How offensive and perverse! Article below by Michael Kirby, a retired Australian High Court judge who is openly homosexual. Christians are like Apartheid practitioners according to His Honour.
Instead of blaming Christians, might it not be a more productive strategy in the fight against AIDS to dissuade homosexual penises from entering homosexual anuses?
In 2010 Bishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, South Africa declared that the time had come, particularly for Africans, to stop the “wave of hate” and to stand up “against wrong”.
He was referring to the wrong to “gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people” who are “part of the African family” and who “are living in fear.”
This news from Africa would be bad enough. But the same fear extends far beyond that continent. And in the struggle against HIV/AIDS, which has afflicted humanity since the 1980s, the vulnerable are not only gays but also sex workers, injecting drug users (IDUs) and women.
This fear exists in many countries where, despite the knowledge that science now affords us about human sexuality, irrational hatred of sexual minorities and sexual activities is encouraged and even sometimes promoted by religious leaders, in supposed reliance upon their understandings of religious texts.
They rely on their imperfect understanding of what was written in ancient books long before Dr. Alfred Kinsey, American biologist and founder of the Institute of Sex Research, demonstrated the realities of human sexual experience, the frequency and variety of its manifestations, and the dangers and injustice of punishing people for adult, private, consensual sexual conduct. [Relying on the perverted Kinsey and his discredited "research" shows the intellectual shallowness of Judge Kirby]
Most religious people are good and kind. Love for one another exists as a basic tenet in all religions and all cultures. I have myself been brought up in religious faith. I honour brothers and sisters in all religions who are struggling to make a charitable, informed and unbiased contribution to the global struggle against HIV/AIDS.
However, officially the Roman Catholic and Greek and Orthodox Christian churches are still in serious denial about the scientific evidence available about human sexuality. As they have often been in denial about science and its teachings in the past.
Just as they originally denied the opinions of Galileo and Copernicus that the earth circled the sun. And as they, and the Anglican Church, originally denied Darwin’s thesis of evolution of the species, expounded 150 years ago.
Clutching onto imperfect understandings of ancient scripture, leaders of most of the spiritual faiths, instead of re-examining their holy texts by reference to science (as they did in other instances in the past), have adopted a new, irrational approach.
In other parts of the world, the hate may not always be so intense. But the stigma over sexual conduct that is often taught by religious people cannot be accepted any longer. It is now a major cause of death in the AIDS epidemic.
It has to stop. Not only because it is immoral, conflicted, irrational and wrong. But also because it is now seriously impeding the global struggle against HIV and AIDS for the saving of lives. The magnitude of the suffering demands blunt speaking at this time.
As Bishop Tutu has said: “All of us, especially Africans, need access to essential HIV services…Show me where Christ said ‘Love thy fellow man, except for the gay ones’. Gay people too are made in my God’s image. I would never worship a homophobic God.
Rightly, Bishop Tutu has drawn a parallel between the earlier, successful, global struggle against racial apartheid and the present global struggle against sexual apartheid. To the moral struggle against sexual apartheid must now be added the urgent needs of the struggle against HIV and AIDS.
Even Australian Leftist journalist David Penberthy (below) sees that. NOTE: Because Australia has few blacks, inner city areas are prestigious in Australia, not dangerous ghettoes
The decision of actors Cate Blanchett and Michael Caton to front advertisements supporting the Federal Government’s climate change policies has been denounced as a shocking act of impertinence by a pair of cashed-up lefties who have no right to enter the debate.
These advertisements are 100 per cent privately-funded and in a democracy such as ours people have every right to spend their money as they wish to make their point. That said, there’s a separate issue as to whether the advertisements are tactically smart. It’s more likely that rather than galvanising support for a carbon tax, they will have the opposite effect of alienating mainstream voters who simply want details about how much the carbon tax will cost them, and what type of compensation they will get in return.
The left of politics in Australia seems to be permanently afflicted by what could be described as the Don’s Party syndrome, whereby affluent and educated people think you can win debates by telling people what’s good for them.
Advertising executive Adam Ferrier wrote a good piece on The Australian yesterday fleshing out the point.
“One of the risks of any green campaign is that it appears like lefty, progressive, idealistic and elitist, detached from the struggles of everyday people,” Ferrier wrote. “At worst, Cate is at risk of making the cause elitist. For the millions this (ad campaign) cost, there are so many other ways to change behaviour than having an elitist talking head spruik a carbon tax as easily as spruiking x, y or z.”
The best example of this was the republican campaign, which culminated with a tragi-comic cocktail reception for the failed yes vote on the night of the ballot where Rachel Ward sobbed on husband Bryan Brown’s shoulder as Malcolm Turnbull declared that John Howard had “broken the nation’s heart”. What had really happened was that the republicans had completely stuffed their campaign by leaving much of the talking to celebrities while overlooking their first responsibility – to explain how a republic would work, why we needed one, and how life would change for the better under the new constitutional model.
The same mistakes are being made now by progressive people who believe in climate change. And the same mistakes are being made, spectacularly, by the Gillard Government. The PM looks like she is dancing to the tune of the Greens purely because of the disastrous quirk of democracy at last year’s election, where no-one actually won, and she decided to break her own promise of not introducing a carbon tax in order to form government. We are now moving headlong towards putting a price on carbon – ie, introducing a tax – and the Government is trying to win a debate when it is yet to provide people with any detail.
It’s a ludicrous manoeuvre, asking people to take you on trust when you have already breached their trust by changed the position you adopted in the election campaign. Until such a time as the Government releases details of how it will actually work, how much it will cost, how much compensation families will receive, they are sitting ducks.
The pro climate change lobby and actors such as Blanchett and Caton can say and do what it likes in an attempt to bolster its cause, and spend as much money as they wish in the process.
There is a separate issue though as to whether it will actually bolster the cause. In the absence of policy detail, and with the voters still smarting from being misled by the PM, you would have to say they’ve probably done their dough.
A new but predictable outburst of irrationality from Germany. They have already shut some reactors. So where are they getting replacement power? From France. And where do the French get it? From nuclear reactors! The French love their nukes.
This latest folly is very German, however. The Germans were Greenies at least a century before anybody else. It seems to be inbred in them. Even Hitler was a Greenie and the Nazi dream of a return to an imaginary bucolic past was simply a widespread German dream which Hitler co-opted -- and which is now a worldwide Greenie dream.
Nazism was in most ways very German. Hitler's socialism was, for instance, just a follow-on from the welfare state invented in the 19th century by Bismarck, Prussia's "Iron Chancellor". And nationalism was so pervasive in Germany that even Friedrich Engels (co-author with Karl Marx of "Das Kapital") was a fierce German nationalist
THE world must follow Britain's lead on nuclear power if it wants to curb greenhouse gases, not that of Germany, which is to scrap all its nuclear plants by 2022, a former government chief scientist said. Germany's plan to close all its 17 nuclear power stations is an overreaction to the earthquake disaster at the Fukushima plant in Japan, Professor Sir David King said.
The International Energy Agency said that its latest estimates of carbon emissions would make it almost impossible to stop a global temperature rise of more than 2C (3.6F). Fatih Birol, its chief economist, said: "This significant increase in CO2 emissions and the locking in of future emissions due to infrastructure investments represent a serious setback to our hopes of limiting the global rise in temperature to no more than 2C."
Sir David, who as Chief Scientist described climate change as a bigger threat than terrorism, told The Times that it would be difficult to reverse this trend if more countries followed Germany in rejecting nuclear power as a low-carbon source of energy.
"It is worrying," he said. "I think it would be a big surprise if Germany can achieve the same targets as Britain for decarbonising its energy supply without nuclear."
Germany plans to disconnect eight of its oldest reactors almost immediately, of which seven had been shut for three months of safety tests after Fukushima. Six more will shut by the end of 2021 and the three most modern will shut the following year.
Sir David said that Britain had acted more sensibly than Germany by commissioning a technical report from Mike Weightman, the nuclear chief inspector, which concluded that the Fukushima incident had little relevance to plans to build a new generation of nuclear plants.
"The British Government's decision is based on a technical analysis of risk and a thorough examination of the lessons learnt from Fukushima, which has rightly not deflected it from its plans," Sir David said. "If other countries wish to follow an example, they should look at Britain's response rather than Germany's."
The IEA figures, Sir David said, were no surprise, because carbon emissions' link to economic growth was well established. "Global GDP is still heavily powered by fossil fuels, so the recovery after the global recession, which has been stronger in developing countries, was expected to bring carbon emissions back up."
Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, hopes the nuclear plan will steal some of the Greens' electoral territory, and possibly make them potential coalition partners in a future federal Government.
But the plan, which means the country must find 22 per cent of its electricity from other sources, has been questioned by German industrialists. Dieter Zetschke, head of Daimler, said: "Turning our backs on an affordable energy source is clearly a risk. I see certain risks ahead for Germany as a place to do business."
