Wife’s battle for Redland Hospital MRI after husband put on six-day wait list for crucial scan

This is the sort of bureaucratic nonsense you have got to expect of Qld Health.  Note that non-urgent MRI scans were routinely and promptly  referred to Cleveland X-Ray, just across the road from where the guy was, but because he was classed as urgent he couldn't be sent there.  So he had to wait days for a scan.  Being classed as urgent DELAYED his care.  That's bureaucratic logic for you

I am fortunate to be able to go private for all my medical care so I get scans as quickly as the day I ask for one.  Note that what priviliges me is NOT the availability of better facilities.  The guy below could also have had prompt treatment except for the rigidy and buck-passing of the public health bureaucracy.  What gives me better care is that I  bypass the wooden heads of an uncaring government bureaucracy

A bayside woman has started an online crusade to get an MRI machine for a busy regional hospital after her husband spent an agonising week waiting for a crucial scan.

Capalaba’s Kirra Conlon started a petition calling for the scanner for Redland Hospital where her husband Matthew, 38, was bedridden after a catastrophic migraine left him unable to walk, speak or function properly.

Mr Conlon spent six days lying in a ward before his distressed family took action and invoked a Queensland law known as Ryan’s Rule to get him a scan appointment at another hospital.

Mr Conlon was initially rushed to Princess Alexandra Hospital on January 30 after suffering a debilitating headache, stroke-like symptoms including being unable to speak or move his arms and legs.

However, after a night in the emergency ward without seeing a doctor, Ms Conlon decided to move her husband closer to home and took him to Redland Hospital.

Mr Conlon was admitted to the hospital’s four-bed stroke ward where his paralysis and headache were treated as the side effects of a suspected stroke.

But after six days and partly regaining some mobility in his arms, he was still unable to speak.

Ms Conlon claimed the week-long delay was due to a range of reasons including that the MRI at the Princess Alexandra Hospital was fully booked.

Her husband was also denied admission to PA hospital because its inpatients got preferential treatment, she claimed.

She said a lack of ambulances to transport her husband from Redland to PA or Logan hospitals also delayed his scan.

“My husband’s GP sent out an urgent referral for an MRI to all hospitals and clinics in the region, but that request went nowhere because my husband needed a nurse to go with him because he was incapacitated,” she said.

“Incapacitated patients on the southside are limited to only using MRIs at Logan and PA Hospitals, where there are always line-ups.”

Non-urgent MRI scans were referred to Cleveland X-Ray, across the road.

Under Queensland Health guidelines, MRI scans were scheduled according to clinical need.

A QH spokesman said that could result in varied waiting times.

But doctors were not able to offer Mr Conlon a diagnosis until after he had an MRI scan, Ms Conlon claimed.

She said she started a petition after a week of “sheer hell”.

“There is no MRI machine at Redland, which is a disgrace for a hospital which is supposedly undergoing a $62 million upgrade so it can treat more critically-ill patients,” she said.

“My husband was left lying in a hospital bed for six days and could not access the appropriate treatment from a neurologist or psychologist until he had an MRI.

“It was only after the MRI (which Mr Conlon eventually had at Logan Hospital) that the specialist doctors were then able to give a correct diagnosis and start the proper treatment – which we hope was not too late.

“Even staff at Redland Hospital are going to sign the petition because they also believe that not having an MRI machine on hand is a barrier to providing proper care.”

Ms Conlon said hospital staff had reassured her of an MRI scan at Logan Hospital on Friday, February 2.

However, Mr Conlon was still waiting on Saturday, February 3 when doctors told the couple that the head neurologist had agreed to an MRI and consultation for Monday, February 5.

But the devastated couple were told on Monday, February 5, that the PA MRI was unavailable.

Mr Conlon was finally taken in an ambulance to Logan Hospital on Tuesday, February 6.

A day after having the MRI scan, Mr Conlon was diagnosed with a functional neurological disorder and treatment tailored for his condition began.

Ms Conlon said she was told another patient in the ward was taken to her scan appointment at Logan by taxi under the supervision of a nurse.



ABC’s Media Watch host Paul Barry slammed by Jewish leaders over war coverage ‘analysis’

That squinty "host" above is a Leftist, has always been a Leftist and will always be a Leftist. And Leftists are feline predators that do not change their spots. And from Karl Marx on, Leftists have always despised Jews

Jewish leaders have expressed outrage at claims made by the ABC’s Media Watch program that the public broadcaster has been the only news outlet to “give equal coverage to both sides” in the Israel-Hamas war.

On Monday night’s episode of Media Watch, host Paul Barry referenced “preliminary analysis” by the Islamophobia Register that showed the ABC was the only news organisation to have provided impartial coverage of the conflict.

The analysis, by academic Susan Carland for the Islamophobia Register, was based on an undisclosed number of Instagram posts by media outlets.

The research found that the social media posts by The Australian and 9News “all humanised Israeli victims but not Palestinians”, according to Media Watch’s interpretation of Dr Carland’s report.

“So, what do we conclude from all this? Well, simple, really,” Barry told viewers.

“The big Australian newspapers we looked at have failed to cover the Gaza conflict fairly, in terms of giving equal weight to the victims on each side, with the Nine papers (The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age) not too bad, but The Australian failing in spectacular fashion.”

The Media Watch host praised other news sources, including Al Jazeera (which is funded by the Qatari royal family), for covering “human stories of Palestinian suffering”.

But when contacted by The Australian, Dr Carland said her report clearly stated the research “should not be taken as, a definitive analysis of Australian media bias against Palestinians”.

“As this research is limited to the Instagram posts of the six outlets, this report is also not a definitive account of the outlets’ reporting on the Israel-Gaza war, and does not comment on fairness or equality found in any of their other stories on the Israel-Gaza war on their other platforms,” the report says.

Asked if she felt that Media Watch had misrepresented her research, Dr Carland told The Australian: “I cannot comment on the intentions of Media Watch. That would be a question best posed to them.”

NSW Jewish Board of Deputies president David Ossip told The Australian that the Media Watch story was “a joke”.

“If the subject matter wasn’t so serious, Media Watch’s report would have simply been parody,” Mr Ossip said. “Relying on sources such as the rabidly anti-Israel Al Jazeera and other highly partisan publications as evidence of the purported bias of legitimate news publications doesn’t pass the sniff test.”

Colin Rubenstein, executive director of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council, said: “It’s no surprise that an ABC program like Media Watch finds The Australian’s coverage of the Israel/Hamas war to be appalling, given that much of the ABC seems to think the story of the war should be told overwhelmingly from a Palestinian perspective.

“It’s also predictable that Media Watch neglected to mention failings by much of the Australian media to the detriment of Israel, such as the failures to cover the links between journalists and Hamas, or UNRWA and Hamas, (stories) that were highlighted by The Australian, which was typical of its overall balanced, comprehensive and factually accurate coverage.”

Media Watch’s executive producer Tim Latham said in a statement: “We stand by our story and what we put to air.”


Move to rename Magnetic Island National Park to Indigenous name, Yunbenun

Why are our names not good enough? Why must they be renamed to please a tiny minority? Does it in fact please anybody? Our names are easier to remember, for a start. All the change achieves is for Leftists to look good in their own eyes. It also deflects attention from history and its lessons. History tends to discredit what passes for ideas among the Left so they avoid it like the plague

A push by the Queensland Government to rename Magnetic Island’s iconic national park to an Indigenous name has been slammed as a ‘meaningless gesture’ by angry residents.

The Department of Environment, Science and Innovation (DESI) is proposing to change the name of Magnetic Island National Park to Yunbenun in a nod to traditional owners.

Yunbenun — pronounced Yuhn-beh-nin — is the preferred name for the island by the Wulgurukaba, or the ‘canoe people.’

It’s understood the proposed renaming relates to the national park only, not the name of the island itself, but many residents fear it’s only a matter of time before that changes too.

It comes after the state government reinstated Fraser Island’s Indigenous name, K’gari, in 2023.

Magnetic Island resident and writer Mary Vernon anticipates a massive local backlash to the renaming. “A lot of people are concerned about it because it’s just a meaningless gesture really,” she said.

“I think people are also worried about where it might lead and the possibility of renaming the entire island.

“I know there’s a group of people on the island who are very keen for it to be renamed, but they don’t represent the majority.”

In a statement, DESI said the proposed change to the name of the national park “recognises the rich cultural history of the area and the ongoing, deep connection to the island for the Wulgurukaba people.”

“DESI has recently unveiled an updated management statement for the national park, which outlines strategic directions for conserving key natural social and cultural values of the World Heritage Area,” it said.

“This includes Wulgurukaba cultural sites and places as well as the heritage-listed World War II fort complex, significant vine thickets and the iconic hoop pine of Magnetic Island.”

The public is invited to have their say on the proposed renaming of the national park between now and 5pm on April 19.


The biggest enemy of Gazans is HAMAS

Hamas launched a big terrorist strike into Israel in the full knowledge that Israel always  hits back proportionally at attacks on it.  It was a deliberate provocation motivated by their undoubted hatred of Israel.

Most Muslims are antisemitic.  Their prophet tells them to be.  But HAMAS are Islamic extremists.  So they start out with religious hatred and add to it envy over Israel's notable success in most ways.  Its success is an offence against the proper place of Jews according to Muslim teachings

Helmut Schoeck has written eloquently about how dire in general it is to be envied  and there is no doubt that Israel suffers in just the way that he predicts


And the Leftist "protesters" who claim to be speaking for Palestinians ignore the fact that Gazans are a small minority of Palestinians. Large numbers of Palestinians live in Jordan, the West Bank and Israel itslf. And they live peacefully with Israel.  

It is HAMAS that the Left would be demonstrating against if they has any real concern for the people of Gaza.  Without HAMAS, peace already reigns between Israel and Palestinians.

It should be noted that there is no clear agreement about who is a Palestinian.  The name  Palestine as a geographical term  goes back to Herodotus but has never denoted a place with any clear boundaries.  In ancient times generally, however, terms similar to it do seem to have mostly denoted the central or Southern part of the Levantine coast.  So the term Palestine would seem to refer pretty well to what we now know as Eretz Israel.  In that case some Jewish Israelis are Palestinians.  

By courtesy, however, the term is usually reserved for Arabs with some ancestral attachment to the area.  The vagueness of the term does however make it difficult to say precisely how many Palestinians there are in any particular place.  If we include members of the Palestinian diaspora, Gazans are a really tiny fraction of the total Palestinian population



Alabama hospital puts pause on IVF in wake of ruling saying frozen embryos are children

There are really two issues here: The failure to implant and the failure to thrive after implantation.  As the father of an IVF son, I am acutely aware of the issues.

