Sunday, 30 September 2007

Sunday night Aussie rock

These guys are not bad for any age but the fact that they're 16-19 years old makes their success even more meritorious.

Operator Please is a five piece indie rock band from Gold Coast formed in early 2005 by lead singer Amandah Wilkinson in an attempt to compete in her high school's annual "Battle of the Bands" competition. After winning the contest, the five members, aged 16 to 19, started working on getting their name out through their independently produced EP "On The Prowl", and minor gigs at local pubs and clubs. Through word of mouth and exposure of their second EP Cement Cement on Australian youth radio network Triple J, they generated a buzz in the music industry - both locally and internationally.Within months, and with the help of a record label sponsored showcase in NYC, they had inked a deal with Virgin/EMI Records for Australia, and for the UK with indie label Brille Records.

Get What You Want

Crash Tragic

Just A Song About Ping Pong

(Nothing Follows)

1% of Americans agree with Ahmadinejad - the Holocaust is a myth

According to Rasmussen Reports, 1% of Americans agree with Iranian nutjob Ahmadinejad that the Holocaust is a myth. When Ahmadinejad says there should be more research on the Holocaust he seems to be unaware that it's the most studied and written about event ever in the history of mankind, and by a wide margin. Clearly, all of those researchers must have missed something.

Not only do 1% agree on the Holocaust but the same percentage view Iran as a US ally. One presumes that it's the same people giving that response to both questions.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made a much-hyped trip to New York this week and 34% of American voters followed the news stories covering the event Very Closely. Another 38% said they followed the coverage Somewhat Closely.

But, only 1% of voters believe that Iran is an ally of the United States. A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 51% view that nation as an enemy. Forty-two percent (42%) say it’s somewhere in between while 6% are not sure.

Sixty-two percent (62%) believe that Iran sponsors terrorist activities against the United States. Only 6% disagree and 32% are not sure. Seventy-six percent (76%) of Republicans believe that Iran sponsors terrorist activities along with 70% of unaffiliated voters and 45% of Democrats.

President Ahmadinejad has called the Holocaust "a myth." Only 1% of American voters share that view. Ninety-two percent (92%) disagree and say the Holocaust really happened. Seven percent (7%) are not sure.
Well then, those 7% are moral idiots.
While in the United States, President Ahmadinejad was not allowed to visit the World Trade Center site of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Sixty-six percent (66%) of American voters think that was the right decision but 22% believe he should have been allowed a trip to the scene of that horrific attack.
As are those 22%...
In March, a Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 40% believed the United States should use military force to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Another 40% disagreed and say force should not be used

Earlier surveys found that 75% of Americans believe Iran is likely to develop nuclear capabilities in the near future.

Other survey data released this month found that Americans are somewhat less pessimistic about the War on Terror.
(Nothing Follows)

Saturday, 29 September 2007

Killing England in plain sight but nobody will stop to help

Regular readers know that I have predicted England to be the first country in Europe to lurch into fascism due to the violent, non-integrating Muslim immigrants that it is inviting into its midst. Unfortunately for Europe's Muslim population, the history of Europe, when push comes to shove, is not to roll over and give in to totalitarian aggression. Its history is filled with slaughter and mayhem, which is the fate I predict for Europe's Muslim population.

England is now in a similar situation to France and Germany, which are both losing their educated middle class at a rapid rate. In Germany the situation is even worse with a net positive emigration rate.

Cal Thomas sums up the situation:
"There'll Always Be an England" -- popular World War II song.

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND -- Perhaps there will not always be an England. An exodus unprecedented in modern times, coupled with a record influx of foreigners, is threatening to erode the character of the land of William Shakespeare, a land that served as the cradle for much of American thought, law and culture.

The figures, making headlines in London newspapers, tell only part of the story. Between June 2005 and June 2006 nearly 200,000 British citizens chose to leave the country for a new life elsewhere. During the same period, at least 574,000 immigrants came to Britain. This number does not include the people who broke the law to get there. Britain's Office of National Statistics reports that middle-class Britons are beginning to move out of towns in southern England that have become home to large numbers of immigrants, thereby altering the character of neighborhoods.
Britons give many reasons for leaving, but their stories share one commonality: life in Britain has become unbearable. They fear lawlessness and the threat of more terrorism from a growing Muslim population and the loss of a sense of Britishness, exacerbated by the growing refusal of public schools to teach the history and culture of the nation. What it means to be British has been watered down in a plague of political correctness. Officials say they do not wish to "offend" others.

Hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers are about to be granted "amnesty" to stay in Britain. The government's approach is similar to that pursued by President Bush, who failed to win congressional approval for his amnesty plan. Migrants will be granted immediate access to many benefits, including top priority for council housing. Taxpayers will foot the bill.

The Shadow Home Secretary, David Davis, called the policy a "stealth amnesty." Again, in a comment reminiscent of the debate in America, Sir Andrew Green, chairman of Migrationwatch UK, said: "This is yet another example of the Alice in Wonderland world of human rights. If you break British law for long enough, you acquire rights, not penalties."

Abraham Lincoln said no nation can exist half slave and half free. Neither can a nation be sustained if it allows conditions that result in mass emigration, while importing huge numbers of foreigners who come from backgrounds that do not practice assimilation or tolerance of other beliefs. When one factors in the high number of abortions (one in five pregnancies are aborted in England and Wales), the high birth rates of immigrants (15 times those of white Britons), it doesn't take an expert to predict that the days of the England we have known may be numbered.

The problem for Britain and the United States isn't just the change in demographics. It is the reluctance of both countries to inculcate the beliefs, history and, yes, religious ideals, which made our nations so successful that others wanted to come and be a part of them. The difference between many of the current immigrants and those of the past is that the previous ones wanted to become fully American or fully British. The current ones, in too many cases, would destroy what makes our countries unique.

The greater tragedy is that the people of Britain have little say in any of this, so they are taking the road of last resort. They are leaving.

Friday, 28 September 2007

Swastika shaped building oops

It's hard to imagine that when the design of these buildings was presented for approval that people didn't notice their uncanny resemblance to a swastika.

The US Navy will spend thousands to camouflage a California barracks resembling a Nazi swastika after the embarrassing shape was revealed on the internet.

Navy officials said they became aware the barracks looked like a swastika from the air shortly after its 1967 groundbreaking — and had decided not to do anything.

According to The New York Times the resemblance went unnoticed by the public for decades until it was spotted in aerial views on the internet.

The Navy now plans to spend $682,000 on "camouflage" landscaping and rooftop adjustments to hide any aerial view of the San Diego barracks, known as Naval Base Coronado.

"You have to realise back in the 1960s we did not have the internet," base spokeswoman Angelic Dolan said. "We don't want to offend anyone, and we don’t want to be associated with the symbol."

Ms Dolan said when officials first noticed the swastika look there was "no reason to redo the buildings because they were in use".

But an anti-bigotry group based in San Diego is not impressed.

Regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, Morris Casuto, said: "We told the Navy this was an incredibly inappropriate shape for a structure on a military installation."

He said his group "never ascribed evil intent to the structure's design" and praised the Navy for recognising the problem and "doing the right thing".

The naval spokeswoman said the barracks were in a no-fly zone that was off limits to commercial airlines, so most people would not see the offending building from the air.
Fortunately, just down the road are a couple of aeroplane shaped buildings in line astern formation ready to shoot the nasty swastika if it moves.

Given the Navy is going to pay so much to camouflage the swastika are they also going to pay money to whoever owns Star Trek for ripping off the design of the USS Enterprise?

And for conspiracy freaks...proof that Area 51 really exists...

I don't know what this shape is but it looks evil.

