Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category
No blow too low!
That could well be the motto of some of Australia’s legacy media outlets.
The latest example is the claim that Tony Abbott made light of an Australian soldier’s death by saying ‘Well, shit happens.’
He did say that. But not about the soldier’s death.
The claim that he did is simply, and outrageously, dishonest. But I guess it makes a good headline.
Sometimes I wonder how some of these slimo journalists can sleep at night. Anyone who works for the fag end of Australian news organisations, Channel 7, for example:
In a 7 News exclusive, Tony Abbott has been caught on tape making an insensitive remark about one of our fallen soldiers while visiting Afghanistan.
What Channel 7 means by ‘exclusive’ is that they made it up all by themselves.
But whatever the garbage is, it won’t be exclusive for long. Other losers like Malcolm Fart, sorry Farr, national editor for making stuff up and ripping off other people’s stories at news.com, can be relied on to repeat anything as gospel if they think it will gain a few more readers.
So what was Tony talking about? The fact that, no matter how well tactics are planned and resources allocated, in battle things will sometimes go wrong, and when they do, this does not mean anyone is to blame.
Mark Riley – the dim-witted self righteous arse at Channel 7 who made up this story – deserves a lot more than 45 seconds of silence and a stony glare.
If any integrity at all was required for a job with Australia’s mainstream media he would be out on his shiny bum.
Kristina Keneally has one significant advantage in announcing policies (I use the word loosely): she doesn’t have to worry about being around to implement them.
With that knowledge, it’s a surprise that the fag end of New South Wales government hasn’t gone much further than yesterday’s $250 electricity rebate giveaway. Why stop there? How about a $500 rebate on gas bills, $1000 cash back on bus tickets and $2000 for dog registration? And a free airconditioner personally installed by Mark Taylor just for asking?
‘Don’t worry about the Muslim Brotherhood’, President Obama is reported as saying, ‘they don’t have majority support.’
Maybe not, but they do have majority support for the majority of things they believe in – an islamist state, sharia law, beheading people who leave islam, stoning adulters, war with Israel, etc.
And they are the only well organised opposition, the only opposition likely to be able to field and fund a large number of candidates.
I heartily agree with the implied answers to President George Bush’s rhetorical questions about freedom and democracy in the Middle East.
People in Islamic countries should be able to choose those who govern them, should have economic freedom, freedom of movement and religion.
They should. But it is counter-factual to write off as ‘cultural condescension’ a suggestion that a commitment to Islam may be very difficult to combine with a commitment to democracy.
Democratic government does not instantly result in everyone’s suddenly deciding to abandon old enmities, to foreswear the use of violence in the resolution of political debate, and to work together for the good of all.
In 2003 Robert Congleton set out some Economic and Cultural Prerequisites for Democracy.
Perhaps the key pre-requisite for effective democratic government is a commitment by every citizen, or at least, an overwhelming majority of them, to the rule of law.
This means being willing to accept a government you don’t like and didn’t vote for, which takes your money to do things you don’t believe in.
Every Muslim is required to work for the implementation of sharia law. Sharia means, amongst other things:
No freedom of religion
No equal rights for women
No freedom of speech
No freedom of thought
No freedom of artistic expression
No freedom of the press
Justice does not apply equally to all – there are different rules for Muslim males and for women and non-Muslims.
Gays and lesbians subject to the death penalty
Girls as young as nine can be married and divorced
In theory, democracy is incompatible with sharia. A democratic government means equal weight is given to the opinions of muslims and non muslims. And a democratic government could introduce laws contrary to sharia.
By all means let’s work for democracy in Islamic countries. But let’s not be naive. To a large number of muslim leaders in those countries, such efforts are another example of the imposition of corrupt Western values on islamic people.
It won’t be easy. And we shouldn’t expect any thanks.
Hosni Mubarak took over as president after his friend and mentor Anwar Sadat was murdered in 1981 by islamic extremists.
