In defence of "manspreading"

"How can anyone defend such an inconsiderate habit?" might be an understandable response to my heading above.  And I have yet to see a defence of it.  And yet the truth is obvious:  It is natural for men to sit that way when relaxed.  Why?  Because men have a package between their legs that does not like being squeezed and does like a bit of air.  Women don't have that so have more of a tendency to sit demurely.  And the male and female pelvises are different too so that could be an influence that someone who knows more about anatomy than I do might be able to talk about.

Note below that two Royal Princes who were very much in the public eye sat like that recently.  And they are occupationally obliged to avoid offence

Needless to say, men CAN sit more considerately and will usually do so if in a crowded situation.  But it is an effort, though not a great one.  So men who do take up more than one space or seat on a crowded bus or train should politely be asked to make way. And men who fail to give up their seat altogether to an obviously pregnant woman are low types who deserve censure, and, in some cases, prosecution.

But feminists never see the other side of any question so I have yet to see any complainer about manspreading refer to the common female practice of taking up an extra seat for her handbag, tote, shopping etc.  Women too can be inconsiderate in their use of space.  It is inconsiderate PEOPLE we should condemn, not one sex or the other.  Matthew 7:5 again applies.

Now here is an interesting picture below:

We see an odd way of sitting that is sort of half spread.  It's the way I and my son naturally sit -- with one foot tucked under. We automatically and just about always sit that way.  We don't know why. We just do it.  It feels most comfortable to us to sit that way.  For many years it had never occurred to me that I sit in an unusual way until the boy's mother remarked to me one day,   "He sits in the same funny way that you do".  I initially thought:  "Funny way? I don't sit in a funny way!" but I eventually realized she was right

Clearly some unusual gene has got into us in some way and there it rests.  It doesn't bother us in the least.  We sit in perfect comfort.  But it does tend to show that even your manner of sitting is genetically determined.  But it is very common for feminists to argue futilely with genetics.


An atheist manifesto

I put up here a great deal in support of Christians and Christian causes but since I am myself an extreme atheist in the manner of analytical philosophers like Rudolf Carnap, it seems only reasonable that I present an atheist POV occasionally.  None of the difficulties for theism presented below will disdturb committed Christians but they deserve to be presented.

It always amuses me that both Christians and atheists consider one another to be totally unreasonable. They both have a point.  Atheists consider it unreasonanble to believe in an undetectable object and Christians believe it unreasonable to believe the vast complexity around us happened by chance.  Partly for that reason I never argue for or against belief in God, Thor, Zeus or whoever he is

I do however believe in the Devil.  I think Islam is ample proof of his influence

The fact reported below that Australian young people are much more religious than their elders is certainly an interesting finding.  I suspect it reflects the uncertainties of the modern world -- where the Left have done a pretty good job of throwing all values into question.  The existence of God is much better argued for than most traditional beliefs are so young people cling on to the only firm anchor they can find.  And they find in Christianity a rich system of thinking and values that guides them well through life and its challenges.

I myself am profoundly grateful for my fundamentalist youth.  It was much more helpful to me than believing in the absurd Leftist gospel that "There is no such thing as Right and Wrong".  How can they expect anyone to draw philosophical nourishment from such an etiolated body of thought?

I am still mostly guided in my life by Christian principles.  They work for me.  I even "take a little wine for my stomach's sake" from time to time (1 Timothy 5:23)

The promise of an afterlife – to meet departed family and friends – appeals to many, but especially younger Australians. Are private religious schools playing a part? And why do they dismiss the evidence of physics, asks Brian Morris.

Against all odds, it seems the concept of going to heaven holds far greater significance for the young than for those who are closer – numerically – to death! We need to confront ‘the D word’ itself, but let’s first get a handle on why the idea of paradise has gripped contemporary youth – more so than pensioners.

A national Essential poll shows 40% of all Australians believe in heaven. But the crucial figure is that a staggering 51% of those aged 18-34 hold such a belief! This compares to just 29% of the public who are over 55 years old. The young are almost twice as fixated with an afterlife than those closer to pension age! Why is that?

Is it insecurity or religiosity? One suggestion points to the fact that 40% of secondary students now attend private religious schools – a rate far higher than all other Western nations. There has been an exponential growth in government funding for private Catholic and Anglican schools since the 1960s – from a base of almost zero.

Others suggest that a similar rise in Special Religious Instruction (SRI) and chaplains in public schools has led to the Christianisation of education across the nation. These government-funded programs are run by evangelical Christian organisations in each state – with Catholic and Anglican private schools proselytising their own religions. And do millennials then stay at home too long, with a childhood faith, instead of getting out into the real world?

Since colonisation, Christianity instilled belief in an afterlife. It’s reflected on a daily basis in mainstream media, in film and on television – and in our obsession with sport. No game passes without players pointing skyward when scoring a goal, or honouring a deceased team or family member with hands reaching towards heaven.

But the biggest problem is that we don’t talk about death!

Society needs to get over this end-of-life taboo – to discuss and challenge the sugar-coated religious myth that claims we will all meet up with our loved ones (and pets) when we die and go to heaven. Before confronting the concrete scientific evidence (below) – and how we can better handle the emotional aspects of death – just dwell on this thought for one moment.

Isn’t paradise already just a little crowded? Think about who those you would meet – not only the entire cohort of your departed relatives, your friends and ancestors – but all the people you have detested; and those who gave you so much grief during your lifetime.

Then there’s the rest – every human who died! Research shows that, by 2050, an estimated 113 billion people will have lived and died on planet Earth; so heaven is already a seething mass of ‘souls’. For eternity!

The average punter has great difficulty conceptualising ‘eternity’. Most can’t even grasp the fact of our universe being 13.8 billion years old – or Earth a mere 4.5 billion. The concept is starkly illustrated in a fascinating book, A History of the World in 10 1/2 chapters. While fictional, it focuses the mind on a serious problem with infinity.

Chapter 10 sees our hero arrive in heaven, choosing to spend all his time eating luxurious food, having endless sex, and playing golf. After several thousand years he’s sick of food and sex, and on each heavenly golf course he hits holes-in-one on every par 3. He pleads to be released from this endless “perfect existence” and asks if others finally yearn to be free; to actually “die”. With a short pause for effect, the answer was plain. “Everyone!”

Books on near-death experiences, and visits to heaven, are legion. A recent best seller was Proof of Heaven by Dr Eben Alexander – a neurosurgeon, no less. Alexander sold more than 2 million copies before his claims were debunked. Among those who contested his story was Professor Sean Carroll, a particle physicist and high-profile science communicator. Carroll said there could only be two possibilities for Alexander’s spiritual encounter:

(1) Either some ill-defined metaphysical substance, not subject to the known laws of physics, interacted with the atoms of his brain in ways that have eluded every controlled experiment ever performed in the history of science; or

(2) People hallucinate when they are nearly dead.

Professor Carroll’s detailed explanation of Physics and Immortality spells out precisely why an immaterial ‘soul’ does not exist.

Carroll worked with the team that discovered the Higgs Boson at Geneva’s Large Hadron Collider. He could not be more explicit;

“If there are other waves, particles or forces sufficient to externally influence the brain, then we would know about them … Within Quantum Field Theory, there can’t be a new collection of ‘spirit particles’ and ‘spirit forces’ that interact with our regular atoms, because we would have detected them in existing experiments… You would have to demonstrate evidence of a completely new realm of reality, obeying very different rules than everything we know about physics.”

The 3 links above are needed to fully understand why there is no ‘soul’. But science does not devalue the need for compassion and empathy in the face of raw emotions that come with our personal experiences of death. It is necessary to face up to reality – but there are alternatives to religion in coping with end of life crises.

Discussing death openly and honestly – and publicly through the media – is a first step in helping to ease the extreme distress that many suffer with their own fear of death.

The ‘Golden Age of Athens’ pre-dates Christianity by four centuries – it led to a crucial period of new philosophical thought about life and death, about government and democracy, and how ordinary people could live a more fulfilled and contented life.

The philosophical principles of stoicism remain popular today. It’s based on three central themes. ‘Perception’, how we choose to view events; ‘Action’, how we deal with events we can control (and those we can’t); and then there’s ‘Will’ – training ourselves to deal honestly and ethically with events in our own lives. Following the full regime of stoicism may seem daunting; but after filtering the basic principles it becomes somewhat easier to apply.

The stoic approach to dealing with death – of family, friends, or oneself – is particularly relevant. Initially, it may appear morbid to periodically remind ourselves of one’s mortality. But if we consider this approach to death deeply enough, we soon come to realise the benefits of a greatly improved mental state.

The stark alternative for most people is to ignore the inevitable, and to be completely consumed by grief when family or friends die unexpectedly. Religion holds its privileged status based on fear – fear of not believing in God, fear of the unknown, and especially the fear of death. It’s a cruel deception that society needs to overcome.

