An optimal world temperature?

Have any of the AGW people ever said just what is the optimal average world temperature and why that temperature is optimal??

The AGWers don't have a specific optimum global average temperature, but they do have a sort of optimum temperature band. This forms the basis of the idea, widely used by (and specifically invented for) AGW promoting politicians, that the global average temperature must be limited to not increasing by more than 2 degrees C above pre-industrial temperature levels. The 2 degree C figure usually appears in statements made by politicians at the various international climate change summits that seem to take place every year.

The story about where the 2 deg C figure comes from, which was invented by some German climate scientists back in the mid-1990s, is given in this link:
"The story of the two-degree target began in the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU). Administration politicians had asked the council for climate protection guidelines, and the scientists under Schellnhuber's leadership came up with a strikingly simple idea. "We looked at the history of the climate since the rise of homo sapiens," Schellnhuber recalls. "This showed us that average global temperatures in the last 130,000 years were no more than two degrees higher than before the beginning of the industrial revolution. To be on the safe side, we came up with a rule of thumb stating that it would be better not to depart from this field of experience in human evolution. Otherwise we would be treading on terra incognita.""

So from that the above it looks like pro-AGW climate scientists are assigning an optimum temperature band to what they think the homo sapiens species has already experienced in its history. The 2 deg C rise figure would go outside this optimum band. It's an application of the precautionary principle.

As far as I'm aware climate scientists don't think a 'catastrophe' would occur if the limit is exceeded (for example Schellnhuber, who invented the limit, doesn't think that) but Green-leaning politicians often treat it as though it is a catastrophic limit.

The Green lobby, it goes without saying, claim that an apocalypse would occur if the 2 deg C limit is exceeded. For example the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition in the UK (a coalition of about 100 Green-leaning NGOs) have this on their webpage:
"But with a rise of 2 degrees C or more, southern Europe will suffer serious drought every decade; billions of people will not have enough water; 550 million will go hungry; 3 million will die from malnutrition.

In the UK coastal flooding will impact up to 170 million people. And many plant, bird and butterfly species will be consigned to the history books."

The above extract also gives the biggest Greenie numerical howler I think I've ever seen. They're claiming 170 million people in the UK would be affected by coastal flooding when the current total population of the UK is something like 60 million.


Canada: Praying publicly and reading from the Bible is preaching hate?

We read:
"Tensions have erupted between residents of an east-Toronto neighbourhood and a church group accused of preaching hate outside the home of a local same-sex couple.

Over the weekend about a dozen parishioners were confronted by about 10 residents of the street. Local resident Geoff Skelding captured the moment on video and posted it to YouTube -- allegedly after the group prayed outside the home of the gay couple and condemned them as sinners.

The confrontation took place in the Leslieville neighbourhood near Dundas Street East and Greenwood Avenue. It's the same community where the church, Highfield Road Gospel Hall, is located.

In the description of the video he posted to YouTube, Skelding said the parishioners have been active in the area for years. "Apparently they have been grouping in front of a couple's house and reading their bible loudly for the past 7 years," he wrote.


I guess noisy preaching and praying could be annoying but the underlying Christian teaching that moves the group is to hate the sin but love the sinner. And if you can't hate sin, that's about the end of Christianity.

The people concerned are clearly ones with very strong Biblical beliefs and are trying in fact to save the souls of the sinners, not trying to project hate at them. They are just practicing their religion. And the Bible-based religion concerned is the sort that America was founded upon.

If they gathered before my house and endeavored to save me from my atheism, I would go up to them, shake them by the hand, thank them for their good work, assure them that they will get a blessing from their Lord for it, but tell them that I have thought about it long enough for them to be wasting their time on me and suggesting that they find someone who is more likely to respond to their efforts.

And whatever result that had, at least I would be setting an example of Christian behavior and not projecting hate at THEM!

And I am not fantasizing about treating Christians fundamentalists civilly. When Jehovah's Witnesses call at my door, I always greet them in a friendly manner and immediately ask them if they have put out any useful reference books on the Bible recently. That throws them completely off track and we simply move on to a civil discussion of their reference publications. I even buy something sometimes. Some of their books can be quite useful in finding Bible texts relevant to a given subject.

"Do unto others ...." is a pretty useful rule of behavior even for an old atheist like me. It's a rule that works well for everyone as far as I can see. But I am a conservative atheist. It's sad that Leftists seem to be too full of hate to use that rule too.

Churches get opt-out from same-sex adoption bill in NSW

Sounds like it will get blocked in the upper house anyway. Fred Nile should see to that. It's a big contrast with bigoted Britain where church agencies have been driven out of adoption services

THE independent state MP Clover Moore has moved to shore up support for her same-sex adoption bill by giving church adoption agencies the right to refuse services to gay and lesbian couples without breaching anti-discrimination laws.

Ms Moore wrote to MPs on Friday announcing she would amend the bill and reintroduce it to Parliament on Thursday. She told the Herald she was amending the bill "in line with requests" from church adoption agencies to help ensure its passage through Parliament.

"Some members of Parliament have told me that they will not support reform without an exemption for church-based adoption agencies," she said. "While the amendments do not reflect my strong belief that there should be no exemptions in the Anti-Discrimination Act, the bill is so important to the security of families headed by same-sex couples that I cannot risk possible defeat."

The convener of the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, Kellie McDonald, said the group had argued against the amendment, but was taking a pragmatic approach. "We're obviously not in support of religious exemptions," she said. "However, if the amendment means the bill gets passed, we are in support of this happening. If it means that it will persuade some of the more conservative MPs to support the bill and it gets support, that's a good outcome."

However, news of the amendment has not changed the view of church leaders. A letter co-authored by the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, George Pell and the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, arrived on MPs' desks yesterday urging them to vote down the bill.

It follows a similar letter to MPs earlier this month from one of the state's leading adoption agencies, Anglicare, which has said the original proposal would force it to cease offering adoption services.

The chief executive of Anglicare Sydney, Peter Kell, said yesterday that the amendment did not change the agency's opposition to the principle of the bill, but he was pleased it would allow Anglicare to continue adoption services if it becomes law.

The NSW Council of Churches will hold a protest meeting in the NSW Parliament House theatrette today in opposition to the bill.

The Premier, Kristina Keneally, and the Opposition Leader, Barry O'Farrell, have agreed to allow their MPs a conscience vote on the issue.

However, the Christian Democratic MLC, the Reverend Fred Nile, said the proposed amendment would not alter his view. "I'm pleased that [Ms Moore] is amending it," Mr Nile said. "But it doesn't change our opposition in principle to the objects of the bill. I believe every child has a right to a mother and a father".

The amendment brings Ms Moore's bill into line with the recommendations of a Legislative Council committee into the issue last year.


Are conservatism and racism indistinguishable?

That question will no doubt amuse most readers here but that they are indistinguishable is the burden of a recent Leftist book -- called Conservatism and Racism, and Why in America They Are the Same (Part of the SUNY Series in African American Studies). From the blurb:
In this provocative, wide-ranging study, Robert C. Smith contends that ideological conservatism and racism are and always have been equivalent in the United States. In this carefully constructed and thoroughly documented philosophical, historical, and empirical inquiry, Smith analyzes conservative ideas from John Locke to William F. Buckley Jr., as well as the parallels between the rise and decline of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1970s and the ascendancy of the conservative movement to national power in 1980. Using archival material from the Reagan library, the book includes detailed analysis of the Reagan presidency and race, focusing on affirmative action, the Voting Rights act, the Grove City case, welfare reform, South Africa policy, and the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Conservatism and Racism, and Why in America They are the Same goes beyond a focus on the right wing, concluding with an analysis of the enduring impact of the conservative movement and the Reagan presidency on liberalism, race, and the Democratic Party.


It seems to be mainly a belated bit of Reagan hatred and consists of the author's own angry interpretation of various historical events.

One wonders what he makes of the fact that Hitler was a socialist, that it was Democrat politicians (George Wallace, Orval Faubus etc.) who were the chief opponents of racial integration in the South, that the KKK was almost entirely composed of Democrats and that a greater percentage of Republicans than Democrats voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

I might also note that I did some actual psychological research into the question during my academic career. I did a random population survey and found that racist attitudes were equally likely to be found among Leftist and Rightist voters in Australia. And Australia is about as similar to the USA as you can get.

Alternative history

I am something of an alternative history buff. Alternative history features quite a lot in Sci Fi and I used to read a lot of Sci Fi once so maybe that is why.

It seems to me that there were two great turning points in the 20th century which would have left us with a very different world today if they had been decided differently.

The first is the distinctly odd decision of Britain to enter what became WWI in support of their old enemy: France. It led to a slaughter of Britain's young men to rival the American North/South War and what did it achieve? Had Britain stayed neutral, the outcome of the war would surely have been similar to the Franco Prussian war of the 1870s: A flag-waving German withdrawl with a few small bits of German-speaking France hacked off and returned to German rule -- and a resumption of Edwardinan calm by all.

OK. I know why Britain did not go down that road. They were rightly spooked by Tirpitz's Luxusflotte. And in the one big naval engagement of the war -- the battle of Jutland -- those fears were amply confirmed -- with admiral Scheer running rings around admiral Jellicoe.

