Wednesday, 30 April 2008

ElBaradei criticises US, Israel over Syrian nukes

How's this for having more front than city hall?

Mohamed AlBaradei, head of the comically ineffective International Atomic Energy Agency aka the United Nations Agency Helping To Ensure Rogue Nations Get Nuclear Weapons, has criticised the US and Israel for not giving them information (that they could then pass on to Syria) that their nuclear development facility had been rumbled.
VIENNA, Austria - The head of the U.N. nuclear monitoring agency angrily criticized Israel on Friday for bombing an alleged Syrian nuclear facility, and chastised the U.S. for withholding information on the site.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei also was not provided information about the site until Thursday, the same day U.S. officials briefed members of the House Intelligence Committee about evidence including dozens of photographs taken from ground level and footage of the interior of the building gathered by spy satellites after the Israeli strike seven months ago.

ElBaradei was briefed by telephone by John Rood, the U.S. undersecretary of state for arms control.
I made a joke about it earlier on but it seems remarkable that the IAEA would be kept in the dark by the United States and Israel. What motivation could both nations have for doing so other than to ensure Syria didn't find out ahead of the Israeli bombing? The IAEA, ElBaradei and the UN itself have been shown to be useless and feckless. Not that there's anything new in that.
"The Director General deplores the fact that this information was not provided to the Agency in a timely manner, in accordance with the Agency's responsibilities under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), to enable it to verify its veracity and establish the facts," ElBaradei's office said.

Additionally, "the Director General views the unilateral use of force by Israel as undermining the due process of verification that is at the heart of the non-proliferation regime," it said.

ElBaradei did not criticize North Korea or Syria in his statement.
That is truly unbelievable. It reinforces ElBaradei's real personal agenda to do as much damage as possible to US interests, which has been on display throughout his career.
The IAEA's mission includes trying to keep nuclear proliferation in check, and it depends on member states for information in trying to carry out that task. It is currently probing allegations Iran tried to make nuclear weapons using not only its own research but intelligence provided by the U.S. and other members of the 35-nation IAEA board.
How can the IAEA board function when it has 35 nations involved? And how's it going on its mission to try and keep nuclear proliferation in check?
Intelligence committee members also expressed anger Thursday over the seven-month time lapse before their committee was briefed.

Top U.S. intelligence officials who briefed reporters in Washington Thursday said they had high confidence in the judgement that North Korea had aided Syria with its nuclear program and the intention was to produce plutonium. But they claimed only low confidence for the conclusion that it was meant for weapons development, in part because there was no reprocessing facility at the site — something that would be needed to extract plutonium from spent reactor fuel for use in a bomb.

The Syrian reactor was within weeks or months of being functional when Israeli jets destroyed it, a top U.S. official told The Associated Press in Washington, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. The official said the facility was mostly completed but still had needed significant testing before it could have been declared operational.
US intelligence agencies have little credibility on the issue of declaring that a nation has the capability of developing nuclear weapons, as Iraq has shown, but if the Israelis think it is then I'm rather inclined to go with their view given the consequences of Syria having a nuclear weapon are rather dire for them.
Repeating its previous stance, Syria, in a statement issued Thursday denied the allegations.
Now there's a huge shock!

How is the stable world going to ensure that the unstable world doesn't become nuclear armed if the IAEA is not only useless but so politically aligned with interests in the Middle East?

(Nothing Follows)

Sharkey the dolphin performs last trick

Sad news from Orlando, Florida, today that Sharkey the dolphin has died while performing aerial tricks due to a mid-air collision.

Who knew that the life of a performing dolphin could be as dangerous as that of the Blue Angels or Red Arrows and that mid-air catastrophe was only a bad jump away?
A dolphin has died after colliding with another dolphin while performing aerial tricks at a US marine park.

Sharkey, a 30-year-old dolphin, died after the accident on Saturday at the Discovery Cove park — a sister property to Sea World in Orlando, Florida.

About 30 visitors were standing in a lagoon while the dolphins did tricks, but something went amiss when the two mammals leapt from the water and collided mid-air.

The second dolphin did not appear to have been injured, but was being monitored, Discovery Cove spokeswoman Becca Bides said.

"This is a very unfortunate and very rare incident," Bides said.

It was the first accidental death of a dolphin since the park opened eight years ago.

Located across from SeaWorld, Discovery Cove offers visitors the opportunity to swim with dolphins, rays and tropical fish.

Park officials are reviewing their dolphin training protocol "to ensure that even such a random incident like this can't occur again," Bides said.
Vale, Sharkey, and thanks for bringing so much enjoyment to so many people.

That last paragraph has got me, though. Officials want "to ensure that even such a random incident like this can't occur again" does one prevent random incidents?

(Nothing Follows)

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Enviro-fundamentalists never factor in the power of free markets to solve problems

The Law of Unintended Consequences must annoy unwashed, sandle wearing, hemp clad, earth first environmentalists by ensuring that solutions are found to the most hysterical of 'problems' that allow humanity to prosper rather than revert to some relatively advanced form of hunter gatherer society comprising only a few million on the planet.

The most glaring recent example is the increase in interest in nuclear energy as a means of solving the 'CO2 crisis'. Nuclear energy is, of course, anathema to environmentalists - in spite of it having a most remarkable safety record and being so safe that if provides 75% of France's energy requirements - and would never have made it onto the public agenda if it were not for Big Green's attack on capitalism and freedom under the guise of taxing carbon. Wind and solar energy are the solution cry these misanthropic scientific muppets who refuse to accept the appalling efficiency of both forms of energy when compared to nuclear.

We're repeatedly told to use less water, recycle more (as if that helps) et blah in order to 'help' the planet. People are off their rockers, really, when you look at the facts involved. We're also told to use less energy and here in Australia the government is intending to introduce energy use reporting for business in a scheme that will see companies having to provide information to the government on how much energy they are using. It's actually completely barmy not to mention immoral.

Leaving that aside, the bleating has seen an increase in research into biofuels and the results are already looking really interesting. No longer will we have to drill for oil when there are such options available such as in the video below:

Bio-energy is an obvious alternative to nuclear and has the advantage of being able to power our cars and planes. Advances in genetic modification are seeing plants being grown that need very little water and produce an extremely high yield meaning that relatively small areas of land are required, which doesn't need to be high fertility anyway, and the impact on food crops is removed.

None of this makes enviro-fundamentalists very happy, of course. Their whole argument is that there are too many people on the planet and that there are finite resources. It's one of the great inanities of our time.

What must drive these people completely nuts, though, is that it's the private sector - driven by free market capitalism - that is coming up with the solutions, as always...

(Nothing Follows)

Monday, 28 April 2008

I've been tagged

Darren at Right On The Left Coast has tagged me, the bastard. Answering the questions is OK but finding 5 people to send the tag onto is a challenge. I'll get him back somehow! PS - you should stick that one on your list of blogs to view daily.
1. What was I doing 10 years ago?
Preparing to acquire another IT company and merge it with my own.

2. What are the 5 things on my to-do list for today?
I have to do things? Go to work, prepare a tender, submit it, interview someone, go for a beer.

3. Snacks I enjoy
Cheezels. Sour Cream & Onion chips. Fruit Tingles. Jelly Babies.

4. Things I would do if I were a billionaire
I'd spend my money sitting on the beach drinking Crown Lager, chomping lobster, chatting up the beach beauties and picking the sand out of the crack in my arse. The rest I'd waste.

