By JR on Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Feminist lack of reality-contact again
Clementine Ford has often appeared in the columns of the Sydney Boring Herald giving aggressively feminist opinions. Her aggression and anger is normal among Leftists but her feminism adds an additional mental health problem to her profile. She constantly denies that men and women are different -- except when women are superior, of course.
But, in denying such a large slice of reality as male/female differences she is, I would argue, a low-level schizophrenic. Denial of reality is the hallmark of schizophrenia. There are probably as many sorts of feminism as there are feminists but I would argue that the more extreme ones have a form of mental illness which is dangerous to vulnerable women who listen to them and take them seriously. It may be worth mentioning that feminist icon Kate Millett was in and out of mental hospitals for much of her life.
And Clemmie has just added more evidence of her poor reality contact. As Tim Blair notes, with links to her Twitter account: "According to Godwin’s Law record-breaker Clementine Ford, Donald Trump is “installing people who pledge support to Nazism.” Also according to Clem, Trump “just made a neo-Nazi his chief strategist”, and Trump “is giving jobs to neo-Nazis".
The chief strategist she is presumably referring to is Steve Bannon, a retired U.S. Navy sailor and merchant banker who is a very forceful conservative. And the American Left and media (but I repeat myself) are in something of a frenzy to discredit him. But they really have nothing to go on except for the scorn he heaps on them. There is an attempt here to use his own words to discredit him but it gets nowhere. It simply reveals that he thinks much the same as Trump and the Trumpians. Just proving that about him is horror enough to the Left, of course, but to anyone else what he says is just a newly legitimated expression of opinion. As did Reagan, Trump has bumped the Overton window rightwards and Bannon is now in that window.
But to the Left, everyone who opposes them and their ideas is a "racist" -- and that accusation is constantly flung at Bannon, spiced up a little by the related accusation that he is antisemitic. But where is the evidence for that? Once again, there is none, aside from one accusation from an embittered ex-wife. Read here just one of many refutations of the "racist" claim from people who know him personally, noting, for instance, that Bannon’s longtime personal assistant is an African American woman, and he has extended family members who are Jewish".
And Bannon has also been an forceful advocate for Israel. As a Jewish American news site put it: "He headed arguably the most pro-Israel media organization in the world, and oversaw an operation that went out of its way to expose and attack antisemitism at every turn".
That is the man Clemmie calls a Nazi.
I have not seen her byline on the SMH recently. Has she become too unbalanced even for the SMH management? She may have had something of a breakdown. She embarrassed herself a couple of weeks ago by accusing someone else of a slur that he did not utter but which she did! Maybe we have heard the last of her in the mainstream media.
By JR on Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Trump and the Overton window
The Overton window refers to the range of topics that is permitted to be discussed in polite society.
The article below is from Brian McNair, a professor of journalism at a minor Australian university. And, like all Leftist writing, what he leaves out makes a big difference. He is basically disrespectful of the Trump triumph, as are most Leftists. To spice up his argument, however, he rightly observes that Hitler came to power through regular democratic processes too. So he hints that Trump will be another Hitler.
Many Leftists just say Bush=Hitler, Trump=Hitler etc. without making any real argument for their assertions but Prof. McNair makes a lightly reasoned historical case for his comparison so I think that warrants a reply.
He rightly observes that Hitler too railed against the establishment and a remote elite that did not care about the people. But socialist politicians regularly rail against the establishment and a remote elite that does not care about the people. And Hitler was a socialist. The only oddity is that a semi-conservative like Trump did it. And the various socialist postwar governments worldwide have not become Hitler clones so why should Trump? Our bitter professor does not mention that. He ignores all the examples that contradict his argument.
And the differences between Hitler and Trump matter too. Hitler was undoubtedly one of the greatest warmongers the world has seen whereas Trump is a peacenik. He is on buddy terms with Mr Putin and wants to withdraw American troops abroad back home to America. In that regard he is a traditional American isolationist. It is Clinton who was rhetorically attacking Russia, not Trump. Hitler did talk peace at times but from his re-militarization of the Rhineland onwards he expanded the territorial reach of his armed forces -- unlike Trump's desire to pull back U.S. armed forces.
So it is just the usual Leftist cheap shot to compare Trump with Hitler. Just because two people have some similarities does not mean that they are the same. It is a foolish and empty argument.
The point of the article, however, is a recognition of something that has not much been discussed so far: Trump has shifted the Overton window rightwards. The success of Trump has made all his policy positions respectable. Before Trump, for instance, limiting Muslim immigration was "racist" to both the GOP and the Donks. The Leftists still say that but the Right no longer agree. They can now discuss the matter without being shut down. They can in fact not only discuss it but win elections by saying it. So both sides of the issue can now be discussed pretty freely, which was not previously the case
And our professor sees that shift in what journalists say and discuss. He sees that they now treat Trump's policy positions with more respect. They discuss them instead of simply abusing them. And THAT has got our professor riled. He calls the new normal "subjectivity" and yearns for the good old says when political correctness -- which he amusingly refers to as "objectivity" -- reigned supreme. He makes a plea for a return to it but is clearly despairing of that happening. He is right about that.
As the results of the 2016 election came in, the mainstream media in America and around the world demonstrated their inability to cope with the challenge of a president Trump within the conventional paradigms of journalistic objectivity, balance and fairness. Or, rather, to cope without normalising the most conspicuously overt racism, sexism, and proto-fascism ever seen in a serious candidate for president.
As street protests broke out in Portland, Oregon in the days after the election, for example, BBC World noted the police definition of the events as a “riot”, in response to what it coyly described as “some racist remarks” made by Donald Trump during his campaign.
A man whose comments were denounced even by his own party chief Paul Ryan as “textbook racism”, and whose references to “grabbing pussy”, “a nasty woman”, “Miss House Keeping” and other indicators of unabashed misogyny horrified millions in the US across the party spectrum, was now president.
For the BBC, henceforth, criticism of even the most outlandish and offensive remarks – when judged by the standards of recent decades – would be severely muted, if not excluded. Suddenly, rather can call a spade a spade in coverage of Trump’s hate-mongering campaign, his ascendancy to office had legitimised those views, and the process of normalisation had begun.
The mainstream media have largely followed suit in this approach to Trump’s victory, bestowing a new respectability on what before election day had been generally reported as absurdly offensive statements and policies. One can without too much imagination foresee Ku Klux Klan chief David Duke becoming an expert commentator on CNN or MSNBC (or at least on Fox News).
In News Corp outlets all over the world, from Sky News and The Australian here to Fox in the US, commentators and pundits were to the fore in constructing legitimacy around his policies, insofar as anyone really knows what they are.
This descent into normalisation of the hitherto unacceptable, occasioned by Trump’s democratically endowed seizure of political power as of November 8, is very similar to the rise of Hitler and the Nazis in 1930s Germany.
Hitler’s ascent, and all that came from it, was a product of free choices made in ballot boxes, and of free media coverage which moved to the extreme right with the ruling party.
Then, as now, a demagogic populist exploited perceptions of victimhood and “anti-elitism”, targeting ethnic and religious minorities as “the enemy”. No-one forced national socialism on the German people, or on their media, nor on the many Western media such as the Daily Mail in England that spoke out in his favour.
Post-November 8, the mainstream media have shown their inability to engage with the enormity of what is happening in Western and global politics within conventional paradigms of objectivity. Left to them, the slide into fascism will simply become another news story, another “he said, she said” performance of balance, legitimised by the fact that this is what democracy has delivered. No matter that in the 1930s the same obeisance led to the Holocaust.
This tendency is not the fault of the mainstream media, nor of their journalists, who are simply applying the professional codes and practices with which they have been raised. But they will need to do better.
For those in the media who wish to stem a slide into democratically legitimised fascism in the next four years – and similar processes are now unfolding in Europe, Australia and elsewhere – it is time to rethink the appropriate response of “objective” journalism to the post-factual politics of extreme subjectivity.
Pure Leftist hate
The rant below is remarkable. It says nothing at great length. There is no information of substance conveyed. It is presumably meant to be funny for a Leftist audience. It appeared in a Left-leaning major Australian newspaper. But underneath the slight veneer of humour, it is pure hate. The hate just poured out of the writer -- and kept pouring. I reproduce the whole thing so people can witness how much hate there is there. She no doubt feels pleased with herself for writing it but she clearly has "issues", as they say these days. I suspect that underneath an acceptable social facade, she is a generally hostile person -- JR
Of all the lunacies of the post-fact world, my favourite is the fiction being peddled that "left-wing elites" in the media and elsewhere revealed their horrendous bias by expressing dismay at the prospect of a Trump presidency.
Voicing some discomfort at the prospect of a pussy-grabbing protector-isolationalist becoming leader of the free world does not a left-wing loon make.
Any political candidate who has been endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan is leaving a lot of room out there on their left flank. You don't have to be Che Guevara to have inadvertently found yourself sitting in that space, desolate in the knowledge that the best you can do to stop the juggernaut is to un-follow The Donald on Twitter.
