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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Andrew Bolt leads off after his return from holidays with a tightly written summary of the world-is-hotter-than-ever-the-hockey-stick-proves-it fraud.

There is no doubt now that it really was fraud and not simply incompetence.

The incompetence was discovered by statisticians McIntyre and McKitrick in 2003, and independently confirmed by Edward Wegman.

Now it is clear that there was not only incompetence in the handling of data, but that the data was cherry picked so egregiously there can be no serious doubt that the intention of Mann (the hockey-stick man) and Briffa and their collaborators was to deceive.

A part summary of why on climateaudit.org – essentally the result was based on recordings from just ten trees, carefully selected from over forty.

Interesting comment from a Finnish professor whose specialisations include climate change and carbon cycling:

‘When later generations learn about climate science, they will classify the beginning of 21st century as an embarrassing chapter in history of science. They will wonder our time, and use it as a warning of how the core values and criteria of science were allowed little by little to be forgotten as the actual research topic — climate change — turned into a political and social playground.’

And an example of how science has gone so badly wrong is:

‘.. a study recently published in the prestigious journal Science. It is concluded in the article that the average temperatures in the Arctic region are much higher now than at any time in the past two thousand years. The result may well be true, but the way the researchers ended up with this conclusion raises questions. Proxies have been included selectively, they have been digested, manipulated, filtered, and combined, for example, data collected from Finland in the past by my own colleagues has even been turned upside down such that the warm periods become cold and vice versa. Normally, this would be considered as a scientific forgery.’

Of course Richard Lindzen, possibly the world’s leading atmospheric phycicist, said some years ago that he believed future generations would be astonished by the panic generated by, and money spent trying to control, a perfectly natural cyclic rise of a few tenths of a degree over a century.

In related news, this year’ s Antarctic ice melt is the lowest on record since satellite measurement began, Arctic ice is thicker – under the headline ‘Scientists Predict Ice-Free Summers for Arctic’ (of course) , and another leading scientist says publicy that CO2 emissions are good for the Earth, increase productivity, and do not cause global warming.

Oh, and this weekend may see the earliest snowfalls ever recorded in Chicago, beating the previous record set three years ago. Damn that global warming.

Earliest Recorded Snowfalls in Chicago

Earliest Recorded Snowfalls in Chicago

Only business can. While the government may seem to create jobs when it hires people or buys things, it destroys at least as many jobs as it creates when it does so.

Via Hyscience, which links to this article from the Wall St Journal about the lessons to be learned from government economic policy in Texas and Ohio.

When governments try to create jobs, or stimulate the economy, or support industry or ‘good causes’, they can only do so by taking money from business. Which means fewer people employed, less reason to take the risk of investing in business, reduced production of saleable commodities, lower profits from which to pay taxes, less income to government, less capacity to care for the poor.

Ohio has an economy burdened by high taxes and work rules that impose heavy costs on employers. Texas embraces free trade, keeps taxes low, doesn’t impose unions on business and has tooled itself for 21st century global competition. Ohioans may not like to hear this, but for any company considering where to locate a new plant or move an existing one, the choice between Ohio and Texas isn’t even a close call.

Texas has lower unemployment, higher average personal income, and creates more jobs and more exports.

The lesson is, the less government tries to do, the better off everyone is.

Government cannot create jobs, only business can.

Are you listening Mr Rudd? Mr Obama?

Well, this is cool.

Elizabeth Blackburn was born in Tassie, and studied in Melbourne before completing her doctorate at Cambridge. She is now the Morris Herzstein Professor of Biology and Physiology at the University of California.

Her Nobel prize was awarded for her research into cell aging and regeneration, and in particular, chromosome structure, teleomeres (bits of repetitive DNA at the ends of chomosomes which Professor Blackburn says are like the tips on the ends of shoelaces to keep them unravelling) and telomerase, the enzyme which maintains them.

Well done!

But Blackburn is wrong to support embryonic stem cell research, and the cloning of human beings so that the clone’s tissue and organs can be harvested.

Not only is embryonic stem cell research a waste of money, not having  produced a single useful result (whereas other forms of stem cell research are promising), but more importantly, any culture whose members  deliberately destroy the lives of other human beings to enhance their own longevity or comfort is corrupt and immoral and will fail.

From the always insightful Kate at Small Dead Animals:

In a failed attempt to sway the the IOC’s selection committee into awarding Chicago the 2016 Summer Olympics, which went instead to Rio de Janeiro, the ever-grinning Barack Obama landed in Copenhagen yesterday to deliver a four-“I” plea.

Michelle Obama plied the “wife of I” gambit:

“I was born and raised on Chicago’s South Side, not far from where the Games would open and close,” she said.
(….)
Michelle Obama talked about her late dad who suffered from multiple sclerosis.

Alas, someone in Brazil’s delegation once lived in Rio, and had a great-uncle with angina.