My wife undertook 10 IVF treatment cycles with only one embryo implanting.  And it grieves me to this day that many of my children went down the drain.  I would have loved them all.  But to me there was no fault by any person involved.  It is just nature's way that many embryos are lost during menstruation.  Though I suppose that an argument could be mounted that taking any part in IVF is willingly creating life that will mostly not survive.  You are both creating life and extinguishing it

In the abortion debate it has to me always seemed nonsenense to say that a "fetus" is not a human being.  It is clearly just a human being at an early stage of growth.  So  I do have some understanding of the Alabama ruling.  And I am an atheist so there is no religious issue involved in my case. 

But there are clearly many adverse consequences of the ruling so I would say that a fertiized egg that is never implanted has never begun the process of developing so should not be regarded as a human person.  A ruling to such an effect may be needed to allow IVF  and its great blessings to continue

A large Alabama hospital has paused in vitro fertilisation treatments as health care providers weigh the impact of a state court ruling that frozen embryos are the legal equivalent of children.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham said in a statement Wednesday that its UAB Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility has paused the treatments "as it evaluates the Alabama Supreme Court's decision that a cryopreserved embryo is a human being."

"We are saddened that this will impact our patients' attempt to have a baby through IVF, but we must evaluate the potential that our patients and our physicians could be prosecuted criminally or face punitive damages for following the standard of care for IVF treatments," the statement emailed by spokeswoman Savannah Koplon read.

The ruling by the all-Republican Alabama Supreme Court prompted a wave of concern about the future of IVF treatments in the state and the potential unintended consequences of extreme anti-abortion laws in Republican-controlled states.
Patients called clinics to see if scheduled IVF treatments would continue. And providers consulted with attorneys.


Effect of Higher-Dose Ivermectin for 6 Days vs Placebo on Time to Sustained Recovery in Outpatients With COVID-19 A Randomized Clinical Trial

The article below appeared in JAMA, a prestigious medical journal.  Like previous similar articles, it found no benefit for Ivermectin in treating Covid-19.

The study is carefully done but overlooks a major caution for Ivermectin usage. While some clinicians claim benefit for Ivermectin at all stages of the disease, well-informed researchers are clear that benefit is to be found only if Ivermectin is given immediately after symptom onset.  The study did not examine that. A 7 day treatment window was allowed.  N would probably have been too small for useful analysis if the proper restrictions were observed so we await an experimental study before firm conclusions can be drawn

Susanna Naggie, et al.

Question  Does ivermectin, with a maximum targeted dose of 600 μg/kg daily for 6 days, compared with placebo, shorten symptom duration among adult (≥30 years) outpatients with symptomatic mild to moderate COVID-19?

Findings  In this double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled platform trial including 1206 US adults with COVID-19 during February 2022 to July 2022, the median time to sustained recovery was 11 days in the ivermectin group and 11 days in the placebo group. In this largely vaccinated (84%) population, the posterior probability that ivermectin reduced symptom duration by more than 1 day was less than 0.1%.

Meaning  These findings do not support the use of ivermectin among outpatients with COVID-19.

Importance  It is unknown whether ivermectin, with a maximum targeted dose of 600 μg/kg, shortens symptom duration or prevents hospitalization among outpatients with mild to moderate COVID-19.

Objective  To evaluate the effectiveness of ivermectin at a maximum targeted dose of 600 μg/kg daily for 6 days, compared with placebo, for the treatment of early mild to moderate COVID-19.

Design, Setting, and Participants  The ongoing Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines 6 (ACTIV-6) platform randomized clinical trial was designed to evaluate repurposed therapies among outpatients with mild to moderate COVID-19. A total of 1206 participants older than 30 years with confirmed COVID-19 experiencing at least 2 symptoms of acute infection for less than or equal to 7 days were enrolled at 93 sites in the US from February 16, 2022, through July 22, 2022, with follow-up data through November 10, 2022.

Interventions  Participants were randomly assigned to receive ivermectin, with a maximum targeted dose of 600 μg/kg (n = 602) daily, or placebo (n = 604) for 6 days.

Main Outcomes and Measures  The primary outcome was time to sustained recovery, defined as at least 3 consecutive days without symptoms. The 7 secondary outcomes included a composite of hospitalization, death, or urgent/emergent care utilization by day 28.

Results  Among 1206 randomized participants who received study medication or placebo, the median (IQR) age was 48 (38-58) years, 713 (59.1%) were women, and 1008 (83.5%) reported receiving at least 2 SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses. The median (IQR) time to sustained recovery was 11 (11-12) days in the ivermectin group and 11 (11-12) days in the placebo group. The hazard ratio (posterior probability of benefit) for improvement in time to recovery was 1.02 (95% credible interval, 0.92-1.13; P = .68). Among those receiving ivermectin, 34 (5.7%) were hospitalized, died, or had urgent or emergency care visits compared with 36 (6.0%) receiving placebo (hazard ratio, 1.0 [95% credible interval, 0.6-1.5]; P = .53). In the ivermectin group, 1 participant died and 4 were hospitalized (0.8%); 2 participants (0.3%) were hospitalized in the placebo group and there were no deaths. Adverse events were uncommon in both groups.

Conclusions and Relevance  Among outpatients with mild to moderate COVID-19, treatment with ivermectin, with a maximum targeted dose of 600 μg/kg daily for 6 days, compared with placebo did not improve time to sustained recovery. These findings do not support the use of ivermectin in patients with mild to moderate COVID-19.


One third of Australian children can't read properly as teaching methods cause 'preventable tragedy', Grattan Institute says

The failed "whole word" method of teaching beloved by Leftist teachers goes back to some work by Wilhelm Wundt in the late 19th century. And they call themselves "progressive"! "destructive" would be more like it

One third of Australian students are failing to learn to read proficiently, at an estimated cost to the economy of $40 billion, according to a new report.

The Grattan Institute's Reading Guarantee report calls this a "preventable tragedy" caused by persisting with teaching styles popular at universities, but "contrary to science" and discredited by inquiries in all major English-speaking countries.

"In a typical Australian school classroom of 24 students, eight can't read well," said report lead author and Grattan education program director Jordana Hunter. "Australia is failing these children."

The estimated cost of this "failure" was profound both personally and economy-wide, with students unable to read proficiently more likely to become disruptive at school and unemployed or even jailed later in life, the report concluded.

Dr Hunter said the "conservative" financial estimate amounted to a "really significant cost" that did not include productivity benefits from increased reading.

Students left to 'guess' meaning of words

The Grattan Institute attributed the major cause of its findings to the rise of a teaching style called "whole language", which became dominant on university campuses in the 1970s.

It is underpinned by a philosophy that learning to read is a natural, unconscious process that students can master by being exposed to good literature.

Proponents say it empowers young people by giving them autonomy.

However Grattan said it left students to "guess" the meaning of words and was saddling parents with expensive tuition costs to help their children catch up.

What are the reading wars?

Phonics, or sounding out words, is part of the "structured literacy" approach, which says reading should be broken down and the elements taught explicitly

After decades of the so-called reading wars, "whole language" has incorporated elements of other approaches such as phonics, but Grattan said it remained "light touch" and "contrary to scientific recommendations".

"What we need to do is set our expectations higher. We need to stop accepting failure," Dr Hunter said. "It's not good enough that one in three students are not where they need to be in reading."

The Grattan Institute said evidence showed a much greater number of students learned to read successfully using the alternative "structured literacy" approach, and at least 90 per cent of students would be proficient using this model.

"Structured literacy" includes phonics, but also teacher-led "explicit instruction" backed by the latest science on how children's brains learn new concepts.

"The quality of teaching is the thing that will shift the dial for our young people," Dr Hunter said. "We need to make the most of every single minute we have with our young people."

Why are some schools still not using phonics?

Despite major inquiries in Australia, the United Kingdom and United States settling the argument that structured literacy teaching is superior, that hasn't flowed to all classrooms, the Grattan Institute said.

It said where school systems have embraced it, students have reaped the rewards.

Australia's 10,000 schools have a high degree of autonomy, and even in states where education departments advocate for the structured literacy approach, the report said there needed to be more support for teachers to re-train and be provided with ready-made lessons.

"The real issue here is, are governments doing enough to set teachers up for success?'" Dr Hunter said. "The challenge is making sure best practice is common practice in every single classroom."

Western Sydney University's Katina Zammit, president of the Australian Literary Educators Association, said the whole language method should not end up in history's trash can.

She said that in school systems that moved to the teaching methods championed by the Grattan Institute, some teachers found it too prescriptive.

"The teachers that I have had contact with, some of the children who are being taught this way, have either lost interest in reading because it's a whole class approach or they are not retaining the instruction," Dr Zammit said.

Dr Zammit agreed whole learning did not work for all students but said it could still be useful in the classroom. "One size doesn't fit all students," she said. "Yes, the majority it might, but we do have to look at engagement and motivation as well."

However in a statement to the ABC, Education Minister Jason Clare said the science on teaching reading had been settled. He also foreshadowed mandating teaching styles in the upcoming school funding agreement.

"The reading wars are over. We know what works. The current National School Reform Agreement doesn't include the sort of targets or reforms to move the needle here," he said.

"The new Agreement we strike this year needs to properly fund schools and tie that funding to the sort of things that work. The sort of things that will help children keep up, catch up and finish school."


A fire wreaked havoc and left thousands of people homeless — but it barely made the news

The Rohingya are certainly in a bad way but what is not mentioned below is that they largely have themselves to thank for it. Under British rule in Burma, many Indians migrated to Burma for economic reasons. When Burma became independent, however, the Muslim Rohingya minority began to make nuisances of themselves in the usual Muslim way.

The Burmese are however Buddhist so have hit back at their rebellious Rohingya residents. So many Rohingya have returned to their ancestral India, to Bangladesh in particular. India is however poor and already heavily populated so has no room for them. If they were smart, the Rohingya would convert to Christianity, a much less troublesome religion than Islam. Missionaries Ahoy!

During the early hours of January 7, inside a sprawling community of around 1 million people, a fire started. It jumped from one structure to another, quickly becoming a massive blaze that engulfed hundreds of properties.

Photos and videos of the inferno show people desperately trying to save homes, using the limited equipment on offer.

But, as advocates point out with a mix of frustration and sadness, most people around the world didn’t notice.

Because this fire happened in a Rohingya refugee camp.

“It’s been really heartbreaking,” says Noor Azizah, the co-founder and director of the Rohingya Maìyafuìnor Collaborative Network.

In Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, scores of Rohingya refugees continue to live in ever-worsening conditions.

But the passage of time combined with a string of other international crises has seen the world turn its gaze from the Rohingya, with the latest fire receiving little, if any, media coverage in Australia and elsewhere in the world.

“It occurred at a time when people were deeply asleep,” says Mohammed Aziz, a Rohingya refugee who lives in nearby Camp 1.

Rows of cramped, makeshift shelters were soon ablaze, with families, elderly people and children making panicked escapes.

“The fire spread and got bigger so fast that most of the people couldn’t save any of their belongings,” Mr Aziz says.

Rohingya refugees photographed the January 7 fire as it jumped from shelter to shelter. Supplied: Mohammed Kayas via UNHCR
He describes how the camps’ lack of proper firefighting resources and bad roads meant the fire could “continue its devastation” into the night.

“Because of the camps’ congested infrastructure, fires pose a big danger.”

It burned for two to three hours and, according to UNHCR, around 800 shelters were destroyed and 7,000 Rohingya left homeless.

In a statement, the UNICEF Representative in Bangladesh Sheldon Yett said 3,500 children were impacted, with 20 learning facilities destroyed in the fire.

Advocate Ms Azizah has a close connection to these communities — she’s a Rohingya refugee who fled Myanmar (also known as Burma) with her family and resettled in Sydney in 2003.

She’s visited the Cox’s Bazar camps and says the dire conditions mean they’re a tinderbox when a fire starts.

“The shelters are made out of wood and the roofs are made out of plastic … [There can be] families of 10 living in one small tent.”

And the January blaze is the latest in a series of major fires, including one in March 2023 that left around 10,000 people homeless.

A Bangladesh panel investigating the March 2023 fire found it was a “planned act of sabotage” and there are suggestions the January fire could also be arson — indicative of how lawless and unsafe the camps have become.

The Rohingya are a predominantly Muslim ethnic group who have lived in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar for generations.

For decades, they have faced extreme persecution there. A 1982 law denied them citizenship, and wave after wave of violence has meant many Rohingya have fled across the border from Myanmar to Bangladesh.

In 2017, the Myanmar military enacted a brutal crackdown against the Rohingya in Rakhine state, which multiple countries including the US have labelled as genocide.

The violence saw hundreds of thousands of Rohingya flee to Bangladesh in what the International Crisis Group called “one of the most catastrophically fast refugee exoduses in modern times”.

A sprawling Rohingya community formed over the Myanmar border in Cox’s Bazar, with the temporary living conditions largely unchanged over the years.

When asked about the dangers in the camp aside from fires, Mr Aziz provides a long list. This includes “natural disasters … landslides, floodings, cyclones”, along with the “health concerns” that accompany these threats.

Then there are “man-made disasters” like “the state of being overcrowded and congested, limited access to clean water, gangs, conflicts, murders, criminal activities, corruption and arbitrary arrests”.

Without the right to work in Bangladesh, the Rohingya are reliant on humanitarian funding, which has been cut as other international crises have occurred.


‘The situation has become appalling’: fake scientific papers push research credibility to crisis point

Once again this destruction can be traced to the Left. If "there is no such thing as truth", why not put out false claims about global warming, vaccine safety, sexual mutilation of minors and all the rest. No credibilty without replication must now be the watchword

Tens of thousands of bogus research papers are being published in journals in an international scandal that is worsening every year, scientists have warned. Medical research is being compromised, drug development hindered and promising academic research jeopardised thanks to a global wave of sham science that is sweeping laboratories and universities.

Last year the annual number of papers retracted by research journals topped 10,000 for the first time. Most analysts believe the figure is only the tip of an iceberg of scientific fraud.

“The situation has become appalling,” said Professor Dorothy Bishop of Oxford University. “The level of publishing of fraudulent papers is creating serious problems for science. In many fields it is becoming difficult to build up a cumulative approach to a subject, because we lack a solid foundation of trustworthy findings. And it’s getting worse and worse.”

The startling rise in the publication of sham science papers has its roots in China, where young doctors and scientists seeking promotion were required to have published scientific papers. Shadow organisations – known as “paper mills” – began to supply fabricated work for publication in journals there.

The practice has since spread to India, Iran, Russia, former Soviet Union states and eastern Europe, with paper mills supplying ­fabricated studies to more and more journals as increasing numbers of young ­scientists try to boost their careers by claiming false research experience. In some cases, journal editors have been bribed to accept articles, while paper mills have managed to establish their own agents as guest editors who then allow reams of ­falsified work to be published.

“Editors are not fulfilling their roles properly, and peer reviewers are not doing their jobs. And some are being paid large sums of money,” said Professor Alison Avenell of Aberdeen University. “It is deeply worrying.”

The products of paper mills often look like regular articles but are based on templates in which names of genes or diseases are slotted in at random among fictitious tables and figures. Worryingly, these articles can then get incorporated into large databases used by those working on drug discovery.

Others are more bizarre and include research unrelated to a journal’s field, making it clear that no peer review has taken place in relation to that article. An example is a paper on Marxist ideology that appeared in the journal Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine. Others are distinctive because of the strange language they use, including references to “bosom peril” rather than breast cancer and “Parkinson’s ailment” rather Parkinson’s disease.

Watchdog groups – such as Retraction Watch – have tracked the problem and have noted retractions by journals that were forced to act on occasions when fabrications were uncovered. One study, by Nature, revealed that in 2013 there were just over 1,000 retractions. In 2022, the figure topped 4,000 before jumping to more than 10,000 last year.

Of this last total, more than 8,000 retracted papers had been published in journals owned by Hindawi, a subsidiary of the publisher Wiley, figures that have now forced the company to act. “We will be sunsetting the Hindawi brand and have begun to fully integrate the 200-plus Hindawi journals into Wiley’s ­portfolio,” a Wiley spokesperson told the Observer.

The spokesperson added that Wiley had now identified hundreds of fraudsters present in its portfolio of journals, as well as those who had held guest editorial roles. “We have removed them from our systems and will continue to take a proactive … approach in our efforts to clean up the scholarly record, strengthen our integrity processes and contribute to cross-industry solutions.”

But Wiley insisted it could not tackle the crisis on its own, a message echoed by other publishers, which say they are under siege from paper mills. Academics remain cautious, however. The problem is that in many countries, academics are paid according to the number of papers they have published.

“If you have growing numbers of researchers who are being strongly incentivised to publish just for the sake of publishing, while we have a growing number of journals making money from publishing the resulting articles, you have a perfect storm,” said Professor Marcus Munafo of Bristol University. “That is exactly what we have now.”

The harm done by publishing poor or fabricated research is demonstrated by the anti-parasite drug ivermectin. Early laboratory studies indicated it could be used to treat Covid-19 and it was hailed as a miracle drug. However, it was later found these studies showed clear evidence of fraud, and medical authorities have refused to back it as a treatment for Covid.

“The trouble was, ivermectin was used by anti-vaxxers to say: ‘We don’t need vaccination because we have this wonder drug,’” said Jack Wilkinson at Manchester University. “But many of the trials that underpinned those claims were not authentic.”

Wilkinson added that he and his colleagues were trying to develop protocols that researchers could apply to reveal the authenticity of studies that they might include in their own work. “Some great science came out during the pandemic, but there was an ocean of rubbish research too. We need ways to pinpoint poor data right from the start.”

The danger posed by the rise of the paper mill and fraudulent research papers was also stressed by Professor Malcolm MacLeod of Edinburgh University. “If, as a scientist, I want to check all the papers about a particular drug that might target cancers or stroke cases, it is very hard for me to avoid those that are fabricated. Scientific knowledge is being polluted by made-up material. We are facing a crisis.”

This point was backed by Bishop: “People are building careers on the back of this tidal wave of fraudulent science and could end up running scientific institutes and eventually be used by mainstream journals as reviewers and editors. Corruption is creeping into the system.”


Why I deplore Scottish nationalism

And other nationalisms like it. I was once instinctively for it but I was biased.

About my bias:

I do have some Scots ancestry; I was brought up to be pro-Scots; I have on occasions worn Highland Dress and very much enjoy that; I have been to Scotland more than once -- from Sauchiehall st to the Western Isles; I once married a bonnie Scottish lass and put on Scottish songs exclusively at our wedding reception; I have done extensive academic survey research in Scotland about Scottish attitudes. See:

From all that it should be clear that speaking ill of Scotland and the Scots pains me deeply. But it appears that I have to do so. The crux of the matter can be seen in this video

It's a prelude to a Scottish Rugby match at Murrayfiend stadium. The song is "Flower of Scotland", now accepted as Scotland's national anthem. The words are as follows:

Flower of Scotland

O Flower of Scotland,
When will we see
Your like again,
That fought and died for,
Your wee bit Hill and Glen,
And stood against him,
Proud Edward's Army,
And sent him homeward,
Tae think again.

The Hills are bare now,
And Autumn leaves
lie thick and still,
O'er land that is lost now,
Which those so dearly held,
That stood against him,
Proud Edward's Army,
And sent him homeward,
Tae think again.

Those days are past now,
And in the past
they must remain,
But we can still rise now,
And be the nation again,
That stood against him,
Proud Edward's Army,
And sent him homeward,
Tae think again.

Flower of Scotland,
When will we see
your like again,
That fought and died for,
Your wee bit Hill and Glen,
And stood against him,
Proud Edward's Army,
And sent him homeward,
Tae think again.

What they are singing about is the Battle of Bannockburn which took place in 1324. It is one of the few battles with the English that Scotland won. The song is however much later than the battle. It was composed in the mid-1960s by Roy Williamson of the folk group the Corries.

The thing that disturbs me about it is that it is hate-based. It is a song of hatred of the English. And you have to note above how devotedly it is sung by a whole stadium of apparently ordinary people. It is heartfelt among them. That they should be enthusiastic about antything that took place in 1324 is absurd. It is not that event which moves the singers in the video. It is hatred and contempt for their Southern neighbours that the event inspires.

The Left sometimes conflate nationalism and patriotism. It is part of their theory of "ethnocentrism". But that is typical of their slipperiness. All nationalists are patriots but not all patriots are nationaists. Nationalists dislike other nations. Patriots just like their own nation.

