Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category
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.
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…
As I noted a few days ago, the only way a carbon price can have any affect on CO2 output is by reducing the use of fossil fuels.
It does this by making the use of those fuels more expensive. This increases the cost of electricity, of water (especially if that water come from a desalination plant), of manufacturing and mining, production of agricultural goods, transport and travel. A carbon tax increases the cost of everything, because everything in our economy depends on fossil fuels.
When the cost of production goes up, the price of the items produced goes up. People buy less, production goes down.
This is what the Prime Minister said would happen:
“It has price impacts. It’s meant to, that’s the whole point,” Ms Gillard said. “If you put a price on something, then people will use less of it.”
But now Simon Crean says money taken from CO2 emitting companies (ie, any company that produces anything) will be fed back into the economy in the form of compensation to consumers:
“The cost to the families will be compensated,” Mr Crean told ABC radio this morning.
“We have made that clear. We will ensure that the compensation is totally adequate. We will return all of the monies raised to people through the tax mechanism.”
So there won’t be price impacts, so people won’t be using less of anything, so there will be no reduction in CO2 output.
So what is the point? What is the Gillard government trying to achieve?
Ms Gillard also warned that Australia would miss out on new green jobs and be left behind the rest of the world if it did not create a “low carbon economy”.
The Verso study finds that after the annual diversion of some 330 million British pounds from the rest of the U.K. economy, the result has been the destruction of 3.7 jobs for every “green” job created.
The study concludes that the “policy to promote renewable energy in the U.K. has an opportunity cost of 10,000 direct jobs in 2009-10 and 1,200 jobs in Scotland.” So British taxpayers, as is the case here in the U.S., are being forced to subsidize a net loss of jobs in a struggling economy.
This is the grand plan: a huge bureaucracy to manage a tax to reduce carbon output that won’t reduce carbon output, and a green job scheme that will cause higher unemployment.
While refusing treatment for a 35 year old mother of two with cancer (cost $40,000), Canada manages to find $42,000 to fund extra classes in French for a dyslexic tax collector.
Here’s part of what he has to say:
These two stories are eloquent expressions – for those still paying attention – of the nature of modern Canada. Bilingualism in its current form, especially as it relates to employment policies in the federal government, is a continual act of appeasement toward Quebecois nationalism. Rather than being an attempt to promote a more bilingual Canada – which is an impracticality – official bilingualism was instead a covert form of pro-Francophone affirmative action.
Yet so central has this policy of appeasement become to our government that nothing is thought of paying a small fortune to educate a dyslexic paper shuffler in French. There is, of course, no practical reason for training this bureaucrat in another language. Unless we are to believe there is a shortage of Francophone tax collectors in Canada.
The myth of national unity through appeasement contrasts with the myth of socialized health care. We are told that a system of socialized medicine is more compassionate than private alternatives. There is nothing in the story of Jill Anzarut that suggests compassion. There is also no such thing as socialized health care. It is a polite euphemism for monopolistic and bureaucratic health care. The Medicare Cult’s defenders argue that the alternative to government care is a heartless free market, interested only in penny pinching and profit making. Does not, however, the actions of the Ministry of Health sound exactly like the caricature of a heartless corporate penny pincher?
In a free market Jill Anzarut would have had the choice to buy private health care insurance that provided coverage for the treatment being sought. Instead she – and the other twelve million residents of Ontario – have no choice in what OHIP will or will not cover.
Just a few things.
1. I note that Channel Ten newsreader Ron Wilson is under attack for suggesting that some parts of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras were an exploitation of sexual imagery, and crossed the line between colourful and disgusting.
I wouldn’t have thought Ron’s questions were all that controversial. The Mardi Gras is deliberately provocative. It provokes by using openly sexual imagery, and by mocking anyone who may be offended by this, or who holds different views about human sexuality or the public display of sexuality.
Ron’s two ‘offensive’ questions came in the context of eight minutes of positive coverage of the Mardi Gras. But this seems to be one of those subjects where there is zero tolerance for diversity of opinion. You can be a supporter of gay rights (as Ron is) but any questioning whatever, of anything, ist verboten. Ron has been forced to apologise.