5. Three of my bad habits
Talk too fast (unless I'm public speaking, presenting etc), eat too much crap food, immediately forget the first names of people I've just met

6. 5 Places I have lived
Moscow, London, Washington DC, Nairobi, Rangoon to name a few...

7. 5 Jobs I have had
Only had 3 job types: programmer (part time in a government department when I was going through uni), senior manager in Information Technology (my own company for 15 years), currently general manager of a professional services business
Now that I've got that done who should I tag?

Darren, I'll get back to you on that one...!

(Nothing Follows)

Labor hikes 'alcopops' tax knowing it will have no effect

Is there any better example of Labor's true tax for its own sake attitude than the massive hike in tax on 'alcopops', ostensibly to curb teen binge drinking?
A war of words has erupted after federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon accused the former Howard government of fuelling teenage binge drinking.

Ms Roxon said a decision in 2000 to cut excise on pre-mixed alcoholic drinks - so-called alcopops - helped fuel the surge in excessive drinking by young people, particularly girls.

A furious Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson branded the claim an "outrageous slur".

Ms Roxon said the Rudd government's decision to lift the excise by 70 per cent would help tackle binge drinking by making the sugary, innocuous tasting drinks between 30 cents and $1.30 a bottle more expensive.

The tax increase will deliver about $2 billion a year to the government - a "big chunk" of which will go to preventative health schemes, Ms Roxon said.
The first point to make is that the change will have zero, nil, nada, no impact on the supposed problem of teen binge drinking. One only has to look at the problems in the UK compared to ours to see that there's not only no comparison but there's not even a cultural issue to deal with. Teens will simply change drinks and keep drinking anyway.

The second point is that if the tax changes are meant to reduce consumption and positively effect teen health then why is the government expection to raise $2 billion when it should actually expect the tax to be revenue neutral at best?

The right of governments to control taxes carries it with it the responsibility to use that power wisely. Raising taxes always imposes the heaviest burden on those who can least afford it and, thus, tax increases such as we have just seen with alcopops - sold to us in order to help fix a minor problem (at best) and pay for health services - is immoral.

Not to be outdone, the anti-smoking lobby has also joined the fray:
After lifting the excise on alcopops, the federal government should also raise the tax on cigarettes, the Rudd government's chief preventative health adviser says.

...Rob Moodie, from the National Preventative Health Task Force, is now calling on the government to lift the tax on cigarettes by 2.5 cents per cigarette, Fairfax newspapers have reported.

Dr Moodie said the alcopop changes were "terrific".

"Using taxation or pricing as a lever for reducing harmful consumption is a really good idea," he said. "There is certainly room to move (on cigarettes) (and) this issue will certainly come up in the taskforce."
Is there any item on earth more heavily taxed than cigarettes? Why not slug smokers some more? I'm not aware of anyone that has ever smoked a cigarette, become violent and bashed their spouse or got into a pub brawl. I'm not a smoker and hate the smell (which gives me a headache) but I reckon smokers get a raw deal when compared to drinkers.

This government seems to be getting carried away with symbolism over outcomes by trying to be seen to be 'doing something' rather than getting on with the actual job of governing.

Into the 'doing something' category falls the FuelWatch program aimed at reducing petrol prices at the pump.
MOTORISTS will have a better chance of saving money under FuelWatch, the competition watchdog says.

But Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) chairman Graeme Samuel has warned motorists not to expect the saving to be obvious.

Rather than seeing a universal two cents drop across the market, Mr Samuel said FuelWatch would give motorists the knowledge they needed to go to service stations where fuel already was cheap.

"The really important saving for motorists is the power it gives them to know when prices are going to be lifted and when prices are going to be reduced," Mr Samuel told the Nine Network.

Motorists will also know where they can buy the cheapest fuel in their suburb or town under the scheme.

"If you know the price of petrol is going to be lifted by 10 cents tomorrow, you've got 15 hours notice under the FuelWatch scheme to buy today, that'll save you 10 cents per litre," Mr Samuel said.
The head of the ACCC says that fuel savings may "not be obvious"? FuelWatch is an extension of a similar program that has been operating in Western Australia. How's it going over there? They now have the highest fuel price of any state. Terry McCrann explained why it's all wrongheaded a couple of weeks ago.
AFTER five months of seemingly endless ever-more-flatulent rhetoric, the no-longer-new Rudd Government has finally made its first real major policy decision.

And it's a stinker.

It is in any event a decision driven by spin. To seem to "do something about petrol prices". With the scheme starting in December, voters will have nearly two years to decide what that something actually delivers at the pump.

Here's a long-term prediction: they'll be pining for the bad old days of rampant discounting.

...Sure, consumers have "voted" for greater stability in petrol prices.

The rude shock will be the price at which they get it. Not those low prices through the fuel cycle, but at best some midpoint.

And more likely above the mid-point.
I don't care what colour the government is - because both types are guilt of this sort of nonsense from time to time - it's lunacy to think that government interference can do anything but raise prices.

Populism reigning, grocery prices are next.
SUPERMARKET giants should be banned from opening new stores in areas where they already have a stranglehold, the nation's independent grocers group has told an inquiry.

Anti-price discrimination laws should also be reintroduced to ensure smaller grocers, such as IGA, can buy products at the same price as major supermarket chains, Woolworths and Coles.

National Association for Retail Grocers of Australia (NARGA), which represents around 4500 independent grocery retailers, addressed the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's (ACCC) grocery inquiry in Canberra today.

NARGA chairman John Cummings said Coles and Woolworths enjoyed a 80 per cent share of the grocery market in Australia, which lead to a lack of competition and higher prices for shoppers.
The fact that Coles and Woolworths have an 80 per cent market share didn't put off Aldi from opening stores all around the country and offering good quality product at lower prices. News late last year was that Costco was looking to establish itself here, as well. All of this is to the good, as prices are reduced and that helps those at the bottom of the earnings scale.

This government really needs to get into the role of governing and take the tough decisions that need to be taken in order to strengthen our economy and increase employment. Focus on reducing government red tape that impacts business to no positive effect, remove inefficient taxes like stamp duty and the fringe benefits tax, and take on a big issue such as improving our education system through the introduction of school vouchers.

Those changes alone would mean that Labor could enjoy a successful first term in government.

(Nothing Follows)

Sunday, 27 April 2008

Sunday night rock 'n' roll

The Allman Brothers Band is a band from Macon, Georgia, labeled by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as "the principal architects of Southern rock." Formed in 1969, two years later they were described by Rolling Stone's George Kimball as "the best damn rock and roll band this country has produced in the past five years." They have been feted for their live performances. The band has been awarded eleven Gold and five Platinum albums between 1971 and 2005. Rolling Stone ranked them 52nd on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time in 2004. The band continues to record and tour to the present day.

Not only are they in the Rolling Stone top 100 bands of all time but Duane Allman sits second only to Jimi Hendrix as the greatest ever guitarist. He was killed in a motorcycle accident when he was only 24.

At Filmore East
is considered one of the great live albums of all time.

