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One of my best friends is a highly intelligent and capable woman who has raised four lovely daughters, run a successful business, and is a respected teacher whose students have produced consistently good results.

This will be her last year of teaching. She just does not have the energy to struggle every day with children who are rude, have no interest in learning, and for whom everything is boring. Of course it is they who are boring, because they have no interests, no skills, no informed opinions to share.

My friend is also dismayed by the level of verbal and physical abuse directed at staff and other students, and by the inability or unwillingness of Education department staff and politicians to recognise the problem, and to put reasonable structures in place to encourage learning, or even to ensure schools are safe places to work and learn.

The always interesting Boris Johnson makes a case for greater support for teachers, and more meaningful (though not necessarily corporal) discipline policies and processes.

It’s not my fault I’m a drunk, a womaniser and a liar, says Carey in his book The Truth Hurts – my Dad was mean to me.

Well maybe. Dad says otherwise of course.

This reminds me of the old saw about what a patient learned in therapy: I am responsible for all my own decisions, and everything bad that has happened in my life is my parents’ fault.

I’m inclined to believe the abuse stories. But for heaven’s sake, Carey is no longer a child.

Our background certainly influences our feelings and perceptions. But we still make choices about our behaviour. We still know what is right and what is wrong. Having sex with your best friend’s wife is wrong. Treating people as objects to be used is wrong. Lying to people who trust you and rely on you is wrong.

Shouting about it in the media a few years later to make yourself look better isn’t exactly kind or considerate either.

I was in Adelaide yesterday to do some buying for my shop, and was interrupted in my travels about the city by about 100 scruffy-looking characters on bicycles. Some of them had painted the number 350 on their clothes and some were wearing costumes with bits of green ribbon hanging off, so they all like looked like a bunch of overgrown kindergarteners on their way home from a very bad fingerpainting and dress-up party. They were shouting about something, but I couldn’t hear what it was, and anyway, I was in a hurry to get what I needed done in time to get back to Cape Jervis to catch the last ferry home that night.

When I got home I googled 350. I was assuming the scribbles had some meaning – which of course might not have been the case. But I found this: 350.org

What a dismal, dishonest, self-important little website it is.

A ‘ring of hope’ around the White House, with a banner claiming its bearers are against pollution and poverty. They are not. They are against the use of cheap energy which has extended our life span, reduced infant mortality, and given vast numbers of people the biggest and quickest ever boost out of poverty. More like a ring of grim ignorance which would, if their policies were implemented, keep life in developing nations nasty, brutish and short.

A photo of a nibble of nerds in a burnt out piece of Victorian forest, with the entirely dishonest suggestion that those fires were the result of anthropogenic climate change.

Do any of these people read or think?

Do any of them realise there is no correlation whatever between human production of CO2 and changes in climate? Do any of them know or care that increased CO2 will reduce desertification, increase agricultural production and therefore reduce hunger, and make the world a greener place?

The Western world has been taken over by zombies.

Well maybe not. Adelaide is a city of just over a million people. If only 100 or so turned out for the world day of climate dumbness, then only 0.0001 percent of the population of Adeladie is zombies.

The problem is that zombies seem to be running the media. In Australia it is quite possible the politicians are going to do what the zombies tell them. This means implementing an appallingly stupid RAT (Ration and Tax) scheme to reduce CO2 emissions. Or rather to send CO2 emissions off-shore. That is, to send industry and employment off-shore.

As Blind Freddy could see, this will have no effect at all on climate (and wouldn’t even if the climate disaster predictions were true) but will radically increase the costs of operating Australia’s major industries and transport.

I have a friend who is a bit left-leaning. A lot left-leaning actually. Bosses exploit the workers, socialism is a fairer system, etc, etc.

Then she opened a shop. Of course, it is one of those trendy organic food, fair trade coffee, home made soap type places, but I respect anyone who risks their own money and puts in the massive time and effort it takes to get a business started.

She is doing quite well. Well enough to need to employ someone. That lasted two weeks.

When I asked her what had happened, she told me she had gotten fed up with paying her employee twice as much as she was earning, for doing half the work. And, she added indignantly, her employee hadn’t even put any money into the business.

I couldn’t help a little snicker.

Final update to the JBC scam saga.

For background see the two earlier articles.

David reported in comments that he has written to ASIC. He has had a response which I cannot detail here. But they are taking his complaint seriously.

What is not so good has been the response from his bank.