While I was cruising around the Navy base I found this great image... seems a little ironic to be spending money camouflaging a building when such valuable military assets are there for all to see.

(Nothing Follows)

New poll question

In honour of Dr Karl Kruszelnicki's choice to stand for the Climate Change Coalition at the next NSW Senate election I have put up a poll question about what percentage of the vote climate change focused parties will receive.

I've kicked off the poll with a vote for <=1%.

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Oxymoronic Greenpeace says "clean coal" is an oxymoron

Has anyone noticed that the left has started tying itself in knots over recent years with its use of terminology that conflicts with reality?
Conservation group Greenpeace says the term 'clean coal' is nonsensical and compared it to the saying 'healthy cigarettes'.

New South Wales Primary Industries Minister Ian Macdonald says a pilot carbon capture plant planned for Lake Macquarie is part of the Government's commitment to clean coal technology.

But Greenpeace's energy campaigner Ben Pearson has defended the comments of State Environment Minister Phil Koperberg who has previously described the term clean coal as an oxymoron.

"The whole term clean coal has to be challenged, it's like talking about healthy cigarettes," he said.

"Really at the end of the day coal is a dirty fuel. But we also need to be more exact about what we are talking about."

"Clean coal is an umbrella term that refers to variety of different processes that are designed to burn coal more cleanly and capture carbon dioxide."
'Clean coal' is an oxymoron?

How about these for oxymorons:
Green peace
Democratic socialism
Progressive left
Can you think of any others?

(Nothing follows)

Climate change political reality vs Fluffy, low-impact promises

The Australian's Janet Albrechtsen nails the smoke and mirrors aspect of federal Labor's climate change policy. The situation in Australia is no different to other countries around the world that are seeing politicians promise little to no impact of their climate change policies whereas the reality is a lot different.
WHAT is it about climate change that attracts charlatans? While the focus has been on the Howard Government these past few days, what about the political snake-oil salesmen who would have you believe that we can reduce carbon emissions and fix global warming in the near term?

That we can pull it off without noticeable economic or political pain and without worrying about what developing countries do. All bunkum. But you wouldn’t know that just by listening to the siren songs of the federal ALP or the Greens. They tell us breezily we can have it all, no worries. Where is the probing, sceptical media when these sorts of porkies are told?

Labor’s climate change policy represents the sort of brazen deception that Hugh Mackay would have no hesitation labelling “shameless mendacity” had it been offered up by the Liberal Party. But because Mackay and his progressive friends are barracking for Kevin 07, they have gone missing in action on the issue of what an ALP government can, and will, deliver on climate change.

A couple of striking recent developments in NSW tell us what a real live ALP government would be forced to do if it got its hands on the levers of power. It doesn’t bear any resemblance to the cuddly, idealistic promises of the Kevin 07 campaign. Federal Labor is hoping nobody will notice the yawning gap between what can be delivered on climate change without passing through the public’s pain barrier and what Peter Garrett and co are holding out to us.

Which is why we ought to take a close look at NSW, where this problem is writ large. The NSW Iemma Government is acutely aware of the chasm between reality and spin because it actually holds the reins of government.

Exhibit one from the NSW Government reality file is Moolarben. A few weeks ago, the NSW Government approved the development of a massive new coal mine at Moolarben near Mudgee despite loud protests from environmental and residents groups. Moolarben is huge. The Sydney Morning Herald reported it would produce 504 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, equivalent to 168 million more cars on the roads and almost as much climate change pollution as Australia generates in a year. If you’re a climate change purist, this is surely a disaster. But the iron law of political reality meant it had to be approved. A cleaner environment tomorrow is no substitute, electorally speaking, for jobs and prosperity today.
As Tasmanian forestry unions taught us at the previous election, the first duty of any Labor government is to preserve and enhance the jobs of union members. Utopian promises of a clean, green environment free of coal mines and timber workers must always surrender to reality.

This is one reason that those telling you it is possible to have meaningful and binding international targets on carbon emission in the near term are practising a fraud. If the NSW Government cannot say no to the jobs generated by the coal industry, can we realistically expect developing countries such as China to do so?

And any scheme that imposes real and effective targets on developed countries but not on developing countries is no more than a scheme to export jobs from Australia to China. Now, Bob Brown and Garrett may have no objection to that. But the hard heads in the ALP know better.

Exhibit two from the NSW school of practical political reality. The NSW Labor Government realises that NSW needs at least one large new power station to “keep the lights on”, to quote Premier Morris Iemma. But as Tony Owen told the Government in his report, it cannot afford to have one without privatising the NSW electricity retailing sector at a minimum, and probably also the generation sector as well.

Herein lies not one but two delicious ironies. Privatising the power industry in order to fund a new power station, inevitably coal-fired, shatters two sacred tenets of the left-wing faith. Thou shalt not privatise. Thou shalt not build more coal-fired power stations.

The need to preserve the jobs of electricity workers, no matter what the cost, will likely mean privatisation will fail because the unions will oppose it, just as they did when former premier Bob Carr and his treasurer Michael Egan went down that path in 1997. Already the unions who pull the NSW Government’s strings have vetoed privatisation.

Interestingly, according to reports in The Daily Telegraph, they have done an unholy deal with the NSW Government to keep any dispute between them quiet until after the federal election. Similarly, if NSW needs a coal-fired power station to keep the lights on, they will get one. At public expense. No matter what climate change commandments are broken in the process. Union jobs will always outrank the cost to the public and certainly trump a clean atmosphere.

The hard men from Labor’s NSW Right faction learned those lessons of practical politics along with their two-times tables. And the key lesson for voters is that federal ALP is run by such practical men today. Men such as Kevin Rudd and Wayne Swan. They know, though they are not saying, that Garrett, Anthony Albanese and ALP promises of a clean, green tomorrow are all just flim-flam election material. They know that, pre-election, the vast gap between what they promise on climate change and what an ALP government can actually deliver needs to be filled with a combination of smoke, mirrors and lies.

Should Labor win the federal election, these childish stunts will stop and the real business of governing will begin. Perhaps we should be grateful: adhering to idealistic targets, butchering the coal industry and banning electric hot-water systems will simply impoverish Australians and send jobs offshore without making a jot of difference to world carbon levels or global warming.

If we think the Chinese are going to stop opening new coal-fired power stations because we veto new Moolarbens and won’t sell them coal, we have a shaky grip on reality.

So the realpolitik of the ALP hard heads is infinitely to be preferred to the Pollyanna-type views of the dreamers who write the campaign ads and the jingles about clean green futures.

But it would be nice to think that when this inevitable deceit is practised upon us, it would be fearlessly exposed. To think that the left-wing faithful, the artists, poets, actors and playwrights will complain about a lack of public decency in public life, led by Mackay, excoriating the mendacious in public office. To think the intelligentsia will moan about being lied to and write books titled, Not Happy, Kev.

Not likely. I guess that’s my own utopian fantasy. But don’t say you weren’t warned.

Over to you...

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Columbia University punks Ahmadinejad

Did the widespread condemnation of Columbia University's decision to allow Iranian 9/11 Troofer and Holocaust Denier Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak there result in a less amiable than usual reception? Whatever the reason, it's impossible that the 21st century version of Adolf Hitler expected to be called "petty and cruel" by the president of Columbia in his introduction. Given his repetition of leftist talking points in an effort to drum up support among that intellectually bankrupt group it must have come as somewhat of a shock that he had miscalculated so badly in expecting to be feted as if he was in Cuba or Venezuela.

Vilified as a Holocaust denier, a supporter of terrorism and a backer of Iraqi insurgents, the president of Iran was actually able to make New Yorkers burst into laughter - but not at a joke.