Americans are highly likely to be patriotic but nationalism among them is virtually unknown -- except for a regrettable period in the "progressive" era associated mostly with Theodore Roosevelt over 100 years ago. See

I have actually done some published survey research on patriotism and consistently found that liking for your own group did NOT imply dislike of "outgroups"

And Scottish hatred of the English has been disastrous for them. They lost many bloody battles. And hatred begrets hatred regardless of who "started" it. The Bhagavad Gita tells us that it is sometimes better to let our opponent win but the Gita has never had much of a following in Scotland. Matthew 5:38-40 has simlar advice but that too appears to have had no influence

I have personally experienced Scottish hatred of the English, as have many Australians. Scots cannot usually tell the difference between an educated Australian accent and RP, so when Australians go to Scotland, the Scots initially assume that we are English. They think we "sound like the TV", as one of my survey interviewees put it.

Wise Australians, however, hasten to undo that impression: "We are Australians, not English", we say. And the effect of that can be a wonder to behold. Scots see Australians as fellow "victims" of the English so the initial "dour" attitude towards us can immediately be replaced by a very warm one. We are suddenly friends and are treated accordingly. How sad that an accent can make such a diffrence.

So, as always, I can only deplore hatred. The current outpouring of hatred of Jews and Israel coming from the Left over Gaza shows how it can subvert all reason



Tucker Carlson and his Putin Interview

This interview does confirm that it is in fact Volodymyr Zelenskyy who is holding up a ceasefire. But hatred of Russia runs deep in Ukraine so Zelenskyy probably has his people behind him. Sad that the deaths have to continue, though. An armistice ended WWI, why not one in this war?

In his post-interview video, Carlson noted that “Putin is not someone who does a lot of interviews.” In fact, his last interview with an American journalist came in October 2021, when he spoke with CNBC’s Hadley Gamble at an energy event in Moscow.

“He’s not good at explaining himself,” Carlson observed. “He’s smart, there’s no question about that. But he’s clearly spending a lot of time in a world where he doesn’t have to explain himself.”

Carlson concluded, “He didn’t lay out his case very coherently.”

Reflecting on Putin’s answers, Carlson noted that the Russian leader became animated when discussing the United States and the West’s approach toward his country.

“He’s very wounded by the rejection of the West,” Carlson said. “The U.S. government doesn’t like Russia. And like a lot of Russians, he expected the end of the Cold War would be Russia’s invitation into Europe.”

Yet despite this tension, Carlson said it was “striking” that Putin admitted he wanted a peace deal.

“Maybe he’s lying in ways I didn’t perceive, but he kept saying it. I don’t know why he would say it if he didn’t mean it,” Carlson said.

During the interview, Putin accused former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson of scuttling previous negotiations, “saying it was better to fight Russia.”

Russia’s Aims

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 prompted worldwide condemnation, yet Putin brashly accused Ukraine of starting the war in 2014 and claimed Russia was attempting to stop it.

Asked by Carlson if Russia had achieved its aims, Putin said, “No. We haven’t achieved our aims yet because one of them is denazification. This means the prohibition of all kinds of neo-Nazi movements.”

The Russian leader then turned his ire on the United States, saving some of his harshest criticism for Biden.

“I talked to him before the special military operation,” Putin told Carlson. “And I said to him then, by the way, I will not go into details, I never do. But I said to him then, ‘I believe that you are making a huge mistake of historic proportions by supporting everything that is happening there, in Ukraine, by pushing Russia away.’”

Carlson pressed Putin on why he wouldn’t call Biden today.

“If you really want to stop fighting, you need to stop supplying weapons,” Putin replied. “It will be over within a few weeks. That’s it. And then we can agree on some terms before you do that, stop. What’s easier? Why would I call him? What should I talk to him about? Or beg him for what?”

The conversation about Ukraine dominated the two-hour interview, including a revelation that Putin suspects the CIA is responsible for the Nord Stream pipeline attack in 2022. Putin also praised his “friend” Xi Jinping of China, and boasted about the growing cooperation between the two countries.


Labor is gearing up to go negative on housing investors

"Negative gearing" enables well-off people to transform more income into capital than might otherwise have been possible. And anything that rich people do is automtically suspect to Leftists.

I used negtive gearing in my time so I know exactly what it is and does. And a major effect of it is to REDUCE rents. By using other income to subsidize my property investments, I was able to accept rents that were too low to cover my mortgages and other debts.

But lower rents seem to be bad if a landlord gets some benefit out of that apparently

It’s a matter of when, and not if, Labor goes after negative gearing.

And it is the “why” that informs this view.

Labor has been historically hostile to negative gearing, and there is no evidence it has collectively changed this view.

On the contrary, the caucus is pushing hard for it.

Voters may have rejected it twice – in 2016 and 2019 when Labor first put its abolition on the table – but that hasn’t softened the party’s devotion to the principle.

Politics has remained the ­obstacle.

What has changed is the pressure union-dominated industry super funds have been recently applying. The industry super funds are desperate to get their claws into rental stock as a private asset class.

The best way to do that is to get mum and dad investors out of the picture.

If anything, Anthony Albanese and Jim Chalmers’ weasel words over the past week have strengthened the view that Labor is tilling the soil again to have another crack at it, at some point.

The Treasurer’s view on it is implicit in his thesis for the remaking of capitalism. He has made it his mission to leverage the wealth of superannuation to deliver on his remodelling of the economy and its institutions.

Housing is a key part of it. And having union-dominated super funds control the rental stock of the nation – which is 30 per cent of the market – fits neatly into this ideological model.

Industry funds are salivating over it because of the low-risk high-yield equation. As a private asset class, the valuations can also be manipulated.

Corporatising rental stock – quasi-nationalisation – has an obvious political attraction for Labor. The party has held a long-term aversion to mum and dad property investors, a lot of whom wouldn’t vote Labor.

The Greens understand the significance of this. It is less clear, however, why some teal independents – whose constituents are over-represented as wealthy property investors – are supportive.

Either way, this is an issue that will be revisited by Labor at some stage. This is almost a certainty.

Little that has been said over the past week should offer anyone any confidence that Albanese and Chalmers haven’t been working up options.

A question is whether it would be grandfathered – as was Bill Shorten’s model.

It is impossible to see how it could be done otherwise without forced divestiture. This would be insanity.

Grandfathering, however, produces questionable revenue gains for the government.

The motivation runs far deeper and is inherently more ideological. Labor’s inspiration is for a new class of public housing for renters. Under its model, the industry super funds would own the housing stock.

Why the Albanese government would be considering negative gearing changes in the middle of a supply crisis is confounding to industry experts.

The Henry tax review – commissioned by Wayne Swan as treasurer when Chalmers was working for him – was clear about this. It warned against any changes to taxes on housing until the supply issue was solved.

Abolishing or curbing negative gearing is an effective increase in housing tax. And if you tax something, you get less of it.

If Albanese’s aim is to not see a further two promises broken, its difficult to understand why Labor would be contemplating negative gearing changes as it seeks to build 1.2 million homes in five years.

The retail politics of negative gearing are simultaneously crude and complex. Labor seeks to sympathise with first-home buyers, using the argument that young families shouldn’t have to compete at an auction with a foreign investor or a plumber seeking to buy a 10th property.

This argument becomes impossible to sustain if the alternative is that a first-home buyer instead must compete with a pension fund seeking to buy its 10,000th home.

In the context that government on Monday reduced tax on foreign investors to help facilitate Labor’s build to rent model, which has produced close to zero new homes, it would be inconceivable they would be seeking to increase taxes on mum and dad investors.


Dating Crisis Fuels Marriage Crisis

Katrina Trinko (below) is right.  When I became single in 2021 it took me nearly a year to find a new partner.  I met many possibles but only one ever wanted me.  But I am 80 so maybe that figures

I can see no remedy for what she describes.  Both men and women say, "There's no-one out there". Almost the whole singles population is invisible. The characteristic Leftist dissatisfaction with everything seems to  have spread. Christian thankfulness for our blessings would be a healthier attitude.  Selfishness is self-defeating in the end.

I think dating sites have spread Leftist dissatisfaction attitudes.  They have made both sexes too critical and too fussy.  Realism and tolerance are in short supply.

If you’re not looking to date this Valentine’s Day, be grateful. It’s a disaster out there.

Pair the lingering effects of the sexual revolution, of a world where too often sexual pleasure is prioritized over relationships founded on love and giving, with Big Tech’s noxious dating apps, where algorithms seem far better at perpetuating singledom than finding people soulmates, and you’ve got a hellscape.

Yes, conservatives—and all Americans who value the family—rightly fret over the state of marriage in the United States.

The number of 40-year-old Americans who never have been married is higher than ever at 25%, according to Pew Research Center. The number of births per woman has plummeted to 1.6. Nor is that because women want fewer children: Almost half of women want three or more children, according to Gallup.

For conservatives, who rightly view the family as the foundation of society, these numbers are horrifying—and a siren that our culture is languishing, our social ties dissipating. Loneliness is on the rise, and unsurprisingly, so are addiction rates and suicide rates.

But as an unmarried woman in my 30s, I also realize there’s no quick fix to this situation—and that married Americans are often unaware of how bleak the current dating landscape can be. Ultimately, if we’re going to have more healthy marriages, we need to change our dating culture.

Take this new lawsuit, which highlights just how insane the current dating world is.

The plaintiff, Nikko D’Ambrosio, alleges he was defamed in a private Chicago Facebook group for women, called “Are We Dating the Same Guy?” Facebook groups with this name began sprouting up in 2022, allowing thousands of women to swap information—rarely of the flattering variety—about local single men.

Although this seems like a recipe for idle gossip, it was also a way for women to warn other women of the bad behavior of particular local men so they could avoid them.

D’Ambrosio says he was defamed in the Chicago Facebook group, but was unable to join it to defend himself or get the moderators to remove the posts about him. In one post mentioned in his lawsuit, a woman wrote: “Very clingy very fast. Flaunted money very awkwardly and kept talking about how I don’t want to see his bad side, especially when he was on business calls.”

Another woman wrote: “I went out with him a few times just over a year ago—he told me what I wanted to hear until I slept with him and then he ghosted … I’d steer clear.” (The term “ghosted” refers to when a romantic interest stops responding to all forms of communication without announcing a breakup or an end of contact.)

These Facebook groups of women who warn each other about bad men are hugely popular: Over 200 such groups with 3.5 million members exist worldwide, according to a GoFundMe by Paola Sanchez, the founder of this network of groups (and a defendant in the lawsuit).

The groups’ wild popularity is just another sign of the desolate dating landscape in modern times. Online dating apps promise a world of romantic fulfillment and the ability to find a soulmate who shares your values, lives locally, and may be contacted from your living room.

But instead of romantic fulfillment, online daters are finding disappointment—and betrayal. According to a 2023 study, co-authored by Stanford University professor Elias Aboujaoude, almost two-thirds of Tinder users are either married or in a romantic relationship. (Tinder, an extremely popular dating app known for promoting casual flings, disputes the findings of the survey.)

