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Census 2016: Australia the world's least racist country?

A small note on the Chinese in Australia.  Salty Bernard below says we have 510,000 Chinese-born residents. That is both true and misleading.  The China-born persons of Han Chinese origin are probably only half of the total Han Chinese immigrants.  Many of the people from Vietnam and Malaysia particularly are Han Chinese by ancestry and know it.  Additionally many have been in Australia for a long time now and have children and grandchildren born here.  So the number of Australian born Han could well be greater than the number born overseas.

I repeatedly in my daily life come across people of unmistakeably Han ancestry who speak Australian English as well as I do: They have obviously grown up here.  So I estimate that there are around 2 million Australians of Han ancestry, which makes the total population around 5% Han.  We are lucky to have so many bright, hard working and peaceful people among us.

So the Han give demographers a few problems.  The "Overseas" Chinese who have come to Australia from Southest Asia identify strongly as Han so for most purposes should be lumped in with the China-born Han.

But an upcoming process will create even greater definitional difficulties.  Young Han women in Australia are generally short in stature and seem to be universally determined to marry a tall man.  And if a tall Han man cannot be found a tall Caucasian man will do.  In my observation, that is actually universal.  Young Han women ALWAYS have a tall man with them if they have anyone at all. They know how to get what they want.  Looking at it from the other way, around 50% of tall Caucasian men will have a little Asian lady on their arms if any. That will undoubtedly produce a large crop of Eurasian children in the not too distant future.  How will the demographers classify them?

The phenomenon I have just described also does pretty well as an indication that neither Han nor Caucasian Australians are racist.  In the Bogardus scale of social distance, marriage is the highest level of non-racism


Australian migrants have to really want to come to this country. We are not like Europe or Africa or the Americas where migrants can trek from one country to another across a land border. And Australia isn’t conveniently positioned between continents teeming with humanity. We’re a bit out of the way … in fact we’re a long way out of the way. Which means that if migrants do decide to make the journey to Australia, then getting back to see family and friends is difficult. I think our isolation, the tyranny of distance, delivers an urgency to the Aussie migrant’s yearning for success.

Come to Australia, mate, work hard, pay your taxes, make a civic contribution, perhaps raise a family and share in the resources of our bountiful continent. Large-scale migration shapes the culture of the host population. Migrants lift the bar; they have something to prove; they measure their success by the success of their children (and often set up by the exceptionally hard work of the migrating parents). Without migration Australia would have remained a white Anglo enclave, a colonial outpost of Britain. Migrant effort, energy, enterprise and muscle have shaped this nation and changed the way we eat (pasta), style our homes (back veranda is now alfresco) and greet each other (cheek kissing) along the way.

All of which leads me to conclude that Australia is the greatest migrant nation on earth. And here is why I believe we can make that claim. According to the latest census figures 28 per cent of the Australian population was born overseas, up two percentage points in the past five years. This proportion in the US, Britain and Spain is barely 13 per cent. Only New Zealand (25 per cent) and Canada (20 per cent) come close to the Australian figures.

If we include residents with at least one parent born overseas then this proportion rises to 49 per cent. Or at least this was the proportion last August; by now we probably have topped the 50 per cent mark. There are more than 6.1 million migrants living in Australia — up 870,000 from the 2011 census — which represents an increase of 174,000 per year.

In Greater Melbourne, Perth and Sydney migrants comprise between 36 per cent and 39 per cent of the population (and even higher proportions in tighter definitions of these cities). This proportion in Greater New York is 37 per cent, in Paris it is 25 per cent, in Berlin it is 13 per cent, in Tokyo it is 2 per cent and in Shanghai it is less than 1 per cent. The Germans get all angsty when Berlin pushes much beyond the 13 per cent mark; Greater Sydney is sitting at 39 per cent and rising. And if we again include local residents with at least one parent born overseas, then 65 per cent of Sydney’s population is a migrant or closely connected to the migrant experience.

I do not see how anyone can credibly make the case that Australians are fundamentally racist — racist incidents perhaps, but not fundamentally racist — when close to 40 per cent of the population in our biggest city consists of migrants. If Australians had a fundamental problem with migrants then the issue would have been brought to a head long before Sydney got to be a more cosmopolitan city than New York.

There is no rioting in our streets. Generally we all get along. There are, of course, serious issues that we are dealing with in regard to refugees. However, I cannot cite another nation with metrics even approaching Australia’s generosity in accepting migrants.

Australia’s largest migrant groups are the British (1.088 million) and New Zealanders (518,000). The Brits arrived en masse after World War II as “ten-pound Poms”, while enterprising New Zealanders have always sought to test their mettle in the bigger market of Australia. However, through the 2020s it is likely that there will be a switch in our largest migrant populations. The Brits are dying off and the recovery of the New Zealand economy has stemmed the flow of Kiwis.

The rising migrant forces in Australia are unmistakably Asian. The latest census counted 510,000 Chinese-born residents, increasing at a rate of 38,000 a year, which means they probably already have surpassed the Kiwis as Australia’s second largest migrant group. Then come the Indians with 455,000, increasing at a rate of 32,000 a year. Then there are the Filipinos with 232,000 and the Vietnamese with 219,000.

The Chinese are our leading source of new migrants; they probably have replaced the Kiwis as our leading source of visitors; they form the largest body of overseas students; and China is our leading export market and source of imports. I think it’s time we made Mandarin a compulsory second language in the school curriculum. Indeed I think it is in the national interest for Australians to understand some Mandarin (and at times in business not to let on that we understand some Mandarin).

There are migrant hotspots in every major city, especially among non-English-speaking settlers. The Chinese make up 9 per cent of the population in Hobart’s Sandy Bay. In Darwin’s Coconut Grove Filipino migrants comprise 10 per cent of the population. In Brisbane the Chinese comprise 23 per cent of the population in Macgregor, Indians cluster in Runcorn (9 per cent) and the Vietnamese congregate in Inala, where they comprise 20 per cent of the population. In Adelaide, for some reason English migrants love McLaren Vale where they account for 15 per cent of the population.

Generally British and New Zealand migrants integrate seamlessly into the Australian social fabric. Contrary to popular opinion New Zealanders do not dominate the Sydney suburb of Bondi, where they form just 3.4 per cent of the population. In fact the newest Kiwi enclave is a long way from hip Bondi; it’s Marsden in suburban Brisbane, where they form 13 per cent of the population. The Brits do congregate, but mostly as retirees in lifestyle locations such as Melbourne’s Mount Martha where they also comprise 13 per cent of the population.

The migrant component to the Australian population swishes and swirls to every nook and cranny on the continent. I say this imbues Australians with a global perspective not found elsewhere. We have developed an absorbent culture that soaks up and showcases migrant influences. Perhaps because we are so removed we see overseas and cosmopolitan influences as a mark of sophistication. Quinoa salad, anyone? ....

Which brings me to a final observation about Australia’s migrants. They make the journey to Australia to secure a better life for themselves and their families.

And in so doing I think they make choices based on work availability and perceived quality of life. Sydney may offer the next generation of migrants work opportunities in financial services, but it is the first generation that wants to buy a home, perhaps as a symbol of their success in the new world. And when you think about it, this aspiration to work and to own a home aligns nicely with fundamental Australian values.

SOURCE

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Griffo's "Pik a hot Pak"

About 55 years ago when I was about 20, I had a job selling transmission machinery from a shop in George St., Brisbane. It rather strangely had 3 names: Gearco, Irvine's and Munro Machinery. That is such a strange job for a literary type like me that I think I should say a few words about how I got that job.

There were not many jobs advertised in the local paper for experts in Middle-English poetry -- which is what I knew most about -- so with supreme optimism I applied for job as an engineering equipment salesman.

I was interviewed by Harry Beanham, who owned a chain of similar shops in other capital cities.  I turned up for the interview in a green suit wearing a green fuzzy felt hat.  That was not a good move.  But Harry was a cautious man so he just asked me two questions which should have sent me on my way.  He asked: What is a tap and what is a reamer?  Being a country kid I answered both questions correctly.  And if you think a tap is something you get water out of you don't know engineering machinery.  Harry was so delighted to meet a kid who actually knew something that he gave me the job straight away.

And I vindicated his faith in me.  At one stage I made a big sale of diehead chasers  -- which are sort of complicated things.  Apparently none of Harry's other people were selling diehead chasers so Harry gathered together his whole stock of them and sent them up to Brisbane for me to sell.  In his mind I became the diehead chaser man.  Which actually served me well on a later occasion.  But that's another story.

Anyway, while I was working there in the shop, most people in the area seemed to know of a Greek cafe nearby called "Griffo's".  And people flocked there to buy a lunch called "Pik a hot pak".  It was yummy.  It was basically a toasted bacon & egg sandwich but with other stuff in it as well. At that time in my life I was busy saving money so my lunch was usually a cheese and pickle sandwich that I brought from home.  But the Griffo's product was so attractive that I did splash out on one at times.

Sadly, however, Griffo's eventually vanished, as so much does over the years. As one gets older, however, one does tend to reminisce about "the good ol' days" a lot and the memory of Griffo's came to me recently.  So I decided that I would try to recreate a "Pik a hot pak".  I am of course not sure how close I got to the original but the taste is at least pretty similar -- and super-yummy.