But progressive and free-thinking Trump first-responders (and since last week, we are all, from Senegal to Seattle, Trump first-responders) do have a problem with Melania Trump, first lady-elect, the woman ostensibly closest to the man but at the same time strangely incidental to him.
Melania – Slovenian immigrant, mother, and "perfect 10", to use the technical, Trumpian term – is either her husband's greatest victim or his worst enabler.
She is definitely an important source of what the white-coat doctors call "narcissistic supply", but she may also be that woman with a desperate look in her eyes madly trying to blink her way into communicating that she needs to escape this nightmare way more than we do.
Feminists are at a loss as to how to deal with Melania because it's generally uncool to mock blameless wives and mothers, and yet, this is a woman whose entire life appears predicated on the fact that she is hot. Which is not what Mary Wollstonecraft et al fought in the trenches for.
How do we solve a problem like Melania?
Images of Trump frankly spying on his wife as she cast her vote on November 8 were telling. Did he expect her to vote Democrat? Since winning the vote, otherwise disempowered women have used the privacy of the ballot box as a way to rebel secretly against their husbands, but poor Melania was not afforded this inalienable right.
Perhaps she wanted to put a nice big tick in the Hillary box but was forced to divert at the last minute when she felt her husband's reptilian eyes boring into her back.
Funnily enough, the next day the entire world woke up with that same feeling.
Feminists are at a loss as to how to deal with first lady Melania Trump. The little we do know about Melania has been communicated by mostly her husband. He began lobbying for her back in 2000 when she was his new girlfriend and he pestered the then editor of GQ, Dylan Jones, to feature her nude in his magazine.
More recently, Melania was the subject of a GQ profile that revealed she had a secret half-brother in Slovenia but told us precisely nothing about the kind of person she is. She spoke in cliches and revealed nothing of herself except for the fact that she sticks to her "role" and would never ask her husband to change a nappy or put their son to bed.
Trump says Melania will make an "unbelievable first lady".
The very title of "first lady" is bold confirmation of what many workplaces, and (dare I say it), society as a whole, have been slow to acknowledge – that men holding down serious jobs can do them properly only if they have a woman behind the scenes sponging up the detritus of daily life.
In the case of an average account manager, or a business owner, that means your wife pays the internet bill and makes sure the children's hair is sufficiently crazy for the school's annual "Crazy Hair Day" (or as it's known to one of my circle, "F---ing Crazy Hair Day").
Presidential wives probably have staff to take care of Crazy Hair Day, but they would have many other irritating and time-consuming help-meet tasks, like scheduling the secret service detail around school assembly, and arranging state dinner seating plans to minimise awkwardness between guests experiencing diplomatic conflict.
In Melania's case, seating arrangements will be further complicated by the fact that her husband is on record as being very gropey. Angela Merkel or Teresa May will want to watch their legs sub-table, particularly given Trump would probably deny any groping not on the facts, but on the justification that neither leader is a "10" so why would he bother?
First ladies are permitted, of course, to take up a few of their own causes, and Melania has said she will focus on the scourge of online bullying, prompting many to wonder aloud whether she had glanced at her own husband's Twitter account recently.
In the post-truth world it would not be surprising if Melania decides next week to take up the banner for victims of sexual assault, or become patron of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
People will call her a hypocrite but perhaps, underneath the Barbie-doll bust and the mask-like features, she is trolling her husband in open cover.
It's the only place she has to hide.
Trump brings in the billionaires
The Democrats are going to pick at this and claim that Trump does not stand for the little guy after all. But the point is that Trump is bringing in high achievers, not inexperienced political hacks. He is bringing in people of known high competence who will get results.
And since they are already rich they are not doing it for the salary. And being already rich, they will be very hard to corrupt. This may be the least corrupt administration for a long time -- just what Trump promised.
And no-one can say that they did not know Trump had rich friends. He has long been one of the best known people in America -- and known to be a rich man who hobnobs with other rich people.
Donald Trump is used to being surrounded by rich people, but the squad of billionaires he is lining up to serve in his first cabinet is extraordinary even by his standards.
Hedge funders, heiresses, bankruptcy bankers and baseball barons are being tipped for top positions in the new administration, leading to deep concerns about conflicts of interest and the expectation of a bumpy ride when they face confirmation hearings in the Senate.
“Donald Trump said during the campaign that he doesn’t like hanging out with rich people,” said Larry Sabato, professor of politics at the University of Virginia. “We’re discovering that’s not really true. We’ve had wealthy people in almost every cabinet, but I don’t believe we’ve ever had so many.”
By JR on Sunday, November 27, 2016
Some matters arising from Trump's NYT interview
The Donald's Scottish golf course has been widely praised and Trump himself seems to feel a strong connection to it. But in his NYT interview Friedman hinted that sea-level rises might flood it. Would he want his golf cause to be flooded? From what I can see the course is well and truly above sea level so that claim would probably not fly but in case parts of it are a bit low, it would be nice if someone was on hand to draw Trump's attention to the official sea level information for Aberdeen. The Trump International Golf Links are just 10 miles North of Aberdeen.
The NOAA chart for Aberdeen is here. You will see from it that the sea level rise there averages out to about 3 inches per century and from about 1985 on there appears to be no trend at all. That should immunize Trump agains the usual leftist lies about the oceans rising.
In the same interview "Pinch" Sulzberger claimed that America has never had storms as bad as ones that hit recently. So perhaps this story could be mentioned:
The Great New England Hurricane of 1938
On September 21, 1938, one of the most destructive and powerful hurricanes in recorded history struck Long Island and Southern New England. The storm developed near the Cape Verde Islands on September 9, tracking across the Atlantic and up the Eastern Seaboard. The storm hit Long Island and Southern Connecticut on September 21, moving at a forward speed of 47 mph! Sustained hurricane force winds were felt across central and eastern Long Island and southeastern Connecticut. The hurricane produced a destructive storm surge flooding coastal communities as well as producing three to seven inches of rainfall.
Max Recorded Sustained Wind: 121 mph at Blue Hill Observatory, MA
Max Recorded Wind Gust: 186 mph at Blue Hill Observatory, MA
Highest Sustained Wind Measurement not Influenced by Terrain: 109 mph at Fishers Island, NY (Landsea et al 2013)
Lowest Observed Pressure: 27.94 in (946.2 mb) at Bellport, NY
Estimated Lowest Pressure: 27.79 in (941 mb) near Brentwood, NY as the wind and pressure centers were slightly displaced due to its fast speed and extra-tropical transition (Landsea et al. 2013, National Hurricane Center; Hurricane Research Division Re-Analysis Project)
Speed at landfall: 47 mph (Landsea et al. 2013, National Hurricane Center; Hurricane Research Division Re-Analysis Project)
Peak Storm Surge: 17 ft. above normal high tide (Rhode Island)
Peak Wave Height: 50 ft. at Gloucester, MA
Homeless: Approx. 63,000
Homes/Buildings Destroyed: Approx. 8,900
Trees Destroyed: Approx. 2 Billion
Boats Lost or Destroyed: Approx. 3,300
Cost: $620 million (1938 Dollars); Equivalent to approx. $41 billion using 2005 inflation, wealth, and population normalization then estimated to 2010 Dollars (Blake and Gibney 2011).
There isn't a 'silent majority' of racists in Australia
By Tim Soutphommasane, Race Discrimination Commissioner.
Tim's headline above is beyond dispute but he goes downhill from there. I have written previously about the Scanlon Foundation and its reports and what I have said previously still seems to apply.
Peter Scanlon was the man behind stevedoring business Patrick Corporation but he now seems to be mainly in shares and Real Estate.
This year's report has made a big issue over question wording. They know, I know and all survey researchers know that the wording of a question can greatly influence the answers. And by dwelling on that fact they apparently hope to obscure the reality that they are themselves great sinners in that regard.
Just to take a simple example from their survey, one of their questions is: "Marriage equality for same sex couples". They find that 66% of respondents say they support it. But the question is ludicrously biased. It is put in a way that argues for it. Were the question a straightforward "Homosexual marriage" they would undoubtedly get a very different percentage of approval. The Labor party certainly thinks so. That is why they strenuously resist a vote on the question. They know that a referendum on the question would be lost.
And the Scanlon questions about "refugees" are amusing too. One question asked for agreement with a statement seeking support for resettling ‘refugees who have been assessed overseas and found to be victims of persecution and in need of help'. A real tear-jerker! Unsurprisingly, two thirds of respondents agreed with that. I would have liked to ask for responses to "Most so-called refugees are really just economic immigrants in search of a country with generous welfare payments". I might have got two thirds agreement with that too.
So Tim is entitled to believe the Scanlon report but from my viewpoint as an experienced survey researcher it is basically rubbish. To believe their results you would have to show that they are similar to results that have been obtained by other researchers. And they themselves admit that their results are often very different. They say that the other researchers have bad research methods but I think it is more a case of Luke 6:42.
So when Tim says "An overwhelming majority of people (83 per cent) believe that multiculturalism is good for the country", we have to ask WHICH cultures do people see as beneficial? Muslim culture? Probably not. Scanlon doesn't ask that question. They don't want to know.