So asks JOHN COOK, writing on a site of Australia's ABC. He has the amusing assertion that those who reject Warmism consider only the evidence that suits them. Talk about the pot calling the kettle Afro-American!
Cook does link to a large number of Warmist assertions by others but is critical of none of them. He just lists them as gospel and does not at all consider whether the phenomena mentioned are caused by human action.
As can be seen on the header of GREENIE WATCH, skeptics generally accept that there has been SOME warming but dispute both its likely future magnitude and its origin.
Mr. Cook quite ignores the fact that he is peddling prophecies. And they rely purely on supposition, not evidence. And as far as I can find, Greenie prophecies have a record of complete falsity so far. Prophecy really is a mug's game.
Since he is so keen on taking into account ALL the evidence, it would be amusing to get his response to the fact that the tidal gauge data do not show an acceleration of Sea Level rise; that the NOAA -NODC data do not show a significant rise in Ocean Heat Content between 1979 and 1997; that the warming of the last 150 years has been a perfectly comfortable total of less than one degree Celsius -- etc.
In the charged discussions about climate, the words skeptic and denier are often thrown around. But what do these words mean?
Consider the following definitions. Genuine skeptics consider all the evidence in their search for the truth. Deniers, on the other hand, refuse to accept any evidence that conflicts with their pre-determined views.
So here's one way to tell if you're a genuine skeptic or a climate denier.
When trying to understand what's happening to our climate, do you consider the full body of evidence? Or do you find the denial instinct kicking in when confronted with inconvenient evidence?
For example, let's look at the question of whether global warming is happening. Do you acknowledge sea level rise, a key indicator of a warming planet, tripling over the last century? Do you factor in the warming oceans, which since 1970 have been building up heat at a rate of two-and-a-half Hiroshima bombs every second? Glaciers are retreating all over the world, threatening the water supply of hundreds of millions of people. Ice sheets from Greenland in the north to Antarctica in the south are losing hundreds of billions of tonnes of ice every year. Seasons are shifting, flowers are opening earlier each year and animals are migrating towards the poles. The very structure of our atmosphere is changing.
We have tens of thousands of lines of evidence that global warming is happening. A genuine skeptic surveys the full body of evidence coming in from all over our planet and concludes that global warming is unequivocal. A climate denier, on the other hand, reacts to this array of evidence in several possible ways.
The most extreme form of climate denier won't even go near the evidence. They avoid the issue altogether by indulging in conspiracy theories. They'll pull a quote out of context from a stolen 'Climategate' email as proof that climate change is just a huge hoax. I have yet to hear how the ice sheets, glaciers and thousands of migrating animal species are in on the conspiracy, but I'm sure there's a creative explanation floating around on the Internet.
The hardcore denier, firmly entrenched in the "it's not happening" camp, denies each piece of evidence. When confronted by retreating glaciers, their thoughts flick to the handful of growing glaciers while blocking out the vast majority of glaciers that are retreating at an accelerating rate.
They ignore sea level rise by focusing on short periods where sea levels briefly drop before inevitably resuming the long-term upward trend. The key to this form of denial is cherry picking. If you stare long and hard enough at a tiny piece of the puzzle that gives you the answer you want, you find the rest of the picture conveniently fades from view.
Some climate deniers have found it impossible to ignore the overwhelming array of evidence that the planet is warming (cognitive bias does have its limits) and moved onto the next stage of denial: "it's happening but it's not us". After all, climate has changed throughout Earth's history. How can we tell it's us this time?
The answer, as always, is by surveying the full body of evidence. Warming from our carbon dioxide emissions should yield many tell tale patterns. We don't need to rely on guess work or theory to tell us humans are causing warming. We can measure it.
If carbon dioxide is causing warming, we should measure less heat escaping to space. Satellites have observed this, with heat being trapped at those very wavelengths that carbon dioxide absorb radiation. If less heat is escaping, we should see more heat returning to the Earth's surface. This has been measured. Greenhouse warming should cause the lower atmosphere to warm but simultaneously, the upper atmosphere to cool. That's indeed what we observe is happening.
As far back as the 1800s, scientists predicted greenhouse warming should cause nights to warm faster than days and winters to warm faster than summers. Both predictions have come true. Everything we expect to see from greenhouse warming, we do see.
So which camp do you fall in?
Do you look at the full body of evidence, considering the whole picture as you build your understanding of climate? Or do you gravitate towards those select pieces of data that, out of context, give a contrarian impression, while denying the rest of the evidence?
More HERE (See the original for links)
Dr. Jack Wheeler
Mr. and Mrs. Zero visited Westminster Abbey on their trip to London this week (5/24), and signed the guestbook. Mrs. Zero just signed her name. Mr. Zero wrote a message - "It is a great privilege to commemorate our common heritage, and common sacrifice" - then signed and dated it: 24 May 2008.
Yes, 2008. You can see for yourself. There's no way around it. This is a teachable moment that goes far beyond pointing out what massive ridicule would have befallen George Bush or Sarah Palin had they made such a stupid mistake, yet is ignored and brushed aside by the OPM - Obama Propaganda Media - and the worshippers of the Cult of Zero..
There are two lessons to be taught and learned, one about Zero himself, the other about his followers.
Regarding the first, it is now no longer deniable that the current occupant of the White House is not very bright. There have been too many boneheaded stupidities - "57 states," "Austrian" is a language, on and on. Not knowing what year it is - 2008??? - clinches it.
Yet dumb gaffes only hint at the problem. The stunning ignorance he displayed in demanding Israel return to its 1967 "borders" - he didn't even know they weren't borders but cease-fire lines - is far scarier.
There is simply no evidence that this man is really smart or has any real grasp of history, geography, and the world as it is. It's a myth carefully constructed and maintained by the lib media that he's oh-so-brilliant - which is why he won't permit his college transcripts to be released (Occidental, Harvard, Columbia) because they'd show such mediocre grades.
What the Westminster Abbey guestbook gaffe provides is a marvelous opportunity for any Pub pres-aspirant with the moxie to exploit it.
It is a fabulous visual which anyone can instantly see and laugh at. The aspirant could hold up the photo of it in a campaign television ad, point the goof out and note, "We have a president who does not know what year it is," then ask the viewer:
"Mr. Obama is very skilled at reading a carefully scripted speech off a teleprompter. But his reputation for intelligence may be a myth. Is, for example, the reason he will not allow his college transcripts from Occidental, Columbia, and Harvard because they show him to be a C student with poor grades? My grades from college are available for all to see. I challenge Mr. Obama to do the same." Such an ad by, say, Herman Cain, would go YouTube viral in a New York second.
Thus the first lesson of "24 May 2008" - we need a Republican presidential candidate willing to ridicule Zero.
Every day since January 20, 2009 has brought fresh evidence of Zero's malfeasance, mendacity, and mediocrity. The evidence is by now as massive as Mount Everest, and keeps mounting. The Chicago thug corruption is blatant for all to see - the ZeroCare Waivergate scandal being just one example. There are dozens of others.
As the economy continues to go south, as tens of millions of people remain unemployed, with all of us facing record inflation - especially with food and energy prices - while enduring ever more rules and government intrusion into our lives, the numbers of true believers in the Cult of Zero will steadily dwindle.
And thus we can predict the exact date of The Great Disappointment to be experienced by members of the cult: November 6, 2012.
The prediction is conditional. It is entirely possible that the Republican candidate will be a nebbish afraid to go for Zero's jugular, or allow the Dems to get away with the gigantic nation-wide voter fraud they are planning.
Much more HERE
Where he has failed so dramatically is in the arena he himself has so frequently identified as vital: the search for peace between Palestinians and Israelis. His record of grotesque, humiliating and total diplomatic failure in his dealings with Prime Minister Netanyahu has few parallels in American history. Three times he has gone up against Netanyahu; three times he has ingloriously failed. This last defeat — Netanyahu’s deadly, devastating speech to Congress in which he eviscerated President Obama’s foreign policy to prolonged and repeated standing ovations by members of both parties — may have been the single most stunning and effective public rebuke to an American President a foreign leader has ever delivered.
Netanyahu beat Obama like a red-headed stepchild; he played him like a fiddle; he pounded him like a big brass drum. The Prime Minister of Israel danced rings around his arrogant, professorial opponent. It was like watching the Harlem Globetrotters go up against the junior squad from Miss Porter’s School; like watching Harvard play Texas A&M, like watching Bambi meet Godzilla — or Bill Clinton run against Bob Dole.
The Prime Minister mopped the floor with our guy. Obama made his ’67 speech; Bibi ripped him to shreds. Obama goes to AIPAC, nervous, off-balance, backing and filling. Then Bibi drops the C-Bomb ["City on the Hill", I assume -- JR] demonstrating to the whole world that the Prime Minister of Israel has substantially more support in both the House and the Senate than the President of the United States.
