Monday, February 28, 2011

Story possibly apocryphal

Leftard flip-flops

After months of claiming British service provider Serco's misdeeds are ignored by the mainstream media Antony Loewenstein suddenly today flip-flops:
British multinational Serco is constantly in the news, the company that runs all of Australia’s detention centres with little or no accountability; just the way they like it.
This is the same Antony Loewenstein who bogusly claimed he couldn't get his anti-Israel message out because Australia's Jews endeavoured to "silence" him.

Unlike Loewenstein, who is not held to account for the crap he writes and his repeated copyright violations, Serco and its employees are accountable.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Crikey political "analyst" clueless, as usual

Analysis from a Crikey political media expert:
Labor now has a huge fight on its hands, trying to explain a difficult policy to voters in respect of which the media and certain vested interests are, it turns out, implacably hostile. Gillard – who before the election made it very clear she saw a “carbon price” and a “carbon tax” as two different things, and that whilst she ruled out the latter she believed in the former – is being pilloried by the shameless for supposedly “changing her mind”. (All you have to do is take her remark about a tax in isolation, and then, ignoring that she always made a distinction between the tax and a price, argue that the carbon price policy is a tax and therefore she broke her own promise according to your definition you know she made clear when making the earlier remark she didn’t share.)
Is that clear... as mud?

The Prime Minister is of the opinion she flip-flopped, however:
Prime Minister Julia Gillard has admitted she promised there would be no carbon tax during the election and said circumstances had changed.

She qualified her comments made a week before the August 2010 poll, arguing her Government had wanted to legislate for an emissions trading scheme.

"Yes, I did say that and circumstances have changed," Ms Gillard told Channel 9 today.

"What my vision was was to be elected as Prime Minister and to introduce an emissions trading scheme, which is not a carbon tax."
If Crikey pays its apprentice political expert a cent, he's overpaid.

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Shuttle Discovery to be left in orbit

The ABC News homepage displays the following article summary:
The US space shuttle Discovery has docked with the International Space Station for a final time before it retires over Western Australia.
Rumour has it the astronauts on board will return to Earth by sliding down a carbon fiber rope.

Update The new wording:
Retiring US space shuttle Discovery docked with the International Space Station for the final time, as the two vessels link up over Western Australia.
Jeez, ABC editors even work over weekends.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Wii goes adult sexy

We Dare is a whole new look in Wii action games:
Who needs Mario to get that lady you like hot and bothered? You’ve got these official features:


• Select the mood of your party: Enchanting, Persuasive, Naughty, Adventurous and Brainy.

• Dance to your favourite tunes from film and radio.

• Challenge your mates to a flirty strip-tease.

• Multiplayer up to 4 players.


Tony Abbott Seared

Research averse blogging barrister Jeremy Sear misquotes Tony Abbott:
New Zealanders are family, they’re not foreigners and that’s why this disaster has especially touched the hearts of every Australian. Whatever New Zealand asks, Australia will give. Whatever the Government does, the Coalition will back.
A full-on Sear rantrum follows:
Of course! THEY’RE NOT FOREIGNERS. Well, sure, technically they are, but, well, you know what he means.

You don’t know what he means because it’s an absurd thing to say?

He means that many of them are of Anglo-Saxon descent who speak English as a first language – just like the kind of Australians he thinks of when he’s trying to figure out who’s “foreign” or not.

Yes, apparently “that’s why” the Coalition is 100% on board this time, why no expense is to be spared. But remember the qualification. If they weren’t “family” – ie, ethnically similar to Tony Abbott – then things would, it seems, be quite different.

Tony’s unsympathetic attitude towards asylum seekers from non-English-speaking countries makes a lot more sense after that admission.
Here's the full, slightly different, Abbott quote:
Obviously I support the Prime Minister’s remarks. I welcome the measures to support New Zealand which she has announced to the House, including the donation of $5 million to the New Zealand earthquake appeal. As the Prime Minister has said, New Zealanders are family; they are not foreigners, and that is why this disaster has especially touched the hearts of every Australian. Almost all of us have family and friends across the Tasman, so our thoughts and prayers have become even more focused and intense over the past 24 hours as news of the scale of the disaster unfolds. It is especially poignant now that we know that an Australian is amongst the dead.

The coalition stands shoulder to shoulder with the government on this one. Whatever New Zealand asks Australia will give. Whatever the government does the coalition will back.
The crucial highlighted words above, omitted from Sear's quote, clearly show that Abbott was echoing the Prime Minister's characterisation of Australia's special relationship with New Zealand:
I describe New Zealanders as family to Australians. Today our family are suffering a very devastating blow, with an earthquake of a magnitude of 6.3 on the Richter scale hitting Christchurch and its surrounding districts.


Prime Minister Key said to me that when he is in the position to make a further assessment he will let me know, but if we have a capability that our family in New Zealand needs then we will certainly get it across to them.
And Gillard again the following day:
New Zealanders are like family to us. They are like family in good times and bad. This is a very, very bad time. We will be with them during this very bad time, and whatever assistance they need that we can provide we will certainly make available.
In view of the fact that New Zealand was for a time, during the colonial period, part of New South Wales it is not unreasonable to regard Kiwis as family. You know, as sort of trans-Tasman Tasmanians.

Anyway, unaware that Gillard too regards New Zealanders as family, and therefore not as foreigners, Sear's commenters jump on the anti-Abbott rant-wagon.

His post drawing over 70 comments at his personal blog Sear uses the Abbott misquote in the latest Pure Poison poocast (pick it up at 7:50), the PPboyz strongly suggesting that Abbott's compassion is evidence of racism – he would not be nearly so concerned with the plight of disaster-struck, non-white foreigners. There is no mention of Gillard's racism, however.

By the way, Sear didn't monkey around with the Abbott quote, he made the mistake of relying on the ABC – Mark Colvin, PM – to quote accurately. He should, however, research his posts properly in the future; you know, to limit embarrassment to just the stupid stuff he writes.

Update Correcting the PPboyz would be a full-time job for anyone so inclined. Also in the latest podcast, Dave and Jeremy have a very iffy go at Caroline Overington (pick it up at 11:00).

Here's the full story. The Australian's Matthew Franklin objected to a comment at Poll Bludger presented as a "satirical article" – Jeremy Sear's description – with this further description from Crikey editor Sophie Black:
The comment, # 502 of more than 1400 at the time (there are now 2285 comments on that post), was an attempt at satire aimed at —  we think — Tony Abbott, the notion of mateship, Pastor Danny Naliah, the coalition’s line on the flood levy and The Australian and/or Franklin. It was presented in the style of a breaking news article from The Australian about the New Zealand earthquakes, below the byline of Matthew Franklin.
The comment was removed, Overington summing up in the print edition of the Australian:

Overington's language is perhaps a bit loose but she is correct, even Sear describing the comment as an "article". Yet in the same podcast where Sear describes the comment as an "article" he raves on and on about how Overington and the Australian can't distinguish between articles and comments.

Also, Dave gives the wrong headline for Overington's article and Jeremy misuses "smarmy".

Sorry folks, I had to stop listening with over 20 minutes remaining in the podcast: wading through shit can't be healthy.

Update II Jeremy issues one of his almost corrections, noting that Gillard also regards New Zealanders as family, but failing to note that he misquoted Abbott and adding this absurd qualification:
She didn’t make the link between their alleged “family” status and support quite as explicitly as Abbott...
Abbott, in his brief remarks, twice refers to New Zealanders as family, this in direct response to Gillard's New Zealanders are family cue.

In fact, Gillard refers to New Zealanders as "family" six times over two days of parliamentary debate, concluding her remarks:
We will continue to respond to the needs of New Zealand. I know that the thoughts of all Australians are with New Zealanders as we have watched the devastation on our TV screens. New Zealanders are like family to us. They are like family in good times and bad. This is a very, very bad time. We will be with them during this very bad time, and whatever assistance they need that we can provide we will certainly make available.
And a week prior to the Christchurch earthquake on a visit to New Zealand Gillard says:
Australia has many alliances and friends around the world ... but New Zealand alone is family.
In choosing to ignore that Abbott merely restated Gillard's sentiments Sear is displaying exactly the "intellectual dishonesty, the flimsy arguments and the distorted data" he claims to seek to expose and debunk. In doing so he yet again makes fools of himself and his Crikey employers.