By sugar-coating mortality with the myth of everlasting heaven, religion simply deprives us all of the ways and means to better cope with the end of life. While stoicism may not be the complete solution for all, it is clear that the basic principles of ‘philosophical ethics’ – honesty, reason, compassion, and love – would be a far better alternative than teaching schoolchildren obedience to God and religious ritual.

Future generations would avoid the trap of today’s millennials who continue to shun science and instead cling to religious concepts of an afterlife.

A ‘soul’ that miraculously ascends to heaven, only to re-unite with 113 billion other souls – for the whole of eternity! Just like our golfing hero, that sounds more like purgatory!



The Senate Is an 'Unfixable Crime Against Democracy'?

Brent Bozell makes some good points below and both he and I have written previously on why the last electoral college vote has been greatly misrepresented by the Left, but I think I can make some further points relevant to the present Lefist shriek.

For a start, the shriek implies a very simplistic definition of democracy.  The implied definition -- that a democracy is ruled by the majority vote of the population -- rejects most of the democracies of the present world and of history as not being democracies. To take just two reference points:  The most famous democracy of history -- ancient Athens -- was not a democracy by that definition.  Only about a third of the Athenian population had a vote. And to take a much more recent example, Bill Clinton fell well short of getting a majority of the popular vote in 1992 -- at 43%.  And in Europe it is almost unprecedented for a leading party to gain a majority of the popular vote.

So what is going on?  The plain fact is that people's political beliefs are all over the place in any democracy, including some very wacky befiefs.  So you have to have a way of deriving a parliamentary majority out of that confusion. And doing that can be quite precarious.  There is no doubt that proportional representation is the fairest way of putting into parliament a clutch of politicians who mirror the range of views out there but that almost never leads to simple majority rule.  In Germany and Australia, for instance, the party with the biggest share of the popular vote generally gets to form government but that party can still have a hell of a job of getting any new legislation through their parliament.  Yet it all works, sort of.

The American system deals with the same difficulty in a different way:  It cuts down your choice to just two parties -- leaving voters who like neither party out in the cold.  And there are quite a lot of Americans who like neither party -- as is shown by the low voting turnout.  So a big majority of the popular vote will always be a small minority of the qualified voters.  There is no way that can reasonably be seen as fair but it all works, sort of.

And there is in the American system another deliberate distortion:  Both the electoral college and the Senate are designed to privilege inhabitants of the smaller States.  There is no way that is fair either but it all works, sort of.

Why are the smaller states given enhanced representation?  It goes back to the days when America really was a federation -- something Abraham Lincoln put a stop to.  In those palmy days of independence, States could possibly have refused to join the new Federation of States.  And many considered it.  The smaller States in particular were wary that by joining a federation, they might end up being ruled by the bigger states in ways that were inimical to their own best interests.  So to create the United States of America, the smaller states had to be assured that they would have a voice in decisions that was nearly as strong as the bigger States.  And both the electoral college and the Senate do just that.  And if you now tried to take any of that protection away, you would energize a huge bloc of votes against your party.  It would be electoral suicide.  So it all works, sort of.

So the U.S. system is just one of the many flavors of democracy.  There is no perfect system.  They all have their strengths and weaknesses -- JR

MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell revved up his Outrage Machine on Friday night once it became apparent that Brett Kavanaugh was going to be confirmed to the Supreme Court. There was a new crime against democracy — or rather, there was a very old crime. It's called the Senate.

Come again? Senators are elected, but since they voted to give President Trump a narrow victory, it can't be democracy. The Founding Fathers designed a Senate that wasn't elected by the people but by the state legislatures. (Some regret that the 17th Amendment changed that.)

O'Donnell lamented that America's never been worse: "And so the Senate is now deeply undemocratic and getting worse every single day. People who live in countries that have never really pretended to be fully democratic don't feel the disappointment and sickness that Americans feel when democracy so obviously fails."

Someone get O'Donnell a handkerchief, and perhaps a textbook on how a republic operates. Like many Democrats, O'Donnell feels that the popular vote should prevail on everything. The Electoral College must be scrapped because Hillary Clinton won the popular vote — she should be president.

Using the same peculiar calculations, liberals claimed that there are now four Supreme Court justices appointed by Republican presidents who didn't win the popular vote. Those geniuses forgot that George W. Bush nominated two justices after he won the popular vote in 2004.

But let's return to O'Donnell just making things up, like John Belushi's "Animal House" rant about the Germans bombing Pearl Harbor. He blathered: "An American realist knows that the federal government has never even tried democracy, not for one day. And so today in the United States Senate, the senators who represent 55 percent of the American people lost an important Senate vote — again."

The MSNBC host was parroting a survey paid for by Marist and the taxpayer-subsidized liberals at NPR and PBS that found the 49 senators who opposed Kavanaugh represented 55.8 percent of the public.

This sentiment was ably mocked on Twitter by New York Yankees fans.

In the 1960 World Series, the Yankees outscored the Pittsburgh Pirates 55 runs to 27... and lost the World Series. Their wins were blowouts. Theirs losses were close games. O'Donnell mourned that he used to be proud to work in the Senate a while back for Daniel Patrick Moynihan, but it slowly dawned on him that the Senate is "an unfixable crime against democracy" perpetuated by a group of racist, sexist Founding Fathers. He lectured his liberal viewers to get out and vote, "the vote for United States Senate that the Founding Fathers never wanted you to have."

Jim Geraghty at National Review pointed out more flaws in this analysis, writing: "The second-least populated state in the union is Vermont ... the 45th is Delaware; the 43rd is Rhode Island; and the 40th is Hawaii ... All of those states have two Democratic senators."

In fact, election expert Jeff Ditzler of Decision Desk HQ tweeted that the top 10 states by population (California, Texas, Florida, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina and Michigan) have elected 11 Democratic senators and nine Republican senators, and the bottom 10 states (Wyoming, Vermont, Alaska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Delaware, Montana, Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire) have elected ... 11 Democratic senators and nine Republican senators.

It's obvious that Friday night felt a lot like election night 2016 to liberals. What's so upsetting to them is that the liberal media can't successfully engage in mind control and run the country by chanting their baloney into the television set. MSNBC just hates that democracy in America doesn't have enough of a liberal bias.



Clothing is pollution!

That's the latest dotty shriek from the Greenies below. But what really is a source of severe pollution, the manufacture of solar panels, passes without a murmur from them.

And their picking out the shrinkage of the Aral sea (not to be confused with the sea of Azov, the world's shallowest sea) is particularly dotty.  Rivers flowing into the landlocked Aral sea were diverted in Soviet times.  It had nothing to do with anything recent or modern. The Aral sea does still exist.  The Russians have dammed off the bottom two thirds so that what is left of the inflow remains in the Northern third

The idea that the bright young things of Britain will refrain from buying clothes is a laugh.  

And all modern industrial activities generate pollution of one sort or another so it makes no sense to pick on just one.  Why not pick on woodfires instead?  Because it is "natural", Greenies favour wood fires for domestic heating.  But such fires are now so widely used that air pollution in London is now nearly as bad as it was in the bad old days.  That would seem a clear type of harm rather than the  highly inferential harm caused by  dressing fashionably

And what about synthetics?  Should we use only synthetic fibres instead of cotton?  You can be sure that Greenies would have a kneejerk opposition to that.  Lets all go naked!  You could do that where I live but it might get a bit chilly in a British winter

Today, the scrubland that was once the Aral Sea in Central Asia is dotted with camels searching out sparse tufts of grass against a flat, sandy horizon. Only the bizarre sight of boats marooned hundreds of miles inland gives any clue to the area's history. In just four decades, what was once one of the largest inland bodies of water on the globe has shrunk by more than two thirds – an area the size of Ireland – leaving behind a poisonous dustbowl.

And the reason? Our insatiable appetite for cheap jeans – and the rapacious cotton farming that feeds it at almost any cost.

Tomorrow, in a devastating assault on an industry that dictates so much of our high street economy, investigative journalist Stacey Dooley will brand fashion one of the biggest environmental disasters to hit the planet.

With Britons buying twice as many clothes as a decade ago – last year we spent £50 billion – there is mounting concern about cheap, disposable fashion sometimes branded 'look and chuck'. Stacey's BBC documentary Fashion's Dirty Secrets will throw this into sharp relief. It reveals that, around the globe, millions of gallons of clean water have either been diverted to growing cotton, or have been hopelessly polluted by the toxic chemicals used for dyes and manufacture. The facts are stark: to grow enough cotton to make a single pair of jeans can take 3,400 gallons or 15,500 litres of water.