The Allman Brothers Band 1973 Sat Night In Macon Part 1

The Allman Brothers Band 1973 Sat Night In Macon Part 2

The Allman Brothers Band 1973 Sat Night In Macon Part 3

(Nothing Follows)

Saturday, 26 April 2008

Twenty years of Climate Alarmism does not change public opinion

One of the reasons that the Climate Faithful support totalitarian policies - aside from the obvious fact that they have totalitarian instincts - is that the great unwashed masses refuse to buy into the drivel that is spewed forth on a daily basis.

Who in 1990 was being surveyed about global warming? It really didn't become a mainstream issue until the IPCC's Third Assessment Report, which introduced the world to the infamous Hokey Stick.

In order to attract public interest environmentalists must make more shrill, more ridiculous statements as the following article from the Peruvian Times:
Climate change continues to wreck havoc in Peru's southern altiplano, where the arrival of freezing temperatures since March - almost three months earlier than usual - have killed more than a dozen people. The extreme cold has claimed the lives of 16 people so far in Puno, and 5,053 others are suffering from respiratory ailments, most of them children under 5, Elsa Paredes, of Puno's Regional Health Institute, told Enlace Nacional.
No wonder the line on the graph above is mostly flat.

(Nothing Follows)

Friday, 25 April 2008

Turkey and its Islamic enemies

What's interesting about the opinion pages of the Turkish Daily News is that they can freely give their opinion and criticise the government without the fear of coming to physical harm.

the always interesting Mustafa Akyol in which he reveals to those unaware of the country that Turkey is a robust nation with opposing views with a strong desire to maintain its secular government structure.
WASHINGTON - Every country has its own towering figures of intellect, and as a nation torn between several conflicting political philosophies, Turkey has quite many of them. There are prominent liberals, conservatives, socialist, or nationalists. Even the official ideology, i.e., Kemalism, has distinguished supporters, and quite a few of those figures would be as erudite and sophisticated as the eminent law professor, the 79-year-old Mümtaz Soysal.

Prof. Soysal’s life is a real success story. Born in Zonguldak, a small town on the Black Sea coast, he studied law first in Ankara and then in high up Western universities such as London School of Economics, Berkeley and Princeton. In 1961, he became one of the architects of the then new constitution, which was prepared under the auspices of the generals who had launched a military coup a year ago. In the ‘90s, he joined politics on the center-left Social Democratic People's Party’s ticket, and, for a brief period in 1994, he served as foreign minister. Over the years, he emerged as one of the leading defenders of what some call “left-wing Kemalism” and came to the fore by his resistance to privatization of state companies and other steps that center-right governments have taken to liberalize the Turkish economy. Currently Prof. Soysal is the leader of the Independent Republican Party, whose big issue is to promote a “fully independent” Turkey, which will move on with the original Kemalist project without being distracted by the global forces of economy and politics.

Notes from a Jacobin heart:

I had the privilege of speaking at the same panel with Prof. Soysal a week ago at the Brookings Institution in the U.S. capital, and thus had the chance to get a grasp of his “Jacobin heart,” as he called it. It was interesting and revealing.

Jacobins were, of course, the leading and the most radical party of the French Revolution. Yet more recently their name has become a household term in Turkey in order to define the political cadres and intellectuals who believe in authoritarian ways to “modernize” the nation. It is actually the conservatives or the liberals who call these autocrats “Jacobin,” while they prefer to define themselves as “Kemalist” or “Atatürkist.” Prof. Soysal was, however, apparently unreserved about the imported term.

The crust of his argument was that the Turkish Republic had an “enemy” from the very beginning, and thus a “war” was inevitable. He was also quite frank about the identity of this enemy: The religion of Islam, which “has insisted on its claim to influence this world, as well as the next.” Had Islam undergone a “reform,” Prof. Soysal added, there would not be any problem. It would be a religion with only spiritual claims, and thus would not interfere with the works of the Republic.

The insistence of Turkey’s conservative Muslims to assert their faith in “this world” was, according to Mümtaz Soysal, the root of the problem – and the Republic had all the right to fight against this “enemy.” The headscarf, a symbol of religious observance, was the most visible symbol of this religion-that-defies-limits, and Turkey’s incumbent Justice and Development Party (AKP), by trying to set the headscarf free in the public square, had gone too far. “It is only natural that the Republic will protect itself from threats,” Prof. Soysal confidently reminded. “If AKP is a threat, it will be closed down.”

A war with the people?:

Another way of putting Prof. Soysal’s argument is that the threat to the Turkish Republic is about a half of the Turkish people. That is roughly the political support that the AKP has. Moreover, if we recall the public polls which show that about 80 percent of society believes that headscarves should be free in universities, the “enemies” of the Republic will amount to four out of every five citizens – most of whom are, ironically enough, taxpayers who finance this interesting political system.

Here lies the fundamental dilemma of the Turkish Republic. On one hand, it calls itself “democratic,” which implies a rule by the people. On the other hand, it is at war with its own people. That’s why the Ankara establishment has actually no sympathy for real democracy, and it would hardly approach it if international dynamics did not force it to do so.

All this might sound a bit odd to foreigners, but it is quite reasonable and justified for Turkish Jacobins. “This is a war that will go on for a very long time,” Prof. Soysal noted at Brookings. “And it is a healthy war.”

I tend to disagree. I rather think that the war between the Turkish Republic and its “internal enemies” – the citizens who doubt the official ideology – has been disastrous enough. It has traumatized many lives and has set us back as a nation. We really need to give peace a chance.

To be able to do that, our Jacobins should reconsider their doctrine, especially with regards to religion. Their demand, that Islam should stop “influencing this world,” is actually ridiculous. Almost all religions, especially the Abrahamic ones, aim at influencing this world, and there is nothing wrong about that. The crucial question is the way this influence will be exercised. By trying to establish a religious tyranny that will impose its truths on people? Or by acting as a civil force that will promote its truths in society by democratic means? The former leads to theocracy, which is a horrible form of dictatorship. But the latter leads to the formation of a dynamic and open society, in which all creeds and worldviews can exist and compete.

The invisible reform:

Alexis de Tocqueville, a remarkable French thinker that our French-inspired and French wannabe Jacobins hardly know about, once brilliantly explained this constructive role of religion in his masterpiece, “Democracy in America.” Interestingly the democracy in Turkey is following a somewhat similar route, because Turkey’s Islamic communities are growingly in demand of not an Islamic state, but a secular one which, unlike ours, respects religious freedom. They are, not too surprisingly, also in favor of the European Union process.

In other words, Prof. Soysal and his comrades are wrong to expect a formal “reform” which will detach Islam from “this world.” A reform as a social process is already taking place in Turkey, as its devout Muslims integrate into modernity without abandoning their values and practices. “The headscarf catwalk,” is not a token of “the way back to the Middle Ages,” as our secularists suspect. Quite the contrary, it is a sign of a way forward.

Unfortunately the official grand narrative of the Turkish Republic seems to be too rigid to accept that. That’s why even its most brilliant and erudite representatives, such as Prof. Soysal, reject to consider a different point of view. And that’s why the Republic’s war with its own people regrettably goes on.
(Nothing Follows)

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Climate Cognitive Dissonance

Apparently, greenhouse gases rose sharply during 2007...
The amount of two key greenhouse gases in Earth's atmosphere rose sharply in 2007, and carbon dioxide levels this year are literally off the chart, the US government reported.

In its annual index of greenhouse gas emissions, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found atmospheric carbon dioxide, the primary driver of global climate change, rose by 0.6 per cent, or 19 billion tonnes last year.

