-- R.G. Menzies
LIBERTARIAN/CONSERVATIVE DIGEST AND COMMENTARY FROM AN ACADEMIC PSYCHOLOGIST in Brisbane, Australia. My academic publications are widely read
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Even watered down central planning is a failure
The Communists thought that they could plan and control everything. They failed. And the democratic Left can't get their version of it to work either
Robert Samuelson recently described the current economic upheaval as "the crisis of the old order," a collapse of the economic dogmas and institutions of the past few decades. I was particularly struck by one of the items he lists as the pillars of the old order, "faith in routine economic expansion." Except that this doesn't describe what he's really talking about. What he's actually talking about is faith that government officials can manage and control economic growth. "Economists exaggerated their understanding and control. They seem to have exhausted conventional policy approaches." Specifically, he points out that the usual theories of monetary and fiscal "stimulus" have failed. "Central banks such as the Federal Reserve have held interest rates low. Budget deficits are high." Yet here we are.
If anything, Samuelson's summary is understated. Mohamed El-Erian puts it in more alarming terms.
I don't know about you, but whenever I am in an airplane experiencing turbulence, I draw comfort from the belief that the pilots sitting behind the cockpit's closed door know what to do. I would feel very differently if, through an open door, I observed pilots who were frustrated at the poor responsiveness of the plane's controls, arguing about their next step, and getting no help whatsoever from the operator's manuals.
So it is unsettling that policymakers in many Western economies today resemble the second group of pilots.
Ben Bernanke printed massive sums of money and pumped it into the economy, and when that didn't work, he printed more money and pumped it into the economy, heedless of the inflationary risk. He's beginning to look like an incompetent car mechanic: he jams his foot on the accelerator and nothing happens, so instead of taking his foot off the gas, he just keeps it jammed there, guaranteeing that when the engine does spring back to life the car will lurch forward uncontrollably.
Similarly, Obama's economic advisors assumed that the fiscal stimulus would produce the neat little "multiplier" they learned in their Keynesian economics textbooks, so that spending $800 billion would automatically lead to at least $400 billion in new, additional economic activity, an amount that ought to have guaranteed a decent year of growth in 2010. But the multiplier didn't multiply, the growth never happened, and now the ratings agencies are demanding that the US replace this stimulus with contraction, cutting trillions of dollars in future spending to compensate for the money squandered on the stimulus.
In both realms, monetary policy and fiscal policy, the past few years have given the lie to Washington's assumption that competent economic management at the Fed and the Treasury could stimulate growth, maintain it, and burst any speculative bubbles with a brief, painless "soft landing."
This system can be thought of as Central Planning Lite. By the time Communism collapsed in 1989, it was no longer plausible to claim that full-blown socialism or full-blown central planning were the wave of the future. But our political and intellectual leaders were not quite willing to give up on the dream, so they insisted that we could have a watered down Third Way between capitalism and communism. Instead of having the government take over all industries and provide for everyone's needs directly, we would have a welfare state in which the government merely provides a "safety net" of subsidies. And instead of direct central planning, we would have indirect central planning. Rather than outright edicts, we would use subsidies and tax breaks to steer economic activity into the channels our political leaders prefer, such as "green" technology. And at the center of it all, instead of having Gosplan dictating steel production quotas, we would have the Federal Reserve Board dictating interest rates. This is a form of central planning for credit, in which the Fed attempts to direct how much and on what terms bankers will lend.
The debt ceiling debate, which is driven not so much by the immediate prospect of default but by the long-term unsustainability of the federal debt, shows what happens when the welfare state comes crashing down. And the Fed's failure to encourage lending and stimulate economic growth, despite yanking on all of the levers it can reach, shows the illusion of monetary central planning.
The failure of Central Planning Lite cannot just be attributed to incompetence or politicization, to shovel-ready jobs that are not shovel-ready, or bailouts organized as favors to political pressure groups. After all, Ben Bernanke was a respected and impartial economist. But the job of central planning is inherently impossible; even the smartest person can't do it.
In discovering this fact, we are emerging from a specific illusion created by one man: Alan Greenspan. When he stepped down as Fed Chairman, I noted the irony that the onetime champion of the gold standard had instead established the Greenspan Standard: the markets' faith that economic contractions would be moderated, growth would continue steadily, and inflation would be kept at bay, all because of one man. It was the illusion that a brilliant, dedicated, all-knowing "maestro" could control the markets and make Central Planning Lite work.
Yet we can now see that in seeking to mitigate the effects of previous economic downturns, Greenspan helped set the stage for a monetary expansion and the resulting housing bubble, and when he handed his power over to the sorcerer's apprentice, all hell broke loose. In dictating an expansion of credit, the central planners at the Fed replaced the individual plans of bankers, investors, and borrowers, deliberately overriding any signals that might have warned of excessive risk and called for a contraction of credit. Yet the central planners did not, in fact, know how to understand and control the easy money forces they had unleashed. So is it any wonder that they have been unable to marshal those same forces to summon up a recovery?
If any good is to come from our current economic ideal, it will be a hard-earned skepticism about any claims that Congress can design an economic stimulus package, or that a gifted maestro at the Federal Reserve can summon economic growth at his command. It will be the death of Central Planning Lite.
The Norway Massacre and Europe's War on Free Speech
by Soeren Kern
Media outlets in Europe and the United States are accusing Western critics of Islam and multiculturalism of complicity in the mass killing of more than 70 people in Norway. The attempt to exploit this crime for political gain is not just a case of malicious opportunism. It also represents the latest and most unsavoury salvo in the long-running war on free speech in Europe.
Anders Behring Breivik, a deranged Norwegian accused of bombing government buildings in Oslo and then killing scores of young people during a 90-minute shooting rampage on a nearby camping island called Utoya, published a 1,500-page manifesto in which he vents his anger at the direction in which mostly leftwing elites in Norway and elsewhere in Europe are leading his country and the continent as a whole.
As it turns out, parts of the manifesto include cut-and-pasted blog posts from European and American analysts and writers who for years have been educating the general public about the destructive effects of multiculturalism and runaway Muslim immigration. By dint of duplicitous logic, these analysts and writers are now the victims of a smear campaign: multiculturalists are accusing them of inciting Breivik to murder.
These same analysts have, of course, been a constant bane on an unaccountable European elite determined to foist its post-modern, post-nationalist and post-Christian multicultural agenda on a sceptical European citizenry.
Unwilling to countenance opposition, these self-appointed guardians of European political correctness have laboured to silence public discussion about issues such as the rise of Islam in Europe and/or the failure of millions of Muslim immigrants to integrate into European society.
The primary weapon in this war on free speech has been lawfare: the malicious use of European courts to criminalize criticism of Islam.
Prosecutions of so-called anti-Islam hate speech are now commonplace in Europe. Some of the more well-known efforts to silence debate about Islam in Europe have involved high-profile individuals like Geert Wilders, a Dutch politician, and Brigitte Bardot, a French animal rights activist.
Other recent assaults on free speech in Europe include the show trials of: Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, a housewife in Austria, Susanne Winter, a politician in Austria, Lars Hedegaard, a journalist in Denmark, Jesper Langballe, a politician in Denmark, Jussi Kristian Halla-aho, a politician in Finland, Michel Houellebecq, a novelist in France, Gregorius Nekschot, the pseudonym of a cartoonist in the Netherlands, and the late Oriana Fallaci, a journalist and author in Italy.
In other cases, physical violence has been the preferred method of silencing contrary views of Islam in Europe. In 2002, for example, Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn was assassinated for his views on Muslim immigration, and in 2004, Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was stabbed to death for producing a movie that criticized Islam. In 2010, Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard narrowly escaped being assassinated by an axe-wielding Muslim extremist in Aarhus, Denmark's second-largest city.
Many theories attempt to explain the rise of multiculturalism in Europe. Among these is the idea that European elites, determined to prevent a repeat of the carnage of the Second World War, embraced multiculturalism as a tool to try to dilute or even eliminate the national ethnic, religious and or/cultural identities that contributed to centuries of violence in Europe.
But in recent years, the secular purveyors of European multiculturalism have moved far beyond their initial objective of creating an American-style "melting pot." European socialists now view multiculturalism as a means to eliminate the entire Judeo-Christian worldview. This is certainly the case in Spain, where socialists have joined arms with Islam in a "Red-Green Alliance" to confront a common enemy, Christianity, as represented, in this case, by the Roman Catholic Church.
To be sure, decades of multiculturalism and Muslim immigration have already transformed Europe in ways unimaginable only a few decades ago. In Britain, for example, Muslims currently are campaigning to turn twelve British cities -- including what they call "Londonistan" -- into independent Islamic states. The so-called Islamic Emirates would function as autonomous enclaves ruled by Islamic Sharia law and operate entirely outside British jurisprudence. More than 80 Sharia courts are already operating in the country. At the same time, Mohammed is now the most common name for baby boys.
In France, large swaths of Muslim neighbourhoods are now considered "no-go" zones by French police. At last count, there are 751 Sensitive Urban Zones (Zones Urbaines Sensibles, ZUS), as they are euphemistically called. An estimated 5 million Muslims live in the ZUS, parts of France over which the French state has lost control.