Update III Jeremy's almost correction (above) is at his personal blog. The Pure Poison podcast misquoting Abbott with both Dave and Jeremy making a really deal out of it – with strong suggestions of racism – remains uncorrected, however. Jeremy doesn't like to admit when he's wrong.

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Designer insult

Incensed at being identified as a "dirty and disgusting" bum, Dior's "flamboyant" star designer John Galliano fires back the ultimate fashionista insult:
You're ugly and you're f**king bag is ugly too.
Galliano is also credited with several less fashionable jibes:
France's Europe 1 radio quoted the couple, a man and a woman, as alleging that Galliano said in English: "Dirty Jewish face, you should be dead" and "F**king Asian bastard, I will kill you."
Dior has suspended Galliano.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Donald Rumsfeld and David Letterman discuss mules, presidents and government spending

Conservatives better looking

No surprises here:
A study conducted by Swedish and Finnish economists has shown that Swedes find politicians on the right of the political scale to be better looking than their left wing counterparts and reward them for it at the ballot box.
Which helps explain why this politically active Lefty has yet to run for office.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

ABC not far enough Left

ABC News carbon-price coverage commences on 18 February:
The Federal Government has indicated that it will be months before a deal on carbon pricing is reached.
Today the ABC updates:
Prime Minister Julia Gillard says the Government's carbon price scheme will be rolled out from July 2012.
Research-averse PP boy Jeremy Sear nonetheless reckons the ABC is taking sides in publishing the opposition reaction. Hey, the government pays the bills so the ABC should promote the government line.

Update Lefty Sear will no be aghast at the ABC's latest:
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has lashed out at the [carbon price] plan, which he says is a historic betrayal of the Australian people.

"Nothing is more fake than making a promise to the Australian people before an election and breaking it after the election," he said.

Business groups have a long list of questions following Ms Gillard's announcement and say there are huge gaps to be filled in.

They are concerned the Multi-Party Climate Change Committee has not set a 2020 target for emissions cuts.
Oh my God! People have questions!

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Christchruch quake map

Click the link to view a map showing Christchurch earthquakes over selectable time periods.

Update An estimated 300 persons are still unaccounted for, with worst-case estimates that "80 to 100" people could be trapped in the rubble of single building.

Ant and spider problems

An exclusive Crikey investigation reveals lots of anonymous allegations of problems at the Villawood detention centre, amongst which: ant and spider infestations. So does the government call in the experts from Raid or Mortein?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Mercenaries privatised

"Expert" analysis from a Middle East "specialist":
There’s something morally and legally sick that in post 2003 Iraq (and to this day) privatised mercenaries are the way the Western states maintain their power in the country,
All mercenaries are "privatised" in that they fight for private gain, you idiot.

PP boyz ignore total lack of evidence

Scientists have looked for but to date have uncovered no increase in damage resulting from natural disasters predicted to be more severe as a result of the effects of global warming. This is confirmed by the latest such study, conducted by economists Eric Neumayer and Fabian Barthel. Thus both Tim Lambert and the PP boy Dave Gaukroger were wrong to attack Andrew Bolt and The Australian for publicising excerpts from the Neumayer and Barthel study.

Yet the PP boyz in their latest podcast (pick it up at 10:00) ignore Neumayer and Barthel's disclaimer that "there is no evidence for a rising long-term trend in so-called 'normalized' disaster damage", instead placing emphasis on Neumayer and Barthel's secondary disclaimer:
Due to our inability to control for defensive mitigation measures, one cannot infer from our analysis that there have definitely not been more frequent and/or more intensive weather-related natural hazards over the study period already.
The PP boyz try to spin the study's results so as to damn Bolt and The Australian but there's no getting around the fact that scientists' have so far failed to find the expected natural disaster enhancement produced by rising temperatures.

PP boy Dave Gaukroger was wrong in his original post and even more wrong in the follow-up in the Pure Poison podcast, which is yet more of same old inaccurate Lefty bullshit.

Update Foundation PP boy Jeremy Sear bemoans the lack of coverage of the Broadmeadows byelection only to be corrected by the ABC's respected election analyst Antony Green. Click on Green's comment and observe Jeremy's subsequent furious back-pedaling as he attempts to excuse his researching incompetence.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Lead-foot must be deep-sixed

W.A. Transport Minister Troy Buswell refuses to resign as Transport Minister despite receiving nine speeding infringements and accumulating eight demerit points over in the past three years.

Not good enough: the government can't have a Transport Minister who repeatedly flouts the law while West Australians are continually berated for irresponsible driving and reminded that "speed kills".

Buswell must go and that's all there is to it.

Quick-fingered female driver

Two twenty-something females in an older car with windows dirt-caked on the inside whizzed past me in a school zone. Their speed didn't help them any as I caught up to them at the first traffic light, the two females gawking and craning their heads to see something of interest in the road side Salvation Army shop. The light turned green and they just sat there gawking, so I eventually gave them a quick toot. The driver didn't pull away, instead looking in the mirror and giving me the finger.

By the time the aggressive young lady pulled forward the light was red, the dumb-ass continuing to look in her mirror while giving me a mouthful, so she didn't notice that the green turning arrow was illuminated. The guy in the car behind me eventually tired of waiting at a green light and tooted his horn, the young female again lofting her finger. Just then the head of an unsecured young child – probably around three – popped up in the back seat and turned to take in the action. Idiot mother.

After making the turn I quickly accelerated around the hoonette, the young female giving me the finger as I went past, continuing to gesture even when I was in front of her pulling away smartly.

Now since this young idiot reacted so strongly after she made several minor driving errors, just try to imagine how aggressively she will likely react if she does something really stupid behind the wheel. The world is full of idiot drivers, many of them young, and an increasing number of them females.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Digger's death at the hands of "legitimate" insurgents "necessary"

With the death of sapper Jamie Ronald Larcombe 23 Australian soldiers have died in Afghanistan. It is perhaps unseemly to broach this so soon after Larcombe's untimely death in the service of his country but I would like to ask a question of Antony Loewenstein: Antony, do you mourn the deaths of Australians serving in Afghanistan, or do you view soldiers' deaths at the hands of "legitimate" insurgents as a "necessary" prerequisite to the desired defeat of coalition forces?

Perhaps either the host or one of the panelists could ask this question of Loewenstein the next time he's on The Drum pitching the view from the fringe Left.

Update More Loewenstein idiocy:
Here’s an idea; don’t sell weapons to any state that kills its own citizens (including Israel)
This brings to mind two more questions for Loewenstein: have you ever considered remedial English instruction; and, which Israeli citizens has Israel killed?

Tasty sells

A McDonalds deal for a 1623 calorie meal – Big Mac, cheese burger, medium fries, sundae and Coke – containing a whopping 68.5 grams of fat is proving popular, whereas the 422 calorie Wrap Combo – seared sweet chilli wrap, Mount Franklin water, fruit bag and garden salad – is less so.

So, who's irresponsible here, McDonalds for offering what sells, or the public for choosing the calorie and fat-rich gut-expander over the healthier alternative? Dietician Tania Ferraretto blames McDonalds:
I think it's completely irresponsible and ridiculous to promote a meal like this, especially in the current climate with obesity being such a problem.
Jeez Tania, surely anyone with the brain power needed to get to McDonalds and pay for their food would have to know that two burgers, fries, sundae and a Coke might be fattening. Caveat emptor.

Wikileaks paradox

Professor of the public understanding of technology John Naughton sees an urgent need for Wikileaks and similar organisations:
In a world increasingly dominated by secretive, unaccountable corporations and in which authoritarian regimes continue to flourish, we will need robust technologies for ensuring that some secrets cannot be kept.
Naughton fails to see the paradox here, however: Wikileaks is itself secretive and unaccountable, and is run by an authoritarian.