"In Iran we don't have homosexuals like in your country,'' Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said at Columbia University in response to a question about the recent execution of two gay men there.

"In Iran we do not have this phenomenon," he continued. "I do not know who has told you we have it."

Loud laughs and boos broke from the audience of about 700 people, mostly students at the Ivy League school whose garb included "Stop Ahmadinejad's Evil" T-shirts.
Everyone from presidential candidates to September 11 families had expressed outrage that Ahmadinejad would speak at the university.

University President Lee Bollinger pulled no punches.

He called him a "petty and cruel dictator'' and said his Holocaust denials suggested he was either "brazenly provocative or astonishingly uneducated."

"I feel the weight of the modern civilized world yearning to express the revulsion at what you stand for," Bollinger said to loud applause.

In retort, Ahmadinejad berated Bollinger as a rude host.

"Many parts of his speech were insults," he said. "We actually respect our students and the professors by allowing them to make their own judgments."

After his assertions that Israel persecutes Palestinians and that Iran's nuclear program is for energy not weapons, the Iranian leader's comment on gays broke the tension.

But it spurred strong reaction too.

"This is a sick joke," said Scott Long of Human Rights Watch, saying Iran tortures gays under a penal code that punishes homosexuality between men with the death penalty.

When Ahmadinejad, speaking in Farsi, actually tried to crack a joke, it drew no laughter, although maybe the nuance was lost in translation.

"Let me tell a joke here," Ahmadinejad said. "I think the politicians who are after atomic bombs, or testing them, making them, politically they are backward, retarded."

The crowd seemed uncertain how to react. Some applauded that pacifist sentiment, others seemed befuddled by the insensitive use of the word retarded.

Ahmadinejad's visit here was preceded by a deluge of objections when it became apparent he wanted to lay a wreath at Ground Zero and that he would speak at Columbia.

Presidential candidates from both major US political parties took swipes at the president of a country President George W. Bush calls part of "the axis of evil."

They said he denied the Holocaust, supported terrorism and armed Iraqi insurgents.

New York City councilman Anthony Weiner had a different way of capturing all that.

"Sometimes we have snakes slithering through the streets of New York," Weiner told protesters outside the United Nations, where Ahmadinejad will speak on Tuesday.

And in a city known for its blunt manners, the Iranian president's reception was bound to be frosty. The New York Daily News had the front page headline, "The Evil Has Landed."
How funny is that? The guy uses the word 'retarded' and his majority left wing, 'culturally aware' audience is 'befuddled'. It doesn't take much does it?

If nothing else, it has exposed him to the world as the propagandist that he really is, as well as exposing the left's naivety to itself - not that they can see it, of course.

Monday, 24 September 2007

Labor's '11 year' lie and the Kyoto Protocol

24-Sept update: Kevin Rudd can't seem to get his head around the facts of the Kyoto Protocol. It was impossible to ratify it 11 years ago. It didn't exist!

Massive carbon user, Al Gore, backs Rudd's economy-destroying environment policy, which includes ratifying Kyoto.
Mr Rudd criticised the federal government for not ratifying the Kyoto Protocol 11 years ago and said failing to act would have a greater economic impact on Australia than on acting.

"The question farmers are asking me is: what are the long-term impacts of climate change on the ability of Australian agriculture to sustain itself?" he said.

"How do we look in the faces of the next generation and kids around the planet if they ask us: why if the evidence was so clear, did you fail to act?"
I doubt they'll be asking that. They'll be looking out at the state-designed 2050 version of the Trabant and asking, "What were you thinking to force policies on us that have led to the immiserisation of the developed world for no environmental benefit?"

Kevin Rudd has woven into his climate change spin a line about the government having refused to set a target for CO2 emission reduction for 11 years.

Kevin Rudd - Leader of the Opposition - 31 May - "Why did the government sit on its hands for the last 11 years and do nothing about the introduction of an emissions trading scheme?"

Anthony Albanese - Shadow Minister for Infrastructure & Water - 28 May - "What Australia needs on climate change is a Government that will lead, not one that will mislead. On climate change the Government has been in denial for 11 years, it needs to stop it’s denial about the climate change advertising campaign. What we actually need on climate change is more policy makers not more jingle writers. This is a Government that’s determined to spin its way out of 11 years of denial on climate change. I think the Australian people will regard this for the cynical action that it is."

Peter Garrett - Shadow Minister for the Environment - 1 June - "After 11 years of climate change denial and inaction, today’s Emissions Trading Task Group report shows just how far behind the game John Howard has fallen...Only Labor has demonstrated the genuine commitment and the practical and responsible plans to combat dangerous climate change. Labor has set a decisive and responsible long term target of 60 per cent emissions reductions by 2050. This target is based on the overwhelming scientific consensus about the reductions required to prevent dangerous climate change."

Tanya Plibersek - Shadow Minister for Human Services, Housing, Youth and Women - 1 June - "But who in the public would believe that after ignoring climate change for eleven long years but now, five minutes away from an election, John Howard is serious about doing something about climate change?"

Labor's '11 year' theme is completely bogus given that 2007-11=1996 and that the Kyoto Protocol was only drawn up in December 1997. The Coalition has been in power since 1996 and I presume that Labor is trying to paint a picture that the government has done nothing on the issue since being elected.

As an aside, the rules for implementing Kyoto were not developed until November 2001 (at Marrakesh) and the Protocol didn't come into force until November 2005.

Of course, Labor's claim is far from the truth, as anyone that has followed the issue knows.

So what's the reality?

The fact is that Australia did negotiate, in good faith, during the Kyoto talks and achieved a target that allowed an 8% increase in 1990 CO2 emissions. Having achieved an increase in emissions rather than the decrease being forced on most other nations Australia was referred to by environmental groups as an "international pariah". The increase was based on two factors. Firstly, we are a huge net energy exporter and a large amount of those exports go to Asian countries that are exempt from Kyoto targets. We would be unfairly penalised in this instance. Secondly, we tried to negotiate a life cycle accounting approach to the cost of carbon (i.e. user pays, which is by far the most sensible and fairest method) but it was cynically voted down by European nations that would have had most to lose. The 8% increase was a pay-off for avoiding life cycle accounting.

Here's something that most people don't know - Australia signed the Kyoto Protocol in December 1997.

Another thing that most people don't know: Unlike most countries that have ratified Kyoto, Australia is well on the way to achieving its 108% target by 2008-2012 (here's a handy online emissions calculator so that you can see for yourself).

What we haven't done is ratify Kyoto. The reason is because the largest emitter of CO2, the United States, refuses to damage its economy if the large developing nations such as China, India and Brazil are left out of the target equation.

Here's another really important fact that 99.99% of the population don't understand - the effective transfer of sovereign power that ratifying Kyoto causes, as Hugh Morgan pointed out in 2002:
The most serious is the transfer, under the terms of the Protocol, of powers of enforcement, compliance and taxation, to an international bureaucracy based in Bonn; a bureaucracy which will be totally unaccountable to the Australian people. It is proposed that the Kyoto Secretariat will have wide-ranging powers of inspection and enforcement, including the power to impose new carbon taxes on countries which, in their assessment, fail to meet their Kyoto commitments. Such a proposal is unprecedented in Australian history.

In theory, Australia could withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol if the economic sacrifices demanded of us by other countries became too great to bear. But it is the explicit ambition of the EU to change international law and practice so that such recalcitrance could be met with trade sanctions which would effectively cut us off from many of our export markets. Australia would then be powerless to recover the sovereignty which had been de facto yielded up with ratification of Kyoto. It is forgotten that in the lead-up to the Kyoto Conference in December 1997, Australia was threatened by many commentators with trade sanctions, if we refused to agree to what was an open-ended commitment to the de-carbonisation of our economy.