In Germany, anti-Semitism (which is often disguised as anti-Zionism), has reached levels not seen since the Second World War. An April 2011 report, for example, found that 47.7% of Germans believe "Israel is conducting a war of extermination against the Palestinians," and nearly 50% of Germans believe "Jews try to take advantage of having been victims of the Nazi era."
In Norway, large sections of Oslo are being turned into Muslim enclaves subject to Sharia law and to the dictates of local imams. The citizens of Oslo are also struggling to cope with an epidemic of rapes. According to recent statistics, 100% of aggravated sexual assaults which resulted in rapes over the past three years were carried out by Muslim immigrants. Norwegians are now trying to deal with the large-scale torching of automobiles, which, as in France, is being attributed to Muslim youth.
In a Wall Street Journal essay titled "Inside the Mind of the Oslo Murderer," Bruce Bawer, an American analyst who lives in Oslo, writes: "Norway, like the rest of Europe, is in serious trouble. Millions of European Muslims live in rigidly patriarchal families in rapidly growing enclaves where women are second-class citizens, and where non-Muslims dare not venture. Surveys show that an unsettling percentage of Muslims in Europe reject Western values, despise the countries they live in, support the execution of homosexuals, and want to replace democracy with Sharia law. (According to a poll conducted by the Telegraph, 40% of British Muslims want Sharia implemented in predominantly Muslim parts of the United Kingdom.)"
Bawer describes Norway as a country that stands out for its refusal to confront any of the real dangers posed by Islamic radicalism. He also says the failure of mainstream political leaders to responsibly address the challenges posed by Muslim immigration has contributed to the emergence of extremists like Breivik. Pressure cookers without a safety valve eventually will explode.
Bawer writes: "In bombing those government buildings and hunting down those campers, Breivik was not taking out people randomly. He considered the Labour Party, Norway's dominant party since World War II, responsible for policies that are leading to the Islamization of Europe -- and thus guilty of treason. The Oslo bombing was intended to be an execution of the party's current leaders. The massacre at the camp -- where young would-be politicians gathered to hear speeches by Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and former Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland -- was meant to destroy its next generation of leaders."
The question remains: in the aftermath of the attack, will the Norwegian left rethink its non-interventionist approach to Islam and Muslim immigration? In a number of other European countries, governments on the center-right have been doing an about-face on multiculturalism.
British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy have all declared in recent months that multiculturalism has failed. In June, the Dutch government announced it would abandon the long-standing model of multiculturalism that has encouraged Muslim immigrants to create a parallel society within the Netherlands. In Spain, the conservative Popular Party, which is widely expected to win the next general election, has promised to enact new measures that will require all immigrants to learn the Spanish language to obtain residency permits.
Some analysts say these measures are too little too late. But one thing seems clear: European multiculturalists are feeling some unfamiliar political heat. After decades of high-handed stifling of debate, the gradual unravelling of multiculturalism in Europe explains the obsessive zeal with which many are exploiting the Norwegian tragedy.
By falsely accusing conservatives of complicity in a crime in which they had no part, multiculturalists are seeking to delegitimize and silence criticism of their social re-engineering scheme. But they are unlikely to succeed as the consequences of their worldview are becoming clear for all to see.
SOURCE (See the original for links)
Criticizing lawyers is hate speech?
"When you criticize lawyers or the legal system, thin-skinned lawyers get indignant. The head of the State Bar of California, Harvey Saferstein, called for a crackdown on jokes at lawyers’ expense: “Comparing jokes against attorneys to hate speech against African-Americans and women, Saferstein said he favors classifying such comments as hate crimes.”
Saferstein, a leading liberal lawyer, said that “Crimes against attorneys should rate special penalties — similar to crimes against police, judges and political officeholders — because lawyers are representatives of the court and their work is essential to the country’s justice system.”
Raw climate data finally disgorged after lawsuit
Despite the huffing and puffing below I can see no legitimate reason why it was EVER withheld. Is the weather a secret?
It's going to be interesting to see how "raw" the data is. Some comparisons with independent records will be possible and past such comparisons have revealed huge manipulations. The Warmists below are gearing up for that
Anyone can now view for themselves the raw data that was at the centre of last year's "climategate" scandal.
Temperature records going back 150 years from 5113 weather stations around the world were yesterday released to the public by the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK. The only records missing are from 19 stations in Poland, which refused to allow them to be made public.
"We released [the dataset] to dispel the myths that the data have been inappropriately manipulated, and that we are being secretive," says Trevor Davies, the university's pro-vice-chancellor for research. "Some sceptics argue we must have something to hide, and we've released the data to pull the rug out from those who say there isn't evidence that the global temperature is increasing."
Hand it over
The university were ordered to release data by the UK Information Commissioner's Office, following a freedom-of-information request for the raw data from researchers Jonathan Jones of the University of Oxford and Don Keiller of Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, UK.
Davies says that the university initially refused on the grounds that the data is not owned by the CRU but by the national meteorological organisations that collect the data and share it with the CRU.
When the CRU's refusal was overruled by the information commissioner, the UK Met Office was recruited to act as a go-between and obtain permission to release all the data.
Poland refused, and the information commissioner overruled Trinidad and Tobago's wish for the data it supplied on latitudes between 30 degrees north and 40 degrees south to be withheld, as it had been specifically requested by Jones and Keiller in their FOI request and previously shared with other academics.
The end result is that all the records are there, except for Poland's. Davies's only worry is that the decision to release the Trinidad and Tobago data against its wishes may discourage the open sharing of data in the future. Other research organisations may from now on be reluctant to pool data they wish to be kept private.
Thomas Peterson, chief scientist at the National Climatic Data Center of the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and president of the Commission for Climatology at the World Meteorological Organization, agrees there might be a cost to releasing the data.
"I have historic temperature data from automatic weather stations on the Greenland ice sheet that I was able to obtain from Denmark only because I agreed not to release them," he says. "If countries come to expect that sharing of any data with anyone will eventually lead to strong pressure for them to fully release those data, will they be less willing to collaborate in the future?"
Davies is confident that genuine and proper analysis of the raw data will reproduce the same incontrovertible conclusion - that global temperatures are rising. "The conclusion is very robust," he says, explaining that the CRU's dataset of land temperatures tally with those from other independent research groups around the world, including those generated by the NOAA and NASA.
"Should people undertake analyses and come up with different conclusions, the way to present them is through publication in peer-reviewed journals, so we know it's been through scientific quality control," says Davies.
No convincing some people
Other mainstream researchers and defenders of the consensus are not so confident that the release will silence the sceptics. "One can hope this might put an end to the interminable discussion of the CRU temperatures, but the experience of GISTEMP - another database that's been available for years - is that the criticisms will continue because there are some people who are never going to be satisfied," says Gavin Schmidt of Columbia University in New York.
"Sadly, I think this will just lead to a new round of attacks on CRU and the Met Office," says Bob Ward, communications director of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics. "Sceptics will pore through the data looking for ways to criticise the processing methodology in an attempt to persuade the public that there's doubt the world has warmed significantly."
The CRU and its leading scientist, Phil Jones, were at the centre of the so-called "climategate" storm in 2009 when the unit was accused of withholding and manipulating data. It was later cleared of the charge.
Light soon on Labor party coverup?
New light shed on Heiner Affair with 'Shreddergate' inquiry set to open. Could it be Kevvy who is being protected?
Annette McIntosh, 37, is one of the living victims of Shreddergate - a 20-year controversy involving politicians, shredded documents and "hush money".
For the first time, she has revealed her full identity in her fight for justice. Mrs McIntosh alleges that at 14 years old, as a ward of the state at Brisbane's John Oxley Detention Centre, she was pack-raped.
A year ago, the State Government paid Mrs McIntosh $140,000 in compensation for a crime that never led to charges, let alone an investigation.
She signed a confidentiality agreement. But that is about to be broken. Mrs McIntosh will head to Canberra when Federal Parliament resumes next month, and with Independent Senator Nick Xenophon will fight to open a new inquiry into what has been referred to as the Heiner Affair.
"I cannot wait. I have been waiting for this ... just to tell them straight out I'm still alive," Mrs McIntosh told The Sunday Mail.
"It feels good to speak because I've been told to shut my mouth for over 20 years."
Several probes have been held into the Heiner inquiry's investigation into alleged crimes at the detention centre.
Documents were shredded by the then Goss Government because of fears of legal problems relating to the inquiry, which was also disbanded. Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd was chief-of-staff to then premier Wayne Goss at the time of the shredding.
But an inquiry has never been held into why Mrs McIntosh, who works with indigenous youth, was paid compensation.
Moves for an inquiry were put on ice last month when former Family First senator Steve Fielding shocked Senator Xenophon and the Coalition by pulling his support.