President Obama’s new Middle East policy, intended to liquidate the wreckage resulting from his old policy and get the President somehow onto firmer ground, lies in ruins even before it could be launched. He had dropped the George Mitchell approach, refused to lay out his own set of parameters for settling the conflict, and accepted some important Israeli red lines — but for some reason he chose not to follow through with the logic of these decisions and offer Netanyahu a reset button.
As so often in the past, but catastrophically this time, he found the “sour spot”: the position that angers everyone and pleases none. He moved close enough to the Israelis to infuriate the Palestinians while keeping the Israelis at too great a distance to earn their trust. One can argue (correctly in my view) that US policy must at some level distance itself from the agendas of both parties to help bring peace. But that has to be done carefully, and to make it work one first needs to win their trust. Obama lost the trust of the Israelis early in the administration and never earned it back; he lost the Palestinians when he was unable to deliver Israeli concessions he led them to expect.
Internationally, this matters a great deal; domestically it matters even more. The President has significantly less capacity to act than he did a week ago. The Bin Laden dividend, already cruelly diminished by what The Daily Caller said was the administration’s “victory lap in a clown car”, is now history. The GOP, in trouble recently as voters recoil from what many see as Republican extremism on issues like Medicare and public unions, will be able to use the national security card in new and potent ways.
As the stunning and overwhelming response to Prime Minister Netanyahu in Congress showed, Israel matters in American politics like almost no other country on earth. Well beyond the American Jewish and the Protestant fundamentalist communities, the people and the story of Israel stir some of the deepest and most mysterious reaches of the American soul. The idea of Jewish and Israeli exceptionalism is profoundly tied to the idea of American exceptionalism. The belief that God favors and protects Israel is connected to the idea that God favors and protects America.
It means more. The existence of Israel means that the God of the Bible is still watching out for the well-being of the human race. For many American Christians who are nothing like fundamentalists, the restoration of the Jews to the Holy Land and their creation of a successful, democratic state after two thousand years of oppression and exile is a clear sign that the religion of the Bible can be trusted.
Being pro-Israel matters in American mass politics because the public mind believes at a deep level that to be pro-Israel is to be pro-America and pro-faith. Substantial numbers of voters believe that politicians who don’t ‘get’ Israel also don’t ‘get’ America and don’t ‘get’ God. Obama’s political isolation on this issue, and the haste with which liberal Democrats like Nancy Pelosi left the embattled President to take the heat alone, testify to the pervasive sense in American politics that Israel is an American value. Said the Minority Leader to the Prime Minister: “I think it’s clear that both sides of the Capitol believe you advance the cause of peace.”
President Obama probably understands this intellectually; he understands many things intellectually. But what he can’t seem to do is to incorporate that knowledge into a politically sustainable line of policy. The deep American sense of connection to and, yes, love of Israel limits the flexibility of any administration. Again, the President seems to know that with his head. But he clearly had no idea what he was up against when Bibi Netanyahu came to town.
As a result, he’s taking another ride in the clown car, and this time it isn’t a victory lap.
From the cut and paste section in today's Australian newspaper...
A sturdy declaration on p19 of the climate commission magnum opus, The Critical Decade: "The [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change]'s Fourth Assessment Report has been intensively and exhaustively scrutinised and is virtually error-free."
ABC News Watch blog on Thursday: "HERE are links to the IPCC's own list of errors in the AR4 report, it runs to about 3200 words. When we cut and pasted them all into MSword we ended up with 31 pages."
For more errors and lies from the Climate commission... see Lies of the climate commission PART 1, PART 2, PART 3, PART 4 and PART 5
None of these reported by Australia's state owned media corporation.
SOURCE (See the original for links)
The true successors of Mussolini, Lenin and Pol Pot leave their predecessors in the shade: "Climate change demands we re-engineer the world economy now"
As an alarm call, the surge in emissions revealed by the International Energy Association is deafening. After the banking crisis of 2008, the cooling of the global economy had appeared to have given our wheezing, warming world pause for breath.
As GDP went into reverse, so did energy use and the pumping of planet-heating gases into the atmosphere. Attempts to agree global action went into reverse at the same time, despite the 120 heads of state who burned the midnight oil in Copenhagen in 2009.
But while the global economy has roared back to life, the UN's negotiations remain on life support, and with little hope of recovery.
Two truths emerge from this mismatch. First, the link between economic growth and carbon dioxide must be broken. The world's economy runs on energy, and while most of that power continues to comes from coal, oil and gas, global GDP and carbon emissions will be bound together in lockstep. The latest data show a near perfect correlation, and that shows how little impact, in a worldwide context, renewable and nuclear power is making.
Second, the rich industrialised world and the poor developing world must align their hopes and fears: they inhabit the same planet. All nations are united in understanding that unchecked climate change poses a grave threat in every part of the world.
Citizens in London, New York and Tokyo have grown rich from a century or more of fossil-fuelled industrialisation. They have the most wealth to lose and are, with notable exceptions, the keenest to cut carbon fast. But for those in Delhi, Rio and Beijing, where economic growth surges onwards, the improvement of living standards, from electricity to education, is even more pressing than reducing emissions.
Blah, blah, blah
"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
----- Abraham Lincoln, The Gettysburg Address
Never forget those who gave their "last full measure of devotion"
to liberate millions and secure the safety of countless others.
See EYE ON BRITAIN for the true picture
Last week David Brooks, the faux-conservative columnist at the New York Times penned a column extolling the British national political system. The piece, written to coincide with President Obama’s visit to Europe, praised Britain for moving to social democracy in the early Twentieth Century. He concedes that overt socialism nearly wrecked the British system during the 1960s and 70s, but maintains, quite sensibly, that the estimable Margaret Thatcher tackled Britain’s problems (although the New York Times roundly chastised her) and that subsequent governments, both Conservative and Labor, consolidated those gains. Brooks waxes rhapsodic about the end result: A Britain that has moved "from a centralized, industrial era state to a networked, postindustrial one" whatever that means.
In praising the British system and the politicos who work the levers Brooks inadvertently reveals a number of biases of his own and reveals weaknesses as a theorist of reputedly conservative leanings. Brooks lavishes praise on the British system as "a picture of how politics should work." He doesn’t bother with the fact that many Britons do not work; he only claims that British politics function. In this broad claim he misses the point that political life is not synonymous with a national culture.
Britain today suffers from most of the same ills plaguing America, often to a greater extent. British illegitimacy rates have soared to 70%, their welfare dependency rate exceeds ours, and Britons seem to accept 15% unemployment rates as the new normal. Certainly, Britain suffers from unchecked third-world immigration, and the Islamic terror threat is a daily reality, as anyone who has passed through Heathrow Airport in the last six years can attest (your humble TH columnist was instructed to arrive at Heathrow at 3:15 AM for an 8:00 AM flight during the summer of 2006). Still David Brooks tells his readers that Britain works, and Mr. Brooks is an honorable man.
After singing the praises of the British system, David Brooks cannot help himself but to take potshots at the American scene. He mentions, "…Britain is also blessed with a functioning political culture. It is dominated by people who live in London and who have often known each other since prep school." Are we so different? American national politics are dominated by people who live in Washington and have known each other since they were elected. Never mind that they are the same people who got us into this mess in the first place.
Mr. Brooks goes on to state, "…the big newspapers still set the agenda here, not cable TV, or talk radio." He clearly tips his hand here, showing his frustration that the public no longer pays attention to the NYT anymore and prefers Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. One wonders if Brooks and his fellow center-right Anglophiles favor the heavy-handed Britons efforts to squelch popular conservatism such as declaring the American radio personality Michael Savage a “purveyor of hate” and refusing him entry to Britain?
The next target on Brooks' little list is American politics and, of course, politicians. He claims, "…the quintessential American pol is standing in his sandbox screaming affirmations to members of his own tribe, the quintessential British pol is standing across a table arguing face-to-face with his opponents." Brooks apparently doesn't care for representative democracy, if one takes his comments seriously. He goes on to state, "…British leaders and pundits know their counterparts better. They are less likely to get away with distortions and factual howlers. They are less likely to believe the other Party is homogeneously evil." Oh, really? This would come as news to Dame Margaret Thatcher, who endured abuse, slander, libel, and relentless character assassination during her storied tenure as Prime Minister.
After establishing the superiority of the British chattering class, he briefly touches on a number of subthemes such as a British tendency to eschew moralism and dogmatism in politics and the overall superiority of British public life. He finishes with a flourish: "as President Barack Obama visits London, we will get a glimpse of the British political culture. We Americans have no reason to feel smug or superior." One gets the distinct impression that Mr. Brooks wishes that he could import some of the civilized nature of British conservatism to America and that he feels much more at home with the British Tories instead of the yahoos who populate conservative circles in America, people who write columns for Townhall, and even worse, the people who read those columns.