Having said all that there were nonetheless two points which even Scanlon picked up, two points that other surveys have found: Environmental issues are bottom of the barrel in importance for Australians and Australians are far more anti-Muslim than they are anti any other religion
These are challenging times for race relations. In the United States, just a fortnight after the election of Donald Trump, there are already numerous reports of hate attacks on the rise. A similar trend was reported earlier this year following the Brexit vote in Britain.
This is what happens when political debates normalise attacks on immigrants and foreigners. This is what happens when populist nationalism trumps the normal rules of liberal democracy.
Australia is not the US. Neither is it Europe. But we are not immune from racial anxiety and xenophobia. There remains a small minority of people in our society who are hostile towards cultural diversity and immigration. These are people who believe that an Australian national identity is under threat from cultural change.
It is important that we deal with such concerns, that we understand why people may feel that way. Yet, as the Scanlon Foundation's Mapping Social Cohesion report shows, we shouldn't overstate such cultural angst. Those who are uncomfortable about multiculturalism do not constitute some "silent majority". The political mainstream mustn't rush to conclude otherwise.
Here are some of the facts, according to the Scanlon Foundation. An overwhelming majority of people (83 per cent) believe that multiculturalism is good for the country. A clear majority of people (59 per cent) believed that current levels of immigration were either "about right' or 'too low".
Such results, consistent with the Scanlon Foundation's findings over the years, are the best indication we have of where Australian public opinion really lies. It is confirmation that Australia remains a successful and harmonious nation of immigration.
Of course, recent commentary has painted a different picture. For example, one Essential Media poll about Muslim immigration has been frequently cited to support the proposition that half of Australians want to ban Muslim immigration.
Such commentary has tended to ignore other evidence indicating far more robust support for a non-discriminatory immigration policy. In a previous survey, the Scanlon Foundation in fact found that three-quarters of the population supported immigration being conducted on non-discriminatory lines. This year, the Scanlon Foundation found that with respect to Australia taking in refugees from Syria, 69 per cent indicated that "there should be equal consideration to all religious and ethnic groups".
The lesson is this. Political debate must avoid jumping to conclusions based on single opinion polls – especially when polls need to be interpreted with care. The best polls are those that can show trends over time. On matters of social cohesion, the Scanlon Foundation's findings have been robust and reliable.
Which is why there are some findings in this year's survey that should give us pause. There has been an increase in the reported experience of discrimination, which rose from 15 per cent of respondents in 2015 to 20 per cent in 2016. This is the highest proportion recorded since the Scanlon Foundation surveys began in 2007. Those of a non-English speaking background reported the highest experience of discrimination (27 per cent).
There can be no complacency on prejudice and discrimination. It remains fundamentally important that our society sends an emphatic signal that racism is unacceptable.
Trump was so vague and contradictory during his campaigns -- first for the GOP nomination and then for Prez -- that one can argue that his recent "backdowns" are just his general vagueness and nothing new. His decision not to prosecute Hillary, however, is clearly a change. So why?
He has actually told us why. He wants to bring the nation together and for that reason he has been extremely conciliatory. He has been as nice as he can to everybody. And given the big guns in the media, the bureaucracy and the legal system he might see it as simply safer to lay off Hillary. Push the Donks to the wall and you never know what they will come up with. Bribes and threats to members of the electoral college? A cinch. And that is just the start.
And there are two general reasons for him to go easy:
1). He is a most experienced businessman and if you want the best result in business you have to do all that you reasonably can to keep people sweet. To be corny, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
2). Nobody seems to be mentioning this but Trump is himself one of the establishment. He may not previously have stood for elective office but he knows most of the main players of old and has donated to some of their electoral campaigns. He is one of the best known people in America. He has long been a celebrity. His marriages and divorces have for decades been front-page news. There is a reason why he is known as "The Donald".
And that is gold. People WANT to know and be seen with a celebrity and Trump is a celebrity. He can hobnob with anybody he wants. He just has to buy them a flash dinner at one of his establishments and the flashbulbs will flash. And lots of people crave those flashes. And guess what? His beloved and devoted daughter Ivanka is close friends with whom? Chelsea Clinton. Would you want to put the mother of your beloved daughter's close friend in jail?
So I think it is clear why Hillary is off the hook. She was always going to be off the hook.
But what of his other backdowns? Obamacare and the Paris climate agreement? Again, as a good businessman he knows the value of compromise and he wants to be seen as fair. "winner takes all" just generates resentment. The way Obama and his minions pushed Obamacare through with out ANY GOP support is an example of where that approach leads. All the effort they put in to get it though now looks like being a complete waste -- a cancelled legacy. So Trump is looking for at least the appearance of compromise.
So what about Obamacare? He has a clear mandate to abolish it and a majority in both houses who are mad keen to do so. Any compromise he offers will therefore be greeted with relief. He can look like the generous man in the middle who reconciles two deeply opposed parties -- And he has already said that he likes some provisions of Obamacare.
So my prediction is that he will negotiate with both sides of Congress to gut Obamacare but leave enough remnants for both sides to feel that they have been heard and been given something. That should achieve what Obamacare could not: A health insurance system that has at least a degree of bipartisan support -- making it resistant to much in the way of future changes. Something as hard-fought as health insurance reform is going to leave people with little appetite for further battles over it. The new system is likely to win general acceptance as the best that can be done. Australia has arrived at that point after similar long battles.
So what could he do with the Paris agreement? There are two things
1). He could present it to the Senate for ratification, which is the legally correct thing to do. The U.S. Congress as a whole has the great distinction of being the only legislature in the world to have skeptics in the majority and the Senate would certainly not endorse the Paris agreement. It would thus lapse and Trump would not be to blame. That blame would fall on the shoulders of the Senate, and they have broad shoulders.
2). He could do nothing. He could accept the Paris agreement but just fail to enforce it. Any time some action is demanded of him he could just say things like: "America comes first in my administration and I am not going to hit the coal miners of West Virginia again. They have already suffered enough". He could, in other words, always find some higher priority than to worry about global warming. I think it is highly likely that he will do one of those two things, most likely the former.
So Trump's "backdowns" actually show his wisdom and experience. People took him for an aggressive and ignorant fool but behind his facade was a cool thinker. They made the same mistake with Ronald Reagan.
By JR on Friday, November 25, 2016
7 Ways Climate Change Is Impacting Your Life Right Now (Even If You Haven't Noticed Them)
Just the first part below of an intellectually impoverished article by BECCA SCHUH, a materially impoverished artist. Why are so many artists these days Leftist lamebrains? Is it because most artists have to be lamebrains to do what they do? Some pretty strange things pass as art these days
She references below the increasing frequency of hurricanes and storms but offers no statistics to back up her assertion that they are increasing. Official statistics show that the frequency of hurricanes has markedly DECLINED in recent years but what does that matter when you have got virtue on your side?
Typical Warmist crap. I could fisk the rest of her article but that would be unkind to dumb animals
By this point, you probably know that climate change is a very real and persistent threat to our future quality of life — a 2016 Gallup poll found that 64 percent of Americans described themselves as "worried a great deal" or "fair amount" about global warming; it also found that 41 percent of us felt global warming will become a "serious threat" to our lives or way of life, and only 10 percent of Americans believing that the effects of global warming will never make an impact in our lives. Despite all this, it can be hard to connect the scientific facts, or the news from far regions of the world, to our daily lives — but as people with power continue to deny the impact of climate change (exemplified by the news that President-elect Trump has picked climate change skeptic Myron Ebell to lead his EPA transition team), being aware of the real impact of climate change has become more important than ever. And we don't have to wait to see what that impact is — with each passing month, climate change affects more things about how we operate, from the minutiae of daily living to our long-term plans.
1. Hurricanes Are Increasingly Severe
Recently, Hurricane Matthew joined the ranks of recent hurricanes like Sandy and Katrina that reached new highs of catastrophe. Destructive hurricanes are not a new phenomenon in the Southeastern United States, and no individual hurricane can be directly attributed to climate change, but the increasing frequency and severity of these storms is directly correlated to global warming — as temperatures rise from the surplus of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the ocean heats up, and warm tropical waters create more powerful hurricanes.
Scientists predict that global warming will also cause increased rainfall in the eye of hurricanes, which will increase flooding — which, in turn, creates some of the most drastic long term effects on daily life after a hurricane, from damaged roads to loss of property. For people who live in areas that are susceptible to hurricanes, this means a great deal of future planning for protecting assets and loved ones. However, Southern coastal states aren't the only ones that have to worry about the severe weather of climate change.
By JR on Thursday, November 24, 2016
How to deal with sexual harassment
The woman writing below seems unaware that males have always perceived some females as more attractive than others. And she seems equally unaware that they share their perceptions in various ways. And the females concerned will usually become aware in one way or another of how they are rated. That is all wrong according to the writer below.
It is true that many males are crude in conveying what they think but social skills too will always vary. But to see poorly-conveyed judgments as "harassment" is to legislate against nature. It is an attempt to suppress natural behavior.