HOW THE SAGA UNFOLDED
1989: Former magistrate Noel Heiner appointed by the then National Party to inquire into alleged abuse at the John Oxley Detention Centre
1990: Incoming Labor Goss government shreds documents over fears the inquiry was not properly constituted
1995: The Criminal Justice Commission cleared of allegations it had lied to a federal Senate inquiry about a whistleblower who provided information to the Heiner inquiry
1996: Barristers Tony Morris, QC, and Edward Hoard appointed by the Borbidge government to hold an investigation into the shredding
2004: Federal Senate select committee holds hearings into the shredding but they lead to no charges
2010: Alleged victim Annette McIntosh receives compensation from the Bligh Government
Leftists DON'T condemn terrorism
Most terrorism is OK to them. They only condemn it when it hits them. Fundamentalist Islam is by far the chief source of terrorism in the world today but Leftists go to great length to cover up and excuse that -- and nowhere is that permissiveness towards Islamic terrorism more pronounced than in Norway
Breivik's manifesto has become the center of the international discussion of his actions largely as a result of the sources he cited.
Kaczynski, like his fellow eco-terrorist Jason Jay Lee, who took several people hostage at the Discovery Channel in Maryland last September, was influenced by the writings of former US vice president Al Gore. A well worn copy of Gore's book Earth in the Balance was reportedly found by federal agents when they searched Kaczynski's cabin in Montana in 1996. Lee claimed that he was "awakened" to the need to commit terrorism to save the environment after he watched Gore's film, "An Inconvenient Truth."
Aside from Kaczynski, (whom he plagiarized without naming), certain parts of Breivik's manifesto read like a source guide to leading conservative writers and bloggers in the Western world. And this is unprecedented. Never before has a terrorist cited so many conservatives to justify his positions.
Breivik particularly noted writers who focus on critical examinations of multiculturalism and the dangers emanating from jihadists and the cause of global jihad. He also cited the work of earlier political philosophers and writers including John Stuart Mill, George Orwell, John Locke, Edmund Burke, Winston Churchill and Thomas Jefferson.
Breivik's citation of conservative writers, (including myself and many of my friends and colleagues in the US and Europe), has dominated the public discussion of his actions. The leftist dominated Western media - most notably the New York Times -- and the left wing of the blogosphere have used his reliance on their ideological opponents' arguments as a means of blaming the ideas propounded by conservative thinkers and the thinkers themselves for Breivik's heinous acts of murder.
For instance, a front page news story in the Times on Monday claimed, "The man accused of the killing spree in Norway was deeply influenced by a small group of American bloggers and writers who have warned for years about the threat from Islam."
The reporter, Scott Shane named several popular anti-jihadist blogs that Breivik mentioned in his manifesto. Shane then quoted left-leaning terrorism expert Marc Sageman who alleged that that the writings of anti-jihad authors "are the infrastructure from which Breivik emerged."
That is, Shane quoted Sageman accusing these writers of responsibility for Breivik's acts of murder.
Before considering the veracity of Sageman's claim, it is worth noting that no similar allegations were leveled by the media or their favored terror experts against Gore in the wake of Lee's hostage taking last year, or in the aftermath of Kaczynski's arrest in 1996. Moreover, Noam Chomsky, Michael Scheuer, Stephen Walt and John Mearshimer, whose writings were endorsed by Osama Bin Laden, have not been accused of responsibility for al Qaeda terrorism.
That is, leftist writers whose works have been admired by terrorists have not been held accountable for the acts of terrorism conducted by their readers.
Nor should they have been. And to understand why this sort of guilt-by-readership is wrong, it is worth considering what separates liberal democracies from what the great Israeli historian Jacob Talmon referred to as totalitarian democracies. Liberal democracies are founded on the notion that it is not simply acceptable for citizens to participate in debates about the issues facing their societies. It is admirable for citizens in democracies to participate in debates - even heated ones -- about their government's policies as well as their societies' cultural and moral direction. A citizenry unengaged is a citizenry that is in danger of losing its freedom.
One of the reasons that argument and debate are the foundations of a liberal democratic order is because the more engaged citizens feel in the life of their societies, the less likely they will be to reject the rules governing their society and turn to violence to get their way. As a rule, liberal democracies reject the resort to violence as a means of winning an argument. This is why, for liberal democracies, terrorism in all forms is absolutely unacceptable.
Whether or not one agrees with the ideological self-justifications of a terrorist, as a member of a liberal democratic society, one is expected to abhor his act of terrorism. Because by resorting to violence to achieve his aims, the terrorist is acting in a manner that fundamentally undermines the liberal democratic order.
Liberal democracies are always works in progress. Their citizens do not expect for a day to come when the debaters fall silent because everyone agrees with one another as all are convinced of the rightness of one side. This is because liberal democracies are not founded on messianic aspirations to create a perfect society.
In contrast, totalitarian democracies - and totalitarian democrats -- do have a messianic temperament and a utopian mission to create a perfect society. And so its members do have hopes of ending debate and argument once and for all.
As Talmon explained in his 1952 classic, The Origins of Totalitarian Democracy, the totalitarian democratic model was envisioned by Jean Jacques Rousseau the philosophical godfather of the French Revolution. Rousseau believed that a group of anointed leaders could push a society towards perfection by essentially coercing the people to accept their view of right and wrong. Talmon drew a direct line between Rousseau and the totalitarian movements of the twentieth century - Nazism, fascism and communism.
Today, those who seek to silence conservative thinkers by making a criminal connection between our writings and the acts of a terrorist are doing so in pursuit of patently illiberal ends to say the least. If they can convince the public that our ideas cause the mass murder of children, then our voices will be silenced.
Another aspect of the same anti-liberal behavior is the tendency by many to pick and choose which sorts of terrorism are acceptable and which are unacceptable in accordance with the ideological justifications the terrorists give for their actions. The most recent notable example of this behavior is an interview that Norwegian Ambassador Svein Sevje gave to Maariv on Tuesday. Maariv asked Sevje whether in the wake of Breivik's terrorist attack Norwegians would be more sympathetic to the victimization of innocent Israelis by Palestinian terrorists.
Sevje said no, and explained, "We Norwegians view the occupation as the reason for terror against Israel. Many Norwegians still see the occupation as the reason for attacks against Israel. Whoever thinks this way, will not change his mind as a result of the attack in Oslo."
So in the mind of the illiberal Norwegians, terrorism is justified if the ideology behind it is considered justified. For them it is unacceptable for Breivik to murder Norwegian children because his ideology is wrong. But it is acceptable for Palestinians to murder Israeli children because their ideology is right.
Birmingham's historic Gun Quarter is renamed... because PC critics say it glorifies crime
It encapsulates a manufacturing heritage stretching back 250 years. During the Napoleonic Wars, almost 1.9million muskets, rifles, carbines and pistols were manufactured for the Government in the district's numerous weapons factories.
But Birmingham's historic Gun Quarter is now to be renamed because of concerns that it could be linked with the firearms crime which blights other parts of the city. Officials said residents no longer wanted to be associated with weapons of war.
Instead the district to the north and west of the city centre will be known as St George and St Chad in recognition of a local church and Birmingham's catholic cathedral.
Yesterday, opponents of the rebranding exercise said the Gun Quarter had been sacrificed on the altar of political correctness, while even the Dean of St Chad's Cathedral said the decision sounded 'irrational'.
Tim Huxtable, Birmingham City Council's Tory head of regeneration, said the decision had been taken after a public consultation, although one petition received by the council was signed by just 50 people objecting to Gun Quarter.
He said: 'We listened to the local community, which is the whole point of consultation. The views of local people seem quite clear.'
Sir Albert Bore, leader of the opposition Labour group, said: 'What kind of nonsense is it when we replace the Gun Quarter with St George and St Chad? 'Like it or not, and I am not into the arms trade myself, the Gun Quarter has a historical connection with this city. This is just political correctness.'
The name change was described as a 'terrible shame' by the owner of one of the few surviving gun makers in the district. Simon Clode, managing director of Westley Richards and Co, said: 'This is an important part of Birmingham's history. The area is not well occupied by gun makers now, but it's still the Gun Quarter.'
The Very Reverend Canon Gerry Breen, Dean of St Chad's Cathedral, said the name change was 'almost as irrational as deciding not to call the Black Country the Black Country'.
Reverend Larry Wright, Rector of St George's Church, however, said he was among those who had lobbied the council to change the name. 'We wrote on behalf of our own congregation - many of whom wanted a name change to move away from any suggestion that this area was associated with gun crime,' he said. 'But they could have come up with something snappier (than St George and St Chad).'
A council spokesman insisted the gunsmith area would live on as a separately defined part of the new St George and St Chad quarter.
Electric vehicles debunked by electric utility researchers
A new report from the Electric Power Research Institute exposes EVs as pointless even under the rosiest scenario.
First, assuming that 35 million EVs are sold by 2030, EPRI estimates that gasoline savings would amount to 7 billion gallons annually. But in 2010, Americans burned 378 million gallons of gas per day. So the 2030 EV gasoline savings amount to a mere 5 percent of 2010 usage. Giving growing world demand for gasoline, a growing US population and (hopefully) a growing US economy, this projected “savings” would likely be meaningless.
Next, the 35 million vehicle-sold scenario is estimated to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 90 million tons annually by 2030 — i.e., about 1.2 percent of current U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and about 0.003 percent of current global emissions. So greenhouse gas-wise, EV’s are a trivial pursuit.
Of course, selling 35 million EVs is somewhat of a fantasy to start with as only several thousand EVs have been sold this year at great taxpayer expense. So actual gasoline and CO2 savings are likely to be even less impressive.