...ABARE calculations suggest that the increase in the price of electricity which will be required to meet the Kyoto commitment will be of the order of 50 per cent. The consequence of that would be economic dislocation, rising unemployment, and political upheaval consequent upon serious increases in household energy costs.
It's interesting to note that ABARE's calculation of a 50% increase in energy costs has been achieved in Europe since they implemented Kyoto and they are experiencing exactly the loss of industry to overseas, non-Kyoto targeted countries that has been predicted.

If Rudd, and Labor, is prepared to tell such a bald-faced lie about the climate change facts then what else is he lying about? The cost? The loss of industry to other countries? The massive loss of employment?

Kevin Rudd needs to come clean on the real cost of implementing a 60% reduction in CO2 by 2050 so that the Australian public can decide for themselves whether it makes sense to impose such a huge cost in the absence of an all encompassing global treaty that would really address the issue and not impose unfair economic burdens on any particular nation.

(Nothing follows)

Sunday, 23 September 2007

Sunday night Aussie rock

Kevin Borich is a New Zealand born Australian virtuoso guitarist and singer/song-writer. He has been a member of the The La De Das, Kevin Borich Express, and The Party Boys.

Borich wrote the classic hit Gonna See My Baby Tonight, and has performed at some of Australia's biggest Rock events including the Sunbury Pop Festival and the 1970s Rockarenas with 60,000 people, featuring Fleetwood Mac, Santana and The Little River Band. He played in two New Years Eve celebrations at the Sydney Opera House with 70,000 people as well as support shows for international acts including Elton John, Status Quo, Jeff Beck and Buddy Guy.

Kevin Borich is one of Australia's great rock 'n' roll guitarists and a fantastic live performer. Going Somewhere (below) was recorded at the Corner Hotel in Richmond, Melbourne - a terrific place to watch live bands. Included here is a version of the Hendrix classic, Voodoo Chile, which demonstrates how good he really is.

Goin' Down Town

Gonna See My Baby Tonight

Going Somewhere

Voodoo Chile

(Nothing Follows)

Lancet pot calls UN's kettle black

This has to be the irony of all ironies. Britain's The Lancet medical journal, creator of the widely discredited report that 700,000+ civilians have died in Iraq since the start of the current war, accuses UNICEF of fudging its numbers on global child mortality. Given The Lancet's immoral use of its once proud pages to influence the 2004 US Presidential election (as admitted by its editor) by using profoundly dodgy survey techniques to come up with their Iraq figure, the attack on the UN seems somewhat, well, hypocritical.
A top medical journal on Thursday accused U.N. agencies of playing "fast and loose" with scientific data, and faulted UNICEF for what it called the hasty release of global child mortality figures.

The Lancet medical journal criticized the way the United Nations Children's Fund announced last week that worldwide deaths of children under 5 had fallen below 10 million in 2006, which UNICEF hailed as a public health milestone.

The Lancet also faulted the way the World Health Organization used research data on a key method of preventing malaria -- using bed nets treated with insecticides to ward off the mosquitoes that spread the disease.

The Lancet editorial said WHO ignored certain limitations in the study in making a public statement about the use of the bed nets.

"Both of these examples show how U.N. agencies are willing to play fast and loose with scientific findings in order to further their own institutional interests," the Lancet said in an editorial.
"The danger is that by appearing to manipulate science, breach trust, resist competition, and reject accountability, WHO and UNICEF are acting contrary to responsible scientific norms that one would have expected U.N. technical agencies to uphold. Worse, they risk inadvertently corroding their own long-term credibility," according to the Lancet editorial.

The Lancet said the agency annually publishes child mortality data in December and suggested UNICEF rushed this year's release to make it public before the journal published a more critical assessment on Thursday, in the same issue as the editorial.

In the assessment published in Lancet, Christopher Murray, a professor of global health at the University of Washington and a former WHO official, estimated that between 9.5 and 10 million children under 5 died in 2005

His team concluded there had been too little progress in reducing child deaths, writing, "Globally, we are not doing a better job of reducing child mortality now than we were three decades ago."

A UNICEF spokeswoman said the agency had done nothing wrong in releasing the child mortality figures as it did.

"UNICEF first announced that the under-5 mortality figures were likely to fall below 10 million at two major conferences in June," the agency said in a statement.

"As soon as we had confidence in a more precise figure (9.7 million), we also made this available. UNICEF hopes that the progress revealed by the new figure will act as a spur for greater urgency to achieve the child survival goals," the statement added.

UNICEF said last week global efforts to promote childhood immunization, breast-feeding and anti-malaria measures had helped cut the death rate of children under age 5 by nearly a quarter since 1990 and more than 60 percent since 1960.

Saturday, 22 September 2007

The List of Debunked Global Warming 'Proof' and Inconvenient Truths

Truth will out, as the old saying goes, and at the moment the truth about the non-science of global warming is being outed at an accelerated rate.

The following is the list of debunked proof supposedly supporting the proposition of anthropogenic global warming. I'll update the list from time to time as new evidence emerges. Feel free to send me links to other examples.

1. The Hockey Stick - The elephant in the room for the Climate Faithful is the iconic Hockey Stick. When it was profoundly debunked as statistical nonsense by Canadians Steve McIntyre and Ross McItrick its proponents fought back with vicious ad hominem attacks against those two people, referring to them as being in the pocket of Big Oil. When Edward Wegman, Chair of the National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics, confirmed that the statistical methodology underpinning the Hockey Stick was, indeed, profoundly flawed the Climate Faithful had a problem - Wegman voted for Al Gore. The IPCC quietly derogated the position of the Hockey Stick in its recent Fourth Assessment Report and Climate Faithful came up with the line that "the debate has moved on".

2. Climate models - The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) bases its predictions for future climate on the output from around 17 climate models. The inconvenient truth is that none of these models has ever been accurate - or even close - once. Critically, the models don't get precipitation correct, which is tremendously important, as warmer air should hold more water and water vapour is a major greenhouse gas. Start a model in 1950 and it gets 1970 wrong, 1990 wrong and 2000 wrong. Start in 1990 and it will get 2000 wrong. Not only are they completely inaccurate but the 17 models all disagree with each other with a range from bottom to top of over 700%. Apparently the science is settled but nobody has told the real world.

3. The surface station temperature record - Anthony Watts has been doing a yeoman job surveying US surface stations, demonstrating how poorly sited they are and the clear impact of the urban heat island (UHI) effect. Having called into question the quality of the data that is a pillar of the global warming the credibility of the data was given a second hit when Steve McIntyre showed a series of problems created by one of climate science's high priests, James Hansen, which resulted in changes to the record leading to 1934 becoming the warmest year on record, replacing the previously iconic 1998. Not only that but five of the warmest ten years of the 20th century were prior to 1950 and five after 1950.

4. Mount Kilimanjaro - It's not a victim of global warming, as Al Gore and others among the Climate Faithful have claimed. Observations suggest that between 1880 and 2003, there was a shrinkage of almost 90% in the ice-covered area of Kilimanjaro; but Mote and Kaser note that "much of that decline [66%] had already taken place by 1953." This "pacing of change," in their words, "is at odds with the pace of temperature changes globally." In fact, at the closest point of reanalysis temperature data availability in the vicinity of Kilimanjaro's peak, they say "there seems to be no trend since the late 1950s." Consequently, and based on a long list of other observations, the two researchers ascribe the long-term wasting away of ice on Kilimanjaro "to a combination of factors other than warming air - chiefly a drying of the surrounding air that reduced accumulation and increased ablation."