The amount of methane increased by 0.5 per cent, or 27 million tonnes, after nearly a decade of little or no change, according preliminary figures to scientists at the government's Earth System Research Laboratory in Colorado.

Methane's greenhouse effect is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide's, but there is far less of it in the atmosphere. Overall, methane has about half the climate impact of carbon dioxide.
But wait, wasn't 2007 the coldest year for quite a little while?

Even if 2001 or 2002 or even 2003 were nearly as cold then it doesn't matter - with CO2 levels rising consistently every year and, now, having risen sharply in 2007 then it's clear that temperature should be moving in an upward direction in line with the 'consensus' that CO2 drives climate.

It's not. Why not?

We're told it's because of the current La Nina. Maybe so. But 1998 is rarely blamed on the large El Nino event of that year in the mainstream media.

Bit by bit, real science is replacing supposition:
  • The Hokey Stick is just that, hokey;
  • Climate models are an embarrassment. How so much money could be spent creating such predictive drivel that is then used to underpin an argument to restructure econmic activity will become the stuff of university lectures and many books in years to come;
  • The effects of the sun are now much better understood and it's clear to anyone with half a brain that most of our warming is being caused by it; and
  • Other factors such as the ocean's ability to sequester CO2, impact of land clearing etc are much better understood.
The big question is whether the climate will cool quickly enough to get politicians thinking about what they're doing and put the brakes on economically destructive policies that are currently being implemented.

I reckon that Big Green knows full well that we're in for a cooling period driven by low solar activity and is keen to be able to take the credit for it in decades to come with their CO2-as-cause position.

(Nothing Follows)

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

The Ice Age cometh...?

From The Australian comes an opinion piece from Phil Chapman that cogently argues that we should at least consider the possibility that things are about to get a lot cooler before there's any chance of them getting much warmer.

For those who haven't heard of him Phil Chapman is a geophysicist and astronautical engineer who lives in San Francisco. He was the first Australian to become a NASA astronaut.

As I've pointed out before - cold kills, warmth gives life.
THE scariest photo I have seen on the internet is, where you will find a real-time image of the sun from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, located in deep space at the equilibrium point between solar and terrestrial gravity.

What is scary about the picture is that there is only one tiny sunspot.

Disconcerting as it may be to true believers in global warming, the average temperature on Earth has remained steady or slowly declined during the past decade, despite the continued increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, and now the global temperature is falling precipitously.

All four agencies that track Earth's temperature (the Hadley Climate Research Unit in Britain, the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, the Christy group at the University of Alabama, and Remote Sensing Systems Inc in California) report that it cooled by about 0.7C in 2007. This is the fastest temperature change in the instrumental record and it puts us back where we were in 1930. If the temperature does not soon recover, we will have to conclude that global warming is over.

There is also plenty of anecdotal evidence that 2007 was exceptionally cold. It snowed in Baghdad for the first time in centuries, the winter in China was simply terrible and the extent of Antarctic sea ice in the austral winter was the greatest on record since James Cook discovered the place in 1770.

It is generally not possible to draw conclusions about climatic trends from events in a single year, so I would normally dismiss this cold snap as transient, pending what happens in the next few years.

This is where SOHO comes in. The sunspot number follows a cycle of somewhat variable length, averaging 11 years. The most recent minimum was in March last year. The new cycle, No.24, was supposed to start soon after that, with a gradual build-up in sunspot numbers.

It didn't happen. The first sunspot appeared in January this year and lasted only two days. A tiny spot appeared last Monday but vanished within 24 hours. Another little spot appeared this Monday. Pray that there will be many more, and soon.

The reason this matters is that there is a close correlation between variations in the sunspot cycle and Earth's climate. The previous time a cycle was delayed like this was in the Dalton Minimum, an especially cold period that lasted several decades from 1790.

Northern winters became ferocious: in particular, the rout of Napoleon's Grand Army during the retreat from Moscow in 1812 was at least partly due to the lack of sunspots.

That the rapid temperature decline in 2007 coincided with the failure of cycle No.24 to begin on schedule is not proof of a causal connection but it is cause for concern.

It is time to put aside the global warming dogma, at least to begin contingency planning about what to do if we are moving into another little ice age, similar to the one that lasted from 1100 to 1850.

There is no doubt that the next little ice age would be much worse than the previous one and much more harmful than anything warming may do. There are many more people now and we have become dependent on a few temperate agricultural areas, especially in the US and Canada. Global warming would increase agricultural output, but global cooling will decrease it.

Millions will starve if we do nothing to prepare for it (such as planning changes in agriculture to compensate), and millions more will die from cold-related diseases.

There is also another possibility, remote but much more serious. The Greenland and Antarctic ice cores and other evidence show that for the past several million years, severe glaciation has almost always afflicted our planet.

The bleak truth is that, under normal conditions, most of North America and Europe are buried under about 1.5km of ice. This bitterly frigid climate is interrupted occasionally by brief warm interglacials, typically lasting less than 10,000 years.

The interglacial we have enjoyed throughout recorded human history, called the Holocene, began 11,000 years ago, so the ice is overdue. We also know that glaciation can occur quickly: the required decline in global temperature is about 12C and it can happen in 20 years.

The next descent into an ice age is inevitable but may not happen for another 1000 years. On the other hand, it must be noted that the cooling in 2007 was even faster than in typical glacial transitions. If it continued for 20 years, the temperature would be 14C cooler in 2027.

By then, most of the advanced nations would have ceased to exist, vanishing under the ice, and the rest of the world would be faced with a catastrophe beyond imagining.

Australia may escape total annihilation but would surely be overrun by millions of refugees. Once the glaciation starts, it will last 1000 centuries, an incomprehensible stretch of time.

If the ice age is coming, there is a small chance that we could prevent or at least delay the transition, if we are prepared to take action soon enough and on a large enough scale.

For example: We could gather all the bulldozers in the world and use them to dirty the snow in Canada and Siberia in the hope of reducing the reflectance so as to absorb more warmth from the sun.

We also may be able to release enormous floods of methane (a potent greenhouse gas) from the hydrates under the Arctic permafrost and on the continental shelves, perhaps using nuclear weapons to destabilise the deposits.

We cannot really know, but my guess is that the odds are at least 50-50 that we will see significant cooling rather than warming in coming decades.

The probability that we are witnessing the onset of a real ice age is much less, perhaps one in 500, but not totally negligible.

All those urging action to curb global warming need to take off the blinkers and give some thought to what we should do if we are facing global cooling instead.

It will be difficult for people to face the truth when their reputations, careers, government grants or hopes for social change depend on global warming, but the fate of civilisation may be at stake.