The second big turning point was Hitler's decision to make himself Oberkommando des Heeres (army chief). If he had given that job to the man who most deserved it -- Von Manstein (the conqueror of France) -- Russia would have been conquered, no doubt about it (Von Manstein destroyed two Russian armies even AFTER the Stalingrad debacle). And what a different world that would have been! How different goes beyond even my alternative history imagination.

The alleged fast-food/diabetes link

The British article excerpted below is typical of what one reads about fast food causing diabetes. The connection seems to be almost an article of faith. Yet when I looked at the evidence a couple of years ago, I could not find anything like conclusive evidence of an obesity/diabetes link, let alone a fast-food/diabetes link.

Let me state the obvious: Most fat people don't get diabetes and you can find lots of non-obese people in any McDonald's. Neither of those things would be true if fast food caused diabetes via obesity.

What has happened here, I suspect, is the usual epidemiological inattention to the direction of causation. It is true that those who already have diabetes do benefit by weight-loss and altering their diet but that does not mean that their diet caused the diabetes in the first place.

So what has caused the diabetes upsurge? At a guess: An interaction between genes and inactivity. Or maybe the increased stress of life in an increasingly lawless society. Or maybe both. But the research to find the real cause will not get done until this stupid obsession with fast food is abandoned. Don't hold your breath

Is the Southern ocean warming or cooling?

Even Al Gore has got a bit perturbed by evidence of expanding sea ice in Antarctica so fell with gladness on a recent paper (by Liu and Curry) which claimed that the Southern ocean is in fact warming up. As others have noted, however, the paper concerned is a very rough job, and below are a few more comments on it.

The author below is more polite than I am so I will put it bluntly: What he found was a typical bit of Warmist fakery such as we have come to expect of Phil Jones & Co. He found that the authors used data up until 1999 only. Why? Because temperatures FELL after that. Excerpt only below

The Liu and Curry (2010) paper has been the subject of a number of posts at Watts Up With That over the past few days. This post should complement Willis Eschenbach’s post Dr. Curry Warms the Southern Ocean, by providing a more detailed glimpse at the availability of source data used by Hadley Centre and NCDC in their SST datasets and by illustrating SST anomalies for the periods used by Liu and Curry. I’ve also extended the data beyond the cutoff year used by Liu and Curry to show the significant drop in SST anomalies since 1999.

Preliminary Note: I understand that Liu and Curry illustrated the principal component from an analysis of the SST data south of 40S, but there are two primary objectives of this post as noted above: to show how sparse the source data is and to show that SST anomalies for the studied area have declined significantly since 1999.

Liu and Curry examine the period of 1950 to 1999. Sea surface temperature data south of 40S is very sparse prior to the satellite era.

As you can see, there is very little data as a starting point for Hadley Centre and NCDC, but they do manage to infill the SST data using statistical tools. Refer to Figure 2. It shows that the three SST datasets provided complete coverage in 1950 and 1999, which are the start and end years of the period examined by Liu and Curry. For more information on the ERSST and HADISST datasets refer to my post An Overview Of Sea Surface Temperature Datasets Used In Global Temperature Products.....

The title of Liu and Curry (2010) “Accelerated Warming of the Southern Ocean and Its Impacts on the Hydrological Cycle and Sea Ice” contradicts the SST anomalies of the latitudes used in the paper. The SST anomalies are not warming. They are cooling and have been for more than a decade.

More HERE (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

Another watermelon -- A Trotskyite, by the sound of it

GREENS MP for Melbourne Adam Bandt has defended comments he made on a Marxist student website 15 years ago, in which he denounced capitalism and labelled the Greens a "bourgeois" political party that could be used to push a socialist agenda.

The comments, made in a two-page memo written by Mr Bandt on March 4, 1995, while he was a student activist at Murdoch University, first surfaced on Victorian political blogger Andrew Landeryou's website VexNews.

As Mr Bandt and Greens leader Bob Brown continued discussions yesterday with Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Treasurer Wayne Swan about the formation of the next federal government, the memo raised questions about Mr Bandt's student politics and his views of the Labor Party, which he referred to in the 1995 memo as "almost as right-wing as the US Democrats".

In the 1995 memo, Mr Bandt said he was "towards an anti-capitalist, anti-social democratic, internationalist movement".

Psychologists preaching feminism again

I had a bit to do with this in my own research career. I found huge holes in the feminism-supporting "research" of my fellow psychologists at the time. So the latest bit of nonsense does not surprise me. It says that feminized boys are psychologically healthier, just as lots of other psychologists repeatedly claim (by ignoring a lot of evidence) that leftists are psychologically healthier.

The report below has not yet passed peer review and been published in an academic journal so is a bit difficult to evaluate but it clearly depends on a questionnaire called the Children's Depression Inventory, and they almost certainly used it inappropriately. Note here for instance, that it should not be used alone as a diagnostic tool. It is too weakly predictive for that. It is supposed to be used only in conjunction with a diagnostic interview. There is no mention of such a precaution below.

Additionally, a standard warning with the test is that is is very open to the respondents "faking good" yet there is no mention below of that being controlled for or examined in any way. Use of a Lie scale might have been considered, for instance.

And since teaching is so feminized these days, more feminine boys are probably more aware of teacher expectations and are therefore both better at faking good and more motivated to do it. So their "healthier" scores could well be simple fakery.

The findings below are then readily explained as the product of sloppy and biased research rather than reflecting anything real
Being a mama's boy, new research suggests, may be good for your mental health. That, at least, is the conclusion of a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association by Carlos Santos, a professor at Arizona State University's School of Social and Family Dynamics.

Santos recently conducted a study that followed 426 boys through middle school to investigate the extent to which the boys favor stereotypically male qualities such as emotional stoicism and physical toughness over stereotypically feminine qualities such as emotional openness and communication, and whether that has any influence on their mental well-being. His main finding was that the further along the boys got in their adolescence, the more they tended to embrace hypermasculine stereotypes. But boys who remained close to their mothers did not act as tough and were more emotionally available. Closeness to fathers did not have the same effect, his research found.

Using a mental-health measure called the Children's Depression Inventory, he also found that boys who shunned masculine stereotypes and remained more emotionally available had, on average, better rates of mental health through middle school. "If you look at the effect size of my findings, mother support and closeness was the most predictive of boys' ability to resist [hypermasculine] stereotypes and therefore predictive of better mental health," Santos says. He adds that his research did not examine why a close mother-son relationship differed in its effect from a close father-son bond, but he suspects that fathers use stereotypically male behaviors to guide their sons into adulthood. "It could be, men see close relationships with their sons as an opportunity to reinforce traditional gender roles," he says. (See a story on mothers who opt for breast milk, not breast-feeding.)


Leftist intellectuals fawn over slimy Islamist Tariq Ramadan

When Salman Rushdie was forced into hiding in 1989 after a fatwa by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Western intellectuals rallied to his defence. Yet when Hirsi Ali was forced into hiding in 2004 after her friend and artistic collaborator, film director Theo van Gogh, was murdered by an Islamist who pinned to the dead man's chest a death threat to Hirsi Ali, support for her was qualified with condescension.

By contrast, Ramadan -- the Swiss-born philosopher and self-proclaimed apologist for his grandfather Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, the movement that spawned Hamas -- is treated with deference and hailed as a moderate Muslim and bridge-builder.

As Berman notes, when Buruma wrote about Ramadan in The New York Times in February 2007, he concluded the philosopher offered "a reasoned but traditionalist" approach to Islam and that his values were "as universal as those of the European Enlightenment".

Yet, as Hitchens notes, "It's hardly possible to read of a media appearance with Tariq Ramadan that does not describe him as arrestingly handsome and charismatic. No disrespect, of course, but I'd be the first to agree that it can't be his writing that draws the crowd."

It is this conundrum -- why Ramadan is lauded and Hirsi Ali looked down on -- that Berman seeks to explain in his book. And why when scores of intellectuals have been forced into hiding there seem to be so few with the courage to express outrage or solidarity. It is this moral cowardice that gives the title to Berman's book The Flight of the Intellectuals.

Berman admits he is intrigued by Ramadan. "I had heard about him as a good guy, a reforming moderate in the world of Islamic thinkers," he says. "But when I read what he wrote I was struck by the difference between what I read about him and what I read by him."

When Ramadan wrote his doctoral thesis about al-Banna, it was rejected at the University of Geneva as a "partisan apologia" and was eventually accepted only because a Swiss socialist campaigned to have a second committee consider it.

Yet Berman uses historical sources to reveal a much more sinister portrait of al-Banna than the one that appears on the pages of Ramadan's books. Using archival records that have been published only in the past year, he shows how al-Banna funded the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al-Husseini, "Adolf Hitler's most prolix and prominent champion in the Arab world".

Al-Husseini drew from Nazism and the Koran to create Islamic fascism, which he broadcast ad nauseam over the radio on the Voice of Free Arabism. And these poisonous texts found their way into the writings of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Berman says he sees Ramadan as a Shakespearean figure. He charms Western intellectuals and yet "his grandfather and his father, his family contacts, his intellectual tradition is precisely the milieu that bears the principal responsibility for generating the modern theory of religious suicide-terror".


Surface Temperature Records: Policy Driven Deception?