EPRI probably didn’t intend to debunk EVs as it is the research arm of the electric power industry, which is understandably salivating at the prospect of the EV boondoggle. So we can safely assume that the facts presented in EPRI’s report put EVs in the best light possible — and they still don’t make sense.
Don’t forget that with the current $7,500 per vehicle tax credit, all this failure would only cost taxpayers $260 billion!
Stepping in for the PM
President of the Czech Republic Vaclav Klaus visits the CIS, but Prime Minister Julia Gillard couldn’t find the time to welcome the head of the country to Australia. On Monday, The Centre for Independent Studies did something that the Australian government did not deem necessary: We provided a very warm welcome to Vaclav Klaus, the President of the Czech Republic.
Klaus is a true friend of Australia. One of his first international trips after the fall of the Iron Curtain was to Australia in 1991, when he delivered the John Bonython lecture to the Centre.
Ten years later, he returned to participate in a CIS conference; he also has close relatives here.
Despite all this, the Prime Minister’s Office found no way to accommodate a meeting between the President Klaus and her. Maybe she was genuinely too busy. Or maybe Klaus’ views were too unpalatable for her.
President Klaus is a rare bird: He is an economics professor, a former finance minister and prime minister, and now a head of state. But despite this impressive career, he has maintained an outspokenness and independence of mind rare in politicians these days.
Maybe Klaus does not hold back his views because he had to do so for too long under communist rule. He does not conform to modern standards of so-called ‘political correctness,’ which he thinks is ‘a misnomer for officially sanctioned hypocrisy.’
So he speaks out where other politicians rather bite their tongues. Whether it is against the intrusive regulations coming out of the European Union, against the drive towards supranationalism, or indeed against programs to impose draconian measures to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
Our exchange of views with the President was most informative and refreshing. It’s a pity the Prime Minister missed the opportunity to experience the same.
Dr Oliver Marc Hartwich is a Research Fellow at The Centre for Independent Studies. Click here to watch a conversation between President Klaus and Dr Hartwich.
The above is a press release from the Centre for Independent Studies, dated 29 July. Enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org. Snail mail: PO Box 92, St Leonards, NSW, Australia 1590.
What Bravery! Flannery Lectures on Looming Sea level Disaster from Waterfront Home!
Tim Flannery head of the Climate Commission and major doom-sayer in Australia recorded an interview with WWF saying that "James Hansen - who is the world's leading thinker in this area with the Goddard Institute of NASA - believes we're on the brink of triggering a 25m rise in sea level. So anyone with a coastal view from their bedroom window or kitchen window is likely to lose their house as a result of that change. So any coastal cities, coastal areas are in grave danger."
From Andrew Bolt it is reported that Mr Flannery has a waterfront home at Coba Point showing what he thinks of his own predictions . Greg Combet the Climate Change Minister also does not seem too worried with his luxury waterfront home.
It brings to mind Animal Farm with the "four legs good two legs bad" brainwashing being fed to the common animals while the ruling pigs walked around the farm house on two legs! Methinks Orwell was very clever with his choice of animals.
Maybe Flannery just checked the Envisat satellite data and found that current sea levels were the same as 2004 , a fact that he failed to point out to the general public!
"Psycho-analysing" terrorist Breivik
There are by now innumerable psychological assessments of Breivik online. Practically every publication you log on to has one. And they are all rather laughable when one looks at the things upon which the various diagnoses are based:
Breivik played violent computer games. So do a billion other men. Breivik did not relate well to women. That's also true of millions of American men -- particularly if you ask American women. Breivik lived with his mother well into adulthood. That too is common these days. It's almost the norm in Italy and Japan. He liked dressing up and giving himself titles. So do the freemasons. And so it goes: Things that do not cause terrorism in millions of others suddenly caused terrorism in Breivik? What a heap of nonsense!
My Ph.D. is in psychology, my academic specialty is political psychology and I have had over 100 papers in that field published in the academic journals -- including papers on what would seem to be relevant phenomena, such as neo-Nazism and psychopathy. So can I do better? Perhaps. To make any diagnosis when you have never even met the person is a very bad start but I will try.
So, for starters, is Breivik mad? Is he insane? There is general agreement that he is not and I agree with that. He shows no signs of delusions and has normal reality contact. He is not psychotic.
The one glaringly salient fact about Breivik is that he is a one-off. People with broadly conservative views are almost never terrorists. Oklahoma bomber Timothy McVeigh is the nearest comparable case and there are considerable differences beteeen him and Breivik. Breivik is much more intellectual, for a start.
And that one salient fact is in my view the key to Breivik. Terrorism is not the product of personality. It is ideologically motivated. Personality plays some part but ideology is the overwhelming influence behind terrorist deeds. Nearly two years ago, U.S. army Major Nidal Hasan stood up at Ft. Hood shouting "Allahu Akbar" - Arabic for "God is great" -- before opening fire methodically from two handguns, killing 13 and wounding 32. Very similar behaviour to Breivik and with the motive being clearly ideological, in his case the ideology of fundamentalist Islam.
And there is no denying where Breivik got most of his ideas. He got them from fairly mainstream conservative sources. What he says in his manifesto about the Left and about Islam could be duplicated from many mainstream conservative sources. Indeed, he quotes such sources at length in his manifesto.
So how come hundreds of millions of conservatives have ideas similar to Breivik but only Breivik used them as a basis for a terrorist attack?
To answer that we have to move from ideology to sociology. I taught sociology for some years in a major Australian university so perhaps I have a few ideas in that department too.
And what seems to be the key sociological context is Norwegian society itself. Norwegians are very self-righteous and politically correct and one result of that is that Norway's penal code (Straffeloven, section 135 a) prohibits "hate speech" and defines it as publicly making statements that threaten or ridicule someone or that incite hatred, persecution or contempt for someone due to their skin colour, ethnic origin, homosexual life style or orientation or, religion or philosophy of life. So criticism of Muslims is illegal in Norway.
And yet, of all Western countries, Muslim aggression against the host country would seem to be at its peak in Norway and Sweden, two of the world's most permissive countries. Permissiveness is NOT the key to restraint and as the old proverb has it: "Give them an inch and they will take a mile". Because Norway and Sweden not only put up with Muslim lawlessness but actually protect it from view, the misbehaviour has escalated in those countries to quite appalling levels. Rapes in those countries in recent years have almost entirely been the doing of Muslims, for instance.
And the average Norwegian is not oblivious to that, for all the clampdown on mentioning it by Norway's Leftist government. Norwegian experts say that Breivik's attitude to Muslims is in fact common among ordinary Norwegians. Leftist reality denial doesn't work for long.
So the pressure towards retaliation against Muslims is in proportion to the Muslim outrages committed. Muslim behavior is at a peak of unacceptability in Norway and that generates a peak head of steam for retaliation against Muslims. Muslims are not as indulgently treated in other countries (even Britain locks some Muslim haters up) so their behaviour is better and that in turn means that resentment against them does not build up so much.
So Breivik was simply the point at which the Norwegian dam burst. When any dam bursts it is always possible in retrospect to say where the weak point was but that is rarely apparent in advance. The point at which the dam bursts can be essentially random.
So we come back to the question: Why was Breivik the weak point? I think it was essentially random. Other Norwegians would have eventually done something similar if Breivik had not.
One thing that I do notice, however, is that a lot of his mental characteristics seem rather adolescent. So we have adolescent mental characteristics combined with a very capable adult brain. And adolescents make great warriors, warriors who are largely heedless of their own wellbeing in fighting for what they are told is the common good. The undoubted heroism of the Hitler Youth in the closing stages of WWII is an obvious example of that and armies generally do recruit heavily from teenagers.
And it is clear that Breivik saw himself as self-sacrificing in what he did. He acted for what he saw as the general wellbeing by attacking the protectors of Muslims at their weakest point: Their children.
And I see no reason to doubt the account Breivik gives of his motivation: It was self-sacrifice for the common good, a very Norwegian motivation. He wanted Norwegians freed from the very real oppressive burden of their Muslim minority.
Update on the religion of peace
American-born Muslim attempts to attack army base
An AWOL Muslim soldier who refused to be deployed to Afghanistan because of his religious beliefs admitted to an alleged "terror plot" to attack Ft Hood, Texas, the US Army said in a memo overnight.
Pfc. Nasser Jason Abdo was arrested Wednesday afternoon by the Killeen Police Department near the Texas base, which was the site of a November 2009 massacre, allegedly committed by another Muslim serviceman.
The alert, obtained by FOX News Channel and sent to all Army units, said the 21-year-old suspect was found with a large quantity of ammunition, weapons and a bomb inside a backpack, adding that he admitted to planning the attack during police interviews.
Chief Dennis Baldwin of the Killeen Police Department confirmed that, based on statements Abdo made during questioning, "military personnel were a target of this suspect" and said he would characterise the absentee soldier's plans as a "terror plot."
Abdo was being held by the Killeen Police Department pending federal charges, Mr Baldwin said, describing him as "a very dangerous individual" and adding that, "as far as we know, he acted alone."