Lessons at school in male/female communication might help everyone but to get upset by clumsy comments is simply maladaptive. It will help no-one. It should simply be seen as a reason to appreciate more polite approaches.
And unattractive women probably need to be apprised of what they are. There have always been great delusions among women about how desirable they are and that has been accentuated by Left-influenced educational principles which dictate that everyone should have prizes.
I remember years ago sitting in a cafe and listening to a conversation between two young women waitresses. One of them declared that she was waiting for "her millionaire". She was loud, short, fat, pimply, with short bleach-blonde hair. She was unusually unattractive. Yet she thought that she might be able to snare a millionaire! More realistic messages about her appearance might have helped her. If she lost weight, grew her hair and learned some speaking skills she would certainly have got closer to her goal. Truth is always the best in the long run, even if it upsets temporarily.
Women have always coped with crude approaches. What makes it difficult for them is people like the writer below who tell them to be upset and bothered by it
A RECENT STUDY by the American Association of University Women found that 58 percent of students in seventh through 12th grades have experienced some form of sexual harassment. When I mentioned this statistic to my freshman college students, they responded with a nonchalant, “Oh yeah, it happens all the time in high school.”
Recently, news broke that Harvard University’s men’s soccer team created a “scouting report,” rating physical attributes of members of the incoming freshman women’s soccer team. Now the Harvard men’s cross country team is being investigated for something similar.
But such conduct sometimes starts much earlier. A mother called me recently after finding out that the boys in her daughter’s 7th grade class had been posting inappropriate comments on Snapchat about the girls and rating their “hotness.”
It’s a cruel twist of fate that just as teens are dealing with the perils of puberty — growth spurts, breast development, acne, changing body shape, and self-consciousness — their appearance brings so much unwanted attention. For every girl who gets labeled a “10” by the boys, others are publicly deemed a “2.” Meanwhile, they are all being objectified.
One of the major tasks of adolescence is to develop an identity. An important question teens must ask themselves in this process is: What do I value about myself, and how will I use this understanding to move forward as an adult? Embarrassment, humiliation, and low self-esteem — all byproducts of sexual harassment — can have long-lasting effects on feelings of competence and confidence that can last a lifetime.
What to Believe and Do About Statin-Associated Adverse Effects
The Statin craze is a long way from dead yet but the medical establishment is gradually coming to terms with the bad side-effects of statin use. At one time they denied any bad side-effects. So the article excerpted below is interesting. It is particularly interesting for the two sentences I have highlighted below. Basically, medical researchers just didn't want to know about side-effects from their new wonder drug.
And they still don't. The summary below does not capture well, for instance, the mental effects of statins. These are widely reported by patients but are virtually dismissed below. Statins can give you Alzheimer-type symptoms so it is possible that the upsurge in Alzheimers in recent years is in fact misidentified statin use.
So the report below does serve as a warning but should be regarded as a minimal warning. The problems are undoubtedly greater than the author, Paul D. Thompson, acknowledges. Thompson is of course convinced that the benefits of Statins outweigh the problems but on my reading of the literature, that only applies to people who already have experienced heart problems: angina, stroke, heart attacks. Dosing up people with statins as a general preventive measure seems on my reading to be devoid of ANY benefit and likely to do harm. As another curent article in JAMA says: Statins for Primary Prevention; The Debate Is Intense, but the Data Are Weak
Possible statin-associated adverse effects include diabetes mellitus, hemorrhagic stroke, decreased cognition, tendon rupture, interstitial lung disease, as well as muscle-related symptoms.1 Statins increase the risk of diabetes consistent with the observation that low cholesterol levels increase diabetes risk.1 Although statins reduce total stroke, they increase the risk of hemorrhagic stroke consistent with the observation that low cholesterol levels are associated with an increase in hemorrhagic stroke.1 Statins appear to reduce or have no effect on cognitive decline.1 Tendinopathies and interstitial lung disease have possible mechanistic links to statins, but their association with statins is based solely on a small case series.1 The frequency of these possible drug-related complications is unknown but is low and outweighed by the vascular benefits of statins therapy.
Statin-associated muscle symptoms are the most frequent statin-related symptoms. Experts agree that statins can cause muscle symptoms with marked increases in creatine kinase (CK) levels, usually defined as 10 times the upper limits of normal because this has been observed in randomized clinical trials (RCTs) with an estimated occurrence of 1 additional case per 10 000 individuals treated each year.2 In addition, statins can cause a necrotizing myopathy with antibodies against hydroxyl-methyl-glutaryl Co-A reductase.1 This condition must be recognized promptly because it can lead to persistent myopathy. These patients present with muscle pain and weakness plus marked increases in CK levels that do not resolve with drug cessation. Statin-associated necrotizing myopathy is newly recognized and rare but may be more frequently diagnosed now that a commercial test for the antibody is available.
In contrast, there is considerable debate as to whether statins can produce milder symptoms such as myalgia, muscle cramps, or weakness with little or no increase in CK levels. Collins et al2 reviewed the possible adverse effects found in RCTs of statin therapy and concluded that statin-associated muscle symptoms without marked CK elevations do not exist or are extremely rare because they are not reported in the statin RCTs. These authors suggested that these symptoms may be inappropriately attributed to statins due in part to patients being warned of such possible adverse effects by their clinicians.
Most clinicians, however, are convinced that these symptoms exist and are caused by statins. The incidence of statin myalgia has been estimated at 10% from observational studies.1 The Effect of Statins on Skeletal Muscle Performance (STOMP) study is the only randomized, controlled double-blind study designed specifically to examine the effects of statins on skeletal muscle.3 The STOMP trial had predefined criteria for statin myalgia, which included onset of symptoms during treatment, persistence for 2 weeks, symptom resolution within 2 weeks of treatment cessation, and symptom reappearance within 4 week of restarting treatment. Nineteen of 203 patients treated with statins and 10 of 217 patients treated with placebo met the study definition of myalgia (9.4% vs 4.6%, P = .054). This finding did not reach statistical significance, but it indicates a 94.6% probability that statins were responsible for the symptoms. This result occurred even though the study participants were young (mean age, 44.1 years), healthy, and treated with statins for only 6 months. Creatine kinase values were not different between the 2 groups. These results not only suggest that the true incidence of statin myalgia is approximately 5% but also support the observation that approximately 10% of patients will report symptoms of myalgia. Collins et al2 reanalyzed the STOMP trial data after including 29 patients treated with atorvastatin and 10 with placebo who discontinued participation because of personal reasons, yielding a P value of .08 and used this finding to support their assertion that statins do not cause muscle symptoms without markedly increased CK levels.
Diagnosing true statin-associated muscle symptoms is difficult. In the Goal Achievement After Utilizing an Anti PCSK9 Antibody in Statin Intolerant Subjects (GAUSS-3) study,4 the presence of statin myalgia was determined by randomly assigning patients with presumed statin muscle symptoms to receive either 20 mg of atorvastatin or placebo each day for 10 weeks followed by a 2-week hiatus before crossover to the alternative treatment. Only 209 patients (42.6%) developed muscle symptoms during atorvastatin treatment. An additional 130 (26.5%) developed muscle symptoms during placebo-only treatment, 48 (9.6%) developed muscle symptoms during both treatments, and 85 (17.3%) did not develop symptoms during either treatment.
Other evidence supports the idea that statins can cause skeletal muscle symptoms without abnormal CK values. Muscle biopsies show differences in gene expression among patients with statin-associated muscle symptoms during statin treatment and compared them with asymptomatic controls.5 Statins also produce slight increases in average CK levels and augment the increase in CK observed after exercise.1 Rhabdomyolysis is more frequent in participants in RCTs who are receiving statins and have variants in the gene for solute carrier organic anion transporter family member 1B1 (SLCO1B1),2 which regulates hepatic statin uptake. The SLCO1B1 gene variants that reduce hepatic uptake allow more statin to escape the liver and enter the extra portal circulation and ultimately skeletal muscle. The SLCO1B1 variants are also associated with mild muscle adverse effects in study participants treated with statins.6
How could the statin RCTs miss detecting mild statin-related muscle adverse effects such as myalgia? By not asking. A review of 44 statin RCTs reveals that only 1 directly asked about muscle-related adverse effects.7 In the STOMP trial, investigators called patients twice monthly to ask specifically about muscle symptoms.
Do "Stand your Ground" laws increase deaths?
The academic journal article below says they do. As a retired man, I don't intend to make any attempt to replicate their findings so I am not going to critique their methods of analysis. I would however like to make two points about the study:
1). Who were the extra people who died? I think there was a fair chance that it was the bad guys -- home invaders etc. That was after all the intention of the law. So maybe the situation is cause to break out the champagne! Unsurprisingly, the study was silent on that question.
2). Why Florida? 23 States have such laws. Did the authors pick out Florida because a quick scan of the data showed a result in Florida that they liked? I wouldn't put it past them given the large current literature about crooked practices in science. But however we answer that, it is clear that no generalizations from the findings are possible. Florida could be the odd State out. We simply do not know.