The outraged demand for an apology is the behaviour of spoilt teenagers, not responsible adults. And given that Mardi Gras participants take it as their right to offend and belittle anyone who disagrees with them, it is also monumentally hypocritical.
2. People tend to believe in global warming when it is warm, and to be sceptical when it is cold. So lots more people in the Northern hemisphere should be coming over to the side of evidence and reason right about now.
3. I thought this was amusing:
From Mitchieville, whose motto is “Think globally, act locally, and demand handouts.”
4. 40 Days for Life runs through Lent – from the 9th of March to the 17th of April.
Being pro-life means being committed to the value of all human life – people are people, and valuable, even if they look different, or are smaller, or less intelligent, or less aware. If a society abandons this insight in relation to the unborn, it will soon abandon it in relation to others.
I noted last August that people seemed to be confused about how much carbon dioxide there was in the atmosphere. Some people thought that CO2 made up half of all the gasses in the atmosphere.
One of Jo Nova’s readers recently asked 100 people questions about the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, and came up with similar results.
The actual amount is about 380 parts per million. Or 0.038%. Or not quite four one hundredths of one percent.
Human contribution to this total is about 3%. No one knows for certain because there is no way of telling human produced CO2 from natural CO2.
In the past there have been much larger natural variations in CO2 levels without any human input.
For example, when many modern green plants developed in the Cretaceous period, CO2 was aprroximately three times its current level. Coral reefs evolved and thrived during the Mesozoic Period, when atmospheric CO2 levels stayed above 1,000 parts per million for 150 million years and exceeded 2,000 parts per million for several million years, compared with 380 ppm now. Any influence of human activity is minor compared with past natural changes.
But we know that human use of fossil fuels does contribute something to current CO2 levels. Calculations (necessarily very approximate) of the amount of CO2 produced by all human activity as a proportion of what we think we know at the moment of the normal natural carbon cycle, gives a figure of about 3%.
So the influence of human CO2 production on atmospheric gasses is about 0.038 x 3% = 0.00114%
Australia’s share of human produced CO2 is 1.5%.
So Australia’s share of the impact of human CO2 production on atmospheric gasses is 0.038 x 3% x 1.5% = 0.0000171%
The Greens/Gillard plan to tax CO2 is intended to increase prices and reduce production so that CO2 output is reduced by 5%.
So the anticipated change to atmospheric gas composition if this plan is successful is 0.038% x 3% x 1.5% x 5%, or 0.000000855%
Australia’s Carbon Tax will change atmospheric gas composition by less than one molecule in 100 million.
Even on the most exuberant alarmist guesses about the impact of CO2 on climate change, the impact of Australia’s Carbon Tax on climate change will be zero. Nothing.
Just to be clear, the only way a CO2 tax can reduce CO2 output is by making corporations and people change their behaviour. It does this by increasing the cost of energy so that energy usage is reduced.
Increasing the cost of energy means more expensive production and therefore reduced production. It means travel and transport are more expensive. This means everything from food to electricity to sleeping bags to tractors, will cost more.
The cost to selected major corporations is already estimated to be over $10 billion. These costs will be passed on to ordinary Australians in the form of price increases. When other companies and costs are factored in, it is likely that the total cost of the Carbon Tax will be well over $25 billion per year.
This is about $1,250 for every Australian. Or $5,000 for every household. To achieve nothing.
Again, $100 per week cost to the average household, to achieve nothing.
Human CO2 production is growing at approximately 3% per year. Australia’s CO2 output is 1.5% of the total. Even if Australia instantly stopped all CO2 output – that is, if we stopped producing anything, driving anywhere, turned off every appliance and all the lights and stopped breathing – the world would have caught up in just six months time.
An Australian Carbon Tax will have no impact on climate whatever.
The only possible reality based argument for the introduction of a carbon tax in Australia is that of leadership. For this argument to hold water, you have to believe the following things:
- The world is getting warmer at an alarming rate.
- This warming is caused by human activity, specifically human production of CO2.
- Reducing CO2 output to pre-industrial levels will stop the warming.
- Less costly mitigation or preparation for climate changes will not work. The warming must be stopped.
