GPs hit out at restrictions on supposed Covid treatment Ivermectin


<i>The general Leftist determination to find fault with Trump has to be factored into any judgment about Ivermectin.  As I read it, the condemnations of it and the devotions to it are both too sweeping.  

On my reading of the research literature, it is in a familiar class of drugs that is useful if taken early in disease onset but useless after that.  So both sides can quote findings that support their position.</i>

The move by Australia's legal drug authority to warn general practitioners against prescribing the drug Ivermectin as a supposed 'Covid treatment' has divided the grass roots medical fraternity.

Last week, the Therapeutic Goods Administration issued new restrictions on the use of ivermectin to treat Covid-19 symptoms amid fear it was being handed out by GPs to those using it as an unauthorised treatment for the virus.

The drug, which has traditionally been used to treat lice and scabies in humans, and which also is used to treat conditions in animals, gained popularity as a potential Covid cure after ex-United States President Donald Trump talked it up while in office. 

News of the direction stirred robust debate among doctors commenting under a Royal Australian College of General Practitioners article. 

While some welcomed the decision, many appeared furious that they were being told what was best for their patients. 

'The contempt we are held in by our bureaucracy is palpable,' one GP stated. 

'Once again general practice is considered the lowest common denominator of medicine, and our competence and objectivity to treat our patients appropriately is questioned,' another doctor wrote. 

Some GPs argued it was 'common knowledge' among doctors that vaccination alone was not the only approach to manage pandemics.

'Being vaccinated does not make anyone a superhuman to COVID infection. If our goal is to keep Australian safe from dying, shouldn't we give alternatives to those who for whatever reasons will rather die than take the vaccines,' one doctor wrote. 

'India saved their nation with Ivermectin. Do we want people to die in their homes in the name of promoting vaccination? GPs should stand up for choice.' 

GPs are now only able to prescribe ivermectin for TGA-approved indications, such as scabies and certain parasitic infections.

The changes mean only specific specialists , including infectious disease physicians, dermatologists, gastroenterologists and hepatologists, will be permitted to prescribe the drug for other 'unapproved indications' if they believe it appropriate.

'These changes have been introduced because of concerns with the prescribing of oral ivermectin for the claimed prevention or treatment of COVID-19,' the TGA told doctors.

'Ivermectin is not approved for use in COVID-19 in Australia or in other developed countries, and its use by the general public for COVID-19 is currently strongly discouraged by the National COVID Clinical Evidence Taskforce, the World Health Organisation and the US Food and Drug Administration.'

'I am neither for or against Ivermectin at this stage,' one GP commented.

'WHO had given contradictory statements on Covid inflection right from the start. For example, no human to human transmission.'

Some GPs claimed they had been bullied by anti-vaxxers desperate for access to the drug to treat Covid.  

'I have been approached by an aggressive family twice and I obliged once which was so hard next time that I needed to call police to get rid of that patient - frustrating indeed,' a GP stated.  

It is understood the drug's promotion by anti-vaxxers has led to a dramatic increase in its uptake by the large sections of the community. 

The drug has been used as an authorised treatment for Covid-19 in some eastern European, South American and Central American nations, and was used in India to during the outbreak of the Delta strain, but is not recommended by the WHO. 

It came back into the headlines this month when prominent podcaster Joe Rogan said he used the drug and others to treat his Covid infection and rapidly recovered, with some attacking his promotion of unauthorised treatments. 

A quick look on social media reveals the drug is widely promoted in anti-vaccination circles as an alternative to the jab. 

'There has been a 3-4-fold increased dispensing of ivermectin prescriptions in recent months leading to national and local shortages for those who need the medicine for scabies and parasite infections,' GPs were warned.

The health watchdog has warned improper use of the drug can be associated with serious adverse effects, including severe nausea, vomiting, dizziness and neurological effects such as dizziness, seizures and coma. 

Although some GPs remain skeptical of the TGA advice.  

'Ivermectin is wrongly painted as a dangerous drug and a "serious overdose reaction" of diarhoea is mentioned. This is laughable,' one GP wrote.

'Many patients taking all sorts of medications are experiencing diarhoea and a S/E. Should we remove all these meds from GP's hands then?' 

Former Liberal MP Craig Kelly, who in August assumed the leadership of Clive Palmer's United Australia Party, has repeatedly said drugs such as ivermectin and the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine - another unproven treatment - should be used to treat Covid.

'I'm not saying take the drug. I'm not saying the drug works, but I'm saying the doctor should be free to sit down with their patient and make a decision,' he previously told SBS.

Last month, the equivalent to the TGA - the US FDA - put out a tweet urging people not to take ivermectin, amid a surge of calls to poison centers nationwide. 'You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it,' the agency wrote.


DOJ to Limit Chokeholds, No-Knock Raids

No knock raids are a gross breach of civil liberties (4th amendment) and can easily be abused. It's time they were stopped. All evidence obtained via them should be deemed inadmissable on Miranda grounds. Too bad if a few druggies get time to hide their stash

The Department of Justice announced Tuesday that it would be imposing limits on federal law enforcement's use of chokeholds, carotid restraints and no-knock warrants going forward.

Chokeholds and carotid restraints only be authorized if police officers find themselves in a situation that requires the use of deadly force, which is defined as a "reasonable belief that the subject of such force poses an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to the officer or to another person."

The new policy will also limit no-knock warrants to times in which "physical safety is at stake," but would still be required to get approval from both a federal prosecutor and the agent’s law enforcement component.

"Building trust and confidence between law enforcement and the public we serve is central to our mission at the Justice Department," Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement. "The limitations implemented today on the use of ‘chokeholds,’ ‘carotid restraints’ and ‘no-knock’ warrants, combined with our recent expansion of body-worn cameras to DOJ’s federal agents, are among the important steps the department is taking to improve law enforcement safety and accountability."

This comes in response to several deaths in recent years that occurred from the use of these police tactics.

In 2014, Eric Garner died after New York Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo put him in a chokehold and compressed his chest against the ground while arresting him for selling loose cigarettes. Pantaleo was subsequently fired but was not charged for Garner's death.

Outrage over no-knock warrants came after Breonna Taylor was shot and killed in her home last year during a botched police raid.

The new policy comes as national police reform legislation has stalled in Congress.


If Amy Coney Barrett means what she just said, she should resign from the Supreme Court right now


Danielle Campoamor has written below an unalloyed hit-piece for the Independent.  In  the bad old days, the Independent was known to many conservativesas the Subservient and that is if full flower below.  I have often noticed that it takes a woman to rip another woman apart and Danielle Campoamor  is in that tradition

Referring to a senior conservative Senator as a "goblin" reveals her bias and she is amusing in calling Trump "shameless" for appointing judges from his side of the political aisle.  Democrats don't do that?  They invented it with their finding rights mentioned nowhere in the constitution (abortion) and denying ones that were (affirmative action)

And Danielle totally ignores the times Barrett has OPPOSED conservative positions -- e.g. on immigration and firearms. She IS independent.

While speaking at a lecture hosted by the University of Lousville’s McConnell Center, Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett expressed faux concern over the American public’s belief that the highest court in the country has become partisan. After she was introduced by the Republican Senate Minority Leader and proud partisan goblin Mitch McConnell (R-KY) — and no, even Veep writers couldn’t have made this mess up — Barrett said justices should be “hyper-vigilant to make sure they’re not letting personal biases creep into their decisions, since judges are people, too.” She went on to insist that “judicial philosophies are not the same as political parties” and that “to say the court’s reasoning is flawed is different from saying the court is acting in a partisan manner.”

If you can lobotimize yourself into forgetting that Barrett joined her fellow conservative judges in recently refusing to block the clearly unconstitutional 6-week abortion ban in Texas, and sidestep the rank hypocrisy oozing from the mouth of a woman who gladly accepted a nomination that went against the very promises Republicans made when they blocked then-President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nomination, perhaps you can take Barrett’s concern at face value. Maybe partisanship keeps this proud conservative judge up at night. Sure.

But if she is truly afraid of bipartisan hacks taking over the United States Supreme Court, then she should take the first step in rectifying the problem… and resign.

Barrett was nominated and later confirmed to the Supreme Court for one main reason and one main reason only: to overturn Roe v Wade. The president who nominated her, Donald Trump, said as much. During a 2016 presidential debate, Trump said “I will be appointing pro-life judges” and promised Roe v Wade would fall “automatically” after those judges were confirmed, especially if he was in a position to appoint two or three judges during his presidential tenure. And he was. Now, Justice Neil Gorsuch, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and Barrett herself sit on the high court, with the court’s partisanship on full display and Trump’s shameless promise fulfilled.

