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Beslan Sixth Anniversary

A tribute to those who suffered so horribly during the siege at Beslan.

If you have the stomach for it, and you should, Pam Geller has more detail on what happend at Beslan.

Not all Muslims are evil. Most are decent, kind, generous.

But as long as Mohammed – murderer, torturer, rapist, pedophile – remains a moral exemplar, as long as groups of Muslims rape and torture and murder in the name of the prophet and their faith, and as long as Muslim leaders decline to speak out plainly, unequivocally, publicly, against acts of terrorism, Islam will be regarded with suspicion.

Tony Needs To Toughen Up

Brandt has signed up with Labor after Bob Brown was promised a carbon tax. Wilkie has signed up with Labor after he was promised a renovated hospital in Hobart.

Tony Abbott now needs to be absolutely clear about three things.

Firstly, the Liberal party will not be buying votes. It will not be making infrastructure or funding promises to independents or anyone else, if those promises come at the expense of other Australians.

Mr Abbott needs to make it clear that funds will allocated in line with policy and need. There will be no sweetheart deals. He will not be pressured into making unreasonable promises to a few, which the many will have to pay for.

Secondly, there can be no unconditional promise to remain in government for the full three years. Such a promise would be unreasonable at any time. It is completely unreasonable at this time.

The Greens and their Labor buddies will control the Senate. It is almost certain they will use that power to block supply or stop or delay crucial legislation. If the Liberal party is able to form government, it will only govern with the consent of the Greens and Labor.

That is not a situation in which a party and its leaders can responsibly promise to stay in government for a fixed term.

Finally, Tony Abbott and the Liberals must now emphasise, over and over again, the fiscal responsibility of the Coalition, the consistently better economic results under a Coalition government.

The Liberals may still lose this election, and if they do, the country will find itself suffocating under a staggering level of economic incompetence.

The next few years will be dire for small business, for the mining and manufacturing sectors, for rural and remote communities – for everyone who actually produces useful, valuable goods and services.

I hope Tony Abbott can still win. That would save us from the worst of the combined malice and ineptitude of a Greens/Labor alliance.

But if not Tony, then at least lose with honour.

Someone Else Should Fix It

I know Andrew Bolt (and a thousand other people) have already posted these videos:

But the contrast between the practice of the uncaring right wing despoilers and ravagers of the environment and the gentle earth loving supporters of Obama is just too great too pass without comment.

The more I think about it, the more I believe that the fundamental difference between right and left, or conservative and progressive if you prefer, is a willingness to take responsibility.

It’s Freezing. Must Be Global Warming.

Arctic Summer temperatures have been trending down since about 1960, so have temperatures in San Diego, cold snaps are killing all manner of things in South America, Antarctic sea ice is increasing, the southern hemisphere oceans seem to be getting colder, and it’s been flipping cold here in Australia.

I want my global warming now!

News flash: global warming causes carnivores to lose height and body mass. Oh, wait. That was 55 million years ago.

The GG, COI, and a SIATC

In 2009 Greg Sheridan wrote a brief and thoughtful, if confronting, article about the Rudd government’s misuse of the office of the Governor General.

The article was not primarily about Quentin Bryce’s political views, but about the then Prime Minister’s willingness to use any means, even obviously inappropriate means, to lobby for a seat for Australia on the UN Security Council, something that was widely seen as potentially adding weight to Mr Rudd’s assumed personal UN ambitions.

Even earlier, in 2008, Andrew Bolt had questioned aspects of Quentin Bryce’s speech at her swearing-in, and these words in particular:

I promise to be open, responsive and faithful to the contemporary thinking and working of Australian society.

Which Andrew interpreted to mean:

Contemporary thinking for Bryce will be what the Left agrees it is, whatever the more conservative majority may say in opposition.

Certainly the Governor General has spoken out on political issues rather more freely than we have been accustomed to, and has consistently spoken from a leftist perspective, on issues such as the 2008 apology for the ‘Stolen Generations’, and on global warming.

This makes a mockery of claims by some of her friends, including Tony Fitzgerald, QC, that Quentin Bryce is so impartial that after havng known her for nearly fifty years, he still has ‘no inkling of her political persuasion.