Evaluating the Impact of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” Self-defense Law on Homicide and Suicide by Firearm
David K. Humphreys et al.
Importance: In 2005, Florida amended its self-defense laws to provide legal immunity to individuals using lethal force in self-defense. The enactment of “stand your ground” laws in the United States has been controversial and their effect on rates of homicide and homicide by firearm is uncertain.
Objective: To estimate the impact of Florida’s stand your ground law on rates of homicide and homicide by firearm.
Design, Setting, and Participants: Using an interrupted time series design, we analyzed monthly rates of homicide and homicide by firearm in Florida between 1999 and 2014. Data were collected from the Wide-ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research (WONDER) web portal at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We used seasonally adjusted segmented Poisson regression models to assess whether the onset of the law was associated with changes in the underlying trends for homicide and homicide by firearm in Florida. We also assessed the association using comparison states without stand your ground laws (New York, New Jersey, Ohio, and Virginia) and control outcomes (all suicides and suicides by firearm in Florida). October 1, 2005, the effective date of the law, was used to define homicides before and after the change.
Main Outcomes and Measures: Monthly rates of homicide, firearm-related homicide, suicide, and suicide by firearm in Florida and the 4 comparison states.
Results: Prior to the stand your ground law, the mean monthly homicide rate in Florida was 0.49 deaths per 100 000 (mean monthly count, 81.93), and the rate of homicide by firearm was 0.29 deaths per 100 000 (mean monthly count, 49.06). Both rates had an underlying trend of 0.1% decrease per month. After accounting for underlying trends, these results estimate that after the law took effect there was an abrupt and sustained increase in the monthly homicide rate of 24.4% (relative risk [RR], 1.24; 95%CI, 1.16-1.33) and in the rate of homicide by firearm of 31.6% (RR, 1.32; 95% CI, 1.21-1.44). No evidence of change was found in the analyses of comparison states for either homicide (RR, 1.06; 95% CI, 0.98-1.13) or homicide by firearm (RR, 1.08; 95% CI, 0.99-1.17). Furthermore, no changes were observed in control outcomes such as suicide (RR, 0.99; 95% CI, 0.94-1.05) and suicide by firearm (RR, 0.98; 95% CI, 0.91-1.06) in Florida between 2005 and 2014.
Conclusions and Relevance: The implementation of Florida’s stand your ground self-defense law was associated with a significant increase in homicides and homicides by firearm but no change in rates of suicide or suicide by firearm.
JAMA Intern Med. Published online November 14, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.6811
By JR on Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Trump is the Best Thing That Has Happened to Israel in Years
Leftists never hesitate to lie if that seems expedient. They have to lie. Reality is so hostile to their claims and ambitions. So the media are awash with unapologetic claims that Trump is a racist and sexist. They state those things without apology or explanation. They speak it as if it were incontrovertible and universally accepted. Yet any objective analysis show both claims to be quite false. Trump has treated women very well in his businesses and there is no doubt of his friendship to Israel.
Both Trump and I went to Presbyterian Sunday School as kids and, even though I am now an atheist, I cannot lose, nor do I want to lose, a feeling that Jerusalem is the holy city and that Israel is the God-given land of the Jews. Some feelings die hard and I strongly suspect that Trump has inherited similar feelings. You don't have to be a Jew to love Israel.
And the Left are not done lying when they talk about Trump. His supporters get traduced too. "Spengler", below takes on one such myth
The hysteria in the Establishment is astonishing: today's email blast from the usually staid Financial Times begins, "Donald Trump has chosen Reince Priebus, the establishment head of the Republican National Committee, as his chief of staff, while naming Steve Bannon — his campaign chair who ran Breitbart News, a website associated with the alt-right and white supremacists — as his chief strategist and counsellor."
To claim that Breitbart is associated with white supremacists is a despicable lie, but the FT feels compelled to say such things because polite opinion requires ritual anathemas of Trump. And the liberal Jewish website The Forward writes, "The reaction was quick and furious from Jews and anti-hate groups. The Anti-Defamation League, which stays out of partisan politics and vowed to seek to work with Trump after his election, denounced Bannon as 'hostile to American values.'" The Forward headline asks, "Will Steve Bannon bring anti-Semitism into Trump's inner circle?"
This again is a foul slander. I know Steve Bannon, and have had several long discussions with him about politics. I first met him when he approached me at a conference to tell me that he liked my writing, which is unabashedly Zionist. Steve is strongly pro-Israel, and it is utterly ridiculous to suggest that he is anti-Semitic.
The Establishment is floored and flummoxed. It doesn't understand what it did wrong, it doesn't understand why it has been evicted from power, and it can only explain its miserable situation as the consequence of an evil conspiracy. In short, the Establishment is having a paranoid tantrum, compounding its humiliation with a public meltdown. Sadly, that includes liberal Jews.
Trump's election is the best thing that has happened to Israel in many years. It eliminates the risk of a diplomatic stab in the back at the Security Council and sends a dire warning to Iran, the only real existential threat to the Jewish State. The security of the Jewish people in their homeland is vastly enhanced by the vote on November 8, and Jews everywhere should thank God that the head of state of the world's most powerful country is a friend of Israel with Jewish grandchildren. Instead of slanders, Jews should offer up prayers of Thanksgiving.
See also: The SPLC Calls Bannon A Bigot For Something Charlie Rangel Also Said
By JR on Monday, November 21, 2016
More dribble from the Australian Left
The author below, John Hewson, is known as the man who lost an "unlosable" election (in 1993). He stood then as a conservative party leader but over the last 23 years has drifted steadily Leftwards. His views now would be similar to those of Hillary Clinton, who also lost an "unlosable" election. He deplores Trump, of course.
The idea that Australians have a inferiority complex is an old slur supported by no representative psychological research that I know of. In my own research I found general population averages on a standard neuroticism measure to show no differences as between England, Australia and India. An inferiority complex would be associated with high levels of anxiety. So Hewson is just spouting a lot of conventional nonsense with no care about evidence.
The claim mainly seems to be supported only by the fact that Australians adopt a lot of ideas from overseas. But Australia has a population of only 24 million so it is absurd to expect that Australians would have all the good ideas in a world of 6 billion people. If anything, it shows that Australians are an open-minded people with no fears of the new.
And they don't need the example of Trump to make their decisions. There was a major anti-immigrant upset in the Australian Senate in July, long before the Trump triumph. In that upset, an anti-immigration party entered the Australian Federal parliament for the first time
Why is it that so much of our lives is dominated by America, from fast food to the immediate release of the latest TV program, to the latest Kardashian excess? It seems that we have a massive national insecurity and sense of inferiority – if it is "good" for America, it must be "good" for Australia. The 51st state?
In politics we have seen the worst of it lately as some of our political leaders have sought to draw on, and emulate, elements of the Donald Trump victory. Pauline Hanson and some marginal Liberals and Nationals gloated, while Bill Shorten sought to capitalise on the anti-immigration sentiment, claiming to "protect Australian workers and their jobs". We must avoid the "Trumpification of Australian politics".
The most disturbing feature, among many, of Trump's anti-establishment strategy is the nationalistic, isolationist, anti-immigration position and proposals.
The US has a significant problem with "undocumented immigrants", reportedly now some 11 million of them, that is easy to exploit in a political argument about jobs and "white" wages, even though these people have mostly done the "dirty, menial" jobs and contributed to the "wage restraint" that has allowed the US to quickly recapture its competitiveness with "cheap Chinese and other imports".
It is also easy to promote xenophobia, especially against Muslims and against a threat of terror.
Unfortunately, this anti-immigration "movement" was also the dominant reason for Britain's Brexit vote and is now sweeping much of Europe, driven by the mass migration from Syria, Iraq and North Africa that in the end could tear down the dream of a united Europe.
It is perhaps most conspicuous and effective in Germany, where the anti-immigration vote has been significant and determining in recent regional elections and will probably ensure the demise of Angela Merkel. Just pause to contemplate a Germany controlled by the "hard-line right conservatives" and the likely consequences for Germany, Europe and the Euro.
We should want none of this here in Australia. Without in any way seeking to play down the significance and richness of our Indigenous origins, heritage and remaining challenges, we are an immigrant nation, where immigration has been fundamental to our economic and social development and wellbeing.
I suggest our greatest post-WWII achievement is that we have built a very tolerant and effective multiracial, multireligious, multicultural society, in many respects the envy of the world. It is to be appreciated, protected and further developed – it remains a work in progress, which calls for a clear acceptance of our national interests, to be delivered collaboratively with understanding, sensitivity and commitment.
It is a process in which we all have a role to play, but it needs to be led from the top, by our political and community leaders.
In this context, the rhetoric of Shorten's attack this week on 457 visas, essentially claiming that these immigrants are taking our jobs when we have some 700,000 unemployed and as many as 1 million underemployed, was most divisive and irresponsible, especially with the echoes of Trump.