Former Assange colleague Daniel Domscheit-Berg sums it up quite nicely:
Julian has become exactly the kind of person he despised - at least I do have that impression. There's barely anyone, whether it's the Guardian, the BBC or myself who criticises him and doesn't get mail from his lawyer.
Challenge the mighty and suffer the consequences.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Islamists on the move in Tunisia

Religious opportunists seek to take advantage of the popular overthrow of the Tunisian government:
Tunisian police have dispersed dozens of Islamists demanding the closure of a brothel in the capital Tunis.

The police reportedly fired in the air to break up the crowd.

Separately, a Polish Catholic priest was found dead with his throat slit outside the capital.
Islamists will seek to fill any political vacuum in the Middle East. Keep your eyes on Egypt.

Useful Australian idiot supports the Taliban

Blogging from a secure location – the spare bedroom of his parents' home – an Australian sides with the thugs who think nothing of indiscriminately killing civilians with road-side bombs and eagerly chop off the noses of uppity females:
And here’s the rub; resisting foreign occupation, as the vast bulk of the Afghan resistance is doing, isn’t illegitimate. It’s both legal and necessary.
The defeat of "occupation" forces is therefore in the best interests of all concerned; if this requires the deaths of Australian soldiers, so be it.

And what's with this idiot using a semicolon in place of a colon?

Editing note: the title of the post has been adjusted to remove spelling errors and duplicate wording. Posting during Saturday beer time is probably not a good idea.

Lefty dumbness preserved for all eternity

The National Library of Australia has added Antony Loewenstein to its Pandora internet archive, thus proving that lack of both knowledge and writing talent does not hinder the chance of one's writing being preserved for eternity.

Loewenstein joins the already archived Grods, Anonymous Lefty and Larvatus Prodeo. At some point way in the future someone will stumble on such sites and think quietly to himself, what the fuck?

Google ignored

Always keen to whine, Crikey correspondent Jeremy Sear finds fault with the mainstream media:
There’s a by-election being held in Broadmeadows today.

Apparently nobody really cares what the people of Broadmeadows think, however, because coverage of it today here in Victoria is next to nonexistent.
Had Jeremy bothered to check Google News he would have found ample coverage.

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Patient nabbed

Perth police get their man:
Detectives charged Malcolm Westall after the dramatic high-speed pursuit at his hospital bedside.
Fortunately no-one was injured when Westall rammed a police wheelchair.

Trans-Tasman toads

The RSPCA is unimpressed with Queenslanders' preferred cane toad termination method, asking that toads be bagged, refrigerated and then frozen rather than being whacked with a golf club. An alternative nonviolent disposal method: "Mail it off to New Zealand".

Price shock

West Australians have been slugged with electricity price increases of 46% over two years with prices predicted to increase by another 36% over the next three years. That forecast could prove optimistic, however:
And if Prime Minister Julia Gillard introduces a carbon price or an emissions trading scheme, [Treasurer Christian] Porter said those forecasts could be torn up.

"If either or both of those things happen, what you're going to have is the biggest jump in electricity prices we've ever seen," he said.
So it looks like candles and cooking fires might make a comeback.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The far Left has this thing about Jews

The Drum today publishes a rant by Jeff Sparrow, another of its stable of Leftist contributors:
[Melanie] Phillips is a notorious Bedlamite, who describes global warming as ‘a scam’ and fears that gay marriage will foster bestiality. In The Oz, however, she rehearsed perhaps her favourite theme: the conspiracy between Muslims and the Left to take over the world.
Sparrow bolsters his argument with nary a Phillips quote, however, because he grossly misrepresents the thrust of Phillips' article: she does not allege a Leftists/Islamist conspiracy, rather arguing that since both Leftists and Islamist are anti-western, the Left is naturally inclined to act as useful idiots in supporting Islamist causes.

Sparrow also makes this truly odd observation:
Again, this is a staple trope of classical anti-Semitism, running all the way back to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Had Phillips been attacking Jews, her piece would have run quite nicely on Stormfront (no, no link). But because her crackpottery aims at Muslims, it becomes racyist rather than racist, and thus an acceptable, albeit provocative, op ed for a mainstream newspaper.
But there's more:
Consider, for instance, the following propositions. The Jews will not integrate. The Jews are more fertile than Christians and that fecundity is fostering their takeover. Either, Europe will soon be Judaised, or there will be a civil war, especially since the Jews will probably resort to violence in their attempts to take over.

Unthinkably racist, right?

Yet that’s more-or-less a straight précis of a speech by the visiting American writer Daniel Pipes at a Quadrant dinner here in Australia a few years ago.

Except, of course, he was talking about Muslims, not Jews.
The problem here is that European Jews are not out-reproducing indigenous Europeans and are not perpetrating conspiratorial religious violence whereas a sizable percentage of Muslims certainly are. Regardless, it is inappropriate for Sparrow to drag Jews – effectively a racial group – into a discussion about Islam, a mere religion.

Even though Sparrow's piece is is utter hogwash – he even manages to mention Republicans – its publishing at The Drum results in its inclusion as a news item by Google News.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

ABC News, cheaply-bought opinion masquerading as analysis

Michael Brull, a regular contributor at the ABC's The Drum, is cited as an authoritative source based on writing "a featured blog at Independent Australian Jewish Voices", yet his most recent post at IAJV was posted in September 2009. In any event, it is unclear exactly how an association with IAJV works in Brull's favour.

Brull's latest contribution to the The Drum is yet more of the same tired Lefty bullshit:
Given the extreme rhetoric coming from the US, we should also be careful about any rendition program for Assange, without gaining credible assurances that he would not face torture or extra-judicial punishment.
As if the United States is going to send in a drone to zap Assange from above or perhaps abduct and imprison him without charge.
When talking about Assange, it has seemed to me important to uphold a very basic principle: that people are not to be judged guilty of crimes until they are found guilty of those crimes in courts of law.
Thus Brull will no doubt be content should Assange be indicted by a U.S. grand jury, tried and found guilty of whatever he might be charged with.

In reality Assange and his Wikileaks colleagues are mere middlemen in leaking government secrets of of no importance whatsoever.

The ABC publishes cheaply-bought opinions by Brull and other die-hard Lefties with no claim to fame rather than pay real journalists to make meaningful contributions. Such is the nature of meaningless citizen journalism.

Jeremy Sear's journalist friends

PP boy Jeremy Sear writes:
In contrast to #lolbolt's blather, I don't know any journalists who agreed with the "insult to the troops" line, let alone "the pack".
More truthfully: Jeremy doesn’t know any journalists at all.

Update Jeremy notes the Business Council of Australia's clarification of its position on the disability support pension – that the disability support pension is "unsustainable both fiscally and interms of its impact on the incentives for workforce participation" – but refuses to acknowledge that the BCA did not call for pension cuts.

In the same post Jeremy objects to a contributor to The Punch writing under a pseudonym:
Obviously I don’t have a problem with people writing pseudonymously per se (I did it myself for several years) and it can indeed be the only way for certain people to participate in public discourse without having their livelihoods put at risk.

Except it’s a bit different when it’s a website run by the biggest media company in the country...
Hmm, Jeremy didn't object to sharing Pure Poison writing duties with pseudonymous contributors Ant Rogenous and Tobias Ziegler but it's somehow improper when the mighty News Ltd publishes pseudonymous contributions. Like all Lefties, hypocrite Jeremy insists on playing by his own rules.

Update II Had Jeremy properly researched the BCA proposal he wouldn't need to update on the 17th a post published on the 16th by linking to a BCA news release dated the 14th. This is what happens when Crikey allows an amateur to play journalist.

Update III Jeremy objects to pseudonyms but engages in anonymous sock-puppeting.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Indians dumbed down

Australian "wordsmith" and authority on nothing, Antony Loewenstein, has written an article for "leading Indian magazine Tehelka" featuring the following gems of wisdom:
Zionism has thrived due to Arab leader corruption and silence in the face of occupation against Palestinian lands.