But that is only part of the issue – because the fashion industry's pollution problem is also out of control. Factories connected to high street brands have been dumping chemicals from clothes production into Indonesia's Citarum River, says Dooley, threatening the lives of millions.

Serious problems are already evident in the UK, too. The trend for cheap, disposable fashion means more than 300,000 tons of clothing are dumped in landfill in Britain alone each year, which last year worked out at 235 million items.

Meanwhile, microfibres from fleeces and sportswear are now a significant cause of plastic pollution in our rivers and oceans: 700,000 fibres are released in a single domestic wash.

Stacey, who is currently appearing on Strictly Come Dancing, says on the documentary: 'It's impossible to go down any high street without being bombarded by images luring us into buying cheap clothing. But the few pounds we spend on an item of clothing isn't the true cost.

'It's costing people their livelihoods. It's costing millions of people their health. In fact, it's costing us the earth. It's a situation that needs addressing and fast. There has to be a real sense of urgency now because to be totally honest with you we are running out of time.'

In fact, there is growing momentum on the issue, with many officials now recognising the need for urgent action. Last week, for example, Parliament's Environmental Audit Committee wrote to Britain's ten biggest clothing retailers asking them to reveal their environmental footprint.

They quoted evidence that British shoppers buy far more new clothes than any other European nation. The firms involved, all high street favourites and supermarkets, include Marks & Spencer, Primark, Next, Arcadia, Asda, T K Maxx, Tesco, J D Sports, Debenhams and Sports Direct International. Most churn out hundreds of new fashion lines a year, constantly updating their stock and fuelling trends.

MARY Creagh, chair of the Committee, said: 'Instagram is fuelling this as people are adopting a 'look and chuck' mentality – we've got a lot more fast fashion.

'If you look at Italy's fashion market, there's much more focus on high-end clothing and people tend to save up and buy just one or two garments, like Max Mara coats, which are timeless.

A spokesman for the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: 'We are interested in any ideas to reduce the impact of waste on our oceans and wider environment. We have already cut waste from plastic bags and microbeads and we are also taking action on plastic bottles, straws, stirrers and cotton buds.

'We are funding research into new ways to deal with micro-plastics but there is more to do.'


The Left just cannot face reality

SNL  put on a sketch designed to deride the Kavanaugh victory -- and CNN approved.  Below is what CNN said.  They claim  that Trump and the GOP just don't "get" women.  If they had said that they don't "get" feminists that would have been spot on.  But feminists are not all women and most women will have sons and brothers and other male friends and relatives whom they value -- so the feminist attacks on men will overwhelmingly be alarming to normal women.

The megaphone demands from feminists and the Left during the Kavanaugh hearings -- to the effect that due process and the presumption of innocence must be abandoned whenever some disturbed woman accuses a man of an offence -- will rightly be perceived by most women as a dire treat to their loved ones.  Feminists just don't load the simple fact that most women have male relatives that they care about and most women will not therefore wish to expose males to the unjust perils that hate-filled feminists have in mind for them.

The demand that women should always be believed is particularly pernicious.  Particularly in Britain, there are a lot of false rape allegations. The Brits do regularly put some of the women concerned behind bars for a couple of years -- as it is a very distressing and disruptive experience to the innocent men affected.  That is one thing that other jurisdictions could learn from Britain.

And the Democrats have now identified themselves with these crazy anti-men demands.  It must hurt them electorally.  53% of white women voted for Trump in 2016.  It will surely be higher next time.

We all know that Leftists have the attention-span of a goldfish and live in an eternal present so perhaps we can understand that they have forgotten that revealing 53% but even their attention span should have been sufficient to allow them to note the large number of women who knew Kavanaugh through work and universally spoke well of him.  And the large number of conservative women who rallied in support of him should have been visible too. And what about the increasing tendency of young conservative women to reject feminism -- for instance Allie Beth Stuckey in the USA, Lauren Southern in Canada and Daisy Cousens in Australia.  Conservatives get on very well with them!   But, no, they too are no doubt invisible to Leftists. They see only what they want to see. From a psychological viewpoint they would readily be seen as severe neurotics, heavily protected mentally by the full panoply of the Freudian defense mechanisms

And a diagnosis of neuroticism does suit the Left quite well.  Neurotics are more or less continually unhappy and Leftists are too.  They are never satisfied.  No matter what destructive reform they achieve, they still want more.  They will go all the way to bloody revolution if they can. They are chronically discontented people. There is always some apparent "injustice" that fires them up. They are a destructive force that is a danger to us all.

Neurotics are not mad however and the feverish opposition to Kavanaugh was in its own way rational.  It seems highly likely that the Left will now no longer  be able to get through the court what they could not get in any other way -- such as homosexual marriage and unrestricted abortion. Trump has shut down America's alternative and Left-leaning legislature. The court will now rule according to what the constitution actually says rather than on "emanations and penumbras".

'SNL' gets it right: Trump and GOP are clueless about women

(CNN)"Saturday Night Live's" opening sketch last night reflected a reality of today's Republican leaders: They just don't get women.

We saw this play out when President Donald Trump (the real one, not Alec Baldwin) declared on Air Force One last night that recently confirmed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was "squeaky clean" and that, in his view, Kavanaugh's biggest supporters were the women of America.

Trump claimed women "were in many ways stronger than men in his favor." At that point, he should've just added, "And live from New York, it's Saturday Night!"

Trump's remarks would've been a perfect fit for "SNL's" cold open last night, which focused on how the GOP is obliviously out of touch with women, or simply doesn't care about them. The sketch featured impersonations of Republican senators celebrating the confirmation of Kavanaugh by partying in a locker room.



What I want from men to help end gender wars

Angela Mollard (below) is a generally sensible Australian lady not given to feminist extremes but she has been sucked in by some feminist claims.  What she is not loading is that men CANNOT end the gender wars -- because we are not waging them. The war is a one-sided thing being waged on men by feminists.  So only they can end it.

But they will not.  They seem to need to trace all evils to men and show nil awareness that men can have problems too.  Men are not a monolithic blob. They are infinitely different so treating them as all the same is just bigotry and huge ignorance.  It is as stupid as racism. Some men will treat women well and some will treat women badly.  And most will be somewhere in between

Now that women are a majority of university graduates, it is clear that systematic discrimination against women is at an end.  All that is left are human relationships in their infinite variety

DEAR men,

I’m tired.

I suspect you’re tired. Indeed, we’re all tired of the insidious gender warfare that’s spilt into every sphere of society leaving festering pools of anger, uncertainty and resentment. It’s a year this week since The New York Times published sexual harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein, provoking a global reckoning and the emergence of the #MeToo campaign. Ergo it seems as good a time as any to reflect — not simply on what happens in the hallowed halls of Hollywood — but in our living rooms, bedrooms and workplaces.

The Brett Kavanaugh hearing has catapulted the movement from the silver screen to the Supreme Court but I’m less interested in one man’s alleged mistreatment of women in his ascent to power than I am in the everyday interactions and ideologies that guide who we are and how we relate.

Genuine, lasting societal change will be brought about less by grandstanding and more thorough understanding and so let’s try this: here’s what I want from and for men.
The Brett Kavanaugh hearings have once again highlighted the MeToo movement, but it’s how everyday men and women interact that’s important. Picture: AP

Foremost, I want the toxicity to end. Change and progress are painful but we don’t need to be so polarised. When the New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern spoke at the UN the line widely reported was her insistence #MeToo becomes #WeToo. But she said something a minute later that was arguably a more powerful call to arms. In trying to achieve peace, prosperity and fairness, New Zealand was pursuing one concept, she explained. “It is simple and it is this. Kindness.” Imagine what we might achieve if kindness — from both women and men — underpinned the way we operated in the world.

Critically, I want men involved in their children’s lives. Whether in intact or reconfigured families, men should be pivotal. The model of the workaholic dad is rightly dying and while many men need to create fuller identities beyond their job title, women need to stop seeing men as walking wallets who are singularly responsible for financially supporting the family. For every man who rather enjoys upholding the patriarchy as if it was a set of dumbbells representing status and money, I’d venture there’s three or four who’d happily hand over half the weight to a willing partner. We all have much to gain from a creative redrawing of our work and domestic spheres. Work offers purpose and a pay packet, home delivers connection. Sharing the responsibility of both is not only more equitable, it extends both partners’ capabilities and understanding of each other. As for women who deny their former husband access to their children simply because they are hurt or angry, shame on you. It happens too often and it’s a cruelty that benefits no one.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern spoke during the General Debate of the 73rd session of the General Assembly at the United Nations in New York last month. Picture: AFP

Further, I want the powerful men and women at the top of our corporations and institutions to drive transformation. Leadership is not just managing people and making money, it’s leaving a legacy. For too long the decisions have been made by men in suits largely supported by a housewife at home. Yet when men like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Reddit’s Alexis Ohanian take paternity leave and encourage their employees to do likewise, they effect profound change. People at the top will change conditions at the bottom so that all can benefit from pay parity, flexible workplaces and healthy superannuation balances.