5. Flooded islands - The poor old island of Tuvalu is used as proof that low-lying islands have a watery future to look forward to. However, Australia's National Tidal Facility at Flinders University in South Australia, which is charged by the government of Australia to monitor sea levels in the Pacific, reports that there has been no significant rise in the Pacific Ocean. It has had a monitoring station in Tuvalu since 1993 and the sea level around Tuvalu has risen an average of 0.9mm (0.03 inches) per year. Since 1978 the rise has been a catastrophic 0.07mm (0.002 inches. Tuvalu is subject to subterranean movement of tectonic plates, which causes it to rise and fall. Every single island used as an example of sea level rises suffers from this same situation.

6. The Stern Review - An appallingly inaccurate tome, the economics underpinning the Stern Review has been profoundly debunked by no less than Yale University's William Nordhaus, probably the world's leading expert on climate change economics. Mr. Nordhaus finds that the social cost of CO2 is $2.50 per ton. Mr. Stern, however, uses a figure of $85 per ton. Whoops. Mr. Stern tells us that the cost of U.K. flooding will quadruple to 0.4% from 0.1% of GDP due to climate change. However, we are not told that these alarming figures only hold true if one assumes that the U.K. will take no additional measures–essentially doing absolutely nothing and allowing itself to get flooded, perhaps time and again. In contrast, the U.K. government’s own assumptions take into account a modest increase in flood prevention, finding that the cost will actually decline sharply to 0.04% of U.K. GDP, in spite of climate change. Whoops. The review tells us that we should make significant cuts in carbon emissions to stabilize the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide at 550 ppm (parts per million). Yet such a stark recommendation is not matched by an explicit explanation of what this would mean in terms of temperature. The U.N. Climate Panel estimates that stabilizing at 550 ppm would mean an increase in temperature of about 2.3 degrees Celsius in the year 2100. This might be several degrees below what would otherwise happen, but it might also be higher. Mr. Nordhaus estimates that the stabilization policy would reduce the rise in temperature from 2.53 degrees Celsius to just 2.42 degrees Celsius. One can understand the reluctance of the Stern review to advertise such a puny effect. Whoops. Whatever your view on the reality of the science underpinning man-made global warming, relying on the Stern Review (such as Australia's opposition Labor Party is doing) seems unwise.

Friday, 21 September 2007

The Australian election. It's all about Kevin.

One has to give credit where it's due. Whoever is behind the strategy and supporting tactics in the Labor camp is doing a really good job. The Kevin07 website is also really well laid out with all of the information that budding Labor voters need in order to make a decision.

It does, though, expose both the strength - and the weakness - of the Labor strategy, which is that it's all about Kevin.

In fact, there's absolutely nothing wrong with the strategy, especially when you've got a shadow front bench wading about in an intellectual wading pool while their opponents are busy putting in the big strokes in the deep end. If the government can successfully knock Rudd down then the election is theirs. If they can't then it's probably not. It's as simple as that.

Kevin Rudd has a plan. We know because he keeps telling us. It's also on his website.
An education revolution

My goal is for Australia to be the best educated nation in the world. We need an education system that starts at pre-school, includes state-of-the-art trades training centres in every Australian secondary school and flows through to TAFE and university.

Balance and fairness in the workplace

I support balance and fairness in the workplace. I will get rid of the unfair WorkChoices laws and AWAs. Our unfair dismissal laws will provide special protections for small business.

A national plan to fix our hospitals

I will end the buck passing between Canberra and the States by investing $2 billion to take pressure off emergency departments and reduce waiting lists. If States don't cooperate I'll seek a mandate for the Commonwealth to take over delivery of health care services.

Maintaining our national security

I will work with our allies and neighbours to strengthen Australia's national security. I will negotiate the phased withdrawal of our combat troops from Iraq in consultation with our allies.

Decisive action on climate change and water

I will ratify Kyoto, set emissions targets, support clean coal technology, renewable resources like solar and wind power. I'll also act to help secure our water supplies.

A strong economy that delivers for working families

I'm an economic conservative committed to budget surpluses and maintaining the independence of the Reserve Bank - all designed to put downward pressure on interest rates. I will keep the economy strong by investing in skills and infrastructure. I'll also make sure our economy delivers for working families with policies on housing affordability and the cost of living.
Presenting as a strong leader is important but the Kevin07 campaign really is over the top.

If you click through to the Fresh Ideas section then the first thing that comes up is a picture of Shadow Minister for Education & Training, Stephen Smith, which promises:
Kevin Rudd will invest in an Education Revolution to keep Australia prosperous beyond the mining boom. Kevin Rudd’s fresh ideas will...
Over to Climate Change and Water and beside a picture of Shadow Minister for Climate Change, Environment & Heritage, & the Arts, Peter Garret, is the plan:
Kevin Rudd will act decisively on climate change and secure our water supplies. Kevin Rudd’s fresh ideas will...
Moving on to Cost of Living and you get to see Shadow Treasurer Wayne Swan with:
Kevin Rudd will help ease the financial burden on Australian families. Kevin Rudd’s fresh ideas will...
You're getting the idea by now. Over to Investing in Australia's Future and Deputy Leader in the Senate and Shadow Minister for Communications & Information Technology, Steven Conroy, introduces:
Kevin Rudd will ensure Australia continues to have an internationally competitive economy by investing in world class infrastructure. Kevin Rudd’s fresh ideas will...
Bored with Kevin yet? No reprieve for Deputy Leader, and Shadow Minister for Employment & Industrial Relations and Social Inclusion, Julia Gillard, with the plan Forward with Fairness:
Kevin Rudd will keep Australia's economy strong without throwing fairness out the back door. Kevin Rudd’s fresh ideas will...
Health is an important portfolio. Surely someone has an idea to improve things? Shadow Minister for Health, Nicola Roxon, has signed on to a plan:
Kevin Rudd will help end the blame game between Federal, State and Territory governments. Kevin Rudd's fresh ideas will...
And not content with making plans for every portfolio member he also has a view that Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Robert McLelland, gets to present:
Kevin Rudd will help keep Australia safe and secure and build a better world. Kevin Rudd's fresh ideas will...
I'll analyse the specifics of the policies at another time.

For now, though, it's all about Kevin.

Thursday, 20 September 2007

The real story of the "Don't taze me, Bro" guy

When the story of a student being tazed at a John Kerry speech was presented on the media it looked like an example of the crushing of free speech that the left accuses the US administration (and the government here in Australia, as well) of doing.

When you see the full video, it's a different story. You should also know that they guy being tazed has a website on which he shows videos of himself at public events generally making an ass of himself by making idiot statements. He takes with him someone to video him and, in this example, checks that he's being recorded before beginning his verbal diarrhoea.

He won't give up the microphone after his allowed two minutes and makes a statement that John Kerry had two hours so he should have more time. Leaving aside the possibility that his mind may have atrophied after listening to Kerry for two hours and may not have been in full control of his faculties it seems tremendously narcissistic to think that you're as important as the US Senator that people have actually come to listen to.

Having had the microphone turned off, he then starts shouting and when the police move in to remove him the crowd cheers and claps. He continues to resist and gets tazed, which may well have been an over the top response but it's hardly an example of crushing of free speech.