The resignation of President Hosni Mubarak is the first necessary step in restoring dignity to the Egyptian political process, though it is only the beginning.


Today, the Muslim world sees what is possible with weeks of determined protest; America and Israel no longer control the agenda of who rules the Arab street.


Tel Aviv is already fearful of what true democracy may mean for its position.


Besides, the western world has consistently refused to accept to its own detriment the legitimate positions of many Muslims since 11 September 2001 who wants their religion integrated into a democratic system.


Former Egyptian President Mubarak, wholly supported by Washington and Tel Aviv for three decades and much of the US corporate press, has shaped a state that routinely tortured its own citizens as well as suspects in the American-led “war on terror.”


Take former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who told CNN that Mubarak had been ‘immensely courageous and a force for good’ in the Middle East over the Israel-Palestine ‘peace process’.


Why should only Israeli Jews be allowed freedom in the region? Must Arabs be suppressed for the pleasure of the Zionist state?

Sixty years is more than enough of this paradigm. And Arab people-power has loudly announced that it won’t tolerate decades more living under autocracy.
The keys to Loewenstein's success as an "analyst" are clear: describe Israel as the major evil in the world today, back it up with semi-intelligible arguments, and someone, somewhere is bound to publish it.

Business Council of Australia Seared, twice

As previously noted, the Left is all frothy at the mouth that the Business Council of Australia has proposed a review of the disability support pension with a view to getting employable recipients back to work.

Such is the reaction to this sensible proposal that the BCA saw fit on Monday to issue a clarification:
The BCA has not recommended that disability support pensions be cut or reduced to fund the flood reconstruction effort or as an alternative to the flood levy, as was reported this morning.

The approach to the reconstruction effort recommended in the BCA’s 2011–12 Budget Submission is that the federal government should first focus on reducing or resequencing spending on programs that give least value for money.

Longer term, the BCA submission recommends that steps be taken to place the nation’s finances on a more secure footing for the future, including policies that provide opportunities for people who want to work and are capable of working to enter the paid workforce.
Yet today research-averse PP boy Jeremy Sear, based on what he assumes its position is, again hammers the BCA for allegedly proposing "to save rich Australians from having to pay a flood levy by slashing funding for the disabled", the proposal "roundly condemned by pretty much everyone for the monstrously inhuman cruelty that it was", when, in fact, the proposal was tentatively supported by the Australian Human Rights Commission's disability discrimination commissioner.

It is ludicrous that barrister Jeremy, trained to examine issues in detail so as to not go off half-cocked, could get it so wrong; and in doing so be guilty of providing a "flimsy argument", which as a Pure Poison blogger he is meant to expose rather than propose. Jeremy should now expose himself.

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cyclone Yasi not a super-cyclone

Contrary to the hype, Yasi was not the mother of all storms:
Severe Tropical Cyclone Yasi, which hit North Queensland last week, was one of the more intense cyclones in Australia's recent history.

A massive category 5 storm over 600 kilometres wide, it clocked wind speeds of 295 kilometres per hour at its greatest intensity.

But it was no super-cyclone, nor was it the biggest cyclone Australia has ever seen, says Dr Jeff Kepert, head of the High Impact Weather Research Team in the Bureau of Meteorology.
Yasi, a "marginal Category 5 system", was a powerful storm but wasn't the exceptional cyclone it was made out to be.

Knee-jerk analysis from the ABC

A controversial call for fiscal restraint from corporate interests:
The Business Council says cuts to disability services and foreign aid should be considered as alternatives to the flood levy.
Enlightened Lefty Jeremy Sear is aghast that life-long government handouts to both the genuinely disabled and to substance abusers, who are unemployable by choice, might be reviewed:
I’m surprised the BCA isn’t just straight out bashing the unemployed – surely it realises that picking on the disabled is likely to be torn to pieces – but, either way, what a repulsively typical approach.
Not surprisingly, Sue Cato, a guest on the ABC's The Drum, toes the Lefty line by saying that the BCA suggestion is "unlikely to get a lot of support". The Daily Telegraph's Joe Hildebrand jumps on the anti-business bandwagon as does Antony Loewenstein, who says that the proposal doesn't deserve the support of anyone.

Well, surprise, surprise:
The Australian Human Rights Commission's disability discrimination commissioner has backed calls to get people off the disability pension and back into work.
So, the BCA's call for a review of disability pension entitlements isn't at all outrageous. And many working Australians might seriously doubt that drug users and alcoholics should have perpetual entitlement to disability pensions.

Update The Drum also considers the impact on Private Bradley Manning of Julain Assange's decision to continue releasing confidential cables apparently provided by Manning. It is pointed out that Wikileaks and Assange have virtually ignored Manning, concentrating instead on Assange's claim that he is a victim of a political vendetta – click the link and pick up the discussion at 29:45. Antony Loewenstein attempts to discuss the issues but has no clue.

Update II Four Corners investigates Manning's plight:
While WikiLeaks boss Julian Assange has been cast as a heroic champion of free speech, his ongoing expose of US foreign policy would not have been possible without the work of Private Bradley Manning. It was Manning who allegedly stole the classified documents published by WikiLeaks. It is Manning who now languishes in a US military prison.

Now reporter Quentin McDermott tells the inside story of Bradley Manning and his daring intelligence heist.
Extended interviews of Assange, Daniel Domscheit-Berg and others are available here.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Assange to reap what he has sown

Interviewed on 60 Minutes, Julian Assange refuses to confirm that Wikileaks holds the hard drive of a Bank of America executive.

Yet here's Assange way back in October 2009:
"At the moment, for example, we are sitting on 5GB from Bank of America, one of the executive's hard drives," he said. "Now how do we present that? It's a difficult problem. We could just dump it all into one giant Zip file, but we know for a fact that has limited impact. To have impact, it needs to be easy for people to dive in and search it and get something out of it."
60 Minutes interviewer Steve Kroft doesn't note Assange's prior Bank of America revelation thus allowing Assange to childishly gloat "it's great" that not only Bank of America but all major American banks are "squirming" at the prospect Wikileaks holds information that might prove damaging – Assange has claimed Wikileaks holds data that ”could take down a bank or two.”

But according to Reuters the bank data is "dated" and Assange is "unable to make much sense of it", the article pointing to the obvious:
The contrast between the schadenfreude with which he has talked about the bank documentation in public and the caution with which he has described the material in private may provide fresh ammunition to opponents of Assange, who have accused him of hyping revelations and promoting conspiracy theories for personal and political gain.
Assange isn't at all interested in transparency or informing the public, rather he aims to play a major role in the attempted destruction of the United States. Former colleague Daniel Domscheit-Berg confirms the appeal of this anti-American bent:
A lot of people probably think it's fashionable to run around sporting "Support Julian Assange" buttons and stickers. These are the same sorts of people who reflexively applaud every time the US suffers any sort of setback.
But feeling the pressure of extradition proceedings and having alienated essentially everyone he's had close contact with Assange now wants to return to Australia:
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says he feels betrayed by his former confidants and is considering a return to his birthplace in Australia.

Assange, who is in London facing a two-week wait to find out whether he will be extradited to Sweden to face sex crime allegations, spoke to Dateline's Mark Davis in an interview to air on SBS tonight.

He reveals in the interview that he could publish more material which might compromise the Australian government.
Thus Assange wants the Australian government to pull his bacon out of the fire he himself created or suffer the consequences of possibly damaging leaks.

Assange's mummy even demands that the Australian government intervene to force Sweden "to drop the extradition case against Julian".

But as Daniel Domscheit-Berg notes, alleged sexual impropriety is a personal matter that Assange must himself confront:
The rape accusations from Sweden against him have nothing to do with WikiLeaks. They're about Julian as a private person and two women, and he should face those accusations. Sweden is not known for its hanging judges, its susceptibility to American influence, or a judicial system that lacks transparency. If Julian is innocent, and I presume he is unless and until the opposite is proved, he has nothing to fear.
In reality Assange has much to fear: he's a megalomaniac who insists on playing by his own rules. Unfortunately, pissing off everyone you come into contact with results in people queuing up for revenge.