Authors veteran meteorologists Joe D’Aleo and Anthony Watts analyzed temperature records from all around the world for a major SPPI paper, Surface Temperature Records – Policy-driven Deception?

The startling conclusion that we cannot tell whether there was any significant “global warming” at all in the 20th century is based on numerous astonishing examples of manipulation and exaggeration of the true level and rate of “global warming”.

That is to say, leading meteorological institutions in the USA and around the world have so systematically tampered with instrumental temperature data that it cannot be safely said that there has been any significant net “global warming” in the 20th century

Executive summary

1. Instrumental temperature data for the pre-satellite era (1850-1980) have been so widely, systematically, and uni-directionally tampered with that it cannot be credibly asserted there has been any significant “global warming” in the 20th century.

2. All terrestrial surface-temperature databases exhibit signs of urban heat pollution and post measurement adjustments that render them unreliable for determining accurate long-term temperature trends.

3. All of the problems have skewed the data so as greatly to overstate observed warming both regionally and globally.

4. Global terrestrial temperature data are compromised because more than three-quarters of the 6,000 stations that once reported are no longer being used in data trend analyses.

5. There has been a significant increase in the number of missing months with 40% of the GHCN stations reporting at least one missing month. This requires infilling which adds to the uncertainty and possible error.

6. Contamination by urbanization, changes in land use, improper siting, and inadequately-calibrated instrument upgrades further increases uncertainty.

7. Numerous peer-reviewed papers in recent years have shown the overstatement of observed longer term warming is 30-50% from heat-island and land use change contamination.

8. An increase in the percentage of compromised stations with interpolation to vacant data grids may make the warming bias greater than 50% of 20th-century warming.

9. In the oceans, data are missing and uncertainties are substantial. Changes in data sets introduced a step warming in 2009.

More HERE (See the original PDF for links, graphics etc.)

Obama's Muslim roots are no delusion

The so-called “mainstream media” has spent the past week trying to determine how anywhere from one fifth to one quarter of the American people could conclude that President Obama is a Muslim. The commentary has almost universally condemned Americans as “ignorant,” “ill-informed,” “racist,” or “bigoted," asserting disdainfully that it's "obvious" that Obama is a Christian.

"Obvious?" What IS obvious is what the media has overlooked: themselves, President Obama, and Muslims.

Author, and proud Muslim, Asma Gull Hasan wrote in February 2009 Forbes Magazine that “since Election Day, I have been part of more and more conversations with Muslims in which it was either offhandedly agreed that Obama is Muslim or enthusiastically blurted out. In commenting on our new president, ‘I have to support my fellow Muslim brother,’ would slip out of my mouth before I had a chance to think twice.”

But the mainstream media is now mocking the increasing number of Americans who believe Obama is a Muslim. Well now that we shown that those Americans are in agreement with these Muslims, does this make the Muslims bigoted or the media? ...

Obama's actions have led many Americans to conclude that he must be Muslim. Who can blame them? Not only did he declare that America was no longer a Christian nation, but he also claimed that America is the world's largest Muslim nation. He supports the Ground Zero Mosque, and he is on record saying he "will stand with them" whenever they face attack. Significantly, he refuses to acknowledge that radical Islam has declared war against us.

Despite all the noise, diversion, and debate, we remain steadfast in our opinion: Obama may not be a Muslim...but he sure as communion couldn't be a true Christian; otherwise, the mainstream media and other Democrats would despise him.


Australians still support the monarchy

To the dismay of the arrogant Leftist intelligentsia. Not mentioned anywhere below is the result of Australia's referendum on the subject in 1999. In defiance of all the talking heads, 55% voted for the Monarchy. Even many people of non-British origin voted for it. In my home State of Queensland nearly two thirds voted for the Monarchy: An aptly named State (actually named after Queen Victoria)

Public support for a republic has slumped to a 16-year low with more Australians in favour of retaining the monarchy for now.

A Sun-Herald/Nielsen poll conducted two weeks before the federal election showed that - when asked straight out if Australia should become a republic - 48 per cent of the 1400 respondents were opposed to constitutional change (a rise of 8 per cent since 2008) while 44 per cent said we should change (a drop of 8 per cent since 2008). But when asked which of the following statements best described their view:

- 31 per cent said Australia should never become a republic.

- 29 per cent said Australia should become a republic as soon as possible.

- 34 per cent said Australia should become a republic only after Queen Elizabeth II's reign ends.

Backing for a republic is at its lowest since 1994 - five years before Australia had a referendum on the topic.

Nielsen pollster John Stirton said yesterday that, despite the slump, there was a sense of inevitability Australia would one day become a republic with a large number backing Prime Minister Julia Gillard's stance that the issue should be closely considered after a change of monarchy.

"These results suggest Australians will be more likely to support a republic when Queen Elizabeth II is no longer on the throne," he said.

Our top politicians are divided over the republic issue. During the election campaign Ms Gillard echoed the sentiments of her predecessor, Kevin Rudd, who said a republic was not a first-term priority and would only be considered after a monarch change. Ms Gillard said a Labor government would work towards an agreement on the type of republic model - a sticking point in the 1999 defeat of the referendum.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott - an open monarchist along with his mentor and former leader John Howard - said Australians had shown little desire for change. He would not seek to put the republic question to a vote under a Coalition government.

"The Australian people have demonstrated themselves to be remarkably attached to institutions that work," he said. "I think that our existing constitutional arrangements have worked well in the past. I see no reason whatsoever why they can't continue to work well in the future.

More here

Illogical causal attribution

An email from a reader. He shows what happens when you are consistent and use ratio scales (i.e. scales with a meaningful rather than an arbitrary zero) to evaluate both temperature and CO2 levels

Roosters crowing causes the Sun to come up.

'Tis claimed that there being more CO2 in the atmosphere has 'caused' global warming.

'Cause and Effect' presumes some sort of direct association.

Since about 1870 CO2 has increased from 290ppm to about 390ppm, that is a 33% increase.

Since 1870 the world's average temperature(estimated) has increased from about 13 C to 14 C.

13 C = 286 K
14 C = 287 K.

1K is an increase of about 1/2 of 1%.

A 33% increase in CO2 causing a 1/2 of 1% increase in temperature seems a RATHER WEAK association to use to claim 'causality'!!

( Using degrees Kelvin gives one a total increase, using Celsius or Fahrenheit only gives the increase in above 0 degrees.)

Political correctness affects your tax liability??

Obama's America

Z STREET, a pro-Israel non-profit corporation, filed a lawsuit in federal court today charging that the IRS violated the organization’s First Amendment rights. The suit was filed after Z STREET was told by an IRS official that its application for tax-exempt status has been delayed because an IRS policy requires consideration of whether a group’s views on Israel differ from those of the current Administration.

“Not only is it patently un-American but it is also a clear violation of the First Amendment for a government agency to penalize an organization because of its political position on Israel or anything else,” said Z STREET president Lori Lowenthal Marcus, a former First Amendment lawyer. “This situation is the same as if the government denied a driver’s license to people because they were Republicans or Democrats. It goes against everything for which our country stands.”

Z STREET filed for tax-exempt status in January of this year and, despite having met all of the requirements for grant of this status, the application has been stalled. An IRS agent told Z STREET’s lawyers that the application was delayed because of a Special Israel Policy that requires more intense scrutiny of organizations which have to do with Israel, in part to determine whether they espouse positions on Israel contrary to those of the current Administration.

Z STREET is a Zionist organization that proudly supports Israel’s right to refuse to negotiate with, make concessions to, or appease terrorists. Z STREET’s positions on Israel and, in particular, on the Middle East “peace process” differ significantly from those espoused by the Obama administration.

If Z STREET had tax-exempt status, its donors would be able to deduct contributions from their taxable income. The IRS's refusal to grant tax-exempt status to Z STREET has inhibited the organization‘s fundraising efforts, and therefore impeded its ability to speak and to educate the public regarding the issues that are the focus and purpose of Z STREET.


Leftist hate speech from the BBC

We read:
" For most of us, condemning someone for where they went to school reeks of the class envy politics of much of the last century. No one, however, seems to have told the BBC where the terms Old Etonian, public school and Oxbridge appear to have become insults.

An editorial in the magazine Country Life has suggested the broadcaster is prejudiced against perceived ‘toffs’. It claimed that the BBC had a ‘family size bucket of chips’ on its shoulder and claimed that this type of ‘bigotry’ would be regarded as unacceptable in any other area of British life.

Country Life published the piece in response to a Channel 4 News item which interviewed state school pupils who wanted to go to Cambridge. The students suggested Coalition leaders had not experienced enough hardship to understand the issues facing the public. The magazine said: ‘These students were merely repeating the mantra of the moment.

‘The BBC, for example, has acquired a new lexicon of abuse, the only one it still permits itself. Milder terms include “Old Etonian”, “Oxbridge”, “public school”, “upper-class”, “toff”, “aristo”, and the unspeakable “posh”.

These look harmless enough, but listen to the animus with which they’re used. Even in lighter contexts, such as Radio 4’s The News Quiz, “toff” is a cue for bigotry of a kind no longer acceptable in any other area of British life.