Equally, I want ordinary men to stop claiming women are mad. Emotions are simply another operating system and when combined with a firm grasp of facts bring a fuller and more nuanced comprehension to every realm of life. Too often women are dismissed as menstrual or menopausal. It’s more than 25 years since Anita Hill was smeared as “a little bit nutty and a little bit slutty” but still such debasing presumptions persist. In return, women need to drop the “all men are bastards” schtick and the blasé view that it’s no big deal if a few innocent men are unfairly convicted or besmirched in the march for equality. We also need to stamp out the growing notion that women are inherently more “good” than men. All those years as Stepford wives didn’t turn us into saintly creatures waiting nobly in line until we’re passed the baton to do a better job. Most of us are as equally defective as the next bloke. Which means we’re equally as capable.

As for domestic violence, it is not just causing death and injury to women but a horrendous stain on the male gender. Good men are appalled but they need to do more. In her next book, the feminist author Caitlin Moran is including an invitation to men to join the fight. As she says there’s a huge void where good men feel it’s all a bit “icky” and that feminists don’t want them involved. Men need to ask themselves, “Okay, if not me, who?”

Finally, men and women have to rediscover what we like about each other. We need to cherish our differences and champion progress and approach all of it with humour, joy and a sense of expectation. Equality is not like landing on the moon. We won’t raise a flag when we’ve arrived. But along the way we’ll, all of us, feel in our bones, when we’re getting it right.



Australia has never been more divided on social and political issues. Are we becoming the US?

Hmmm...  I am not sure that all that much has changed.  Any change would be only a matter of degree.

During the Australian federal election of 1966 (in the Vietnam war era) I myself led the disruption of the Queensland campaign launch speech in Brisbane by Labor leader Arthur Calwell.  I did so however because I had attended the Brisbane meeting of Prime Minister Harold Holt a week or so earlier and observed it being extensively disrupted by Leftist students whom I mostly knew.  So aggressive attempts to shut up the other side of politics are not new. I was there.

And the way conservatives tend to be silenced in the public sphere is not new either.  I once wrote a book reflecting on that called "Conservatism as heresy" -- and that was in 1974.  The predominance of Leftist talk in the media and elsewhere does not however always translate into electoral victory.  Harold Holt won his election in a landslide.  And the "deplorables" of America elected Donald Trump resoundingly and gave his party control of Congress as well.

I think a lot depends on the issues of the day. Some issues will produce more heat than others. The Holt/Calwell confrontation came at a time when a conservative Australian government was sending conscripts to the Vietnam  war, a very savage war that had no obvious relevance to Australia.  Most university students were of conscription age so ran the real risk of being shot at for no reason that made much sense to them. So what looked like (but wasn't) the whole body of the nation's university students turned out in big demonstrations against the war.  The issue of the day concerned them personally.

But I do think Leftist aggression in Australia has ratcheted up in the last few years. Even minor figures like sex counseller Bettina Arndt draw out the storm troopers doing their best to shut her up. So something similar to the American scene does seem to be happening in Australia, though we have seen nothing like the hysteria of the Kavanaugh confirmation.

So what burning issue can be at work in both the USA and Australia?  To ask the question is to see the answer:  Immigration.  It was the immigration issue that ushered Tony Abbott into office in Australia and it was the immigration issue that ushered Trump into office in America.

In Australia, public support for stopping the flow of illegal immigration hovered around 66% so both major parties supported a halt -- and Australia has now done what seems to elude Britain and the USA:  It has stopped the practice of people arriving without prior government permission.

But even though the flow of illegals has stopped there remains a big issue with large legal inflows of Third world migrants, mostly as refugees.

The political divisions in Australia are not however on simple party lines.  In America, Trump is determined to build his wall and the Left will do anything to oppose that.  But in Australia the elites of both parties think they display their virtue by accepting large numbers of mostly fake refugees.

But African and Muslim refugees have been doing their level best to wear out their welcome by repeated attacks on existing inhabitants of Australia -- so there is now a clear groundswell of support for a big cut to the refugee program.  Prime Minister Morrison just has to promise that to be asssured of re-election.  He is however a strong Christian so may not see his way clear to do that.

And Australia's far-Left party, misleadingly known as the Green party, has taken up the cudgels to promote even bigger refugee intakes.  So although the refugee issue in Australia is not as clearly politically polarized as it is in America, it is definitely bubbling along strongly just beneath the surface.  And it does promote passionate debate.

And it would be clear to the far Left that change of some kind must come soon so they are warming up for the fray, accusing immigration critics of racism in their usual way. They are just as pro-immigration as the American Left and are facing a Trumpian slap in the face in the not too distant future.  And they are spoiling for a fight

It's notable that the elite commentators below all speak in airy generalities with no reference to actual current political issues.  They don't even mention immigration.  And they certainly don't identify who is behind the upheavals of rage.  That just about all the disturbances and protests are coming from the Left they are clearly afraid to mention.

And something else they don't broach is how widespread the political divisions are.  To listen to them you would think Australians were split down the middle on important political issues.  They are not.  There is widespread agreement on immigration control, for instance.  All the upheavals going on are in fact the work of a small Leftist minority.  Most Australians retain their usual laid-back attitudes.  So it would be a mistake to take much notice of a small noisy minority grabbing every opportunity to promote themselves.  Australians are indeed divided but it is not a 50/50 divide -- more like a 90/10 divide, with almost all the shrillness coming from the 10%

So I have given a political explanation of what is going on in Australian politics whereas the commentators below retreat into vague psychological and sociological theories. And seeing that I have a doctorate in psychology and taught sociology at a major Australian university (Uni NSW) for many years, I am in an excellent position to point out that all that they say is mere speculation. They were not game to get down to tintacks

FACEBOOK melts down after a telecommunications company changes its profile picture in support of same-sex marriage.

A speaking tour by a far-right figure from America sparks violent clashes between opposing groups, who far outnumber those who’ve bought tickets.

After a television appearance, a politician receives a specific and violent threat about her daughter, allegedly made by a policeman.

And a radio shock jock’s fiery interview with the boss of a public building leads to boycotts, protests and a week or fierce debate online and in the media.

Has Australia ever been more divided than it is now?

“I don’t think it has — it’s absolutely staggering,” Andrew Charlton said. Dr Charlton, an economist, author and former senior adviser to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, said the tone of discourse lately was troubling. A constant simmering anger and increasing polarisation in the community isn’t just unpleasant — it could have a damaging, long-term impact on democracy, Dr Charlton believes.

“The warning lights on the dashboard of our democracy are blinking red. It’s very hard to constructively govern in an electorate that is so divided,” he said.

In the United States, there is a chasm between Americans socially and politically, which has created a powder keg across the country.

There is a concern that Australia is going down a similar path.  “It’s not yet on the same scale of the United States but it’s heading in the same direction,” Dr Charlton said.

“It remains to be seen whether we’re on the same curve or whether we’re on a different trajectory. I fear we’re on the same curve as the US but a bit behind.”


Since 1996, the Australian Electoral Study has analysed voting trends and ideological positions among voters.

Over two decades, it shows political polarisation has increased significantly and the moderate middle — people who consider themselves either left or right of centre — has evaporated.

And the data indicates that the widening polarisation between the two major parties, Labor and the Liberals, kicked off between the 2001 and 2004 federal elections.

“There’s been a very significant rise of the minor party vote in Australia, which some might call a protest vote but I think is more a sign of disillusionment with the major parties,” Dr Charlton said.

“That minor party vote is higher than it has been in many, many decades. The combined major party vote at the last election in the House of Representatives was at its lowest point in decades.”

A range of measures show that faith in politics among many Australians has slumped to dangerous lows. In addition, people are switching off from messages out of Canberra in growing frustration.

Jill Sheppard from Australian National University’s School of Politics and International Relations said Aussies had never cared intensely about politics. “But the change we’ve seen is that they care less than ever,” Dr Sheppard said.

“Fewer Australians think about and talk about politics, which is a bad sign. There’s a real stalemate in terms of voters being angry, parties not caring and no one really knowing what to do. It’s not sustainable indefinitely.”

As people lose faith in major parties, they look for an alternative that looks and feels different to fill the void, Dr Charlton said.

Many of those alternative figures take a more emotive approach to selling their policy messages, which can fuel division — especially on contentious issues from climate change to migration.

Advertising and marketing expert Arvind Hickman wrote that fringe politics was often wrongly dismissed by the mainstream, but it was “savvy” at marketing their brand and views. Whether via the internet or breakfast television appearances, figures such as Pauline Hanson had been able to widely distribute their messages.