The reader might be grudgingly tempted to agree with David Brooks that a little bit of English virtue might be helpful today. The old British stiff upper lip in the face of personal adversity would constitute a definite improvement over the new American cultural ideal of pouring one's deepest troubles while sitting on a couch next to a tearful Oprah Winfrey. Likewise, a dollop of Edwardian-era certitude concerning culture, duty, honor and moral clarity would be welcome today. Unfortunately, David Brooks will have none of it. His writings have resonated with great admiration for the British cradle to grave welfare state and his "conservatism" exists primarily as a sort of altruistic Disraeli-Beaconsfield attitude of noblesse oblige, leading the masses where they need to be taken.
An alternate reading of British history should serve as a warning to Americans and jolt us out of an anglophile fog. Many British commentators like Paul Johnson and Auberon Waugh have noted that the building of a welfare state in Britain paralleled, almost precisely, the decline of Britain as a world power. This began in 1906 and picked up speed after World War I. The British governments appeased the working class with cheap beer and the dole. They financed these extravagances by cutting the defense budgets, leaving themselves dangerously vulnerable to German and Japanese aggression. Britain staved off defeat and disaster with Russian and American help. They then washed their hands of empire and international leadership. Today the Tory Party leader David Cameron is the Prime Minister of a third-rate power.
"A former Miss World has been awarded £70,000 in damages after suing no-frills carrier Ryanair for defamation.
The case centred on a press release posted on Ryanair’s website in November 2008 in response to remarks Miss Davison, 27, made the previous day in a newspaper.
Asked what she thought of the lack of any Irish women in Ryanair’s 2009 charity calendar of bikini-clad cabin crew, she said: ‘If I was (organising) it, I would have made sure Irish women were involved because it’s an Irish charity and Irish fundraising.’
The airline’s release said the comments by Miss Davison, who was crowned Miss World in 2003, ‘bordered on racism and demonstrated an elitist attitude against Ryanair’s international cabin crew’.
What started as a battle over fireworks shows led to a sweeping legal victory Friday for environmentalists that could stymie a wide range of events needing city permits, from the Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon to birthday parties held at parks.
“According to the strictest interpretation of this, jumpy-jumps and everything else would be subject to environmental review if this ruling stands,” said lawyer Robert Howard, who represented the La Jolla Community Fireworks Foundation in the case. “It’s a breathtaking ruling.”
Superior Court Judge Linda Quinn said La Jolla’s annual Fourth of July fireworks show requires evaluation under the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA.
The case, filed by the Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation in Encinitas, targeted San Diego’s approval of the La Jolla event but eventually drew in a broad swath of city permits. San Diego officials said they issue about 400 special-events permits annually, along with up to 20,000 park-use permits for smaller-scale gatherings — most of which would now need environmental assessment.
“San Diego issues thousands of these simple park-use permits over the counter with the only consideration being space, just as other cities do across the state,” said City Attorney Jan Goldsmith. “Existing law has never been interpreted to require a CEQA review for this. ... This decision opens the door to absurd results. This is the reason appellate courts exist and we plan to ask for their help.”
Even before the judge’s ruling was finalized, Chula Vista officials on Thursday pulled the plug on their July Fourth show in the face of funding shortfalls and environmental challenges.
The future of La Jolla’s event was fuzzy Friday. Organizers likely can’t complete the time-intensive and costly CEQA analysis by July 4, but Howard said he would ask the court to allow this year’s event while the case is appealed.
City Councilwoman Sherri Lightner, whose district includes La Jolla, said she hoped to find a solution. “We have to strike a balance that protects the environment but also allows our finest traditions to continue,” she said.
On Tuesday, the City Council ratified a long-standing city policy of exempting fireworks shows from special-events permits unless food or alcohol is sold. It was an attempt to shield pyrotechnics from environmental challenges, but Friday’s decision means CEQA still applies.
Environmental impact reports can take a year and cost tens of thousands of dollars.
“Does that mean every event has to get a full environmental impact report? No, but it means that the city has to undertake the burden and applicants have to undertake the cost” of a lower-level CEQA analysis, Howard said.
He said some “events” such as temporary Christmas tree stands have existing exemptions under the law, but many others don’t.
Alex Roth, a spokesman for Mayor Jerry Sanders, framed the suit as part of a “bizarre crusade to stop fireworks.”
“What’s next, a lawsuit against swimmers for polluting the ocean with their suntan lotion?” Roth said.
The Leftist Australian government recently released a "report" designed to prop up its proposed carbon tax. Neither the report nor the tax has gained much traction, however.
To explain that lack of traction, the piece from the Left-run "Sydney Morning Herald" below claims that climate skeptics are psychological cripples, unable to face the evidence.
Demonizing your enemy is classical wartime propaganda and Leftists do it even in peacetime. The first big attempt at it in peacetime erupted in 1950. It is amusing that a 1954 revision of that attack is revived below: The old two-dimensional account of ideology. That account never worked then and it is equally shallow today.
Believe it or not, the author below claims that skeptics are "hierachical/authoritarian" yet it is skeptics who reject authority and Warmists who embrace it! I think it is clear who the mental cripple is! The poor soul writing below has totally lost touch with reality. Would a diagnosis of schizophrenia be too extreme?
And, needless to say, there is not one fact cited below in support of the author's assertions about either climatology or psychology. It is all just bald assertion
I've been thinking a bit about the sea hare this week while observing the fallout from the Climate Commission's report, The Critical Decade. Wondering, too, about primitive human biology, about what factors interfere with our survival instinct - fear, fun, greed, legacy, even good old distracting lust.
The report is a powerful enunciation of what science now knows about climate change and the risks it poses. That the atmosphere and the oceans are warming, ice is being lost from glaciers and ice caps, sea levels are rising and the biological world is changing. "We know beyond reasonable doubt that the world is warming and that human emissions of greenhouse gases are the primary causes."
In the nuanced language of science, it doesn't get much stronger. As the American scientist Naomi Oreskes [Calling Oreskes a scientist is a condemnation of science] has observed, "History shows us clearly that science does not provide certainty. It does not provide proof.
It only provides the consensus of experts, based on the organised accumulation and scrutiny of evidence." And here we have it.
So how do you respond to such confronting news? Do you weigh the credentials of the speakers, study the evidence? Or do you switch it off, turn the page, scream and shout? According to psychological research by the Cultural Cognition Project at Yale University, your reaction either way will have little to do with the strength of the arguments or the calibre of the science. It will have everything to do with whether it gels with, or offends, your deep-seated views about morality and how the world ought to work.
Yale law professor Dan Kahan's "cultural cognition of risk" theory attempts to explain public disagreement about the significance of empirical evidence by plotting individuals on two scales of cultural belief: individualists versus communitarians, based on the importance people attach to the public good when balanced against individual rights; and hierarchists versus egalitarians, based on their views of the stratification of society. Simply explaining the science to these audiences, he finds, will only serve to wedge the two sides.
The sliding scales are not unfamiliar. Think Tony Abbott as the archetypal suit-and-tie individual hierarchical - values clustered around free-market enterprise, personal achievement, industry, regard for authority (though not, it seems, scientific authority), traditional family, personal freedom; and Bob Brown is out there as your sandal-wearing communitarian egalitarian, protesting that pretty much everything Abbott cherishes damages all he holds dear.
Put a scientist in front of an audience of individual hierarchicals saying that global warming is high risk, and only 23 per cent of the audience will buy the speaker as trustworthy and knowledgeable. Same message, same scientist, and 88 per cent of egalitarian communitarians nod their heads.
Have the same author change tack to argue that warming is no great drama, and the Abbotts now lap it up (86 per cent), and the Browns wander off (46 per cent). The well-oiled machinery of manufactured denial knows how to push all these buttons.
Yale's audience testing finds the only factor likely to interfere with our psychological gatekeeping is if someone within our "camp" - someone we perceive as sharing our world view - says something unexpected. (Hence the reverberations in industry and markets when BHP chief Marius Kloppers last year urged rapid action to put a price on carbon emissions.) In short, evidence from someone you identify with will sway your view; science - facts - won't.
Same as it ever was, maybe. But new media helps us contrive a self-affirming information bubble, an echo chamber in which only our own beliefs are broadcast back to us. Debate in the US on the Yale findings prompted the reflection that our instincts in this regard mean - as one political scientist observed - "we are not well-adapted to our information age".
The findings also confirm that for all our modernity, tribal leaders remain critical. Leaders of all persuasions - political, religious, industrial, social - have immense power in influencing responses to the most diabolical of problems.