So what's in it?  The first constraint was that it had to contain pretty familiar ingredients.  Any "foreign muck" would not have been well received in Brisbane of that era.  So I used absolutely routine breakfast and lunch ingredients as I knew them at that time.  So it is something that any cafe would be able to put together for you to this day.

It is simply bacon, fried egg, cheese, sliced tomato and fried onion topped by a small dab of tomato sauce all piled together into an ordinary toasted white-bread sandwich and cut into four. My local cafe puts it together well for me and it's the best toasted sandwich I have ever had!  So some long overdue thanks to Griffo's.

Warning:  If you try it you could become addicted!



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Australia: 'The education system is broken': Teacher who quit her job after 30 years reveals why she intends to home-school her grandchildren

Rather unclear what she wants changed.  More staff and less assessment is part of it but the rest is unclear.

I think she fails to understand that continuous assessment is designed to circumvent reliance on a "sudden-death" examination at the end of the year.  That was once the system but was often protested against as being an unfair measure of a pupil's ability.  Lots of students who did poorly were said just to be having a "bad day".

And teachers "taught to the test" back then too.  It would be irresponsible to do otherwise.

And she ignores the function of the NAPLAN (national) exams in detecting and hopefully improving failing schools.  There are many quite bad schools in the government sector.  That is why 40% of Australian teenagers go to private schools.

It is of course possible to have a school environment where students feel relaxed and learn in their own way.  I once taught in such a "progressive" school myself. It had a great staff/student ratio and friendly teachers  but, even so, one half of my pupils did well and the other half learnt nothing.  And the school did not survive that.  It closed down after a few years.  A school system meant to serve all just cannot be run that way.

The classic example of such a school, "Summerhill", still struggles on but it still has only 60-70 pupils and is too expensive for most parents -- meaning that most pupils come from rich homes -- and they are above-average pupils anyhow.  The school is also said to be "surprisingly strict" these days. The school has been around since the '20s but has few imitators today.  It is clearly not a viable model for government schools


She set the internet alight last year, after she penned a damning essay about the state of the Australian education system and why she was quitting after 30 years in the profession.

And now the Queensland-based teacher, Kathy Margolis, has said she has absolutely no intention of letting her grandchildren into the school system either: 'The education system is broken,' she said.

'I have said to my three sons, "If you guys one day have kids, and I haven't managed to get the system changed, then I’m going to home-school every last one of them",' she told Mamamia on Monday.

In her latest statement, Ms Margolis has said that one of her biggest concerns about the school system is the fact that kids are being expected to read and write in their first formal year of schooling.

'There are kids who are saying, "I'm stupid, I can't do this,"' Ms Margolis said.

'They can see their friends who know all the sight words. Not only that, we're giving them report cards that are telling these parents, "Your child hasn't met this standard," when really, what we should be saying to the parent is, "It's okay, they're just not ready yet, don't stress." But they're not hearing that and they're going out and getting tutors.'

Ms Margolis added that she would have 'lost her job' if she had told parents that their child merely needed an 'extra year'.

'Parents want their kids to do well and to be okay, so they're coming from a place of helping their kids. Really, the kids just need extra time,' she said.

Since Ms Margolis quit teaching, she has started working for the organisation, Protecting Childhood.

This stands for play-based learning till the age of six, no set formal homework until the age of eight, and no standardised testing which is used to 'pass or fail' kids.


READ KATHY MARGOLIS' FULL POST FROM FACEBOOK:

Education in Australian schools is in crisis and someone has to listen to those who are game enough to speak up. I have been a primary school teacher in Brisbane schools for over 30 years. This year, after much thought, I have decided to look for another job, not easy for a woman in her 50s. I cannot continue to do a job that requires me to do what is fundamentally against my philosophy of how it should be done. I love my students and they love me. I know how to engage children in learning and how to make it fun. It’s what I do best.

Teachers have very little professional autonomy anymore. We are told what to do, how to do it and when it has to be done by. Never have I experienced a time in my profession where teachers are this stressed and in real fear for the mental health of not only themselves, but the children that they teach. The pressures are enormous. And before we get the people who rabbit on about our 9 to 3 day and all the holidays we get, let’s get some things straight. No teacher works from 9 until 3. We are with the students during those hours. We go on camps, we man stalls at fetes, we conduct parents/teacher interviews, we coach sporting teams and we supervise discos. And of course there is the lesson preparation, the marking, the report cards. Full time teachers are paid 25 hours a week. Yes you read that correctly, 25 paid hours a week. In any other job that would be considered part time. So now that I have justified our holidays, many of which are spent doing the above, let’s talk about what is going on in classrooms across this great nation of ours.

Classrooms are overcrowded, filled with individuals with all sorts of needs both educational and social. Teachers are told we must differentiate and cater to each individual. Good teachers try desperately to do that but it is near impossible and we feel guilty that we are not doing enough to help the children in our care.

The curriculum is so overcrowded. Prep teachers who used to run lovely play based programs (which might I add work beautifully) are teaching children sight words and how to read and write alongside subjects like history and geography. As a teacher and a mother of 3 sons, this scares the proverbial out of me. We all know that boys this age need to be moving around doing things that interest them, not sitting at desks. And what about the notion of readiness? I fear those little ones who are not ready are going to be left behind. And here’s the problem with our crowded curriculum. There is not enough time to consolidate the basics. Every teacher on this earth will tell you that the early years should be about the 3 R’s. My own children went off to year one after having had a lovely, enriching play based year of learning back in the days of pre-school. They didn’t know any sight words; they could write maybe a few letters and guess what? They learnt to read and write without being pushed at such an early age.

In my teaching career I have never seen so many children suffering from stress and anxiety. It saddens me greatly. Teaching at the moment is data driven. We are testing them and assessing them and pushing them so hard. I get that teachers need to be accountable and of course we need assessment but teachers have an innate ability to know what kids need. A lot of it is data for data’s sake. Don’t even get me started on NAPLAN. Teachers wouldn’t have a problem with NAPLAN if it wasn’t made out to be such a big deal by the powers that be, the press and parents. It has turned into something bigger than Ben Hur.

So why am I writing this? I’m writing this because teachers need to speak up but we are often afraid of retribution. We need to claim back our profession but we are powerless. Teachers teach because we love children and are passionate about education. Our young teaching graduates enter the profession bright eyed and bushy tailed, energetic and enthusiastic, ready to make a difference. So why I ask are they only staying for an average of 5 years? Of course that question is rhetorical. I know the answer. They are burnt out and disillusioned. Older teachers like me have seen better days in the classroom so in a way it’s harder for us to see all the joy slowly being sucked out of learning. But we also have a wealth of experience to draw from and we know which hoops you don’t necessarily need to jump through. We occasionally speak out. We are not as easy to “control”. But we are tired and also burning out with disillusionment.

I write this in the hope that we can spark a public discussion. We need the support of parents, who I know agree with us. I write this because I love children and I can’t bear to see what we are doing to them. Last year, as I apologised once again to my class for pushing them so hard and for the constant barrage of assessment, one child asked me “if you don’t like the things you have to do then why are you still a teacher?” That question got me to thinking long and hard. I had no answer except that I truly loved kids and it was with a heavy heart that I realised that wasn’t enough anymore.



The teacher's original 976-word essay was published on her Facebook page last year. In it, she said the system was in 'crisis' and added that she wrote the post in the hope of sparking public debate.

'Classrooms are overcrowded, filled with individuals with all sorts of needs both educational and social. Teachers are told we must differentiate and cater to each individual. Good teachers try desperately to do that but it is near impossible and we feel guilty that we are not doing enough to help the children in our care,' she wrote at the time.

'Teaching at the moment is data driven. We are testing them and assessing them and pushing them so hard. I get that teachers need to be accountable and of course we need assessment but teachers have an innate ability to know what kids need. A lot of it is data for data's sake.'

The post swiftly went viral and was shared thousands of times online.

Daily Mail Australia has reached out to the Queensland Department of Education for comment.

In a recent statement issued by the state's education minister, Kate Jones, to ABC Radio, she said: 'I have to ensure that early year teachers feel that they have the flexibility to do the appropriate age learning for students in their class.

'Also in the recent budget we announced that there will be a fully funded prep teacher aide in every classroom in Queensland.

'The statements will identify any issues they believe the prep teacher should have and we will provide that directly, and this is something prep teachers have asked for.'

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Yale historian warns Trump’s rise perfectly mirrors frightening ascent of Fascism and Nazis in the 1930s

Typical Leftist cherry picking below.  He quotes a few bits he likes and leaves out the rest. He can't find much that Trump has said so he quotes Steve Bannon -- quite ignoring that Bannon is now out of influence with Trump.

He says that Trump’s showman style of populism is heavily influenced by Bannon. But Trump has been a showman for decades, long before Bannon was heard of. You would have to go back a long way before you found a time when Trump was not in the news. Here's an example of Trump as a young man:



It is true that Trump's rise to power was rapid and Snyder  implies that Fascists rose to power overnight too.  But they didn't.  Hitler fought many elections before he was able to cobble together a minority administration in the "Reichstag". There is no comparison to Trump's sweep.