- Failure to act will be disastrous.
- If Australia takes the first step, even if it substantially reduces our standard of living, other nations will follow.
- When the whole world acts, the world will be saved.
If even one of those points is refuted, the whole argument fails.
He lived on Kangaroo Island, as I do.
Jamie was a sapper (military engineer and infantryman) in the Australian army. He was killed by insurgents in Afghanistan on February 19th. He was 21 years old.
1,000 people attended his funeral in Kingscote on Friday.
Jamie was known and well liked for his openness, sense of humour and commitment to his community through sport and as a CFS (Country Fire Service) volunteer.
There is a sense of loss in the whole KI community. There is also thankfulness for Jamie’s courage, and for his willingness to undertake duties for his country which were demanding and dangerous.
Prime Minister Gillard said that in honouring Sapper Larcombe she honoured all engineers for their critical work.
“Jamie Larcombe knew why he was in Afghanistan and he did not resile from the job. Australian forces were working under a United Nations mandate, taking the fight to the insurgents, to assist with building governance and capacity, and of course to train the Afghan national army. Jamie Larcombe died doing these three things.
Sapper Larcombe’s loss was not in vain. We best offer his sacrifice by maintaining our resolve and backing his mates as they continue to do the job until the job is done.”
She is right.
Jamie believed in what he was doing. If we believe in it too, then we must not falter in our resolve to continue to help the people of Afghanistan build a safe and stable society.
There is a long way to go.
The Karzai government is duplicitous, lazy and corrupt. The South and East of Afghanistan are still largely controlled by the Taliban, and Western forces struggle to gain the confidence and trust of the local Pashtun people.
But despite the difficulties, there has been extraordinary progress over the last ten years.
According to the World Bank, in 2000 Afghanistan was in the lowest percentile in all six key areas of governance the bank tracks: accountability, rule of law, control of corruption, government effectiveness, regulatory quality, and political stability.
Average income was less than 50c per day, making Afghans amongst the poorest people in the world. Infrastructure, never good to begin with, had collapsed. Roads were not maintained, medical care and educational facilities were almost inoperative.
Only a third of Afghans were able to read or write, and few girls were enrolled in any form of schooling. Over the previous twenty years, as many as fifty percent of Afghans had been killed, wounded or displaced. Less than one fifth of the population had access to clean water.
After the UN (in reality the US and a few key allies like Britain and Australia) intervened following the 9/11 attacks, life for ordinary Afghans began to improve dramatically.
In October 2004 the country held its first ever presidential election. In September 2005, the first parliamentary election since 1973.
GDP increased by 29% in 2002, and averaged 14% growth per year from then to 2009.
By 2008 children were being immunised against diptheria, pertussis (whooping cough) and tetanus at a higher rate than anywhere else in South Asia, and at rates comparable to Western democracies.
School enrolments went from 1 million in 2001 to nearly six million in 2008, and the proportion of female students rose from 2% to nearly 40%.
Roads were repaired, and hospitals opened. Most Afghans now have access to sanitation and clean water.
All of this, the most dramatic growth and improvement in any state and economy since Europe’s post World War 2 recovery, has been a result of the courage and commitment of ordinary men and women like Jamie Larcombe.
Rest in peace, Jamie. And thanks.
Dear Mr Wilkie,
I have been disappointed by your claims of racism in the Liberal party.
As far as I am aware, no Liberal or National Party member of Federal Parliament has made disparaging claims or remarks about any group or person on the basis of race.
Some members of the Liberal Party have expressed concerns about the willingness of some members of a particular religious group to accept Australian law and values.
Concerns about a religious group are not racism.
Those concerns are shared by many Australians.
Australians in general do not have the same level of concern about other religious groups such as Hindus or Buddhists or Lutherans.
If you believe concerns about Islam to be unfounded, then I suggest you counter them with facts showing that Islam genuinely is a religion of peace, that Muslim attitudes to women and homosexuals are compatible with those held by mainstream Australian society, and that Muslim leaders in Australia are consistent in their denunciation of violence and terrorism, and supportive of Australian values and alliances, eg with Israel and the US.
Claims of racism are factually incorrect. They are dishonest.
