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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Given that dogs are unclean, definitely not halal (permitted), I can see why this would be an unpoular menu option. Dog meat plus chemicals. Yum.

While not exactly ‘hitting out at the US Congress,‘ as his words were described, Simon Crean, Australian Federal Minister for Trade, is right to express concern about increased trade barriers in the proposed porkulus package.

I thought one of things President Obama wanted to do was open a new era in US co-operation and friendship with the world. Setting up trade barriers is not going to do it. The impact on Australia may be substantial, but we’ll cope. The impact on developing countries will lead to increased poverty, and growing resentment of the way the US uses its economic power.

Way to make friends, BO.

I don’t blame them.

This kind of thing is amusing when you read about it happening half way round the world, but I don’t think I’d like crowds of naked hikers strolling around my neighbourhood.

Good for him.

He’ll be pulled into line, of course, but he’s right.

No alternative to military tribunals is in place, so their shutdown could see cases like this being transferred to civil courts which are not equipped to deal with them, or delayed indefinitely.

Politically motivated delays won’t serve the cause of justice for the suspects, for families of the Cole or other terror victims, or for the American public.

About 20% of all cancers are caused by virus infections. For example, most cervical cancers are caused by the sexually transmitted HPV (Human Papilloma Virus). Gardasil, commonly but inaccurately called a cervical cancer vaccine, prevents infection with common forms of HPV.

Scientists in South Australia are hoping to develop ‘A viable platform technology that will form the basis of a vaccine that would not only prevent, but could cure a range of chronic viruses even after they’ve become established in the body.’

This would help to prevent not only HPV and cervical cancer, but other cancers such as liver cancer, which can be caused by hepatitis infection.

Let’s hope it works.

Andrew Bolt points out that while Climate Change Minister Penny Wong was claiming that the recent heatwave in southern Australia was proof of global warming, most of Australia actually had below average temperatures for this time of year.

I know a couple of months of cooler than average temperatures don’t prove the world is getting cooler. Nor do a couple of days of hotter than average temperatures prove the world is getting warmer.

See earlier entries for more on perky Penny’s panicky plans.

Below average temperatures in most of Australia

No surprise, given how strong the FBI audio tape evidence semed to be.

Illinois senators ‘found Mr Blagojevich guilty of engaging in a lengthy pattern of pay-to-play politics in which he traded campaign donations for political favors and tried to swap his ability to pick Mr Obama’s replacement for a cabinet post, ambassadorship or high-paying job for himself or his spouse.’ Amongst other things, prosecutors say ‘tapes show Mr Blagojevich pressuring a racetrack owner for a hefty campaign donation in exchange for help passing favorable legislation.’

Two notable things about this. First, Blagojevich genuinely seems baffled by what has happened, and unable to comprehend that he has done anything wrong. He claimed that senators from both sides had been involved in all of the projects and processes now being described as corrupt. They didn’t seem to like that.

And second, five of the past nine Illinois governors have been indicted or arrested for fraud or bribery. Mr Blagojevich’s predecessor is serving a six-and-a-half year sentence for fraud and racketeering.

Interesting place.

Might be better than the astonishing mess that is being rammed through the complexities of US legislative processes as I write.

Of course homeopathy is complete bunk. There is not a shred of reliable, tested evidence that it works. So how is it that in at least two instances, the Spanish Flu Epidemic of the early 1990s, and the London cholera epidemic of 1854, homeopathic hospitals had markedly better recovery rates than standard hospitals?

The answer is that many of the traditional treatments for those diseases, bleeding, purging, etc, were actively harmful. The homeopathic remedies did nothing. Nothing was better.

Ditto for economic stimulus proposals. The traditional treatment amongst liberals for a slowing economy is to take money from some people and give it to other people, and encourage them to spend it. This is actively harmful, because the people from whom the money is taken are in large part those who are employing others, making useful products, or providing useful services. Penalising these people and organisations is massively counter-productive, to the point of outright stupidity.

Like it or not, every working economy depends on profitable businesses. The way to stimulate economic activity is to encourage those who are productive through tax cuts, by making it easier to employ people, and by reducing the costs of doing business, including compliance costs. If governments can’t do something useful, they should at least have the decency to do nothing. Nothing would be better.

Roger Kimball reports some interesting stimulus (as opposed to porkulus) proposals from Rush Limbaugh. The difference is, his suggestions might actually work. 

Israel closed its crossings into Gaza on Tuesday after a bomb attack on the Israel-Gaza border killed an Israeli soldier. The crossings were later re-opened, allowing 174 trucks of food and other aid into Gaza on Wednesday, and 149 on Thursday.

But the crossing from Egypt at Rafah remains closed, with some two dozen aid trucks waiting to go through. Local Egytian officials say they do not know why.

It is obvious to everyone that controlled border crossings need to be open to allow aid into Gaza. Hamas launches attacks on border crossings, and steals aid and sells it to the highest bidder, yet Israel keeps its crossings open and allows hundreds of aid trucks through. But directions from high in the Egyptian government command that the Rafah crossing should be closed. Why?

Egypt doesn’t want Hamas in control of Gaza any more than Israel does. As long as Hamas is in charge, there will be no peace with Israel, and no lasting reconstruction or building of infrastructure. The best outcome for the people of Gaza, and for neighbouring nations like Israel and Egypt, is a change of regime. This cannot be imposed – it has to come from the Palestinian people.