In the foreword to a new book debunking scepticism of science - Climate Change Denial: Heads in the Sand - Oreskes argues that fear is the major driver of denial. "Fear that our current way of life is unsustainable. Fear that addressing the issue will limit economic growth. Fear that if we accept government interventions in the market place . it will lead to a loss of personal freedom. Or maybe just plain old fear of change."
As economist John Kenneth Galbraith observed, all great leaders share one common characteristic - "the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time".
I had the privilege of attending the Ronald Reagan Centennial Gala in Washington earlier this week. Superbly organised by the Reagan Presidential Foundation, it was a truly magnificent event remembering the greatest American president of the last 100 years. Lech Walesa, the brave Polish freedom fighter who stood up to Communist tyranny, received the Reagan Centennial Freedom Award, and former First Lady Nancy Reagan delivered a moving message by video from her home in California.
Another highlight of the evening was the brilliant speech by British Defence Secretary Liam Fox, who paid tribute to the powerful partnership between Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, an unbreakable alliance that defeated the Soviet Empire and won the Cold War. Dr. Fox, who has been the star performer of David Cameron’s cabinet and for decades a true friend of the United States, declared to much applause:
It is impossible to assess the contribution of Ronald Reagan to the history of the 20th century without considering another political giant of the era- Margaret Thatcher- his friend, ally and intellectual soul mate.
…. At a time when leadership was so needed they brought values, vision and valour. The Cold War did not end. It was won. It was not an accident. It came about because the leadership of the free world was committed politically, militarily, and morally to the defeat of totalitarian ideology and the triumph of liberty and freedom.
It was not an exercise in expediency but the application of conviction. Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher understood that our strength lay in people not governments and that liberated from the dead hand of the state -of the self perpetuating bureaucracy- the innovation and drive of free people would triumph. They believed that competition is to be welcomed not feared- that it is the means by which we judge our talents, one against the other, without recourse to conflict.
They understood that there is a difference between tolerance and surrender and that the moral relativism that blurs the distinction between right and wrong needs to be confronted. They knew what they believed to be right and had the courage to say so- and they knew what they believed to be wrong and had the fortitude to confront it.
They knew that in a free society the market works – that the combined wisdom of millions of individuals, acting in their own interests, is always likely to trump the wisdom of the self selecting elites of government.
They were giants of history when history needed giants. We may never see their likes again in our lifetime. But living and nurturing their legacy is the greatest honour that any of us can do for their dreams, their endeavours and their hopes. Let us not let them down.
These are wise words that politicians on both sides of the Atlantic should heed, at a time of towering public debts, economic uncertainty, and mounting threats to the security of the free world. In her eulogy for President Reagan at his memorial service in Washington National Cathedral in June 2004, Lady Thatcher referred to her close friend as “the great liberator”, a leader who had freed hundreds of millions from tyranny in Europe, as well as offering renewed hope for the American people after a period of decline. In the words of the Iron Lady:
Ronald Reagan carried the American people with him in his great endeavours because there was perfect sympathy between them. He and they loved America and what it stands for: freedom and opportunity for ordinary people.
With the lever of American patriotism, he lifted up the world. And so today, the world – in Prague, in Budapest, in Warsaw and Sofia, in Bucharest, in Kiev, and in Moscow itself, the world mourns the passing of the great liberator and echoes his prayer: God bless America.
POLITICIANS have rushed to defend the coal seam gas industry despite more controversy surrounding it this week.
In a show of support for an industry whose image was dented by another gas leak near Dalby on Monday, the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, and the Queensland Premier, Anna Bligh, travelled to Gladstone yesterday to launch construction on Santos's Curtis Island LNG processing plant.
The $16 billion project is due to deliver its first gas in 2015. Ms Bligh said the environmental approvals had been the "most rigorous" in Australian history.
Environmental groups have complained that approvals for coal seam gas projects - most of which are in Queensland and NSW - have been progressing too quickly, and a moratorium should be placed on further approvals until more is known about the controversial fracking technique.
Fracking involves the pumping of high pressure water and chemicals underground to release gas stores.
As the Gladstone launch was under way, the Queensland Treasurer, Andrew Fraser, was also selling the case for the coal seam gas sector. "This isn't something that's happened in the last one or two years. This is not some wild experiment," Mr Fraser said.
Farming groups have expressed outrage that energy companies have the right to enter private property to explore for coal seam gas, but Mr Fraser said not all farmers were opposed.
"There's plenty of farmers who are quite happy they've got a second string to their income," he said.
Covering up Christian symbols in a church building is carrying the delegitimization of Christianity to a new extreme. And the Methodists who agreed to it show how weak in their faith Methodists have become. They are now just another pissweak "mainstream" church. Next thing they'll be replacing their communion wine with Scotch Whisky.
It seems to me a plain case of denying Christ. Jesus said, “But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 10:33).
School officials in Neptune Township, N.J., have bowed to the demands of the ACLU and will cover decades-old religious signs posted in the historic Great Auditorium to allow a 70-year tradition of high school graduations to continue.
Instead of the sign, "Holiness to the Lord," a banner will be posted over it saying, "Neptune Township School District ... A Community of Learners." In addition, a banner with the words "So Be Ye Holy" will be covered with another banner saying, “Neptune High School: A School of Excellence and No Excuses."
The new banners are meant to appease the American Civil Liberties Union, which had demanded the school district remove all religious signs and symbols from the Methodist-owned auditorium in Ocean Grove, claiming it made non-Christians attending public school graduations feel uncomfortable.
The conflict began after the grandmother of one of last year's graduates complained not only about the large white cross adorning the top of the buildings' facade, but of the religious signs inside, and what she felt was a heavily religious tone to the ceremony, which included student-led invocations and the singing of Christian hymns, most notably "Onward Christian Soldiers."
The school agreed to cut out the student-led invocations and the hymns. But the 6,500-seat Great Auditorium is run by the Camp Meeting Association. It is the iconic, center piece of the Methodist Church-based organization's property, which comprises the bulk of the land in Ocean Grove.
The historical building had become the site for both civic and community events. The association agreed to cover the cross on the inside, but not the cross on the outside or the antique lighted religious signs.
A big improvement
CHRISTIANS in Sydney will have their core beliefs challenged by provocative advertisements due to appear on billboards and buses in the next month.
The ads, paid for by an Islamic group called MyPeace, will carry slogans such as "Jesus: a prophet of Islam", "Holy Quran: the final testament" and "Muhammad: mercy to mankind". A phone number urges people to call to receive a free Koran and other Islamic literature.
The organiser of MyPeace, Diaa Mohamed, said the campaign was intended to educate non-Muslims about Islam. He said Jesus was a prophet of Islam, who was to come before Muhammad. "The only difference is we say he was a prophet of God, and they say he is God," Mr Mohamed said. "Is it thought-provoking? Yes, it is. We want to raise awareness that Islam believes in Jesus Christ," he said.
Mr Mohamed said he hoped the billboards would encourage Christians and Muslims to find common ground. They were not intended to downgrade the significance of Jesus. "We embrace him and say that he was one of the mightiest prophets of God."
MyPeace plans to extend the campaign, funded by private donations, to television.
The Anglican Bishop of South Sydney, Rob Forsyth, said it was "complete nonsense" to say Jesus was a prophet of Islam. "Jesus was not the prophet of a religion that came into being 600 years later."
But the billboard was not offensive, he said. "They've got a perfect right to say it, and I would defend their right to say it [but] … you couldn't run a Christian billboard in Saudi Arabia."
The bishop said he would pay for billboards to counter those of MyPeace if he could afford it, and "maybe the atheists should run their billboards as well".
A spokesman for the Australian Islamic Mission, Siddiq Buckley, said the campaign would increase awareness of the positive facts of Islam. "I would be looking at this as a good opportunity to explain what we mean."
But by his name (Omar) he is a Muslim so we can't expect much of him. A Muslim U.N. official: That sounds like two strikes and you are out to me. Just five of many things he leaves out of his "calculations":
1). Since China has switched from a command economy to a market economy, it has moved from being a food importer to a major food EXPORTER -- showing that economic systems are the real key to food production.
2). The recent rise in CO2 levels is a huge fertilizer that has increased food output per acre and expanded arable areas.
3). Warmer oceans would give off more evaporation and hence INCREASE rainfall overall. Maybe someone should tell Omar that crops like that.
4). Crop failure in some areas is a normal result of the weather cycle but tends to be fairly local. Where some areas are having poor crops others tend to do well. Some areas of Australia, for instance, are at the moment expecting bumper wheat harvests. Australia is a significant wheat exporter.
5). Food prices have risen lately but that is largely due to a large part of the huge U.S. corn crop being diverted into the production of "biofool". The high prices are a result of Congressional stupidity, not the climate. It's true that Congressional stupidity is about as hard to budge as the climate but we can hope.
And what he DOES base his calculations on -- More extreme weather -- is a pure myth. There was just as much extreme weather a century ago.