He does quote Trump as liking the prewar "America First" movement and implies that it was Nazi.  It was in fact the exact opposite. It was the chief anti-immigration and anti-intervention movement in 1930s America.  They were isolationists. The last thing they wanted was to march on any other county.

Snyder in fact just disproves his own argument.  He admits that America First was isolationist but then says that the 1930s Fascists were internationalists.  Che?  But they certainly WERE internationalists. Hitler tried to take over Russia.  Trump gets condemned for being too friendly towards Russia!

It is true that German conservatives gave Hitler some support but that was only because they saw him as a lesser evil than the KPD: the powerful German Communist party.  There was no such threat in America.  The Democrats trust in bureaucracy, not class war. It is in fact the Democrats who are the true modern Fascists.  Right into the war years, Hitler trusted in bureaucracy too.

And the guy below is a historian!  More accurately a fraud

Note that there have been many equally shallow attempts to brand Trump and his followers as being Nazi/ Fascist/ racist/ authoritarian. As authoritarianism is my main area of academic expertise I have debunked all of them that I know of. See here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.



Writing for The Guardian, Timothy Snyder warns that conservatives seem to be unaware that Trump is taking their governing philosophy into darker — and more violent — territory.

According to Snyder, Trump’s showman style of populism is heavily influenced by White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon.

“Stephen Bannon, who promises us new policies ‘as exciting as the 1930s,’ seems to want to return to that decade in order to undo those legacies,” Snyder writes. “He seems to have in mind a kleptocratic authoritarianism (hastened by deregulation and the dismantlement of the welfare state) that generates inequality, which can be channeled into a culture war (prepared for by Muslim bans and immigrant denunciation hotlines).”

“Like fascists, Bannon imagines that history is a cycle in which national virtue must be defended from permanent enemies. He refers to fascist authors in defense of this understanding of the past.”

Noting that President Trump is not an “articulate theorist,” Snyder points out that the president gives Bannon’s dark vision a populist veneer that has historical parallels.

“During the 2016 campaign, Trump spoke of ‘America first,’ which he knew was the name of political movement in the United States that opposed American participation in the second world war,” Snyder explains. “Among its leaders were nativists and Nazi apologists such as Charles Lindbergh. When Trump promised in his inaugural address that ‘from now on, it’s going to be America first’ he was answering a call across the decades from Lindbergh, who complained that ‘we lack leadership that places America first.’ American foreign and energy policies have been branded ‘America first.'”

“Conservatives always began from intuitive understanding of one’s own country and an instinctive defense of sovereignty. The far right of the 1930s was internationalist, in the sense that fascists learned one from the other and admired one another, as Hitler admired Mussolini,” Snyder continued.

“One of the reasons why the radical right was able to overcome conservatives back in the 1930s was that the conservatives did not understand the threat. Nazis in Germany, like fascists in Italy and Romania, did have popular support, but they would not have been able to change regimes without the connivance or the passivity of conservatives.”

“If Republicans do not wish to be remembered (and forgotten) like the German conservatives of the 1930s, they had better find their courage – and their conservatism – fast,” the historian concludes.

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What an airhead!

The fantasy below is by Ida Auken, a Member of the Parliament of Denmark and a priest of the Church of Denmark.  She is a member of a radical Leftist party and as Green as they come



Her fantasy set out below reminds one powerfully of an earlier fantasy, which predicted that "the state will wither away" (Marx, Engels, Lenin) -- which was a very bad prophecy. The State in fact grows rather than recedes. She thinks private property will wither away, which is also Marxist and just as improbable. Her prophecy dismisses almost the whole of human experience.

Ida's idea seems to be that a coming era of robotics will abolish the need to work.  But that prophecy has been made many times as machines became more and more sophisticated.  Yet the proportion of the population working remains much the same through all these changes.  People's needs and wants expand as the possibilities do.

And private property is now way more extensive than ever before.  Kitchen gadgets alone have proliferated enormously.  I have an electric crockpot, an electric can-opener, an electric rice-cooker, a microwave oven, an electric sandwich maker etc.  My parents had none of those even in their declining years.

The actual trend in society is massively opposite to what the poor deluded woman hypothesizes. The brain beneath her blonde hair clearly has some twisted bits in it. She is high on dreams. Her no. 1 passion seems to be recycling, which is quite labor-intensive. One wonders how that fits in with her dream of idleness below


Welcome to the year 2030. Welcome to my city - or should I say, "our city". I don't own anything. I don't own a car. I don't own a house. I don't own any appliances or any clothes.

It might seem odd to you, but it makes perfect sense for us in this city. Everything you considered a product, has now become a service. We have access to transportation, accommodation, food and all the things we need in our daily lives. One by one all these things became free, so it ended up not making sense for us to own much.

First communication became digitized and free to everyone. Then, when clean energy became free, things started to move quickly. Transportation dropped dramatically in price. It made no sense for us to own cars anymore, because we could call a driverless vehicle or a flying car for longer journeys within minutes. We started transporting ourselves in a much more organized and coordinated way when public transport became easier, quicker and more convenient than the car. Now I can hardly believe that we accepted congestion and traffic jams, not to mention the air pollution from combustion engines. What were we thinking?

Sometimes I use my bike when I go to see some of my friends. I enjoy the exercise and the ride. It kind of gets the soul to come along on the journey. Funny how some things seem never seem to lose their excitement: walking, biking, cooking, drawing and growing plants. It makes perfect sense and reminds us of how our culture emerged out of a close relationship with nature.

"Environmental problems seem far away"

In our city we don't pay any rent, because someone else is using our free space whenever we do not need it. My living room is used for business meetings when I am not there.

Once in awhile, I will choose to cook for myself. It is easy - the necessary kitchen equipment is delivered at my door within minutes. Since transport became free, we stopped having all those things stuffed into our home. Why keep a pasta-maker and a crepe cooker crammed into our cupboards? We can just order them when we need them.

This also made the breakthrough of the circular economy easier. When products are turned into services, no one has an interest in things with a short life span. Everything is designed for durability, repairability and recyclability. The materials are flowing more quickly in our economy and can be transformed to new products pretty easily. Environmental problems seem far away, since we only use clean energy and clean production methods. The air is clean, the water is clean and nobody would dare to touch the protected areas of nature because they constitute such value to our well being. In the cities we have plenty of green space and plants and trees all over. I still do not understand why in the past we filled all free spots in the city with concrete.

The death of shopping

Shopping? I can't really remember what that is. For most of us, it has been turned into choosing things to use. Sometimes I find this fun, and sometimes I just want the algorithm to do it for me. It knows my taste better than I do by now.

When AI and robots took over so much of our work, we suddenly had time to eat well, sleep well and spend time with other people. The concept of rush hour makes no sense anymore, since the work that we do can be done at any time. I don't really know if I would call it work anymore. It is more like thinking-time, creation-time and development-time.

For a while, everything was turned into entertainment and people did not want to bother themselves with difficult issues. It was only at the last minute that we found out how to use all these new technologies for better purposes than just killing time.

SOURCE

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My five-year-old daughter was fined £150 ... for selling lemonade

 Andre Spicer

Disgusting British bureaucracy.  When my gorgeous twin stepdaughters were about 8 or 9 we had a very productive lemon tree so experimented  with making lemonade out of some of its produce.  When we had a product, I organized for the girls to set up a stand outside our place and sell glasses of lemonade to passers by for $1 each.  They loved it and it is one of their fondest memories of their childhood.  We were living on a main road so at one stage the local cop -- this was in a small Australian country town -- drove past, came to a screeching halt when he realized what he had just seen and approached the girls.  

Did he create anything like the horrible scene described below?  No way. He was fascinated and talked to the girls in a friendly way.  He bought a drink and went on his way with a pleasant memory of the day.

Why could those animals of British bureaucracy not do that?  Why could they not have turned a blind eye? The more you see of British bureaucrats the more you doubt that they are really human.

There have been incidents in the USA where officials have tried to shut down children's lemonade stands but the outcry has made them backpedal. Will that happen in Britain after this episode?  Don't hold your breath


Like many parents, I’m forever searching for ways to entertain my children – especially at this time of year, when the school holidays loom. I know that visits to our local playground won’t be enough to get us through the long summer days. So, I was pretty pleased when I hit on the idea of helping my five-year-old daughter to run a lemonade stand at the end of our street.

I would have thought twice if I knew what was in store for us.

Really, it was my daughter's suggestion. On the way home from school one day, she told me that she wanted to run a stall like they had at the school fete. "What do you want to sell" I asked.

"Food and toys", she replied.

"Do you want to your sell your toys?", I replied, trying to hide my excitement. My daughter took a second to think.

"Maybe just food then".

The next morning, she announced that she wanted to run a lemonade stand. It sounded very American, but it would entertain her and she might even learn a thing of two. I started looking up lemonade recipes.

