arab League wants the U.S. and NATO to launch a war on Qaddafi, to help the Libyan rebels defeat the dictator, while, all the while, making it look as if the Libyan people, on their own, were able to overthrow their ruthless tyrant.

Why should the Euro-American forces lead the way? Where is the formidable Egyptian military? Where is the best American-trained, American-equipped Middle Eastern war machine? If the Egyptians can’t handle such a “simple humanitarian act,” what was the purpose of building their military up to that sky-scraping level? Why do the Arabs always look to the West to take care of their own dirty laundry? And why is the West willing to go ahead and comply? …

The U.S. and Europe should stay out of Libya. If the Arab League wants a no-fly zone over Qadhafi’s head, let them have our permission; let them go ahead and move on it — not the other way around. In its aftermath, no Arab propaganda will be able to blame the West for its imperialistic, satanic tendencies.

He is right. No matter what the outcome, no matter how good the West’s intentions, no matter how free of commerical imperatives, no matter how driven by humanitarian concern, 1500 years of history tell us we will come out looking like the villains.

There is one of these on just about every conceivable subject. A few are clever and amusing. This is one.

Carbon Tax Downfall:

Tim Wilson has a delightful piece at The Punch, cross-posted at the IPA, which explores a day in the life of Carbon Bob.

Bob’s a model citizen and busy man trying to save the world from the hundreds of big bad carbon polluters required by law to report their environmental vandalism to the government.

Tim’s article shows just how much of our ordinary daily life depends on the productivity of the ‘carbon polluters,’ how much of our economy would be undermined by a carbon tax, and the sheer hypocrisy of those who campaign for carbon reduction while swanning around the world in business class chewing nuts and drinking pinot noir.

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.