Krugman blows the whistle on Obanomics

Even Krugman can see that there is no recovery in sight. See below. Obama has lost one of his biggest cheerleaders. Mind you, Krugman's own ideas about what to do are just more and more big government. He still hasn't figured out that it is business that creates jobs and that it is pro-business policies that are therefore needed

What will Ben Bernanke, the Fed chairman, say in his big speech Friday in Jackson Hole, Wyo.? Will he hint at new steps to boost the economy? Stay tuned.

But we can safely predict what he and other officials will say about where we are right now: that the economy is continuing to recover, albeit more slowly than they would like. Unfortunately, that’s not true: this isn’t a recovery, in any sense that matters. And policy makers should be doing everything they can to change that fact.

The small sliver of truth in claims of continuing recovery is the fact that G.D.P. is still rising: we’re not in a classic recession, in which everything goes down. But so what?

The important question is whether growth is fast enough to bring down sky-high unemployment. We need about 2.5 percent growth just to keep unemployment from rising, and much faster growth to bring it significantly down. Yet growth is currently running somewhere between 1 and 2 percent, with a good chance that it will slow even further in the months ahead. Will the economy actually enter a double dip, with G.D.P. shrinking? Who cares? If unemployment rises for the rest of this year, which seems likely, it won’t matter whether the G.D.P. numbers are slightly positive or slightly negative.

All of this is obvious. Yet policy makers are in denial.

After its last monetary policy meeting, the Fed released a statement declaring that it “anticipates a gradual return to higher levels of resource utilization” — Fedspeak for falling unemployment. Nothing in the data supports that kind of optimism. Meanwhile, Tim Geithner, the Treasury secretary, says that “we’re on the road to recovery.” No, we aren’t.

Why are people who know better sugar-coating economic reality? The answer, I’m sorry to say, is that it’s all about evading responsibility.

In the case of the Fed, admitting that the economy isn’t recovering would put the institution under pressure to do more. And so far, at least, the Fed seems more afraid of the possible loss of face if it tries to help the economy and fails than it is of the costs to the American people if it does nothing, and settles for a recovery that isn’t.


BBC hedging its bets: Now talking to climate skeptics!

In a special Radio 4 series the BBC's Environmental Analyst Roger Harrabin investigates whether the arguments surrounding climate change can ever be won. He questions whether his own reporting - and that of others - has adequately told the whole story about global warming.

Roger Harrabin has reported on the climate for almost thirty years off and on, but last November while working on the "Climategate" emails story, he was prompted to look again at the basics of climate science.

He finds that the public under-estimate the degree of consensus among scientists that humans have contributed towards the heating of the climate. But he also finds that politicians often fail to convey the huge uncertainty over the extent of future climate change.

At this crucial moment in global climate policy making, he talks to seminal characters in the climate change debate including Tony Blair, Lord Lawson, Sir Crispin Tickell and the influential blogger Steve McIntyre.

Just six months ago, public trust in climate science looked assured as nations moved towards the climate summit in Copenhagen. Now a recent BBC poll suggests that less than half of the British populace accepts that humans are changing the climate - the fundamental premise of government policy on energy, transport, planning, construction; and a major influence on policy in taxation, agriculture and foreign affairs.

This first programme in the series examines what happened to cause this swing in public sentiment.
It asks whether the scientific reviews underway - two down, two to go - will restore public faith in climate science.

It examines the sceptics' argument that mainstream scientists have under-estimated the role of natural cycles in the recent warm period. And it considers whether changes in the output of the sun might even be leading the Earth into a period of cooling.


The New York Times stands truth on its head

See below. Dr Goebbels call home. The NYT has a propaganda job for you.

Republican insurgents from the far right did well in Tuesday’s primaries. What their campaigns lack in logic, compassion and sensible policy seems to be counterbalanced by a fiercely committed voter base that is nowhere to be seen on the Democratic side. …….

Much of the G.O.P’s fervid populist energy has been churned up by playing on some people’s fears of Hispanics and Muslims, by painting the president as a dangerous radical, by distorting the truth about the causes of the recession. Far too many Republican leaders have eagerly fed that destructive anger.

And where are the Democrats in all of this? Last time we checked, they were fleeing solid accomplishments on health care, financial reform and the economy. President Obama and his party have little time left to gin up enthusiasm and a lot more committed voters.


Universities teach knowledge but not wisdom (?)

What a lot of Stalinist crap! Who is to say what wisdom is? Some people think global warming is wisdom. I think the Bible is humanity's greatest store of wisdom. So is the Bible going to be taught to all university students? Fat chance!

Schwartz has always had grandiose and only semi-coherent ideas and has been dogged by controversy wherever he went. I would diagnose him as an egomaniac, if not a psychopath

MODERN universities are neglecting the teaching of wisdom to the detriment of its students, says vice-chancellor Steven Schwartz.

In his second annual lecture last night, the vice-chancellor of Macquarie University argued that worldwide the higher education sector was focused on teaching practical skills necessary for a career, with disastrous results. The financial crisis, the parliamentary expenses scandal in Britain and the home insulation program were cited as evidence of educated leaders making choices lacking in wisdom.

Professor Schwartz said a fixation with money had led to the decline in teaching students how to think broadly. "We once were about character building but now we are about money," he said at the university's North Ryde campus.

Complexities of Australia's Senate system mean that Gillard can't win

Fielding is a Christian Senator and is very hostile to Labor. And Julia's atheism and living arrangements with her bisexual lover no doubt horrify him even more than when Rudd was in charge. He was also instrumental in seeing that Rudd could get nothing major through the Senate.

So even if Julia gets all her other ducks in a row, Fielding can block Labor for nearly a year. An Abbott government, on the other hand would have little trouble from Fielding -- if only because Abbott is a sincerely committed Christian

Abbott has said that he would not block supply (the budget) to a Labor government but that leaves open blocking everything else

The Senate is emerging as a new threat to a stable minority government. Steve Fielding is threatening to put a Labor government in gridlock next year and Nick Xenophon is vowing to force a new national crackdown on poker machines.

Victorian Senator Fielding, who can hold the Senate to ransom until July 1 next year by voting with the Coalition, has declared the "voters are not happy with Labor", and he has to decide whether to block everything it does.

Global cooling hits Australia

HUGE overnight snowfalls have delivered Victoria's best skiing conditions in years. Falls Creek had the biggest dumping, with 54cm of fresh snow recorded in the 24 hours to 6am. Mt Hotham had 46cm, Dinner Plain 30cm, Mt Buller 29cm and Lake Mountain 25cm. There was 10cm of new snow at Mt Baw Baw and Mt Buffalo.

Falls Creek resident Chris Hocking said 226cm of snow had fallen in the area so far this month, already higher than any August figure in at least a decade. "The volume of snow we have seen in August is just staggering,’’ Mr Hocking said. "I haven’t seen anything like this in so many years.’’

It's already been the wettest winter since 1996, with Melbourne's rainfall almost 10mm above average for the season. And if you've been cranking up the heater on a daily basis, it's probably because the mercury hasn't made it past 18C in Melbourne, forcing us to shiver through an average maximum of 14.6C.

Weather bureau senior forecaster Terry Ryan said there had been a return to the icy winters of more than a decade ago. "It's been a return to average temperatures, which we haven't had for a while," Mr Ryan said.

The wet weather had been great news for our dams, currently about 40.2 per cent and growing by 0.2 per cent a day, according to Mr Ryan. "There's no reason why we can't be up to 45 per cent by the end of spring, and there's an outside hope to touch 50 per cent," he said.

And, while the weather has kept most of us inside it has also been a boon for snow bunnies, with conditions among the best in several years. Falls Creek is leading the way and, with more snow expected overnight, it could break records.

Local resident Chris Hocking said last night the snowfall had been amazing. "It's already the best in six years, minimum," he said. "And it's likely to go into the 20-year margin before the end of the month."


Were Australian troops in Afghanistan forced to cut and run?

Due to a lack of backup

THE former Australian chief of operations in Iraq has raised concerns about the gun battle that resulted yesterday in the Army's 21st combat death in Afghanistan.

Lance Corporal Jared MacKinney - attached to the Mentoring Task Force - was killed in action yesterday in the Deh Rawud region west of Tarin Kowt during a three-hour battle with Taliban insurgents.

Major General Jim Molan, now retired, told The Australian several aspects of the fire-fight as described yesterday by the Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, were of concern. "We can't tell from what the CDF said whether they were running out of ammunition or . . . backing off because quite literally you can run out of ammunition in 10 or 20 minutes in a serious firefight," he said.

He also queried why there appeared to be no rapid reaction force acting in reserve to provide assistance to the beleaguered joint Australian-Afghan National Army foot patrol.

"In a logically-run war, if you bumped a large group of enemy such as this then you would try to defeat them. "It doesn't appear that we did that. We fought for three hours, fired cannon, dropped a missile, and then we left the battlefield," he said. "Now to me, that sounds a bit inconsequential."

In Oruzgan the Taliban were coming into contact with Australian-led Afghan troops and members of the 300-strong Special Forces Task Group, said Raspal Khosa from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.


Free speech for Wikileaks?