Scientists warn polar bears are inbreeding due to climate change


The loss of genetic diversity sounds bad, but there is no evidence it actually is. They just assume it is. There is a reply to the story here which pretty well demolishes it

A new study on climate change’s effects on polar bears was published Wednesday in the Royal Society Journals.

The study, published Wednesday in the Royal Society Journals, found a 10-percent decrease in the genetic diversity of polar bears in the Norwegian archipelago Svalbard over a 20-year period, corresponding with the loss of sea ice.

“We found a drastic reduction in genetic diversity over the 20-year period," one of the study’s authors, Simo Maduna of the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research, told ABC News. "And we could, in actual fact, associate this reduction in genetic diversity with the loss of sea ice."

As the sea ice melts due to climate change, polar bears have fewer encounters with other polar bears. 

Researchers worry that as more bears begin to inbreed, it could lead to infertility among the polar bears, as well as an inability to combat disease.

"With genetic diversity, when the population becomes so small, you'll find that there will be a higher chance of closely related individuals mating and producing offspring," Maduna said. "But with that comes a risk in the sense that some of the traits ... that are recessive, will now basically be unmasked in the population."

Polar bears are already facing other detrimental effects of global warming, such as starvation from their dwindling hunting grounds. A previous study from 2020 estimated that all polar bears could be extinct by 2100 if the Arctic ice continues to melt at its current rate.


Australian TV Channel takes ex-Bachelorette Georgia Love off air after racist social media post


Jokes are now dangerous

Georgia Love has been taken off air after sharing a racist post on social media.

The former Bachelorette star has been disciplined by employer Channel 7 following backlash over the post earlier this week when Love posted an Instagram image of a cat inside an Asian restaurant with the caption: “Shop attendant or lunch?!” and a laughing emoji.

“We have addressed this matter internally and disciplinary action has been taken,” a Seven spokeswoman said.
“Seven does not condone this inappropriate conduct and all of our staff have the right to work in a safe, nurturing workplace free from prejudice.”

After her stint on Ten’s Bachelorette in 2016, TV journalist Love earlier this year landed a dream job as a reporter on 7News Melbourne.

It is understood that after a workplace investigation and being counselled by bosses, Love will work on the news production desk effective immediately.

Love, who married partner Lee Elliott after meeting on the reality show, apologised to colleagues in an email sent by 7News Director Shaun Menegolo.

“It has been a difficult week for many as a consequence of some inappropriate and offensive posts on a staff member’s private account,” Menegolo said.

“Following a workplace investigation that had to follow due process, I want to let you know that Georgia has been counselled and will be reassigned to the production desk, effective immediately.”

Australia now the biggest gold producer


What happened to South Africa?  Black rule, I guess

Australia has become the biggest gold producer in the world, overtaking China for the first time.

It's great news for gold miner Red 5 which is ramping up efforts to begin production at its King of the Hill mine in Western Australia's Goldfields.

"We started constructing in October 2020 and we're on track for the first gold in about seven or eight months time, in the June quarter of 2022," Red 5 managing director Mark Williams says.

The miner is turning the switch back on at the open cut and underground gold mine it bought four years ago.

The timing is pretty good too, with spot gold prices hovering at about $US1,800 an ounce.

"We've been able to essentially beat the rush with the escalation in the pricing," Mr Williams tells The Business.

How did we top China?

China has been the world's biggest gold producer since 2007, with Australia the second largest producer for about a decade.

Gold analysts Surbiton Associates report China produced 153 tonnes of gold in the first half of this calendar year.

Australian gold miners produced 157 tonnes.

"That's the first time that's happened," Surbiton Associates director Sandra Close says.

But, she adds, it wasn't an increase in Australian production that led to the switch.

"The Chinese, I believe, have had some problems in the mines with some safety problems, some personnel being killed, so at the moment some of the mines are being investigated.

"We shall have to see what happens to gold production in the next six months, both in Australia and in China."

Australian gold production is rising

The last two years have been the best on record for Australian gold producers.

In the 2019/20 financial year 328 tonnes of gold was retrieved from beneath Australian soil — the most ever in a year.

Last financial year was the second best year, yielding 321 tonnes.

"We do have a larger number of smaller mines compared to some of the other gold mining countries such as, say, the US," explains Dr Close.

"That gives us a little more flexibility sometimes."

IBISWorld research predicts the $26 billion sector will see revenue rise 11.6 per cent this year "due to continued uncertainty about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy".

It says the growth is also due to an anticipated surge in industry output and higher gold prices.

Australian Bureau of Statistics data reveals investment in gold exploration rose more than any other commodity in the June quarter, up 19.3 per cent to $429.8 million.

Why does the gold price go up when everything else goes down?
Gold is known as a safe haven asset.

Generally the price of gold increases when there's political and economic instability.

"Gold is the one safe haven asset that everybody flocks to in times of difficulty, in times of turmoil and trouble," says The Perth Mint's chief executive Richard Hayes.

"Given where the world is today with COVID and the terrible problems that we've seen around the world, the demand for both gold and silver has gone through the roof."

But it's not always a straight line.

The gold price fell when the COVID-19 pandemic first took hold around the world.

"The initial reaction was quite negative — we actually saw in March 2020 gold prices fall roughly about 11 per cent and that was a reflection of a flight to safety and the market running towards the US dollar," explains Commonwealth Bank director of mining and energy commodities research Vivek Dhar.

Six months later, gold peaked at a new high.

"We have certainly seen a lot of volatility because up until August last year we actually saw gold track higher to lift above $US2,000 an ounce," he says

It's now come back down and is worth about $US1,800 an ounce.

"But it's held at the $US1,800 mark rather than the sort of $US1,200, $US1,300, $US1,400 mark that it was holding at pre-COVID," Mr Hayes adds.

"So certainly that's up by 20 to 25 per cent on where it was two years ago."

What about digital currencies like bitcoin?

Some argue digital currencies are giving gold a run for its money as the ultimate store of wealth.

But the extreme volatility of the likes of bitcoin and ethereum, where the price can move more than 10 per cent in a single day, has others arguing it's too risky.

"Bitcoin or ethereum coin exists in cyberspace. At the end of the day, it's simply an entry in an electronic ledger," argues Mr Hayes.

"If you look through history at commodities, where they have shot from relative obscurity to prominence, like South Sea pearls or the tulips out of Amsterdam, they all went through the same cycle that we're seeing now with cryptocurrencies — they went up spectacularly in value and fell just as quickly."

What else drives the gold price?

The biggest factor affecting the gold price right now is the US Federal Reserve and a weaker US dollar.

While the Reserve Bank of Australia is continuing with its tapering of bond buying, the US central bank is yet to move.

"A delay to tapering is likely to provide less support for the US dollar than otherwise and that should be positive for gold," Mr Dhar explains.

"While the inverse relationship between gold and the US dollar has deviated significantly in the past, in recent months movements in the US dollar have provided a reliable steer of gold price movements."

Which means we could see the gold price, and its contribution to our economy, rise again.

Corals climate 'fighters'


That they "need rising temperatures to slow" is just an assertion.  No figures are given

Corals may be able to roll with the punches of climate change better than initially thought in coming decades, but need rising temperatures to slow to have a fighting chance.

Corals can pass down the ability to survive rising temperatures via their genes, researchers say.

That's the finding of new Queensland-led research, published on Monday and based on an analysis of 95 trait measurements across 19 species of reef-building corals from previous studies.

The authors determined corals, which have suffered widespread bleaching events in Australia this century, can pass down abilities to survive under environmental stresses such as rising temperatures through their genes.

"We found their ability to pass on adaptive traits is maintained despite increasing temperatures," said lead author Kevin Bairos-Novak, a PhD candidate at James Cook University's Coral Centre of Excellence.

"In particular, corals that are better than average at survival, growth and resisting bleaching stress under future ocean conditions should be good at passing those advantages on to their offspring."


Antibiotics and bowel cancer


I no longer post regularly on my Food & Health blog but I have just put up something there that should be of general interest -- An article about a link between antibiotics and bowel cancer

Queensland water utility wins appeal against 2011 flood damages ruling


The Wivenhoe dam could easily have stopped the flood but it was mismanaged by the bureaucrats in charge of it  -- who ignored their own manual.

This judgment says that the operators can do what they want as long as they agree with one-another!  This should go to the High Court

State-owned dam operator Seqwater has won an appeal against a landmark ruling on the 2011 Queensland floods.

In 2019, the Supreme Court in New South Wales found the Queensland government, Sunwater and Seqwater, had acted negligently and had contributed to the disaster.

It was ruled engineers had failed to follow their own flood mitigation manual, leading them to release large volumes of water at the height of the flood, damaging more properties.

A judge ordered more than 6,500 victims whose homes or businesses were damaged were entitled to almost $900 million in compensation.