In the famous words of Oliver Cromwell, "I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken."
(Nothing Follows)

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

It's the oceans what done it

The sun controls ocean temperature which in turn controls atmospheric CO2, as Emeritus Prof Lance Endersbee, a past national president of Engineers Australia, points out:
I WISH TO DRAW attention to new recently available data that supports the view that climate change has natural causes, and that the influence of human generated carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is negligible. The oceans and rainfall have a major influence in helping to regulate climate on earth. Recent data on global average sea surface temperatures derived from satellite observations has revealed some interesting correlations between sea temperatures and atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Figure 1 shows the global average sea surface temperature anomaly since 1980. The anomaly is defined as the departure of the actual temperature from the mean global average for the past century (1901-2000). The data is derived from satellite
coverage, and is much more consistent than previous data based on surface measurements. Note the cyclic behaviour and the peak in 1999. There has been overall cooling since 1999. The causes of the cyclic behaviour are not known. The major influences are probably the El Nino and La Nina events, and variations in heat flow on the ocean floor from undersea volcanoes and vents. These factors may be related through a common cause. It is difficult to see any influence of human activity in the variations of sea surface temperatures shown in the chart. The present winter in the northern hemisphere has been the coldest for several decades. Scientists studying solar behavior report that the sun is relatively quiet and that we may expect a further cooling of earth climate. Thus it seems probable that the recent general cooling of sea surface temperatures may continue.

Figure 2 shows the direct relationship between sea surface temperature and carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere since 1980. It is based on a 21-year moving average of sea surface temperatures, and a 12-month moving average of carbon dioxide levels.
As the sea temperature has increased, so has the carbon dioxide level. This reflects the normal solubility relationship between carbon dioxide and water. As the sea temperature increases, the oceans breathe out carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Thus, if sea surface temperatures now continue to fall, we may expect carbon dioxide levels to decrease. There is strong consistency from December 1984 onwards, which reflects the better accuracy and consistency of the temperature records from satellite data. During the period of record on the chart, the sea temperatures have been rising. Sea temperatures are now starting to fall and it is expected that the strong relationship between sea surface temperature and CO2 will continue to hold. The 21-year moving average of sea surface temperatures was used in the chart to cover a complete solar cycle including the change in polarity of the sun. It also covers the cycle of El Nino and La Nina influences on global climate.

Such a long term moving average also recognises the vast storage capacity in the deep oceans for
Oceans are the main regulators of carbon dioxide Energy conservation is rational and does not have to be justified by fear of climate change, argues Lance Endersbee. He predicts that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere may actually decline in the next few years due to falling ocean temperatures, and warns that carbon sequestration and carbon trading may turn out to be futile activities in addressing climate change. Climate change carbon dioxide, and the slow changes. The 12-month moving average of carbon dioxide levels was used to cover the annual cycle. It is emphasised that this chart is a plot of actual experience.

There is a clear and strong relationship between levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide and long-term average sea surface temperature. This would be expected from the solubility curves for carbon dioxide
in water at various temperatures and pressures. The experience curve shows the huge capacity of the oceans to absorb the carbon dioxide emissions of humankind. It seems likely that within about three years we will be experiencing natural global cooling, and with that a decline in levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. In essence, it is impossible for carbon dioxide to accumulate in the atmosphere other than to the level determined by the long-term behaviour of the oceans. As a consequence, there is no need for carbon trading or geosequestration.

Energy conservation is rational and does not have to be justified by fear of climate change.
(Nothing Follows)

Monday, 21 April 2008

Coral reefs doing OK in spite of global warming

One of the problems with all of the predictions of dire consequences of the effects of global warming is that researchers really have very little data to work with in the grand scheme of things.

For years now we've been told that global warming will cause an increase in ocean acidity (in fact, it's more a decrease in alkalinity, as the ocean's pH is still on the alkaline side of the scale) and that this will destroy the world's coral reefs. As custodians of the Great Barrier Reef that sent alarm bells ringing here in Australia.

Now comes a report that things are not as dire as supposed. Imagine that!
Contrary to expectations, a microscopic plant that lives in oceans around the world may thrive in the changing ocean conditions of the coming decades, a team of scientists reported Thursday.

The main threat to many marine organisms is not global warming but ocean acidification, as carbon dioxide from the air dissolves into the water and turns into carbonic acid. Acid dissolves calcium carbonate in the skeletons of corals, for example; many scientists fear that acidification of the oceans will kill many, if not most, coral reefs by the end of the century.

Similar concerns have been raised about coccolithophores, single-cell, carbonate-encased algae that are a major link in the ocean food chain. Earlier experiments with a species of coccolithophore, Emiliania huxleyi, had found that lower pH levels (more acidic) hindered the algae’s ability to build the disks of carbonate that form its shell.

In Friday’s issue of the journal Science, however, scientists led by M. Debora Iglesias-Rodríguez of the National Oceanography Center at the University of Southampton in England and Paul Halloran, a graduate student at the University of Oxford, report that they found the exact opposite. The algae grew bigger in the more acidic water.

Dr. Iglesias-Rodríguez said the conflicting findings probably arose from differences between how the experiments were conducted. In the earlier work, the researchers lowered the pH by directly adding acid to the water.

In the work reported in Science, the scientists added the acid indirectly by bubbling carbon dioxide into the water, which more closely mimicked the chemical reactions that are occurring in the oceans. As a consequence, in addition to the lowered pH, levels of carbon dioxide in the water also rose — speeding up the algae’s photosynthesis machinery — as did the levels of bicarbonate ions, the building material for the carbonate disks.

“It’s a really complex problem,” Dr. Iglesias-Rodríguez said. “You cannot look at calcification in isolation. You have to look at photosynthesis as well.”

The pH scale, which measures the concentration of hydrogen ions, runs from zero, the most acidic, with the highest concentration of ions, to 14, the most alkaline, with almost no ions. Ocean water today is somewhat alkaline, at 8.1, down from 8.2 at the start of the Industrial Revolution two centuries ago.

The laboratory findings agree with what has been observed in the oceans. Over the past 220 years, the average mass of a coccolithophore increased 40 percent as ocean pH levels dropped.

The hopeful news for coccolithophores, however, does not overturn the gloomy predictions for corals or negate ocean acidification as an impending ecological disruption, Dr. Iglesias-Rodríguez said. Rather, she said, it points to how little data biologists currently have.
Coral developed over a hundred million years ago at a time when CO2 levels were many times higher, which would mean that the oceans were much more acidic. It is therefore a bit of a stretch to claim that a drop from 8.2 to 8.1 in the ocean's pH will have any negative effect.

Do you like the last paragraph of the article? Gloomy predictions still reign in spite of all of the evidence to the contrary.

Yet another example of hysteria trumping reality in the world of climate 'science'.

(Nothing Follows)

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Sunday night rock 'n' roll

The Pixies are an American alternative rock band formed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1985. The band disbanded in 1993 under acrimonious circumstances but reunited in 2004. Black Francis, Joey Santiago, Kim Deal, and David Lovering have been the band's continual members. The Pixies found only modest success in their home country, but were significantly more successful in the United Kingdom and elsewhere in Europe, although never achieving mainstream success with their studio albums.

The Pixies' music was heavily influenced by punk and surf rock, and while highly melodic, was capable of being tremendously abrasive at the same time. Francis was the band's primary songwriter and singer and had a distinctly desperate, yowling delivery. He typically wrote cryptic songs about offbeat subjects, such as UFOs and surrealism. References to mental instability, violent Biblical imagery, physical injury, and incest feature in many of the band's songs.

The group is frequently posited as the immediate forebearer of the alternative rock boom of the 1990s, though they disbanded before reaping any of the benefits this might have brought them. Avowed fan Kurt Cobain's acknowledgement of the debt Nirvana owed to the Pixies, along with similar tributes by other alternative bands, ensured that the Pixies' legacy and influence grew substantially in the years following their demise.