I rarely find much to agree with on Salon but the following excerpt seems well-founded:

"There is not a shred of evidence that any act WikiLeaks has undertaken -- including the release of the last batch of Afghan war documents -- "has killed people." To say that Assange is "a murderer of American and Afghani people" is so far removed from reality, exhibits such an irresponsible detachment from the truth, that it's hard to express in words.

Even the Pentagon admits that there is no evidence whatsoever to support Carroll's factual claims. From The Washington Post, August 11: "'We have yet to see any harm come to anyone in Afghanistan that we can directly tie to exposure in the WikiLeaks documents,' [Pentagon spokesman Geoff] Morrell said." It's plausible to speculate that WikiLeaks' disclosure creates some risk of future harm, but to assert that "American and Afghani people" have been killed by such disclosures is just a total fabrication.

Carroll's emphatic decree that Assange "is a criminal" because he "broke U.S. law" is even more ignorant, though at least in an interesting and revealing way. He's not alone in being unaware that the U.S. -- unlike many other countries -- does not have a general criminal prohibition on disclosing state secrets. It is, of course, illegal for those with an affirmative duty to safeguard secrets (such as government and military employees) to leak certain categories of classified information, but it is generally not illegal for non-governmental third parties -- such as media outlets or private citizens -- to publish that information.

That's why it's extremely difficult to prosecute newspapers for publishing classified information -- such as when The New York Times published the Pentagon Papers or the story of Bush's illegal NSA spying program, or when Dana Priest exposed the CIA's network of secret black sites. To simply assert that WikiLeaks or Assange clearly broke the law by publishing classified information -- despite the fact that they are not government employees -- is to exhibit a monumental ignorance of the subject matter on which one is opining.

There are legal theories under the Espionage Act of 1917 which, in some very narrow cases, can make it plausible to prosecute even non-governmental actors for publishing information, but doing so is very difficult. The Bush DOJ tried and failed to invoke those theories to prosecute two AIPAC officials -- private American citizens -- who were accused of receiving classified information from a DoD official and then transmitting it to the Israeli Government and to various journalists.

Indeed, the very idea of criminalizing the mere receipt and transmission of classified information by non-government-employees is incredibly dangerous, as it would criminalize much of what investigative reporters do, which is why even harsh AIPAC critics -- such as myself -- found that AIPAC prosecution to be so chilling.

There are countries (such as Britain) that criminalize all disclosures of classified information, but the U.S. is not one of them.

What's most interesting to me about the certainty of Carroll and plenty of others that WikiLeaks broke the law is that Assange -- unlike the two AIPAC officials whom the Government was unable to convict -- is not even a U.S. citizen, and WikiLeaks is not an American organization.

Just consider the mindset implicit in this belief that they "broke U.S. law": once the Pentagon decrees that something is secret, not only American citizens -- but every human being on the planet -- is thereby barred from talking about or disclosing it, upon pain of being declared a criminal.

As I've said many times, the criticism that WikiLeaks should have been more careful in redacting the initial release of documents out of concern for innocent Afghans is a reasonable (though sometimes exaggerated and hypocritical) one. But the broader anger at WikiLeaks seems clearly grounded in its defiance of U.S. Government decrees over what may and may not be publicly aired.


Gridlock Is Our Greatest Hope: The case for divided government

The comment below is about the USA but we look like having something very similar in Australia very soon

Get ready for the most productive and decent political condition known to man: sweet gridlock. You get nothing. And after what you've been through these past few years, you deserve it.

Hey, things are tough. A new Rasmussen poll says 48 percent of voters regard President Barack Obama's political views as "extreme." Not surprising, seeing as —how can I put this without being hyperbolic?— Washington has been doing to the economy what Piranha 3D has done to cinematic excellence.

So with Democrats in deep trouble, it's time to start pondering this creepy and amorphous "anti-incumbent" wave.

Whatever the why, Republicans will have enough votes to prevent any more great leaps forward. Nothing of consequence will happen. And nothing could be better.

This week, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio)—emboldened by the prospect of an unearned return to power—asked the president for the resignations of his economic team of Tim Geithner and Larry Summers. (As if it makes a difference which technocrat is meddling with your life.) Republicans would, unlike the last time out, make significant cuts in spending and taxes, ease the overbearing regulatory system, and repeal nationalized health care.

Maybe. But in the near term, the president certainly would veto any ideologically unpalatable legislation. Just as certainly, he never would allow Republicans to undo his major legislative "accomplishments." If Republicans do take over the Senate, Democrats can filibuster legislation just as easily. There is no greater check on power in Washington than two strong political parties.

Safe to say there will be enough secure Democrats and secure Republicans that legislative activity will be winnowed down to the bare necessities—namely, politics without policy results. And that's fine by me. What we need now is to stop the implementation of any more bright ideas and give everyone a break.

I recently read a Newsweek piece ("On Our Own") examining the nation's economic troubles. Government, the story explained with a straight face, "seems to have run out of ideas for rebuilding the economy, but businesses and consumers are figuring it out for themselves."

Out of ideas? Hardly. And that's the problem. But what I particularly liked about the piece was that it neatly summed up the prevailing "idea" of the Washington establishment: Without government's help, you're on your own (a condition, incidentally, that is supposed to be scary). Washington is stocked with folks who possess the extraordinary gift of believing that they have the ability to manage and organize complex economic systems —and our behavior in them.


CA: New school to open with price tag of $578 million

A glimpse of why California is financially struggling. It's only taxpayer's money so who cares about getting value for it?

Next month’s opening of the Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools will be auspicious for a reason other than its both storied and infamous history as the former Ambassador Hotel, where the Democratic presidential contender was assassinated in 1968.

With an eye-popping price tag of $578 million, it will mark the inauguration of the nation’s most expensive public school ever.

The K-12 complex to house 4,200 students has raised eyebrows across the country as the crème de la crème of “Taj Mahal’’ schools, $100 million-plus campuses boasting architectural panache and deluxe amenities. “There’s no more of the old, windowless cinder block schools of the ’70s where kids felt, ‘Oh, back to jail,’ ’’ said Joe Agron, editor in chief of American School & University, a school construction journal. “Districts want a showpiece for the community, a really impressive environment for learning.’’

Boss of world's biggest maker of core computer chips (Intel) says that the Democrats Are Destroying America's Economy

This is a stunning indictment from the leader of one of America’s most successful technology companies:
Unless government policies are altered, he predicted, “the next big thing will not be invented here. Jobs will not be created here.”

The U.S. legal environment has become so hostile to business, Otellini said, that there is likely to be “an inevitable erosion and shift of wealth, much like we’re seeing today in Europe–this is the bitter truth.”

Not long ago, Otellini said, “our research centers were without peer. No country was more attractive for start-up capital… We seemed a generation ahead of the rest of the world in information technology. That simply is no longer the case…”

Otellini singled out the political state of affairs in Democrat-dominated Washington, saying: “I think this group does not understand what it takes to create jobs. And I think they’re flummoxed by their experiment in Keynesian economics not working…”

As a result, he said, “every business in America has a list of more variables than I’ve ever seen in my career.” If variables like capital gains taxes and the R&D tax credit are resolved correctly, jobs will stay here, but if politicians make decisions “the wrong way, people will not invest in the United States. They’ll invest elsewhere.”

Take factories. “I can tell you definitively that it costs $1 billion more per factory for me to build, equip, and operate a semiconductor manufacturing facility in the United States,” Otellini said…

“If our tax rate approached that of the rest of the world, corporations would have an incentive to invest here,” Otellini said. But instead, it’s the second highest in the industrialized world, making the United States a less attractive place to invest–and create jobs–than places in Europe and Asia that are “clamoring” for Intel’s business.

The most disturbing part of Otellini’s comments is that he says nothing groundbreaking, nothing unexpected, and nothing that we have not heard many times before. Otellini talks about regulation, taxation, litigation and transparency - all issues that have been cited by business leaders for years. But our ‘leaders’ in Washington ignore these concerns, and instead pile on more taxes, more regulation, more litigation costs, greater uncertainty about the climate going forward. And they do all this while claiming to be ‘pro-jobs.’

Will Congress and the White House ever realize that business leaders are telling the truth? As our government continues to make it more difficult to do business in the US, companies must increasingly look to more favorable climates abroad. If Washington really wants to spur job creation here in the US, they should repeal the health care overhaul, reduce spending, cut the corporate tax rate, give up on cap and trade, and reform litigation. Instead we have been treated to an extended experiment in government control - one that is obviously not producing new wealth, new jobs, or any real hope for the emergence of the industries of the future.


Declining trees spell gloom for planet -- say Greenie nuts

Since global temperature changes over the last decade have been in tenths of one degree only, whatever is happening to trees is not the result of global warming. There IS no global temperature change to speak of. Besides, any ocean warming would INCREASE overall rainfall, which is good for trees -- and increased CO2 is good for them too.

The study below blames the decline in trees that they saw on drier weather overall -- but drier weather overall is a sign of global COOLING! Pesky! How come these so-called scientists know nothing of the most basic physics of evaporation or the chemistry of photosynthesis?

LESS rainfall and rising global temperatures are damaging one of the world's best guardians against climate change: trees. A global study, published in the journal Science, shows that the amount of carbon dioxide being soaked up by the world's forests in the past decade has declined, reversing a 20-year trend.