It was also hypocritical when these visas reached their peak under Shorten as employment minister, even recognising the circumstances of a mining boom. And it was inconsistent with his proposals for a lower "backpacker tax" on foreign youth workers than would be applied to Australian youth workers. All up just more cheap, short-term, opportunistic politics.
While it is also true that if we were drafting section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act today we may have used different words, this is not the time to be having that debate, or to be making changes, as it gives another platform for xenophobia, "hatespeak", bigotry and the like. It is not a first order issue right now, and risks considerable downside.
There has been much said this week about "listening", especially in the aftermath of the Nationals' demise in the Orange byelection. Yes, much of the success of the Trump anti-establishment message is because a succession of establishment presidents, and their administrations, ignored the electorate's mounting concerns as the "system" of government failed to respond, while often favouring a few vested interests.
Here, too, the system is seen to be failing many, especially as inequality grows. Yet our leaders also have a responsibility to lead in matters of genuine national interest, as hard as it may be at times to educate and advocate against populist sentiments. There are also important intergenerational and moral dimensions to this challenge.
If this nationalistic, anti-immigration movement is allowed to spread, it will risk global fragmentation, reversing much of the global development we have all shared in, while stranding some 65 million people who are now displaced globally.
By JR on Sunday, November 20, 2016
Must not find Mrs Obama unattractive
The ancient Romans had a saying: "De gustibus non disputandum est" -- translatable as "Concerning taste there can be no dispute". That tolerance apparently does not apply when commenting on Mrs Obama's looks. The negative judgment of two women below about Mrs Obama's looks has been vigorously disputed
But, like it or not, the de facto worldwide standard of female beauty is Nordic -- narrow faces, fine features, white skin, blue eyes and blonde hair. Even some Japanese ladies blond their hair. To black males, a white wife is a trophy. Mrs Obama has no Nordic attributes at all. If her skin were white she would be ugly. She has received acceptance for political reasons only
We may deplore the Nordic standard but saying that people should adopt other standards for females that they like to look at is pissing into the wind. It won't happen. It will have zero influence. Brown hair can be accepted in lieu of blonde but that is the only variation to the top standard.
I too will be glad to see Melania in the White House
TWO American women — a mayor and local business leader — are under pressure to resign over a racist post about First Lady Michelle Obama that has sparked a social media row.
Clay County Development Corp director Pamela Ramsey Taylor made the post following Donald Trump’s election as president, saying: “It will be refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady in the White House. I’m tired of seeing a Ape in heels.”
Clay Mayor Beverly Whaling responded: “Just made my day Pam.” The post, first reported by WSAZ-TV, was shared hundreds of times on social media before it was deleted.
The Facebook pages of Taylor and Whaling couldn’t be found Monday. A call to the Clay County Development Corp. went unanswered and Whaling didn’t immediately return a telephone message.
An online petition has been launched, calling for Whaling and Taylor to be fired.
The petition titled ‘Terminate Clay County Mayor and County Development Corp Director For Calling Michelle Obama an “Ape in Heels”’, has had more than 33,000 online supporters so far.
The non-profit development group provides services to elderly and low-income residents in Clay County. It is funded through state and federal grants and local fees.
Salvation Army Supports Safe Schools Initiative
The program is ostensibly an anti-bullying program but its far-Left authors expanded it way beyond that. It actually promotes homosexuality. From Karl Marx on, the far-Left have hated the family and this is yet another attack on it. Some of its features:
* Teaches girls to bind their chests so their breasts won't develop
* Encourages student cross-dressing
* Teaches kids gay and lesbian sexual techniques
* Encourages kids to use either boys’ or girls’ toilets
* Integrates gender theory and sexual themes across all subjects
I have on various occasions in the past donated to the Sallies. Because of their welfare work in wartime, military men tend to have a soft spot for the Sallies and I certainly have always thought well of them.
Anne, the lady in my life, used to sing with the Sallies on street corners when they still did that and I have always regarded that history as a great credit to her.
Time does however tend to corrupt organizations that started out as idealistic and it seems that the Sallies have drunk the Leftist Kool-Aid now. They are not who they were. They now support a program that valorizes homosexuality and devalues the traditional family.
Morgan Cox writes: "I just phoned the Salvation Army. They confirmed that they reviewed the "safe" schools program (the full unedited Victoria state version) and fully support it. I highlighted to them some of the reasons why as parents we hold grave concerns about the program. I was told that they feel sorry for me and my view. They think its a great program"
Until recently their front page said: "However, same-sex relationships which are genitally expressed are unacceptable according to the teaching of Scripture. Attempts to establish or promote such relationships as viable alternatives to heterosexually-based family life do not conform to God’s will for society."
The have always of course ministered to sexual deviants as being persons in need, but they have never until recently approved of homosexual practices. Like the Anglicans, they have now let go of Bible teaching and adopted a secular do-gooder philosophy. It will not end well. They will fade away as the Anglicans are fading away.
They will never again get a donation from me and I hope that others concerned for healthy families will follow suit. Politically, what they have done is asinine. Conservatives are the big charitable givers and they will now choke a lot of that off
Below is the Salvation Army press release.
The Salvation Army supports the Safe Schools Coalition Victoria in its initiative designed to reduce homophobic and transphobic behaviour and create safe learning environments for all students. The Salvation Army is concerned by the very high level of bullying, higher levels mental health issues and the highest rates of suicidality of any group in Australia for same-sex attracted and gender diverse young people. The Salvation Army’s Victoria State Council (VSC) has been aware of the negative claims about the Safe Schools program and its related materials but believes these to be unfounded.
Chair of VSC, Major Dr Geoff Webb says “Our social policy unit has reviewed the official teaching resources provided by the Safe Schools Coalition and the four official guidelines. It has also studied the independent review commissioned by the Australian government, together with other materials. None of the negative claims made about the program accurately reflect anything in the official materials reviewed.
“Provided schools adhere to official teaching resources and the official guidelines, there should be no issues with Safe Schools. We support the provision of safe learning environments for all students,” Webb says.
Dr Webb notes that a Federal Government independent review found that the four official guides are consistent with the aims of the program and are appropriate for use in schools. “Our findings are consistent with the government’s review,” Webb says, “and the resource All of Us is consistent with the aims of the program, is suitable, robust, age-appropriate, educationally sound and aligned with the Australian Curriculum.”
The Salvation Army in Victoria has welcomed the Andrews Government commitment of additional funding to ensure that every Victorian secondary school is involved in the Safe Schools programme by the end of 2018.
Something a reader sent me reminded me of something I had forgotten. He wrote:
A glacier is a river of ice flowing slowly to the sea, fed by the head waters due to a build up of pressure, the same as a river of liquid water. They even have currents and flow around boulders that will not break loose and the bottom and sides flow slower than the middle. A glacier that has receded is due to a lack of new moisture at the source.
The central point in that is that glacial advance and retreat is primarily a function of precipitation. Which means that a lack of snowfall is what causes a glacier to shrink/retreat. Warmists, by contrast, regularly attribute glacial retreat to warming, completely ignoring the fact that glaciers around the world wax and wane all the time, even when temperatures are plateaued.
And the really interesting thing about that is what causes fluctuations in snowfall. There are many local factors but if we are talking about global influences, what causes reduced snowfall is COOLING. A warming world evaporate more water off the oceans and that water vapor would fall again as rain/snow. Conversely, a cooler world would evaporate less ocean water, leading to reduced precipitation.
Greenies rarely these days talk about melting glaciers except in the case of Greenland but next time you hear a Greenie talking about a shrinking glacier somewhere say to them: "So we are having global cooling now, are we?" It won't help your friendship, though. I was once on quite good terms with a man who had a solid scientific background when some shrinking glaciers came up in conversation. I started to explain to him the role of precipitation but he cut the conversation rather short and I have never heard from him again. Warmists are fragile souls. How sad is it that some simple scientific facts can upset someone!
By JR on Friday, November 18, 2016
Private school kids earn more, live in better suburbs and are happier on average, Australian analysis discovers
I am myself a strong supporter of private schools. I sent my son to one. But I feel bound to report that the findings below are not as strong as they appear. Parents of private schoolkids tend to be richer. And richer people tend to have other important advantages, such as better health and higher IQ. And such traits have a strong genetic component. So the advantages described below could possibly be entirely due to genetics, not schooling type.
It is just very hard to separate out the two possible factors responsible for the advantage. From other studies, however, both schooling type and genetics are involved in the better results from private schools
The one undoubted advantage of private schooling is social contacts. Your kid will make friends from other better-off families, which will almost certainly be advantageous in various ways. At the risk of being extremely corny, there are many situations where "It's not what you know, it's whom you know".
One aspect of that is that private school graduates tend to meet mainly one-another on occasions where the mating game is afoot. Your schoolfriend's kid sister can often seem very attractive, for instance. So they intermarry, which in turn preserves health and IQ advantages into subsequent generations. You will tend to get smarter, healthier and probably more tractable grandkids, which is very pleasing
PRIVATE school kids grow up to earn more, live in better suburbs and be happier than their public school peers, a new national study has found.