Editing note: The title of the post has been changed from "sewn" to "sown".

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Motorcycles are dangerous

Four people have been killed on West Australian roads over the weekend, three of them motorcyclists. One of the victims was apparently new to motorcycling and unable to cope with high winds – she was unseated and run over by a following 4-wheel drive.

In over 40 years of motorcycling I'm fortunate to have been involved in only one minor accident: I hit the front brake too hard at low speed trying to avoid hitting a cat on a wet road that was very slick having not been rinsed clean after receiving no significant rain for months. I wasn't injured and the bike suffered only cosmetic damage.

Whereas I'm a competent rider, I'm always very cautious, especially when riding in traffic or on unfamiliar roads. When riding a bike with ample power it's always tempting to accelerate quickly, which can be very dangerous in areas where there are cross streets – less than alert drives can easily underestimate the speed of a quickly accelerating motorbike.

Also, some drivers just do not pay attention to what they should be doing behind the wheel. It's therefore very important for motorcyclists to be hyper-alert and to anticipate the actions of other road users. Just a few days ago a youngish fellow in an SUV pulled out in front of me; the dope not even aware that I was approaching until I had come to a complete stop. Had I not anticipated that this particular car was going to pull out in front of me I would have T-boned an immovable object.

Many motorcyclists are not so cautious, however. I always speed, at least marginally, and often get overtaken by other motorcyclists, some whizzing past me with only inches to spare.

Motorcycling is a liberating but hazardous experience that can prove deadly as a result of the briefest lapse in concentration. For the inexperienced, and the foolhardy intoxicated by the power, it can be a quick ride to the morgue.

Arabs finally tire of Jewish rule

The title of a blog post linking to a piece by Tariq Ali: What decades of US/Israeli rule has done to the Arab world. Strangely, the article says nothing, nada, zip, about Israeli hegemony. No matter, by reading between the lines it's obvious that Jews are the Arab world's biggest problem. Really.

The Australian and Andrew Bolt Lamberted and PPed on

Australian Lefties are obsessed with News Ltd in general and Andrew Bolt in particular so it's no surprise that both Tim Lambert and Pure Poison – actually some guy named Wayne guest posting – attack Bolt and The Australian for quoting from a peer-reviewed study. The objectionable quote:
Applying both [conventional and alternative] methods to the most comprehensive existing global dataset of natural disaster loss [provided by Munich Re], in general we find no significant upward trends in normalised disaster damage over the period 1980-2009 globally, regionally, for specific disasters or for specific disasters in specific regions.
Both Lambert and guest PPer Wayne accuse Bolt and The Australian of intentionally deceiving readers through omission of the following sentence:
Due to our inability to control for defensive mitigation measures, one cannot infer from our analysis that there have definitely not been more frequent and/or more intensive weather-related natural hazards over the study period already.
So Bolt and The Australian on the face of it look silly for concluding, contrary to the study's disclaimer, that weather-related natural hazards have increased in neither frequency nor intensity.

But since we're dealing here with notorious fact-manipulator Lambert, and the perennially iffy PP boyz, it's a good idea to take a closer look at the quoted study, the first sentence of which is shaky indeed:
Climate change is likely to lead to an increase in the frequency and/or intensity of certain types of natural hazards, if not globally, then at least in certain regions.
That sentence would more accurately read, "Models predict that climate change is likely to..."

But there's more if one looks beyond the study's abstract:
Existing scholarship comes to the conclusion that while natural variability in weather patterns can explain some of the variability in disaster losses (Pielke and Landsea 1998; Katz 2002; Pielke et al. 2008; Schmidt, Kemfert and Höppe 2009), there is no evidence for a rising long-term trend in so-called “normalized” disaster damage, which is the damage after adjustments for wealth changes over time. To be sure, even if a trend was detected, one needs to be careful in attributing such a trend to anthropogenic climate change, i.e. climate change caused by man-made greenhouse gas emissions, since natural climate variability could provide an alternative explanation.
Thus this latest study confirms prior studies failing to find an increase in natural disasters – if anything Bolt and The Australian understated reality in not noting that a series of studies fails to link climate change to natural disasters.

This is yet another example of Lefties engaging in the intellectual dishonesty they claim to abhor.

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Low demand for hybrids new and used

The latest hybrid car sales figures:
Just 95 of the 273 Hybrid Camrys sold in January were to private buyers, while only 12 of the paltry 50 Prius buyers were listed as private buyers by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.
Hybrids depreciate phenomenally so if you buy one you better plan on keeping it until it dies.

Pure Poison podcast 12: Ronald Reagan's penis

An unusual bit of dishonesty debunking from PP boyz Jeremy Sear and Dave Gaukroger in this week's podcast (segment begins at 27:05): the biggest Hollywood penis belonged not to Milton Berle but to Ronald Reagan. Ron was indeed one amazing guy.

Update It's political penis week at Crikey.

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Government assests grab fails

Spousal and child abuse sometimes goes unreported because arrest and successful prosecution can result in a family's principal money-earner being behind bars. Imagine then the deterrent to reporting that this sort of assets grab might produce:
A Perth woman has welcomed a decision to drop attempts to seize her family's home under Western Australia's tough criminal property confiscation laws.

Her husband was convicted and jailed for child sex offences but his crimes were committed at another house and the State wanted to seize his home in lieu of the other property.
The woman's lawyer sums up quite nicely:
"I could never understand why they were pursuing a family home knowing that they were going to be throwing a wife and two little kids onto the streets," he said.

"I just hope that this forms the policy now with respect to the punishment or lack thereof with respect to innocent third parties."

Friday, February 11, 2011

ABC News: analysis or opinion?

ABC News today publishes via The Drum an "sober analysis" of events in Egypt provided by an independent journalist in Sydney with an axe to grind who offers no special insights or inside knowledge but rather regurgitates views promulgated by anti-western pundits plus information from the mainstream media, this information already known by everyone who is reasonably well-informed.

The "analysis" is not only shallow, it's especially poorly written:
Talking about a truly independent Middle East requires an imagination solely lacking in establishment political circles.
"Analysis" at The Drum is sorely lacking. That's our ABC.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Assange mystique continues to unravel

A former ally, of which there are many, reckons Julian Assange is an attention-seeking, exaggerating control freak:
Inside WikiLeaks is billed as a warts-and-all account of Daniel Domscheit-Berg's time as chief programmer and media spokesman for what his tell-all book calls "the world's most dangerous website".

Set for release in 16 countries from Friday, it says "chaotic" WikiLeaks cannot protect its sources and accuses the "power-obsessed" Mr Assange of being uneconomical with the truth, according to leaked excerpts.
Assange himself admits that pending Wikileaks' revelations touted as "Earth-shattering" are anything but:
The bombshell that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has said could "take down a bank or two" may in fact be something of a dud.

Assange has said privately he does not know if his cache of internal Bank of America (BAC.N) data, whose public release he has suggested might be imminent, contains any big news or scandal, according to three people familiar with the WikiLeaks leader's private discussions about the material.

They said that Assange said it consists of e-mails from the hard-drive of a Bank of America executive's computer and that the latest messages are dated sometime in 2006.

The sources said that Assange privately acknowledged the material was not self-explanatory and that he personally was unable to make much sense of it. Assange indicated it would require a substantial amount of effort by financial experts to determine whether any of the material was newsworthy, according to the sources.

Assange's private characterizations of the Bank of America material as being dated and difficult to interpret contrasts with inflammatory public statements he has made -- some as recently as last month -- touting the significance of bank-related materials WikiLeaks has been planning to publish.
Assange isn't the 21st century's Daniel Ellsberg. In reality he's a pathetic computer nerd with no claim to fame other than his unique ability to piss off one time Swedish female admirers.

Euthanasia debated

Dr Philip Nitschke and Jim Wallace of the Australian Christian Lobby debate a person's right to exit gracefully. If Wallace wants to persuasively argue his case he needs to leave that stupid grin at home.