Even when would-be partners aren’t married or hiding a girlfriend, it doesn’t mean they’re exactly pure of heart, seeking to find meaningful romantic relationships. Online dating has spurred a plethora of phrases to describe bad behavior.

In addition to “ghosting,” there’s “lovebombing,” which refers to a man or woman being effusively romantic and/or discussing a long-term future, before abruptly and suddenly withdrawing contact. There’s also “breadcrumbing,” which is when a person tries to keep a romantic interest engaged by sending very occasional messages without committing more fully.

Or there’s also the awful experience of being sent, to use a popular crude term that aptly describes it, a “dick pic.” According to a 2022 Pew Research Center survey, 56% of women and 25% of men ages 18 to 49 say they’ve received an unsolicited, sexually explicit image or message.

Bring on the wedding bells, am I right?

It’s no wonder that millions of women are trying to avoid emotional pain and find out whether other locals on Facebook can speak to a man’s character. (Although men have formed some groups of their own to judge women’s character, those groups appear far less popular.)

But of course, it’s not that women are necessarily always being fair or honest, either: Are the men they are bashing on these groups always guilty? Is crucial context being left out?

The outcome of D’Ambrosio’s lawsuit isn’t certain. (In the interim, D’Ambrosio was convicted for tax fraud.) And although I don’t think that that these women’s Facebook groups are the answer to today’s dating woes, I do think they highlight just how awful things are right now.

But even if two people are able to find each other and start dating, it’s a more complicated path to marriage these days. Searching for monogamy? You might be surprised by a romantic partner’s desire to explore polyamory—after all, a third of singles have been in a nonmonogamous relationship, according to a 2023 survey by the dating site company Match.

Nonmonogamy isn’t the only way the zany ethics of the sexual revolution continue to infect romance. Pornography is changing men and women and what they sexually desire.

In her 2022 book “Rethinking Sex,” columnist Christine Emba recounted attending a holiday party and being asked by another woman, whom she hadn’t met before, what she thought about choking during sex. The woman was struggling because she liked everything else about the new guy she was seeing—he was attractive, had a good job, and was smart—but she couldn’t seem to shake the unease she felt about being choked during sex, even though she had consented to it.

Nor is this woman alone in her quandary. A fifth of women said they’ve been choked during sex. You know what wasn’t in the fairy tales I read growing up? A discussion between Cinderella and her fairy godmother about whether she should overlook the fact that Prince Charming could be turned on only by acting violently toward her.

Yet, in our porn-saturated world where men (and yes, some women) seem to need more and more extreme and horrific sexual actions to feel pleasure, this is where we’re at.

Of course, I’ve sketched a bleak picture—and to be fair, some singles are still finding love and pursuing marriage in today’s world. Among adults who are married or in a serious romantic relationship, 10% of them met that person online, according to Pew Research Center.

Yet overall, the dating landscape desperately needs improvement if we want to improve marriage rates.

For instance, even for singles who reject dating apps, the apps still have infected today’s dating world. Online and app dating has made it less likely that a young adult will approach another young adult who is a stranger; after all, the norm increasingly is that you meet someone online, not in real life. Approaching someone in real life can be seen as being “creepy”—which is unfair and awful, but I understand why some are reluctant to do it.

If you are living in a “Benedict Option” world, as writer Rod Dreher advocates in his popular book, there’s no guarantee of finding a spouse. In religious circles, women tend to outnumber men.

As former Sen. Rick Santorum, a Pennsylvania Republican known for championing family values, said during a recent Heritage Foundation panel on working-class Americans: “I wish I had a nickel for every young woman I know who’s just amazing—in their 20s and 30s and they can’t find a marriageable man. It’s pathetic. It’s awful. We’re just destroying our own culture, and we don’t talk about it. We as conservatives don’t talk about it.”

We don’t.

Of course, based on anecdotal evidence, marriageable single men are out there, but they can be hard to find—and, frankly, are too few.

Furthermore, religious men and women aren’t immune from the temptations of porn and other scourges of modern life; it’s not clear, even if such people are single, whether they are in a state to be a good spouse.

Of course, none of this is to claim that every single person is perfect and has zero responsibility for remaining single. Some are too picky. Some women, no doubt, place too much emphasis on height and income, while some men place too much emphasis on looks.

Both sexes struggle with the Hollywood-popularized idea of soulmates. It’s easy to think, particularly with the seeming abundance of matches on dating apps, that someone out there has the perfect personality, body, and temperament that will make you optimally happy. This is a noxious myth that forgoes the real joys of marriage for a fantasy of happily ever after.

And of course, there’s also a noble tradition in Christianity of being single for the sake of leading a life more focused on God. While marriage is a good for many, I’d never claim all people should strive to get married.

So where does this leave us?

As conservatives look to advocate marriage, it’s not enough to talk about its importance. We need to talk about healthy marriages. We need to talk about how porn warps imaginations (and hearts). We need to look at the bruised, wounded singles of today and not say, “Why aren’t you married?” but “Is there a way I can help?”

Maybe it’s married couples setting up mutual friends. Maybe it’s all of us praying. Maybe it’s helping a friend who is struggling become a better person—which will benefit the culture whether he ultimately gets married or not. Maybe sometimes it is, if asked for advice by a single friend, to gently nudge them away from excessive pickiness. Maybe it’s married couples with decades of success mentoring younger couples, helping them learn how to communicate and love in a healthy way.

Maybe it’s criticizing the dating landscape of today and saying, who is happy? Can sexual pleasure really be worth all this? Maybe it’s showing there can be a different way where you prioritize a selfless love, not just sexual pleasure. Maybe it’s more recently married couples, who survived today’s dating landscape, sharing how they kept hope and persisted.

Maybe it’s married couples being more honest about what each has compromised on for a spouse instead of furthering the soulmate myth with gauzy social media photos and holiday cards. Maybe it’s them talking more vulnerably about dating, about how sometimes an amazing love story starts not with fireworks, but with a slight interest that then blossoms into something greater—and perhaps more enduring than fireworks.

We don’t want people to slap a ring on it just because they hear marriage is good. We’re not looking for more divorces and lonely marriages and toxic marriages. We’re not looking to bring children into bad situations.

Instead, we need to present something more compelling: an alternative vision. Not talk of marriage as it is in fairy tales and in Hollywood movies, but as it is in real life. We need to talk about the beauty and the growth in a marriage where each spouses prioritizes the other one, where they tackle real challenges by honest conversations and genuine goodwill. We need to talk about how sexual pleasure is often found more in marriages and relationships that follow traditional norms, not in sleeping around.

And we need to build up singles who are trying not to cave into the wretched norms of the 2020s and yet who perhaps feel they are looking at never getting married as a result.

It’s so, so ugly out there in dating today. That’s a tragedy—and it’s going to take more than singles to fix it. If we want a culture with more and better marriages, we need to work together to make dating better.



Cadbury boss defends supermarkets against price gouging allegations

What people overlook is that the cost of putting fruit and vegetables on shelves is influenced by many costs other than what the farmer is paid:  Broadly, distribution costs, including transport costs.  And the supermarket staff have to be paid

The local boss of one of the world’s largest supermarket suppliers, Cadbury owner Mondelez, has dismissed claims Woolworths and Coles are price gouging shoppers, arguing much of the negative commentary engulfing the chains was based on “emotion” with no evidence of an uncompetitive or dysfunctional supermarket sector in Australia.

Amid a growing political firestorm that has seen six separate inquiries launched to inspect the supermarket industry, including a Senate inquiry pushed by the Greens into pricing and market power, Mondelez Australia chief executive Darren O’Brien said competition was as intense as it has been for a decade, and shoppers were treated to a wealth of choice.

“I don’t see evidence of what I would consider (price) gouging. I don’t know how you measure gouging,” Mr O’Brien told The Weekend Australian.

“Comments around there not being competition, comments around things needing to be broken up, I think these are comments that are made without people putting forward evidence.

“What is the evidence of dysfunction? I’ve seen a lot of emotion. I haven’t seen a lot of evidence presented. I’m not seeing a lot of evidence that there is a dysfunction in the market.”

The comments from the Mondelez CEO are all the more powerful given he is also chair of the Australian Food and Grocery Council, the peak body for the ­nation’s $150bn food manufacturing sector.

Supermarket giants Woolworths and Coles have faced a political pile-on over the last few months as the cost-of-living crisis and the Albanese government’s unpopularity – driven by a sense the government was not focused enough on household financial stress – has seen the chains and perceptions of their misuse of market power put under the spotlight.

But Mr O’Brien, whose portfolio of brands includes Cadbury, Toblerone, Ritz crackers and Philadelphia cream cheese, warned against intervention, such as breaking up Woolworths and Coles, saying the competitive landscape was bolstered by their efficient operations.

He said the inquiries in train, ranging from a Senate probe into pricing, an inquiry called by the government to be run by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, and another inquiry commissioned by the ACTU, needed to be accompanied by balance and the facts.

But they would also probably come up with the same conclusions other inquiries had found, that the Australian supermarket sector was highly competitive.

“There seems to be a lot of inquiries going on,” Mr O’Brien said. “We will have to see what those findings are. From what I’ve read, some of these inquiries have been held in the past and the outcomes of those found similar to what I’ve said, that we have a well functioning and competitive retail environment in this country.

“Having inquiries per se is not necessarily a bad thing, but I do think the commentary around them needs to be balanced. And I certainly have not agreed with a number of things that I’ve read because I think they’re factually incorrect. Perhaps an inquiry will help to put some factual information on the table that people can look at with a balanced view.”

Mr O’Brien conceded that the supermarket industry could be viewed as concentrated, and that at times Mondelez has had “robust” interactions with the major chains, but competition between Woolworths, Coles, the independents and new entrants like Aldi and Costco ensured a highly competitive market for shoppers.

“We have enjoyed a constructive and at times quite robust relationship or interactions with our retail partners, but they are a critical part of our ability to get products that people want to enjoy in locations that they want to be able to get them from,” he said.

“There’s some 2500 or more supermarkets out there spread right across Australia. They are critical partners to us. And at times, we may have robust commercial negotiations, but overall our ability to work with them … is strong.

“Even though it is a concentrated retail market in Australia, it’s a very competitive one. And consumers have choice. And if they don’t like particular prices or promotions at one supermarket, they have significant choices to go to others, whether they be discounters or direct competitors of one or the other supermarkets or an independent. That is proven to be a dynamic environment for consumers. And it’s one that I think works quite well.”