I haven’t know Quentin Bryce for nearly fifty years. I spoke with her for about five minutes at a dinner at Government House in Brisbane a few years ago. She struck me as a graceful, capable and intelligent woman.

But her comments on disputed political matters make it very clear where her sympathies lie. That is a pity, because it brings her ability to act impartially into question.

It is a nonsense, for example, to claim that any concern about possible conflicts of interest is ‘a storm in tea cup.’

Bill Shorten, Quentin Bryce’s son-in-law, is a Labor politician. This has lead to calls for her to recuse herself from any decisions about who should form government after the recent Federal election.

It is not just that Quentin Bryce’s son-in-law is a Labor politician. As others have pointed out, political connections as strong as those of Bill Hayden or Paul Hasluck were not seen as undermining their ability to act appropriately as Governor General.

Quentin Bryce is a sensible woman. Mostly.

I think she would try to make the right decision, without regard to the feelings of her daughter Chloe, or of Chloe’s husband Bill, even though Bill may well be a future Labor leader. Possibly in the near future.

But just as justice must not only be done, but must be seen to be done, so for the dignity of the office of Governor General, decisions must not only be made impartially, they must be seen to be made impartially.

Quentin Bryce’s willingness to involve herself in political debate has made that a problem.

Change or Perish

That was the front page headline in Saturday’s Adelaide Advertiser: Change or Perish.

Very dramatic.

Except that when you actually read it, the article was about some Adelaide professor of dictatology telling everyone that because it was so hot and dry and all, and the climate is changing so it will be even hotter and dryer, people in South Australia should be planting drought resistant plants, because otherwise they won’t be able to water them enough to keep them alive, and their daffodils will die.

Yes, change or perish!

Even though we have just come through an unusually cold and wet Winter, the Saturday Advertiser editorial staff obviously thought the heated prognostications of the professor of dictatology were the most important thing to have happened in the last week.

Australian soldiers dying in Afghanistan? Pish!

Fallout from the Federal election. Whatever.

Floods in Pakistan. Bah!

Slaughter in Mogadishu. Where?

And people wonder why printed news publications are in decline…

Greenies Experiment on Black Children

From Family Security Matters writer Fiona Kobusingye, co-chair of the Congress of Racial Equality Uganda:

I wish I had a shilling for every time someone told me spraying homes with DDT to prevent malaria is like using Africans in evil experiments. I would be a rich woman.
 
That claim is a blatant falsehood. Even worse, it hides the many ways poor Africans really are being used in environmental experiments that cause increased poverty, disease and death…

Bluntly put, environmentalists are using African parents and children in anti-DDT experiments. Against all the evidence from decades of using only nets and drugs and maybe other insecticides, they want to keep ignoring DDT as a long-lasting spatial insect repellant. They want to keep us doing what has at best worked only partially, on the assumption that maybe it will work better next year – or that a 30% malaria reduction is good enough.
 
They are playing with our lives. So are the government agencies, health NGOs and others who support their policies. This is wrong and immoral. And it is only one of the ways they use Africans as experimental laboratory animals. They are also denying us access to other modern technologies that can improve and save lives…

600 million people in sub-Sahara Africa live on two million shillings ($900 USD) or less per year. Nearly 700 million never have electric power for lights, refrigeration, schools, shops and clinics – or have it only a few hours per week. Millions die from diseases that would be prevented, if they did not have to burn wood and dung, and had safe water, better healthcare and higher living standards that reliable, affordable electrical power would bring.
 
But environmentalists constantly block coal, gas and hydro-electric power plants. They want us to live in experimental societies where people get whatever limited electrical power can be generated day to day with wind turbines or solar panels. They pressured the World Bank to reject loan applications for power plants in Ghana and South Africa, and support President Obama when he says Africans should focus on wind, solar and bio-fuel power, instead of fossil fuels.
 
Meanwhile, they live in wealthy countries, with all the electrical power they need. With the health, opportunity and prosperity electrical power brings. With freedom and mobility that cars and fossil fuels bring. With blessings most Africans can only dream of.