Two of the defendants agreed to pay their share of the settlement but Seqwater — which was found liable for 50 per cent — appealed against the decision on a number of grounds.

During a hearing in May, Seqwater argued engineers had acted appropriately and the decisions about water releases were suitable.

In a published judgment today, three NSW Court of Appeal judges ruled the engineers "acted by way of consensus" and "ultimately" followed the strategy determined by the senior flood operations engineer and were not in breach of the Civil Liability Act.

"Failure by Seqwater's flood engineers to depart from that strategy was not proven to be in breach," the judges found.

"Even if their conduct departed from the manual, that did not of itself entail a breach of that standard."

Ipswich councillor and Goodna flood victim Paul Tully slammed the unexpected decision as a "kick in the guts" to many still-struggling flood victims.

"This decision defies commonsense and logic given that SunWater and the state government have already accepted they were jointly liable for the flood," Mr Tully said.

"We now have the bizarre situation where the state government and SunWater have agreed to pay $440 million as their assessed 50 per cent liability, while Seqwater has squirmed out of its responsibility on a legal technicality."

Mr Tully accused Seqwater of legal delaying tactics over 10 years "lacking one iota of justice, common decency or fair play".

"In the past decade, many flood victims have passed away, marriages have failed and people have suffered mental breakdowns as a result of the legal delays."

The judgment also rejected the initial judge's determination that losses had been caused by the "cumulative effect" of several breaches by the flood engineers.

"That approach was artificial … and assumed that each flood engineer could and should exercise independent judgment," the judges found. "The flood engineers acted in a collaborative manner … all were liable for each breach. "The fact that a particular engineer was on duty at a particular time was not a critical factor."

The matter was dismissed and the respondent was ordered to pay costs.

Climate change is causing ‘catastrophic harm to health’ and action to tackle it cannot be put off because of Covid, medical journals warn


This is nonsense on stilts.  Warm weather is good for you. Winter is the season of dying.  And the claims about disasters also range between exaggerated and false.  For instance, the claim that agriculture is suffering is the reverse of the truth.  Almost every year grain crops are in glut

'Health is already being harmed by global temperature increases and the destruction of the natural world,' read an editorial published in more than 220 leading journals ahead of the Cop26 climate summit in November.

Since the pre-industrial era, temperatures have risen around 1.1 degrees Celsius (34 degrees Fahrenheit).

The editorial, written by the editors-in-chief of over a dozen journals including the Lancet, the East African Medical Journal, Brazil's Revista de Saude Publica and the International Nursing Review, said this had caused a plethora of health problems.

'In the past 20 years, heat-related mortality among people older than 65 years has increased by more than 50 percent,' it read.

'Higher temperatures have brought increased dehydration and renal function loss, dermatological malignancies, tropical infections, adverse mental health outcomes, pregnancy complications, allergies, and cardiovascular and pulmonary morbidity and mortality.'

It also pointed to the decline in agricultural production, 'hampering efforts to reduce undernutrition.'

Personal carbon allowances revisited


This is straight totalitarianism, reminiscent of Soviet Russia  You will be restricted from doing things that you would normally do by a "carbon" straitjacket.  Reminiscent of wartime rationing


Here we discuss how personal carbon allowances (PCAs) could play a role in achieving ambitious climate mitigation targets. We argue that recent advances in AI for sustainable development, together with the need for a low-carbon recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, open a new window of opportunity for PCAs. Furthermore, we present design principles based on the Sustainable Development Goals for the future adoption of PCAs. We conclude that PCAs could be trialled in selected climate-conscious technologically advanced countries, mindful of potential issues around integration into the current policy mix, privacy concerns and distributional impacts.

Climate change deniers are as slippery as those who justified the slave trade


Nick Cohen is a moderate Leftist but he has fallen for the egotistical fallacy that what goes on in his own head goes on in most other people's.  He declares skeptical arguments disproven  without looking at the shallowness of the "disproofs".  He is just gullible.  Calling climate skeptics "cranks" just reveals him as a bigot.  What he writes is a smear, not an argument

No one seems as defeated as the global warming “deniers” who dominated rightwing thinking a decade ago. Like late 18th-century opponents of abolishing the slave trade, Lord Lawson and the claque of Conservative cranks who filled the comment pages of the Tory press are remembered today as dangerous fools – assuming they are remembered at all.

The billions of dollars spent by the fossil fuel industry on propaganda and its acceptance by know-nothing elements on the right caused incalculable damage. They might have followed Margaret Thatcher, who warned in 1989 of C02 admissions leading to climate change “more fundamental and more widespread than anything we have known”. The desire of business to protect profits and the vanity of politicians and pundits, who saw themselves as dissidents fighting the consensus rather than fanatics enabling destruction, helped to waste two decades of valuable time.

Every argument they advanced has been disproved, as much by the experience of everyday life as science. Journalists are advised: “If someone says it is raining and another person says it’s dry, it’s not your job to quote them both. Your job is to look out the window and find out which is true.” The world only had to look at the weather outside to know who was trying to fool it.

To pick from the dozens of examples in Richard Black’s history of the conspiracy theory (Denied: The Rise and Fall of Climate Contrarianism) , global warming is not a “swindle”, as a Channel 4 documentary informed its viewers in 2007. Glaciers and ice sheets are shrinking and the seas are becoming more acidic. If there was swindling, it was at Channel 4, as Ofcom suggested when it found the station guilty of several breaches of the broadcasting rules. It is not “erroneous” to assume that humanity is driving the climate catastrophe, as the Spectator assured its readers as late as 2017. The pace of man-made climate change is faster than anything in the Earth’s history and all attempts to invent other explanations have failed.

Viscount Ridley, who presided over the collapse of Northern Rock, and now dismisses the collapse of the planet in the pages of the Times, said climate change was doing “more good than harm”. We should adapt to a warmer Earth and celebrate the reduction in deaths from the winter cold. But the seas and icecaps cannot adapt, nor can cities threatened with flooding and countries facing desertification. The lights did not go out as we switched to renewable energy, as so many pundits said they would. And energy bills have fallen rather than risen, despite the assertions of the noble Lawson to the contrary. Rightwing denialism appears buried so deep in the dustbin of history it can never be recycled.

And yet there is nervousness among the impressively large number of Conservative politicians who are serious about pushing for net zero. They are pleading with their colleagues to understand the advantages to consumers and businesses that a determined remaking of the economy would bring. The Conservative Environmental Network is already in a fight with a small group of rightwing MPs, who claim “the poorest will pay the highest price for net-zero fantasies” (even though no measure is more likely to reduce fuel poverty than a government home-insulation drive). That battle will only intensify.

I put “denier” in quotes at the top of this piece because the enemies of science (and of us all) are endlessly malleable shapeshifters. Once they can no longer deny the existence of man-made global warming, they shift and keet on shifting so no one can ever pin them down. In this, they mirror the defenders of slavery 230 years ago, who created the modern world’s first corporate PR campaign and provided an example for all who have followed.

The comparison isn’t harsh. One day, the attack on climate science will be seen as shocking as the defence of human bondage. Indeed, that day should have long passed. They are overwhelmingly old men or, in the case of Lawson, a very old man. They grew up in a 20th century where the carbon economy was natural: the way the world was and would always be. Slavery was equally natural to the plantation owners and slave traders of Georgian Britain. It had always existed, everywhere on Earth.

The 18th century had its Viscount Ridleys who opined that slavery did more good than harm. In 1789, during the hearings for the first abolition bill in history, one witness told parliament that Africans wanted to be enslaved and “nine out of 10 rejoice at falling into our hands”. The pro-slavery lobby was as well funded as the fossil-fuel lobby, and as relentless. The Telegraph comment pages did not exist in 1789 so it commissioned The Benevolent Planters by one Thomas Bellamy to appear at the Theatre Royal in London’s West End. The play told the story of Oran and Selima, lovers who are separated in Africa. Their capture by slavers is a blessing. Far from being oppressors, kind slave owners bring the couple together in the West Indies and allow them to live productive lives together.

William Wilberforce was assailed by claims that if Britain abolished slavery, “our manufactures will droop in consequence, our land-tax will be raised, our marine destroyed, while France, our natural enemy and rival, will strengthen herself by our weakness”. Today, Nick Timothy, the man who destroyed Theresa May’s premiership, tells Telegraph readers the British will be forced into penury by “net-zero zealots” while other countries “break their promises” and profit from our naivety.

In the 18th and 21st centuries, as soon as one fake position was exposed, another took its place. The arguments change. The intent remains the same.

It remains an open question as to whether Boris Johnson secretly shares a denialist intent. Conservative environmentalists look on him with approval as he prepares to host the Cop26 climate change conference in November. He says all the right things, but the investment and political will needed to electrify transport, reduce meat eating and refit the housing stock are nowhere to be seen. Denialism is a shapeshifter. Its latest form may be a bombastic prime minister who promises the Earth but does next to nothing to protect it.