They will win you temporary headlines.
But Australians are not stupid. False accusations of racism will not distract from this government’s incompetence and broken promises.
Sent this morning. I am guessing I will receive a form reply consisting of a list of imagined Liberal Party offences, and no attempt at all to respond to community concerns with facts.
South Korea has dropped 3 million leaflets into North Korea. The leaflets are about pro-democracy protests in other parts of the world. South Korea has also been sending rice, medicines and radios in baskets attached to balloons.
But what really caught my eye was this complaint from North Korean authorities: ‘When such an incident took place in the past, people used to report their neighbours to the security forces, but now they’re covering for each other.’
Busy at work this morning, but had to stop to comment on the claim this morning from the legacy media that a survey by ‘leading universities’ (I guess as opposed to Australia’s other, less impressive universities) has found that as many as 50% of Australians are racists.
This survey was conducted for something called the ‘Challenging Racism Project.’
The claim that nearly 50% of Australians are racists is based on the fact that 48.6% of those surveyed had concerns about Islam, and the ability of Muslims to integrate successfully into Australian society.
But Islam is not a race. It is dishonest to claim that concerns about the willingness of a religious group to accept Australian law and values is racism.
If the owners of the Challenging Racism Project think these concerns are unfounded, then all they need to do is show that Muslims are no more prone to violence than other Australians, no more likely to commit crime, accept Australia’s laws and alliances (eg with Israel and the US), value women and women’s testimony as highly as mens, tolerate homosexuals, etc.
When influential Islamic groups like the Muslim Brotherhood have a strategy for turning Western democracies into islamic states ruled by sharia law, when a teacher can be brutally attacked on the streets of London for teaching a religious studies class, when islamic schools teach their students that Jews are pigs and monkeys, that Hindus have no intellect and drink cow’s piss, and that disbelievers are the worst of all people, when islamic leaders openly call for the destruction of Israel and anyone who supports it, and for the death of those who disagree with them, then yes, there is a problem.
It isn’t racist to acknowledge this.
Study co-author Dr Yin Paradies, from the University of Melbourne, said racism against minorities was most common in areas that were more highly populated by those minorities.
People who live in areas with high levels of some ethnic or religious groups are more concerned about the behaviour of some members of those groups than people who live in the leafy suburbs of Melbourne. People who know these groups and see them day to day are concerned. People who don’t are not. If prejudice is judging things you don’t know about, who is it who is prejudiced here?
I am not suggesting every concern is justified. But the way forward is not to condemn, but to respect those who have concerns enough to listen, and then either to acknowledge the concerns as justified and work towards a way to resolve them, or to explain carefully and reasonably why the concerns are not justified.
The study showed a darker layer often lies beneath people’s stated support for multiculturalism: while most supported cultural diversity, 24.1 per cent believed diversity could be equated with a ”weak nation”.
I am not sure why the belief that diversity of religious and political views could tend to weaken a nation should be considered evidence of a ‘darker side.’ That view is held unequivocally in most muslim countries. For example: Maldives is a self governed republic and very homogenous society, with one race, one language and one religion. This makes Maldives very peaceful community in terms of domestic violence and cultural problems.
It is not self-evidently true that a country whose citizens have many conflicting views about values, religion, political systems and alliances will be stronger than one whose citizens are in general agreement about those things. I am happy to be convinced. But I won’t be convinced by being called a racist.
One thing I forgot to note. The ‘Challenging Racism Project’ reported on differences in alleged racism between states. It did not report on differences in racism and anti-semitism between various religious and cultural groups.
Data is offered on anti-semitism and genuine racism as if that racism were the exclusive property of white Australians. ‘Challenging Racism’ says it is worried about Australian attitudes to ethnic groups, and to one religious group in particular.
A major factor in the concerns of many Australians about that religious group is that it is intolerant – of other religions and of particular races.
I wonder whether the survey data show that this concern is justified – that there are high rates of anti-semitism, for example, amongst members of that religious group.
In other words, most Australians are worried about that group for the same reasons that Challenging Racism says it is worried about most Australians.