There’s more, and it’s all worth reading.

So When Are We Going?

From the BBC:

Astronomers have discovered a planetary system containing at least five planets that orbit a star called HD 10180, which is much like our own Sun.

The star is 127 light years away, in the southern constellation of Hydrus.

The researchers used the European Southern Observatory (Eso) to monitor light emitted from the system and identify and characterise the planets.

They say this is the “richest” system of exoplanets – planets outside our own Solar System – ever found.

Corrupt Crime Labs

This is worrying.

Reason magazine reports an investigation of South Carolina’s state forensic science lab has found that:

.. though the crime lab’s results were presented to juries with the authoritativeness of science, laboratory procedures were geared toward just one outcome: putting as many people in prison as possible..

The report found that SBI agents withheld exculpatory evidence or distorted evidence in more than 230 cases over a 16-year period. Three of those cases resulted in execution. There was widespread lying, corruption, and pressure from prosecutors and other law enforcement officials on crime lab analysts to produce results that would help secure convictions.

The article raises questions about whether it is even possible for state crimes labs which work with prosecutors to be impartial.

I was reminded as I read that article of an aquaintance of mine, Henry Keogh. Henry was found guilty of the murder of his fiance, and in 1996 was sentenced to 26 years in goal . I have spoken with Henry in goal a number of times.

His conviction was based almost entirely on the evidence of now discredited chief forensic pathologist Colin Manock.

Despite this, he is now in his fifteenth year in goal for a crime it can no longer even remotely be claimed ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ he committed .

Incidentally, Henry Keogh is also quite an accomplished artist:

Beggar by Henry Keogh

Refugees and Holidaymakers

This story is a couple of days old now, but it has been hectic at work, and I have not had time to post anything the last few days. Or to play World of Warcraft either, which really shows just how busy it was!

The Toronto Sun reports that 71% of Tamils who were granted refugee status in Canada, on the basis they faced life-threatening persecution, have returned home for a holiday since.

That would be like Jews who fled Nazi Germany deciding to go back to Berlin to hear the opera. Sorry, it just doesn’t add up.

The Tamils are playing us for fools. They’re not genuine refugees. Genuine refugees don’t go back to a country that’s persecuting them.

I guess the situation would be similar in Australia.

We have an obligation to help those less fortunate than ourselves. And we must be generous in offering shelter to those who are persecuted.

But opening our borders to anyone who turns up means that monetary and human resources are taken from people who are in real need or danger, and who don’t have the money or connections to bypass the channels that protect them and us from fake claims and unnecessary costs.

Letting in people who claim to be refugees but who then head back to their country of origin for a holiday means real refugees are left in danger or languishing in camps.

It is not lack of compassion that demands border protection – just the opposite.

The Religion of Peace

From anti-jihad site the Religion of Peace:

Ramadan 2010 Scorecard
 

Day 14 In the name of
The Religion
of Peace
In the name of
All Other
Religions
Terror Attacks 86 0
Dead Bodies 379 0

And this picture:

Ramadan 2007 Scorecard

 Does anyone still not think there is a problem here?

And just to make what should not need to be stated absolutely clear, I don’t have a problem with muslims. I have two I count as friends – a Turkish man and an Indonesian woman.

She is more serious about her faith than he. She fasts, prays, keeps Ramadan, does not eat pork or lobster. But when I asked her to name a few things in the Koran she found especially inspiring, she could not answer. Eventually she admitted she had never read it.

I have.

Neither of my two muslim friends, it seems to me, have any real idea what their religion teaches.

A problem with muslims? No. A problem with Islam? Yes.

And for those who insist there is no moral difference between Islam and Christianity, because of, say, the Spanish Inquisition, it might be worth remembering the number of people killed every year in the name of Allah is greater than the number of people killed after being handed over to secular authorities by the Spanish Inquisition in its entire 350 year history.

That count of jihad murders does not include the deaths that would have occurred had numerous other plots and attacks succeeded.

Even if Christianity had been as bad a thousand years ago as Islam is now (and it wasn’t) why on earth would that be a reason not to take the present threat seriously?