Curtin University analysis of more than 17,000 Australian adults shows independent private school male graduates earn 15 per cent more than those from government schools. The research, by Associate Professor Mike Dockery, also shows female graduates earn 19 per cent more compared to those from government schools.
This higher household income “can be largely attributed to the greater educational attainment achieved by those who went to independent schools, with some contribution also associated with having come from a family background of higher socio-economic status,” Associate Professor Dockery said.
“It seems likely that there is a causal relationship in which attending a private school increases the propensity to enter university, which in turn contributes to higher wages,” he said.
Independent school graduates also live in more wealthy, up-market suburbs. “One way or another, private school graduates sort their way into more prestigious neighbourhoods,” he said.
“This may reflect a number of factors: higher preferences for living in such areas, marrying more affluent partners, or the effect of maintaining geographically close networks with family and peers who disproportionately reside in more prestigious neighbourhoods”.
Catholic private schooling is also beneficial, bringing with it higher average household incomes of around ten per cent, which is mainly due to higher educational attainment.
However, Catholic school graduates have a bonus which is not shared with their independent-school peers: they have higher life satisfaction than those from state schools. “This apparent Catholic school effect on life satisfaction is possibly associated with religiosity,” Associate Professor Dockery said.
The research from the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education found men who went to independent schools did not share this greater life satisfaction compared to those who went to government schools. Women who attended independent schools, on the other hand, were marginally happier.
The Herald Sun reported recently the annual fees of top private schools is more than $30,000 and rising at triple the cost of inflation.
By JR on Thursday, November 17, 2016
Report: carbon emissions flat in last 3 years
This fun on several levels. If the trend (or lack of it) continues the "fight" is over. CO2 levels have been stabilized and there is now no further need for action on the global warming front. We have arrived at where we are going and the temperature is fine. Keep the coalfires burning!
Needless to say, the Warmists are once again taking refuge in prophecy. Instead of extrapolating from the present situation, which is the only data we have, they are saying: No, No, No -- Anything but that! You can't take our game away from us like that! So on the basis of nothing at all they are prophesying a resumption of CO2 rises. No science there: Just faith. They haven't got a clue about climate but they do have faith.
But there's another level on which this is fun. The Warmists have been proclaiming for the same three years that temperatures are leaping -- with 2015 showing a temperature of a whole degree above the reference period. And there is an element of truth in that. But what CAUSED the recent warming? If there was no increase in CO2 the increase in temperature cannot be due to CO2! The connection which is the very basis of Warmist theory just did not happen -- again.
The increases which the Green/Left have been proclaiming as proof of a global emergency CANNOT have been due to human activity and must have been due to normal natural phenomena like the El Nino climate cycle. What a teeth grinder!
But will they really grind their teeth over it? Unlikely. They already ignore so many inconvenient facts that ignoring this one will be a breeze
Worldwide emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide have flattened out in the past three years, a new study showed Monday, raising hopes that the world is nearing a turning point in the fight against climate change.
However, the authors of the study cautioned it's unclear whether the slowdown in CO2 emissions, mainly caused by declining coal use in China, is a permanent trend or a temporary blip.
"It is far too early to proclaim we have reached a peak," said co-author Glen Peters, a senior researcher at the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research in Oslo.
The study, published in the journal Earth System Science Data, says global CO2 emissions from fossil fuels and industry is projected to grow by just 0.2 percent this year.
That would mean emissions have leveled off at about 36 billion metric tons in the past three years even though the world economy has expanded, suggesting the historical bonds between economic gains and emissions growth may have been severed.
"This could be the turning point we have hoped for," said David Ray, a professor of carbon management at the University of Edinburgh, who was not involved with the study. "To tackle climate change those bonds must be broken and here we have the first signs that they are at least starting to loosen."
The authors of the study attributed the slowdown mainly to a decrease in Chinese coal consumption since 2012. Coal is a major source of CO2 emissions.
Chinese emissions were down 0.7 percent in 2015 and are projected to fall 0.5 percent in 2016, the researchers said, though noting that Chinese energy statistics have been plagued by inconsistencies.
Peters said it remains unclear whether the Chinese slowdown was due to a restructuring of the Chinese economy or a sign of economic instability.
"Nevertheless, the unexpected reductions in Chinese emissions give hope that the world's biggest emitter can deliver much more ambitious emission reductions," he said.
China, which accounts for almost 30 percent of global carbon emissions, pledged to peak its emissions around 2030 as part of the global climate pact adopted in Paris last year. Many analysts say China's peak is likely to come much earlier — and may already have occurred.
"The continued decline of China's CO2 emissions, combined with knowledge of structural change in the energy system, does indicate that CO2 emissions from China may have peaked, however a few more years of data is needed to confirm this," said Bill Hare, of Climate Analytics, a separate group that monitors global emissions.
However, even if Chinese emissions have stabilized, emissions in India and other developing countries could push global emissions higher again. India's emissions rose 5 percent in 2015, the study said.
The election of Donald Trump as president of the United States — the world's No. 2 carbon polluter — could also have an impact.
U.S. emissions fell 2.6 percent last year and are projected to drop 1.7 percent this year, as natural gas and renewables displace coal in power generation, the study showed. But it's unclear whether those reductions will continue under Trump, who has pledged to roll back the Obama administration's environmental policies, including the Clean Power Plan, which was meant to reduce carbon pollution from U.S. power plants.
Other researchers not affiliated with the study stressed that it's not enough for global emissions to stabilize; they need to drop toward zero for the world to meet the goals of the Paris deal.
"Worryingly, the reductions pledged by the nations under the Paris Agreement are not sufficient to achieve this," said climate scientist Chris Rapley of University College London.
The agreement calls for limiting warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) or even 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F) compared with pre-industrial times.
By JR on Wednesday, November 16, 2016
More reactions to Trump
With Trump the next President, a lot of us conservatives are feeling more relaxed than we have been for a long time. The tyranny we fought against is now on its last legs. I have certainly made changes in my lifestyle. I am following the news less and spending more time on personal relationships. And I am far from alone. There have been very favorable reactions to Trump in many quarters.
Most important by far for world peace are the reactions to Trump from Russia and China. After them, no-one else really matters. The war-mongering Democrats had built up big tensions with Russia in the probable hope that they could have a nice little war with Russia somewhere -- probably in the Baltics -- that would end up with Russia being humiliated and glory won for themselves.
But nobody wants peace more than military men. We die in wars. So we combine readiness to fight with a hope of peace. And America's servicemen certainly don't want to die for the glory of someone in Washington D.C. and for someone who despises them.
And The Donald has won for us the best hope yet of world peace -- something that every sane person wants. We read that both Russia's Putin and China's President Xi have made strong overtures to Trump for continued peaceful relations, overtures which are consistent with what Trump himself has often advocated.
Trump for peace and prosperity!
By JR on Tuesday, November 15, 2016
I’m a woman. And I am so happy Trump won
Corrine Barraclough below rightly skewers feminist talk about glass ceilings. She says a tough woman will not be held back. And history shows that. Feminists and the Left (but I repeat myself) regularly ignore the success of Indira Gandhi, Sirimavo Bandaranaike, Golda Meir, Margaret Thatcher, Sheikh Hasina, Benazir Bhutto, Yulia Tymoshenko, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Cristina Kirchner, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Helen Clark, Julia Gillard, Ameenah Gurib, Park Geun-hye, Nicola Sturgeon and Theresa May in rising to run their countries. Mr. Obama will remember Helle Thorning-Schmidt. Mrs. Obama will too.
The glass ceiling has long ago been shattered if you have the political talent required. It's only if your horizons are limited to the USA that you could talk of a glass ceiling. Even there, one might note that three countries that are culturally and ethnically similar to the USA -- Australia, New Zealand and Britain -- have recently had female Prime Ministers -- and Britain in fact still has.
Corrine Barraclough is herself a successful journalist based in Australia
When an increasing number of commentators started talking about Hillary Clinton finally smashing the “glass ceiling” yesterday, my flipping stomach told me the media was entirely out of touch with the majority of voters.
The LA Times reported Clinton’s election night venue was symbolic because “after spending the campaign talking about trying to break the ‘glass ceiling’ by becoming the first female president, she’ll stand under a literal glass ceiling”. I read two feminist articles celebrating her success before the polls had even begun.
“Today is the day,” one wrote with premature self-righteousness. “The day for every woman who has ever been told that she’s not qualified for a position...”
Bore off. It simply doesn’t happen and immigration is a bigger issue than sexism to most. Where have these deluded, self-indulgent obsessions come from? Who really believes the American presidency has anything to do with a few disgruntled feminists being passed over for promotions?
The more Clinton repeatedly leaned on her gender, referenced the “glass ceiling” and wheeled out celebrity friends, the more she showed how out of touch she really is.
The “glass ceiling” doesn’t exist. It is purely a mindset and, ultimately, it is the feeble mindset that sealed Clinton’s fate. Instead, people voted strength to win.