“It’s almost an ‘Aussie lite’ version of the sort of media attention that Donald Trump attracted,” Mr Hickman wrote in a feature for AdNews.

The potential to inflame divisions in the wider community grows as people turn away from the centre and towards the fringes — left or right.

Dr Charlton said political polarisation such as this typically occurred when economies suffered and inequality was growing.  “Australia has had 26 years of uninterrupted growth and is one of the wealthiest countries in the world,” he said. “By global standards, inequality is relatively low. Things aren’t perfect but the reason for our division is not economics — it’s much deeper than that.”

What is the cause of our worsening division?


Fear has long been an effective tool in political campaigning.   Whether during times of war, domestic terrorism or financial market uncertainty, parties have made use of unease countless times throughout history.

And it works. Whether here or in the US and United Kingdom, there has rarely been a change of government when a country has troops on foreign soil.

The difference now is that fear is being more effectively used by fringe parties, commentator Warwick McFayden wrote in an analysis piece for Fairfax Media earlier this year.

“Throw fear into a person’s mind and it takes root and spreads until it sublimates reason,” Mr McFayden said. “It clouds judgment. It can direct a person’s behaviour towards an outcome that promises the removal of that fear.”

Carol Johnson, a professor of politics at the University of Adelaide, said fear and anger had made it increasingly hard to have a rational and reasoned debate about issues.

“Politicians do have genuine, heartfelt, ideological differences over what is best for society,” Ms Johnson said.

“However, politicians can also encourage fear and discriminatory attitudes for party-political purposes without sufficient concern for the impact on broader Australian society or vulnerable minorities.

“At its best, adversarial party politics fosters crucial debates and expands the democratic choice for voters. At its worst, it mobilises prejudice and undermines the possibility of parties working together for the common good.”

Dr Sheppard believes those with megaphones are the main culprits for many recent outbreaks of fury.

“When we noticed a downward turn in the civility of discourse in Australia, it tends to be because certain voices are amplified, like when we talk for a week about Alan Jones and the Opera House,” she said.


The rapid rise of social media platforms has given people the ability to curate an information experience by choosing who to follow or friend.

“We’re not quite sure what platforms like Facebook and Twitter are having on discourse and political engagement generally, but I think it promotes a perception that things are getting worse,” Dr Sheppard said.

“Inside that social media bubble, there’s a sense that society is becoming crueller and less civil and we start looking for signs of that.”

Despite the volume and intensity of fury that social media is often associated with, Dr Sheppard isn’t convinced it reflects the “real world”.

“When you step outside, I think you’d tend to find that most people are going on with things as they always have,” she said.

“Too many of us get stuck in our capital city experiences, surrounded by like-minded people, in (digital) communities that we choose, and we get what’s called confirmation bias.

“Everyone feels the same way as us and they’re angry like us … when you get out into most parts of the country, you’ll find people have other and much bigger worries.”

The concern is that those in the “bubble” are isolated from opposing views and new or different ideas, she said.

That can have a real impact on the civility of discourse.

Observers of Australia’s so-called “culture wars” have noted a tendency for people, regardless of which side they take, to be increasingly uncompromising.

It’s a view that Dr Charlton shares — and he thinks the disperse media landscape is to blame. “We all used to sit down and watch the same six o’clock news at night, wake up in the morning and read the same newspapers or get our information from the same radio bulletins. It was a great centric little force,” he said.

“It didn’t mean everyone agreed with each other but we all kind of had the same set of facts from which to form an opinion or viewpoint. “Now, people can now live in their own little Facebook and Twitter bubbles.”

Broader social changes, including the “postcode divide” and cost of living pressures, coupled with a more narrow community involvement by many, has also contributed to dwindling harmony, he said.


The mood in Australia when it comes to politics and politicians has become increasingly negative over the past decade.

“For a lot of Australians, and I can’t really disagree with them, the choices on offer are pretty unpalatable and it makes the idea of participating in democracy pretty disappointing,” Dr Sheppard said.

“Politicians have lost our trust and voters are starting to wonder that if their best choice at an election is what’s currently on offer, there might not be much point.

“People have stopped caring and that’s turning into anger directed towards the system.”

A revolving door of PMs — the last one to serve a full term was John Howard in 2007 — has had a profound impact.

“The leadership churn is unprecedented,” Dr Charlton said.  “The average tenure of an Australian prime minister, up until the final day of John Howard, was eight years. Since then, it’s been 22 months.”

Following the 2013 election, Professor Barry Jones from the University of Melbourne — who also served as a minister in the Hawke Government, said politics needed to be redefined.

“Political life in Canberra has become toxic,” he wrote. “With a breakdown in personal relationships, recourse to personal attacks, wild exaggeration and the endless repeating of slogans, the practice of debating with ideas and sentences with verbs having been abandoned.”

As a result, the importance of politics had been diminished among the public and attempts to engage the electorate was confined to the narrow window of an election campaign, he said.

However, Dr Charlton believes putting all of the blame on politicians for the decline in the “quality of debate and discourse” isn’t entirely fair. “I think we should look in the mirror,” he said.

“Politicians respond to the electorate. A lot of the partisanship we’re seeing in Canberra is a reflection of a growing partisanship in the electorate.”

Even the most virtuous politicians want to win — the goal of politics is to remain in office and, in the case of the government, in power. “I don’t think you can blame the increasing partisanship and division on politicians — they’re responding to an electoral opportunity.”


We are witnessing a “worrying” polarisation of the electorate that shows no imminent signs of slowing down, Dr Charlton says.

Many of those disillusioned with the major parties hold out hope for a saviour — the kinds of figures from times past that had a lasting legacy, he said.

“A lot of Australians think the problem is the current crop of politicians and all we need is another Hawke or whoever to come in, fix all our problems and make politics OK again,” he said.

“I just don’t think that’s the dynamic. I think there’s a problem in the electorate and, until we find ways as a community to reduce the sense of anger and polarisation, I don’t see anything changing in Canberra.

“That is a deeply depressing thought.”



Climate crap in a medical journal

No sign of critical thought.  They just assume the truth of global warming holus bolus.  Given what we know of the replication crisis, low-grade reasoning is to be expected in even prestigious medical journals.

And these authors below are real dumb bunnies, real patsies.  I wonder how they explain the fact that there was an 11 year hiatus in landfalling hurricanes in the USA before the present bout of hurricanes?  It does not remotely fit the global warming theory.

And why in any case are they confident of the cause of the recent hurricanes?  There is no way they can prove that attribution.  It's just faith supported by models with no known predictive skill

They probably feel warm assurance that they are going along with the consensus about climate.  Given how often the medical consensus has reversed (on dietary fat and much else) one would have thought that medical writers would be more careful about accepting a consensus.  But perhaps they know no history either

The Need to Integrate Climate Science Into Public Health Preparedness for Hurricanes and Tropical Cyclones

James M. Shultz, et al.

Hurricane Florence made landfall as a Category 1 storm near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, on Friday, September 14, 2018, with 90-mph winds. At the same time, 3 other named storms—Helene, Isaac, and Joyce—roamed the Atlantic; Tropical Storm Olivia had just passed over Hawaii; and “Super Typhoon” Mangkhut, the strongest tropical cyclone of 2018, was hours away from sweeping over the Philippines with 165-mph (Category 5) winds.

September is often a busy month for global tropical activity, but there has been a changing scenario in recent years. The warming planet is likely to be influencing the characteristics and behavior of extreme storms.1 At the same time, public health preparedness is not keeping pace with advancing climate science knowledge about how tropical storm systems are changing and potentially becoming more dangerous.1 A closer integration of climate science with public health planning and response will be essential to mitigate the worsening health consequences of future extreme storms.

New Developments in Climate Science

Several developments in the understanding of climate-driven changes in the behavior of tropical cyclones have implications for public health preparedness.

* First, the forward speed of storms over land has been slowing.2 Some storms deviate from their predicted course and stall. This pattern was evident for Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and again for Hurricane Florence as each storm generated record-setting precipitation rates and rainfall totals.3

Water hazards, rather than winds, are posing the major risks to coastal populations. Evacuations are geared toward areas of expected storm surge. Changes in storm behavior are complicating emergency response because of the unpredictability of freshwater flash flooding. Both Harvey and Florence produced relentless precipitation and widespread inundation extending far inland.3 Unable to pinpoint which areas would be submerged, many residents could not escape the flood threats. Improvised citizen-initiated water rescues likely saved many lives during both storms.