Over the past thirty years, Mubarak has confirmed and strengthened the fragile peace negotiated by Sadat between Israel and Egypt.
He has worked with, and counted as friends, successive American presidents and UK Prime Ministers.
He has comdemned the use of violence by extremist groups. To give just one example, after the Israeli ‘Cast Lead’ operation to stop incessant rocket attacks from Gaza, Mubarak said that Hamas was to blame for spilled Arab blood, and that resistance movements must take responsibility for the welfare of their people.
His friendships with Western leaders, and his recognition of Israel and its right to exist have been dangerous for him, as they were for Anwar Sadat, and have cost him political and popular support.
Despite the ‘no see, no tell’ policy of some media organisations, independent sources have pointed out that one of the reasons for protests against Mubarak is precisely that he is perceived to be a ‘Jew lover’ and a traitor to Islam.
Egypt is no paradise. There is widespread poverty and corruption. I have been alarmed at the lack of action by authorities to protect Coptic Christians and other minority groups.
But most of Egypt’s problems persist in spite of Mubarak’s efforts, not because of them.
Nine out of ten women in Egypt suffer the mutilation called female circumcision. Mubarak has twice outlawed this practice, without success – the imams say it part of the islamic faith. He has encouraged his wife to be active in promoting education for women, and in lobbying for an end to FGM.
He has ruled over a country in which 82% of the population believe adulterers should be stoned, 84% believe apostates from Islam should face the death penalty, and 77% believe thieves should be flogged or have their hands cut off.
These same people want democracy. In a country in which the only credible opposition is the Islamic Brotherhood.
Supporters of the Islamic Brotherhood protesting in London make clear what history makes obvious – that democracy and sharia are incompatible. The Islamic Brotherhood wants democracy only long enough to implement islamic law.
This is all the more astonishing after the failure of either the US or Australia, or any other major Western power, to offer unqualified support to the Iranian protestors a year ago, protests against a genuinely vile and violent regime.
Israel has been dismayed, not only by the threat to its own security should the Islamic Brotherhood take control of Egypt, but by the wholesale and opportunistic abandoment of one of the West’s key allies in the Middle-east.
Other states friendly with the US will be watching closely. Why should Yemen or Saudi Arabia, for example, or Israel, have any faith in American promises of friendship and support?
Not that Obama’s actions are winning him any friends. The general view in the Middle-east seems to be that the US is selling out its allies and interfering in Egypt’s affairs in pursuit of its own agenda.
Hosni Mubarak, and the people of Egypt, deserve better from the West.
Right up there with the great moral challenge of our time.
Having a single government funder of health services would help to prevent some of the bickering between Sate and federal governments, and reduce some of the cost of bureacratic oversight in health service delivery. So more money could be spent on actual medical care.
Well, maybe that’s wishful thinking. Reducing the size of a bureaucracy is a bit like trying to clean out the Augean stables. The crap just keeps flowing in. But Hercules managed it, so why not Julia Gillard?
Anyway, Julia seems to be thinking the same thing. Or something. Because the ‘important, historic Labor health reforms’ of 60% funding of state health services in return for a reduced portion of GST might be replaced by something else.
Something like the Liberal Party’s policy of direct funding to hospitals, bypassing state government coffers and management altogether.
This is a good idea, for the reasons outlined above. Fewer layers of government oversight mean more local autonomy, more responsiveness to community needs, less cost, more money for services.
But the delays and dithering make this yet another stuff up, run around, prevaricating around the bush episode by this utterly inept government.
Federal opposition health spokesman Peter Dutton says Prime Minister Julia Gillard makes her predecessor Kevin Rudd and former environment minister Peter Garrett look competent.
The Prime Minister is more incompetent than Kevin Rudd? Or the Minister for Plastic Bags and Pussy Cats?
Amazingly, this might be true. Has anything they have done worked? Has any policy when implemented had the results we were promised?
People tell lies, or use statistics, which frequently amounts to the same thing, to get what they want.