There is no doubt many wish for change. But with stories like this, of Hamas torturing and murdering anyone who opposes them, it will take a huge amount of courage from a few, or a massive popular rebellion from the people of Gaza for that change to come. Perhaps Egypt is hoping that frustration and desperation as people wait for aid, along with the manifest mismanagement and aggression of Hamas, will be a sufficient driver to motivate such a rebellion.

It is hard not to share Jennifer Marohasy’s frustration at at the mainstream media’s failure to report this:

‘a wide-ranging survey of glacier conditions across south eastern Greenland, indicates that glacier melt has slowed significantly and that it would be wrong to attribute the higher rates of melt prior to 2005 to global warming or to extrapolate the higher melt rates of a few years ago into the future.’

But unlike Jennifer, while disappointed, I’m not surprised.

This is an important story because the whole ‘Oh my God, the ice is melting, the seas are rising, please give us lots of money’ campaign is based on the alleged melting of Greenland’s glaciers and ice sheet. Ice in the Arctic is floating, so even if that melts in an unusual way it will have no effect on sea level. As I have noted before, a rise from -45 degrees to -40 degrees in Antarctica is not going to melt a lot of ice, and anyway, except for the Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica is stable or even cooling. So the Greenland ice sheet melting story was vital to to the anthropogenic global warming scare campaign.

For the mainstream media to print such a story would be to acknowledge they had been wrong, and that there really was nothing to worry about. And they won’t do that. Alarming climate headlines will persist for a few more years.

Headlines like the one on this rankly dishonest story: Scientists Say Glaciers Melting Fast. This is based on studies by the grandly titled World Glacier Monitoring Service. They monitor 80 glaciers around the world. Cool. But there are about 160, 000 glaciers in the world, some two thirds of them in Antarctica. So this claim is based on a study over the last thirty years (nothing in geological time) of one half of one tenth of one percent of the world’s glaciers. And even then, the headline belies comments from one of the scientists involved that coastal glaciers in Norway thickened during the study, and that the overall rate of loss in studied glaciers had slowed from the previous year.

Eventually, when it is simply not possible to ignore the fact that the world is not getting any warmer, and that there never was any reason to believe the minor and perfectly normal variation in temperature over the last 100 years had any relation to human produced CO2, the mainstream media will find some new potential disaster, and begin demanding that politicians take immediate action to save us from it.

For the common sense of ordinary people.

Penny Wong, The Australian Federal Minister for Climate Change, says three hot days at her place prove global warming is real. And what’s more, no one is going to convince her otherwise, and she’s going ahead with emission controls, even if it wrecks the economy, because that’s the responsible thing to do.

Fortunately, the people Penny is supposed to represent have a considerably better grasp of the situation than she does (something she would no doubt regard as a worrying sign of a lack of appropriate education – more funding, please). In a poll run by The Australian (not a paper noted for its conservative views), 67% answered ‘NO’ to the question ‘Are heatwaves in Victoria and South Australia evidence of Global Warming?’

67% say no!

But of course. I wondered how long this would take. Federal Climate Change Minister Penny Wong says the current heatwave is a sign of global warming.

It doesn’t matter that we have had a cooler than usual Summer, that world temperatures have been trending down for the last ten years, that much of the Northern hemisphere is covered with unseasonal snow and ice.

There have been three hot days where Penny lives, so the argument’s over, baby!

via Instapundit, this call for a taxpayer march in Washington.

But as a reader notes, taxpayers are generally too busy in their jobs, or running their businesses, to attend protest meetings. The ability freely and frequently to attend protest gatherings is the privilege of those who are tax recipients rather than those who are tax payers.

President of Iran, Moody Imanutjob, has demanded that Obama apologise for past crimes against Iran.

Obama has said that ‘If countries like Iran are willing to unclench their fist, they will find an extended hand from us.’ That was also the consistent policy of the Bush administration. I have no problem with that at all.

But two things. First, please don’t apologise. I have already written (about a different matter, but the principles are the same) of the intrinsic ungoodness of convenient but dishonest apologies. They may win temporary popularity, but do no one any good in the long run.

Second, Imanutjob and his allies have already made it clear that the price of a warmer relationship with them is that the US “stop supporting the Zionists, outlaws and criminals” and “stop interfering in other people’s affairs.” If that means deserting Israel, and letting Iran have a free run in the Middle East, then thanks, but no thanks.

This is good news. But…

Russia says its change of mind is based on a change of attitude in the US administration over plans to install a missile defence system in Eastern Europe.

‘Russia had said the US missile shield plan in Europe was a direct threat. In November last year, Mr Medvedev announced that short-range Iskander missiles would be deployed in Kaliningrad, bordering Poland, to neutralise the perceived US threat.’

Hmm.  Eastern European nations like Poland and the Czech Republic have much sounder historical reasons to be concerned about a Russian threat than Russia has to be concerned about any threat from America.

The missile defence plan has the full support of NATO, and of countries where it is (was?) to be placed. The US and NATO have said consistently the shield was intended to protect the US and its European allies from rogue states with developing nuclear potential – like Iran. But obviously the shield would also provide additional protection against any threat from Russia.

Any easing of tensions in relations between the US and Russia would be good. But not at the cost of the US deserting its NATO allies. Poland has already expressed concern at this possibility.