Bone Machine

Broken Face

River Euphrates

(Nothing Follows)

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Australia's 2020 Summit - who would want to live in a country that implements such lunatic ideas?

I spent the day following the proceedings of Australia's 2020 Summit.

I must admit that the event is even more of an embarrassing cringe than even a curmudgeonly cynic like myself could have predicted.

Andrew Bolt tortured himself even more than I did and has two excellent summaries here and here that will make your mind curdle and eyes bleed.

To my overseas friends - check out that first link and you'll find ideas that would fit comfortably with the Guardian/BBC world view or anything that could come out of Berkeley. More than 10% of the 1000 participants are members of, the Australian equivalent of the radical, leftist group so you can imagine what great ideas they're generating.

Here are the categories and my summary of the ideas so far:

- Raise taxes. Spend Money.

Some of the ideas are so lunatic that it's breathtaking that people could propose them without having their tongues planted firmly in their cheeks. What about this? Putting politicians who tell lies in prison. Or this? 1% of all funds used to run government departments should be put towards the arts? Seriously!

The big question that I have is - who would want to live in country that implements all of these ideas?

Which brings me to comments about our prime minister, Kevin Rudd.

I have stated before that pundits should always give a new government and new leader time to settle in and make their mark.

However, one thing is becoming abundantly clear - Kevin Rudd has no idea about leadership, what it means or how to do it.

Rudd is a manager. A bureaucrat. But not a leader.

Perhaps in these prosperous times it's management we need in order to get the best out of the country. Time will tell but I have my doubts.

(Nothing Follows)

Friday, 18 April 2008

China biggest CO2 emitter. UN IPCC looks other way.

More cognitive dissonance for the Climate Faithful with yet another report that China has already overtaken the US as the largest carbon emitter. US carbon - bad; Chinese CO2 - good, seems to be the order of the day.

The IPCC's words are that the world must cut down on CO2 emissions in order to save the planet. The IPCC's actions, and those of its Big Green followers, are that the Western nations - but especially the US - must slash their economic wrists by implementing socialist policies and reducing individual liberty.
In a report to be published next month in the Journal of Environment Economics and Management, a University of California, Berkeley, research team will say China has overtaken the U.S. as the world's biggest polluter and that current computer models substantially underestimate future emissions growth in China.
I don't trust those models any more than I trust climate models.
The report, based on provincial-level data from the Chinese Environmental Protection Agency, says China probably passed the U.S. in 2006-07. The report also says China's projected emissions growth will be several times larger than the cuts in emissions being made by the major industrial nations under the Kyoto Protocol.
Oops. Quick! What position will we take? Oh, that's right - the West grew their economies and caused the problem in the first place so they have a moral obligation to wear the cost of the clean up. What seems to be missed in that argument is those major developing countries that are excluded from any targets are those that had socialist governments that held back their economic growth massively. The reward for India's and China's economic incompetence, which caused ongoing human misery for billions of people for 50 years, is to be able to belch out as much carbon as they want.
Not known is whether the figures include the 5,500 tons of carbon that ABC News reports the transporting of the Olympic torch for the 2008 Beijing Olympics will put in the atmosphere. The torch is being carried to 23 cities around the globe aboard a fossil-fuel-guzzling Air China A330 jet.

The A330 burns 5.4 gallons of aviation fuel per mile and will use 462,400 gallons for the more than 85,000-mile trip. Each gallon of jet fuel burned generates 23.88 pounds of CO2. To put it in perspective, the A330 carrying the torch will generate the emissions equivalent of 550 SUVs.

This report confirms findings issued last year by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency. The Dutch agency reported that CO2 emissions in China rose an astounding 9% in 2006, giving that country a great leap forward over the U.S.

The Berkeley researchers say China's emissions are now growing at an annual rate of 11%. In 2006-07, China added 186,000 megawatts of coal-fired electrical generation capacity, equivalent to two United Kingdoms.
These are University of Berkeley researchers - not known for their support of anything American - who are showing that China has got past the US.
China is exempt from Kyoto as a "developing" nation, which is one of the reasons the U.S. Senate once voted 97-0 not to consider the protocol for ratification. China would love to see the U.S. economy handcuffed as it races to make this century a Chinese one.
The European Union actually thought that handcuffing the US would help them and missed completely that Kyoto would severely disadvantage not only the US but Europe, as well.
Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the U.N. climate treaty secretariat, wants to keep China, and India for that matter, exempt from Kyoto and similar agreements.

Nations such as China, De Boer said in an interview with the Washington Times last weekend, are "still at the beginning of development," while developed nations such as the U.S. bear "a historical responsibility" for gases generated by their economic growth.

Huh? It's OK to be developing, but bad to be developed?
Yep. Swap CO2 for mercury emissions and ask whether it's OK for any nation, regardless of economic status, to pump that poison into the ocean or atmosphere.
De Boer seems to be admitting that restricting emissions also restricts economic growth. So why should the U.S. economy be restricted from growing, especially when it's been demonstrated that free-market economies like ours are best able to develop the technology and efficiencies to manage, even reduce, pollution?

According to the Energy Information Administration, the big, bad USA's carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels fell by 1.3% in 2006 while our booming economy grew 3.3%.
This is a point missed by the socialists in the Big Green movement. Free market economies drive efficiencies that reduce the impact on the environment, which comes about because price advantage is gained when less resources are used. By contrast, socialist economies have been the most environmentally destructive in history.
We used energy more efficiently and reduced emissions without Kyoto. Energy use per unit of GDP fell by 4.2% that year, and carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP fell by 4.5%.
I'll bet that information doesn't make it into any environmental pamphlets.
"The history of the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe and present-day China show a clear correlation between Big Government socialism, pollution and poverty," Patrick Michaels, co-author of "The Satanic Gases," wrote in 2002. "In freer societies, there is less government, less poverty and less pollution."

We saw this after the fall of the Soviet Union, when it became obvious that the worst despoilers of the environment were not greedy capitalists in the West but the micromanaged economies of the evil empire.
In fact, when the Soviet Union fell and the reality of the environmental destruction caused by government run economies became apparent people were appalled.
Economic growth requires energy growth, and we have often said that restricting energy growth in agreements such as Kyoto is a recipe for global poverty.

All the evidence we've seen is that such economic pain is not worth a reduction in global temperatures too small to measure.

The world does not need less energy or more regulation. It needs more freedom.
Well, it's not going to get that by following policies that are developed by the United Nations or promoted by Big Green.

(Nothing Follows)

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Global Warming's Thought Police Abound

The Naomi Oreskes claim that all peer reviewed journals agreed with the consensus position on global warming has been debunked so profoundly that it's an embarrassment to call her work 'research'. Oreskes' methodology seemed to exclude papers that disagreed with the thesis so her results were hardly a surprise. The only people who still reference her also seem to be unable to let go of the infamous Hockey Stick (or should that be Hokey Stick?) that has also been discredited to the point that it doesn't form part of the public discourse but is still used to scare the kids.

In the following article, the Financial Times' Laurence Solomon uncovers something that we all know goes on but are shocked to see first hand when it happens - the promotion of partisan political positions in the global warming articles of Wikipedia.

Why are these types of changes almost exclusively in the camp of the Left? The ratio of defined left:right propaganda on Wikipedia must be 100:1. What sort of mind does it take to believe it's OK to make such changes? A totalitarian one.
As I'm writing this column for the Financial Post, I am simultaneously editing a page on Wikipedia. I am confident that just about everything I write for my column will be available for you to read. I am equally confident that you will be able to read just about nothing that I write for the page on Wikipedia.