Abdo, a Texas native, entered the service in March 2009 but applied for conscientious objector status in June 2010, on the eve of his first deployment to Afghanistan, citing his religious beliefs as a Muslim. Just days after his application was approved, Abdo was hit with 34 counts of possession of child pornography and his military discharge was put on hold.
Abdo adamantly denied that he put child porn on his government computer and claimed the charges were the military's way of retaliating against him. He told WSMV-TV last month, "I think that all sounds pretty fishy."
The soldier then went AWOL on July 4.
Murderous Muslims again
You dare not disagree with them about religion
An Indonesian court has sent a "chilling message" by giving Muslim extremists light sentences for a vicious mob attack in which three sect members died, rights activists say. Twelve people stood trial but none faced murder charges in what human rights campaigners say is a travesty of justice in the world's most populous Muslim-majority country.
The sentences range between three and six months' jail - less than prosecutors had sought and well below the maximum penalty of 12 years.
Dani bin Misra, a 17-year-old who repeatedly smashed a victim's skull with a stone, was sentenced on Thursday to three months in jail for manslaughter. Idris bin Mahdani, who led the 1500-strong mob in the February attack, was convicted of illegal possession of a machete and received five months and 15 days in jail.
Most of the convicted men are likely to walk free within weeks, observers said. "The Cikeusik trial sends the chilling message that attacks on minorities like the Ahmadiyah will be treated lightly by the legal system," Human Rights Watch deputy chief for Asia Phil Robertson said. "This is a sad day for justice in Indonesia."
In rare criticism of its Southeast Asian ally, the United States said it was "disappointed by the disproportionately light sentences", which came within days of a visit to Indonesia by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
"The United States encourages Indonesia to defend its tradition of tolerance for all religions, a tradition praised by President [Barack] Obama in his November 2010 visit to Jakarta," a US embassy statement said.
The Obama administration resumed military ties with Indonesia's notorious special forces unit last year, citing improvements in the human rights situation in the country.
The European Union delegation in Jakarta expressed "strong concerns" over the light sentences.
The violence against the Ahmadiyah sect members in Cikeusik, western Java, was one of the most horrific in a long line of attacks on the minority group in Indonesia in recent years. Ahmadiyah, unlike mainstream Muslims, do not believe Mohammed was the last prophet and are regarded as heretics and blasphemers by conservatives in countries such as Indonesia and Pakistan.
A secretly filmed video of the Cikeusik rampage sparked international concern when it appeared online within days of the attack. The reaction in Indonesia, however, was muted. The footage shows police fleeing the scene as the enraged mob - armed with machetes and knives and shouting abuse at the "infidels" - launched an unprovoked attack on a house owned by an Ahmadiyah follower.
A handful of Ahmadiyah men tried to defend the property with stones and slingshots but they were quickly overwhelmed. Then the killing began. The mob clubbed and stoned their defenceless victims to death in front of police, then stood around and joked over their shattered bodies. Several Ahmadiyah tried to flee but were hunted down and badly beaten.
Robertson said the appalling "savagery" demanded a strong response from a country which has ratified international covenants on freedom of religion and claims to have a pluralistic religious tradition. "But instead of charging the defendants with murder and other serious crimes, prosecutors came up with an almost laughable list of 'slap-on-the wrist' charges," he said.
Prosecutors managed to convince the court that the video justified a reduced sentence for the killers.
Meanwhile Ahmadiyah member Deden Sujana is facing up to four years in jail on charges of incitement, disobeying police orders and maltreatment because he ignored police orders to evacuate the house.
Ahmadiyah spokesman Zafrullah Ahmad Pontoh was cautious in his response to the sentences. "Let the legal power handle the case. It's only a worldly punishment," he said. "We'll forgive those who ask us for forgiveness, but so far we haven't heard them asking us for forgiveness."
The graphic footage, which is available on the video-sharing website YouTube, was filmed by an Ahmadiyah follower who mingled with the attackers and watched his friends being murdered. The man is now in hiding under police protection, fearing for his life.
Polar bear scare appears to have been a fraud
A FEDERAL wildlife biologist whose observation that polar bears likely drowned in the Arctic, which helped galvanise the global warming movement seven years ago, has been placed on administrative leave as officials investigate scientific misconduct allegations.
Although it wasn't clear what the exact allegations are, a government watchdog group representing Anchorage-based scientist Charles Monnett said investigators have focused on his 2004 journal article about the bears that garnered worldwide attention.
The group, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, filed a complaint on Mr Monnett's behalf on Thursday with the agency, the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement. BOEMRE told Mr Monnett on July 18 that he was being put on leave, pending an investigation into "integrity issues".
The investigator has not yet told him of the specific charges or questions related to the scientific integrity of his work, said Jeff Ruch, the watchdog group's executive director. A BOEMRE spokeswoman acknowledged there was an "ongoing internal investigation" but declined to get into specifics.
The complaint seeks Mr Monnett's reinstatement and a public apology from the agency and inspector general, whose office is conducting the probe. The group's filing also seeks to have the investigation dropped or to have the charges specified and the matter carried out quickly and fairly, as the Obama policy states.
Mr Monnett, who has coordinated much of BOEMRE's research on Arctic wildlife and ecology, has duties that include managing about $US50 million worth of studies, according to the complaint. The agency spokeswoman said other agency scientists would manage the studies in Mr Monnett's absence.
According to documents provided by Ruch's group, which sat in on investigators interviews with Mr Monnett, the questioning focused on observations that Monnett and fellow researcher Jeffrey Gleason made in 2004.
Obama's NASA is no longer about space
NASA stands for "The National Aeronautics and Space Administration". You would associate it with astronauts, perhaps pilots, space research, and the Universe. Some young readers may even be ignorant about those things but NASA brought the first men to the Moon and has done lots of other fascinating things. But look at this graph of funding from Nature:
Between 2011 and 2012, the astrophysics budget is expected to drop from $1.1 to $0.65 billion, i.e. by 40 percent. Astrophysics would become almost as small as heliophysics (physics of the Sun) which keeps its $0.6 billion.
Meanwhile, planetary sciences are proposed to grow by one or a few percent to $1.5 billion and the Earth science should only drop by less than 5 percent to $1.7 billion, preserving its dominant position.
Just think how completely insane these ratios are. NASA has always been about the space (well, at least from the times when airplanes became ordinary), about flying away from Mother Earth. However, among these 4 scientific disciplines, astrophysics only has less than 15 percent of the money and astrophysics plus heliophysics have something like 28 percent.
No wonder that the James Webb Space Telescope, Hubble's successor, is likely to die.
Meanwhile, the Earth science budget is meant to remain high, for no good reason. There are no projects that would be as important - and not even as well-known - as the James Webb Space Telescope. Still, the Earth science section is scheduled to get 3 times more money than astrophysics. The reasons are clearly ideological, not meritocratic.
Much of this money - $1.7 billion - is paid for the people to spread lies about "global warming" which are convenient to make the government bigger.
These numbers are even scarier if one looks at the evolution over longer periods of time. In 2008, the Earth science budget in NASA was $1.25. So it's meant to increase by 36 percent by 2012. Meanwhile, the astrophysics budget drops from $1.4 to $0.65 between 2008 and 2012.
The Earth_science/astrophysics budget ratio is scheduled to increase, between 2008 and 2012, by the factor (double ratio) of almost three! A factor of three added within three years is a pretty fast change: the (absolute) global mean temperature has increased by 0.2% in the last 100 years.
Would someone dare to claim that this tripling has nothing to do with the global warming hysteria? Would someone dare to claim that the typical people in NASA such as Gavin Schmidt are not affected by (relative) tripling of the money they're receiving? That they don't realize what they are actually being paid for? The likes of Gavin Schmidt get the tripling of the funds instead of life in prison that they deserve.
Needless to say, the tripling of NASA's Earth science budget relatively to NASA's astrophysics budget over 4 years has absolutely no conceivable rational explanation. It's all about the dislocation of resources and wasting of the U.S. taxpayer's money.
The House has its fingers in these nasty modifications of the structure of NASA's funding - and unsurprisingly, that's what Nature focuses upon. But Obama doesn't move a finger to stop this pernicious replacement of high-tech science and technology in NASA by low-brow ideological babbling, propaganda, lies, pseudoscience, and emotions.
These people actively work on the decomposition of the space research, astrophysics research, and cosmology research in the once famous country named America.
In 1966 when it was all about the space, NASA got 4.4 percent of the federal budget. This percentage dropped to 0.5 percent in recent years - by an order of magnitude. The massively high spending for the space research didn't prevent America from running budget surpluses throughout the 1950s and 1960s.
People from the higher latitudes of the world have bigger brains
I reproduce below the results of a small study of an old skull collection. Given the limits of the basic data, the generalizability of the findings is uncertain but they are interesting nonetheless -- in that they confirm other findings about the effect of latitude on IQ.
The authors were apparently rather embarrassed by their findings so they have presented their findings in a very politically correct way. A lot of the presentation is blatantly speculative and certainly over-interpreted. They talk, for instance, about Arctic brains in blithe indifference to the fact that they had zero data on Arctic brains! So I reproduce below only the more factual bits.