Some of the criticisms over the supermarkets first emerged late last year, when farmgate prices for key products such as lamb and beef began to fall sharply but there was no proportionate fall in meat prices on the shelves.

Mr O’Brien said those criticising the supermarkets needed to be mindful of the complexities of supply deals, contracts and the costs involved in getting products from the farmgate to the shelves.

“If you have a look over the last 10 years or so, consumers have certainly seen the benefit of that intense competition between the various retailers,” he said. “And I certainly haven’t had a sense that competition has changed in any way in the last 10 years.”



Delenda est Australia

The two law academics writing below do slightly misuse the Latin.  It is true that "Delenda est Cartago" literally means that "Carthage is destroyed" but it was used with imperative force  -- meaning that Carthage MUST BE destroyed.  One hopes that the writers below did not mean that Australia MUST BE  destroyed.  Though perhps they were summarizing the attitudes of our elites

Gabriël A Moens AM and Augusto Zimmermann

Cato the Elder’s rhetorical phrase comes to mind when reflecting on the present sorry state of Australia. The left’s propaganda against our country seems to proceed relentlessly according to their schedule. Every day more and more Australians are feeling embarrassed to celebrate their own history and achievements. We are becoming a nation with no practical sense of patriotism and pride in our history.

Australians have become a people with only a distorted memory of the past. Arguably, a people without a clear understanding of the past can be much more easily manipulated. The indoctrination of our children by the illiberal ‘elites’ serves this purpose of not only erasing our history, but also vilifying and degrading it.

In fact, the intention of the ruling classes is precisely to turn everyone into haters of their nation and haters of their neighbours, as well as into complacent and submissive slaves of the oppressive ruling classes.

In this context, the week leading up to Australia Day has become a distasteful concoction of constant whining, recriminations, and accusations. It results in the excoriation of those who want to proudly express their Australian nationality.

This year, we have again witnessed the protracted and unrelenting denunciation of Australia Day – a day which supposedly should bring Australians together to celebrate our democratic system of government, the ‘fair go’ attitude of Australia’s people, and the personal freedom enjoyed by its citizens. However, this idyllic view of Australia Day has been brutally disrupted by those who regard Australia’s national day as ‘Invasion Day’, a day of mourning to lament the arrival, on January 26, 1788, of Captain Arthur Phillip in Sydney Cove.

Considering the unabated racial hectoring it is not so surprising that big corporations have waded into the political debate by shadow-banning Australia Day as if it were a toxic product. In unashamedly promoting the politics of the Indigenous lobby, these corporations disregard the real function for which they were established and misuse the financial resources of their shareholders.

For example, supermarkets decided not to stock Australia Day products ahead of January 26, ostensibly for commercial reasons, but also because the celebration of our national day was deemed insensitive to the Aboriginal industry.

Likewise, just a few weeks ago, Australia’s High Commissioner in London cancelled the traditional Australia Day celebration because it was too ‘sensitive’. Surely, this cancellation is as imprudent as it is unhelpful because it effectively prevents people from celebrating Australia Day with pride and enthusiasm…

Last week, it was also rumoured, if not argued openly, that the next Governor-General should be Aboriginal. If the rumours are correct, then they would further provide evidence that ‘race’ – a characteristic over which people have no control – largely decides what opportunities are available to Australians.

These racial considerations represent a retrograde step that makes the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 – a federal law aimed at making ‘race’ irrelevant in the distribution of burdens and benefits – an embarrassing remnant of a saner past. The intrepid Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jacinta Price, commenting on this rumour, has already said that race should not be considered in the selection of the next Governor-General.

Of course, the nation’s ruling classes have a vested interest in fomenting a divisive racialist agenda that seriously undermines political equality. Their primary goal is not social amelioration but, as Senator Price puts it, to divide Australia along ethnic and cultural lines by entrenching racial separatism and legally enshrining ‘the idea that Aboriginal people are perpetual victims forever in the need of special measures’.

Consequently, as the protests on Australia Day indicated, Australia has gradually become a racist county, where a person’s opportunities no longer depend on merit, but on the colour of their skin. Talking about race all the time is itself a sign of cataleptic racism and indicates that Australia is inexorably becoming a racist country. The racialist bureaucracy needs to promote racial hatred and discord as a Machiavellian mechanism for gaining more power and control over society.

However, if you dare to criticise the ubiquitous Welcome to Country ceremonies, you are likely to be labelled a racist. There are professional people who refuse to take the top job in their organisations because they do not want to demean themselves by repeating these meaningless references to ‘past and present (and sometimes even emerging) leaders’ because, in addition to compromising free speech, it would entrench the policies and philosophy of victimisation in the Australian psyche, and make all Indigenous Australians into perpetual victims of discrimination.

In continuing the victimisation narrative, reconciliation becomes impossible because there will always be new reasons for maintaining, even nurturing, the victimisation story. The stranglehold that Aboriginal politics is exerting on Australian society has caused these Woke actions, so prominent in the week leading up to Australia Day.

An analogy is helpful here to elucidate this point. There was a time, not so long ago, when females, simply on the basis of their sex, were effectively denied an opportunity to serve in the Parliament. David Furse-Roberts’s book Menzies: The Forgotten Speeches has an entire chapter on the ‘Status and Role of Women’. The first section in the chapter, entitled ‘Women for Canberra’, is based on a broadcast delivered by Menzies on 20 January 1943. There, Australia’s longest-serving Prime Minister said:

Of course, women are at least the equals of men. Of course, there is no reason why a qualified woman should not sit in Parliament, or on the bench, or in a professional chair, or preach from the pulpit, or, if you like, command an army in the field. No educated man today denies a place or a career to a woman because she is a woman.

But there is a converse proposition which I state with all respect but with proper firmness. No woman can demand a place or a career just because she is a woman. If it is outmoded and absurd to treat a woman’s sex as a political disqualification; it seems to me equally absurd to claim it as a qualification in itself…

Menzies’ argument could equally be applied to the current ‘race’ debate. Indeed, following his argument, people should not be preferred simply because they are Indigenous, or because of the colour of their skin.

It appears that the overwhelming majority of Australians support Menzies’ view. The lobby group, ADVANCE, recently released the results of an exclusive national polling that shows 69.5 per cent of Australians support laws that would stop politicians from changing the date of Australia Day. It noted that this is: ‘…a massive majority of Australians who support enshrining January 26 in law, and guaranteeing it can only be changed after a vote of the Australian people.’

Subject to the correctness of the poll’s results, Australians may well be interested in ensuring that Australia remains (or rather ‘becomes’) a colour-blind society. Such a result might be achieved if Australia were to repeal section 51(xxvi) of the Constitution, which confers legislative power on the Parliament to make laws for the ‘people of any race for whom it is deemed necessary to make special laws’.

In this context, the proposal of Liberal Senator, James Paterson, to amend the Constitution to remove the race power altogether is a sensible, even a most urgent task, to make this country colour-blind and unite all Australians. But the implementation of his proposal would require a referendum – not precisely the most exciting prospect right now.

Why not call the week in which Australia Day falls ‘Australia Woke Week’? During that week, Australia’s Wokerati ‘elites’ would then be able to celebrate and propagate their race-based policies. Provided they restrain themselves for the remainder of the year, the recognition of Woke Week would be a welcome development, which might free Australia from the racialist bureaucracy for the rest of the year!



Made "by" or "through"?

Maybe Iam flogging a dead horse but there are still a couple of translation issues in John 1 that I think deserve comment. 

Verse 2 of John 1:

οὖτος ἦν ἐν ἀρχῇ πρὸς τὸν θεόν.

(The same was in the beginning with God)

This verse makes the meaning of verse 1 crystal clear.  The "theos' of verse 1 is said here to be a beginning with THE God  -- "ton theon".  So John makes a sharp distinction between "theos" Jesus and THE God ("ton theon")

Being aware of Greek usage of the definite article really helps us to get clear what John was saying.  He was in fact contrasting Jesus with the supreme God

Verse 3 of John 1

πάντα δι᾽ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο, καὶ χωρὶς αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο οὐδὲ ἕν. ὃ γέγονεν

(All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.)

The older Bible translations (e.g. KJV and Douay) render "di" above as "by".  But "dia" is the normal Greek word for "through" and most modern versions (including the NKJV) render it correctly as "through".  So all things were done "through" Christ rather than "by" him.  So Jesus was a conduit of the supreme God's will.  He did not do things on his own initiative.  Once again his separateness from the supreme God is emphasized by John


Why does Dawn Queva hate Jews?

I am personally philosemitic and have been so since I was in my pre-teens. The church I was born into told me that the Jews were God's chosen people and that Israel was their God-given land.  And I believed that.  I am no longer religious but I still believe the Jews live in Israel as of right.  And I admire the success they have made of their return there.

I offer that context to explain why I have been a student of antisemitism for many years. Listening to antisemitc speech could not disturb me but it did seem curious that some people had such views.   So I in fact sought out antisemities in an effort to understand them.  I published my findings in Jewish journals. 
Ray, J.J. (1972) Is antisemitism a cognitive simplification? Some observations on Australian Neo-Nazis. Jewish J. Sociology 15, 207-213.

Ray, J.J. (1973) Antisemitic types in Australia. Patterns of Prejudice 7(1), 6-16.

And in an odd turn of events,  I did up until recently have a furiously antisemitic girlfriend

So I thinkI am in a good position to comment on the hate-filled Dawn Queva .

The first thing to note about her beliefs is that they are not the result of careful enquiry but instead contradict at many points the conclusions a spirit of sober enquiry would lead to.  And most antisemitic people speak similarly.  I have heard them many times.  The speakers concerned make no effort to offer careful proof of what they say.  They simply assert without proof a range of derogatory claims about Jews and Israel.

So from an academic viewpoint, there is nothing to argue about in what they say.  Their words are a performance, not a set of examinable claims.  They are empty assertions.

So where does the impetus for these statements come from?  It comes from one of the oldest human follies: The tendency to believe what you want to believe rather than what the evidence shows.  And that is a quintessential Leftist habit.  Leftists do it all the time.  They believe that things like rent-control are beneficial to tenants when all experience shows that rent control hurts tenants. Facts and evidence have no power to change their views.

And we see that Ms Queva comes from a Leftist environment  -- the BBC -- and that it took a lot of pressure for the Beeb to fire her.

But not all Leftists are antisemites as far as we can tell so there remains something to explain.  In answer, I think it is a matter of extremity.  Moderate Leftists retain enough reality contact not to respect all the wild claims about Jews.  They have enough balance to see that Jews are just people like us who happen to have a slightly different religious background.