There is a long research article under the heading above that would not be appropriate to reproduce here. I did however like one of their graphs. I reproduce it below. You will note that the temperature was the same in 1550 and 1950. Not much global warming there!

The lesson is that the temperature goes up and down in random ways

Much-touted Bangladesh study of masks is a snark


Multiple accounts have popped up (e.g. here) saying that the study vindicates mask-wearing. It does not. Just two quotes from the study abstract tell the tale:

"Neither participants nor field staff were blinded to intervention assignment"

"The proportion of individuals with COVID-like symptoms was 7.62% (N=13,273) in the intervention arm and 8.62% (N=13,893) in the control arm"

For a start, the study was of people with "COVID-like symptoms", not actual disease and there was NO data on deaths. So there is a lot of room for slippage there.  How often were the "symptoms" actually indicative of COVID infection? 

Secondly, the figures for mask-wearers and non-mask-wearers differed only slightly (7.62% vs 8.62%) -- to a  degree readily explainable by the fact that the study was not blinded.  The experimenters knew who the wearers and non-wearers were and it is routine that such a circumstance gives results favourable to the hypothesis.

Not blinding the study was a huge breach of scientific protocol and renders the results of zero authority.

Battles Erupt as Elite Schools Make Race a big issue

The movement in Leftist circles to emphasize race as a way of defeating racism seems extraordinarily perverse to outsiders. And it is every bit as oppressive as the old racism. Having "wrong" views about race can make you an outcast. Saying that whites can be both good and bad will get you fired

But the anti-white racial indoctrination programs now in place have fierce and widespread support in some circles so it behooves us to understand what motivates the race obsession. What is the source of the energy that lies behind it?

The starting point is the old Leftist absurdity that all men are equal. From which it follows that differences between different groups are imaginary. Yet the differences between the races are in fact stark. So how to resolve that discrepancy between the ideal and the real? There has to be some malign influence which is keeping blacks down. And the obvious candidate is white rcism Blacks have less rewarding lives because of white attitudes towards them. And why do whites have those attitues? The reasons are always vaguely expressed but the cultural history of whites is said to be the cause.

So if you have a large group of do-gooder people believing all that, the obvious next move is to endeavour to improve white attitudes towards blacks by any means necessary -- including by extreme pressure and propaganda that would make North Korea proud. So you upset and confuse white students with the best of intentions. You are trying to create a social landscape in which blacks are treated equally with whites.

The fact that the propaganda and other means being used are so oppressive reveals that the whole project is pushing shit uphill. It has no chance of succeeding. So why is it not succeeding? For the most obvious of reasons: Blacks really are different in various ways and those differences will be responded to. A totalitarian system has been created that will achieve oppression and nothing more. Good intentions will not overcome reality. It is a system that flies in the face of the divine advice (Acts 26:14) to the apostle Paul: "Don't kick againt the pricks" (Don't fight the inevitable). But Paul is not a modern educator.

One feels sorry for the white children though. They suffer from a racism that is as painful as what blacks experienced in the old South. They are told they are evil just because their skin is white. It could well do them lasting harm. Children are not just pawns in a game. Their feelings and perceptions need to be considered too. The more emotionally robust will quietly ignore the nonsense they are being taught but the more vulnerable among them may have their ability to deal with reality permanently impaired

Several years back Grace Church School, an elite private school in Manhattan, embraced an antiracist mission and sought to have students and teachers wrestle with whiteness, racial privilege and bias.

Teachers and students were periodically separated into groups by race, gender and ethnicity. In February 2021, Paul Rossi, a math teacher, and what the school called his “white-identifying” group, met with a white consultant, who displayed a slide that named supposed characteristics of white supremacy. These included individualism, worship of the written word and objectivity.

Mr. Rossi said he felt a twist in his stomach. “Objectivity?” he told the consultant, according to a transcript. “Human attributes are being reduced to racial traits.”

As you look at this list, the consultant asked, are you having “white feelings”? “What,” Mr. Rossi asked, “makes a feeling ‘white’?”

Some of the high school students then echoed his objections. “I’m so exhausted with being reduced to my race,” a girl said. “The first step of antiracism is to racialize every single dimension of my identity.” Another girl added: “Fighting indoctrination with indoctrination can be dangerous.”

This modest revolt proved fateful. A school official reprimanded Mr. Rossi, accusing him of “creating a neurological imbalance” in students, according to a recording of the conversation. A few days later the head of school wrote a statement and directed teachers to read it aloud in classes.

“When someone breaches our professional norms,” the statement read in part, “the response includes a warning in their permanent file that a further incident of unprofessional conduct could result in dismissal.”

This is another dispatch from America’s cultural conflicts over schools, this time from a rarefied bubble. Elite private schools from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., from Boston to Columbus, Ohio, have embraced a mission to end racism by challenging white privilege. A sizable group of parents and teachers say the schools have taken it too far — and enforced suffocating and destructive groupthink on students.

This is nowhere more true than in New York City’s tony forest of private schools.

Stirred by the surge of activism around racism, Black alumni have shared tales of isolation, insensitivity and racism during school days.

And many private school administrators have tried to reimagine their schools as antiracist institutions, which means, loosely, a school that is actively opposed to any manifestation of racism.

This conflict plays out amid the high peaks of American economic inequality. Tuition at many of New York’s private schools hovers between $53,000 and $58,000, the most expensive tab in the nation. Many heads of school make from $580,000 to more than $1.1 million.

At a time when some public schools are battling over whether to even teach aspects of American history, private school administrators portray uprooting racial bias as morally urgent and demanding of reiteration. Some steps are practical: They have added Black, Latino and Asian authors, and expanded course offerings to better encompass America and the world in its complications.

Other steps are much more personal. The interim head of the Dalton School, Ellen Stein, who is white, spoke five years ago of writing a racial biography of herself to better understand biases and to communicate with “other races.” The Brearley School declared itself an antiracist school with mandatory antiracism training for parents, faculty and trustees and affirmed the importance of meeting regularly in groups that bring together people who share a common race or gender.

Kindergarten students at Riverdale Country School in the Bronx are taught to identify their skin color by mixing paint colors. The lower school chief in an email last year instructed parents to avoid talk of colorblindness and “acknowledge racial differences.”

Private school leaders, along with diversity consultants, say these approaches reflect current research about confronting racism and stamping out privilege.

“There’s always the same resistance — ‘Oh my God, you’re going too far,’ ” said Martha Haakmat, a Black diversity consultant who serves on the board of Brearley. “We just want to teach kids about the systems that create inequity in society and empower them rather than reinforcing systems of oppression.”

Studies show that very young children, she said, are aware of skin color. Better to address it — “Yes, that woman has Black skin. What do you think of that?” — than to let children view white skin as the baseline.

More broadly, Ms. Haakmat said, private schools need to sidestep white old boy networks in hiring and integrate antiracism into the curriculum: If you teach statistics, why not touch on economic and racial inequality? Or use biology classes to teach of eugenics and how race has framed the way we think of humans? That, she said, “is thoughtful antiracism.”

Critics, a mixed lot of parents and teachers, argue that aspects of the new curriculums edge toward recreating the racially segregated spaces of an earlier age. They say the insistent emphasis on skin color and race is reductive and some teenagers learn to adopt the language of antiracism and wield it against peers.

The nerves of some parents were not soothed when more than 100 teachers and staff members applauded Dalton’s antiracism curriculum and proposed two dozen steps to extend it, including calling on the school to abolish any advanced course in which Black students performed worse than students who are not Black.

A group of Dalton parents wrote their own letter to the school this year: “We have spoken with dozens of families of all colors and backgrounds who are in shock and looking for an alternative school.”

This upswell of parental anger, fed also by discontent with Dalton’s decision to teach only online last fall, led the head of school, Jim Best, who is white, to leave on July 1. Dalton’s diversity chief resigned under fire in February.

Bion Bartning, who notes that his heritage is a mix of Jewish, Mexican and Yaqui tribe, pulled his children out of Riverdale and created a foundation to argue against this sort of antiracist education. “The insistence on teaching race consciousness is a fundamental shift into a sort of tribalism,” he said.

For parents to speak out, said a white mother of private school children, was laden with risk. “People and companies are petrified of being labeled racists,” she said. “If you work at an elite Wall Street firm and speak out, a top partner will tell you to shut up.”

Another parent framed the primal class stakes: Wealthy parents plot and compete to get a child into a private school secure in the knowledge that education married to social connections will ease the way into an elite college and a gilded career. A letter or call from the counselor at a top private school can work wonders with college admissions offices. Why risk all that?