That weekend, after 30 minutes of labouring over the blender, we had four jugs of lemonade. My daughter drew a sign with some beautiful bright yellow lemons on it. I added the prices: 50p for a small cup; £1 for a large one. After cleaning off an old table, we packed up our things and walked to the end of the street. A music festival was taking place in a nearby park, so dozens of people streamed by every minute. My daughter stood proudly in front of the table. "Who wants lemonade", she called out. Within a minute, she had her first customer.

The lemonade quickly disappeared and her little money tin filled up. A happy scene. And then, after about 30 minutes, four local council enforcement officers stormed up to her little table.

"Excuse me", one office said as he switched on a portable camera attached to his vest. He then read a lengthy legal statement – the gist of which was that because my daughter didn't have a trading permit, she would be fined £150. "But don’t worry, it is only £90 if it’s paid quickly", the officer added.

My daughter burst into tears, repeating again and again "have I done a bad thing"?

After five minutes, the officers' jobs were done and they went on their way. We packed up and made the short walk home. My daughter sobbed all the way.

When my she had finally calmed down, I started to try to make sense of what had just happened. I’m a professor in a business school, so I probably should have known some kind of permit was required. But this was a five-year-old kid selling lemonade. She wasn’t exactly a public safety hazard.

Later, I tried to lay the matter to rest. "We can get a permit and have a stall another day", I said.

"No. It’s too scary", she replied.

Holding the notice of the fine in my hand, I’m reminded just how restrictive we have become with our children. When I was growing up, my brother and I were able to wonder miles from home without adult supervision. We were encouraged to sell things to raise money for clubs we were part of. By selling biscuits, we learned about maths, communication and basic business skills. But more importantly, we gained a degree of confidence. I can’t ever recall a council officer popping up and fining us.

The world my children are growing up in is radically different. Today, kids are watched by parents around the clock. Most are not allowed beyond the front gate of their house. Everything children do today is carefully regulated by officials, inspectors and their own parents. There are good intentions behind all this obsessive monitoring. But these good intentions can quickly sour.

At the same time as we supervise the joy out of childhood, many of the things which actually help our children thrive are disappearing. Councils have closed youth clubs and young people’s services. Teachers spend more time ticking bureaucratic boxes than teaching kids. Parents are more interested in monitoring their social media feed than playing with their kids. Meanwhile, the number of children being prescribed anti-depressants has gone up 50pc in five years.

Now, after Lemonadegate, as I contemplate the long school holidays which lay ahead, I’m even more confused about how to entertain our children. Setting up a lemonade stand is obviously far too risky. Perhaps I should just rely on that good old fashioned parenting technique – handing my daughter an iPad so she can spend hours watching a creepy guy opening up toys he has just bought.

SOURCE

UPDATE: The power of publicity at work.  The council cancelled the fine and apologized.

In a statement Friday, the council said it was “very sorry” about what happened and that its enforcement officers are expected to “show common sense, and to use their powers sensibly.” “This clearly did not happen,” it said.

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Arabian gold

Did you know that they mine gold in Saudi Arabia?  I didn't but I should have.  There are over 400 mentions of gold in the Bible so it had to come from somewhere. And Arabia is right next door. But as far as I can find the only mention of gold's origin is in Genesis 2:

"And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads. The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compaseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold".

Archaeologists have recently identified where the ancient river Pishon flowed.  And it is roughly in the middle of Arabia.



A few excerpts about modern gold mining in Saudi Arabia:

State-controlled mining firm Saudi Ma'aden plans to develop the Mansourah, Massarah gold mine, industry sources told Reuters.

Ma'aden operates six gold mines in the Central Arabian Gold Region, western Saudi Arabia which contains much of the Kingdom's gold rich ore deposits. It has recently started operating the Ad Duwayhi gold mine.

Saudi Arabia's efforts to build an economy that does not rely on oil and state subsidies involves a shift towards mining vast untapped reserves of bauxite, the main source of aluminium, as well as phosphate, gold, copper and uranium.

SOURCE
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'The sensible centre is the place to be': Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull claims the Liberal party is NOT conservative and never has been

Turnbull is certainly speaking of himself when he says that the Liberals are centrist. And it may be that his centrism has given him surprising success at getting his legislation through a fractious Senate. He has enacted most of his initial agenda, notably the building industry watchdog.

He also quotes Menzies accurately but overlooks that what Menzies described as liberalism is conservative today.  The Left have drifted into a hate-filled Marxist party that no longer gives any real respect to liberalism as Menzies saw it.  They support the thuggish building unions, for instance, whereas Menzies emphatically believed in individual liberty and the rule of law.  I quote:

"We are told today that the parliamentary system is antiquated, that it is slow, inefficient, illogical, emotional. In the presence of each charge, it may admit to some degree of guilt. But with all its faults, it retains a great virtue, alas! in these days, a rare virtue. Its virtue is that it is the one system yet devised which ensures the liberty of the subject by promoting the rule of law which subjects themselves make, and to which everyone, Prime Minister or tramp, must render allegiance. We British people still believe that men are born free, and that the function of government is to limit that freedom only by the consent of the governed."

It is Mr Abbott who is the chief defender of individual liberty in Australia today


Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has made the sensational claim the Liberal party was not a conservative party, and never has been.

Speaking in London on Monday, Mr Turnbull said the Liberal party was moulded by former Australian prime minister Robert Menzies, who 'went to great pains not to call his new centre-right party a conservative party'.

'The sensible centre was the place to be. It remains the place to be,' Mr Turnbull said, according to The Australian.

'In 1944 Menzies described our party as the Liberal party, which he firmly anchored in the centre of Australian politics. 'He wanted to stand apart from the big money, business establishment politics of traditional conservative parties, as well as from the socialist tradition of the labour movement embodied in the Australian Labor Party.'

The Liberal party has been embroiled in scandal in recent months amid rising tensions between conservative and moderate ministers.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott said last week he would 'continue' to stand up for conservative voters. 'There is, it's no secret at the moment, a bit of division inside the ranks of those who have regarded themselves as Liberals,' he said.

'I've made the judgement that at least for the moment, and obviously there's a limit to how far this can continue... it's important for someone to stand up for those Liberals feeling a bit let down and disenfranchised.'

Mr Abbot feared the conservative members would leave the Liberals to join a different party - due to the growing moderate voice led by Mr Turnbull.

Mr Abbott was slammed by South Australian senator Nick Xenophon for criticising his own government. 'I think Tony Abbott's being a huge pain in the a*** right now,' he said. 'I need to use the sort of cut through language that Tony Abbott is renowned for.'

His comment was in response to Mr Abbott's criticism of the federal government's May Budget.

SOURCE

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PETA CREDLIN: The problem with our Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull

Peta is pretty right below but she is basically asking Turnbull to be what he is not.  He has no enthusiasm for conservative policies but for his own reasons supports many of them.  His status as a rich businessman may have something to do with his support for conservative policies.

And he is arguably the right man in the right place at the moment. He has had quite a lot of success in getting his legislation through a very difficult Senate and his centrism might have been the key to that.  If he had been more doctrinaire, he might have met more resistance.

Peta clearly wants him to be more like her old mate Tony Abbott but Abbott did get the boot so is that a good model?


IT was his problem when he was the Liberal leader last time, and it’s still his problem now; Malcolm Turnbull has no political judgment.

Rather than use the one-year anniversary of his election win as a chance to lay out a new agenda and give voters a sorely-needed sense of direction, the Prime Minister used a speech to a UK think tank to deepen Liberal Party divisions, and remind ordinary people that this is all about him, not them.

Right now, the Liberal Party needs leadership. The government has not won a Newspoll since it scraped home with a one-seat majority (Mr Turnbull’s own test not ours) and the base is splintering.

It was like this last time when he tried to force an ETS through the party room with his unforgettable words: “I will not lead a political party that’s not as committed to effective action on climate change as I am,” and he’s doing it again.

There’s a breakaway movement by Cory Bernardi that’s increasing membership each week and I know he’s being asked to speak at events around the country that once would have been the mainstay of Liberals.

And of course there’s One Nation that’s become a powerful vote of protest and only growing stronger because of a failure of Liberal leadership to address the issues it articulates on behalf of disillusioned voters.

But rather than unite, the Prime Minister chose to divide. It was poor judgment when there was actually much to support in his speech but trying to pick a fight with conservatives was dumb in the extreme.

It shows an abject lack of commonsense to poke the bear at a time when the current divisions were kicked off by the impudent gloating of his factional lieutenant Christopher Pyne.

When Pyne spoke of the “winner’s circle” he made it very clear that the party’s left-wing Liberals view today’s political fight as a battle for control of the party rather than a battle of ideas to win over disillusioned voters who are leaving the Coalition in droves. And losing 15 straight Newspolls is hardly “winning”.

Did Turnbull hope to get a rise out of conservatives by declaring the fact Sir Robert Menzies chose to name his new party, the Liberal Party of Australia, as evidence it was not conservative? If so, he was naive and a poor student of party history. The Liberal Party is a proud exponent of both the classical liberal and conservative traditions and an assessment of policies over time makes this clear.

It has only governed successfully when both these strands of Centre-Right philosophy have a seat at the table. But Menzies himself knew a shift to the left was always dangerous for a party built on the individual freedoms, the aspirational ordinary person and sound economic management.