That is a quote from Titus 1:9 – the name of the blog of the Reverend Canon Dr Kendall Harmon. Dr Harmon is a traditionalist Anglican (ie, he is one of the few who persists in believing the things the whole church believed until about twenty years ago). He has good political sense and writes well.

A few recent stories linked to from his blog:

A brief and interesting interview on the reason for the war in Afghanistan, and what needs to be done to make a long-lasting positive outcome more likely. From PBS’ s Religion and Ethics segment.

An editorial from The Tablet (UK), about the recent conviction of four young Britsh Muslims who had been plotting to blow up planes over the Atlantic. The editorial asks sensible questions about what the Islamic community could do to reduce the growth of radicalism and hatred of the West amongst its members, and about what the wider British community, and especially schools, can do to be more successful in teaching Western values.

And finally, from The Times, an article about a ‘secret annexe’ to this year’s International Atomic Energy Agency report on Iran. The annexe claims that Iran already has the information, materials and technology to build an atomic bomb.

The only thing that is in doubt, apparently, is whether they have the will to do it. Given Imanutjob’s rantings about how blasting the Zionist entity from the face of the Earth would be doing the world a favour, and big chief Ayatollah Ali Khomeni’s claim that an Iranian nuclear arsenal would ‘serve Iran as a deterrent in the hands of God’s soldiers,’  I do not find that doubt very encouraging.

More on this from John Robson, concluding with:

So let me translate those newspaper stories into real world language. The Iranian government is building nuclear weapons so it can blow the Jews off the face of the earth, and our leaders have neither the spine to act nor the wit to perceive their own shameful paralysis. It’s that bad.

The title of this post is a quote, not about Australia’s Liberal and National party leadership (though it could be – more about that later), but from an article about China’s official 60th birthday celebrations.

David Burchell, writing in The Australian, points out that there is something obscene about the massive self-congratulation going on in China.

A society that can only survive with the repression of minority religious and ethnic groups, constant and severe censorship of news and internet access, and the control of every part of its citizens’ lives, has no business congratulating itself on anything.

And then, 36 million Chinese died in the famine of 1959-61. This was not a natural disaster, but the result of deliberate and violently enforced policy to coerce millions out of traditional farming and small scale village industry into collective farms and factories. There is no acknowledgement of this man made disaster in official Chinese literature, or of other lives lost in similarly destructive and similarly enforced policies. Well, of course not. That would spoil the party.

What makes David Burchell’s article worth reading is not that he points these things out – they have been pointed out many times before – but this:

Imagining ourselves to be polite, we Westerners avert our eyes from it all. Yet this peculiar, tasteless spectacle of official China locked in joyless self-communion suits us fine. For in truth we’re no more inclined to be confronted with China’s dirty historical laundry than is the Chinese Communist Party itself.

We’re co-dependents, as the psychoanalysts might say. We belong on the same couch.

It is worth the wait through the annoying ads (and the slow download speed) for this interview between a swish CNN interviewer and a rural US car dealer.

Free AK47 with every truck.

Mr Muller, the dealer, is asked whether giving away AK47s is irresponsible. He talks about a family recently murdered by home invaders.

The interviewer talks about growing up as a teenager in rural America. Mr Muller points out that things have changed in the last 30 years (ouch) and his county has a major problem with meth addicts.

She asks why people cannot just rely on the police. He says the police are great, but the response time to his home is 15 minutes. His family could be dead by the time they got there.

She asks why Mr Muller mentions God in his company motto, and asks whether Jesus would wear a gun. He points out they didn’t have guns then.

The whole interview is brilliant. A clash of cleverness with common sense.

I cannot help wonder whether things might have turned out differently for this Australian family, three adults and two children, bludgeoned to death in their home yesterday, if they had been customers of Mr Muller.

A picture has been circulating around the web over the last few days which seems to show President Obama stealing a longing look at a 17 year old girl’s rear end.

I don’t think Obama is a good or capable leader. But it is important to be fair, and a fair assessment of what happened is probably that it was pure co-incidence that Obama happened to be looking in that direction when Mayara Tavares walked by.

It certainly wasn’t co-incidence that Nicolas Sarkozy was looking her direction, however.

This story about the ernormous cost (over $1,000 per taxpayer) of the US’ proposed fast rail system is a few days old. And I like trains. Oh, I said that.

But even so, it is more proof of my view that anything that needs to be subsidised probably shouldn’t be.

That certainly includes wind power, and the arts. Or is that a tautology?

Anyway, governments subsidise things because otherwise they would not be successful. If they would not be sucessful without subsidies, they won’t be successful for long even with subsidies.

In the meantime, they cost you money even if you don’t use them, and cost jobs as well.

Not in Iran, obviously, even though that election was almost certainly rigged, hundreds of protestors have been killed, arrested or simply ‘disappeared,’ and British embassy staff are to be tried on trumped up charges of stirring up revolt against the government, because the government of Iran is made up of nutjobs who simply refuse to believe that their own people would protest on their own intiative.