I note in passing that it is the European nations, along with the USA, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, which have been most welcoming of migrants of diverse backgrounds, and most careful to ensure that migrants are treated as equals, regardless of race or creed. And it is those nations, the ones that have shown the least institutional racism of any on earth, which are most commonly accused of being racist.
So I can’t help but wonder what is the real agenda behind those accusations.
Who benefits from them?
The US Congress has voted to cut funding to the IPCC, the bloated and corrupt UN organisation charged with producing scary graphs about climate change.
Of course, the Republicans’ proposed changes to the budget won’t make it through the Senate.
But at least the enviro-crats are no longer having it all their own way.
More from Energy Probe:
In a major victory for American taxpayers, the House of Representatives today passed a budget amendment offered by U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-9) that would prohibit $13 million in taxpayer dollars from going to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), an organization fraught with waste and engaged in dubious science.
The amendment, which is identical to a separate bill sponsored by Luetkemeyer, was passed in a direct challenge to the president’s request to fund the IPCC, which has provided information that purports to support the administration’s call for job-killing cap-and-tax legislation.
Luetkemeyer’s amendment was one of 19 amendments highlighted this week by the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, the nation’s largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government.
“The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is an entity that is fraught with waste and fraud, and engaged in dubious science, which is the last thing hard-working American taxpayers should be paying for at a time of out-of-control spending and historic debt, which is why I am extremely pleased that my amendment passed,” Luetkemeyer said. “It is time for Washington to combat this year’s record budget deficit and fast-growing national debt. This amendment is part of that effort.”
The IPCC advises governments around the world on climate change, and supporters of cap-and-tax legislation have used questionable findings by the IPCC as reason to support onerous legislation. Criticism of this science intensified over the last two years when emails publicly released from a university in England showed that leading global scientists intentionally manipulated climate data and suppressed legitimate arguments in peer-reviewed journals. Researchers were asked to delete and destroy emails so that a small number of climate alarmists could continue to advance their environmental agenda.
More than 700 acclaimed international scientists have challenged the claims made by the IPCC. These 700-plus dissenting scientists are affiliated with institutions like the U.S. Departments of Energy and Defense, the U.S. Air Force and Navy, NASA, and the Environmental Protection Agency.
On the NPR (US public radio) website, Brian Reed writes condescendingly about the benighted residents of Kiribati.
Even in a place as vulnerable as Kiribati, there are skeptics.
“I’m not easily taken by global scientists prophesizing the future,” says Teburoro Tito, the country’s former president and now a member of Parliament.
“Saying we’re going to be under the water, that I don’t believe,” Tito says. “Because people belong to God, and God is not so silly to allow people to perish just like that.”
Tito is not alone in his views. Of the more than 90,000 people counted in Kiribati’s last census, a mere 23 said they did not belong to a church. According to the most recent census, some 55 percent of citizens are Roman Catholic, 36 percent are Protestant and 3 percent are Mormon.
As a result, many are torn between what they hear from scientists and what they read in the Bible.
Silly deniers! If only they’d listen to reason! Then they’d realise their whole country is going to be submerged.
Except that the faith-filled folk of Kiribati are the ones whose views are closer to reality.
This graph shows changes in sea level at Kiribati over the last twenty years:
This graph shows what the rise would look like if the alarmists’ claims were true:
Now a study by scientists in New Zealand and Fiji has found that not only are sea levels in Kiribati and Tuvalu not showing any dangerous long term rising trend, but the islands themselves are growing.
Professor Paul Kench, of Auckland University, who co-authored the study with Dr Arthur Webb, a Fiji-based expert on coastal processes, said the study challenged the view that the islands were sinking as a result of global warming.
“Eighty per cent of the islands we’ve looked at have either remained about the same or, in fact, got larger.
“Some have got dramatically larger,” he said.
“We’ve now got evidence the physical foundations of these islands will still be there in 100 years.”
There is a collision between faith and science. But it is the warmists’ faith, not the faith of Kiribati Christians, which distorts the facts and makes for bad policy.
And it is right to be.
Mohammed ElBaradei says that Israel signed a treaty with Mubarak, not Egypt.
Not one of the parties or movements which could potentially form part of a new Egyptian government is friendly, or even neutral, towards Israel and the West.