(Nothing follows)

International law not for everybody

Shock, horror. Warlords in Congo have little regard for international law.
A warlord in eastern Congo is continuing to recruit child soldiers, in violation of international law, United Nations officials say.
Why would an African warlord give two hoots for international law? What do the UN officials say to him? "Excuse me, sir, but recruiting children as soldiers is in violation of international law" to which the warlord responds with a lofty shake of the head, narrowing of the eyes and, through clenched teeth, "How do your international laws help me?" For some reason, those on the left that make up 99% of those that work at the UN think that making laws will somehow do more than diddlysquat. In countries that respect the law, the left's predilection for making laws has one effect - to reduce individual liberty. But that's another matter.
The UN "has confirmed that children are being recruited by different armed groups, especially by the rebel forces of warlord Laurent Nkunda," said Michel Bonnardeaux, a spokesman for the UN Mission in Congo.
The number of children that have been forcibly recruited is not yet known, Bonnardeaux said Wednesday.

Since last week, Nkunda's men "have raided 10 secondary schools and four primary schools where they took the children by force in order to make them join their ranks," said Nephtali Nkizinkiko, a deputy in the national assembly.

Nkunda's rebels clashed with Congo's army last month in the eastern province of Nord-Kivu, causing thousands of villagers to flee their homes.

According to Bonnardeaux, girls are taken to serve as sexual slaves, while boys are used as fighters. Those that try to escape are often rerecruited by rival armed groups, based in the volatile east.
The fact is that boys are happy to join these armed groups/gangs because it's the best way to get a regular feed.
Congo's Nord-Kivu province has been the scene of repeated clashes since late last year - first after Nkunda resisted integrating his forces into the regular army, and then as army brigades mounted operations against local armed groups.

A peace deal brought multiparty elections last year and the mineral-rich Congo installed its first democratically elected leader in more than four decades in January. The new government has struggled to gain control of militias loyal to former warlords, even as their leaders have joined the government.
Keep on making those useless laws, United Nations. And don't forget to appoint representatives of the most thuggish, brutal regimes to the Human Rights Council while you're at it.

Kevin Rudd and his economy L-Plate

A few weeks back I suggested that Kevin Rudd had Gough Whitlam's understanding of matters economic and Mark Latham's temperament, which is not a good combination. Given those handicaps, he and his campaign team have done an outstanding job of creating a new persona - one that seemingly combines Britain's New Labour revival with the eternal optimism of Ronald Reagan.

As the election looms the government needs to unmask the real Rudd so the electorate can see who it is voting for. In an atmosphere in which the press is doing the government no favours it was always going to be tough for them to get enough air time to let the message sink in.

Fortunately for the government, Kevin Rudd himself has demonstrated how little understanding he really has:
Federal Treasurer Peter Costello says it is clear Kevin Rudd doesn't understand the current income tax system, after the opposition leader slipped up on a question about tax thresholds.

Visiting Queanbeyan on Wednesday, Mr Rudd was asked by a journalist to name the tax rates and where thresholds kick in.

Mr Rudd replied: "Well, as of July 1, if you went through the four thresholds, I think the high threshold kicks in I think at $175,000, then I think it cascades down the spectrum."

Mr Costello seized on the blunder, attacking Mr Rudd in parliament and pressing him to release Labor's tax policy.

"He couldn't name a single rate, he couldn't name a single threshold, and the one threshold that he named of $175,000 ... just doesn't exist," Mr Costello told parliament.

"Since the Labor Party demands an election to be called on a daily basis, you would think they might have the decency of releasing a policy so that people can know what it is."

Mr Costello said tax thresholds don't cascade.

"Cascade is a form of beer, it is not a form of tax threshold.

"This would be amusing if it were not serious."

He said the leader of the opposition did not know what the Australian tax system was.

"He doesn't understand it and he should never be put in charge of people's mortgages, their businesses or their jobs.

"Underneath the glib responses, underneath the media stunts ... there is no economic substance.

"And now he has been exposed as being naked when it comes to understanding the tax system.

"He is a leader of the opposition on trainer wheels."
There's little doubt that Costello is the government's best parliamentary performer. Labor needs to do whatever it needs to in order to not give him any ammunition.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Polar Bears are fine and dandy

I know that all evidence contradicting catastrophic man made global warming comes from evil people - smokers, no less! - who are in the pay of Big Oil but when wildlife researchers who have been responsible for monitoring the welfare of the supposedly threatened polar bears then one should take note.
Fears that two-thirds of the world's polar bears will die off in the next 50 years are overblown, says Mitchell Taylor, the Government of Nunavut's director of wildlife research. "I think it's naIve and presumptuous," Taylor said of the report, released by U.S. Geological Survey on Friday, which warns that many of the world's polar bears will die as sea ice vanishes due to a warming climate. "As the sea ice goes, so go the polar bears," said Steve Amstrup, who led the study.

But Taylor says that's not the case. He points to Davis Strait, one of the southern-most roaming grounds of polar bears. According to the USGS, Davis Strait ought to be among the first places where polar bears will starve due to shrinking seasonal sea ice, which scientists say will deprive the bears of a vital platform to hunt seals. Yet "Davis Strait is crawling with polar bears," Taylor said. "It's not safe to camp there. They're fat. The mothers have cubs. The cubs are in good shape."

Other than Davis Strait, which is hunted by Inuit from Pangnirtung, Iqaluit and Kimmirut, the USGS also predicts polar bears will perish in Baffin Bay, Foxe Basin, and South and West Baffin. In fact, the USGS predicts the only polar bears to survive by the end of the century will be those found in Canada's Arctic archipelago, and on the west coast of Greenland. Those in Alaska and Russia, and in much of Nunavut and all of Nunavik, will have perished.

But Taylor says the report is needlessly pessimistic. While he agrees that seals are essential food for bears as they fatten up during the spring and summer months - seal blubber makes up half of the bears' energy intake - he also suspects bears will be able to supplement their diet with other foods, such as walrus. During the summer months polar bears may also forage on berries, sedges and other plants, as well as bird eggs, to supplement their diet. And Taylor also points out female polar bears go nine months without eating at all during pregnancy.

Besides, Taylor says he and numerous Inuit hunters have seen bears catch seal without the presence of sea ice. Bears sometimes find a place on shore to pounce on seals swimming by. Or they may catch seals caught in tidal pools, or sneak up on their prey at night. Taylor even suggests polar bears may float still on the water to fool seals into thinking they are hunks of sea ice.

The Government of Nunavut is conducting a study of the Davis Strait bear population. Results of the study won't be released until 2008, but Taylor says it appears there are some 3,000 bears in an area - a big jump from the current estimate of about 850 bears. "That's not theory. That's not based on a model. That's observation of reality," he says. And despite the fact that some of the most dramatic changes to sea ice is seen in seasonal ice areas such as Davis Strait, seven or eight of the bears measured and weighed for the study this summer are among the biggest on record, Taylor said.

Yet anecdotes abound of skinny polar bears wandering from their traditional hunting grounds in search of food - such as an email circulated recently with a photo of a gaunt bear with skin hanging off its bones, spotted 160 kilometres inland from Ungava Bay. Taylor bristles at that photo's mention. He says the bear is clearly an elderly male in its late 20s, rather than a young female, as it has been otherwise identified. "It probably wandered out there to end its life in peace," he said. "That's nature. It's not climate change."

He also questions the claim that the papers used to support the position of the USGS on polar bears have been peer reviewed. "The first time I saw them was when I downloaded them today," he said. Taylor characterizes much of the public discussion over, as one headline has called it, "the appalling fate of the polar bear," as "hysteria."

Taylor admits he does not see eye to eye with many other polar bear biologist, many of whom have expressed concern over whether polar bears will survive in a warmer climate. "Unlike all the others, I live in the north. My friends and neighbours are Nunavummiut," he said. "I'm talking to people about polar bears all the time."