Most people acknowledge that telling lies is a bad thing. In general. But in this particular case, their case, the positive outcome justifies a little liberality with the facts.
So the liberal media proclaims about such malicious misportrayals as those in ‘The Rabbit Proof Fence,’ ‘OK, it is completely false, but it speaks to a larger truth.’
No it doesn’t. Lies don’t ‘speak to anything’ except the dishonesty of those who repeat them.
“A reporter might take liberties with the factual circumstances to make the larger truth clear.” O large, large truth. Apparently Mr. Reid believes that imposing a truth is the same as arriving at one. Illogically, he also seems to think that truths may be disclosed through lies.
Lies are like the one ring. You might think that if you only use it once or twice, in an emergency, you will get what you want, and no harm will be done.
But like the ring, lies cannot be used except in a way that benefits the enemy. They always, ultimately, work to do harm.
The global warming lobby is a perfect example of this. Lies. To gain more funding. To do useful, valuable research.
But it wasn’t useful research. And the money was diverted from other, genuine research or infrastructure development which could have saved lives, encouraged democracy, produced useful goods and services, etc. And those same lies have discredited science and scientists.
Just as repeated media lies in the interests of ‘the larger truth’ discredit journalists.
Honest scientists and honest journalists should be very annoyed.
Another long standing group of lies relates to domestic violence.
Christina Hoff Summers has more on this in an article on USA Today:
During the 2010 World Cup, British newspapers carried stories with headlines such as “Women’s World Cup Abuse Nightmare” and informed women that the games could uncover “for the first time, a darker side to their partner.” Fortunately, a BBC program called Law in Action took the unusual route pioneered by Ringle: The news people actually checked the facts. Their conclusion: a stunt based on cherry-picked figures.
But when the BBC journalists presented the deputy chief constable, Carmel Napier, from the town of Gwent with evidence that the World Cup abuse campaign was based on twisted statistics, she replied: “If it has saved lives, then it is worth it.”
It is not worth it. Misinformation leads to misdirected policies that fail to target the true causes of violence. Worse, those who promulgate false statistics about domestic violence, however well-meaning, promote prejudice. Most of the exaggerated claims implicate the average male in a social atrocity. Why do that? Anti-male misandry, like anti-female misogyny, is unjust and dangerous. …
Worst of all, misinformation about violence against women suggests a false moral equivalence between societies where women are protected by law and those where they are not. American and British societies are not perfect, but we have long ago decided that violence against women is barbaric. By contrast, the Islamic Republic of Iran — where it is legal to bury an adulterous woman up to her neck and stone her — was last year granted a seat on the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad defended the decision by noting Iranian women are far better off than women in the West. “What is left of women’s dignity in the West?” he asked. He then came up with a statistic to drive home his point: “In Europe almost 70% of housewives are beaten by their husbands.”
That was a self-serving lie. Western women, with few exceptions, are safe and free. Iranian women are neither. Officials like Attorney General Holder, the deputy constable of Gwent, and the activists and journalists who promoted the Super Bowl and World Cup hoaxes, unwittingly contribute to such twisted deceptions.
Victims of intimate violence are best served by the truth.
Indeed. And so are the rest of us.
More about Egypt a bit later, but for now, these tidbits from the Daily Mail:
And a selection of creative protective headgear in case one happens to be hit by a peace-loving stone:
Oh, it’s so warm and cuddly.
Liberal progressives are forgiving, inclusive, welcoming of those who disagree with them. And of course, they never use violent or malicious rhetoric.
Just listen to the bile and hatred from some of these folks: Clarence Thomas should be impeached, tortured, sent back to the planatation, and strung up, along with his wife.
Climate change alarmists need to be called to account.
When they talk about global warming, they actually mean three separate things:
1. The world is getting warmer in an unprecedented, or at least highly unusual and alarming, way.
2. This unusual warming is caused by human activity, specifically, the use of fossil fuels.
3. The world getting warmer is a bad thing.
Is the world getting warmer at an unusual rate?