Well, why would you meddle ? Everything’s cool there. These are new times. We are speaking a new language of co-operation.  This is change you can believe in.

But get your meddling shoes on and head down to Honduras, baby, cause somethin’s going on down there.

Yes. What went on down there was that the process of law stopped a would be dictator from bending the rules to extend his power and time in office.

In other words, the processes of democracy and law worked.

It can’t be allowed. Something should be done. Or that’s what BO seems to think.

Maybe she is looking ahead to the 2012 presidential election. Good luck to her if so. She has vastly more experience of real life and of running things, making decisions and managing budgets that work than the present astonishingly inept incumbent.

Or maybe she has just had enough of the fountains of filth directed at her and her children. She deserves to be raped for not being a nice liberal lass, they deserve to be raped because they are her children, having a Down Syndrome baby instead of an abortion means she wants to breed a nation of retards, etc, etc, you get the idea. 

Left wing organisations respond to news of her resignation with (take a minute, guess…) attacks on her children.

These, of course, are from people who support the new, changed, more inclusive and compassionate leadership of the great BO.

Whatever qualifications to be president he has or does not have, Barack Hussein Obama is not disqualified by his birth.

There really is adequate proof that he was born in the US. Conservatives who continue to obsess about this are making themselves look like idiots, and consequently, doing the liberals a great favour.

Move on!

Numbers can prove lots of things. But not in the case of supposed election fraud in Iran.

Bernd Beber and Alexandra Scacco’s  Washington Post story of statistical anomalies seems at first read to prove the Iranian election was a fraud. I would have been happy to have been convinced. Sadly (because having that proof would have made complaints of a lack of concern for democracy against the government of Iran much stronger) the numbers prove nothing of the sort.

John Graham-Cumming explains (from a statistician’s point of view) why the Washington Post’s analysis is faulty. I found his article hard going in places (I did stats at university when I studied psychology, but only one semester).

Hannah Devlin’s article on Times Online is a bit easier to follow.

This doesn’t mean the election was OK. I still think it probably was not. It just means statistics based on oddities in the count are not going to give us a definitive answer.

After two weeks of protests over the possibly rigged re-election of Iranian President Imanutjob in which twenty people were killed and hundreds arrested, things are back to normal in Iran.

Irans’ supreme executive body, Guardian Council, has refused to annul the elections. A spokesman for the council said they were “among the healthiest elections ever held in the country”.

Given Iran’s history, that may well be true.

G8 foreign ministers have issued a statement saying they intend to write a letter saying how angry they are.

Oh, sorry. I was almost right. The statement says they deplore the post-election violence, and urge Iran to resolve the crisis through democratic dialogue.

Seinfield should find out who their writer is and give him a job.

Meanwhile President Obama has issued a stern warning that if the violence keeps up, he may be forced to consider using adverbs.

But there are some possible positives:

Regardless of any change in Iranian domestic politics, the crackdown could influence the Middle East by undercutting public support for Islamist groups and perhaps by pushing others to reevaluate their ties with the country.

The scenes of Muslims being killed by other Muslims for voicing their beliefs will “weaken the argument of Islamists in the region who have been holding Iran up as a model,” Palestinian analyst and pollster Ghassan Khatib wrote in the online publication Bitterlemons.org. “The damage is irreversible regardless of the outcome” and could affect debate within Palestinian society divided between Hamas and the more moderate (read, slightly less nasty) Fatah movement.

And then, like Neville Chamberlain, Barack Obama may begin to realise that being nice to dictators does not mean that they will be nice to you.

I am not sure that some of the criticism directed at President Barack Obama over his reticence to comment on the Iran election is entirely fair.

He can reasonably comment on the brutal suppression of dissent, and he has recently done so.

But given the lack of clarity about the election result, and the West’s history of poor understanding of popular feeling in Iran, it seems wisest to restrain (as Obama has done) from making any public statements questioning the way the election was run, or its result.

Some organisations have claimed there is evidence the election was fixed. They might be right. But without clear evidence, claims that this is so by governments are likely to do more harm than good.

Whether we like it or not, Imanutjob is a popular figure in Iran, not least because he is percieved to have stood up to the US. For the US to interfere, even to make public comment, is as likely to strengthen conservative elements in Iran as to give comfort to the protestors and others who want a more liberal regime.

Meanwhile, violence continues, and Iran makes progress towards the development of nuclear weapons.

On the other hand, Obama deserves far more criticism than he has so far received for the sacking of Inspector General Gerald Walpin.

Inspectors General have wide powers to investigate corruption, and are supposed to be free from the threat of politcally based dismissal. The president is obliged to give an IG 30 days notice, and to advise Congress of specific reasons for a dismissal. Obama did neither of those things.

Gerald Walpin was investigating possible misue of charity funds by a major Obama campaign donor. He was doing his job. He was fired. As far as I can tell, this story, which broke  a week ago, has only appeared on Fox News and on right-wing blogs. Why?