So why do extreme Leftists hate Jews?  Easy.  Israel embodies all that Leftists hate.  It is prosperous and influential.  It is a top dog that sends its enemies packing with ease, not the underdog that Leftists favour. Israel is assertive instead of humble. It is the powerhouse of the near East. It is exactly  what Leftists want to tear down.  Israel's success negates all sympathy for it.  So Leftist protesters have turned out in their usual droves  with Israel being the new focus of their hate.  So that explains recent demonstrations etc.

But antisemitism existed long before the present State of Israel.  Whence that?

The answer is religious in two different forms.  The simple form is Muslim antisemitism.  In both the the Koran and the Hadiths, Mohammed attacked Jews.  So among Muslims, antisemitism  is simply pious.  They are following their prophet

Its a bit more complex among Christians.  For centuries Christians reviled Jews for killing Christ.   But they were also told in their Bibles that Jews were God's chosen people.  Problem:  How could they revile God's chosen people?  

There is only one way out of that.  They had to deny that Jews were descendants of the Israelites of the Bible. It was a matter of history that Jews WERE descendants of people who had fled Israel in Roman times but that did not matter.  All sorts of improbable stories were made up to give alternative and derogatory origins for the Jews. Ms Queva repeats  many of them.

And over the centuries those stories became embedded in the folk wisdom of "Christian" lands.  They were traditionally passed down among family and friends and are believed by many to this day.  They became part of the culture.  World War II discredited them to some extent but below the surface they were and are still believed, even among many Germans. And it is those stories that antisemites regurgitate to this day.  Their historicity does not matter to believers.  They WANT the stories to be true so they are believed without need of proof.  Assertions are enough.

Dawn Queva, a BBC scheduler, has been fired after sharing 'horrific' anti-Semitic social media posts

Ms Queva, 55, described the Holocaust as a 'holohoax', prompting calls for the BBC to take action

One post by Dawn Queva claimed that 'being JewISH has zero to do with ethnicity' and suggested Jews were from the 'Synagogue of Satan'

In the messages, she refers to 'AshkeNazis', a slur that is a play on 'Ashkenazi' – Jews who descend from those who lived in central or eastern Europe.

One message claims the Ashkenazi Jews are 'a bunch of subcontinental European melanin recessive CaucAsian japhetic AshkeNazi who have no None zero zilch blood connection to the land of Palestine or Israel historically'.

Another brands Jewish people an 'invader coloniser species'. Ms Queva also allegedly described white people as 'barbaric' and 'bloodthirsty'. In other posts, she referred to the UK as the 'UKKK' – a reference to the Ku Klux Klan.

Ms Queva, 55, a senior scheduler and playout planner for BBC Three, posted under the name Dawn Las Quevas-Allen. She previously worked in scheduling for A+E Networks, UKTV and Disney.

She doubled down on her remarks after they came to light, challenging her critics to 'come at me... my shoulders are broad'. 



American Psychological Association claims ‘hiring the most qualified candidate’ could be ‘unfair’

This was once a respectable professional organization.  I was accepted as a member on Jan. 30, 1975.  They even in 1996   put out a statement that blacks had lower average IQs. 


 Now, however, they are trying to enforce the Leftist "all men are equal" absurdity

The American Psychological Association claimed that “hiring the most qualified candidate might be unfair” based on one of its recent studies.

The study, titled “Can Selecting the Most Qualified Candidate Be Unfair?,” examined people’s perceptions of merit-based hiring after learning more about the socioeconomic status of potential workers.

While previewing the results, it argued that hiring the most qualified candidate could contribute to more inequality.

“Fairness heuristic theory suggests that, as long as people consider selection processes such as hiring and promotion to be meritocratic and fair, they may continue to accept ever-increasing levels of income inequality. Yet, in reality, inequality and merit-based decisions are deeply intertwined,” the study noted.

It explained, “Socioeconomic advantages and disadvantages early in life can have profound influences on educational achievement, test scores, work experiences, and other qualifications that form the basis of ‘meritocratic’ selection processes. Yet the near-universal support for meritocracy suggests that most people may not give much weight to unequal advantages and disadvantages.”

The study was conducted across five different experiments. Each experiment found that respondents across the political spectrum were more likely to support “social class diversity” after being told about the economic advantages or disadvantages of candidates.

“In our work, we show that it does not take much for people to update their fairness perceptions of meritocracy and be more supportive of polices that foster social class diversity in organizations,” the study read.

One of the study’s authors, Daniela Goya-Tocchetto, PhD, concluded from the findings that “managers should learn about the effects of socioeconomic inequalities” to properly promote “equal opportunity.”

Goya-Tocchetto also noted that the experiments did not include race as a factor out of concern for “defensiveness among White conservatives,” but suggested that the study could be used to address racial inequality as well. 

“Members of marginalized racial groups tend to experience socioeconomic disadvantages more often than members of privileged racial groups, and the negative consequences of these disadvantages can be even worse for racial minorities,” she said. “Focusing on socioeconomic considerations could garner more support and still help address racial inequality.”

Though both the APA and Goya-Tocchetto’s study questioned whether this proved that hiring the most qualified candidate was “unfair,” the findings did not examine any real-world effects of merit-based hiring vs. “fair” opportunities. 

Fox News Digital reached out to Goya-Tocchetto for a comment but has yet to receive a response.

The APA has come under fire for pushing what some considered to be biased conclusions. In 2019, the organization claimed that “traditional masculinity” could be mentally damaging.

“The main thrust of the subsequent research is that traditional masculinity — marked by stoicism, competitiveness, dominance and aggression — is, on the whole, harmful,” it claimed in a press release



Woke is revoked:  The mass awakening against leftism has begun

Anthony Morris KC makes some good points below but I think he is a tad optimistic  if he expects Leftism to fade way.  The impetus to Leftism lies deep in the personlity of the Leftist so will never vanish. Leftists are like snakes.  They cast off their skin only to reveal a new but similar one underneath.  

The latest skin is furious antisemitism,  worn under the guise that they are  "Pro-Palestinian".  That most Palestinians  live at peace with Israel both in the West Bank and in Israel itself is invisible to them.  Self-deception that deep obviously serves personal needs and, as such, is beyond any hope of rational  correction

When the time to write the history of the 21st Century finally arrives, the initial 23 years will pose two questions which historians yet to be born will find unanswerable. First, why did the people of our era allow all social, political, and intellectual discourse in the Western world to become shackled and perverted by the phenomenon, initially known as ‘political correctness’, and latterly given the more catchy soubriquet of ‘wokeness’? And secondly, how was this scourge eventually extinguished – how was ‘cancel culture’ cancelled?

To the first question, no simple answer is apparent. But the answer to the second becomes almost self-evident once the presumption is jettisoned that profound changes in social mores are invariably the result of Earth-shattering or cataclysmic events. Ironically, the simple explanation (often the best) is that people eventually began waking up to the fact that wokeness offers nothing more than a vacuous, intellectually dishonest, stultifying, and ultimately counterproductive constraint upon any society where it takes hold.

For Australia, this mass awakening coincided with the Voice referendum. When the Voice eventually croaked, it was because a majority of Australians nationwide, as well as a majority in every state of the Commonwealth, recognised that they did not have to support a radically stupid proposal merely because the chattering classes told them it was the right thing to do. Challenged to use their innate common sense and wisdom, Australian voters made the only sensible decision, and they did so despite being told by the wokest of the woke that opposition to the Voice was explicable only by ‘racism’ or ‘sheer stupidity’.

For the UK, the pivotal moment came in January 2023, when Isla Bryson (originally Adam Bryson), a 31-year-old Scot from Clydebank who had been convicted of raping two women, was incarcerated in a women’s prison, having ‘transitioned’ to identify as female following the rapes but before conviction. Blown out of all proportion, the resulting furore focused on the Scottish Parliament’s (yet to take effect) Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill, and was a factor in the downfall of long-serving Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon.

If there was an equivalent turning-point in the United States, it was surely the resignation of Harvard President Claudine Gay. A person more profoundly unqualified to lead one of the world’s premier academic institutions would be hard to imagine. Within days after her Congressional appearance concerning Harvard’s response to antisemitism on campus – a performance which even the in-house Harvard Crimson labelled as ‘disastrous testimony’ – she found herself compelled to issue an apology. Even then, all she found to apologise for was not having ‘the presence of mind to … return to my guiding truth’ (whatever that means), and combined this feigned mea culpa with the demonstrable falsehood that ‘calls for violence against our Jewish community … at Harvard … will never go unchallenged’.

It later came as little surprise when it emerged that Gay’s pitiful academic credentials appeared to be based largely on plagiarism. What stuck in the craw was not merely that Gay may well be an academic cheat, but that the issue of her alleged cheating was handled with a level of indulgence that no undergraduate could hope for or expect. To this end, the Harvard Corporation even invented a new euphemism – ‘inadequate citation’ – to downplay the extent and seriousness of Gay’s plagiarism.

Gay was the archetypal product of the ‘DEI’ (diversity, equity, and inclusion) agenda: not only was she a clear and supremely undeserving beneficiary of DEI; she was also a staunch proselytiser, notably using her tenure as Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences to secure increased racial diversity among both students and teachers, regardless of merit. Her ignominious fall from grace was a timely reminder why appointments based on merit are more reliable.

Yet it would be unfair to give Claudine Gay sole credit for the demolition of the DEI agenda, let alone the woke movement generally. The backlash had been festering for some time, in a variety of different fields of activity, unrelated except through a growing consciousness that ‘reverse discrimination’ – that is, discrimination against the best qualified, brightest, most skilful, most competent and most successful – is unsustainable. In the academic world, reverse discrimination has traditionally been practised for the benefit of minority black students, but became increasingly controversial as it emerged that the real victims of this discrimination were not the white hegemon, but another ethnic minority, Asian Americans. That was until the landmark 2023 case of Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard, in which the US Supreme Court held that race-based affirmative action in college admissions violated the ‘equal protection’ clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The participation of transgender people in competitive sports had, meanwhile, become a lightning-rod for anti-LGBT activists in the United States. It was a well-chosen battleground, as there is a strong case that, due to differences in human physiology that are not fully reversed by transgender hormone therapies, transgender women who have experienced male puberty have an unfair advantage over biological women, and may present a physical danger to them. Wokeists derided this debate as a ‘stalking horse’ to conceal the real agenda of activists motivated by personal, moral or religious philosophies or by base transphobia. Even so, the argument achieved significant traction, including among a wide range of biologically female athletes, and led to partial or complete bans on the participation of transgender women in international female swimming, track and field, boxing, and Rugby events, as well as local competitions in countless sports.