This wasn’t an election about policies. It wasn’t even about Democrats v Republicans. This was a vote of confidence. And isn’t it illogical to put your faith, hope, or trust in a liar? Forced to choose the lesser of two evils, would anyone in their right mind choose a liar over a sexist? Give me the latter any day because the tough can handle sexism.
The tough, stubborn and determined get over sexism. It fuels their ambition, they fight harder and win promotions anyway because attitude trumps gender. They leave dribble about a “glass ceiling” at the door, change strategy and shine if they’re smart.
Only weaklings whine. Hillary Clinton chose to play a feeble, victim card praying it would win her votes. It didn’t.
The media portrayal of Donald Trump repeatedly missed his mass appeal in the same way it misjudged Pauline Hanson — you may label her a raving racist but it is wrong to claim people voted for her because she’s racist, or they are racist by default.
In another’s eyes Hanson is a brave straight talker who will unapologetically push Islamic terrorism to the top of the agenda, speak up for real Australians with little regard for scratching the backs of her elite peers, and be unafraid to ask uncomfortable questions. How many times do we have to be shown it is dangerous to believe our own reality is everyone’s reality?
There is reassurance in Trump’s appointment: that overconfident left wing commentators don’t know the world as well as they think, and that the majority of Americans aren’t pearl-clutching, fainting feminists.
By JR on Monday, November 14, 2016
Major Douglas and the "Social Credit" cult
I see that there are still some people around who believe in the "Social Credit" movement founded in the 1930s on the madcap ideas of Major C.H. Douglas. Douglas was a clever engineer with an enquiring mind. He did not restrict his reading to engineering. And one day he made a most interesting discovery: There was far more money in circulation than the government had ever issued. How come? He could have asked economists and bankers why but instead he made up his own explanation for it.
He decided that it was the fault of the banks. Bank bashing goes back nearly a thousand years, if you count the expulsion of the Jews from England by Edward Longshanks in 1290 A.D., so it was no wonder Major Douglas eyed the banks with suspicion.
But the theory he came up with was really weird. He decided that the banks lent out money they did not have. He decided that a banker could have a ledger with $5,000 lent to Bill Blogs at the top of it and the $5,000 would somehow magically end up in the pocket of Bill Bloggs.
He was aided in this preposterous theory by something known as Fractional Reserve Banking. Under FRB, banks don't have to keep all their deposits under lock and key. They can lend out (say) 80% of their deposits because most people leave their money in the bank for safekeeping. They don't all suddenly withdraw all their money at once. On the rare occasion that DOES happen it is called a "run" and is sparked by some panic or other.
So major Douglas opined that the $5,000 to Bill Bloggs came out of the funds that were available for lending after the reserves were set aside. What the good Major didn't realize was that banks have a legal obligation to lend no more than their deposits minus reserves. Only the government is allowed to print money and any bank that tried to do so would have the government come crashing down on its head. The money for Bill Bloggs had to come from deposits. It could not be conjured up out of thin air.
So how does it all really work? It's so simple it should be taught in grade school. What happens on average is that when Bill Bloggs gets his loan from Bank A, he promptly deposits most of it in another bank -- or even the same bank. Say he deposits $4,000 of his $5,000 in Bank B. That bank now has a nice little deposit that it can lend on. The original depositors who gave bank A the deposit of $5,000 to mind still have $5,000 to their name and can draw on it at any time while Bill Bloggs now has $4,000 to his name in bank B and can draw on that at any time. Add those two together and the citizens of the place where the banks are located now have a total of $9,000 to their name ($5,000 plus $4,000). $4,000 of money has seemingly been created out of thin air.
So that was what Major Douglas saw. There was far more money in the banks than there "should" have been. And he was nearly right in attributing that extra money to the banks. It was the banking system as a whole that created the money, not any individual bank. No bank benefited from the "created" money. Only the community as a whole did. Economists refer to the whole thing as the "velocity of circulation".
If you Google "Major Douglas"or "Social Credit" you will get up heaps of sites claiming that Major Douglas was right. What I have just said is usually found only in Economics textbooks. I taught senior High School Economics for a couple of years so that is why I know about it
The above example is of course simplified. The money held in reserve is not cash. Cash only forms a small part of the money supply. Most of the money supply exists in the form of credit balances. So banks keep only a minor amount of their deposits in cash. Most of their reserves are amounts they have to their credit with the central bank.
By JR on Sunday, November 13, 2016
Why the death of coral reefs could be devastating for millions of humans
It certainly would be detrimental, though well within the human capacity to adapt. But will it happen? Coral recovers quicky from bleaching and at Bikini atoll it even survived a thermonuclear hit on it! If an H-bomb didn't kill it off, what would? Coral reefs have been around for millions of years and in some cases are today right where they always were.
They are however surrounded by Green/Left lies. Australian Greenies claim that reef damage is caused by agricultural runoff. Problem: The current bleaching event on the Great Barrier Reef is on its Northern third, along the coast of the Cape York Peninsula -- and there are virtually no farms there. Isn't reality pesky?
Coral does undergo bleaching from time to time in response to various stressors but bleaching is a defence mechanism, not death.
And even the first sentence below is a laugh. Oceans CANNOT be both warmer and more acidic at the same time. Warmer oceans outgas CO2, which is the alleged cause of the acidity. Just open a warm can of Coke someday if you doubt it. Physicists call it Henry's law. There's no such thing as an honest Greenie as far as I can see. You believe anything they say at your peril
Coral reefs around the globe already are facing unprecedented damage due to warmer and more acidic oceans. It’s not a problem that just affects the marine life that depends on them or deep-sea divers who visit them.
If carbon dioxide emissions continue to fuel the planet’s rising temperature, the widespread loss of coral reefs by 2050 could have devastating consequences for tens of millions of people, according to research published Wednesday in the scientific journal PLOS.
To better understand where those losses would hit hardest, an international group of researchers mapped places where people most need reefs for their livelihoods, particularly for fishing and tourism, as well as for shoreline protection. They combined those maps with others showing where coral reefs are most under stress from warming seas and ocean acidification.
Countries in Southeast Asia such as Indonesia, Thailand, and Philippines would bear the brunt of the damage, the scientists found. So would coastal communities in western Mexico and parts of Australia, Japan, and Saudi Arabia. The problem would affect countries as massive as China and as small as the tiny island nation of Nauru in the South Pacific.
In many places, the loss of coral reefs would amount to an economic disaster, depriving fishermen of their main source of income, forcing people to find more expensive forms of protein, and undermining the tourism industry.
"It means jobs for lots of people," said Linwood Pendleton, the study’s lead author and an international chair at the European Institute of Marine Studies.
In addition, many countries depend on coral reefs as a key barrier to guard against incoming storms and mitigate the damage done by surging seas. Without healthy reefs, "you lose what is essentially a moving, undersea sea wall," said Pendleton, who estimated that about 62 million people live less than 33 feet above sea level and less than two miles from a coral reef. "The waves just come into shore full force. That can cause loss of life. It can cause loss of property."
Some of the countries most dependent on coral reefs are also among the largest polluters.
"Some of the places that have the most to lose . . . are also among the biggest carbon emitters," Pendleton said. "They really have it in their power to bring down the levels of carbon" they emit into the atmosphere.
Other countries that rely heavily on reefs, such as Fiji or Papua New Guinea, have relatively small carbon footprints. Still, Pendleton said they can take other measures — including not overfishing and avoiding pollution — to prevent putting further pressure on already stressed reefs.
The researchers acknowledged more study is needed to better understand both what is happening to coral reefs around the globe and how that will affect humans. But it can be difficult, they noted, because "carrying out science and data collection in many of the coral reef regions most at risk of global environmental change is a challenge." Many regions lack the capacity to do routine data collection, and scientists often have trouble getting permission to sample in coastal areas or where maritime jurisdictions are disputed.
While coral reefs traditionally have been resilient in the face of environmental pressures, mounting evidence suggests their ability to bounce back is limited.
This fall, scientists reported that substantial swaths of the Great Barrier Reef — the world’s largest coral reef system, located off Australia —might have died in the wake of a historic coral-bleaching event.
"The mortality is really devastating," Andrew Hoey, a senior research fellow with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University in Queensland, told the Post last month as scientists worked to catalog the damage. "It’s a lot higher than we had hoped."
Earlier This spring, researchers discovered that parts of Florida’s coral reef tract — the largest reef in the continental United States and the third-largest barrier reef ecosystem in the world — are actually dissolving into the water, likely because of the effects of ocean acidification.
Meanwhile, reefs around the US territory of Guam and other nearby islands, in what is known as the Marianas archipelago, have suffered from coral-bleaching events every year since 2013.
And there’s been no sign of a break this summer. After a recent dive in Guam’s Tumon Bay, coral ecologist Laurie Raymundo took to Facebook to describe her shock at the devastation.
"I consider myself to be fairly objective and logical about science," wrote Raymundo, of the University of Guam. "But sometimes that approach fails me. Today, for the first time in the 50 years I’ve been in the water, I cried for an hour, right into my mask, as I witnessed the extent to which our lovely Tumon Bay corals were bleaching and dying."