Painful Stories

The stories make for disturbing reading. In the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, Black private school alumni formed Instagram accounts: @blackattrinity, @blackatdalton, @blackatbrearley, @blackatandover and @blackatsidwellfriends.

The posts are anonymous and difficult to fact-check. But the ache and hurt are inescapable. A Black student recalled a white peer who told him Dalton “wasn’t made for people like you anyway.” A Black graduate of Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School recalled wealthy white classmates who complained Black students only got into certain colleges because of their race. A Black Brearley graduate wrote of being conditioned to believe “white skin, straight hair, a skinny body and money was the only way I could be right in this world.”

Stories come laden with complication. Students wrote of favorite teachers and treasured experiences. And there were traces of class anger. A Black workingclass parent at Trinity School wrote that wealthy Black families dominated the Black affinity group and excluded her child.

These kinds of stories, taken together with shifts in the culture around racism, persuaded private school leaders to double down on antiracist education. Such efforts extend back more than four decades.

New York’s private schools declined to provide the demographic breakdowns that are required of public schools. Riverdale and Trinity officials say about 40 percent of students identify as of color, a quite broad definition; Grace officials say 33 percent of students hail from “diverse backgrounds”; Dalton said only that it had a “strong commitment to being intentionally diverse.” Riverdale’s head of school, Dominic Randolph, said a precise count was complicated by the number of families identifying as multiracial.

Numbers compiled by the Guild of Independent Schools of New York City showed that the percentage of students in elite private schools who identified as Black or Latino remained static since 2013, hovering at a combined 12 percent; Black and Latino residents constitute more than 50 percent of the city’s population.

Lisa Johnson is a graduate of a private school in Atlanta and heads Private School Village, a Los Angeles-based organization for Black families. “They love to pitch you on diversity,” she said. “Then your child is one of two Blacks in a class and you think, ‘Huh, how do they define diversity without crystal-clear data?’ ”

ChloĆ© Valdary, a Black diversity consultant who diverges from her peers and is critical of aspects of antiracist education, noted that heated rhetoric rarely challenged the status quo. “Antiracism sidesteps income inequality and doesn’t actually threaten the elite at all,” she said.

One School’s Path

Paul Rossi and Grace Church School’s journey into antiracist education offers a window into its complexities. Mr. Rossi, 52, changed careers in his early 40s, and found at Grace — an Episcopal school with liberal values —a place he adored. He taught math and classes on existentialism and Stoic philosophy. Records show he received strong annual evaluations and was described as a natural teacher.

Slowly change came. The head of school, George P. Davison, who is white and has steered Grace for many years, pinpointed the moment his school embraced an antiracist mission.

“Grace began using the language of antiracism in 2015 as part of our efforts to foster a sense of belonging,” he wrote in response to The New York Times. “It means believing that racism is real, that opposing it requires active engagement and that our community and curriculum are enriched when we aren’t blind to race’s influence.”

Grace, he wrote, incorporated the language of critical race theory but did not rest upon that foundation. He emphasized that the school avoided using shame around race.

Mr. Rossi, along with two teachers who described themselves as progressives and asked for anonymity, was skeptical. The teachers acknowledged that quite a few colleagues appeared to support the new curriculum and they spoke of sustained pressure to demonstrate acceptance of the language of antiracism.

With the election of Donald J. Trump, teachers said, permissible disagreement narrowed markedly. Mr. Rossi recalled some students in his “The Art of Persuasion” class hankered for contrarian readings outside what he called the “Grace political bubble.” So last autumn he proposed a work by Glenn Loury, a wellknown economist at Brown University and a Black man with conservative leanings.

An administrator, Hugo Mahabir, whose family has roots in Trinidad, blocked that. He wrote in an email to Mr. Rossi that Mr. Loury’s argument — delivered to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology economics faculty — “rings hollow,” and that to give students a Black conservative view on race might “confuse and/ or enflame students.” Mr. Mahabir did not respond to requests for comment.

The transcript of the February session with Mr. Rossi’s white affinity group revealed a tense, probing discussion, with teachers and students found on either side of various questions. Toward the end, the dean of student life, Ilana Laurence, offered thanks: “As uncomfortable as Mr. Rossi may have made many people here, I firmly believe that our conversation would not ever have been nearly as rich and thought-provoking.”

This drew support from the consultant, Emily Schorr Lesnick, who ran the affinity session. At a faculty meeting a few days later, she noted that Mr. Rossi and fellow teachers modeled an intelligent discussion.

“I have been in lots of spaces with adults, with students around antiracist work,” she said, where white people are “kind of just saying things and going through the motions and this was not that space, and I am so so grateful.” Ms. Schorr Lesnick, who is white, did not respond to a request for an interview.

That air of congratulation dissipated. Soon Mr. Rossi talked with Mr. Davison, the school head, about the dim shape of his future. He secretly recorded that conversation.

It offered a surprise. “The fact is that I’m agreeing with you that there has been a demonization,” Mr. Davison told the teacher. “I also have grave doubts about some of the doctrinaire stuff that gets spouted at us in the name of antiracist.”

Mr. Davison said he was worried students were made to feel shame because of race. “We’re demonizing white people for being born,” he said, adding later, “We’re using language that makes them feel less than, for nothing that they are personally responsible.”

Mr. Rossi wrote of his case on the Substack site of Bari Weiss, a former Times Opinion editor. In an email to Mr. Rossi, Mr. Davison claimed he was misquoted. The teacher later released recorded excerpts from that conversation, after which Grace claimed that the quotes lacked context.

Mr. Rossi was denounced at Grace and in private school circles. He rejoined that he was trapped, accused of racial insensitivity and in danger of losing his job.

This drama occurred against a backdrop of tension at the school. Months earlier, nine Black students demanded that classes be called off in the wake of Mr. Floyd’s death. They said peers were “voicing their white opinions about how Black and brown people should protest.”

The Grace Gazette, the school newspaper, surveyed 111 students and staff this spring of all backgrounds about free speech.

By a margin of about 48 percent to 43 percent, respondents said they were uncomfortable expressing dissenting opinions. And 35 percent said they had practiced “wokeness” to protect their reputations. “There is no viewpoint diversity on race,” a student wrote, “because everyone is expected to view things the same way.”

An Uncertain Future

The pushback against antiracism education has taken on aspects of an ideological uprising. In Boston, a new group, Parents United, has entered the fight with New England’s private schools. Mr. Bartning, the former Riverdale parent, established the Foundation Against Intolerance & Racism, with a large board that includes the academic and writer Steven Pinker; the human rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali; the former Fox newscaster Megyn Kelly; and Mr. Loury, the economist at Brown. Mr. Rossi works with this foundation.

Grace Church School appointed a task force to re-examine its antiracist teachings.

But the schools seem unlikely to change their approach to educating students on race. And opponents face daunting challenges. Powerful trustees say they support the schools, and administrators sound steeled for the argument. Tom Taylor, the head of Riverdale’s Upper School, who is white, recently published an academic article on race and private schools. He, too, is a product of such schools.

Private schools perpetuate whiteness, he wrote, and must pursue an “antiracist, decolonizing and culturally affirming” agenda, with no obligation to educate those who resist. “Private schools who find parents unwilling to accept moves toward a culturally responsible school are free to draw a line,” he wrote.

Mr. Rossi, the Grace schoolteacher, will watch from the outside. Grace Church School offered him a contract if he participated in “restorative practices” for the supposed harm done to students of color. Grace officials did not explain what that would entail.

Soon after, Mr. Rossi and the school parted ways. “It’s no longer the school I loved,” he said.

Journalist Alex Berenson is permanently suspended by Twitter over anti-vax COVID-19 tweets


I have myself had a vaccination against Covid so I clearly think it is a good idea.  I have in fact had vaccinations against everything available.  But I cannot agree with a Fascist suppression of other views

Former New York Times journalist and writer Alex Berenson has been permanently banned from Twitter after posting an anti-vaccination COVID-19 related tweet.

'The account you referenced has been permanently suspended for repeated violations of our COVID-19 misinformation rules,' a Twitter spokesperson told Fox News. 

Berenson, who has long been a skeptic over the exact risks of the coronavirus, has previously called the pandemic an excuse for the government to overstep its boundaries in terms of rules and authority.

The 48-year-old posted a screenshot of the tweet to his Substack, in a post he titled 'Goodbye Twitter' shortly after tweeting it on Saturday.  

'This was the tweet that did it,' Berenson wrote alongside a the screenshot of the tweet that got him permanently banned from the social media platform.

'Entirely accurate. I can’t wait to hear what a jury will make of this.'

The tweet itself appears to fall in line with Berenson's past remarks when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic, and more specifically, government mask and vaccine mandates. 