Apparently Mastercard have a system called Mastercard Secure, or Securecode. This is supposed to provide protection for cardholders against fraudulent transactions, and protection for merchants against false chargeback claims.

I have been a Mastercard user for years and had never heard of this scheme.

If a merchant is a member of Mastercard Secure, and they attempt to ‘authenticate’ a transaction through this system, then even though there is no communication with the cardholder, the merchant is protected against any chargeback claim. 

JBC has heard of it, and are registered for Mastercard Secure.

I have checked with Mastercard, and I was amazed when I heard what this scheme means in practice.

What the Mastercard Secure system means is that any merchant who is registered under the scheme can deduct any amount from your card at any time. As long as the merchant attempts to ‘authenticate’ the transaction through the system, you, the cardholder, have no protection at all.

Mastercard will not attempt to communicate with you unless you have also joined Mastercard Secure. They will simply confirm the transaction as legitimate without checking with you, and you then have no recourse, even if, as in JBC’s case, the merchant is a known scammer.

This scheme, whatever its intended purpose, protects fraudulent merchants or scammers from genuine chargeback requests at the expense of cardholders.

I for one will be moving on from Mastercard.

Update:

David reports the fraudulent debit to his Mastercard has been refunded. The Securecode system does not protect merchants who deduct funds without authorisation, or transactions which are dishonest, as JBC’s debit to his account was.

He also reports discussions with the Australian Securities and Investment Commsission. Without discussing any individual business, they assured him that they and the Federal Police actively pursue scam sellers of sports betting or share price prediction software.

The smooth patter and glossy advertising material that promoted the JBC software was normal for scammers. Most people would see through that, or at least, still have questions. What made JBC more convincing to ordinary people was the fake websites they had set up. These were calculated to give even someone who checked carefully the impression that JBC was a legitimate and well-respected business.

Setting up fake websites to give your product an air of respectability it does not deserve is deliberately dishonest. These people are thieves, nothing more, despite their fancy advertising.

The Maldives Cabinet met underwater last Saturday to draw attention to the tiny nation’s fate if global warming and accompanying rapid sea level rise continues. All very cute and colourful.

Maldives Cabinet Meets Underwater

Maldives Cabinet Meets Underwater

Except for a couple of small points:

1. The world isn’t getting any warmer. That hasn’t stopped the WWF, who are still shouting the world will come to an end if the global economy is not shut down in the next four years.

2. There is no recorded rise in sea level at the Maldives over the last 40 years.

That links opens a PDF document by IPCC author Dr. Nils-Axel Mörner, head of the Paleogeophysics and Geodynamics department at Stockholm University in Sweden, past president (1999-2003) of the INQUA Commission on Sea Level Changes and Coastal Evolution, and leader of the Maldives Sea Level Project.

Interestingly, he says the same thing about Tuvalu – no recorded sea level rise. He also notes that of the 22 authors reponsible for claims about sea level in the 2000 and 2006 IPCC reports, not one is a sea level specialist.

The whole article is well worth reading.

Lucia at The Blackboard has an interesting article on how a global warming scientists can justify the kind of massive cherry-picking that went into the infamous hockey-stick.

First, an explanation of ‘proxies.’ Proxies are so called because we cannot measure past temperatures directly, but have to use stand-ins. These stand-ins (or proxies) may be growth rings or changes in glaciers or sea level or other indirect measures of temperature. The problem with all of these proxies is that temperature is not the only thing that affects them. So they need to be cross-checked and recorded very carefully.

Lucia points out that you can cherry-pick without even meaning to, simply by removing the proxies (sets of tree rings or whatever) that do not correlate with other records of temperature.

I am sure this is possible, but I am not so sure this is what happened in the Mann / Briffa hockey stick invention. The cherry picking in that case seems so clear it is hard to avoid the notion that it amounted to scientific fraud.

To be fair, Briffa insists there was no deliberate pre-selection of data. He now says there were problems with the methodology. We are working on it, he says. In the mean time, everyone should still believe it.

Right.

The death of Dianne Brimble is a horrible messy tragedy.

Dianne was a kind and likeable woman who lived a reasonably quiet life, and who was never either exciting or attractive by contemporary standards.

She went on a P&O cruise in 2002, and seems to have decided that for once in her life, she was going to break all the rules. Breaking the rules included taking illegal drugs, and having sex with strangers. Her behaviour on the cruise was sordid and degrading.

It is no wonder her family and friends do not want her remembered in this way.