No one argues about the fact that the world is getting warmer.
But the last century has been one of remarkable climate stability. There has been an average global temperature increase of less than 1 degreee Celsius over the last 100 years.
Given that we have just come out of a period of extreme cold that lasted for 500 years, this minor increase is neither unusual or alarming.
This very small rate of warming has continued unchanged except for minor fluctuations for the last 150 years. There is no evidence of any correlation between temperature change and human activity.
The real ‘climate change deniers’ are the global warming alarmists, who persistently ignore or downplay much faster and larger historical changes in climate, or worse, deliberately alter data to make past temperatures look colder, and recent records look warmer.
Everyone has heard of the HadCRUT/Mann/‘hide the decline’ alterations to the twentieth century temperature record.
But even little New Zealand’s official record keepers have done the same thing – changing the temperature record to hide the fact the raw temperature data show no warming at all.
Organisations which depend on creating alarm over alleged climate change in order to gain funding cannot make their case without lies and exaggerations.
More recently the NASA GISS records have been tampered with in the same way.
Comparing the data they offered as fact in 1999 with data they assure us is correct now, it takes two seconds to see that over that ten year period, earlier temperatures have been reduced, while later temperatures have been increased. The resulting graphs change from one that shows a mild and moderate increase in temperature, to one that shows a much greater increase.
Climate change alarmists need to be called to account.
‘Recent extreme weather events are because of global warming!’
Really? Is there any real world evidence of an increase in the number or intensity of extreme weather events?
‘Our modelling shows…’ No. Forget the computer games. Is there any evidence of an increase in extreme weather events.?
“Sea levels will rise catastrophically!’
Really? Is there any real world evidence of an increase in the rate of sea level rise?
‘Our modelling shows…’ No. Forget the computer games. Is there any evidence of an increase in the rate of sea level rise?
‘The world is warming at an unprecedented rate!’
Really? Is there any real world evidence that recent climate change has been unusual?
‘Our modelling shows…’ No. Forget the computer games. Is there any evidence of unusual warming over the last century?
‘Damaging climate change is caused by human activity! We have to stop using fossil fuels!’
Really? Is there any real world evidence of a correlation between human activity and changes in global temperature?
‘Our modelling shows…’ No. Forget the computer games. Is there any evidence of correlation between human activity and climate change?
Over 100 billion dollars has been spent on this farce.
This money, completely wasted, could have made a real difference if spent on, for example:
- Real environmental issues.
- Disaster – flood/fire/cyclone – preparation and mitigation.
- Fusion research.
- Building roads, hospitals, schools or other infrastructure.
- Eradicating malaria, measles, polio.
The list could go on…
Climate change alarmists need to be called to account.
The climate change farce has to stop.
You may have heard about Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s response to Obama’s State of the Union speech. All the dumb things she said. And how she is so dumb she wasn’t even looking at the right camera.
Here it is. Judge for yourself:
Glacier retreat has been one of the key pieces of evidence in the warming alarmists’ campaign against cheap fuel and the world economy that depends on it. Himalayan glaciers are melting!
Never mind the fact that even if the world were warming, this would prove nothing about why it is warming. Less than 1 degree Celsius of warming in the last hundred years as we come out of an extended period of intense cold does not seem either unnatural or alarming to me.
But now we know the Himalayan glaciers are not melting. And the IPCC research that said they were was one phone call with one scientist who had no evidence to back up that claim at all. But that’s the IPCC. No facts necessary.
Investors.com notes that with the collapse of the ‘glaciers are retreating and it’s our fault’ claim, the whole ‘climate change = human caused disaster’ story seems to be melting away. But they also note that Ed Josberger, a researcher for the U.S. Geological Survey, now claims that glacial expansion is proof of global warming.
Oh, those global warming guys: ‘Australia is in for extended drought. Dams will never be full again. When this happens it will prove what we have been saying is true.’
Then there are huge floods, dams are overflowing. ‘Hey everyone, we said this would happen. This proves what we have been saying is right.’