'It doesn't stop infection. Or transmission,' the tweet read, in reference to the coronavirus vaccine. 

'Don’t think of it as a vaccine.'  'Think of it – at best – as a therapeutic with a limited window of efficacy and terrible side effect profile that must be dosed IN ADVANCE OF ILLNESS.'

Meanwhile, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention report that said COVID-19 vaccines are 'safe and effective,' backed by results from thousands of clinical trials.

Berenson began his anti-mask and vaccine mandate crusade last year, when an Op-Ed he penned for the Wall Street Journal claimed the pandemic had caused 'a new age of censorship and suppression.'

'Information has never been more plentiful or easier to distribute. Yet we are sliding into a new age of censorship and suppression, encouraged by technology giants and traditional media companies,' Berenson told the outlet.

'As someone who’s been falsely characterized as a coronavirus ‘denier,' he wrote at the time. 'I have seen this crisis firsthand.'

The controversial journalist and writer also revealed an ongoing dispute of his with Amazon, who Berenson alleges tried to suppress his self-published books on the subject of COVID-19 and the ensuing response. 

'Since June, Amazon has twice tried to suppress self-published booklets I have written about Covid-19 and the response to it,' he continued. 

'These booklets don’t contain conspiracy theories. Like the scientists who wrote the Great Barrington Declaration, I simply believe many measures to control the coronavirus have been damaging, counterproductive and unsupported by science.'

Berenson began writing for the New York Times in 1999 before leaving the newspaper in 2010 to pursue a career as a full-time author and novelist.

The Yale-educated novelist was dubbed 'the pandemic's wrongest man' by The Atlantic over his predictions about the virus. He had originally predicted that the US would not surpass 500,000 deaths due to COVID-19. The country was at 637,000 deaths as of today. 

Berenson had previously enjoyed a large social media following, with over 200,000 followers prior to his permanent Twitter ban

Indigenous footy star turned ABC presenter says Australians 'can't accept it's a racist country' that was 'built off the back of slavery and rape' of Aborigines


This is grossly offensive to the many white men who were the real builders of modern Australia.  My ancestors were among them

An Aboriginal ex-AFL player has labelled Australia racist after weighing in on a new documentary that explores the appalling rates of Indigenous incarceration.

Tony Armstrong, who played 35 games across six seasons for three clubs, argued that Australians needed to accept they were living in a racist country after watching unsettling footage from 'Incarceration Nation'.

The documentary takes a deep dive into the imprisonment rates across the country with Aboriginal men making up 29 per cent of the male prison population and Aboriginal women making up 34 per cent of female inmates.  

'This country still can't accept it's a racist country,' Armstrong said on Channel 10's The Project on Thursday. 

'You still can't accept it's built off the back of slavery, it's built off the back of dispossession, it's built off the back of rape and pillage of Indigenous people.' 

The former sports star turned ABC presenter had been invited onto the talk show panel to speak about the upcoming documentary. 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander imprisonment rates have increased over the decade with 12,456 behind bars between July 2019 and June 2020.

The figure is up from 11,989 the previous year and 7,507 in 2010-2011.  

The documentary revealed a startling number of young Aboriginal Australians were being thrown behind bars - some for committing petty crimes.

One included a 16-year-old who was thrown into detention for 28 days after he stole a bottle of water. Another was an 18-year-old who was jailed for 90 days for stealing 90 cents from a car. 

A visibly emotional Armstrong admitted that it was 'hard to watch' the unsettling footage. 'My heart is going a million miles an hour,' he said. 'There's so many points to pick up on.

'We talk about incarceration rates, you're not seeing white kids getting jailed for stealing a bottle of water.

'You're trying to find a way to rehabilitate them, you're asking what are the reasons why they ended up stealing that bottle of water? You're not just throwing the long arm of the law at them.'

Footage also captured Aboriginal Australians being beaten, tasered and thrown around by police.  

A 14-year-old Dylan Voller was shown hooded and bound to a chair while in youth detention in 2015.  

ABC's Four Corners first aired the footage during an explosive investigative piece in 2016. The photos sent shockwaves across the country and raised questions about the treatment of young inmates.  

'You saw the footage of the young fella, bound up like Guantanamo Bay,' Armstrong said.

'That's not on. But that happens in our country. And we talk about a sense of truth telling, we talk about, you know, needing to accept where we've come from to be able to move forward.'

'Incarceration Nation' will be aired on NITV at 8.30pm on Sunday. The documentary will also be available on SBS On Demand.

Port Kembla power proposal deemed critical for the environment


This is tokenism.  The new plant will rely 95% on natural gas -- a "fossil fuel"

A hydrogen-gas turbine power station proposed for the Illawarra region of NSW has been declared "critical state significant infrastructure", meaning the project will be fast tracked.

The plan by businessman Andrew Forrest to build the $1.3 billion project at Port Kembla will still need environmental approval, but will not be subject to third party appeal rights.

The project is in an area marked as a potential hydrogen gas hub.

The proposed power station has committed to using up to five per cent cent green hydrogen.

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the plant was a step towards safeguarding the state's energy needs while providing jobs.

"The Port Kembla power station will be a game changer, not just for NSW but Australia," Mr Barilaro said in a statement.

"It will provide the energy capacity our state needs as existing coal-fired power stations reach their end of life, and household power bills will be the big winner as the project maintains downward pressure on prices."

The coal-powered Liddell Power Station near Muswellbrook, in the NSW Hunter region, is due to come offline in 2023.

Planning Minister Rob Stokes said the proposed power station would produce up to 635 megawatts of electricity on demand and create 700 construction jobs.

"The Port Kembla power station will be a critical part of the NSW energy mix as we move to cleaner, greener renewables," Mr Stokes said.

The power station would sit adjacent to the import terminal the Forest-owned Squadron energy group is already building. It has the capacity to handle both LNG and green hydrogen.

The federal government has previously committed $30 million to support initial works for the Port Kembla power station, and has shortlisted it for future funding support.

The final approval will rest with Mr Stokes.


Families forced to eat locusts as Madagascar famine deepens

I am 78 and as far back as I can remember there have been pictures of starving African children in the media. In Africa, like everywhere else, there are climate cycles, with drought and rain alternating. But Africans generally do nothing about it. Creating water storages in wet times to store water for use in dry times seems to be mostly beyond them.

Australia too has long peroids of savage drought but no Australians have to eat locusts. Australians live a typical Western lifstyle thanks to the proliferation of dams they have built to store water.

So blaming African starvation on climate is absurd. The only ones who are to blame are Africans themelves

Children in Madagascar are forced to eat locusts and cactus leaves as the climate-led famine worsens.

The UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) estimates that 30,000 people in the island nation are enduring the highest internationally recognised level of food insecurity – level five – and the number will only grow over the coming months.

Southern Madagascar is experiencing its worst drought in four decades, forcing thousands of people to leave their homes in search of food, while those remaining have resorted to extreme coping measures for survival

Tamiry lives with her three children Torovelo, 12, Mbahomamy, six, and Manenjina, four, in Fandiova, one of the hardest-hit villages. To cope with extreme hunger, people are eating survival foods like locusts, cactus leaves, and a plant called ‘faux mimosa’ which is usually used to feed cattle.

She said: “In the morning, I prepare this plate of insects. I clean them up as best as I can given the near-total absence of water.

“Today we have absolutely nothing to eat except cactus leaves," added Bole, a mother of three.

She said her husband had recently died of hunger, as had a neighbour, leaving her with two more children to feed.

"What can I say? Our life is all about looking for cactus leaves, again and again, to survive."

WFP says it urgently needs US$78.6 million to provide life-saving food in southern Madagascar during the next lean season from September 2021 to March 2022.

E.P.A. to Block Pesticide Tied to Neurological Harm in Children


It is safe when used within its guidelines

The Biden administration announced on Wednesday that it is banning a common pesticide, widely used since 1965 on fruits and vegetables, from use on food crops because it has been linked to neurological damage in children.

The Environmental Protection Agency said this week it would publish a regulation to block the use of chlorpyrifos on food. One of the most widely used pesticides, chlorpyrifos is commonly applied to corn, soybeans, apples, broccoli, asparagus and other produce.

The new rule, which will take effect in six months, follows an order in April by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that directed the E.P.A. to halt the agricultural use of the chemical unless it could demonstrate its safety.

Labor and environmental advocacy groups estimate that the decision will eliminate more than 90 percent of chlorpyrifos use in the country.

Climate crisis made severe rains behind Europe’s 2021 floods ‘up to nine times’ more likely


This is just modelling.  There is no actual evidence for the claim

The extreme rainfall that triggered devastating and deadly flooding across western Europe last month was made between 1.2 and nine times more likely by the climate crisis, a rapid analysis finds.