It diminishes hopes that global warming can be seriously slowed down by the mass planting of trees in carbon sinks. Although plants generally grow bigger as a result of absorbing carbon-enriched air, they need more water and nutrients to do so, and they have been getting less.

A fierce drought that dried out vast areas of the Amazon Basin in 2005 is seen as a key to the global decline in carbon sinks in the past decade, but Australia is not immune. "Australia is a significant contributor to the global pattern, and the findings are consistent to what we have seen here," said a senior CSIRO researcher and director of the Global Carbon Project, Dr Josep Canadell.

The pathetic Leftist faith in verbal magic rolls on

Don't label heroin users as 'junkies'
"People should stop calling heroin users "junkies" or "addicts", an influential think tank on drugs has said. The UK Drug Policy Commission said such names stigmatised users and made it more difficult to get off drugs.

Its report suggested that the policing of drugs on the streets and methadone programmes forcing users to go to chemists were "publicly humiliating".

Instead, the study said that British society needed to show more compassion towards drug users. Authors of the six-month report said the terms "junkie" and "addict" were distrustful and judgmental and led to feelings of low self-worth among drug users.

"The crux of this problem, I'm afraid, is the persistent view that drug addiction is the problem of the addict," he said. [It isn't??]


Drug addicts have for some time been referred to simply as "users" in professional circles -- but even that vague term has already acquired a tone of contempt.

Response to Religion and Theology by JR

Logic and rationality demand that one believe in God. If you analyze it logically, you will see this to be true.

When it comes to God’s existence there are only two possibilities. Either God exists or he doesn’t. Further, either you believe or you don’t (some might argue that “maybe” or "agnostic", is another option, but that is essentially the same as "don’t believe" and doesn’t really change the analysis other than to complicate it a bit). Given these choices there are four possible outcomes. If one believes in God and there is a God that results in a beneficial outcome. If one believes and there is no God, then the outcome is neither good nor bad. On the other hand if one chooses not to believe and there is a God, the outcome is negative in nature. If one does not believe in God and he doesn’t exist, the outcome is neither good nor bad. I’ve tried to create a logic chart to show the possibilities, hopefully it works.

......................God.........No God


As you can see, the only positive result occurs if you believe in God and there is a God. But whether you are right or wrong about the existence of God, there is no downside to believing. However, there is a downside if you don’t believe and you’re wrong, but there is no upside to not believing. The best you can hope for is a neutral result. Given these possibilities the logical and rational choice is to believe because it is the only choice where you can win.

Therefore, believing is the logical and rational thing to do. Of course believing in God is not the same thing as believing in a religion. This is a much more personal and spiritual decision and hence, less logical. But there are some logical things one can do to narrow the choices when picking a religion. First if the religion says it doesn’t matter what religion you believe in or doesn’t require anything from you, look elsewhere. Logically, if it doesn’t matter what you believe in or do, then you can go elsewhere and get the same results. Second, if the religion teaches you to do morally repugnant things, like killing, enslaving, robbing, or cutting of the heads of nonbelievers, then you should go elsewhere (this disqualifies Islam and the religion of the Maya and Aztecs). Now you’re left with the problem discussed in the blog, finding something that you can believe in from what is left. Not an easy task perhaps, but not impossible.

Many people simply give up too soon, or buy in to the idea that everything is a fairy tale and therefore the religion is false. Sometimes they accept a false premise and reject everything based on that. For example, take the story of creation in the bible. Many Christians believe the universe was created in 6 days of 24 hours, but the text doesn’t say this at all. How do we know this? Because days and nights are not created until “day” three. How long were the “days” of creation? The Bible doesn’t say, it could have been seconds or billions of years. The interesting thing is that the story actually mirrors quite well the modern scientific theories. Of course, there may be errors in religion, but that doesn’t mean that you give up on it anymore than you give up on science because some of the accepted theories turn out to be wrong (remember the earth as the center of the universe theory).

Now, I don’t believe that someone is going to hell because they don’t believe. My religion certainly never taught that. It makes no sense that a murderer who believes would go to heaven, while a saint who is an atheist goes to hell. If God exists I suspect he has a better sense of justice than that. Further, if he exists, he would surely expect people question and seek truth because it would eventually lead one to the right place (so long as we remember that we don’t know everything). Seeking truth may not lead where one likes, but it doesn’t have to lead to Atheism.

One other thing, one should not confuse the person next to you with the religion. My religion suits me and I find it quite rational, but not everyone sees things the same way nor is it possible that they do so. The person next to me doesn't make or break a religion. Everyone learns at a different rate. As long as they’re trying to be better people that’s a good thing.

When It Comes to the Ground Zero Mosque: `Truth Is the New Hate Speech'

Excerpt below from Pamela Geller -- as she answers the hate speech against her emanating from Britain's Leftist "Guardian". Giving voice to the fact that most Americans are opposed to the mosque is "hate speech", apparently

The left is dismissive of the grief and offense caused by the prospect of a victory mosque at Ground Zero. Despite all the competition from its many rivals in this game, the Guardian took first prize for smear, slander, libel and personal destruction. The notoriously anti-Semitic Guardian took on the Jewish Atlas, and could barely contain itself.

My crime? Hate speech. And that proves once again what I have contended all along: "truth is the new hate speech." Knowledgeable conservative readers will get a charge out of the Guardian's story, which is a mixture of pure fiction and dangerous lies, all devoted to the marginalization of those who dare to expose the liberal media propaganda machine.

The anti-Semitism was open: "Geller," claimed Chris McGreal, the author of the piece, "writes for an Israeli media network based in the occupied territories that is the voice of the Jewish settler movement."

I do? They just make stuff up. I don't even know what they are talking about, but if Chris McGreal is in touch with this "Israeli media network," he should let them know that I would love to write for them - please point the way!

The rest of the piece is just as ridiculous. "Pamela Geller," the Guardian tells its mouth-breathing readers, "is on a mission to save the free world and she's doing it, on this occasion, in a bikini as she writhes around in the sea

The 2006 bikini vlog is back! I've recorded 400 vlogs and the sticky-fingered smear machine can't stop watching the one in which I'm wearing a bikini and wading in the ocean. I just hope they watch it with the sound on.

The Guardian does try to be serious, however, and to hurl some serious charges at me: "But while Geller has inserted herself into mainstream politics in America, she has also aligned herself with far-right causes across the globe including the English Defence League in Britain, white supremacists in South Africa and Serbian war criminals."

Yes, I stand with the EDL, who are resisting the Islamization of Britain, and the Serbs, who are resisting the Islamization of the Balkans. I also stand against the genocide in South Africa. White supremacists? War criminals? This is the genocidal Guardian at its mendacious best. Nice work, goosesteppers.

Source (See the original for links)

British police are at the beck and call of animal rights activists

Norris Atthey is a retired military policeman who for some years has been trying to defend one of the last pockets of red squirrels left in England , around Morpeth in Northumberland (see his website, Morpeth Red Squirrels). He does so by destroying the grey squirrels which across most of the country have seen off their red cousins, not least by infecting them with a fatal disease, squirrel pox. There used to be a bounty on them and it is still an offence to release them into the wild, since they are officially vermin. After trapping them, Mr Atthey has quite legally shot hundreds with an air pistol, very much more humane than hitting them over the head in a sack, as Natural England and other wildlife bodies prefer.

Mr Atthey was outraged when a Burton window cleaner was recently given a criminal record and lost £1,547 in costs after being prosecuted by the RSPCA for drowning a grey squirrel. He publicly challenged the charity by announcing that he had drowned one too. The ever-zealous RSPCA rose to the bait, knocking on his door to demand an interview. He responded that he had no more to say, beyond his published statement. Next morning, the RSPCA official returned, summoning two policemen to arrest Mr Atthey for “causing unnecessary suffering to an animal”. He was handcuffed and taken to the police station at Bedlington, some miles away, where he was held for nine hours in the cells. Eventually he was interrogated for an hour by an RSPCA official, with a policeman standing mutely by, before being released.

Why was Mr Atthey arrested on the orders of the RSPCA? Why was he handcuffed, and imprisoned for nine hours? When I put this to Northumbria police, they replied that “the RSPCA is leading this investigation” and that “the arrested man remained with police until suitable arrangements were in place for an interview to take place”.

This provokes much wider questions, also raised by other cases reported in this column, such as that of Alan Brough, who was held by Carlisle police for six hours while the RSPCA took away his 90 fell ponies, and who immediately went and hanged himself. [There was no evidence that the ponies were abused or were suffering in any way].

The RSPCA, that once-admirable charity, now often seems to pursue animal-lovers through the courts simply to win the publicity that keeps its £115 million a year in donations rolling in. And why do the police now regard themselves as the charity’s enforcement wing? What an admission from Northumbria police that they seek to justify holding a 66-year old man of impeccable character for nine hours by saying “the RSPCA is leading this investigation”. When did Parliament empower RSPCA officials (all ordinary members of the public) to order our police around like this?


Are seas the new green battlegounds?

The article below was written by a Greenie so he sees a conspiracy where there are only outraged fishermen who resent being locked out of places where they have been accustomed to fish

In case it passed you by in the recent, just cleared, political blizzard, there's been a shift in our domestic environmental battlefronts, to the sea. After decades as an election cutting point, forests were absent on Saturday. Instead the resource versus protection barney moved to Australia's marine domain. This contest has far to go.