Penn and Teller on Recycling

I find these guys annoying. There is far too much pointless swearing – it’s intrusive and sometimes offensive. So you couldn’t show this a to a group of students, or your Rotary Club, which is a pity. And Penn and Teller are often arrogant and sometimes wrong.

But there is enough good research and good argument in this episode to make it worth watching (the three video segments linked below make up a single half-hour episode).

Best line? About halfway through the second segment, when Penn says ‘Ahh.. subsidies. That’s when the government takes tax money from you by force, and spends it on something you wouldn’t be willing to pay for..’ ‘Governments tell you to recycle because it saves money and resources. But if it saved money and resources, you’d be paid for doing it – that’s the way money works.’

Instead of which, of course, recycling costs governments and local communities millions of dollars each year ($8 billion per year in the US), precisely because it costs energy and resources.

The argument that recycling creates jobs is also well handled. Jobs created by recycling programs are pointless ‘make work’ which have to be funded by additional fees and taxes which reduce cash flow and consequently reduce funds available to employ people in work that creates useful goods or services.

Enjoy!

Election Musings

The Australian Electoral Commission has declared Brisbane for the Liberals.

That leaves only Hasluck and Corangamite in doubt. Both still too close to call. But in Hasluck, Family First, Christian Democratic Party and Climate Sceptic preferences will all go strongly to the Liberals. That, along with the fact that postal and absentee votes tend to favour the Liberals, should be enough to get them over the line.

I said on Saturday night that the Liberals would probably need Corangamite to win.

Sally-Anne Brown’s preferences will go almost entirely to Labor. Family First’s mostly to the Liberals. As the votes presently stand, Greens’ preferences would need to run almost two to one Labor to Liberal for Labor to retain the seat. And they are running almost two to one. The only hope for the Liberals here is for Sarah Henderson to come in very strongly in the last 15% of the vote. But there are only about 600 votes separating the Labor and Liberal, so this is entirely possible.

If Hasluck and Corangamite come to the Liberals, and though Sarah is behind I think this is the likely result, final numbers will be, Labor 71, Liberal 74, 1 Green, 4 independents.

If the Liberals win Corangamite, Labor will not be able to form government, even with the Green and three of the independents. The Liberals will only need two of the independents, and will get them.

If Labor wins Corangamite, final numbers will be Labor 72, Liberal 73, 1 Green, 4 independents.

For Labor to form government they would need the Green and three independents – that is, all of the independents except Bob Katter, who, even though he has no love for the Nationals, will not co-operate in returning a manifestly inept Labor government.

Oakeshott seems to me a compete dimwit. Anyone is who hopes for a cabinet lead by Julia Gillard and starring Malcolm Turnbull.

So it may come down to Tony Windsor. But he doens’t want nuclear power, and thinks the NBN is a great idea. So not much brain power there either.

If Labor wins Corangamite, they may be able to form a very untidy government.

If Oakshott and Windsor have any integrity in relation to the trust placed in them by their electorates, they will support Tony Abbott, and help him to form a government which will put an end to the astonishing waste and incompetence of the last few years.

If they don’t, they are both likely never to be elected again, and justly – they will have betrayed the people who voted for them.

So… 65% chance the Liberals will win Corangamite. If so, they will be the next government.

If Labor wins Corangamite, it depends on the integrity of two of the independents, and their fear of not being re-elected if they do the wrong thing.

I am hopeful.

PS

I got a very polite email this afternoon from Corangamite independent candidate Sally-Anne Brown:

I was interested to read on your website in the article ‘election musings’ that my preferences would go almost entirely to the ALP in the seat of Corangamite.
 
I am writing to advise you – in case you were under the impression I did a direct preference to the ALP in Saturday’s election – that in fact I did not preference one major party ahead of the other – leaving this for voters to decide ie: I did a ‘split ticket’.

I hadn’t suggested that she had made a preference deal, or directed her preferences to one party over another. Rather, given her policy views, it seemed likely that those who gave their primary vote to her would be much more likely to feel an affinity to Labor than Liberal.

Sally-Anne issued a press release the day before the election explaining her position.