Severe downpours similar to those suffered in countries including Germany, Belgium and Switzerland last month are now 3 to 19 per cent heavier because of human-driven global heating, the research says.

Previous rainfall records were smashed in parts of Germany and Belgium last month, causing rivers to burst their banks and unleash deadly waters.

The unprecedented flooding killed at least 220 people in Germany and Belgium, and caused £4.9bn (€5.5bn) worth of damage in Germany alone.

“Climate change is hitting us everywhere now,” Dr Maarten van Aalst, one of the research authors and director of the international Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, told a press briefing.

“I hope it’s a wake-up call to not just people that have been affected, but people elsewhere [too].

“We are facing more extreme events of many kinds, and the only thing we can do is to close the tap of increasing greenhouse gas emissions ... and to prepare for the more extreme climate that we live in.”

Similar rainfall events are currently expected to occur around once every 400 years for any given region in western Europe, the analysis says.

“Even with climate change, this was a very rare event,” said Dr van Aalst.

“But this is just one event in one place that is happening every 400 years. If you look around the world, we’re going to be seeing many of those things that only happen once every 400 years.”


Having separate bedrooms can work for couples

We read below:

"That which we desire most in a relationship (read: security and comfort) rarely coexists with that which keeps us attracted to a partner (read: passion and sexual intimacy).

It’s a frustrating contradiction some sex therapists refer to as the ‘intimacy-desire paradox’. In short, this hypothesis proposes the more comfortable we are with someone, the more our sexual desire for them is likely to decline.

Which makes sense, given desire is essentially the result of wanting something we don’t already possess"

I have certainly experienced that in some of my relationships. I have got on so well with my partner that she seems like a sister to me. And there is a big taboo -- of probably biological origin -- which says you don't have sex with your sister. It is in fact the crime of incest. So my sex life rather petered out on those occasions, I am sorry to say

I’m not sure if my parents knew, but I often overheard them arguing at night. Regardless of how heated the quarrel got, they always emerged from the same bedroom when the sun came up.

While I knew fighting among couples was normal, it wasn’t until a decade later – when a friend confessed she’d relegated her boyfriend to the couch for forgetting her birthday – it occurred to me sleeping separately from a partner was, too.

We’re told, after all, never to let our heads hit the pillow on an unresolved row; that occupying different beds is the surest sign a couple’s relationship is on the rocks.

Our sleeping quarters hold huge cultural and social significance.

In the construct of monogamy, the bed symbolises fidelity and togetherness. The bible instructs us to “let the marriage bed be undefiled”, and in modern vernacular, we tell each other to put disputes “to bed” and be especially wary of who we “get into bed with” in business.

Though drifting off together began as an economic necessity rather than a romantic inclination (it wasn’t unusual for entire families to share a mattress to conserve finances until the 1800s), today, most of us get into bed with a partner because we want to.

There’s also an indisputable social pressure attached to sleeping beside a significant other. The stigma tied to admitting you inhabit separate beds, or more rebelliously – discrete bedrooms, is so great, most of us regard it as something to be handled with shame and secrecy.

An engaged friend recently admitted, with a hint of embarrassment, she and her fiance have their own bedrooms.

“The thing is, our sex life is amazing, and I sleep like a baby. Plus, we have enough space from one another to avoid unnecessary arguments. But I rarely tell anyone because of the judgement I get,” she sighed.

However, despite our preconceived notions around the sanctity of bed-sharing, research suggests this unconventional arrangement holds water.

For starters, science is pretty clear on the fact we overwhelmingly sleep worse with someone else in the bed.

A study published in PubMed found people suffered more sleep disturbances when their partners were next to them than when they caught their Zs alone.

Though ironically, when asked to rate how well they slept, the same study participants reported having a better night’s shut-eye with their bae.

This may be because, the annoyance of navigating duvet-hogging and snoring partners aside, we’re ultimately creatures of attachment.

Physical intimacy and closeness not only feel good to us – we crave someone to curl up beside and unpack our day with as much as we do sleep itself.

But here’s the real kicker: that which we desire most in a relationship (read: security and comfort) rarely coexists with that which keeps us attracted to a partner (read: passion and sexual intimacy).

It’s a frustrating contradiction some sex therapists refer to as the ‘intimacy-desire paradox’. In short, this hypothesis proposes the more comfortable we are with someone, the more our sexual desire for them is likely to decline.

Which makes sense, given desire is essentially the result of wanting something we don’t already possess.

Add to this, research that shows sleeping beside someone not only impacts the quality of our slumber, but reduced sleep is a leading cause of lowered libido, and you have a recipe for a lacklustre sex life.

So, what’s the remedy then?

Admittedly, having separate bedrooms isn’t going to be for everyone, but it may be worth considering a middle ground, especially if your sex life is experiencing a plateau.

One partner taking to the couch after an argument may not be the worst thing to happen to your relationship, nor would the odd vacation in the spare room.

You’ll probably get a more restful night’s sleep and be in a better mood toward your significant other the next day, and you’re also likely to experience a renewed sense of desire as a result of recreating space between the two of you.

While it’s an awfully romantic notion, never sleeping apart isn’t a guarantee for relationship success, or a sign your love is superior to couples with less conventional arrangements.

It certainly didn’t pan out for my parents, who, after many restless, resentful nights sharing the same bed, are now (very happily) divorced.

In truth, the secret to maintaining your passion isn’t adhering to a social protocol around how you should go to bed each night.

It’s ending the day in a way that’s innately true to you and your partner – whether that looks like completely separate bedrooms, or curling up together with the knowledge you certainly won’t get your best night’s sleep, but it will be your most content.

Antarctica's 'Doomsday Glacier' is being melted by Earth's internal heat as well as climate change, study finds

Wow! This is progress. I have been rattling on for years about the role of subsurface volcanic heat in Antarctic melting but this is the first time I have seen it in the Greenie literature. The claim that global warming is "also" involved is mere assertion without proof

Antarctica's 'Doomsday Glacier' is not only losing ice rapidly from climate change, but it's getting a double whammy from the heat of the Earth itself, a new study suggests.

The Thwaites Glacier — which has been called the 'Doomsday Glacier' due to its impact on sea level rise — is being hit with heat from the Earth's crust, as it is only 10 to 15 miles deep below West Antarctica, compared to around 25 miles in East Antarctica.

This results in an a 'geothermal heat flow of up to 150 milliwatts per square meter,' the study's lead author, Dr Ricarda Dziadek, said in a statement.

According to the BBC, the Thwaites glacier contributes roughly four percent to annual sea-level rise and is now believed to be losing 80 billion tons of ice per year.

Since 1980, it has lost at least 600 billion tons of ice, according to a 2017 analysis done by the New York Times, using data from NASA JPL.

Some of the accelerated sea ice loss can be attributed to hidden rivers under the glacier, according to Live Science, but most of it is related to climate change and rising temperatures.

The researchers looked at geomagnetic field datasets of West Antarctica to create new geothermal heat flow maps.

These showcase how important the second, but just as important, factor is on the glacier and its subsequent ice loss, even if the exact impact is presently unclear.

'The temperature on the underside of the glacier is dependent on a number of factors – for example whether the ground consists of compact, solid rock, or of meters of water-saturated sediment,' explained co-author and AWI geophysicist Dr Karsten Gohl.

'Water conducts the rising heat very efficiently. But it can also transport heat energy away before it can reach the bottom of the glacier.'

In 2020, researchers obtained the first-ever footage of the underside of the glacier, showing turbulent warm waters under the ice sheet that are causing an 'unstoppable retreat.'

The temperature of Earth's crust can vary depending upon location, but it can range between 200C (392F) to 400C (752F) near the Moho, according to National Geographic.

The team found that the heat flow from the Earth's crust is imperative to look at when thinking about its future.

'Large amounts of geothermal heat can, for example, lead to the bottom of the glacier bed no longer freezing completely or to a constant film of water forming on its surface,' Gohl added.

'Both of which would result in the ice masses sliding more easily over the ground. If, in addition, the braking effect of the ice shelf is lost, as can currently be observed in West Antarctica, the glaciers' flow could accelerate considerably due to the increased geothermal heat.'

The enormous basin contains more than six feet of additional potential sea level rise and a significant melting could result in the Thwaites Glacier living up to its 'doomsday' name.

The research was published Thursday in the journal Communications Earth & Environment.



Afghanistan flourished as a monarchy

Monarchies are endemic to the region

The way the Biden Administration chose to withdraw from Afghanistan is undoubtedly a major public policy failure, not only for the United States and the people of Afghanistan but also for the free world.

Equally lamentable is the fact that despite the long American involvement, and notwithstanding American military hardware and training, there was no Afghan institution able to show leadership and strength. Or to coordinate the slightest resistance to this band of evil and dangerous Islamic extremists reassuming their tyrannical dictatorship.