The Geological Survey produced its report to assist the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in its decision on whether to list polar bears as an endangered species. If polar bears make the endangered list, it would effectively end the U.S. sports hunt, which brings about $2 million to Nunavut communities each year. The Fish and Wildlife Service has until January 2009 to make its decision. Two-thirds of the world's polar bears live in Canada.
Pacific islands aren't sinking. Polar bears are fine. Mt Kilimanjaro isn't losing ice due to warming. Greenland isn't losing ice mass. Antarctica isn't losing ice mass.

What will the next non-proof of global warming be?

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

The real cost of cap-and-trade

Leaving aside Steven Milloy's colourful reputation, deserved or not, Arthur Laffer is an economist of significant standing so when he does an analysis of cap-and-trade and suggests that it's a disaster for a country's economy people should listen.
A cap-and-trade scheme for controlling greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) would impose significant economic costs on the U.S. economy and is not a sound policy response to current concerns about global warming, says renown economist Arthur Laffer in a new study released today.

"Dr. Laffer's analysis is another death knell for the cap-and-trade approach to addressing concerns over carbon dioxide emissions," said Steven Milloy, executive director of the Free Enterprise Education Institute (FEEI), the nonprofit group sponsoring the study. "The Department of Energy, Congressional Budget Office and, now, Dr. Laffer have all concluded that cap- and-trade would be disastrous for the U.S. economy," added Milloy.

Laffer's analysis, entitled "The Adverse Economic Impacts of Cap-and-Trade" concludes that:
  • Cap-and-trade may reduce U.S. economic growth by 4.2 percent -- even to achieve the comparatively modest GHG reductions of the Kyoto Protocol i.e., GHG emissions 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-2012). The cost to reach the ultimate goal of some GHG control proponents (e.g., reducing GHG emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050) would be significantly greater. Moreover, these estimates may underestimate the actual cost as they assume the government would auction the rights to emit greenhouse gases - as opposed to simply giving them away, which is the approach often discussed in the Congress.
  • Because fossil fuels (oil, coal and natural gas) provide 86 percent of current U.S. energy needs and it is not currently feasible to substitute contribution of alternative energy sources in the near-term, a GHG cap could effectively become an energy production cap - or an energy supply shock.
  • During the previous energy supply shocks of 1974-75, 1979-81 and 1990-91, the economy declined, unemployment rose, and the stock market declined in value.
  • Based on the energy efficiency responses to the energy supply shocks of the 1970s, the U.S. economy could be 5.2 percent smaller in 2020 compared to what would otherwise be expected if cap-and-trade regulations are imposed. This equates to a potential income loss of about $10,800 for a family of four for the initial Kyoto GHG reduction target.
"Cap-and-trade is a simply dreadful policy option that is being pushed by Alcoa, BP, Caterpillar, Conoco Phillips, Dow Chemical, Duke Energy, Dupont, General Electric, PepsiCo and the other big business interests that belong to the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP)," said the FEEI's Tom Borelli. "Global warming pork-barrel spending and corporate welfare are what they're after," Borelli added. "USCAP members hope that, through a cap-and-trade scheme, Congress will simply give them and other special interests what amounts to essentially 'free money' - as much as $1.3
trillion dollars over the next 10 years under legislation recently introduced by Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Arlen Specter (R-PA) - as well as other competitive business advantages," explained Milloy. "Not only is cap-and-trade likely to misdirect taxpayer monies and rob hard-working Americans of income, it's not at all clear that it will produce any environmental benefits whatsoever," he added.

"The Laffer paper confirms that cap-and-trade is a lose-lose proposition," said Borelli. Given the well-established relationship between economic prosperity and a clean environment, it's hard to see how harming the economy won't also harm the environment," Borelli concluded.
The Australian Labor Party has stated that not only will it ratify Kyoto but it will also reduce Australian's CO2 emissions by 60% (from 2000 levels) by 2050. Even the apparently suicidal CFMEU has jumped on the reduce-CO2 bandwagon and, like the ALP, quotes the Stern Report as a credible source proving just how much the left relies on lies rather than dealing with absolute truths.

The cost of such a plan on Australian working families will be devastating.

Monday, 17 September 2007

Howard v McKew not all it seems?

I've commented before that I think the results of opinion polls over the last couple of months are based more on expectation than reality.

Ninemsn's online poll question this morning was
Are you going to vote for Kevin Rudd's Labor?

This question was only up for an hour or so before it was changed to
Would you vote for Maxine McKew over John Howard?

Now, conventional wisdom is that it's a close race with election analysts such as Malcolm Mackerras predicting both a Labor win and McKew to unseat Howard. The closeness of the betting in the seat of Bennelong is shown in the following markets:
Sportingbet   Howard $1.75  McKew $1.95
Portlandbet Howard $1.80 McKew $1.85
Betfair Howard $1.94 McKew $2.00
However, the results from this morning and late this afternoon aren't telling the same story.



The Yes:No ratio this morning was 0.815 and this afternoon is 0.810 so it's not as if any vote stuffing is going on.

In the 2004 election John Howard received 54.33%. The result above is showing him with 55.26% of the vote.

Two points are clear:

1. The election is far from over.
2. Howard is not a shot duck in his electorate.

Sunday, 16 September 2007

Sunday night Aussie rock

Powderfinger is an alternative rock band based in Australia. The band formed in 1989 in Brisbane, and their lineup since 1992 has consisted of Bernard Fanning, John Collins, Ian Haug, Darren Middleton and Jon Coghill.

Powderfinger is highly successful in the Australian recording industry, being a recipient of the industry's flagship awards, the ARIA Music Awards, a record fourteen times. The group has also topped the Triple J Hottest 100 chart twice with seventeen entries in the list in total. Of the group's six studio efforts, four have placed at #1 on the ARIA Albums Chart, with one also peaking at #2. The group has also contributed music for several films, including the Australian film Two Hands, and the Australian based Mission: Impossible II.

Powderfinger went on a three-year hiatus after releasing their first "greatest hits" album, Fingerprints: The Best of Powderfinger, 1994-2000, in 2004. During this time, the group's lead singer Bernard Fanning released a solo album Tea and Sympathy which, like the group's albums, was lauded with ARIA awards and received successful airplay and sales figures in Australia. Darren Middleton also produced an album, The Way Out, with his band Drag, whilst Ian Haug and John Collins released an EP, "Pick Up the Pace", with their side project The Predators.


These Days

My Happiness

Where's the outrage from the Muslim 'peaceful majority'

An Islamist group offers a reward for the death of an artist who depicted Mohammed as a dog. $100K to kill him. Add $50K if he's "slaughtered like a sheep" - that is, cut his head off.
Stakes were raised after a reward was posted for the death of a Swedish artist and editor of a newspaper that recently printed a caricature of Islam's Prophet Mohammed depicted as a dog.

The leader of the al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq, an insurgency group held responsible for several acts of violence, put a $US100,000 reward on the head of Swedish artist Lars Vilks.

"From this day on we call for spilling the blood of the cartoonist who dared to denigrate the prophet's position," said an audio statement carried by the Islamist al-Hesbah website on Saturday.

The 30-minute statement was attributed to Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic group in the Abu Ghraib area.

"We announce in Ramadan, the month of giving, a reward of $US100,000 ($A119,552) for whoever kills this criminal and infidel," said the statement, which raised the reward to $US150,000 ($A179,329) if the capturer "slaughtered him like a sheep."

Vilks seemed unruffled when contacted for comment by Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa during a brief visit to Germany.

"The price was a little low," he told DPA by telephone, adding that "one can die at any moment" and that he was getting used to the threats.

Vilks said he was in regular contact with Swedish police and informed them of his movements, before ending the call.

Al-Baghdadi also put a price on the head of Ulf Johansson, the editor-in-chief of the Swedish newspaper Nerikes Allehanda where the cartoon was published August 19.