Australia's imported American obesity, diabetes, allergy and cancer epidemics

The assumed dangers of genetically modified foods greatly worry architect Elizabeth Farrelly who concludes that even though the GM threat to health is unproven the evil American empire is already killing Australians:
Sure, there's no proof of harm. But in this great, global experiment there's no proof, either, of safety. Proof takes time, but science takes industry cash and the US has already led us into epidemic obesity, diabetes, allergy and cancer.
It truly amazing that such fear-mongering nonsense is disseminated by the mainstream media. Why is that Lefties refuse to acknowledge that Australians live not only longer but better than ever?

Affirmative action proposed as necessary to recruit conservative academics

An informal poll conducted by social psychologist Jonathan Haidt at a Society for Personality and Social Psychology conference showed approximately 8oo of the delegates self-identified as liberals, while only three considered themselves conservative.
“This is a statistically impossible lack of diversity,” Dr. Haidt concluded, noting polls showing that 40 percent of Americans are conservative and 20 percent are liberal. In his speech and in an interview, Dr. Haidt argued that social psychologists are a “tribal-moral community” united by “sacred values” that hinder research and damage their credibility — and blind them to the hostile climate they’ve created for non-liberals.
Proof of the stifling quasi-religious academic environment:
Dr. Haidt (pronounced height) told the audience that he had been corresponding with a couple of non-liberal graduate students in social psychology whose experiences reminded him of closeted gay students in the 1980s. He quoted — anonymously — from their e-mails describing how they hid their feelings when colleagues made political small talk and jokes predicated on the assumption that everyone was a liberal.

“I consider myself very middle-of-the-road politically: a social liberal but fiscal conservative. Nonetheless, I avoid the topic of politics around work,” one student wrote. “Given what I’ve read of the literature, I am certain any research I conducted in political psychology would provide contrary findings and, therefore, go unpublished. Although I think I could make a substantial contribution to the knowledge base, and would be excited to do so, I will not.”
One of Haidt's proposed remedies: affirmative action measures designed to achieve "a membership that’s 10 percent conservative by 2020." As if liberals are going to allow preferential hiring of conservatives.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Eight academic experts and a guy off the street

An advert for an informative event conducted jointly by Macquarie University and the University of Sydney:

People's Power?

A list of featured experts follows:

Check that list and you'll find an "expert" with no qualifications whatsoever. Antony Loewenstein was perhaps included as a controversial figure to add spice to what could be a rather dry event – rumour has it Loewenstein will elaborate at length on prominent Jew and closet Zionist New Zealand Prime Minister John Key:
Anthony Loewenstein in his blog has referred to New Zealand’s Prime Minister as “Jewish” in a clear ethnic slur in commenting about Key’s support of Hosni Mubarak and a ‘conservative’ policy by the Kiwis on Egypt. Given that that Keys, whose mother was Jewish, is an agnostic and an occasional church goer, Loewenstein is way out of line.

Unless one thinks that there is a biological cause and effect relation between Key’s ancestry and his foreign policy it it is an irrelevant, facetious and insulting remark, particularly since as far as I know, there is no relationship between Key’s mother’s religion and NZ’s foreign policy. It is true that Key is acknowleged by the NZ Jewish community and Israeli press as a friend of Israel, but Loewenstein has engaged in the same tactic as the extreme right when they talk about Key– that being a Jew is prima facie evidence of a particular ’loyalty’. Never mind that Malcolm Fraser’s mother also had a Jewish background.

One does not have to be critical of Israel to play with anti-Semitic tropes. Even some of my Palestinian contacts are not at all impressed by Lowenstein’s latest. I’ve defended Loewenstein’s right to be critical of Israel in the past, but I’m not falling for this game of his.

Loewenstein has made a habit of using inflammatory language to appeal to his international audience It’s his right to do so, but he should get his facts right and apologize to John Key.
Loewenstein is an authority on nothing; his inclusion as an expert on events in the Arab World discredits the whole event and reflects very badly on the judgment of the organisers.

Update Loewenstein, who claims to frequently receive death threats, posts an example of the "usually anonymous (the bravery is staggering) and often from Jews" threats he continually receives:
The fight is on & the enemy doesn’t distinguish between Israeli Jews or the wider Jewish community. The hate is deep set & rising. The western community is feeling duped about a decade long conflict & is looking for someone to blame. When europeans are dissatisfied with anything they will turn to the old punching bag- dem evil kid killin jude!! Their snarling like hungry rabid dogs & when the catalyst arrives, they will come hunting for us- regardless of political affiliation. You can bow & scrap at the mobs feet as much as you like but don’t ask for our help when they kick you in the teeth. Your on your own. I do not waste my words on blind hate groups & I will no longer waste my time on you- he who is simply known as ‘Antony’.
How does Loewenstein know that anonymous "threats" are from Jews?

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

The Left continues to turn on Assange

Michael Weiss writes in Prospect:
Born in 1814 and justifiably forgotten today for his lack of theoretical rigor or coherent platform, Bakunin, like Assange, fancied himself a principled anarchist. But it was his personal characteristics that came to define his reputation. To friend and foe alike, he was a chancer, a sponger and a delusional madcap. Bakunin said he wanted to release the “evil passions” of mankind through revolution. Out of a similarly blinding hubris, Assange deflects his colleagues’ criticism by saying, “I’m busy, there are two wars I have to end.”

Both men gloried in the secret society and coded message rather than above-ground operations. Like Assange, Bakunin flitted through Europe with police tails, disguises and an air of conspiracy. He commanded a cult-like following of friends. Edmund Wilson wrote of Bakunin that “he was able to catch people up by the spell of a personality part of whose power resided in the fact that it had the ingenuousness of a child… his conspiracies were always partly imaginary, and he never himself seems quite to have known the difference between actuality and the dream.” Assange is fond of skipping down city streets while journalists are discussing his materials. According to the New York Times, he believes that Stasi agents still control the German secret police archives, which they’re deleting from history.
The real problem with Wikileaks: Assange's massive ego and total lack of character.

Gridiron worth watching: Temptation vesus Passion

It may not have the big hits or hugely muscled players of the Super Bowl but the Lingerie Bowl adds a whole new dimension to American football.

Muddled thinking and atrocious writing from a darling of the Left

Regular readers will be aware that I often scoff at Antony Loewenstein's cut-and-paste blogging. Loewenstein's 1,151 word opinion piece in today's Crikey illustrates why he relies on copying and pasting: the guy can't write.

Here's the opening sentence to his "analysis" of ongoing events in Egypt:
While the Egyptian masses are uprising in unprecedented ways across the country against a Western-backed dictator, Israel fears the worst.
Loewenstein apparently means to say that the "unprecedented Egyptian uprising" causes "Israel to fear the worst".

This soon follows:
The American media and our own are filled with neo-conservative doomsayers who argue the Muslim Brotherhood is on the verge of taking over Egypt though there is no evidence for this.

Indeed, Washington and Britain have a history of working alongside Islamists in their battles against Communism and the years after September 11, 2001.
Loewenstein gives no examples of these nonexistent "neo-conservative doomsayers" allegedly "filling the media".

And does he really mean that "Washington and Britain have battled Communism and the years after September 11, 2001"? How exactly is it possible to battle blocks of time?

The problem with Loewenstein's "analysis" is obvious: he's feted by Left-wing media – Crikey, Fairfax and the ABC – as something of a Middle East expert, yet can't muster the brain-power necessary to write coherent, high-school-level prose. The guy has parlayed his status as something of an oddity as an anti-Israel "Jew" into minor celebrity status but offers precious little in the way of actual analysis and nothing in the way of true insights.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Deadly attack on Sea Shepherd fails

According to Sea Shepherd:
Delta boat operator Chad Halstead narrowly avoided being injured when one of the whalers threw a bamboo spear at the boat crew. Sea Shepherd crew recovered a few of these potentially lethal bamboo spears.
A freeze frame taken directly from the Sea Shepherd video clearly shows the blunt tip of the single "potentially lethal bamboo spears" launched by Japanese whalers allegedly intent on injuring anti-whaling activists.