The Wikipedia page is entitled Naomi Oreskes, after a professor of history and science studies at the University of California San Diego, but the page offers only sketchy details about Oreskes. The page is mostly devoted to a notorious 2004 paper that she wrote, and that Science journal published, called "Beyond the Ivory Tower: The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change." This paper analyzed articles in peer-reviewed journals to see if any disagreed with the alarming positions on global warming taken by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. "Remarkably, none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position," Oreskes concluded.

Oreskes's paper -- which claimed to comprehensively examine all articles in a scientific database with the keywords "climate change" -- is nonsense. As FP readers know, for the last 18 months I have been profiling scientists who disagree with the UN panel's position. My Deniers series, which now runs to some 40 columns, describes many of the world's most prominent scientists. They include authors or reviewers for the UN panel (before they quit in disgust). They even include the scientist known as the father of scientific climatology, who is recognized as being the most cited climatologist in the world. Yet somehow Oreskes missed every last one of these exceptions to the presumed consensus, and somehow so did the peer reviewers that Science chose to evaluate Oreskes's work.

When Oreskes's paper came out, it was immediately challenged by science writers and scientists alike, one of them being Benny Peiser, a prominent U.K. scientist and publisher of CCNet, an electronic newsletter to which I and thousands of others subscribe. CCNet daily circulates articles disputing the conventional wisdom on climate change. No publication better informs readers about climate-change controversies, and no person is better placed to judge informed dissent on climate change than Benny Peiser.

For this reason, when visiting Oreskes's page on Wikipedia several weeks ago, I was surprised to read not only that Oreskes had been vindicated but that Peiser had been discredited. More than that, the page portrayed Peiser himself as having grudgingly conceded Oreskes's correctness.

Upon checking with Peiser, I found he had done no such thing. The Wikipedia page had misunderstood or distorted his comments. I then exercised the right to edit Wikipedia that we all have, corrected the Wikipedia entry, and advised Peiser that I had done so.

Peiser wrote back saying he couldn't see my corrections on the Wikipedia page. Had I neglected to save them after editing them, I wondered. I made the changes again, and this time confirmed that the changes had been saved. But then, in a twinkle, they were gone again! I made other changes. And others. They all disappeared shortly after they were made.

Nonplused, I investigated. Wikipedia logs all changes. I found mine. And then I found Tabletop's. Someone called Tabletop was undoing my edits, and, following what I suppose is Wikietiquette, also explained why. "Note that Peiser has retracted this critique and admits that he was wrong!" Tabletop said.

I undid Tabletop's undoing of my edits, thinking I had an unassailable response: "Tabletop's changes claim to represent Peiser's views. I have checked with Peiser and he disputes Tabletop's version."

Tabletop undid my undid, claiming I could not speak for Peiser.

Why can Tabletop speak for Peiser but not I, who have his permission?, I thought. I redid Tabletop's undid and protested: "Tabletop is distorting Peiser. She does not speak for him. Peiser has approved my description of events concerning him."

Tabletop parried: "We have a reliable source to this. What Peiser has said to *you* is irrelevant."

Tabletop, it turns out, has another name: Kim Dabelstein Petersen. She (or he?) is an editor at Wikipedia. What does she edit? Reams and reams of global warming pages. I started checking them. In every instance I checked, she defended those warning of catastrophe and deprecated those who believe the science is not settled. I investigated further. Others had tried to correct her interpretations and had the same experience as I -- no sooner did they make their corrections than she pounced, preventing Wikipedia readers from reading anyone's views but her own. When they protested plaintively, she wore them down and snuffed them out.

By patrolling Wikipedia pages and ensuring that her spin reigns supreme over all climate change pages, she has made of Wikipedia a propaganda vehicle for global warming alarmists. But unlike government propaganda, its source is not self-evident. We don't suspend belief when we read Wikipedia, as we do when we read literature from an organization with an agenda, because Wikipedia benefits from the Internet's cachet of making information free and democratic. This Big Brother enforces its views with a mouse.

While I've been writing this column, the Naomi Oreskes page has changed 10 times. Since I first tried to correct the distortions on the page, it has changed 28 times. If you have read a climate change article on Wikipedia -- or on any controversial subject that may have its own Kim Dabelstein Petersen -- beware. Wikipedia is in the hands of the zealots.
In fact, if you check anything on Wikipedia that could be subject to being modified by the politically correct left then you will find that is exactly the political attitude of the information.

Wikipedia has some terrific pages. If you want to look up aircraft information, or cars, or buildings etc then it is a really useful resource. If you want to look up anything that could be subject to political interpretation then look out for the bias and make sure to check other reliable sources first.

(Nothing Follows)

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Parents bash teenage bully - what is going on?

What would have had to have gone on for a situation to get to this point? Unfortunately, it's all too common that schools refuse to do anything about bullying in spite of all of the education system's pronouncements otherwise. The other factor in play here is that it's girl on girl bullying and the whole issue of bullying is focused on violent young males so there's a reluctance to deal with it effectively. I have seen this exact situation first hand.
A couple has avoided jail after they confronted and bashed a 14-year-old girl who had been bullying their teenage daughter.

Stephen Lester Baker and his wife Suzane Maree Baker took matters into their own hands because they felt Queensland police and Beenleigh High School ignored their pleas for action, the Courier Mail reports.

The Bakers went searching for the bully — known only as Rachel — and cornered her in a park on April 3, 2006.

Stephen Baker punched Rachel four times in the face while telling her "no one hits my daughter", prosecutor Nicholas McGhee told Beenleigh District Court.

His wife then grabbed the girl by the hair and hit her repeatedly.

The Bakers' lawyers told the court the couple were frustrated by what they saw as inaction after a number of violent bullying episodes, including one where their daughter's head was reportedly smashed against a toilet wall.

But Judge Ian Dearden said Stephen and Suzane Baker had acted appallingly and gave them suspended jail terms of six and three months respectively.

"Instead of looking for the bully, you should . . . (have been) driving to the police station," the newspaper quoted him as saying.

Judge Dearden said criminal charges could still be brought against Rachel.
Beating up a 14 year old girl is a long way from acceptable and there's no condoning the couple's action.

Equally culpable, however, is the education system that enables this type of bullying in the first place by allowing it to continue.

Charges should absolutely be brought against Rachel. If it was Robert instead of Rachel then they would be, for sure.

(Nothing Follows)

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Europe's future - Umma or Bloodshed?

Daniel Pipes gave a speech recently in Australia for Quadrant magazine. In it he discussed the future of Europe.

As regular readers know, my view is that Europe is either going to become part of the Umma or once again going to be the scene of massive bloodshed as nationalist movements act to reassert themselves.
THE future of Europe is in play. Will it turn into "Eurabia", a part of the Muslim world? Will it remain the distinct cultural unit it has been for the past millennium? Or might there be some creative synthesis of the two?

The answer has vast importance. Europe may constitute a mere 7 per cent of the world's landmass but for 500 years, 1450-1950, for good and ill, it was the global engine of change.

How it develops in the future will affect all humanity, especially daughter countries such as Australia that still retain close and important ties to the old continent. I foresee potentially one of three paths for Europe: Muslims dominating, Muslims rejected or harmonious integration.