The Islamic State of Iraq is an umbrella organisation for al-Qaeda militant groups in the war-ravaged country.
So where's the so-called peaceful Muslim majority denouncing the reward? Nowhere to be seen or out protesting themselves. For those that think Islam is in for a Reformation, think again. There simply isn't any initiative among the majority to reform.

Saturday, 15 September 2007

The intellectual adolescence of "Progressive" politics

I've been meaning to do a piece on the world's so-called Progressives and point out that they are, in fact, anything but. James Lewis has a piece at American Thinker - What Kind of Person Calls Himself 'Progressive'? that I can use as the basis for some of my thoughts.
We all want progress. We may disagree whether gay marriage or drug legalization constitutes progress or not. But we all want better things for the world -- better food, better health and well-being, scientific and technical advances, wiser political systems, more peace and freedom, more happy children, more humane treatment of animals, more tolerance, more prosperity for the world, you name it. That's called being a decent person.
Viktor Frankl was a Jewish psychiatrist who suffered the horrors of a Nazi death camp and whose family was gassed. After the Holocaust, he was asked, "Do you hate the Germans?" "No, I don't," he replied, "because there are only two races, the decent and the indecent."
So what kind of person has to label himself "Progressive?" Obviously somebody who believes he (or she) understands real progress better than the rest of us. Because if you are a Progressive it implies that everybody else, let's face it, is a Regressive, or maybe just a Stagnant. It's a smirky, self-flattering way of saying you're a lot better than the rest.
It's more than that. People label themselves as progressive in order to hide their real agenda.
So what kind of ego needs do you have to have to call yourself that? And what do you believe about others? In fact, Progressives must believe that other people are worse than they are; that only they can Save the Planet, or create Peace on Earth, or Solve Inequality, or whatever sin bedevils mankind.

Like the preacher who is focused on nothing but sin, Progressives must emphasize the alleged flaws of other people. They need to pinpoint those flaws, to feel important. Because Progressives make it clear that the real obstacle to Progress is Other People. In fact, if you really ask a "Progressive" what other people are like, you're likely to hear that much of humanity is either ignorant or evil.

The word Progressive first became popular in the late 19th century, but has now been adopted as a popular synonym for "socialism." Americans tend not to like socialism, associating it with the Soviet Union and other bad characters. But "Progressivism" sounds fine. So it is a euphemism for something people fear; a cover-up label.
When the Soviet Union fell its supporters in the West needed a new vehicle in which to drive their agendas. Fortunately for them and unfortunately for the rest of us those vehicles were parked on the political sidewalk ready to be taken over by new drivers.

Hardcore Marxists now infest the environmental movement, which is one of the reasons that all of the answers to supposed climate catastrophe require 'world government' answers or the 'suspension of democracy', as Clive Hamilton at the Australia Institute put it recently.

USSR supporting socialists, and naive political newbies, have simply reinvented themselves as 'Progressives'. Because the term itself is positive, and the motives of many of its members are undoubtedly pure, the general population does not understand the regressive, destructive nature of progressive politics.
The odd thing, of course, is that real progress in the world is almost never achieved by self-proclaimed "Progressives." They generally make things worse rather than better. (See all the mad utopian schemers from Bin Laden to Stalin and Ahmadi-Nejad.) As a group, they are strikingly ill-equipped to even understand the world in any depth. Rather, it's farmers, business people, engineers, teachers, laborers, scientists, soldiers, cops, doctors, writers, inventors, all of whom create real progress --- or who keep the world from sliding back into barbarism.
'Progressives' such as Mao, Stalin and Hitler progressed over a hundred million people into early graves. Naturally, post-modern progressives reject any connection to someone like Mao - the greatest mass killer of all time - but even a cursory look at Mao's policies will demonstrate their 'progressive' nature. After all, what else is The Great Leap Forward as an idea but progressive? Legal abortion to control of the number of children to one per family? Progressive. Progressives have bought into the environmental gobbledegook that there are too many people in the world so reducing the number of children is one way of fixing that 'problem'.
All the radicals in the world together have not created as much economic progress as the inventor of Diet Coke or the Post-It Note. I'm sorry, but it's plainly true. So the "Progressive" ego trip is really only an ego trip.
It's actually almost impossible for 'progressives' to create anything. Their policies tend to mirror socialism, an ideology that does nothing to promote invention or innovation. Don't believe me? Please tell me how, in a socialist or progressive system, a Playstation can be invented. Or television. Or radio.
The same thing goes for "post-modernism," and so many other labels on the Left. If you're a "post-modernist," you plainly imply that everybody else is past it: dead and gone. The Progressive part of the world has moved beyond modernism, or whatever ism is to be surpassed. Well, why would you believe something as obviously false as that? Basically, to flatter yourself and your fellow deludees.
I've said it before and I'll say it again - to the Left, truth is not valued as highly as compassion and good intent. After all, what else is political correctness but the avoidance of telling the truth in order to protect people's feelings?
The "in" thing is to be "post." Various Left movements love to call themselves "post-industrial," "post-structural," post this, post that. It all means, "you're a dead White male, and your time is past and buried."

So what kind of person needs to believe that? What kind of shriveled self-respect makes you want to feel that nobody is as Progressive and "post" as you are? What school curriculum has taught you to have such contempt for others?

Or take "anti-racism." If you define yourself as an "anti-racist," it means that a lot of others must be a racists, right? But how do you know that? Not many people go around wearing Kluxer sheets. You have to want to believe it, or to be more ready than the rest of us to point your finger at suspects. You're a racist! You're a homophobe! Ultimately, in many cases, being a white middle aged male is enough to make one suspect. Since the Archie Bunker series All in the Family, Hollywood and television have adopted a visual code for evil (white, fat, middle-aged, male) and good (non-white, slim, young, and/or female). Watch CSI and you'll see the code working. And with that little piece of "Progress," the Left has created its own racism, judging people purely by their appearance. The new racism is just as invidious as the old kind, and it is much more pervasive, being propagated by high-tech media.

It's all very childish, with very pernicious effects. It cultivates an accusatory, suspicious sense of victimhood and rage at the rest of humanity. And being based on mere appearances, it is incredibly superficial.
It really is very childish, which is why I refer to progressives and their ilk as 'intellectually adolescent" - they grow up physically but not intellectually. This is particularly true of university professors in the arts faculties. On the whole, they leave school, enter university, become lecturers themselves and end up as tenured professors never once having had to create real world value. When Professor John Quiggin describes Kyoto as 'a sensible policy response' to global warming this vapid, intellectual adolescence is on clear display. Symbolism and good intentions come first; the truth of damaged economies, which hurts those at the bottom the most, is irrelevant.
All of Political Correctness, the dominant cultural theme of the Left, depends upon such allegations and accusations. It is incredibly shallow and superficial - but it is also very effective as a power-play. If you can put the world at a disadvantage by implicitly accusing them of sin, you can also manipulate and oppress others, conscious of your own moral superiority. Evidence is not required. It is the pervasive McCarthyism of the Left.

I prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt. If they don't talk like haters, I'm happy to believe they're not haters. Most people want the best for humanity, and appealing to their goodness seems kinder than accusing them of evil.
I have many friends on the left. They're good people with good hearts who truly do not understand the impact of their feel-good policies and deny, or rewrite, history that demonstrates the disastrous impact progressive policies have had. They also lack an understanding of how value is created, which is why they believe governments can solve problems more readily than the free market.

There's a lot more to write on the regressive Progressive movement. For now it's enough to highlight that it's made up of the old Soviet Union supporting soft left and a bunch of new, wide eyed, well intentioned intellectual adolescents.