It is also clear that some of the men who ‘befriended’ her on the Pacific Sun are pigs, users and cowards of the first rank.

But the desire to have someone to blame for her death, and the shame of her actions prior to her death, should not be allowed to cloud the fact that no one forced Dianne Brimble to do the things she did on that cruise.

She was an adult. She made choices to behave in ways that, however out of character for her, contributed to her death. This is sad, a terrible way to end her life. But that in itself does not make it OK to blame someone else for her death.

So far, the jury has agreed on a verdict of one of two charges against Mark Wilhelm. The two charges are supplying a prohibited drug, and manslaughter.

It doesn’t take much thought to work out which one the jury is likely to have agreed on. If I am right, then that verdict is reasonable and fair. A guilty verdict on the other charge might be more difficult to justify.

Firstly, for his gushingly warm congratulations to Barack Obama on his totally unmerited win of the Nobel Peace Prize:

By awarding you its most prestigious prize, the Committee is rewarding your determined commitment to human rights, justice and spreading peace across the world, in accordance with the will of its founder Alfred Nobel. It also does justice to your vision of tolerance and dialogue between States, cultures and civilizations. Finally, it sets the seal on America’s return to the heart of all the world’s peoples.

Setting the seal on America’s return to the heart of all the world’s peoples?    Oh, puh-leese….

And secondly, for being the first head of state publicly to criticise the arrest of Roman Polanski on child rape charges.

Whoopi Goldberg’s angle on this was, well, hey, it probably wasn’t rape, and anyway, he’s one of us, you know creative genius  Hollywood film people, so it’s OK.

One expects that sort of thing from the zombies of Hollywood. Apparently we must now expect a similarly dimwitted level of thinking about justice from heads of state.

Sarkozy’s view appears to be that if a criminal runs away and avoids any punishment for his or her crime, then after a while we should just forget about the whole thing, and politely pretend it didn’t happen.

The first four posts on this blog were on 20 and 21 November last year. That was just to get us into Google and other search engines. Real posting began two months later on 21 January 2009, and has continued regularly since then with a few minor hiccoughs related to illness or to personal matters or work crowding out blogging time.

This will be the 575th post in a ten month period – about two posts per day. 575 posts – it’s a lot of thinking, and a lot of writing. But I haven’t been nearly as busy as the spammers.

The blog milestone is that today I deleted the 100,000th spam comment. Extraordinary!

A brief update to my earlier article on JBC.

Others have been caught by this scam.

JBC have set up fake websites to give their share trading /stock trading software credibility. This is dishonest.  It shows clearly that this is not simply a product that does not work for some people, but a deliberate scam.

You can complain via the Australian Securities and Investment Commission.

Or via the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Or Scamwatch.

Since JBC is based in NSW, you could also lodge a complaint online at the NSW Fair Trading site.

Please email me or comment if you have been contacted by JBC, or if you have purchased their product. The more people who write or complain about JBC, the sooner they will be shut down, and the more people will be saved from losing hard earned savings or superannuation.

Seriously.

I wrote earlier this year about the Kangaroo Island Council’s decision to partner with the Federal Government in a scheme to subsidise the installation of solar panels on houses on the island.

About 200 households applied for and will receive grants of $8,000 for solar panels which will produce about 100 watts of electricity per hour. During daylight hours. On a good day.

So taxpayers have paid about $1.6 million to generate enough electricity on Kangaroo Island to run an extra 200 lighbulbs (or globes if you prefer) while the sun is shining.

Does anyone seriously think this is the most efficient way we could spend money and resources to generate electricity?

Total PC Gaming Magazine reports in issue 22 that the 11 million World of Warcraft players around the world, including individual players’ computers, servers, and data transmission, use about 6.6 gigawatts of electricity each day. About the same amount of power each day as was generated by solar panels worldwide for the whole of last year.

That does not mean that WoW players are a selfish bunch of wasters. It just means that solar power is an expensive toy, and will never be a realistic alternative to fossil fuel, hydro-electric, or nuclear electricity generation.

President Barack Obama has won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Well, I’ll be stuffed, as Phar Lap said.

Obama was nominated after twelve days as president. He must have done something pretty darned impressive in those twelve days, right? Check his schedule for yourself. It includes skipping church, releasing funds for abortions in developing coutries, partying, and taking the day off.

The Nobel peace Prize has no credibility at all. Some people said this after Yasser Arafat won. But at least then the committee had some reason to believe, or at least, it might have thought so at the time, that Arafat had renounced the use of terror, agreed to Israel’s right to exist, and committed to helping Israel to establish secure borders.