Further, the world may now be looking at the initial development of a base from which terrorism will be launched worldwide, adding Kabul to the emerging Beijing-Moscow-Tehran axis of hostile dictatorial powers.

For many years now, whenever I have talked to an Afghan immigrant and commiserated with the developments in their country, I ask whether there was ever a time when Afghanistan was at peace and great hope reigned.

Without exception, each immigrant referred to the time when King Mohammed Zahir Shah introduced democratic rule, when the country was at peace, when there was economic progress, when women were increasingly liberated, and when education was becoming more accessible. Without hesitation, many referred to this as a golden age.

This reform period began in 1963 when the King dismissed the authoritarian prime minister, his first cousin and brother-in-law, Sardar Muhammad Daoud Kahn.

But ten years later, when the King went to London for an eye operation and was recuperating in Italy, the same Daoud had his revenge, seizing power and proclaiming a one-party republic.

Daoud was killed soon after in a 1978 military coup, and what followed was a Soviet invasion, a communist puppet government, civil war, and eventually a Taliban dictatorship.

Meanwhile, under Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda engaged in attacks on various targets, including US embassies, culminating in the tragedy of 9/11.

In justifiable retaliation, an American-led international coalition ousted the Taliban regime.

When it came to a new Afghan government, a Loya Jirga or grand assembly was held in Kabul in 2002.

But the United States put all its hopes on Hamid Karzai, even though King Mohammed Zahir Shah had strong support from the Afghan delegates. According to one report, he was obliged to publicly renounce any monarchical leadership at the behest of the United States.

Hamid Karzai’s writ never went far, and he was later often referred to derisively as the “Mayor of Kabul.”

He was succeeded by Ashraf Ghani, who vacated the presidential palace as the Taliban advanced and fled the country.

In blocking the return of the King in 2002, the Bush administration rejected the best chance of unifying the country and providing for stability and progress not known in the history of Afghanistan except for his earlier reign.

Although the King was old (he passed away in 2007), as a monarch, he would have instinctively realised that one of his most important tasks would have been to ensure his succession.

What is most commendable about his son, the Crown Prince Ahmad Shah Khan, is that he has never shown any ambition for power, a good prerequisite for a constitutional monarch.

But America, with its failure to back the King and its most recent move to pull out of Afghanistan, has exposed a serious lack of strategic thinking. In fact, it has approach Afghanistan in ways similar, yet different from predecessor, Great Britain.

A benign English-speaking power and a nation under the rule of law, America never hungered for a world empire, if only because she already enjoyed an enormous landmass.

But the shadow of King George III—who lost the colonies during the War of Independence—still curiously hangs over American foreign policy.

U.S. General Douglas MacArthur was wise enough to see that Japan would be ungovernable if the monarchy were not retained after World War II. Accordingly, he refused to order the trial of the Emperor for war crimes.

However, the U.S. has tended at times to reject the concept of a monarchy when helping nations democratise.

This is despite the American constitutional model falling to authoritarianism on several occasions when exported to lands outside the unique, and liberty-loving environment of the U.S.

One example of this goes as far back as France in 1851, which, despite its flirtation with an executive presidency and the second republic, was still converted by Napoleon III into authoritarian rule until he was overthrown in 1870.

But the constitutional monarchical model of democracy, which has been exported globally, has worked well.

All the other Five Eyes partners, the inner circle of America’s allies—the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand―are constitutional monarchies with the one sovereign, Elizabeth II.

Of similar importance, the two most stable Arab countries are monarchies, led by Morocco and Jordan.

Thus it is necessary to ask if America’s bias against a monarchical system has clouded its decisions in the international environment, one that would perhaps have made a nation like Afghanistan stronger.

It is hard to imagine that under such a system, Afghanistan would have seen an unknown and completely untested Hamid Karzai elevated to power.

Nor would the retreat from Kabul be so mishandled that it became a mere surrender to the Taliban.

California surrenders to "fossil fuels"



Natural gas is a hydrocarbon, a "fossil fuel"

Richard Lindzen writes:

I think that most of these people realize that there is nothing that the US and Europe can do that will have a discernible impact on climate regardless of what one believes about climate.  Under the circumstances, the rational policy would be to do everything possible to increase the wealth of their societies in order to maximize resilience to whatever nature might do for whatever reason.  There must be some reason why societies are choosing to do the opposite.  Perhaps Fresno thinks that rationality might be preferable – at least in the short run.  Maybe they feel that Covid has burdened people about as much as they can tolerate.

California plans to build five temporary natural gas plants to prevent blackouts and one of those plants will be in Fresno County, according to a local lawmaker.

The Department of Water Resources will install five natural gas plant generators at three powerplants in the state, according to the office of Jim Patterson, R-Fresno.

A total of $171.5 million has already been allocated for the implementation, according to the California Department of Finance.

Patterson confirmed news of the plants during a press conference Friday. His office later told The Bee that one of the generators will be installed at Midway Peaking Plant near Mendota in Fresno County.

His office confirmed plants would also be sited in Yuba City in Sutter County and Roseville in Placer County. Two generators will be at Calpine Greenleaf 1 located near Yuba City, Patterson’s office told The Bee late Friday. Two more will be installed at the Roseville Energy Park located near Roseville.

He said the gas-fueled generating plants will consist of a total capacity of 150 megawatts, with 30 megawatts for each unit.

Patterson said his “hunch” is that the state’s use of the plants won’t be temporary, noting that they will be licensed for five years.

The decision to install the five plants has been a result of flawed policies by decision-makers, he said.

“California has been forced to do this because we now have growing demand on a grid that has flattening supplies and that has caused these Flex Alerts,” he said. “Our grid is destabilized because of political decisions.”

From 2009 to 2019, there were two Flex Alerts per year, he said. So far this year alone, he said, the state has had about six Flex Alerts. With high temperatures this year, Californians have been urged to conserve electricity during certain hours.

“Now, as a result of the policies that are coming out of the state Capitol, we are increasingly seeing a grid that is close to being unbalanced,” he said.

Alisha Gallon, a spokeswoman for Patterson’s office, said the office only became aware of the plans through a reporter.

“There have been no official announcements to my knowledge,” she told The Bee. “We have no statement from the Governor or DWR (Department of Water Resources).”

The Department of Water Resources was in the process of procuring, installing and operating the five 30-megawatt generators at the three powerplants, according to an Aug. 10 letter from the California Department of Finance.

“Based on preliminary reporting, Finance has determined that funding for these critical activities must be secured immediately to allow the Department to secure these additional resources for expedited deployment,” the letter reads. “Accordingly, the Director of Finance is allocating $171.5 million from the Disaster Response-Emergency Operations Account.”

The Department of Finance, in the letter, says it has reviewed the information and agrees with the “estimates and need to make an initial allocation to address these immediate needs.”

It’s unclear whether the $171.5 million is just for the initial allocation or the total amount needed.

The Department of Water Resources will began its work related to the generators within 120 days from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s July 30 “state of emergency to safeguard the state’s energy system this summer,” according to the letter.

“Now we see the order that these natural gas plants are going to pop up — and one of them in my area here in the Fresno area,” Patterson told reporters.

He said California has been gambling that it can supply the fifth-largest economy in the world with electricity, primarily from wind and solar energy, which are not available at all times.

The "teenagers" who attacked prominent Queenslander WERE African.


The media were zealous not to mention it but I suspected it from the beginning  -- and said so in private

The president of Queensland’s police union has called for a radical penalty for the teenagers alleged to have stabbed a rugby legend in his Brisbane home.

Two teenagers are in custody over the Coorparoo home invasion that left Wallabies and Queensland Reds legend Toutai Kefu fighting for life and his family members seriously injured on Monday morning.

Ian Leavers, president of the Queensland Police Union, called for the teenagers to be deported should they be convicted and sentenced.

“As we know, they’re from an African background,” Mr Leavers told 4BC Radio on Tuesday. “If they were not born in this country, after their sentence … they should be deported back to their country.”

“If young people and juveniles go into a house armed with a machete, knives and an axe, they are not a young person making a simple mistake.”

Mr Leavers said the alleged offenders should be dealt with in the most serious ways, instead of being “let off by the courts”.

Police allege three people attended Mr Kefu’s home early Monday morning and a confrontation broke out.

Mr Kefu suffered serious stab wounds to his abdomen while his wife, son and daughter were also injured. Toutai Kefu has since recovered following lifesaving surgery after three people allegedly attacked him outside his Coorparoo house on Monday morning.

A 15-year-old boy from Goodna has been charged with attempted murder following his arrest at the scene.

The two other alleged offenders fled in a car that had allegedly been stolen from a Forest Lake address that same morning.