In the past year, a politically sharp, well-funded recreational fisheries lobby has emerged for the first time to take on, and beat, scientists and environmentalists.

It snapped up support from both major parties, and by the campaign's climax had put marine protection on the radar of many politicians whose closest previous dealings with a fish were on a plate.

Religion and theology

Theology is an attempt by religious people to construct a version of their faith that they can intellectually assent to. There are many oddities in Christianity (such as the paradox of evil) and not everybody can simply ignore them.

I notice that with Rudolf Bultmann (1884 – 1976), a noted Lutheran theologian. He is something of a villain to traditional Christians because of his dismissal of Bible stories as essentially fairy stories. Yet if you read of his life and works you can see that he was a deeply religious man. He was not aiming so much to attack Christianity as to make it something that he could believe in.

I think that I am an instinctively religious person too. I was certainly religious in my now-distant teens. But in the end I cannot do as Bultmann did. I cannot construct a version of Christianity in which I can have faith. So I remain a sympathizer with Christianity but not a Christian myself. I sometimes wish it were otherwise but rationality intervenes and I remain an atheist.

I am reminded in that connection of a relative of mine who in his youth was an Assembly of God minister. But you don't have to have much in the way of qualifications to be an AOG minister. You just have to have the spirit. For those who don't know it, the AOG is a very fundamentalist group.

After a while however he decided that he needed to study theology. So I said to him: "Don't or you will lose the faith". But he did and he did. He is a very knowledgeable academic now -- JR

Dirty tricks against Wikileaks quickly unravel

We read:
"Swedish prosecutors withdrew an arrest warrant for the founder of WikiLeaks on Saturday, saying less than a day after the document was issued that it was based on an unfounded accusation of rape.

They said that for the moment Julian Assange remains suspected of the lesser crime of molestation in a separate case.

But Karin Rosander, a spokeswoman for the Swedish Prosecution Authority, told NBC News that the allegation of molestation remains. However, Rosander said that after a new prosecutor looked at the allegations, the arrest warrant was withdrawn because the severity of the case does not require an arrest at this stage.

A WikiLeaks spokesman, who says he goes by the name Daniel Schmitt in order to protect his identity, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from Iceland that the "extremely serious allegations" came as a complete surprise and that efforts to find lawyers for Assange are under way.... "We were warned to expect 'dirty tricks.' Now we have the first one," it said.

Assange was in Sweden last week partly to apply for a publishing certificate to make sure the website, which has servers in Sweden, can take full advantage of Swedish laws protecting whistle-blowers.


Secrecy is a prime weapon of tyrants and all governments use it to protect themselves so I am very proud of what my fellow Queenslander is doing.

It is however a pity that secrecy that is really needed -- in military operational matters -- can get caught up in the process. Assange has however held back a lot so far in an awareness of that consideration so is to be congratulated on those grounds too. There have so far been no established instances of his revelations actually leading to military problems

If they arrest him, however, his co-workers will let the lot flood out so Obama is obviously running scared. The swift reversal of the Swedish action sounds to me like a direct response to an urgent request from the White House

Canadian Greens may push to decriminalize polygamy

The Australian Green Party has a great array of policies that go well beyond the environment -- usually in a far-Left direction. It would seem that the Canadian Greens are similar. These are people who viscerally hate the society they live in and will do anything they can to tear it down.

They are not even lovers of trees. Their opposition to plastic bags and polystyrene leads to lots of trees being cut down -- to provide paper and cardboard substitutes

The Green Party of Canada will consider a motion Sunday on whether or not they will push to decriminalize polygamy. Party members in a workshop on Saturday evening voted to send the motion to the full-Party plenary, where they'll debate and vote on it.

Speakers in the workshop were careful to define polygamy as a marriage between multiple spouses. They made a clear distinction between polygamy between consenting adults and a polygamist sect in Bountiful, B.C., where domestic abuse has been alleged, though charges were thrown out in 2009. "It's a human rights issue," said Trey Capnerhurst, a Green Party candidate in Edmonton East, noting that she is a poly-advocate.

Polyamory is the process of having more than one intimate relationship at the same time, according to the Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association.

Capnerhurst says in cases where police suspect domestic abuse against multiple wives and children, that should be the subject of criminal charges. "We should be not be charging people with polygamy," she said.

Several Green members in the workshop argued the policy is impossible to sell to voters and could mean losing support at a time when they hit record numbers in the last election.

More here

British Airways changes 'discriminatory' seating policy for men

But it took a court case to budge them

British Airways has changed its seating policy after a businessman complained of being treated like a "child molester" when sitting next to a boy he did not know. The airline has confirmed to The Sunday Telegraph it has altered its procedures to protect unaccompanied minors – the aviation industry term for children flying without a parent or guardian.

It follows the case of Mirko Fischer, a hedge fund manager who was told to move seats by cabin crew under an internal rule that prevented adult males sitting next to unaccompanied children.

Mr Fischer ended up sitting next to the boy on the BA flight from London to Luxembourg when he switched seats with his pregnant wife, so she could be by the window.

The 35-year-old told staff he believed the airline's policy broke the Sex Discrimination Act and later said he felt he had been treated as a potential "child molester". He later won a compensation order at Slough County Court, in which BA admitted sex discrimination in his case and agreed to pay him costs of £2,161 and £750 in damages.

BA, which carried out a review of its policy following the case, now says "seating of unaccompanied minors is managed in a safe but non discriminatory manner".

Mr Fischer, who lives in Luxembourg, said he was "absolutely delighted" by the policy change. He has donated his compensation money to Kidscape and Orphans in the Wild, two child protection charities.

Tom Otley, editor of Business Traveller magazine, also welcomed the ruling, but added: "The end of discrimination is good news but most business travellers usually want to sit as far away as possible from unaccompanied children so this is unlikely to have a big impact on where people sit on-board."

Airlines are free to set their own seating policies regarding unaccompanied minors. Virgin Atlantic said it did not have a similar policy and easyJet said passengers were free to sit where they liked.

A spokesman for BA said: "We carry tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors every year and take great pride in the service that we provide to them and their parents. "We have offered this service on all flights for many years for children aged between five and 11 years old, who are travelling alone.

"Given that some of these flights last up to 13 hours and are overnight, we take the responsibility of caring for these children, whose safety and security has been entrusted to us, extremely seriously. "There is a specific seating department that has a range of guidelines to ensure that we place in an appropriate seat. "On some services, this will be in a specially created Unaccompanied Minors zone within a short distance of the cabin crew in the galley.

"We have recently changed our internal advice to our seating and airport teams to ensure that the seating of unaccompanied minors is managed in a safe but non discriminatory manner."



In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG has actually found something to laugh about in Australia's present political gridlock.

Single W.A. seat could hold key

What did I say about W.A.?

Interesting point: Ken Wyatt has Aboriginal ancestry. So the immediate future of Australia's government could depend on the vote for a conservative "black" man

FOUR seats remain on a knife-edge after the latest counting. But the West Australian seat of Hasluck could hold the keys to The Lodge for either Julia Gillard or Tony Abbott.

Last night the Liberals held a narrow lead in Hasluck, putting Mr Abbott within reach of moving to 73 seats and a chance of forming government in the 150 seat House of Representatives. At 73 seats Mr Abbott would be able to negotiate with the three independents, Bob Katter, Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott, to take power with a majority of one.

But if Labor can get to 73 or 74 seats it may be able to govern with the support of the Green member for Melbourne Adam Bandt, who took the seat from the government after the retirement of Lindsay Tanner at Saturday's election.

Australian vocational colleges to offer degrees

More attempted verbal magic that will just downgrade all degrees. Will it get to the point where you get a Ph.D. for being able to read and write? That's the direction of travel

TAFE institutes are to offer bachelor degrees and could compete with universities for students under a bold plan aimed at combating skills shortages.

The government-owned institutes want funding from next year to offer degrees in areas such as accounting, community services, finances and information technology.

In February next year, TAFE's Sydney Institute will begin offering a bachelor of design through its Enmore Design Centre. More bachelor degrees are expected to be offered by TAFE's Northern Institute and Western Institute in 2012.

NSW TAFE was last month accredited by the state government, under national guidelines, to become a higher-income education provider, allowing it to follow Victoria's TAFE, which is already offering a limited number of degrees.

The head of TAFE in NSW, Pam Christie, said she was reluctant to name specific degrees because the board had yet to approve those that would go ahead.

TAFE wanted to extend opportunities to all communities to gain the sorts of degrees industry was demanding, she said. "We're not trying to compete with universities; we're trying to build relationships with them," she said.

This would include associate degrees offered in conjunction with universities across many of TAFE NSW's 10 institutes and 130 campuses, as well as bachelor degrees.

TAFE bosses in Victoria say enrolments so far are small, and their ability to offer a wider range of degrees to more students is being stymied by a biased funding system that means TAFE students pay more for their degrees than university students - the federal government subsidises only university degrees.

TAFEs say they have also been approached by industry to provide degrees in areas such as optometry, psychology, dentistry, project management, architectural design, technology, social work and aviation.