But perhaps the biggest threat to wokeism in the US has been economic: specifically, the discovery that a consumer boycott – whether spontaneous or organised – can be enough to prevent big business from pursuing woke corporate ideologies that have not (yet) been accepted by their customer base. This is an interesting variation on a well-known theme.

Consumer boycotts, sometimes masquerading as ‘ethical consumerism’ – along with the ‘de-platforming’ of speakers and performers on ideological grounds – has long been the Left’s weapon of choice, especially for the promotion of woke mantras. Businesses have repeatedly been the targets of such campaigns against (alleged) discrimination on the grounds of race, sex or LGBT orientation; for participation in the defence (particularly nuclear), tobacco and alcohol industries; for (alleged) involvement in environmentally harmful activities, the production of fossil fuels, or the use of merchandise produced by child, forced or underpaid labour; and for doing business in countries of which the boycott organisers disapprove, such as Apartheid South Africa, and more recently Israel.

In 2022, Florida’s Republican-dominated legislature enacted the Parental Rights in Education Act, which actually did no more than outlaw discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity within public schools ‘in kindergarten through grade 3’, or otherwise ‘in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards’. The Walt Disney Company initially refrained from making public comment, but the release of a statement attributed to ‘the LGBTQIA+ employees of Pixar, and their allies’, and a further statement from Marvel Studios which ‘denounce[d] any and ALL legislation that infringes on the basic human rights of the LGBTQIA+ community’, compelled Disney’s CEO, Bob Chapek, to state the company’s official position (Pixar and Marvel are both Disney subsidiaries). He condemned the legislation, and hoped the legislation would be repealed or struck down. The reported cost to Disney was the loss of over two million subscribers to the streaming service Disney+, as well as special concessions and privileges that the State of Florida had previously granted to the Orlando-based theme park, Walt Disney World.

Since then, things have gone from bad to worse for Disney. In 2023, Disney’s box-office flops included the movies The Little Mermaid, Strange World, Lightyear, and Elemental: four movies with one thing in common, the blatant promotion of woke ideologies. In its annual report, Disney candidly admitted that the loss of over $1 billion reflected a ‘misalignment with public and consumer tastes and preferences’. But Disney’s biggest woke disaster is yet to come, in the form of a live-action remake of the 1937 animated classic, Snow White, which is reported to include an actress with Latin heritage in the title role of a German princess with ‘skin as white as snow’, and seven ‘magical creatures’ standing in for the original seven dwarves. Latest reports have the release date deferred by 12 months, as Disney attempts to reintroduce some of the politically incorrect features of the much-loved original.

Le dernier cri of anti-woke boycotts was the Bud Light fiasco, triggered by the engagement of transgender actor and TikTok ‘influencer’ Dylan Mulvaney to promote what had for over two decades been America’s most popular beer. The result was a slump in sales estimated to be as high as 26 per cent, loss of Bud Light’s premier position in the US beverage market, and a drop of 20 per cent in the stock price for Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV (ultimate holding company of the Budweiser brand) representing a $27 billion loss of market capitalisation.

After the Disney and Bud Light debacles, the retail market became ‘spooked’. Target US decided to downplay its line of Pride Month merchandise, withdrawing some items from stores in southern US states and from their website, and relocating their ‘Pride displays’ from entrance areas to the backs of other stores. Victoria’s Secret – which underwent a significant rebranding in 2021, engaging a more diverse range of models, and featuring plus-size and transgender models in advertisements – back-pedalled on these initiatives which reportedly cost the business a multi-billion dollar decline in revenue; the company then announced that it will return to a focus on ‘sexiness’, stating that ‘sexiness can celebrate the diverse experiences of our customers and that’s what we’re focused on’.

To quote US-based author and political researcher, Steve Soukup:

‘It’s not that Target is left wing. It’s not that Bud Light embraced left-wing values. It’s not that Disney is liberal. They are, in fact, but that’s not the point. The point is that people are tired of having politics shoved down their throat at every possible occasion.’

The smart money in America has learnt this lesson. Australian businesses are not so quick on the uptake. But it may be anticipated that our most woke corporations – such as Woolworths, with its in-store public announcements backing the Voice and its ban on Australia Day merchandise, and Qantas, with its ‘out and proud’ support for gay marriage and the Voice – have little commercial alternative.

Nor is anti-woke economic pressure always a bottom-up phenomenon, starting with the customers. The most recent examples show how it can operate top-down, with employers declining to hire staff whose woke bias is detrimental to the firm’s policies or market objectives. In October 2023, two of the world’s largest international law firms – Davis Polk of New York and Winston & Strawn of Chicago – withdrew offers of employment to students from Harvard, New York, and Columbia Universities who had signed or approved anti-Israeli public statements asserting that ‘Israel bears full responsibility’ for the Hamas attacks of 7 October. A similar stance has been foreshadowed by other employers, including restaurant chain Sweetgreen and lifestyle company FabFitFun.

In this context, as in many others, the Achilles heel of woke activism is its stark hypocrisy. There is nothing uniquely woke about criticising the overwhelming ferocity of Israel’s response to the Hamas attacks: many people of conscience, who hold no truck with other aspects of woke ideology, have found good cause to argue that Israel’s response is excessive. But they do so without excusing Hamas terrorism for initiating the current conflict, and they do so without chanting for the freedom of Gaza ‘from the River to the Sea’ (ie., the complete annihilation of the State of Israel). Moreover, people of goodwill will be among the first to acknowledge Arabic and Muslim bloodshed in the Gaza Strip in the context of other anti-Arabic or anti-Muslim atrocities, whether it be the Turkish genocide of the Kurds, the persecution of Uyghur Muslims in China, or the slaughter of Muslims by their co-religionists in Syria, Yemen, Iran, and elsewhere.

For woke activists, however, it is not enough to acknowledge one wrong among many. Not a single woke voice will be heard against China’s reintroduction of ethnoreligious concentration camps for the first time since the fall of Nazi Germany; nor against a butcher’s bill of Muslim-upon-Muslim atrocities in the Middle East which well overtops the entire population of the Gaza Strip; nor (of course) against Hamas, Hezbollah, the PLO, the PLFP, or any other terrorist organisation which targets Israelis. Israel is roundly criticised for closing its borders to Gaza, but the wokeists have nothing to say against Egypt steadfastly maintaining the closure of its own border with Gaza. According to the hypocritical woke worldview, there is room to denounce only one threat against people of the Islamic faith, and that threat needs must take its inspiration from the apocryphal Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

At a global level, arguably the Russo-Ukrainian War finally turned the tables on wokeness, challenging many of the Global Left’s most cherished shibboleths. The collapse began with a defenestration of the Left’s conviction that Russia and its fellow dictatorships are morally sound, while the liberal-democratic West is the source of all evil. This conviction became difficult to maintain when daily footage showed Russia as clearly the aggressor; Putin, Lavrov, and their flunkies advancing palpably nonsensical excuses – as well as outright falsehoods – to justify this aggression; and the carnage and wanton destruction being inflicted on Ukrainian civilians by the Russian military, supported with weapons from other totalitarian states like Belarus, Iran, North Korea, and (most probably) China.

This war has confronted some of the basic tenets of woke ideology. From the beginning, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy took the archaic attitude that, although women, children, and the elderly were free to take refuge in other countries, men of military age must remain to defend their homeland; astonishingly, nary a single feminist has protested. The fact that Russia’s covert military conscription fell most heavily on ethnic minorities – combined with the panicked exodus of the more well-heeled young Muscovites and St Petersburgers – only served as a reminder that the post-Communist Russian Federation is (like the Soviet Union that preceded it) not quite the model of an egalitarian paradise which its Western apologists claim.

On the first day of hostilities, the troops defending Snake Island responded to surrender demands from two Russian warships with the memorable riposte, ‘Russian warship, go fuck yourself’. As the war continued, the brawny machismo of the Ukrainian Armed Forces came to represent the type of people whom WE would wish to have defending OUR country in similar circumstances; not the gaunt, hen-pecked, acne-pocked youths of the Russian army, whose open mouths silently betray a lack of familiarity with the most basic advances in dental hygiene, even as the same mouths vociferously display a complete dearth of learning, knowledge, or even intellectual curiosity.

The unyielding morale and extraordinary resourcefulness of Ukraine’s defenders is a reminder of two incontrovertible truths that wokeists would prefer that we forget. The first is that the free-thinking citizens of a liberal democracy will always overmatch the enslaved automatons of a dictatorship. And the second is that there remain some areas of human endeavour in which the best person for a job may sometimes, possibly, be a biological male. Once these truisms are acknowledged, the rest of the woke ideology crumbles away.

If there be any doubt that the end of wokeism is nigh, here are two items of proof positive.

First, check out the most percipient students of societal attitudes: not political scientists; certainly not commentators on the ABC’s endless panoply of ‘talking heads’ programs; but, rather, successful professional comedians. Of all social pundits, comedians have to be inherently attuned to what people in the street are thinking and saying; they depend on it for their daily bread. View any recent stand-up performance by the UK’s Ricky Gervais (winner of seven BAFTA Awards, five British Comedy Awards, and four Golden Globe Awards), or any recent broadcast by the USA’s Bill Maher (nominated for 41 Primetime Emmy Awards, two Grammy Awards and various Producers Guild of America and Writers Guild of America Awards). And what you will see is the same message, albeit projected humorously in two very different styles: woke is revoked.

Finally – if you remain unconvinced – take a look at the sanctum sanctorum of woke virtue signalling: the annual round of Hollywood awards. In recent years, people whose sole talent is the (alleged) capacity to entertain paying audiences have chosen to use the ‘acceptance speech’ – is there such a thing as a ‘refusal speech’? – to do the diametric opposite. Rather than providing a masterclass in divertissement, the world’s most amusing celebrities preferred to berate audience for failing to embrace whichever trendy cause the mindless luvvie has most recently read about in one of the educational magazines intended to provide intellectual stimulation in the waiting rooms of the local salons de beauté.

Then … all of a sudden … nothing! Come the 2024 round of awards, there is no virtue remaining to signal: not the terror of climate change; not the horrors of #MeToo; not the heinous treatment of so-called ‘first nations’ peoples; not demands for reparations (payable, not by the worst culprits, but exclusively by prosperous countries) for the obscenity of slave trading. It seems that Hollywood opulence has even forgotten the ultimate fall-back conceit, a piteous entreaty on behalf of the world’s poor, underprivileged, diseased and starving populations. Unless the MAGA movement has recently enjoyed a hugely successful recruiting drive within the most expensive boutiques and Michelin-approved eateries of Beverly Hills, the only possible alternative conclusion is: woke is revoked.