* Second, some tropical storms undergo extremely rapid intensification.4 This was seen with the strongest storms of 2017—Harvey, Irma, and Maria—and during the initial development of Florence. Storms are reaching and maintaining very high peak intensities, as happened with Irma in 2017.5 Major hurricanes (Category 3 and higher) may also be increasing in frequency.1

* Third, storms such as Mangkhut are reaching peak intensity farther away from the equator.6 Such “poleward migration”6 means that, in the western North Pacific hurricane basin, strong storms can now cause severe damage on coastal populations living farther to the north. Populations that were previously rarely affected by hurricanes and, thus, whose built environments are structurally vulnerable to tropical cyclone winds and surge, are now within the reach of these powerful forces.

* Fourth, recent experience has highlighted the disproportionate risks for climate-induced public health consequences encountered by residents of small island developing states. Island-based populations dwelling in the ocean corridors above and below the equator, where tropical systems develop, contribute negligibly to climate change but are vulnerable to the effects of extreme storms.7,8

Lessons From Hurricane Maria

If the nature of storms is changing, the public health consequences of these storms will also likely change, as exemplified by Hurricane Maria. Maria became a Category 5 storm in the eastern Atlantic, decimated the island nation of Dominica and St Croix, and bisected Puerto Rico. Maria exemplified rapid intensification over anomalously warm waters, which are becoming more common, and produced high-end wind, surge, and rainfall hazards.

Puerto Rico was paralyzed as Maria destroyed the electrical grid and disrupted vital infrastructure. Loss of power led to protracted disruption of hospital operations and access to life-sustaining treatments. Without power or available health care, the people of Puerto Rico sweltered for months in high heat and humidity and were involuntarily exposed to contaminated water supplies and vector-borne disease risks.8

The debate swirling around a small vs large death toll in Puerto Rico attributable to Maria distills to one core distinction. A limited number of deaths occurred because of direct exposures to the storm’s hazards as Maria moved across Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017. Advanced storm detection and warning systems alerted residents to take shelter (island populations cannot evacuate) and minimized fatalities from hurricane-force winds, storm surge, and mudslides. However, in the months following Maria, the inability to restore power and health care services in a timely manner contributed to thousands of storm-related excess deaths.9

Improving Public Health Response to Match the Changing Dynamics of Tropical Systems

The global public health challenge related to storms is bound to become more complicated in the coming years. Therefore, it seems important to integrate climate science into population health science and to ensure that the public health response evolves to reflect changing climate realities. There are at least 4 important considerations to meet this challenge.

The first is to establish public health surveillance of storm-affected populations. Hurricane Maria highlights the need to extend the monitoring of storm-related medical conditions and mortality to include the recovery and reconstruction phases. Surveillance needs to include the physical and mental health conditions that emerge months after the storm strikes the area and represent some of the most consequential public health outcomes. Public health and response capabilities need to maintain a better watch over storm survivors whose communities often require years to recover.

Second, tropical cyclone water hazards will become increasingly important determinants of health. It is evident that more people will be exposed to surge, rain, and flood hazards as coastal and island populations increase. This will require innovating water management and flood mitigation, extending flood insurance coverage to more citizens, and improving water rescue capabilities.

Third, public health preparedness for tropical storm hazards must expand its purview. In 2017, across all storms and affected populations, the single deadliest hazard was storm-damaged infrastructure throughout the Caribbean. Anticipating this challenge requires state-of-the-art reformulation of electrical power, water, and health care systems and training cadres of specialized response professionals.

Cuba serves as an example of the life-sustaining potential of this approach. Cuba redesigned its ailing, blackout-prone power system around a decentralized, microgrid architecture. Cuba trained teams of electrical power specialists to respond during power outages. Hurricane Irma put Cuba’s energy self-sufficiency to the test, battering the Cuban Keys and northern coast with Category 4/5 winds for 3 days. Power was initially disrupted for most of Cuba’s 11 million citizens. Specialist brigades deployed and rapidly repaired damaged segments of the grid, restoring power to 70% of citizens within 10 days and nationwide within 3 weeks. Indeed, in the United States, regional responses often do occur, with large numbers of power specialists traveling from unaffected states to affected states as happened when 15 million Floridians lost power during Irma. In addition, before Irma made landfall in Cuba, 1.4 million residents were relocated to shelters. Thousands of physicians and health care professionals were embedded in these shelters, prepositioned in remote areas, or on duty throughout the nation’s network of neighborhood polyclinics, all equipped with generators. Although hundreds of clinics sustained damage, these distributed services ensured that there was no discontinuity in health care access, even as Irma was striking.

A fourth enhancement to public health response will be to advocate for upgrading building codes and retrofitting coastal and island built environments to withstand stronger storms. Extending community storm resilience is essential as more citizens populate coastal areas and stronger storms extend their reach into latitudes farther from the equator.6


As climate scientists expand knowledge about climate-induced effects on storm behavior, health professionals must transform these findings into innovations in public health preparedness. The challenges posed by climate change will only intensify in coming years; population health will be served by adapting to these evolving realities.



Fired by the Canadian Government for Criticizing Islam

Christine Douglass-Williams lost her job last December as a Director with the Canadian Race Relations Foundation.  She is now Public Affairs and Media Consultant to the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem.

She came to Canada as an immigrant from the Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago. She describes herself as "an equal mix of Scottish, Chinese, black and Indian/native Indian". So being both a female, "black" and a fluent speaker of English, she must have seemed a prize appointment to the Canadian government.

There is a video of her here

Her termination follows a review begun last summer over concerns about her writings on the website Jihad Watch, including a post where she warned that people are being duped by seemingly moderate Muslims and another calling the passage of a House of Commons motion condemning Islamophobia a “victorious day for Islamic supremacists.”

Douglass-Williams had first been appointed to the board in 2012, and was reappointed in 2015. Her term was to expire next year, but the government terminated it on Tuesday.

“Why? Because I dared to criticize political Islam,” Douglass-Williams said in an email to The Canadian Press.

“I make a distinction between those who practice Islam in peace and harmony with others, and those with an agenda to usurp democratic constitutions, demand special privileges over other creeds and who advocate the abuse of women and innocents as a supremacist entitlement.”

She called her removal a “dishonourable decision” on the part of Heritage Minister Melanie Joly, who oversees the foundation, and accused her of acting “at the behest of questionable sorts.”

Neither the Privy Council Office nor Joly’s office would comment directly on Douglass-Williams’ firing, citing privacy concerns.

However, Joly spokesman Simon Ross said in an email: “The country’s leading organization dedicated to the elimination of racism and the promotion of harmonious race relations, the Canada Race Relations Foundation, must have a board that recognizes the importance of diversity and inclusion in our society.”

The foundation was launched in 1997 as part of the settlement the federal government at the time reached with Japanese Canadians over their internment in Canada during the Second World War.

It holds workshops and roundtables across the country on combating racism, and also funds research into Canadian attitudes towards multiculturalism, immigration and other issues.

A spokesman for the board did not return a call for comment.

Appointees to the foundation’s board, like many arm’s-length organizations, serve “during pleasure,” meaning they can be removed at the discretion of the government.

The National Council of Canadian Muslims had been one of the groups that raised concerns about Douglass-Williams and they welcomed the government’s decision.



The climate prophets finally get some modelling right -- but it says the opposite of what Warmists want!

Two Harvard scientists have just done the most careful modelling yet of what effects wind turbines have.  They find that, for the next century, wind turbines will INCREASE warming rather than decrease it.

And here's the really exceptional bit:  Their models agree with observations -- an unprecedented event in global warming literature. It means that you can make reasonably accurate predictions from their models -- unlike the chaff that comes from other modelling.

So what are Warmists saying about the study?  You guessed it: Warmists of course hate the conclusions so say the modelling is no good.  It would be interesting to see them do better.

Highlights and abstract below:

Climatic Impacts of Wind Power

Lee M.Miller & David W.Keith


* Wind power reduces emissions while causing climatic impacts such as warmer temperatures
* Warming effect strongest at night when temperatures increase with height
* Nighttime warming effect observed at 28 operational US wind farms
* Wind's warming can exceed avoided warming from reduced emissions for a century


We find that generating today's US electricity demand (0.5 TW e) with wind power would warm Continental US surface temperatures by 0.24°C. Warming arises, in part, from turbines redistributing heat by mixing the boundary layer. Modeled diurnal and seasonal temperature differences are roughly consistent with recent observations of warming at wind farms, reflecting a coherent mechanistic understanding for how wind turbines alter climate. The warming effect is: small compared with projections of 21st century warming, approximately equivalent to the reduced warming achieved by decarbonizing global electricity generation, and large compared with the reduced warming achieved by decarbonizing US electricity with wind. For the same generation rate, the climatic impacts from solar photovoltaic systems are about ten times smaller than wind systems. Wind's overall environmental impacts are surely less than fossil energy. Yet, as the energy system is decarbonized, decisions between wind and solar should be informed by estimates of their climate impacts.



Leftism is largely inborn.  Is bureaucracy too?