The finding that eyes are bigger in Northern latitudes is a genuine contribution to knowledge but saying that bigger eyes lie behind larger brain size is tendentious. The larger brain of the North is much more likely to be a result of the generally greater survival challenge in Northern latitudes.
In support of that it may be noted that the spectacular visual acuity of Australian Aborigines is found among a people who tend to have somewhat smaller brains than Europeans.
It should be noted that the present "native" population of the British Isles is of peri-Baltic origin (North German and Scandinavian) so should be at the high end of brain size. The authors below deny that greater brain size indicates greater intelligence but ignore most of the literature on the subject in doing so. Most research indicates a positive correlation of .30+
Students of ancient history will also be aware that Northerners have been invading the South for a very long time -- and usually leaving some genes behind. Germans have been invading Italy since the days of the Roman Republic (i.e. before the Roman empire) so Teutonic genes are undoubtedly widely spread throughout Europe today. So Northern brains too are undoubtably to be found throughout Europe these days.
People who live in high latitude regions have bigger eyeballs and brains than other individuals, according to new research.
The increase in brain and eye size allows people to see better in places that receive less light than areas closer to the equator, according to the new study, published in the latest issue of the journal Royal Society Biology Letters.
"People living at high latitudes have greater visual acuity than those who live at the equator," added Dunbar, who is head of the Institute of Cognitive & Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Oxford.
"The whole point is that they need to have better vision to compensate for the lower light levels at high latitudes, as indicated by the evidence we provide that visual acuity under ambient/natural light conditions remains constant with latitude."
For the study, Dunbar and colleague Eiluned Pearce measured the skulls of 55 individuals from 12 different populations, focusing on the dimensions for orbital volume and cranial capacity. The people lived about 200 years ago. Their skulls are now part of collections housed at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History and the University of Cambridge's Duckworth Collection.
The researchers found significant positive relationships between absolute latitude, orbital volume and brain size. Eyeballs varied in size from around a quarter to a third of an ounce in volume.
The brains, in turn, ranged from about 40.6 ounces for Micronesians, on the low end of the size spectrum, and 50.2 ounces for Scandinavians on the high end.
As for the larger eyeballs, they permit smaller proportions of images to fall upon each photoreceptor field so that more details can be distinguished. The amount of light hitting Earth's surface as well as minimum day length decrease with increasing absolute latitude, so people living in such areas need the visual boost.
'No porn or prostitution': Islamic extremists set up Sharia law controlled zones in British cities
Islamic extremists have launched a poster campaign across the UK proclaiming areas where Sharia law enforcement zones have been set up. Communities have been bombarded with the posters, which read: ‘You are entering a Sharia-controlled zone – Islamic rules enforced.’
The bright yellow messages daubed on bus stops and street lamps have already been seen across certain boroughs in London and order that in the ‘zone’ there should be ‘no gambling’, ‘no music or concerts’, ‘no porn or prostitution’, ‘no drugs or smoking’ and ‘no alcohol’.
In the past week, dozens of streets in the London boroughs of Waltham Forest, Tower Hamlets and Newham have been targeted, raising fears that local residents may be intimidated or threatened for flouting ‘Islamic rules’.
Choudary, who runs the banned militant group Islam4UK, warned: ‘We now have hundreds if not thousands of people up and down the country willing to go out and patrol the streets for us and a print run of between 10,000 and 50,000 stickers ready for distribution.
‘There are 25 areas around the country which the Government has earmarked as areas where violent extremism is a problem. ‘We are going to go to all these same areas and implement our own Sharia-controlled zones. ‘This is the best way for dealing with drunkenness and loutishness, prostitution and the sort of thug life attitude you get in British cities.’
The former lawyer added: ‘This will mean this is an area where the Muslim community will not tolerate drugs, alcohol, pornography, gambling, usury, free mixing between the sexes – the fruits if you like of Western civilisation. ‘We want to run the area as a Sharia-controlled zone and really to put the seeds down for an Islamic Emirate in the long term.’
Scotland Yard is now working with local councils to remove the posters and identify those responsible for putting them up.
Choudary said he was organising a protest against the Far Right in Waltham Forest this weekend following last Friday’s killing spree in Norway by anti-Islamic gunman Anders Breivik. He said: ‘We are going to put the events in Oslo on the agenda. We are going to be marching and addressing this issue. It is a whole new scenario now. The Muslim community needs to be vigilant. There is an undercurrent against Islam. ‘I do believe a Norway-style attack could happen here.’
The campaign comes just months after stickers proclaiming a ‘gay-free zone’ and appearing to reference the religious Islamic text of the Koran appeared in Tower Hamlets.
Women in parts of East London including Tower Hamlets have been threatened with violence and even death by Islamic extremists if they did not wear headscarves.
James Brandon, of the anti-extremism think-tank the Quilliam Foundation, which has dubbed the intimidation the work of ‘Talibanesque thugs’, said: ‘This is a small group which is not representative of these communities. ‘It’s great news that the police have decided to investigate this. This has the potential to divide communities and upset people.’
Yesterday the leader of Waltham Forest Council, Chris Robbins, said: ‘As soon as we heard about these posters we worked over the weekend to take them all down. ‘Since then we have been going through our CCTV images and working with the police to try to identify the culprits. Our policy is to use the full extent of our powers to prosecute any offenders.
‘People should not get the wrong idea about our borough because a handful of small-minded idiots, who do not live here, decide to deface our streets with ridiculous posters.’
The Face Of Evil
It's taken me a few days to get a handle on this congenital doorknob, but some observations are in order:
No matter what mental masturbatory processes that dumbass labeled as "thinking", the sick bastard has - at a minimum - accomplished 3 things:
1. Highlighted the suicidally stupid shortcomings of the Norwegian police system (all self-inflicted, via politikal korrektness and its evil twin multiculturalism);
2. Handed the leftist/communist "labor" party the next couple elections in Norway, further guaranteeing their continued decline down the hole of the muslimization of their nation;
3. Also handed the socialist nut-case jihadi-collaborators a "moral equivalency" argument against Christians in the political debate over whether or not we need to hunt down and kill the IslamoFascist terrorists before they murder our kids.
No matter how you slice it, that dumbshit did ABSOLUTELY everything WRONG if he was trying to help SAVE his nation!
And he'll likely get the "maximum" of a 21 year sentence in a prison?
Put his sorry ass in the general population of whatever little candy-coated resort they call a "prison" and maybe the other cons will make sure some REAL Justice gets administered.
And another observation:
Timer-detonated explosives AND over 70 confirmed small arms kills in an hour and a half on that island?
Where did that oxygen thief get his training?!?!?
Whoever taught that asshole to pull off what he did needs to be found.....
Finally, I don't care if that mutt thought he was raiding a Hitler Youth camp or Young Pioneers анклав indoctrinating their empty heads with Uncle Joe Stalin's bullshit - whatever -
YOU. DO. NOT. HUNT. CHILDREN.
Australian radio host "investigated" for dismissing Warmism
THE Australian Communications and Media Authority is investigating a complaint about alleged inaccuracies in statements on climate change by broadcaster Alan Jones.
GetUp! had made a complaint, which it believed was not being pursued by the broadcasting regulator, but the Herald has learned ACMA is investigating the GetUp! complaint, and some others, concerning Mr Jones. If the complaint is upheld, Mr Jones may be asked to acknowledge the statement was wrong and promise not to repeat it.
The complaint says the 2GB broadcaster was wrong when he stated human beings produce only 0.001 per cent of carbon dioxide in the air.
Several climate scientists have insisted the claim is inaccurate, and the proportion of carbon dioxide in the air today for which human beings are responsible is closer to 28 per cent. They base this on the difference between the pre-industrial concentration of CO2 (about 280 parts per million) and the current concentration of about 390 parts per million. [But that does not prove any human effect. It is most likely ocean outgassing in RESPONSE to warming]
Climate commissioner and executive director of the ANU Climate Institute Will Steffen said another calculation was the amount of additional carbon, contained in carbon dioxide, that humans contributed to the atmosphere each year. "Every year the earth - land and ocean combined - takes a net five billion tonnes of carbon out of the atmosphere, but humans put around nine billion tonnes in, meaning we are accumulating an additional four billion tonnes of carbon in the atmosphere each year," he said.
Under the commercial broadcasting code of conduct, broadcasters are required to make reasonable efforts to ensure that factual material is accurate, and are given 30 days to make a correction after they receive an initial complaint.
GetUp! has also alleged Mr Jones contravenes another section of the code of conduct which requires broadcasters to give "reasonable opportunities" to "significant viewpoints" on "controversial issues of public importance".
An ACMA spokeswoman said the organisation did not comment on specific matters it might be investigating. ACMA usually provides a preliminary report to the broadcaster for comment before a final report is written. Investigations often take several months.
A spokesman for 2GB did not return calls yesterday but, speaking to the Mumbrella website this week, Mr Jones distinguished between being a journalist and being a broadcaster. "Much of my stuff is opinion … I am a broadcaster, I don't pretend to be a journalist, I don't know what that means anyway - they've got a certificate or something," he said.
"… if those opinions lack validity, or if those opinions are extreme, or if they are overly provocative, people won't listen, I've stood the test of time."