As he wrote in a letter to his daughter, Heather, in 1974 that she recently published, he said: “The main trouble in my state is that we have the State Executive of the Liberal party, which is dominated by what they now call ‘Liberals with a small l’ — that is to say, Liberals who believe in nothing, but who still believe in anything if they think it worth a few votes.

The whole thing is tragic… Why should I, at my age, have to be worrying myself about what is happening to the party which I created, a party which had principles to which I most firmly adhere, principles which have now been completely abandoned by what they call ‘little l’ Liberals.”

For most Australians, a debate about philosophy inside the Liberals is an esoteric own-goal.

Instead, the Prime Minister would have been wiser to spend the one-year anniversary of his one-seat win outlining his agenda — and he should have delivered this message in marginal seats, backed up by a mini-campaign push from ministers.

The electorate is desperate to see leadership from the man that’s always shown promise but never really delivered.

SOURCE

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"Daddy's girl" in the era of Trump

Those who have been involved in it know it well enough but there is very little said either in the popular press or in the academic journals about the "Daddy's girl" phenomenon.  So I think I need to give a brief outline of it.

What happens is that an unknown but probably substantial proportion of fathers absolutely adore their little daughters.  And they express that in every way, including spoiling the little girl rotten.  And the little girl laps it up of course.  The two become bound in a bond of mutual love.  It is in my mind the most beautiful human relationship there is.

So to take an example:  The father comes home from work and as soon as he steps in the door the little girl runs to him with open arms.  He snatches her up, gives her a close cuddle and then carries her further into the house where a mother sees two faces with big smiles on them.  Since she loves those two persons she too smiles with pleassure.  It is a happy homecoming.

I am sure that Leftists will deplore that example as "heteronormative", or whatever their latest neologistic jargon is, but they are the losers if they have never been part of that. It happens.

I also see fathers and little daughters coming into my favorite coffee shop.  The daughter will cling to the father as both of them order and will then wind herself around the proud and happy dad when they sit down.  You have to see it.

Having been part of such a relationship gives the girl confidence in her desirability and that is usually a long-term effect. It permanently gives the girl self-confidence and repose for all the rest of her life. And even after she has married and herself become a mother, she will at some times of stress go home to see "Dad".  And when she sees his eyes light up as she enters the room, calm and reassurance will come over her.  It may not solve her problems but gives her strength to bear them.

I was once talking to a mother who said that when her daughter's father came home, there was no-one else in the room for the girl but her father.  She just ran to him on sight.  I was concerned that the mother might be a bit put out by that so I said to her that the girl was lucky as that "Daddy's girl" relationship would give her strength and confidence for the rest of her life.  The mother replied serenely:  "Yes. I know.  I was one too".

To my regret, I never had a daughter but I was very close to a beautiful step-daughter so I have some personal feeling for what that is all about.

Where does the mother fit in?  Some may ask.  I am afraid that it does make the mother the usual disciplinarian but the father can be a backup.  If he told his little daughter that something "would make Daddy sad", that would be powerful.

So that brings us to the Trumps.  To anyone aware of the phenomenon, Donald and Ivanka have an outstandingly strong "Daddy's girl" relationship.  They dote on one another and wherever Donald is, Ivanka is usually no more than yards away, if that.  They are as close to inseparable as they can reasonably be.



For me the picture below encapsulates best the relationship between the two. They were (of course) together at the big G20 meeting but the personal was not for a moment forgotten.  A comforting hand is on Ivanka's shoulder saying "I am here".  And she looks on with a relaxed smile at what is before her. (And what WAS the Japanese Prime Minister thinking?)



I think that loving relationship is thoroughly admirable And tells you much about Donald Trump.  Had Obama had such a relationship, he would have been praised to the high heavens for it.  But with Donald Trump it is totally ignored.  I hope I am not the last to congratulate Donald on his outstandingly loving relationship with his daughter.

There has of course been much foul speculation about Ivanka and Donald as seen in the picture below when she was 15 years old.  But it is just the girl being loving towards her Dad.  Close physical contact is normal in that context.



There were events in my relationship with my stepdaughter that would have looked most alarming to an outsider looking in but everything was in fact completely innocent and known to be such by all the family.

The happy, poised and self-confident lady we see in Ivanka today is clearly NOT the victim of sexual abuse.



And I think the picture below shows how good they are for one-another.  She is happy and he is relaxed as they walk along. It's a beautiful relationship.



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The glacier that didn't bark

I am of course alluding to the dog in "The Silver Blaze", a Sherlock Holmes story.  Sometimes it can be significant and surprising when something does NOT happen.  We see an example of that in the AFP article below.

Warmists have been harping on about the danger and significance of the Larsen C ice shelf breaking off (calving) for at least a year.  I last referred to it on May 5, 2017 and earlier on Dec 6, 2016.  So what has happened now that the calving has happened?  Very little.  The announcement below rightly notes it as an entirely routine and natural phenomenon.

Someone has however injected an attempt at alarm into the story by postulating that the shelf MIGHT have been holding back the grounded ice-mass adjoining it and that this mass may soon therefore slide into the sea and melt.  That is however just a conjecture and fails to discuss, among many other things, the possibility that a new shelf may form where the old one was. And if something does slide off it might just sit there floating where the old shelf was and NOT melt.  I think we may safely see the event as a damp squib from a Warmist viewpoint


A trillion-ton iceberg, one of the largest ever recorded, has snapped off the West Antarctic ice shelf, scientists who have monitored the growing crack for years said on Wednesday.

"The calving occurred sometime between Monday, July 10 and Wednesday, July 12, when a 5,800-square kilometer (2,200-square mile) section of Larsen C (ice shelf) finally broke away," the Swansea University said in a statement.

The massive ice cube, larger than the U.S. state of Delaware, has a volume twice that of Lake Erie, one of the Great Lakes. It is about 350 metres (1,100 feet) thick.

"The iceberg weighs more than a trillion tons, but it was already floating before it calved away so has no immediate impact on sea level," the team said. It will likely be named A68.

With the calving, the Larsen C ice shelf lost more than 12 percent of its total surface area.

Icebergs calving from Antarctica are a regular occurrence. But given its enormous size, the latest berg will be closely watched as it travels, for any potential risk to shipping traffic.

The calving may have heightened the risk of the remaining ice shelf disintegrating, the Swansea team said.

Ice shelves float on the sea, extending from the coast, and are fed by slow-flowing glaciers from the land.

They act as giant brakes, preventing glaciers from flowing directly into the ocean.

If the glaciers held in check by Larsen C spilt into the Antarctic Ocean, it would lift the global water mark by about 10 centimetres (four inches), researchers have said.      

The calving of ice shelves occurs naturally, though global warming is believed to have accelerated the process.

Warmer ocean water erodes the underbelly of the ice shelves, while rising air temperatures weaken them from above.

The nearby Larsen A ice shelf collapsed in 1995, and Larsen B dramatically broke up seven years later.

The final break was detected by a NASA satellite.

"We will continue to monitor both the impact of this calving event on the Larsen C ice shelf and the fate of this huge iceberg," said lead investigator Adrian Luckman of the university’s MIDAS project.

The fate of the berg is hard to predict. It may stay in one piece, but could also break into fragments.

"Some of the ice may remain in the area for decades, while parts of the iceberg may drift north into warmer waters," said Luckman.

The team said the calving at the iceberg cannot be directly placed at the door of global warming, describing it as a "natural event".

Human actions have lifted average global air temperatures by about one degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial levels, according to scientists.

SOURCE

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Do Republicans Really Work Against Their Constituents' Interests?

This is an old chestnut.  For decades in Britain and Australia, Leftists fumed that about a quarter of the working class deserted "their" party and voted conservative. Books were written about it. I did some research on it. And I found that these "strange" people were actually the normal ones.  It was the Left working-class voters who had deviant attitudes. The conservative working-class voters had society-wide values.

A very old conservative claim, much stressed by Benjamin Disraeli in the 19th century, is that conservatives stand for and represent the interests of the nation as a whole.  Donald Trump made great use of a similar claim. Trump's victory therefore shows that such claims have a powerful appeal to all classes, including the workers.  Many of the workers are therefore prepared to put the best interests of the nation before their own immediate self-interest. Disraeli saw that nobility in the workers too, calling them "angels in marble"

The article below makes a similar point: Working class conservatives and their representatives are voting for their long-term good rather than the advantage of the moment. They are smart enough not to take a simplistic Leftist bribe


Leftists don't see the world the same way, and thus they make wrong assumptions about those interests.

It’s not news — not even fake news — that the political Right and the political Left don’t see things the same way; they are different. The Left frequently sees things as problems that the Right doesn’t regard as problems, and vice versa. And even when the two sides agree that something is a problem, they have vastly different ways of addressing it. The gulf between the two factions is arguably wider today than ever before.

The idea that Republican voters sometimes/often vote against their own interests is a Democrat talking point, and this myth was the subject of a recent New York Times podcast. The podcast host, Times managing editor Michael Barbaro, interviewed domestic-affairs correspondent Sheryl Gay Stolberg, who cited the situation in Kentucky, one of the states that suffered mightily when the war on coal put enough people out of work to run Kentucky’s coal jobs to the lowest level in 118 years.