All the twin studies how strong heritability for Left/Right political orientation.  Leftists are born dissatisfied and conservatives are born contented.  And Leftists love bureaucracy.  They can hardly get enough of it.  As V.I. Lenin remarked: "Account must be taken of every single article, every pound of grain, because what socialism implies above all is keeping account of everything".  So is there also an inherited bureaucratic instinct?  Something I encountered recently inclined me towards that belief.

A little background:  I have a pinup on my bedroom wall.  It is a picture of the Queen.  No doubt many would say that I must be a poor thing to have the Queen as my pinup but it is a large and beautifully done portrait so I think it could be called a pinup.

And I am an unapologetic monarchist.  I believe that a constitutional monarchy is the best form of government,  Americans have to wait 4 years before they can get rid of an unpopular  President but, in a monarchy on Westminster lines, parliament can boot out at will any Prime Minister who has lost popularity --which the Australian parliament has done rather a lot of in recent years. So it suits my views that I have a picture of Her Majesty and Prince Philip on my wall.

But I have acquired that picture only recently.  There is an Australian tradition that Federal politicians can give out free pictures of Her Majesty to their constituents.  So I wrote to my local Federal MP, Terri Butler, member for Griffith, and requested one.  She represents the Labor Party so I was slightly surprised that she wrote back to me and agreed.  I had to pick the picture up from her electorate office but that was not far away from me so off I went.

When I arrived and rang the bell a large sandy-hired young man appeared. When I made my request he said; "We haven't received any correspondence about this".  I said, "I wrote to Parliament house".  He said "Did you get a letter from Terri Butler about this?"  I said I had.  "Have you got it with you" -- "No". "Where is it?" -- "At home".  And he went on generally in a rather circular way about having authorization to give me the picture.  I inherit a rather short temper from my father however so I very soon started to shout and bang on the counter.  That dislodged him and he gave me the picture.

As the  pictures are freely given out, there was absolutely need for any bureaucracy but this employee of the Labor party dreamed some up anyway.  He appears to have a bureaucratic temperament.  I suspect it was inherited -- JR


Australia: September was the second driest month in more than 100 YEARS – and Summer is set to be even worse

Notice the dog that didn't bark?  For once there is no tie to global warming given.  But EVERYTHING is due to global warming!  How come this bout of difficult weather is not attributed to global warming?  I have repeatedly noted that with Leftists, what they leave out is as significant as what they say -- and this is an example of it

What they are not facing up to is that drought is a sign of COOLING!  If the weather really had been hot, more water would have evaporated off the oceans and come down as rain, giving FLOODS, if anything.  It may happen yet but it has not happened so far.  Their cockeyed theory doesn't fit the present observed facts.  The globe is NOT warming.  A big drought contradicts warming

Drought-stricken farmers are expected to get a much-needed break from September's record dry spell over the next few weeks.

But Aussies shouldn't breath a sigh of relief too soon - weather experts believe that the dip in temperature won't last long.

Bureau of Meteorology expert Tom Hough warned that the months leading up to summer will see above-average heat and summer is set to be a scorcher.

Above-average temperatures will grace the country in the months leading up to summer, Mr Hough said.

Temperatures will soar above the norm for the month of October across the country, with the exception of far-east and north Queensland and northeast NSW.

Sydney's average temperatures for October usually sit between 24-27 degrees.

November temperatures will also be above average with the exception of Western Australia's southeast coast. 

Similarly December will see scorching temperatures above the norm in most of the country.   

However there is no need to crack out the sunscreen just yet. Temperatures are expected to cool towards the end of the week and much-needed rain will sweep the country.

A BOM expert told Daily Mail Australia that rain will be widespread across the southern half of the nation over the next two weeks.

At least 25-50mm of rain is expected to fall in Sydney alone, following the country's record dry September. An average of just 5.2mm of rainfall was recorded last month. 



Trump’s EPA moving to loosen radiation limits

At last Greenie knee-jerk reactions will be replaced by real science.  There is plenty of evidence of radiation hormesis -- the fact that low levels of ionizing radiation are not bad for you and can be good for you.  The claim that ALL radiation is bad is just the simplistic thinking you expect from the Greens

Official bodies have resisted acknowledging hormesis but there are some striking incidents of  it.  Even the Wikipedia article on it treats the topic with respect.  It is far from a "way out" idea.

Everything is disastrous to Greenies and under their influence the reality of hormesis has been resisted.  If ANY radiation is bad, whole heaps of things become bad for us and that suits the scare-mongering proclivities of the Greens.

In fact, quite high doses of radiation can be harmless.  I like this report (via Wikipedia) on the very high natural background gamma radiation cancer rates in Kerala, Southern India:

"Kerala's monazite sand (containing a third of the world's economically recoverable reserves of radioactive thorium) emits about 8 micro Sieverts per hour of gamma radiation, 80 times the dose rate equivalent in London, but a decade long study of 69,985 residents published in Health Physics in 2009: "showed no excess cancer risk from exposure to terrestrial gamma radiation. The excess relative risk of cancer excluding leukemia was estimated to be -0.13 Gy_1 (95% CI: -0.58, 0.46)", indicating no statistically significant positive or negative relationship between background radiation levels and cancer risk in this sample."

Let the panic-mongers put that in their pipes and smoke it!

And Southern Indians are an unusually smart population, particularly in mathematics.  Does radiation improve your mathematical ability?  From what we know of the broadly beneficial effects of low to moderate radiation, it's not impossible!

And I must mention the striking case of Tsutomu Yamaguchi, a Japanese salesman who had the epic misfortune to be exposed to both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic blasts.  So was he fried to a crisp or at least died shortly thereafter?  No.  He was badly burned but recovered well and lived to 93!  Hormesis explains that but nothing else does


There is a review article here in an academic journal which finds that hormesis fits the facts much better than the conventional theory

The EPA is pursuing rule changes that specialists say would weaken the way radiation exposure is regulated, turning to scientific outliers who argue that a bit of radiation damage is actually good for you — like a little bit of sunlight.

The government’s current, decades-old guidance says that any exposure to harmful radiation is a cancer risk.

The Trump administration already has targeted a range of other rules on toxins and pollutants, including coal power plant emissions and car exhaust, that it sees as costly for businesses. Supporters of the EPA’s proposal argue the government’s current model that there is no safe level of radiation — the so-called linear no-threshold model — forces unnecessary spending for handling exposure in accidents, at nuclear plants, in medical centers, and at other sites.

At issue is the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule on transparency in science. EPA spokesman John Konkus said Tuesday, "The proposed regulation doesn’t talk about radiation or any particular chemicals. And as we indicated in our response, EPA’s policy is to continue to use the linear-no-threshold model for population-level radiation protection purposes which would not, under the proposed regulation that has not been finalized, trigger any change in that policy."

But in an April news release announcing the proposed rule the agency quoted Edward Calabrese, a toxicologist at the University of Massachusetts who has said weakening limits on radiation exposure would save billions of dollars and have a positive impact on human health.

The proposed rule would require regulators to consider "various threshold models across the exposure range" when it comes to dangerous substances. While it doesn’t specify radiation, the release quotes Calabrese calling the proposal "a major scientific step forward" in assessing the risk of "chemicals and radiation." Konkus said the release was written during the tenure of former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. He could not explain why Calabrese was quoted citing the impact on radiation levels if the agency does not believe there would be any.

Calabrese was to be the lead witness at a congressional hearing Wednesday on the EPA proposal.

Radiation is everywhere, from potassium in bananas to the microwaves popping popcorn. Most of it is benign. But what’s of concern is the higher-energy, shorter-wave radiation, like X-rays, that can penetrate and disrupt living cells, sometimes causing cancer.

As recently as this March, the EPA’s online guidelines for radiation effects advised: "Current science suggests there is some cancer risk from any exposure to radiation."

But that online guidance — separate from the rule-change proposal — was edited in July to add a section emphasizing the low individual odds of cancer: "According to radiation safety experts, radiation exposures of . . . 100 millisieverts usually result in no harmful health effects, because radiation below these levels is a minor contributor to our overall cancer risk," the revised policy says.

Calabrese and his supporters argue that smaller exposures of cell-damaging radiation and other carcinogens can serve as stressors that activate the body’s repair mechanisms and can make people healthier. They compare it to physical exercise or sunlight.

Mainstream scientific consensus on radiation is based on deceptive science, says Calabrese, who argued in a 2014 essay for "righting the past deceptions and correcting the ongoing errors in environmental regulation."

EPA spokesman Konkus said in an e-mail that the proposed rule change is about "increasing transparency on assumptions" about how the body responds to different doses of dangerous substances and that the agency "acknowledges uncertainty regarding health effects at low doses" and supports more research on that.