New NASA Data Blow Gaping Hole In Global Warming Alarmism
NASA satellite data from the years 2000 through 2011 show the Earth’s atmosphere is allowing far more heat to be released into space than alarmist computer models have predicted, reports a new study in the peer-reviewed science journal Remote Sensing. The study indicates far less future global warming will occur than United Nations computer models have predicted, and supports prior studies indicating increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide trap far less heat than alarmists have claimed.
Study co-author Dr. Roy Spencer, a principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and U.S. Science Team Leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer flying on NASA’s Aqua satellite, reports that real-world data from NASA’s Terra satellite contradict multiple assumptions fed into alarmist computer models.
“The satellite observations suggest there is much more energy lost to space during and after warming than the climate models show,” Spencer said in a July 26 University of Alabama press release. “There is a huge discrepancy between the data and the forecasts that is especially big over the oceans.”
In addition to finding that far less heat is being trapped than alarmist computer models have predicted, the NASA satellite data show the atmosphere begins shedding heat into space long before United Nations computer models predicted.
The new findings are extremely important and should dramatically alter the global warming debate.
Scientists on all sides of the global warming debate are in general agreement about how much heat is being directly trapped by human emissions of carbon dioxide (the answer is “not much”). However, the single most important issue in the global warming debate is whether carbon dioxide emissions will indirectly trap far more heat by causing large increases in atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds. Alarmist computer models assume human carbon dioxide emissions indirectly cause substantial increases in atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds (each of which are very effective at trapping heat), but real-world data have long shown that carbon dioxide emissions are not causing as much atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds as the alarmist computer models have predicted.
The new NASA Terra satellite data are consistent with long-term NOAA and NASA data indicating atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds are not increasing in the manner predicted by alarmist computer models. The Terra satellite data also support data collected by NASA’s ERBS satellite showing far more longwave radiation (and thus, heat) escaped into space between 1985 and 1999 than alarmist computer models had predicted. Together, the NASA ERBS and Terra satellite data show that for 25 years and counting, carbon dioxide emissions have directly and indirectly trapped far less heat than alarmist computer models have predicted.
In short, the central premise of alarmist global warming theory is that carbon dioxide emissions should be directly and indirectly trapping a certain amount of heat in the earth’s atmosphere and preventing it from escaping into space. Real-world measurements, however, show far less heat is being trapped in the earth’s atmosphere than the alarmist computer models predict, and far more heat is escaping into space than the alarmist computer models predict.
When objective NASA satellite data, reported in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, show a “huge discrepancy” between alarmist climate models and real-world facts, climate scientists, the media and our elected officials would be wise to take notice. Whether or not they do so will tell us a great deal about how honest the purveyors of global warming alarmism truly are.
Mountain Lion Killed in Connecticut
(Hartford, Connecticut) Last month, a 140-pound mountain lion was killed by a car on the Wilbur Cross Parkway in Milford. It was the first confirmed sighting of a cougar in the state since the 1880s.
Genetic testing revealed that the big cat came from a wild breeding population of about 250 mountain lions in the southwest corner of South Dakota, the Black Hills area, results released Tuesday afternoon revealed.Saw a news anchor bemoaning the "sad" story of the mountain lion. Well, excuse me. I sure don't see sadness and I don't want a dangerous predator in my neighborhood. Children, pets and joggers are at serious risk with one of these big cats in the vicinity. (More....)
No one knows why the animal — a lean, 140-pound male between 2 and 4 years old — undertook a journey across the continent. But its travels were documented through Minnesota and Wisconsin, and biologists speculate that the cat then wandered through southern Ontario and New York before reaching Connecticut.
By Mike Pechar on Thursday, July 28, 2011 1 comment:
Libraries no longer a place for reading??
You need peace and quiet to concentrate on reading -- but some "innovative" a**hole thinks otherwise
Think libraries should be quiet sanctuaries of solitude and study? Then plans for the State Library of NSW will come as a surprise.
As architect Paulo Macchia rests against an open staircase and explains his plans for the renovation of the State Library of NSW, two young women studying in the reading room below look up from their laptops with annoyed expressions.
They don't actually say "Quiet please!" but that's what they are thinking. After all, most of us have been indoctrinated with the notion that silence is sacred inside a library. If words are necessary, use them sparingly and only whispered.
So they might be surprised to hear what Macchia, from the NSW government Architect's Office, is describing. Over the next few months, workmen will transform the State Library for the first time since it was opened by the Queen on May 4, 1988, as a Bicentennial-year extension to the historic Mitchell Library.
The $4.2 million, two-stage renovation, which begins on Monday, will create, according to the NSW Arts Minister, George Souris, "a contemporary 21st-century cultural destination for NSW residents and visitors".
In real terms, that means more computer screens, better Wi-Fi access, more desk space, designated, bookable study rooms, more newspapers and general-interest magazines to browse, a larger cafe, a more prominent bookshop and improved access to the two public meeting spaces, the Metcalfe auditorium and the McDonald's room. Plus, far better use of natural light.
All laudable. But the renovation's biggest aim is to fundamentally change the library's public image, to show that a place of learning can also be a fun palace.
They're even building zones where library users are encouraged to talk to each other.
"As you look into the library now from Macquarie Street, you see an empty foyer," the acting state librarian, Noelle Nelson, says. "Then, as you look down, you see people working away, very studiously. That will change.
"There will be a buzz in the foyer, with the cafe and the bookshop much more to the forefront. People will be able to see the library as an accessible space and picture themselves in it.
"They'll feel encouraged to come in, sit on the casual lounges, read the newspapers, hook up their laptop, pick up the Wi-Fi, meet friends for a coffee …"
The makeover is a recognition that libraries have changed in the age of the worldwide web. It's an international phenomenon, Nelson says. "New technologies mean we have even more opportunities to make our collections and expertise available. Libraries are becoming centres of lifelong learning, cultural destinations, welcoming social spaces."
The first stage has to be completed before the end of September, in time for the annual HSC crush. It concentrates on the two lower floors of reference reading rooms. Stage two, beginning early next year, focuses on the ground-floor foyer area.
Market research, Nelson says, showed the library's interior layout and facilities were outdated. "Our clients' needs have changed since 1988. The current layout had passed its use-by date. We were overcrowded during peak periods, like the HSC. We didn't have enough computers. People were having to share desks."
After long consultation with the librarians, Macchia's redesign has ditched the conventional long library tables in favour of smaller and less formal desk configurations. Gone are the traditionally towering book shelves, to be replaced by lower, less visually intimidating cabinets.
Nelson says no books will be harmed, though more will be kept in storage in the library's massive subterranean stacks, available on request: "These days, people can go online with their requests so the books are available for them by the time they get to the library."
More dramatically, soundproof glass walls will divide the reference floors into a number of separate "rooms" with different requirements - and varying levels of acceptable noise. Essentially, the deeper you descend into the library, the more traditionally studious the surroundings will be.
"Study has changed," Nelson says. Today's students often like to work together in informal groups around their computers, exchanging information. The new layout allows them to do that while creating an inner sanctum where people who prefer to work in silence can do so undisturbed.
So, deep down, there will still be a cone of silence? A kind of "hush area"? "We're trying to get away from words like shush and hush," Nelson says. "They give the wrong image. We're creating zones so clients have a choice, positioning themselves according to their need to do so … And they may change spaces throughout the course of the day as they meet a friend for coffee, check their emails or go and see one of our exhibitions."
Charge of deadly provocation is false
By Keith Windschuttle -- who is the editor of Quadrant, an Australian conservative magazine
IT took just two days after Australians awoke on Saturday morning to the terrible news of the mass murder in Norway for the left-wing commentariat to start exploiting the event for political capital.
On Monday, July 25, Aron Paul in New Matilda said the massacre was not only a manifestation of one man's troubled psyche but of "an increasingly toxic political culture plagued by incivility and extremist rhetoric". Anders Breivik should not be dismissed as a lone madman, Paul wrote. Breivik's statement that he killed because "we must do our duty by decimating cultural Marxism" revealed the alleged source of his motivation. These words did not originate in the terrorist's own mind, Paul argued, "but were planted there with the help of poisonous political discourses which have enthusiastic proponents here in Australia".
Among the ideological culprits Paul listed was Herald Sun journalist Andrew Bolt. Pundits such as Bolt were "masters of sowing fear and indignation among their followers -- and then threatening to unleash that anger". Our greatest living historian was also implicated: "It is the old Geoffrey Blainey argument: if you dare to dismantle White Australia, then White Australians will riot in the streets." The magazine I edit, Quadrant, was more culpable than most because of "the deliberately provocative language with which Quadrant and other right-wing forums are awash".
The next day the Crikey website joined the fray. According to Guy Rundle, Breivik was not alone but represented "the armed wing of hysterical Right commentary". Rundle advised conservative writers to reflect on "the role that a decade-long discourse of hysterical commentary on immigration and culture in Europe played in forming the thinking of killer Breivik".
The first thing to note is that most of this commentary is completely false. I read Bolt regularly and, while he spends a lot of time and provides much amusement exposing the hypocrisy and sloppy thinking of left-wing politicians and intellectuals, I have yet to see him conjuring up fear and indignation. The charge against Blainey is pure invention. In his critique of the continuation of high immigration during the recession of the early 1980s he never discussed the long-defunct White Australia policy, let alone predicted race riots in its defence.