Global food output may be hurt as climate change brings more extreme weather over the next decade, with China likely set for harsher droughts and North America getting heavier rain, said the World Meteorological Organization.
“Extreme events will become more intense in the future, especially the heat waves and extreme precipitations,” Omar Baddour, a division chief at the United Nations’ agency, said in a phone interview from Geneva. “That, combined with less rainfall in some regions like the Mediterranean region and China, will affect crop production and agriculture.”
The more extreme weather -- including in the U.S., the world’s largest agricultural exporter -- may disrupt harvests, possibly cutting production of grains, livestock and cooking oils and boosting prices. Global food costs reached a record in February, stoking inflation and pushing millions into poverty.
“We foresee with high confidence in climate projections that intense precipitation in some parts of the world will be more intense, and drought will be more intense,” said Baddour, who’s tracked the subject for more than two decades. Extreme heat waves “will also be more intense and more frequent.”
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s World Food Price Index, which tracks 55 food-commodity items, rose nine times in the past 10 months, with the gauge peaking at 237.24 in February. The index climbed to 232.07 last month.
Since nobody else seems to be mentioning this, I thought I should. It would be on the front page of every newspaper coast to coast if a prominent Republican had shown this degree of disconnection from reality. Dan Quayle just had to add an extra "e" on to the spelling of "potato" for it never to have been forgotten by the media
"Everyone wishes they could turn back the clock sometimes, and it turns out Barack Obama is no different. He got the date wrong by three years when he signed the guestbook at Westminster Abbey today on his official visit to the UK - despite apparently asking the dean what day it was.
Following a tradition set by former presidents Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, he laid a wreath at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, before going into the nave to sign a heartfelt message in the Distinguished Visitors' Book."
I rarely disagree with Prof. Boudreaux but I have to say that his clever little libertarian formulation below is grossly at variance with the facts. He seems to think that conservatives heart foreign wars. He is wrong. Traditionally, American conservatives have been isolationists and that strain of thought is still well represented by Pat Buchanan and his American Conservative. And Ron Paul is, after all, a Texas Republican.
It has long been Democrat administrations that have involved America in foreign wars, from Wilson, to Roosevelt, to Truman to Kennedy. And note that America's latest war abroad -- Libya -- is also the work of a Democrat President.
Conservatives will only respond to attack, which is why Roosevelt had to provoke and facilitate the attack on Pearl Harbour. And despite many previous Muslim provocations, it was only when America was genuinely attacked on 9/11/2001 that George Bush swung into action which resulted in taking down two of the three most hostile Muslim regimes. It is only a pity that he left the Iranian madmen to continue their crazy and very dangerous course
It’s not too much of a simplification to say that modern American conservatives believe the national government to be ignorant, bumbling, and corrupt when it meddles in the U.S. economy, but sagacious, sure-footed, and righteous when it meddles in foreign-government affairs.
Nor are the boundaries of acceptable simplification breached by saying that modern American “liberals” believe the national government to be sagacious, sure-footed, and righteous when it meddles in the U.S. economy, but ignorant, bumbling, and corrupt when it meddles in foreign-government affairs.
This striking contradiction in political viewpoints has not, of course, gone unnoticed.
I was prompted to ponder this contradiction not long ago after I read an op-ed in the Washington Post by the neoconservative William Kristol calling on Uncle Sam to attempt to influence the outcomes of the recent popular uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East. My ponderings produced a hypothesis: Modern conservatives and “liberals” are obsessively fixated on bad guys (just different ones).
For both conservatives and “liberals” the world is full of problems caused by bad actors—greedy, heartless, power-hungry autocrats who deploy illegitimately acquired power to trample the rights and livelihoods of the masses. Ordinary men and women seek liberation from these tyrants, but—being ordinary and oppressed—the typical person cannot escape the overlords’ predation without help. Their liberation requires forceful intervention by well-meaning and courageous outsiders.
For “liberals” the oppressed masses consist of workers and the poor, and the oligarchs who do the oppressing are business people and private corporations. What encourages this oppression are free markets and their accompanying doctrine of nonintervention by government into the economy.
However, contrary to the “liberals,” nonintervention rests on at least three truths: First, the complexities of modern economies are so great, and hard to discern, that it is absurdly fanciful to suppose that government officials can intervene without causing more harm than good. Even the most well-meaning government is akin to a bull in a china shop: Out of its natural element, even government’s most careful actions will be so sweeping and awkward that the net result will be unintentionally destructive.
Second, even if economic intervention begins with the best of motives, it degenerates into a process of transferring wealth from the politically powerless to the politically powerful. The interventions continue to sport noble names (such as the “Great Society programs” and the “Fair Labor Standards Act”) and to be marketed as heroic efforts to defend the weak against the strong. But these, however, are nothing more than cynical and disingenuous political marketing efforts aimed at hiding from the general public the actual, unsavory consequences of these interventions.
Third, many situations that appear to well-meaning outsiders to be so undesirable that someone simply must intervene to correct them are understood by many of the people most closely affected by these situations to be superior to likely alternatives.
“Unequal income distribution” is perhaps the foremost such situation. While most “liberals” are obsessed with the “distribution” of income and believe that people of modest means must be especially disturbed by the fact that some other people earn more than they earn, in fact the typical American of modest means is far less bothered by “unequal” income “distribution” than are members of the “liberal” academy and punditry. This latter fact only further confirms to the “liberal” mind that ordinary Americans need third-party intervention to save them from their own naiveté; ordinary Americans just don’t know what glories they are denying themselves by acquiescing in the prevailing economic power structure.
Modern “liberals” dismiss these three objections to economic intervention as being fanciful excuses used by the economically powerful—and, even worse, also by the economically naive free-market faithful—to provide (flimsy) intellectual cover for predations by capitalist bad guys. The realistic assessments by modern “liberals” indicate to them that economic intervention is necessary and righteous.
A nearly identical debate plays out on the foreign-policy front, but with the sides switched.
For modern American conservatives the oppressed masses consist of foreign peoples yearning for American-style freedom and political franchise. But these unfortunate foreigners are oppressed by oligarchs who happen to control their governments. “Liberals” (and liberals) who adhere to a doctrine of U.S. government nonintervention in foreign affairs raise the same three objections that conservatives (and liberals) raise against government intervention in the economy.
First, the complexities of foreign governments’ relationships with their citizens are so great and hard to discern that it is absurdly fanciful to suppose that Uncle Sam can intervene without causing more harm than good. Even the most well-meaning intervention is akin to a bull in a china shop: Out of its natural element, even Uncle Sam’s most careful actions will be so sweeping and awkward that the net result will be unintentionally destructive.
Second, even if foreign intervention begins with the best of motives, it degenerates into a process of transferring wealth from the politically powerless to the politically powerful. The interventions continue to enjoy noble names (such as “Operation Iraqi Freedom”) and to be marketed as heroic efforts to defend the weak against the strong. But these, however, are nothing more than cynical and disingenuous political marketing efforts aimed at hiding from the general public the actual, unsavory consequences of these interventions in which corporations such as Halliburton and Blackwater rake in huge, undeserved profits at the expense of the American taxpayer and the foreign populations ostensibly being helped.
Third, many situations that appear to well-meaning outsiders to be so undesirable that someone simply must intervene are understood by many of the people most closely affected by these situations to be superior to likely alternatives. As oppressive as Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi regime genuinely was, it’s not at all clear that merely disposing of this particular bad guy has liberated Iraqis from oppression. Saddam’s rule was very much a result—and certainly not the principal cause—of Iraq’s anti-liberal culture and dysfunctional social institutions, not to mention earlier U.S. intervention.
Foreign countries’ political, economic, and social institutions are too complex and too deeply rooted in unique histories to be adequately grasped by American politicians and military leaders. Therefore American intervention—which is inevitably ham-fisted—adds to this mix only confusion and turmoil.
The two kinds of intervention situations aren’t analogous in all details; differences exist. But these differences are small when compared to the similarities. “Liberals’” confidence that domestic markets can be improved by battalions of bureaucrats charged with keeping bad guys in line is surprisingly similar to conservatives’ confidence that the welfare of foreigners can be improved by battalions of U.S. military troops charged with keeping bad guys in line.
There's a story on NPR under the above heading. It discusses the accuracy of Hare's checklist for deciding who is a psychopath. The test is now widely used in the U.S. criminal justice system to decide who can safely be released on parole. NPR opposes that, of course.
But on what grounds? Their principal ground seems to be the case of one man: A man with a long record of violent crime who scores highly on the Hare test. Rather than seeing that long record of violent crime as excellent validation of the test (proof that the test measures what it purports to measure) they say: "Aha! But that is the man of yesteryear. After many years in prison he has now reformed."