The radiation regulation is supported by Steven Milloy, a Trump transition team member for the EPA who is known for challenging widely accepted ideas about manmade climate change and the health risks of tobacco. He has been promoting Calabrese’s theory of healthy radiation on his blog.

Jan Beyea, a physicist whose work includes research with the National Academies of Science on the 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant accident, said the EPA science proposal represents voices "generally dismissed by the great bulk of scientists."

The EPA proposal would lead to "increases in chemical and radiation exposures in the workplace, home, and outdoor environment, including the vicinity of Superfund sites," Beyea wrote. "The individual risk will likely be low, but not the cumulative social risk," Beyea said.

At the level the EPA website talks about, any one person’s risk of cancer from radiation exposure is perhaps 1 percent, Beyea said.

"If they even look at that — no, no, no," said Terrie Barrie, a resident of Craig, Colo., and an advocate for her husband and other workers at the now-closed Rocky Flats nuclear-weapons plant, where the US government is compensating certain cancer victims regardless of their history of exposure. "There’s no reason not to protect people as much as possible," said Barrie.

Federal agencies for decades have followed a policy that there is no threshold of radiation exposure that is risk-free.



Switzerland is rapidly losing its snow -- and climate change is probably to blame (?)

Only someone who knows no history would fall for this tosh. One of the best known events in ancient history is when Hannibal marched elephants over the Alps for his invasion of Rome.  You would never even try it these days.  

It was during the Roman warm period and the Alps were at that time largely snow free.  Clearly snow cover in that area is subject to large natural fluctuations.  So any reference to global warming is entirely supererogatory. 

In any case reduced snowfall in recent years is the likely cause of the reduced snow cover and reduced precipitation is generally a sign of COOLING, not warming.  The fact that the winter of 2017–18 saw record snowfall may indicate that the cycle has just gone into reverse

A new study based on analysis of satellite images shows how much snow cover Switzerland has lost in the last 20 years.
Although Switzerland's mountain areas saw record snow fall in the winter of 2017–18, the country is rapidly losing its snow cover and global warming is probably the cause, a new study suggests.

While just over a third of Switzerland (36 percent) had a very low likelihood (less than 20 percent) of seeing snow in the two decades from 1995 to 2005, that figure jumped to 44 percent from 2005 to 2017.

That is an area of 5,200 square kilometres, or about the size of the canton of Valais.

The results are based on analysis of satellite images of Switzerland carried out by researchers at the University of Geneva and at the United Nations GRID-Geneva environmental data centre.

The study also shows that the area of Switzerland given over to eternal snow (where there is an 80 to 100 percent chance of snowfall) also shrank in the period studied – from 27 percent over the 1995–2005 period to 23 percent from 2005 to 2017.

The loss here is some 2,100 square kilometres, which is an area some seven times larger than the canton of Geneva.

The reduction in snow cover could be seen in the Jura region and in the Alps and was “particularly evident” in the Rhone Valley, said University of Geneva and GRID-Geneva researcher Grégory Giuliani in a press release.



Amnesty says: When freedom of speech can be restricted

They long ago became a solid Leftist outfit.  Without any argument or evidence for it they say: "Governments have an obligation to prohibit hate speech and incitement".

How do we know that? How does that "obligation" arise?  What is its source? Is it a constitutional requirement?  Far from it.  The constitution protects ALL speech. It appears that there is no  source for a prohibition on "hate speech" other than Leftist opinion. You are supposed to nod wisely and agree.

Everybody marching in brainless lockstep with one-another was the ideal of G.W.F. Hegel -- the philosophical founder of Leftism. He has plenty of disciples today

I was once a member of Amnesty as I thought it protected dissent.  When it appeared that it protected only speech that Leftists like, I resigned.  At the moment they are big on supporting sexual outliers and condemning Burmese generals who want Muslims out of their country

The particular thing that alienated me is that they are solidly pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel.  They see only one side of a two sided argument -- again typically Leftist

One might have thought that the vast outpouring of hate directed at the Trump administration would have attracted some adverse comment from Amnesty but I know of none.  In fact they recently had up an article under the heading: "Renounce hate in the Trump administration". That article has now been taken down but it was a good example of Leftists projecting their own motivations onto others

You might not expect us to say this, but in certain circumstances free speech and freedom of expression can be restricted.

Governments have an obligation to prohibit hate speech and incitement. And restrictions can also be justified if they protect specific public interest or the rights and reputations of others.

Any restrictions on freedom of speech and freedom of expression must be set out in laws that must in turn be clear and concise so everyone can understand them.

People imposing the restrictions (whether they are governments, employers or anyone else) must be able to demonstrate the need for them, and they must be proportionate.



Infrastructure as a legacy

Leftists are notoriously interested only in the distribution of goods and services. They virtually ignore the process of producing goods and services.  They seem to think that goods and services drop down upon us like manna from heaven.  It is precisely that insouciance that makes socialist countries poor.  They just don't know how to arrange wealth creation efficiently so hamper it rather than fostering it.

And they seem to think the same about infrastructure such as roads, hospitals and schools  They give no thought to how those things come to be so and are very poor at providing them.  People who need the latest medical procedures don't go to Russia.  They go to the USA.

I think however that it is highly relevant to think about the origins of our infrastructure.  It didn't get there by accident and its distribution is not random.  Some countries have better infrastructure than others. So who provided that infrastructure and who owns it?

A very large part of our infrastructure was put there by our ancestors.  They built the roads and buildings which we use today.  And the ownership varies.  Some is in private hands and some in government hands. But in an important sense it is a legacy to all of us today bequeathed to us by our ancestors.  Some of it is best in private and and some is regarded as best in government hands but we all benefit from it enormously.  Our entire modern life depends heavily on what we have collectively inherited from the past.  We didn't build the road we drive on or the hospitals and schools that we use.  We come into the world with most of what we use already laid out for us by our ancestors

Not all that we use will be inherited of course.  But it will be the development of an inheritance.  It might be a new road we drive on and a new school we attend.  But the building of that road and that school will have depended on all sorts of things from the past -- tools, techniques, machinery and the product of blast furnaces -- that have steadily evolved first in the hands of our ancestors and then in our hands.

So it seems to me that the physical facilities of our country that we use are just as much a legacy as is money left to us in a relative's will.  They were not produced by accident but were the product of work and ingenuity -- and we ourselves continue to build on those foundations.  We too enable the provision of infrastructure -- mainly through our taxes in the modern world but sometimes directly

I for instance have had a considerable presence in the real estate industry. I often took on semi-derelict buildings and organized their renovation.  Since I live in a capitalist country I did it entirely for my own private profit and did indeed earn significant income from my activities.  I have long ago sold the properties concerned and have money in the bank instead.  But the important point is that the properties I took on are now upgraded and will  be in that upgraded state when I die. I took existing things from the past and built on them to make them into better things.  That will be a legacy I leave when I die.  I will have left the infrastructure better than I found it and others will benefit from that.

I am aware that what I have just been saying sounds very much  like Obama's famous claim, "You didn't build that", so I think I had better do a little bit of differentiation.  He was of course right in pointing out that all we do depends in many ways on the work, past and present, that others do or have done. But what significance he saw in that is a bit mysterious. The most I can make of it was that he thought businesses should be thankful to the government and be humbled by its wise provisions.  By contrast, I would argue that the government is just another tool we have set up for achieving desired results. And I would argue that it is largely our ancestors we should thank for the infrastructure we daily rely on.

But what about immigrants?  Do they have any right to what is in fact our legacy?  They have not inherited anything  from our country or brought much, if anything, to it.  I think it is clear that they do to an extent steal our legacy.

That is particularly clear in the case of Australia.  Recent governments have allowed a large "refugee" influx and that does harm us.  Our roads are now more congested, our public hospitals can barely cope and our schools are overcrowded and short of good teachers.  Such is the demand for teachers created by the active wombs of refugees that teacher standards have had to be lowered to near oblivion. Students with almost any High School pass are being accepted into teachers' colleges.  And on top of that we have to feed the "refugees".  Only a minority find employment and become self supporting.

But for various reasons good and bad our governments keep letting the refugees in and in so doing dilute that assets we all have to work with. With not a care in the world our governments have given away a significant part of our inheritance.  I think it should stop.  I don't think our government should give away what is the right of those of us who were born here.

So what do I propose?  A just policy would be to allow into our country only those who have paid for the privilege.  Citizenship could be bought.  And the proceeds would go to the construction of new infrastructure that would cope with the expanded population.

That's not going to happen, of course, but greater selectivity of some sort would certainly be fairer than the present system.  The less our inherited assets are handed to others the better.  I personally would be selective by allowing in only outsiders who are similar to the majority population  -- essentially other people of European origin.  They at least had ancestors who worked hard and effectively to improve their given environment so could help continue our ongoing work of improving our facilities, infrastructure and environment -- JR