Said Abdel-Khalek, former editor in chief of the Wafd Party’s Al-Wafd, said that the conflict with the Jewish state will be renewed because “there isn’t a house in Egypt that doesn’t have a martyr, killed in one of our wars with Israel. There are too many open wounds. I was an officer in the 1973 war and I can’t put my hand in an Israeli’s. And the vast majority of the people share this feeling.”
Let’s be clear: The 1973 Yom Kippur War was an unprovoked attack on Israel by three much larger countries, a war which those countries lost, and an officer for one of the aggressor nations says this was such an offence against the Arab people that it can never be forgiven.
We shouldn’t be surprised by this. Arab national leaders, and leaders of popular movements like the Muslim Brotherhood, have said with absolute consistency that the existence of Israel is an offence that cannot and must not be tolerated.
This means that any attempt by Israel to defend its people or borders is perceived by the Arab world as an unforgiveable act of violence – Israel has no right to exist, so it has no right to defend itself.
Iranian influence is growing in the North, fueled by Amadinejad’s relentless and continuing calls for the destruction of Israel.
In the South, Bahrain’s monarchy is weak, detested by the 70% of the population who are Shi’ite, many of whom will look to Iran for leadership.
After the US abandonment of long time ally Mubarak, the Saudis know that they cannot rely on America for support if the going gets tough. They cannot afford to be isolated. Of necessity, they will now value the US alliance less than the friendship of their neighbours.
Israel too, must now doubt the support it can expect from the US or the UK in the event of any conflict.
From the US, because the US seems to lack the political will to get out of bed in the morning, let alone come to the aid of a friend.
From the UK, because any assistance from the UK in an Arab/Israel conflict would cause a wave of hostility and violence to be stirred up by the UK’s powerful and radical imams.
So Israel is now surrounded by unstable regimes looking for a diversion from their problems, or by states which openly declare their intention to destroy Israel as soon as possible, while its two strongest allies look like they are ducking for cover.
And then there is this – a million Egyptians shouting, ‘To Jeruslaem we go, to be martyrs for the millions.’
Israel is right to be worried.
It has been estimated that 160 people die every minute from malaria or its complications. Malaria is a disease we could eradicate.
Many chemotherapy drugs for treating cancer have highly unpleasant side effects – hair loss, vomiting, intense joint pain, liver damage and fetal defects, to name just a few. But anyone trying to ban the drugs would be tarred, feathered and run out of town. And rightly so.
The drugs’ benefits vastly outweigh their risks. They save lives. We need to use chemo drugs carefully, but we need to use them.
The same commonsense reasoning should apply to the Third World equivalent of chemotherapy drugs: DDT and other insecticides to combat malaria. Up to half a billion people are infected annually by this vicious disease, nearly a million die, countless survivors are left with permanent brain damage, and 90% of this carnage is in sub-Saharan Africa, the most impoverished region on Earth.
These chemicals don’t cure malaria – they prevent it. Used properly, they are effective, and safe. DDT is particularly important. Sprayed once or twice a year on the inside walls of homes, DDT keeps 80% of mosquitoes from entering, irritates those that do enter, so they leave without biting, and kills any that land. No other chemical, at any price, can do this.
Even better, DDT has few adverse side effects – except minor, speculative and imaginary “risks” that are trumpeted on anti-pesticide websites …
Anti-DDT fanaticism built the environmental movement, and gave it funding, power and stature it never had before. No matter how many people get sick and die because health agencies are pressured not to use DDT, or it is totally banned, Environmental Defense, Sierra Club, Greenpeace, Pesticide Action Network, US Environmental Protection Agency and allied activist groups are unlikely to reform or recant.
Worse, they have now been joined by the United Nations Environment Program, Global Environment Facility and even World Health Organization Environmental Division – all of whom share the avowed goal of ending all DDT production by 2017, and banning all use of DDT in disease control by 2020.
More people have died as a result of the fraudulent research leading to bans on the use of DDT than were killed by Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot combined. Yet the UN, governments and environmental organisations continue to support this monstrous policy, and the lies that feed it. And millions of people die as a result.