‘Glaciers everywhere are melting. This proves global warming is real. Stop driving those SUVs you rednecks. Act now or it will be too late.’
But many glaciers are growing. ‘Yeah, we said this would happen. This proves global warming is real. Increase our funding or it will be too late.’
This Ramirez cartoon sums up the present state of the debate:
Meanwhile, back at the ranch…
Politicians are dreaming up ways to look responsible and caring by creating ‘green jobs’ which will help end unemployment and the global warming crisis at the same time.
Except that we already know there is no global warming crisis, and that every ‘green job’ created costs two real jobs.
Spain, the darling of the green jobs lobby, now has the highest rate of unemployment in the industrialised world – over 20% – and is struggling to win the trust of lenders and trading partners.
So naturally Obama in the US and Gillard in Australia are saying ‘I’ll have what she’s having.’
None of these are places I would choose to live. And since Islamic states generate most of the world’s refugees, I guess lots of other people would choose not to live there either. If they had the choice.
So it is not surprising that residents of those countries want things to change.
Many of the protestors across the Arab world seem initially to have been motivated by increasing food prices. Algeria’s frantic purchase of a million tons of wheat may not be enough to save its government.
Bookworm Room has some interesting, and only partially tongue in cheek thoughts on this, sugggesting global warming hysteria is a major root cause of the present riots:
2. As part of their apocalyptic battle against rising seas and dying polar bears, warmists declare ethanol is one of the answers (never mind that it turns out that it takes 1.5 gallons of fossil fuel to produce a gallon of ethanol).
3. Did I mention that ethanol comes from corn? In the old days, people used to eat corn. Now they drive it.
4. To satisfy the panic-stricken need for drivable corn, food crops are diverted into fuel production.
5. The cost of staples rises substantially around the world.
5. In 2008, food riots break out, including riots in Egypt.
Bookworm Room links to this Business and Media Institute article on ethanol production, rising food prices and riots. Even Al Gore has acknowledged the problems the ethanol campaign has caused.
Whatever the intial cause of the rioting – hunger, a desire for greater freedom, perceived alliance of some leaders with the West, trouble-making by Mossad (wait for it) – radical islamists are using the widespread dissatisfaction to grow their own powerbases.
In Jordan, for example, protests are being organised by the Islamic Action Front, the only real opposition party in Jordan, and the political wing of the Islamic Brotherhood.
The same is true in Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood are supporting Mohamed ElBaradei. Mr ElBaradei is not a liberal, or even a moderate, despite his history of involvement in Western organisations.
These are not pro-democracy protests. The Muslim Brotherhood is not a democratic organisation. It regards democracy as contrary to the Koran, and the practice of sharia.
I hope I am wrong about this, but I see nothing hopeful for the West, or democracy, or North Africa or the Middle East, in the current political unrest in the Arab world. It could very well be the beginning of a widespread political implementation of sharia and radical Islam.
Four of New York’s seven worst ever recorded snow storms have occurred since 2003.
This January has been new York’s snowiest since records have been kept, breaking a record that goes back to 1925. January 26th also broke the 1871 record for the most snow to fall in one day.
Records for cold and snow are being broken across the northern hemisphere. In Korea, for example.
But that’s just weather. It doesn’t mean anything. No one could have predicted it.
Except that Piers Corbyn did. Based on science. Against the global warming establishment.
So did the Farmer’s Almanac. Based on science. Against the global warming establishment:
And it’s going to keep getting colder.
At work, but just had to take a moment to pop in these brief comments from Sarah Palin on President Obama’s STUFU speech:
No, that is not my Native American name.
Gary Jason at Liberty Unbound draws attention to two recent WSJ articles about the cost of ‘green’ subsidies.
The first is about those annoying annoying and expensive energy saving light bulbs:
California’s utilities alone spent $548 million over the past seven years in CFL subsidies. In fact, California utilities have subsidized over 100 million CFLs since 2006. And on the first of this year, the state started phasing out incandescent bulb sales.