Yet what they report of his behaviour they evaluate very naively. They report that the man realized he would have to adopt different behaviour to get out of jail and worked systematically on doing that. And he has really charmed lots of people by the new and caring man that he is.
What a laugh! That's exactly what psychopaths do. They are great actors when they need to be and charming people is their stock in trade. If the NPR writers knew anything about psychopaths, they would be embarrassed to write what they did. They have actually disproved their own case.
The Climate Change Commission has released its long-awaited report saying the "jury is in" on the science behind man-made climate change. The verdict? "Humans are the problem."
So strong is the consensus, argues the climate ambassador Tim Flannery, that it is time for news media to cease giving space for debate over the science in view of the magnitude of the threat and the inability of non-experts to understand the issues.
With respect, that argument is not going to blow air into my balloon. Our system of government relies on non-experts making judgments. Our cabinet ministers are chosen from the ranks of elected members of Parliament, rather than external experts. Each year the Health Minister, Nicola Roxon, has to decide how much the federal government spends on 50 different vaccines to combat the risk of a pandemic. Roxon is not an epidemiologist. Wayne Swan has never had a cent of his own money at risk in a business he was running, yet he makes the judgments as the Treasurer on monetary policy, securities regulation, tax rates and foreign investment. We know that relying on non-experts involves risk but we regard it as the least-worst system, in part because we know how often the experts have made catastrophic errors.
In Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (1841), Charles Mackay chronicled the human tendency to be swept up in herd behaviour completely at odds with our goal of dispassionate, individual thought. Mackay looks at the great Tulip Bubble, sharemarket frenzies, the burning of witches and failed doomsday prophesies.
The scientific community is not immune. Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962) showed it behaving like any other group - with a dominant clique-building and defending their empires , while bullying and ostracising dissenters. Kuhn showed that in case after case, the orthodoxy defends the status quo long after the data shows its underlying thesis must be wrong.
We have seen how that bullying, data manipulation and discrediting of dissenters scandalised East Anglia's climate research unit, which put together the historical temperature data on which the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change based its warming scenarios. The most damning revelation was why the manipulation was necessary: because the earth is refusing to warm at the rates the models required.
Flannery trousers $180,000 a year from the Prime Minister to heighten community angst, and her re-election depends on his success. Panasonic, the producer of energy-intensive, carbon-rich electronic goods, sponsors his chair at Macquarie University. While that money does not go to him directly, he has boasted of "carrying the flag for Panasonic in everything . . . I do" before clarifying that "I have not advocated Panasonic as a company in my public engagements as chief commissioner, nor have I done so in my books or TV work." Clear as mud.
The criticism that "money talks" in policy debates about energy-intensive industries ought also to be directed at the academic and scientific establishment. If we were to remove all the scientists whose teaching and research programs derive taxpayer funds to pursue the anthropogenic thesis, I suspect the "consensus" would be weaker. It doesn't mean the thesis is wrong, but the transparency being practised by the scientists falls woefully short of that expected of journalists, politicians and company directors.
An eminent cereal biologist and board member of the then Co-operative Research Centre for Grain Food Products recently told me how he was called to Canberra in the 1970s to join a secret conclave of senior figures in the departments of agriculture and defence from the US, Australia and Britain. Their task was to consider how to ration food in the coming ice age. (In fact, the Earth has had no polar ice for 75 per cent of its 4.5 billion-year history and we are still in an ice age.)
The risks of making predictions about complex systems on the basis of computer models was graphically illustrated by the Club of Rome's famously discredited 1972 work The Limits of Growth, which argued that linear growth in food resources and exponential growth in population would lead to Malthusian famine and war. The model completely failed to account for the subsequent 400 per cent increase in agricultural productivity.
Remember Y2K? In 1999 governments spent millions enriching computer scientists for advice on how to manage the threats to our national security from the millennium bug.
When making decisions about our country's future, we ought not to be dismissive of the wisdom of the traveller on the Bondi tram. While public support for the man-made warming thesis is falling, it will not serve the cause of science to behave like a shock jock with a microphone for himself and a mute button for his callers.
Dick Smith is rightly one of Australia's most popular people and I agree with his view that Australia should aim for a stable population rather than an expanding one. But he seems to have fallen under the influence of Greenie myths. The idea that a major food exporter like Australia could run out of food is absurd. To gain perspective, consider the case of another major food exporter -- post-Communist China
PLANS to massively boost Australia's population are a bad idea and must be stopped, entrepreneur Dick Smith says.
'The Federal Government favours a "big Australia" and wants to increase the country's headcount from 22 million to 35 million by 2050, largely by immigration.
But Mr Smith said this was ridiculous. "We need to do something about this incredible increase," he said at an Australian of the Year dinner in Parliament House today. "No one is allowed to talk about it ... I am."
Mr Smith said Australia did not have enough water or food to support millions more people. It was crazy that seawater was being desalinated for drinking water to supply a booming population. "I believe in 100 years time people in Australia will be starving to death."
The intake of skilled migrants should be slashed and women should be discouraged from having more than two babies, Mr Smith said. He believes nine out of 10 Australians do not want a population boom.
Mr Smith is working on a documentary on the issue.
The Government wants to increase the population because it means more young taxpayers to pay the rising health and pension costs of the ageing population.
But a recent poll showed most people did not like that plan and some green groups have voiced concerns about the environmental costs.
Ever wonder how people go to Congress and become millionaires? A new academic report clears it up for us.
A report from four scholars, Alan J Ziobrowski; James W Boyd, Ping Cheng; and Brigitte J. Ziobrowski, titled Abnormal Returns From the Common Stock Investments of Members of the U.S. House of Representatives, shows that between 1985 and 2001 members of Congress enjoyed a considerable advantage over members of the public in their investment returns.
The article was published by Berkeley Electronic Press and is a follow up to a similar study done on investments by US Senators.
“A previous study suggests that U.S. Senators trade common stock with a substantial informational advantage compared to ordinary investors and even corporate insiders,” says the introduction to the report. “We apply precisely the same methods to test for abnormal returns from the common stock investments of Members of the U.S. House of Representatives. We measure abnormal returns for more than 16,000 common stock transactions made by approximately 300 House delegates from 1985 to 2001. Consistent with the study of Senatorial trading activity, we find stocks purchased by Representatives also earn significant positive abnormal returns (albeit considerably smaller returns). A portfolio that mimics the purchases of House Members beats the market by 55 basis points per month (approximately 6% annually).”
Actually 12 times .55 percent comes out to 6.6 percent annually. That .6 percent return accounts for an additional $130,000 over a 17 year period.
So how lucrative can the 6.6 percent advantage be for Senators and Representatives? A portfolio of $100,000 getting average stock market returns of 11 percent over a 17 year period would have grown to $589,000. If you were a member of the United States House of Representatives, though, enjoying the advantage that inside government information can bring you, your portfolio would have reached $1,573,000, according to an investment calculation I did using the finding from the study.
Assuming only average market returns for the next 20 years, a Representative would grow their portfolio to close to $13 million. Under the same circumstances US Senator would have grown the portfolio to $18 million.
The conclusion of the study favors some sort of reporting mechanism similar to those imposed upon corporate insiders. “We find strong evidence that Members of the House have some type of nonpublic information which they use for personal gain. That having been said, abnormal returns earned by Members of the House are substantially smaller than those earned by Senators during approximately the same time period. These smaller returns are due presumably to less influence and power held by the individual Members.”
While the sky wouldn’t fall if reporting requirements were imposed on members of Congress, the report misses the most obvious point.
Why do we have a federal government that can so substantially ensure winners and losers in investments and our economy? Isn't a system like that prone to corruption? Don't we witness the effects of that corruption in legislation like Obamacare, or the cadillac benefits offered public employees?
The report points out the even corporate insiders don’t enjoy the return advantages that members of Congress enjoy. It’s one of the most damning indications yet that the scope of government has gotten wildly out of control. It’s also another example of laws that Congress passes for the rest of us but won’t consider following.
John Hawkins is the straight talker. He sure pulls no punches. But I can't see a single point where he is factually wrong
Conservative bloggers have been saying for years that YouTube takes a pro-radical Islam slant. Videos that are pro-Israel or anti-radical Islam have been pulled again and again and again and again and again.
Yesterday, I got a taste of the same treatment when I hammered the Palestinians for their malicious and evil behavior in my latest Liberalism in 120 Seconds video on YouTube. You can’t see the video on YouTube anymore because it was banned as “hate speech,” but you can see it at MRC TV.
Moreover, conservative Republicans are called “evil” and “Nazis” on a daily basis. So are Israelis. Is YouTube going to call those videos “hate speech” and pull ‘em? No, of course not. You can lie about Republicans, conservatives, Israel and even America all you want, but if you tell the truth about the genocidal impulses of the Palestinian people and their suicide bomber culture, that’s “hate speech.”