The head of TAFE Directors Australia, Martin Riordan, said TAFE degrees would give poor and regional students better access to higher education. "Many students in TAFE are from low socio-economic areas and are motivated to go beyond a diploma and do a degree," Mr Riordan said. "This is a way to help them get the degrees they deserve."

He said the plan would also help the federal government achieve its goal to increase the number of people aged 25 to 34 with a degree, from about 32 per cent now to 40 per cent by 2025.

Universities Australia boss Glenn Withers said it would be difficult to ensure the quality of a TAFE degree and the sector's fragile international reputation could be damaged.

"We've already suffered enough from problems with colleges collapsing and international student issues," Dr Withers said. "While we support the idea of TAFEs offering degrees to address skill shortages … the quality-assurance mechanisms just aren't good enough yet."


BBC puffery about Pachauri punctured by ECU Ruling

The ECU is the BBC's internal complaints unit. I have yet to find out what the abbreviation ECU stands for. CU obviously stands for "complaints unit" but what does the E stand for? Surely not "external"!


In a report on calls for Dr Rajendra Pachauri to resign as Head of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the BBC's Environment Correspondent referred to him as "the UN's top climate scientist". A viewer complained that this was inaccurate and misleading, as Dr Pachauri's scientific qualifications and credentials were in a field unrelated to climate science.


Although the phrase was intended as journalistic shorthand for the occupant of the most prominent international post connected with climate science, the implication that he was himself a climate scientist was materially misleading in the context of this report.


Further action

The Editor of BBC News at 10 is reiterating to his team the importance of accuracy in the introduction of our contributors.


Muslim medical care

Mohamed Fathy, a brilliant journalist and a talented writer, recently went on holiday to Alexandria with his two children, his wife and her sister Nashwa. They all had a wonderful time and then suddenly an unfortunate incident took place. A speeding car hit Nashwa as she was crossing the road and she suffered serious injuries and fractures, her clothes were torn and she lost consciousness. Because she was alone at the time of the accident some passers-by took her to a government hospital in the centre of the city.

What happened after that is beyond imagination. Nashwa and dozens of other injured people were dumped into a place which bore the name “Emergency Unit” and she stayed there for two hours without any first aid or treatment and without any doctor examining her. Mohamed Fathy arrived at the hospital and found Nashwa on death's door. He asked for a doctor to examine her but nobody paid any attention. With the passage of time and the apathy of the hospital staff, Fathy lost his temper and started shouting at everyone he met: “We need a doctor … I beg you … The patient is going to die.”

After intensive contacts Mohamed Fathy managed to get in touch with the director of the hospital, Dr Mohamed el-Maradny, who appeared extremely upset at the idea that anyone might contact with him about patients. Dr Maradny said: “Delays with scans are quite normal. Even if you're in a private hospital and you pay the doctors' fees scans can be delayed.”

The hospital director was trying to remind Fathy that Nashwa was receiving free treatment so her family did not have the right to complain about anything. Fathy spoke to the director at length about humaneness and the doctor's duty to tend the sick, and after a long conversation between Fathy and the director, he did order scans for Nashwa.

At this point a new problem arose. A janitor came up to Nashwa, whose condition had greatly deteriorated, and was about to carry her in his arms to the scans department. Mohamed Fathy objected, arguing that carrying patients with fractures required a trained medic because moving the patient's body carelessly could lead to death. The staff at the hospital ridiculed Fathy's idea, which seemed very strange to them. “What do you mean, medic? We don't have that kind of thing here. Either this man carries her or we leave her where she is,” they said. The janitor gave Nashwa a violent yank and her screams resounded throughout the hospital.

After all this negligence, which was close to criminal, it would have been natural for Nashwa to die in the government hospital, but luckily she survived and almost miraculously Mohamed Fathy managed to move her to a private hospital where she underwent an emergency operation which saved her life.


My selection of reports about the election outcome

Three articles below

My home State did its bit for conservative policies

As it has often done in the past. Queensland is also a big mining State and Labor hostility to mining would have been a factor

IN the end, Queensland did matter. The bloodbath in New South Wales turned its focus north and it became a juggernaut. A sizeable swing south of the Tweed River was always probable but when it arrived it wasn't quite as large as many, including those in the LNP, thought.

But the smash-up in Queensland arrived fast and furious - a vote of 38 per cent mid-week was not just endorsed but dumped to 33 to 35 per cent. In terms of seats, Queensland will offer up more seats than New South Wales - now nine against four or five - which is many more than imagined.

Some people in Australia's major Leftist political party still put the jobs and wellbeing of the workers ahead of "Green" obsessions

A rather mournful comment from a Leftist writer below

Will Michael O'Connor, powerful forestry division secretary of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, block an effective Australian response to climate change?

It's a worry for our economy because O'Connor is a key figure behind the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, and soft left factional allies Martin Ferguson and Penny Wong - who, for one more day at least, control the portfolios that really matter: energy, water and climate.

O'Connor helped both Gillard and Ferguson into Parliament. In her maiden speech, Gillard acknowledged him as her "closest confidante", the "most committed of them all" to her Labor values, going back to her student days.

O'Connor should not be underestimated. If the secret of the Ferguson Left is its willingness to do deals with the Right, O'Connor has a record of going further and abandoning the ALP to support the Coalition. He helped bring down Paul Keating, organising (with the National Association of Forest Industries) the loggers blockade of Parliament House in January 1995 - a bitter protest during the regional forest agreement negotiations.

In an article for The Australian at the time, headlined "Green agenda full of myths", O'Connor railed against the environment movement's campaign to "cripple the forest and forest products industry by denying it access to native forests".

The 350-truck blockade took place just as John Howard was ushered in as opposition leader and helped establish his image as the battlers' friend, according to Australian National University forest economist Dr Judith Ajani, author of The Forest Wars (2007): "Australian voters witnessed the first display of Howard's battlers versus Keating's 'special interest elites': the core of a meticulously crafted election strategy."

Israel, India, China and IQ

It has always been a puzzle that Israelis tend to score BELOW the Western average on IQ. Israel is such a brilliant nation scientifically and technologically, that the finding almost seems to invalidate IQ tests. India presents a similar puzzle. Indians do very well wherever they migrate but on average seem to have low IQs back home in India.

As is common, however, the problem would seem to arise from generalizations that are too sweeping and fail to look closely at the populations concerned. I will say a bit more about India below but what needs to be noted is that both nations are NOT ethnically homogeneous. High caste Indians are a lot different from "Dalits" and Israeli "Ashkenazim" (Jews of Northern European recent origin) are VERY different from Israelis of Middle Eastern origins.

And MOST Israelis are of Middle Eastern origins. They are mostly the Jews that were kicked out from Muslim lands after the foundation of modern Israel. Hitler got most of Europe's Ashkenazim West of Moscow, leaving NYC as the great remaining Askenazi centre, and NYC is too comfortable for many Jews to leave.

And at least since the story of Ruth, Jews have never been very endogamous, and Yiddisher Mommas grieve over that to this day. One way or another, Jews have tended to become genetically assimilated into the population within which they live. So many Lithuanian Jews look just like Lithuanians and many Middle Eastern Jews look just like Arabs. Sadly, however, it is not only Arab looks that many Israelis share but also Arab IQ, which is low.

So yes. The Sephardim and Mizrachim of Israel are a bit dumb (though it is VERY incorrect to say so), but the Ashkenazim are very bright and it is they who make Israel an intellectual powerhouse.

Although there are similarities, India is not quite the same. The Northern and Southern Indians do appear to be at least partly of different racial origins and the Northerners seems to be descended in part from lighter-skinned conquerors from somewhere North of India. The conquerors were probably relatively few in number, however, as all Indians are pretty brown.

Indians generally are pretty keen endogamists, however, so the Brahmins are relatively fair of skin and are probably the most closely related to the original Northern invaders. And it is of course the Brahmins who run India. So it is the IQ of the Brahmins and other high castes that is crucial and I know of no studies that have separated out Indian IQ by caste.

And even in India some exogamy does happen. In India, you can generally tell how rich a man is not by his skin colour but by the skin colour of his wife. A rich brown Indian will generally have a fairer-skinned wife. So over the centuries capable Indians from all castes will have worked their way up the status tree and contributed higher IQs to the upper ranges of that tree.

But there is clearly a second influence at work in India: The rural effect. For various reasons a rural background tends to go with a lower IQ. You see that even in South Africa. The Afrikaners (whites of Dutch origin) have a lower average IQ than whites of British origin, even though there is no difference between the parent populations in Europe. And the Afrikaners have always been predominantly farmers.

So the current average IQ of the Indian population is undoubtedly held down by its overwhelmingly rural character. And when even Indians of a relatively low caste move elsewhere, that disadvantage seems to be lost and they prosper -- as in Fiji or South Africa, for instance.

A canny critic might at this point say: "But what about China"? The Chinese are mostly rural and their average IQ is high. Again, however, the very word "China" is an oversimplification. There are many distinct nations within China with their own languages and traditions and a generally low opinion of other such linguistic groups. The picture-based written language of China is not so much an anachronism as a necessity. It's the only way many Chinese can communicate with one another.

And from what I can gather most of the IQ testing has been done on Chinese from the coastal cities. Deep inland in rural China the IQ picture will probably be much different.