Sea Shepherd is a cruel joke.

A self-serving Wikileaks promo

Untitled from Winston Burrows on Vimeo.

Assange is clearly delusional on a number of levels.

Pure Poison podcast on natural disasters a Lefty-made disaster

The latest edition of the Pure Poison podcast was late this week owing to technical difficulties but was worth the wait, provided you're keen to listen to 44:34 of filler with an over-stimulated – obviously too many lattes (heh!) – Dave Gaukroger laughing throughout, his voice taking on that annoying lilt involuntarily adopted by someone talking about those he regards as idiots.

The PP boyz work hard to broaden their attack but this podcast is yet another exercise in Andrew Bolt/News Ltd obsession with added padding. But don't take my word for it, listen to Dave and Jeremy smugly yuk it up and then decide for yourself if that 44:34 could have been better spent... perhaps in having your tyres rotated.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Julian Assange can do no wrong

Perhaps the dumbest line of the century from Julian Assange's stepfather:
He's been nominated for a Nobel Prize so how could he be a criminal?
It takes only two words to discredit that particular line of reasoning: Yasser Arafat.

Perth's turn for a hammering

Perth is a great place to live but with the good comes the bad:
At least eight houses are believed to have burnt down in Roleystone today - falling victim to one of four bushfires across Perth.

The four bushfires are burning in Roleystone, Ferndale, Brigadoon and surrounding suburbs and Sandy Cape.
Strong winds, which have moderated at least temporarily, have made the fires fast moving and very difficult to bring under control. Here's hoping for the best.

Update Bad news:
There are unconfirmed reports that 20 houses have been lost in one of the bushfires, south-east of Perth.

More homes are believed to be under threat from the blaze, which is burning in parts of Roleystone and Kelmscott.
Update II Channel 9 news reports in an update that 24 homes have been razed by fire.

Kiddies swelter in "green" classrooms

Many parents are unimpressed with the new school buildings hurriedly being construction around the country:
Parents from hundreds of schools have resorted to paying for basic resources such as airconditioning, even while the federal government's Building the Education Revolution has spent millions on new "green" classrooms with only natural ventilation.
But there are problems even when parents are willing to fund airconditioning installations in newly constructed BER buildings: so as to not void a building's warranty, only the BER contractor can retrofit airconditioning.
Lathlain Primary School P&C member David Quartermaine-Smith said the BER contractor had quoted about $70,000 to install air-conditioning in its new kindergarten - which was $50,000 more than other quotes - and insisted no else could install it within 12 months or it would void the warranty.
Also, it's likely that retrofitting airconditioning is significantly more expensive than airconditioning installed as part of a building's original designs.

Oh well, with the cost of electricity going up the way it is, it won't be long before airconditioning is too expensive to run.

Update: A concerned parent makes a very good point about un-airconditioned government buildings:
The president of the New South Wales Teachers Federation, Bob Lipscombe, says the policy is absurd.

"In this day and age, in the 21st century, there'd be very few new buildings being built by government for public service that weren't appropriately air conditioned or air cooled these days," he said.

"We believe a similar policy should apply in relation to schools."
Fair enough.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Japanese whalers attack Sea Shepherd with a single bamboo spear

With very little action in the Southern Ocean Sea Shepherd attempts to manufacture drama:
The Yushin Maru No. 3 deliberately turned into Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s ship the Gojira today in an attempt to ram and destroy the fast multi hulled vessel skippered by Captain Locky MacLean.

“It was like staring death in the face when that steel hull suddenly turned into us. We just narrowly avoided being cut in half,” said Captain MacLean.
Despite the presence of film crews the narrow miss is not available online. Video of another "staring death in the face" moment is available, however, as a Sea Shepherd inflatable is "attacked" with a "bamboo spear". The razor-sharp point of the spear – aka a broom handle – is not shown.

The potentially deadly "bamboo spear" will now take its place in the Sea Shepherd museum next to the "bullet" that nearly killed Captain Paul Watson.

What a bunch of self-promoting weirdos.

EU parliament robbed, again

The bloated EU bureaucratic machine, for years legally robbing Europeans blind, has itself been robbed, again, in what appears to be an inside job. Share the wealth.

Mother Nature refuses to follow the climate change script

This post has been moved here as an update.

Mike Carlton: a climate change primer for the simple-minded Lefty

Mike Carlton on what even the simple-minded should by now have noticed:
Pardon me for pointing out the bleedin' obvious but for those who have not been paying attention much of the planet has been devastated by extraordinary weather in the past year.
Climate change linked floods, droughts and blizzards are apparently ravaging the planet.
No reputable climate scientist claims the disasters listed above have been caused solely by global warming. Nor did the Green senator Bob Brown blame the coal industry for the Queensland floods; if you check the record, you will find he was thoroughly verballed on that one.

The argument, Brown's included, is simply that as the planet gets warmer, these rains and floods, droughts and blizzards will become more frequent and more destructive of life and the environment.
Carlton obviously wasn't paying attention to what Brown actually said:
It's the single biggest cause - burning coal - for climate change and it must take its major share of responsibility for the weather events we are seeing unfolding now.
Had Carlton done some research he'd be aware that floods and droughts – the really big killers – are today far less destructive of life than in the past, when natural disasters, unenhanced by human induced climate change, regularly killed millions.

And it could well be that with instant global communications, cameras in every mobile phone and 24/7 news reporting, natural disasters that in the past might have attracted little notice are now big news.

Also, as the population grows, floods and droughts that in the past would have affected few now affect millions.

It therefore seems likely that the perception of more frequent disasters is incorrect.

Update As cyclone Yasi approached the Queensland coast damn near every newscast and bulletin emphasised that the storm was the biggest, strongest, windiest, nastiest, most awesomest cyclone, not just in recent times, but in the whole history of the universe.

And Yasi was, of course, either attributed to, or linked to, global warming. The message is clear: either get those carbon emissions down or suffer more frequent extreme weather events – droughts, floods, cold snaps, you name it – which will become more common as the world warms.

Mother Nature, the fickle bitch, jumped the gun in 1899, however, a year of "unprecedented" weather extremes, amongst which:
  • Cyclone Mahina (lower barometric pressure and higher wind speed than Yasi; an estimated 400 killed – the greatest natural disaster death toll in Australian history)
People back then must have wondered what the Hell was happening, except that without either cable or the internet most people probably had no idea what was going on, unless they were directly affected. Best of all, the general public was not yet aware of climate scientists.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Cyclone Yasi fails to meet expectations

So far only one cyclone Yasi death is confirmed: an unfortunate young man who accidentally suffocated himself with electric-generator exhaust. Thus the worst cyclone ever in the history of the universe has failed to deliver the promised death and chaos.

Now don't get me wrong, Yasi was indeed a potent storm that caused significant damage but on all indications was not the the apocalyptic storm we were lead to believe.

Another Scandinavian cartoon controversy

Controversy in Sweden as the Advertising Ombudsman rules that the cartoon of a male clad in boxer shorts is "offensive to men in general":
The figure's excessively muscular body and the large organ is a stereotype and an unrealistic depiction of a man which creates pressure for both younger and elder men.
Everything published everywhere is apparently subject to investigation and censorship should anyone complain about the content.

Shocking but true: Leftist "news" site ignores Lefty tripe

Crikey's Pure Poison claims to exist to "expose the intellectual dishonesty, the flimsy arguments and the distorted data wherever they appear in the mainstream media" yet over the past two days could find nothing to "expose" other than an ambiguous tweet from conservative News Ltd columnist Miranda Devine. Prior to that conservative News Ltd columnist Andrew Bolt was the subject of a number of posts.

Yet yesterday three really dumb-assed Fairfax articles were totally ignored by the PP boyz. How is it then that Pure Poison's ludicrously pro-Left attacks on conservative journalists are included by Google News?