Of course that was all nonsense. The terrorism continued, and Arafat continued to get rich off aid money.

Perhaps the selection process was something like this (Via Hyscience) :

Obama Wins!

Obama Wins!

The Saturday Night Live skit mocking the award has Obama say ‘I won the award for not being George Bush.’ An interesting change of pace for SNL. What makes this funny (or tragic) is that it is probably true.

Gateway Pundit lists some geniune achievements by GW, including liberating millions from one of the most vile and violent regimes in modern history.

JBC share trading software, JBC stockmarket tracking software, JBC stock trading software, whatever they call it, is a scam.

Hang up when they call. Run,  do not walk, to the nearest exit! Do not give JBC a cent of your money.

An email from a  friend:

I received a really nice, professional looking brochure from a group called JBC, offering a way to make a some extra income from home trading shares. Then I got a call from a guy called Christopher. It was all pretty convincing. I did a bit of research and didn’t find anything that said there was a problem. They gave me an ABN,  and have an impressive and professional looking website, so it looked like a legitimate business.

Eventually I agreed to buy, but said I would not authorise the purchase and deduction from my credit card over the phone. It was quite expensive. I asked for a tax invoice and a written guarantee. Once I had those things, and I said the invoice had to be dated in the 2009/2010 tax year, then I would either send a cheque or authorise a credit card transaction in writing.

Christopher said that there was only one license left for my state, that they were in demand, and if I wanted the license and software I would need to give my credit card details to hold it. JBC would not deduct any funds until I had the documentation and authorised the debit. That all seemed OK.

A few days later I noticed they had debited my credit card account with the full amount. A couple of days later I received the paperwork. The invoice was dated in the 2008/2009 year. I rang straight away, annoyed about the date on the invocie (which didn’t who any GST anyway) but more annoyed that they debited my account after I specifically told them not to, and they said they wouldn’t.

Christopher said he had come udner pressure from the directors because this was the last license, it was not fair to other investors to hold it, and so they had to debit my card to keep it for me. I could cancel the payment and get it reveresed, but the license would show in their system as available, and would be sold to someone else. He suggested I compete the paperwork, try the JBC software for a while, if I wasn’t happy they would refund my payment, or I could just my bank to do a chargeback.

I did this, and made a small profit in the first couple of weeks. But after that it just fell in a hole. I had about $4800 to invest in stocks. One of the companies the program told me to buy was delisted a few days later – $1200 gone. Another announced its intention to delist. $600 gone. Two others dropped to half their value a few days after the JBC program told me to buy them. After a month my $4800 was worth less than $2500.

I rang JBC to say I definitely was not happy and wanted my money back. The receptionsist said she would pass on my message. No one rang back. I sent an emal saying the same thing. No reply. A few weeks later I had rung JBC again and sent another email with no response.

I have asked my bank for a chargeback, and will complaint to consumer affairs. But even if I get the money I paid JBC for their dud trading program back, I have still lost over $2,000.

JBC advertise on Google with an ad that looks like this:
JBC
Make money with JBC. Proven Returns
Simple to use-Get the JBC Advantage
www.globaljbc.com

Make Money. Proven Returns. It sounds good. And their website does look impressive. But anyone can make promises, and anyone can write an impressive website. (Last time I checked, one of JBC’s ads appeared on this page, much to my amusement – please feel free to click on it – Google will pay me a few cents).

Potential buyers may be directed to a site called Sharesweek (I am not going to link to it) for an ‘independent’ review and recommendation. But Sharesweek is not a genuine publication. It is a fake website set up purely for the purpose of fooling people into buying JBC’s software.

The JBC share trading software package is a known scam. Genuine investment publications in the UK have warned about JBC for at least the last eight years. See Moneywise magazine for one example, under the heading Avoid This Investment Scam.

Update:

A reader notes that the International Stock Market Assembly is another superficially impressive fake web site, belonging to a fake organisation, which exists solely to give the JBC stock trading package an aura of credibility. I would be interested to hear from any others who have been caught in this trap. Comment or email me. If others have been caught in this scam, and are willing to provide details (not for publication) I will consider contacting the police.

The first section of the story on the JBC share trading / stock trading software package scam has moved to here.

Part two of the JBC story.

Part three of the JBC shares trading software scam story.

Or just go the Qohel home page and follow down.

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