* Muslim domination strikes some analysts as inevitable. Oriana Fallaci found that "Europe becomes more and more a province of Islam, a colony of Islam". Mark Steyn argues that much of the Western world "will not survive the 21st century and much of it will effectively disappear within our lifetimes, including many if not most European countries".

Such authors point to three factors leading to Europe's Islamisation: faith, demography and a sense of heritage.
It's not just these people who are pointing to these three factors; it's Muslim leaders themselves that are point blank telling us that it's their goal to have Europe become a Muslim continent.
The secularism that predominates in Europe, especially among its elites, leads to alienation from the Judeo-Christian tradition, empty church pews and a fascination with Islam. In complete contrast, Muslims display a religious fervour that translates into jihadi sensibility, a supremacism towards non-Muslims and an expectation that Europe is waiting for conversion to Islam.
European secularism is a huge problem, as I've written about before. In Europe, the rejection of religion has included the rejection of the Judeo-Christian values that underpinned the rise of Europe into the world's leader for so many centuries. Oriana Fallaci coined the term 'Christian Atheist', which she applied to herself, for someone that did not believe in god but adhered to Judeo-Christian values. This is the term that I use to describe myself, much to the confusion of my god-fearing friends for whom the belief in god and the values go hand in hand.
The contrast in faith also has demographic implications, with Christians having on average 1.4 children a woman, or about one-third less than the number needed to maintain their population, and Muslims enjoying a dramatically higher, if falling, fertility rate. Amsterdam and Rotterdam, in about 2015, are expected to be the first large majority-Muslim cities.
So I'll make a prediction. These cities will become the crime capitals of the Western world. They will have huge numbers of people dependent on the state, they will vote in politicians who will feed that dependency and the crime rate will soar due to a surplus of young, unemployed males with no job prospects.
Russia could become a Muslim-majority country in 2050. To employ enough workers to fund existing pension plans, Europe needs millions of immigrants, and these tend to be disproportionately Muslim due to reasons of proximity, colonial ties and the turmoil in majority-Muslim countries.

In addition, many Europeans no longer cherish their history, mores and customs. Guilt about fascism, racism and imperialism leaves many with a sense that their own culture has less value than that of immigrants.
Congratulations to the Political Correctness (aka Cultural Marxism) crowd and their supporters in universities, the media and the political left for their success in bringing Europe to its cultural knees. The Frankfurt School and its proponents of Critical Theory would be proud. The gotcha for them is that instead of ending up with a socialised Europe they're going to end up with a Muslim Europe.
Such self-disdain has direct implications for Muslim immigrants, for if Europeans shun their own ways, why should immigrants adopt them? When added to the existing Muslim hesitations over much that is Western, especially concerns about sexuality, the result is Muslim populations who strongly resist assimilation.

The logic of this first path leads to Europe ultimately becoming an extension of North Africa.
Quite correct. One can't beat bad values with no values.
* But the first path is not inevitable. Indigenous Europeans could resist it and, as they make up 95per cent of the continent's population, they can at any time reassert control should they see Muslims posing a threat to a valued way of life.

This impulse can be seen at work in the French anti-hijab legislation or in Geert Wilders's film, Fitna. Anti-immigrant parties gain in strength; a potential nativist movement is taking shape across Europe as political parties opposed to immigration focus increasingly on Islam and Muslims. These parties include the British National Party, Belgium's Vlaamse Belang, France's National Front, the Austrian Freedom Party, the Party for Freedom in The Netherlands and the Danish People's Party.
This is another point I have been making and is the reason that I have Britain and Germany ahead of the rest as the next nations to have fascist governments. The rise of national socialist governments in response to those countries' problems - which will be blamed on immigrants rather than the real culprit of left wing policies - seems inevitable.
They are likely to continue to grow as immigration surges ever higher, with mainstream parties paying and expropriating their anti-Islamic message. Should nationalist parties gain power, they will reject multiculturalism, cut back on immigration, encourage repatriation of immigrants, support Christian institutions, increase indigenous European birthrates and broadly attempt to re-establish traditional ways.
I'm not too sure that nationalist movements will embrace Christian institutions. Otherwise I agree with Pipes.
Muslim alarm is likely to follow. US author Ralph Peters sketches a scenario in which "US Navy ships are at anchor and US marines have gone ashore at Brest, Bremerhaven or Bari to guarantee the safe evacuation of Europe's Muslims".
Which would be hugely ironic, really. However, the United States is the only country in the world that is prepared to send its soldiers into harm's way in order to protect those that can't protect themselves so the idea is not that far-fetched.
Peters concludes that because of Europeans' "ineradicable viciousness", the continent's Muslims "are living on borrowed time". As Europeans have "perfected genocide and ethnic cleansing", Muslims, he predicts, "will be lucky just to be deported" rather than being killed.

Indeed, Muslims worry about just such a fate; since the 1980s they have spoken overtly about Muslims being sent to gas chambers. European violence cannot be precluded, but nationalist efforts will more likely take place less violently; if anyone is likely to initiate violence, it is the Muslims.

They have already engaged in many acts of violence and seem to be spoiling for more. Surveys indicate, for instance, that about 5 per cent of British Muslims endorse the 7/7 transport bombings. In brief, a European reassertion will likely lead to ongoing civil strife, perhaps a more lethal version of the 2005 riots in France.
I wonder whether the majority of Muslims now living in Europe understand what will happen to them should the native population go Berserker. I doubt it.
* The ideal outcome has indigenous Europeans and immigrant Muslims finding a way to live together harmoniously and create a new synthesis. A 1991 study, La France, une chance pour l'Islam (France, an Opportunity for Islam), by Jeanne-Helene Kaltenbach and Pierre Patrick Kaltenbach, promoted this idealistic approach. Despite all, this optimism remains the conventional wisdom, as suggested by an Economist leader in 2006 that dismissed, for the moment at least, the prospect of Eurabia as scaremongering. This is the view of most politicians, journalists, and academics, but it has little basis in fact.
These people are mainly of the left hand side of politics so facts are simply an inconvenience.
Yes, indigenous Europeans could yet rediscover their Christian faith, make more babies and again cherish their heritage. Yes, they could encourage non-Muslim immigration and acculturate Muslims already living in Europe. Yes, Muslim could accept historic Europe. But not only are such developments not under way, their prospects are dim. In particular, young Muslims are cultivating grievances and nursing ambitions at odds with their neighbours.

One can virtually dismiss from consideration the prospect of Muslims accepting historic Europe and integrating within it. American columnist Dennis Prager agrees: "It is difficult to imagine any other future scenario for western Europe than its becoming Islamicised or having a civil war." But which of those two remaining paths will the continent take?

Forecasting is difficult because the crisis has not yet struck. But it may not be far off. Within a decade, perhaps, the continent's evolution will become clear as the Europe-Muslim relationship takes shape.

The unprecedented nature of Europe's situation also renders a forecast exceedingly difficult. Never in history has a civilisation peaceably dissolved, nor has a people risen to reclaim its patrimony. Europe's unique circumstances make the outcome difficult to comprehend, tempting to overlook and virtually impossible to predict. With Europe, we all enter into terra incognita.
I disagree. I believe that we enter into the terra cognita of two outcomes - Umma or Bloodshed.

(Nothing Follows)