The out-of-work miners, forced onto Medicaid by the war on coal, benefited greatly from ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion, Stolberg said, “yet, its Republican senators are leading the charge for ObamaCare repeal, including for Medicaid reform. How can that be?”

The answer to that question comes from the different ways of looking at the world and at life from opposite sides of the political spectrum.

Which of the following sets of ideas do you most closely observe?

1). The nuclear family is an antiquated idea, traditional ideas of morality and culture are oppressive, sexual autonomy is a virtue, and we just can’t get by without government “help.”

2). We graduate from high school and possibly college, find a job to sustain ourselves, marry, and then have children and raise a family.

If you chose 1, you almost certainly lean toward the political Left; if you chose 2, you likely lean toward the political Right. These different views of how to live our lives define why Republicans vote against what seem to be their “interests.”

“Now, between the two parties, which one has centered its appeal around married parents with kids and which party has doubled down on single moms?” National Review’s David French asks. “Even worse, the Democrats’ far-left base has intentionally attacked the nuclear family as archaic and patriarchal. It has celebrated sexual autonomy as a cardinal virtue. Then, when faced with the fractured families that result, it says, ‘Here, let the government help.’”

How does this relate to Kentucky’s Republican senators? They’re voting on their ideas of what makes America great, and according to French, those interests “depend on the complex interplay between our faith, our families, and our communities.” It’s all about core values.

New York Times columnist David Brooks traces these values back to American frontier towns, where life was “fragile, perilous, lonely and remorseless,” and where a “single slip could produce disaster.” As a result, the frontier folk learned to practice “self-restraint, temperance, self-control and strictness of conscience.”

Those values are at the heart of the American experience of carving a powerful and free republic out of a wilderness, a nation that has as a result led the world for decades. They reflect the Biblical values brought here and cultivated during America’s first turbulent and troubled decades, and which formed the basis of the government created following the “Colexit” of the Colonies from Mother England’s repressive grasp.

Republicans, or at least those who are true conservatives, honor the ideals of Liberty, personal responsibility, self-reliance, and limited government, and to a less-than-perfect degree — but a far greater degree than those who call themselves liberals, progressives, or socialists — try to live by these values.

Kentucky’s Republican senators dislike the government’s solution to the problem that the government itself created when it over-regulated nearly everything, and so they see a vote against maintaining this absurdity as a virtuous one. They prefer a system freeing Americans to make their own decisions about health care and health insurance without the one-size-fits-nobody concept Democrats created that we commonly call ObamaCare.

Their vote seemingly punishes those they should most want to help: their constituents and supporters. But the bigger picture shows instead the desire to free their constituents from the damaging big government policies that put them on the government dole. They want to create an environment where they can find another job that can sustain them above the poverty line, and off of Medicaid.

Republicans want to do away with this Democrat-created problem. Their fundamental goal is to free Americans from this horrible, failed big government mechanism. Democrats’ aim is to ultimately create a single-payer, totally government-controlled health care system that would mirror the British system. You know the one: It recently took control of decisions on seriously ill infant Charlie Gard’s care away from his parents, and effectively ordered Charlie’s death.

That case demonstrates precisely how government-run health care will degenerate into death panels — a system where government makes decisions about who lives and dies based on numbers on a spreadsheet. And that explains why Republicans seem to vote against their constituents’ interests. They’re not voting against them at all, but for their Liberty.

SOURCE

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Alone Perhaps, But Is Trump Right?

Because he grounds his comments in history, I rarely disagree with Pat Buchanan -- but I take some issue with what he says below.  He notes President Trump's urging civilizational self-confidence for the West but is pessimistic about that civilizational self-confidence returning.  He seems to think that "We" have lost our collective balls.

I disagree.  I think the generally spineless response of the West to Islam is entirely a Leftist product.  During his ascent to the Presidency, his followers made pretty clear that they wanted a tough response to social problems and Mr Trump seems to be intent on such toughness.

So the challenge now is to get the Left out of their role of dictating what is right and acceptable.  The Left know that, which is why their response to Trump is so hysterical. But if Trump continues on to broad-based success for his policies, he should generate widespread support for them.  And the chattering class will have to move in his direction.  They will be a steadily shrinking minority talking to a steadily shrinking minority otherwise.

In short, I think that, after 8 years of Trump, America will have rediscovered its manhood and the rest of the world will gradually follow


At the G-20 in Hamburg, it is said, President Trump was isolated, without support from the other G-20 members, especially on climate change and trade.

Perhaps so. But the crucial question is not whether Trump is alone, but whether he is right. Has Trump read the crisis of the West correctly? Are his warnings valid? Is not the Obama-Merkel vision of a New World Order a utopian fantasy?

At the monument to the patriots of the Warsaw Uprising, Trump cited Poland as exemplar of how a great people behaves in a true national crisis.

Calling the Polish people "the soul of Europe," he related how, in the Miracle of the Vistula in 1920, Poland, reborn after 12 decades of subjugation, drove back the invading Red Army of Leon Trotsky.

He described the gang rape of Poland by Nazis and Soviets after the Hitler-Stalin pact. He cited the Katyn Forest massacre of the Polish officer corps by Stalin, and the rising of the Polish people against their Nazi occupiers in 1944, as the vulturous legions of Stalin watched from the safe side of the river.

When the Polish Pope, John Paul II, celebrated his first Mass in Victory Square in 1979, said Trump, "a million Polish men, women and children raised their voices in a single prayer. ... 'We want God.' ... Every Communist in Warsaw must have known that their oppressive system would soon come crashing down." And so it did.

The crisis of the West today, said Trump, is akin to what Poland faced. For it is about the survival of a civilization, rooted in Christianity, that has made the greatest of all contributions to the ascent of man.

What enabled the Poles to endure was an unshakable belief in and a willingness to fight for who they were — a people of God and country, faith, families, and freedom — with the courage and will to preserve a nation built on the truths of their ancient tribe and Catholic traditions.

Given the threats to the West, from within and without, said Trump, we need such a spirit now. What are those threats?

"The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive. Do we have the confidence in our values to defend them at any cost? Do we have enough respect for our citizens to protect our borders? Do we have the desire and the courage to preserve our civilization in the face of those who would subvert and destroy it?

"We can have the largest economies and the most lethal weapons anywhere on Earth, but if we do not have strong families and strong values, then we will be weak and we will not survive."

Trump professed confidence in the West's will to survive. But whether the West still has the character seems an open question.

Across the West, the traditional family has been collapsing for decades. Not one European nation has a birth rate that will enable its people to survive many more generations. Uninvited migrants in the millions have poured in — are pouring in — from Africa and the Middle East. The elite of Europe have been gladly surrendering their national sovereignties to transnational institutions like the EU.

Christianity is more of a dying than a thriving faith on the Old Continent. And as the churches empty out, the mosques are going up. Before our eyes, the West is being remade.

In June, gays and lesbians celebrated in Berlin as the German Parliament voted to approve same-sex marriage.

In Moscow, from May to July, a million Russians stood in lines a mile long to view and venerate a relic of the 4th-century bishop, St. Nicholas, on display in a glass case in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, rebuilt under President Putin.

Liberated from Leninism, Russia returns to the old faith, as Germany returns to Weimar.

At that G-20 gathering in Hamburg, hundreds of criminal thugs went on a three-day rampage — rioting, burning, looting and battling police, some 300 of whom were injured.

Were the autocrats of the G-20 — Xi Jinping of China, Vladimir Putin of Russia, Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, Narendra Modi of India — impressed with the resolute response of Angela Merkel — the media-designated new "Leader of the West" — to mobs rioting in Germany's second city?

At Harvard, Alexander Solzhenitsyn described what was on display in Hamburg: "A decline in courage may be the most striking feature which an outside observer notices in the West in our days. ... Such a decline in courage is particularly noticeable among the ruling groups and the intellectual elite."

Secularist and hedonist, New Europe worships at the altars of mammon. Handel's "Messiah" cannot compete with moonwalking Michael Jackson's "We Are the World."

Once Europe went out to convert, colonize and Christianize the world. Now the grandchildren of the colonized peoples come to Europe to demand their share of their inheritance from a West besotted with guilt over its past sins that cannot say "No!"

SOURCE

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Is educational discrimination ruining America?

I see it as a thinly disguised propaganda sheet so I rarely read the NYT.  The following article by David Brooks has however come to my attention.  He is apparently their token conservative.

There are two subjects which are just about "verboten" in the popular press and even in most academic journals:  Social class and IQ. And, for my sins, I have done academic research into both. Both offend mightily against the Leftist dream of equality so are "incorrect".  But both factors form part of the explanation for many things, so ignoring them leads to a very imperfect understanding of those many things.

The black/white "gap" in educational achievement is a prime example of that. Educationalists for many years have been turning themselves inside out trying to explain and eliminate it, but with no real success. Were they to look at the IQ research they would immediately understand it and recognize it as intractable, which would save a lot of wasted effort.