(See the original for links & Video)
Computer models at Stanford University have just “told” us that man-made global warming has already sapped some of the yield potential from our food crops. They say wheat yields would have been 5.5 percent higher since 1980 without the earthly warming; corn yields would have been 3.8 percent higher.
Stanford’s computers apparently didn’t tell their programmers that U.S. corn yields have actually risen by more than 60 percent since 1980 - during a period when they were supposedly hampered by too much heat. Wheat yields rose 14 percent, aided by higher levels of CO2, which act like fertilizer for plants.
In fact, if you’re worried about global food production, don’t pay much attention to this study. Recall that our recent temperatures have recently been about the same as in 1980 and 1981. Net warming since 1940 is only about 0.2 degrees C. Those are not numbers that would frighten a plant breeder, who understands that all of the wild species have proven they can handle climate changes of at least 4 degrees C with little problem.
Computer models only work if they have been programmed with adequate information. The computerized climate models, for example, claim that the earth’s recent warming is “unprecedented.” However, nobody told the computers about the Medieval Warming (950–1200 AD) and the Roman Warming (200 BC– 600 AD), both warmer than today.
Moreover, our corn, wheat, and rice are all originally tropical crops:
* Corn originated in the hot, wet lowlands of Mexico - and didn’t get cold-tolerant enough for the Corn Belt until after 4,000 years of careful seed selection by many generations of farmers.
* Wheat was native to the Fertile Crescent - the hot, dry regions of Palestine and Israel. In the Punjab today, it tolerates summer temperatures as high as 100 degrees F.
* Rice evolved in the Yangtze River Valley of China, where summer temperatures also rise above 100 degrees F. But rice thrives, too, in Manchuria at summer temperatures of only 80 degrees.
Drought, not temperature, has been the real enemy of food production, around the world and over time. The big droughts have come more often during the “little ice ages” than during the predominantly good weather of the global warmings. The warmings have been the good times, for humans, crops, and wildlife.
Over the last 4000 years, the region of Iraq has had droughts as long as 300 years during “little ice ages.” Its cities and fields were abandoned, left to nomadic shepherds. Egypt suffered only 8 percent of its Nile floods below-normal during the Medieval Warming - but 38 percent below-normal floods during the Little Ice Age. Closer to home, California had two century-long droughts during the Medieval Warming. Perhaps the computers should be programmed to look for shifting rain patterns and not worry about a 0.2 degree shift in temperature.
The real food challenge? The world will need to nearly double its farm output in the next 40 short years, to meet a last, moderate increase in population—and a huge surge in affluence. The rising incomes will have everybody in the world bidding for a high-quality diet. We’ll need all the technology research can muster, including drought-resistant crops. Otherwise, food prices will soar and wildlife habitat will disappear under innumerable plows
MALCOLM Fraser's memoirs, co-authored with Margaret Simons, are the most error-riddled, factually unreliable, tendentious, consistently nasty and overall disgraceful political memoirs I have ever read. Naturally they won the NSW Premier's Literary Award.
This infamous award demonstrates why the Premier's Literary Awards should be abolished. In their nonfiction section, at least, they are not about literature but promoting ideological conformity.
Fraser was prime minister from 1975 to 1983. In office, he had the reputation of being an arrogant, right-wing bully. Later, he decided to reshape himself as a grand man of the Left.
I don't doubt his motives, though it is noteworthy that you get a lot more comfort, certainly more awards, on the Left.
Fraser now has the attraction for the Left of any radical convert. Metaphorically, he has crossed the Berlin Wall, except he went from West to East. The Left is constantly surprised that it dominates the culture in Australia but is repeatedly rejected by voters.
In truth, it dominates the culture only because of its stranglehold on taxpayers' funds, such as these awards. John Howard's memoir - the bestselling political autobiography in our history - is truly popular. It will be fascinating to see if it wins any of these wretchedly compromised awards.
Fraser's visceral hatred of Howard and his relentless denigration of him, often with highly dubious stories, along with Fraser's support of free entry for the boatpeople, more than anything else endear him to the Left.
Fraser's book contains some astounding factual errors. Two among many that Gerard Henderson has pointed out are that Fraser cannot even remember how many elections he won, claiming four, when in fact he won three. Fraser also claims George Orwell's book Nineteen Eighty-Four was inspired by British society of the 1950s whereas it was a satire of East European communist dictatorships. Henderson might have pointed out further that as Orwell died in January 1950 and Nineteen Eighty-Four was published two years before that, he couldn't have been inspired by much in the 50s.
Real women like real men
Women find happy men significantly less sexually attractive than those who swagger or brood, researchers said today. They are least attracted to smiling men, instead preferring those who looked proud and powerful, or moody and ashamed, according to a study.
In contrast, men are most sexually attracted to women who look happy, and least attracted to those who appear proud and confident.
The University Of British Columbia study, which is the first to report a significant gender difference in the attractiveness of smiles, helps explain the enduring allure of 'bad boys' and other iconic gender stereotypes. It is also the first study to investigate the attractiveness of displays of pride and shame.
Lead researcher Professor Jessica Tracy said: 'While showing a happy face is considered essential to friendly social interactions, including those involving sexual attraction - few studies have actually examined whether a smile is, in fact, attractive. 'This study finds that men and women respond very differently to displays of emotion, including smiles.'
More than 1,000 adult participants rated the sexual attractiveness of hundreds of images of the opposite sex. These photos included universal displays of happiness (broad smiles), pride (raised heads, puffed-up chests) and shame (lowered heads, averted eyes).
The researchers found that women were least attracted to smiling, happy men - in contrast to men, who were most attracted to women who looked happy. Overall, the researchers said, men rank women more attractive than women rank men.
Study co-author Alec Beall said: 'It is important to remember that this study explored first-impressions of sexual attraction to images of the opposite sex.
'We were not asking participants if they thought these targets would make a good boyfriend or wife - we wanted their gut reactions on carnal, sexual attraction.'
'The results reflect some very traditional gender norms and cultural values that have emerged, developed and been reinforced through history, at least in Western cultures'
He said previous studies have found positive emotional traits and a nice personality to be highly desirable in a relationship partners.
Professor Tracy and Mr Beall said that other studies suggest that what people find attractive has been shaped by centuries of evolutionary and cultural forces. For example, evolutionary theories suggest females are attracted to male displays of pride because they imply status, competence and an ability to provide for a partner and offspring.
According to Mr Beall, the pride expression accentuates typically masculine physical features, such as upper body size and muscularity. 'Previous research has shown that these features are among the most attractive male physical characteristics, as judged by women,' he said.
The researchers said more work is needed to understand the differing responses to happiness, but suggest the phenomenon can also be understood according to principles of evolutionary psychology, as well as socio-cultural gender norms.
For example, past research has associated smiling with a lack of dominance, which is consistent with traditional gender norms of the 'submissive and vulnerable' woman, but inconsistent with the 'strong, silent' man.
Professor Tracy said: 'Generally, the results appear to reflect some very traditional gender norms and cultural values that have emerged, developed and been reinforced through history, at least in Western cultures.
'These include norms and values that many would consider old-fashioned and perhaps hoped that we've moved beyond.'
Their "principles" are always changing but their hate is permanent
Last week I was called by Peter Stone of iWatch, the online ezine of the generally far left Center for Public Integrity. Mr. Stone asked for my opinion on the refusal of George W. Bush to attend the Obama festivities at Ground Zero after the killing of bin Laden. Mr. Stone suggested that Bush's excuse, 'other commitments,' was somehow dishonest given that he was in New York City a few days later giving several speeches at more $100,000.00 per. Stone did note as an aside that Clinton had also declined the Obama invitation citing the same excuse, and that he too was in the City shortly after giving equally lucrative speeches.
I responded that I thought it was inappropriate for Obama to be at Ground Zero considering that he had tried to get the Guantanamo prisoners, who have already admitted guilt, removed to civilian trials in Lower Manhattan. Also that Obama's self glorification was hypocritical since harsh interrogation had led to bin Ladin and Obama was still pursuing prosecutions against the very same CIA agents whose methods obtained that information.
I also emphasized to Stone that I would not want my comments to be part of a one sided denunciation of Bush, since, as he himself pointed out, Clinton was exploiting his ex-presidency in exactly the same way as Bush. Mr. Stone assured me that his piece was to be unbiased, critical of both.
Knowing the generally far left bias of Center of Public Integrity I of course had very low expectations, and I was not disappointed on reading Stone's column. His May 20 column was entitled: After Skipping Ground Zero Event With Obama, Bush Made Three Paid Speeches .
Microsoft Word informs me that Stone's article is 1051 words in length. All but three sentences of it are devoted to attacking G.W. Bush. As an additional example of 'lack of bias,' next to the column is a sidebar called "Top 10 Failures of the Bush Administration" with a live link to an article on that subject.