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Wikileaks threatens the Guardian

A former partner in leakage draws the wrath of Wikileaks:
The Guardian book serialization contains malicious libels. We will be taking action.
David Allen Green, legal correspondent at the Left-wing New Statesman, points out the absurdity of the apparent legal threat:
  • First, the use of "we" suggests that the (presumably legal) "action" is threatened by WikiLeaks as an entity, rather than by any particular individual such as its founder Julian Assange. This suggestion is supported by the fact it was sent on the official Wikileaks Twitter feed. If this is the case, then WikiLeaks may be following the unhappy example of the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) and other organizations in making libel threats in respect of unwelcome scrutiny and comment.
  • Second, the alleged libels are not just your normal libels but "malicious" libels. This may be careless verbiage, but presumably this tweet was checked by a legal adviser before publication. If the invocation of "malice" was deliberate, this would be a serious (indeed defamatory) accusation against the Guardian: not only is the serialization defaming Wikileaks, it is doing so with the wrongful motive of doing damage to WikiLeaks. However, WikiLeaks has presented no evidence of such malice.
  • Furthermore, WikiLeaks has not even specified the alleged libels. It has instead made a bare and vague threat, the very sort of corporate attempt to deter public scrutiny which has led many to support the libel reform campaign.

    But, as the founder of WikiLeaks himself recently signed the Libel Reform petition, there is the question as to whether there is a lack of consistency with this threat to bring a libel claim against the Guardian.
The bottom line:
But whether the threat was made in earnest or not, it is another troubling indication of the increasingly muddled and paranoid world of WikiLeaks.
Assange sets the rules and expects the MSM to follow them, or else. The guy's massive ego will be his downfall.

The New Statesman article is worth reading in full, so hit the link and read it.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

The death of personal responsibility

A nonsense hat-trick from the Sydney Morning Herald today: Clive Hamilton on coal protests; Elizabeth Farrelly on food dangers; and Michael Valenzuela on food advertising. According to Valenzuela:
Sports stars spruiking fast foods are doing enormous harm in the obesity battle.
As if cricket viewers experience an uncontrollable urge to rush out and buy a bucket of KFC or a burger on account of the continual ads suggesting that they do so.

Well, maybe I'm the odd man out but I've watched lots of cricket over the summer and have yet to buy a single KFC or McDonald's product. I don't much care for McDonald's food and consequently seldom eat them but have several times thought that some KFC would hit the spot but have somehow managed to resist the pressure to rush out and buy.

I would however like to commend KFC for making it possible to watch the cricket on TV. Strangely, even though I have yet to succumb to cricket food advertising pressures, I'm still overweight. I'd blame it on beer advertising but I'm yet to see a single ad for the German and Czech beers I drink.

Lefty bitch SLAPP

Fringe Leftist Clive Hamilton, professor of public ethics at Charles Sturt University, advocates the "right" of a tiny segment of the population to halt Australian coal exports, so as to prevent the coal being burned and thereby contributing to global warming.
This week in Newcastle campaigners from the Rising Tide group face prosecution for a protest last September that shut down for a day the city's two coal export terminals operated by Port Waratah Coal Services. PWCS is a company owned by mining giants Rio Tinto and Xstrata.

Those who engage in civil disobedience expect to face the legal consequences. But PWCS has upped the ante by asking the police to prosecute seven activists under victims-of-crime laws, demanding they hand over hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In an Orwellian inversion of the meaning of words, corporate goliaths whose activities threaten the conditions of life on earth - whose daily business is already, according to the World Health Organisation, contributing to tens of thousands of deaths around the world each year - claim they are being victimised.

The coal industry's action is designed to have a chilling effect on protests against burning and exporting coal. PWCS's action has all the hallmarks of a SLAPP, a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation.

The purpose of a SLAPP is to frighten citizens with the loss of their houses and get them bogged down for years in court proceedings. Legal costs can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars, chickenfeed for a big corporation but bankruptcy for ordinary citizens.

The intimidatory effect can be paralysing. One favourite tactic is to deliver writs on Christmas Eve so those who receive them have to sweat for a fortnight before they can get legal advice that may allay their fears.
Breaking the law and suffering the consequences is a hazard of civil disobedience. Those who engage in suc activities must be prepared to suffer not the preferred consequences but rather the full consequences.

Also, Hamilton is wrong in assigining emissions responsibility to coal producers: those who burn the exported coal are responsible for the carbon dioxide emitted. According to Hamilton's perverse logic alcohol producers are responsible for alcohol abuse and food manufacturers are making people fat.

Those wanting to "save" the planet should protest all they want but shouldn't have a big sad when they suffer the full weight of legal sanctions.

Don't eat that, it's poisoned

Architect and Sydney Morning Herald columnist Elizabeth Farrelly worries that our food is contaminated:
There are many, many instances where food safety is not clear. Genetic modification, hormone-additives, antibiotics, preservatives, pesticides, trans-fats and allergens are just a few areas where the jury is still out.
According to Farrelly:
The standard rule-of-thumb for healthy eating is Michael Pollan's ''eat food, mainly plants''.
But Farrelly ignores that by eating plants humans expose themselves to scores of natural toxins, many of them carcinogenic:
Nature's pesticides are one important group of natural chemicals that we have investigated. All plants produce toxins to protect themselves against fungi, insects, and predators such as man. Tens of thousands of these natural pesticides have been discovered, and every species of plant contains its own set of different toxins, usually a few dozen. In addition, when plants are stressed or damaged, such as during a pest attack, they increase their natural pesticide levels many fold, occasionally to levels that are acutely toxic to humans. We estimate that 99.9% of the pesticides we eat are all natural.

Surprisingly few plant toxins have been tested in animal cancer bioassays, but among those tested, again about half (20/42) are carcinogenic. Even though only a tiny proportion of plant toxins in our diet have been tested, natural pesticide carcinogens have been shown to be present in the following foods: anise, apples, bananas, basil, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cantaloupe, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cinnamon, cloves, cocoa, coffee, comfrey tea, fennel, grapefruit juice, honeydew melon, horseradish, kale, mushrooms, mustard, nutmeg, orange juice, parsley, parsnips, peaches, black pepper, pineapples, radishes, raspberries, tarragon, and turnips. Thus, it is probable that almost every plant product in the supermarket contains natural carcinogens.
Typically, Farrelly produces nothing more than suspicions that genetically modified foods, hormone additives, antibiotics, pesticides and preservatives negatively affect human health. The reality is that both the vanishingly small quantities of chemical residues in our food and genetic material modified by humans are not adversely affecting humans.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Quick, copy and paste it

The very prolific Antony Loewenstein's 11 most recent posts – one is an embedded video with no text – copied and pasted into Word total 2,279 words, of which only 190 words, or 8.3 percent, were written by Loewenstein. Put another way, almost 92 percent of Loewenstein's content is copied and pasted. And so slap-dash is Loewenstein's copying and pasting that he often fails to remove advertising blurbs, which remain embedded in copied text:
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Loewenstein can't write and is incapable of critiquing or analysing the writings and views of others, yet is regarded as something of an authority on a number of disparate topics ranging from the Middle East to internet censorship to Julian Assange and Wikileaks.

Sadly, anyone relying on Loewenstein as a source of information on any topic is automatically dumbed down. This is one of the great drawbacks of the internet: how to differentiate good information from bad.

Hey, maybe Loewenstein's publisher, Melbourne University Publishing, should get him to write a book about his worldwide influence. It could be called Melbourne University Publishing and Antony Loewenstein: The Great Dumbening.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Destroying Egyptian history

Showing utter contempt for Egypt's pre-Islamic history, "looters" broke into a museum and beheaded two ancient mummies, perhaps signaling the Islamists' desire to purge the country of all remnants of pre-Islamic history. It isn't hard to imagine Islamist lunatics emulating the destruction of Afghanistan's Bamiyan Buddhas by demolishing the sphinx and finishing the stone-by-stone dismantling of the pyramids started by Muhammad Sa'im al-Dahr. It is a worry.