So David Brooks is to be congratulated in tackling social class in his essay below.  And much of what he says is reasonable.  But I am afraid that once again IQ is the elephant in the room and causes Mr Brooks to miss a lot of what is going on.

All the studies of the subject, notably the famous/infamous Herrnstein & Murray study, show IQ to be a substantial factor in social class.  Put simply, high IQ people tend to get rich and even do so when coming from an unpromising background.  So what are perceived as social class attributes are in fact IQ attributes.  Newly rich people may sometimes have to do a sort of apprenticeship and change their accent before being accepted into the "best" circles but eventually money talks.

The British situation is a bit different due to the presence there of an hereditary aristocracy but even there intermarriage with successful middle-class people leads to a similar endpoint.

My favourite example of all that is breastfeeding. There is a lively literature on that subject.  Google records 71 million mentions of it. And a clear theme of it is that breastfeeding is now "correct".  Middle and upper middle class mothers breastfeed and look down on those who do not. And that can be a considerable grief to women who have difficulties with lactation.  No "excuses" are usually accepted.  There was of course a time not so long ago when the class polarity was the other way around

Now one does understand why breastfeeding is so in fashion among the more affluent.  It is in part a Greenie belief that "nature knows best" and doctors do recommend it as best for the child. But there is something else going on beneath the surface that few people are aware of. The major influence on breastfeeding is in fact IQ. We read, for instance, that "The mother's IQ was more highly predictive of breastfeeding status than were her race, education, age, poverty status, smoking, the home environment, or the child's birth weight or birth order".  What looks like a social class effect is in fact an IQ effect.

Taking that finding in conjunction with the Herrnstein & Murray findings, we have to suspect that a lot of what passses as social class characteristics is in fact an IQ effect.  So in his discussion of social class differences and it effect on education, Brooks is failing to see the wood for the trees.  He sees as causative some things that are not. He mistakes the surface for the substance.

And in education IQ is a very powerful influence indeed.  Correlations of around .7 between IQ and educational attainment are commonly reported.  Putting that together with the fact that IQ is highly hereditary (on some estimates 80% of IQ is genetically determined) we have a pretty complete explanation of the phenomena that Brooks describes.

So the fact -- set out by Brooks -- that educational attainment is largely hereditary can be explained much more simply than by seeing it as the result of an informal conspiracy theory -- which is what Brooks sees.  Top educational achievement is hereditary because IQ is hereditary.  All those things that Brooks sees as causative of social success -- such as shopping at Whole Foods -- are in fact epiphenomena rather than  causative.  They correlate with education because both correlate with IQ.

So I am not denying the sort of correlation that Brooks observes.  I am rather saying that the things he mentions are a minor source of  barriers compared to IQ status.  Given high IQ, the apparent barriers will melt away.  Either the high IQ person will have the nominated characteristics in the first place or his/her IQ will enable such characteristics to be adopted to whatever degree is needed.  The one essential is that high IQ.

Let me give a personal anecdote to illustrate what I mean. I was born to a distinctly anti-social mother in a very working  class household.  My father was a red-headed lumberjack with all the fight in him that you would expect of that.  But both my parents were avid readers and part of families that did well in the schools of their day.  So I inherited a high IQ.  And that both got me a Ph.D. -- I wrote my Ph.D. dissertation in six weeks and much of it was published -- and got me ready acceptance in the "best" British social circles when I spent some time in Britain in the 70s. Despite my origins, I simply had a lot in common with upper and upper-middle class people in Britain.  And if you think social class matters in America, it matters much more in Britain.

So at the end of the day, are there significant barriers to educational achievement for people of humble background? There undoubtedly are some barriers.  Hereditary or "legacy" admissions to the top universities are a reality that sometimes give an applicant from an affluent family an "unfair" advantage at admission time.  Even there however, the applicant will be unlikely to be really dim.  But be that as it may, what college or university you went to does have a big influence when you are applying for certain jobs. But, again, the Ivy League and other top universities do tend towards educational excellence so that may be fairer than it looks

But it must be borne in mind that the level of education that Brooks is talking about does require a substantial IQ advantage.  Without that advantage you will probably go nowhere and with it you will probably do fairly well most of the time or maybe later rather than sooner.  You may miss out on going to an Ivy League school but State universities will usually give you what you need to know about your given subject.  And if your IQ is really high, you will usually have all of life's options before you. That may be unfair but it is not going to change


Over the past generation, members of the college-educated class have become amazingly good at making sure their children retain their privileged status. They have also become devastatingly good at making sure the children of other classes have limited chances to join their ranks.

How they’ve managed to do the first task — giving their own children a leg up — is pretty obvious. It’s the pediacracy, stupid. Over the past few decades, upper-middle-class Americans have embraced behavior codes that put cultivating successful children at the center of life. As soon as they get money, they turn it into investments in their kids.

Upper-middle-class moms have the means and the maternity leaves to breast-feed their babies at much higher rates than high school-educated moms, and for much longer periods.

Upper-middle-class parents have the means to spend two to three times more time with their preschool children than less affluent parents. Since 1996, education expenditures among the affluent have increased by almost 300 percent, while education spending among every other group is basically flat.

As life has gotten worse for the rest in the middle class, upper-middle-class parents have become fanatical about making sure their children never sink back to those levels, and of course there’s nothing wrong in devoting yourself to your own progeny.

It’s when we turn to the next task — excluding other people’s children from the same opportunities — that things become morally dicey. Richard Reeves of the Brookings Institution recently published a book called “Dream Hoarders” detailing some of the structural ways the well educated rig the system.

The most important is residential zoning restrictions. Well-educated people tend to live in places like Portland, New York and San Francisco that have housing and construction rules that keep the poor and less educated away from places with good schools and good job opportunities.

These rules have a devastating effect on economic growth nationwide. Research by economists Chang-Tai Hsieh and Enrico Moretti suggests that zoning restrictions in the nation’s 220 top metro areas lowered aggregate U.S. growth by more than 50 percent from 1964 to 2009. The restrictions also have a crucial role in widening inequality. An analysis by Jonathan Rothwell finds that if the most restrictive cities became like the least restrictive, the inequality between different neighborhoods would be cut in half.

Reeves’s second structural barrier is the college admissions game. Educated parents live in neighborhoods with the best teachers, they top off their local public school budgets and they benefit from legacy admissions rules, from admissions criteria that reward kids who grow up with lots of enriching travel and from unpaid internships that lead to jobs.

It’s no wonder that 70 percent of the students in the nation’s 200 most competitive schools come from the top quarter of the income distribution. With their admissions criteria, America’s elite colleges sit atop gigantic mountains of privilege, and then with their scholarship policies they salve their consciences by offering teeny step ladders for everybody else.

I was braced by Reeves’s book, but after speaking with him a few times about it, I’ve come to think the structural barriers he emphasizes are less important than the informal social barriers that segregate the lower 80 percent.

Recently I took a friend with only a high school degree to lunch. Insensitively, I led her into a gourmet sandwich shop. Suddenly I saw her face freeze up as she was confronted with sandwiches named “Padrino” and “Pomodoro” and ingredients like soppressata, capicollo and a striata baguette. I quickly asked her if she wanted to go somewhere else and she anxiously nodded yes and we ate Mexican.

American upper-middle-class culture (where the opportunities are) is now laced with cultural signifiers that are completely illegible unless you happen to have grown up in this class. They play on the normal human fear of humiliation and exclusion. Their chief message is, “You are not welcome here.”

In her thorough book “The Sum of Small Things,” Elizabeth Currid-Halkett argues that the educated class establishes class barriers not through material consumption and wealth display but by establishing practices that can be accessed only by those who possess rarefied information.

To feel at home in opportunity-rich areas, you’ve got to understand the right barre techniques, sport the right baby carrier, have the right podcast, food truck, tea, wine and Pilates tastes, not to mention possess the right attitudes about David Foster Wallace, child-rearing, gender norms and intersectionality.

The educated class has built an ever more intricate net to cradle us in and ease everyone else out. It’s not really the prices that ensure 80 percent of your co-shoppers at Whole Foods are, comfortingly, also college grads; it’s the cultural codes.

Status rules are partly about collusion, about attracting educated people to your circle, tightening the bonds between you and erecting shields against everybody else. We in the educated class have created barriers to mobility that are more devastating for being invisible. The rest of America can’t name them, can’t understand them. They just know they’re there.

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Why did Germans follow Hitler so slavishly?

This has been something of a burning question ever since the war.  What historians have said about it is reviewed here. And the reviewer is right to say that none of the answers given is satisfactory.  Yet the answer is right there in plain sight.  It is in the name of Hitler's political party:  The national socialist German worker's party.

Before I elaborate on that, however, I must warn that I am about to mention Donald Trump. So I want to make clear from the outset that I am NOT going to say that Trump is a Nazi.  Leftists say that all the time and I have often pointed out how hollow such accusations are.

As we all know, Mr Trump came to power with the slogan:  "Make America great again".  And despite being just about as unpresidential as you can imagine, that slogan took Mr Trump to the top.  That slogan had to have great power to overcome all the negatives (real and imagined)  associated with Mr Trump.