However, yesterday morning an ABC journalist informed me some of my own writings had been quoted in Breivik's 1500-page manifesto, "2083: A European Declaration of Independence". Since then, this fact has apparently been repeated on several online sites and innumerable times over Twitter, accompanied in many cases by quite gleeful comments celebrating some kind of victory over the forces of conservative darkness.
Since learning of this, I have certainly been reflecting on whether I or my magazine can really be held responsible for the events of last Friday. Have I ever used "deliberately provocative language" that might have caused Breivik to take up a rifle and shoot more than 80 unarmed teenagers in cold blood? It is a very disturbing accusation.
Breivik quotes several statements I made in a paper to a conference in New Zealand in February 2006, titled The Adversary Culture: The Perverse Anti-Westernism of the Cultural Elite. This is his version of what I said:
"For the past three decades and more, many of the leading opinion makers in our universities, the media and the arts have regarded Western culture as, at best, something to be ashamed of, or at worst, something to be opposed. The scientific knowledge that the West has produced is simply one of many 'ways of knowing' . . . Cultural relativism claims there are no absolute standards for assessing human culture. Hence all cultures should be regarded as equal, though different . . .
The plea for acceptance and open-mindedness does not extend to Western culture itself, whose history is regarded as little more than a crime against the rest of humanity. The West cannot judge other cultures but must condemn its own . . .
The concepts of free [inquiry] and free expression and the right to criticise entrenched beliefs are things we take so much for granted they are almost part of the air we breathe. We need to recognise them as distinctly Western phenomena. They were never produced by Confucian or Hindu culture . . . But without this concept, the world would not be as it is today. There would have been no Copernicus, Galileo, Newton or Darwin."
This is a truncated version that leaves out a great deal of context but it is not inaccurate or misleading. I made every one of these statements and I still stand by them. In this and similar papers I have provided numerous examples to establish the case.
Having read them several times again, I am still at a complete loss to find any connection between them and the disgusting and cowardly actions of Breivik. The charge that any of this is a provocation to murder is unsustainable.
Anyone who goes through the rest of the killer's manifesto will find him quoting several other Australians approvingly, including John Howard, Peter Costello and George Pell.
Nothing they say in defence of Christianity or about the problems of integrating Muslims into Australian society could be read by anyone as a provocation to murder.
Perhaps I should qualify that last statement since several left-wing intellectuals, including journalists David Marr and Marian Wilkinson in their book Dark Victory and playwright Hannie Rayson in Two Brothers, actually accused members of the Howard government of having the blood of boatpeople on their hands.
In contrast, the quality that stands out in the work of most conservative writers today is restraint. Even though the stakes in the present conflict over multiculturalism in the West are very high -- with the concepts of free speech, the rule of law, equality of women and freedom of religion all open to debate -- most conservatives have respected the rules of evidence and the avoidance of ad hominem abuse.
Their left-wing opponents, however, as the Norwegian tragedy has demonstrated yet again, will resort to the lowest tactics to shut down debate they do not like and to kill off arguments they cannot refute by any other means.
Norway shooting: Glenn Beck compares dead teenagers to Hitler youth
Hitler's national socialists and Norway's present-day socialists are certainly not the same but they were/are nonetheless both authoritarian socialists who muzzle debate. Norway's penal code (Straffeloven, section 135 a) prohibits "hate speech" and defines it as publicly making statements that threaten or ridicule someone or that incite hatred, persecution or contempt for someone due to their skin colour, ethnic origin, homosexual life style or orientation or, religion or philosophy of life. So criticism of Muslims is illegal.
And we read here how the island had long been a training ground for Norway's Leftist leadership. So Beck is right to point out similarities. Leftists always go into paroxysms of rage in response to any criticism so their rage against Beck in this case is just routine
Glenn Beck, the leading Right-wing American broadcaster, has prompted outrage after comparing the teenage victims of the Utoya Island massacre to the Hitler Youth. Beck said that the Labour party youth camp on the island, where 68 people were murdered, bore "disturbing" similarities to the Nazi party's notorious juvenile wing.
Beck, a multimillionaire darling of the Tea Party movement, said on his nationally-syndicated radio show: "There was a shooting at a political camp, which sounds a little like, you know, the Hitler youth. I mean, who does a camp for kids that's all about politics? Disturbing."
Torbjørn Eriksen, a former press secretary to Jens Stoltenberg, Norway's prime minister, described the comment as "a new low" for the broadcaster, who has frequently been forced to apologise for offensive remarks. "Young political activists have gathered at Utoya for over 60 years to learn about and be part of democracy, the very opposite of what the Hitler Youth was about," he told The Daily Telegraph. "Glenn Beck's comments are ignorant, incorrect and extremely hurtful."
The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, a Washington-based campaign group, said the remark by Beck, a free agent after being forced out of the Fox News channel earlier this year, was "absolutely disgusting".
Beck's controversial statements and conspiracy-filled rants have made him one of the most divisive figures in US politics and media in recent years. Last year he said he regretted calling Barack Obama a "racist" with a "deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture". He later apologised for mocking Mr Obama's young daughter Malia.
In February he apologised to Reform Judaism, a group that campaigns for the modernisation of the Jewish faith, after comparing them to "radicalised Islam".
But he refused to apologise in May after mock-vomiting on his live TV show following a cancer-awareness advert starring a nude Meghan McCain, the daughter of Senator John McCain. Beck said that Miss McMcCain, whose father survived cancer before running for the US presidency, should "wear a burka" because she was apparently unattractive.
Despite Beck expressing surprise that political movements would hold camps for children, followers of his 9/12 Project – which aims to "recapture the spirit of the day after America was attacked" – have this summer been doing just that.
Organisers of the "vacation liberty schools" in several states told the Daily Telegraph how they taught children as young as eight a Tea Party-endorsed curriculum spanning religion, economics and political principles.
Warming no threat to coral
Discussing: Bauman, A.G., Baird, A.H. and Cavalcante, G.H. 2011. Coral reproduction in the world's warmest reefs: southern Persian Gulf (Dubai, United Arab Emirates). Coral Reefs 30: 405-413.
The authors write that "coral assemblages in the Persian Gulf (24-30°N) experience the highest annual variability in water temperatures of any coral reefs (Kinsman, 1964; Sheppard, 1988; Sheppard et al., 2000)," noting that sea surface temperatures there "can fluctuate annually from winter lows <12°C to summer highs >36°C (Sheppard et al., 1992; Sheppard, 1993)." And they thus suggest that "understanding coral reproductive biology in the Gulf may provide clues as to how corals may cope with global warming."
What was done
Bauman et al. examined six locally common coral species on two shallow reef sites in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in 2008 and 2009, in order to investigate their patterns of reproduction, focusing primarily on the timing and synchrony of spawning.
What was learned
The three researchers report that the reproductive biology of the six coral species in the southern Persian Gulf "appears to be well adapted to extreme annual environmental fluctuations" and is "remarkably similar to conspecifics elsewhere in the Indo-Pacific (Baird et al., 2009a,b)," adding that "the adaptive capacity of corals in the Persian Gulf is likely facilitated by a combination of short-term acclimation in individuals during acute environmental conditions (e.g., recurrent bleaching events) and long-term adaptation among coral populations to chronic environmental conditions (e.g., extreme temperatures)."
What it means
In concluding their analysis of their data, Bauman et al. say their work "confirms that corals are capable of reproductive activities under extreme environmental conditions," as has also been found to be the case by Coles and Fadlallah (1991) and Coles and Brown (2003). Hence, they state that "coral populations can survive and proliferate in extreme conditions that are projected to occur in many other regions of the world by the end of this century," buttressing their claim with the statement that "the recovery of these coral assemblages following mortality induced by a number of recent temperature-related bleaching events (1996, 1998 and 2002) suggests these assemblages are also resilient to extreme fluctuations in water temperature," additionally citing in this regard the work of Riegl (1999, 2003) and Burt et al. (2008).
Censorship at the Voice of
Instead of being a voice of freedom, they co-operate with repressive regimes. They are run by Obama nominees these days
Leaders of the Ethiopian American community joined by free media advocates are planning a protest rally on Monday, July 25, in front of the Voice of America (VOA) building in Washington, DC amid charges of censorship of VOA news programs to Ethiopia by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG).
According to Voice of America broadcasters who spoke on the condition that their names not be revealed because they fear reprisals, the BBG has tried to silence VOA journalist David Arnold who encouraged reporting that upset BBG members as well as officials of the Ethiopian regime.
In a situation reminiscent of Soviet and East European communist media controls, a high-level manager reportedly forbade VOA Africa Division journalists to take written notes during a staff meeting in which complaints about censorship were raised.
The BBG is a presidentially-appointed bipartisan group which runs VOA and other government-funded U.S. international broadcasters and is supposed to promote freedom of expression and anti-censorship efforts around the world, but has been accused of negotiating with repressive regimes, terminating VOA radio and TV programs to countries that restrict media freedom, including Russia and China, and firing VOA journalists who specialize in human rights reporting.
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