Of course, when I say that the California utilities have been subsidizing the CFLs, I really should say that the aforementioned hapless consumers have been doing so, because all the subsidy money — about $2.70 out of the actual $4.00 cost of the CFL, i.e., more than two thirds of the actual cost — is paid by the consumer in the form of higher utility rates.
Naturally, the rest of the country — and, for that matter, the world — is set to follow California’s lead on CFLs. A federal law effective January 1 of next year will require a 28% step-up in efficiency for incandescent bulbs, and bans them outright by 2014. One consequence of this federal policy — unintended, perhaps, but none the less foreseeable — is that the last US plant making incandescent bulbs has been shut down, and China (which now makes all the CFLs) has seen even more of a jobs expansion, and is able to buy even more of our debt.
But now — surprise! — California has discovered that the actual energy savings of switching to CFLs were nowhere near what was originally estimated. Pacific Gas and Electric, which in 2006 set up the biggest subsidy fund for CFLs, found that its actual savings from the CFL program were collectively about 450 million kilowatt hours, which is only about one-fourth of the original estimate.
And of course, they contain mercury, and you are not supposed to put them in the trash, they don’t last nearly as long as the manufacturers claimed they would, the light they produce looks artificial, and there are stories of their exploding.
So they cost jobs, are expensive, potentially dangerous, and don’t save much energy. Naturally perfect candidates for extensive government subsidies.
The second article is about the abject failure of big wind (the multi-billion dollar wind and solar power industry) to make any appreciable contribution to electricity needs, while consuming vast sums of taxpayer money:
The second Journal story (Jan. 18) reports that Evergreen Solar has closed its Massachusetts plant and laid off all the workers there.
This is deliciously ironic. Evergreen Solar was the darling of Massachusetts. Governor Deval Patrick, devout green and all-around Obama Mini-Me, gave Evergreen a package of $58 million in tax incentives, grants, and other handouts to open a solar panel plant there. In doing so, he simply ignored Evergreen’s lousy track record — a record of losing nearly $700 million bucks in its short life (its IPO was in 2000), despite lavish subsidies from federal and state governments.
Now Evergreen is outsourcing its operations, blaming competition with China, and whining like a bitchslapped baby about China’s subsidies of its solar energy and its lower labor costs. But Evergreen has itself sucked up ludicrously lavish subsidies, and it knew all along about China’s labor rates compared to Massachusetts’ …
It turns out that the wind industry — aptly dubbed “Big Wind” — copped a one-year, $3 billion extension of government support for wind power. It was part of the end-of-2010 tax deal.
Originally, this government subsidy was a feature of the infamous 2008 stimulus bill, under which taxpayers were forced to cover 30% of the costs of wind power projects. The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) begged for the subsequent bailout, because without it 20,000 wind power jobs would be lost (one-fourth of all such jobs in America). But despite the billions in subsidies, Big Wind is sucking wind; its allure is dropping like a stone. The AWEA’s own figures show a 72% decline in wind turbine installations from 2009, down to the lowest since 2006.
Besides trying to make the 30% subsidy(!) permanent, the AWEA is pushing for a national “renewable energy” mandate that will force utilities to buy a large chunk of the power they sell from renewable sources (mainly solar and wind), irrespective of the fact that the price of renewable energy is sky high. The association has gotten more than half the states to enact such mandates, with higher energy bills for consumers as the result.
The cost of energy is the base cost of every mined, grown and manufactured item. So why are current administrations in both Australia and the US putting such enormous amounts of taxpayer money into schemes which make energy more expensive?
I don’t think there is any devious leftist plan to undermine primary industry and manufacturing.
It is just wanting to look ‘green.’ Sheer stupidity.
Of course, talking of big wind, President Obama in his STUFU address last night called for a massive increase in investment in remewable energy.
So we and the US are to follow where Spain and Germany have bravely gone before. On a short day’s journey into a cold dark night.