So guess what Hitler's message to the German people was?  Paraphrased, it was "Make Germany great again". (Hitler didn't put it exactly that way.  He put it more emotionally.  For instance "Vor uns liegt Deutschland, in uns marschiert Deutschland und hinter uns kommt Deutschland!")  Germany was badly hit by WWI so that idea was very attractive to Germans.  So nationalism, particularly in a time of stress, has very strong appeal.

And Hitler added to that a form of socialism  -- where socialism is defined as redistributing the wealth from the rich to the poor -- "Gleichberechtigung" in Hitler's German.  Hitler campaigned using exactly that word. See below.



But here's the odd thing.  It's such an odd thing that I will be called a dangerous neo-Nazi for saying it. Socialism as we know it today is under Marxist influence and as such is basically motivated by hate.  Marx hated everybody. It masquerades as compassion but it's really an excuse to tear down the existing society and its arrangements.  And the various extreme socialist regimes -- Soviet Russia, Mao's China etc -- show exactly how vicious and destructive socialism can be.

But Hitler's socialism was different and more powerful.  It appeared to be and he claimed it to be motivated by love -- love of the German people ("Volk").  Hitler's love for his "Volk" and particularly German young people really stands out here.  In a word, Hitler convinced Germans that he loved them.  And it was out of that love that he wanted to benefit ordinary Germans at the expense of the rich, particularly rich Jews.

And he saw socialism as being secure only within a homogeneous society, which Germany would become once the Jews were ousted.  See below.  The quote is from Mein Kampf and translates as "There is no socialism except what arises from within one's own people".  So he saw nationalism and socialism as organically connected.



So he didn't tear down the existing society the way hate-motivated socialists do if they get the chance. He wanted to redistribute but not to destroy.  As you will see from the speech linked above, he wanted to build up a united and heroic Germany, not tear it down. The Marxist aim of class-war was anathema to him. And whatever its motivation, socialism has a lot of appeal to people to this day. Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn are evidence of that. Socialism offers security of all sorts.  It says: "You will be looked after".

So if someone is offering both socialism and nationalism all in one package, he has got a magic mix.  Hitler offered the perfect dream -- he offered it all.  And the offering was made all the more powerful by his success in convincing people that his "compassion" was sincere. So Germans shared his dream and marched on behind him to the bitter end.

Mr Trump too tends to convince people that he stands for the little guy but his means to his ends are very different.  Where Hitler wanted to redistribute the wealth, Trump wants to create it -- mainly by giving the unemployed jobs.  And because Trump is not wanting to take anything off anybody, he does not have to have an authoritarian State to enforce his wishes.  So he is in fact chopping away at the vast regulatory apparatus that Obama and some of his predecessors built up.   Trump is a capitalist, not a socialist, a deregulator, not an authoritarian -- and there is a world of difference there.

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Clementine argues for suppression of "incorrect" views

Mind the Fascism! Clem Ford puts up a reasonable-seeming argument below to the effect that the facts behind an opinion should weigh on whether that opinion is given exposure.  If only!  As an extreme atheist myself (I  don't believe in Karl Marx, Jesus Christ or global warming. And I also don't believe in the unhealthiness of salt, sugar and fat). I would love some way of filtering out credulity.  But how do you do it?  What to one person seems factually-based will to another seem hogwash.

Let me give an example from Clemmie's own misapprehension of what is factual.  She dismisses global warming skepticism on the basis of an "ad hominem" argument:  "Experts" believe in global warming so we all should".  Where are the facts in that argument?  "Ad hominem" arguments are not only one of the classic informal fallacies in logic but they have repeatedly been proved wrong.  A hundred years ago, the reality of continental drift was pooh-poohed.  Now it is an accepted fact.  And combustion is explained by the presence of phlogiston, of course.

And, more to the point, what does Clemmie make of the long temperature stasis between 1945 and 1975 when CO2 levels were soaring?  What should have been 30 years of warming was 30 years of no warming. Has she ever looked at a climate chart and noticed how tiny the calibrations are?  Does she know why that should concern her? Has she ever noticed how pro-warming scientists repeatedly flout basic scientific standards by refusing to share their data and by treating as significant differences which are not in fact statistically significant?

I could go on but I think it is a pretty good argument that the distinction between fact and hokum that she is keen to make leaves her supporting hokum.  Discourse shepherded by Clementine Ford would rapidly stray away from reality


Former US Senator and political advisor Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously once wrote that "everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts". It remains an unwavering truth in a world where opinions are increasingly viewed as equal to facts, even when those opinions have little more than a suspicion or feeling to back them up.

More recently than that, Ruby Hamad wrote that "We may all have the right to an opinion but that does not make our opinion right – or even worthy of a place in a debate." Hamad was responding to a planned televised 'debate' in which eight people would ponder the question, "Is male privilege bullshit?" before a live audience. In her piece, she elegantly outlined how and why the pursuit of 'balance' has been manipulated to the detriment of journalistic inquiry. But more on that televised debate in a minute.

The science behind vaccinations is a good example of this. Vaccines have saved millions of lives over the past century but sceptics continue to spread their dangerous paranoia across the landscape of the internet, revelling in the phenomenal privilege they get to enjoy from living in countries where herd immunity protects their "free-range" tribe.

But press them on their qualifications to counter decades worth of scientific research and you'll hear about how "Big Pharma" is invested in turning us all into robots.

The rhetoric around anti-choice movements is similarly lacking in insight. When the founder of the annual Warped tour (a music festival whose audience members are predominantly teenagers), invited an anti-choice not-for-profit to set up a stall at the 2016 event, he was roundly criticised. But Kevin Lyman stood by his decision, tweeting, "Punk rock was about welcoming all points of view, you can make your own decisions, and opposing platforms and views are important."

Lyman claims to be pro-choice, but you cannot be pro-choice while also providing microphones to people who support the reduction or removal entirely of reproductive healthcare rights – particularly when those people are manipulating some of the people most at-risk of underage and unwanted pregnancies.
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Too many people labour under the bizarre assumption now that everything requires "hearing all sides" if there is to be fair and balanced commentary. But fair and balanced commentary around, say, climate change does not mean that we have to counter the weight of an actual scientist and their quantifiable research with the opinions of someone who loftily refers to themselves as a "climate change sceptic". It's an insult to the time and energy spent by people working at the forefront of their fields to suggest their expertise is little more than one side of the story.

And so to the debate on male privilege. I appeared recently on that episode of Hack Live, a televised version of Triple J's popular current affairs program. Hosted by Tom Tilley, the episode brought together eight panellists to debate the existence of male privilege; something that all reason, logic and (most importantly) evidence supports as being very much real.

I was sceptical of the show's purpose in the lead up to its filming. But I believed that it may do some good in terms of reaching an audience of young people who may be forming their views on feminism by watching angry YouTubers.

However, after experiencing the indignity of being pitted against people who literally had no idea what they were talking about, I have to abandon my Pollyanna optimism and agree with Hamad's view that it was pointless from the get-go.

I have amassed hundreds of thousands of words of writing on the topic of gender inequality. I have worked with health experts and survivors and persisted through the sludge of the online space to try to conduct a conversation based on facts, research and cold, hard data.

So it was extremely frustrating to listen to the baffling claims put forward by the panel's token men's rights activist that the oppression of men manifests in far more significant and damaging ways than that of women, starting with the fact that (apparently) young women all over the country are kicking their boyfriends in the balls as a joke.

Most of his evidence was anecdotal in nature, and the bits that weren't were drawn solely from an American propaganda film funded by MRAs and headlined by a man who has, among other despicable declarations, proudly claimed he would vote to acquit in any rape trial on which he served as a juror, even if he knew the rapist was guilty.

Yet here he was not only offering his opinions as if they were in any way, shape or form meaningful to the discussion, but being validated in that belief by way of invitation.

Most recently, we've been presented with the gobsmacking, disgusting treatment of Yassmin Abdel-Magied by not just the nation's lay people but its politicians, media conglomerates and poison-penned journalists. And all because she expressed an opinion on the subject of Anzac Day that was not by-the-book – though nor was it factually wrong.

After Abdel-Magied announced her intentions to move to London this week, Channel Seven posted a poll asking its fans to vote on whether or not she should leave or stay, providing her haters with another avenue through which to bully her.

There's no shortage of irony in the fact that a country whose citizens fight so fiercely to have their rights to an opinion recognised have so gleefully participated in the bullying of a woman who calmly, compassionately and quite correctly expressed her own.

But I guess white privilege has always been good at making some opinions more equal than others.

We are living in very troubling times when it comes to factual analysis and respect for the disciplines of academia. Opinions are not the same as reasonable deductions. They're certainly not the same thing as facts, particularly when based on little more than passionate opposition to what those facts may be.

We have to get over this idea of having to air multiple sides of the same story. As  Hamad wrote in the lead-up to my appearance on Hack Live, on topics like "does male privilege exist'', there is no debate to be had. There's no such thing as balance of opinion when it comes to evidence. There are the facts – and then there are ideas about what we should do about those facts. Anything else is distraction.

And goodness knows we are in too much trouble as a global community to succumb to the dangers of distraction.

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