Saturday, September 30, 2006


Computer guy Tim Lambert has established himself as something of an authority on the use of DDT in the fight against malaria. His DDT Ban Myth Bingo is linked, for example, at Wikipedia's DDT page. Even though cleverly devised and valid in some of the points made, DDT Ban Myth Bingo is intentionally misleading, as are most of his DDT posts. Nothing Lambert writes about DDT should be accepted as correct.

Lambert revels in parading his "knowledge", especially when he can do so at the expense of those supporting the use of DDT. His attack on posts by Gary Becker and Richard Posner is a classic example of Lambert doing his "hey look how much smarter I am than these schmucks" routine -- Lambert could have simply said the esteemed gentlemen are wrong, preferring instead to title his post "Becker and Posner's ignorance about DDT". Lambert's post is, however, riddled with the usual deceptions.

With 11 links Lambert's post appears at first glance to be well researched and documented. It isn't. Two of the links are to Becker and Posner's posts, one is to Malaria Foundation International with the other eight to earlier deception-enhanced Lambert posts. (Lambert could have linked to outside sources but is inclined to self-reference -- not only is it self-promotional, it also makes it more difficult to detect his deceptions.)

Lambert writes in his Becker and Posner post: "And far from rejecting the use of DDT in that period, the WHO endorsed it." Anyone who takes the time to follow the link to his earlier post, and the futher links from there, will find nothing from WHO endorsing DDT use. The link to a Roll Back Malaria statement on the use of bed-nets and indoor residual spraying doesn't even mention DDT. The closest thing he offers to a WHO DDT endorsement is an Allen Schapira quote: "WHO has never given up in its efforts to ensure access to DDT where it is needed." Oddly, no examples of ensured access to DDT are provided.

Lambert writes: "DDT is not banned and WHO has always supported its use." The first link is to a another Lambert post, in turn linking to an online ad for DDT. The ad notes that the company has sold DDT to a number of countries over recent years but doesn't specify whether the DDT was sold before the advent of the POPs treaty and also doesn't specify the ultimate use -- legitimate or otherwise -- of the DDT. Anyway, Lambert's point is that DDT can't be banned if a company is offering it online. While it's better substantiation than Lambert usually offers, it's hardly proof there hasn't been an ongoing de facto DDT ban. (I probably get three or four emails a day trying to sell me prescription drugs I'm not legally entitled to. Buying some of these drugs wouldn't constitute proof the Australian government wants me to take them.)

The second link is to yet another Lambert post. It's the same one linked to regarding the Shapira quote. It does not support the claim that the WHO supports DDT use.

Lambert writes: "The World Bank already funds DDT spraying as does USAID." The first link is to, you guessed it, an earlier Lambert post that says: "The World Bank also funds DDT in India, Madagascar and the Solomon Islands." Yes, the World Bank does contribute to India's use of DDT. India is committed to DDT use and is something of a special case: it is one of the few countries still making DDT and would use DDT whether or not the World Bank offered its support. So, the World Bank, probably wanting to avoid a nasty spat, complete with claims of racial discrimination, came to the party. Regardless, I'll pay Lambert as getting it right on World Bank funding for India's DDT use.

DDT use is Madagascar and the Solomon Islands is another matter. The Madagascar link is to a World Bank document dated October 2000. It discusses DDT use noting: "In 1998, the World Bank and the government of Madagascar agreed to reduce the total surface areas for spraying and to progressively phase out DDT, replacing it with an environmentally friendly insecticide." The Solomon Islands link no longer works but I know its thrust because I've posted on this before. The link says nothing whatever about DDT use after 1999. Thus, two out three items of Lambert's evidence do not support his contention that the World Bank funds general DDT use.

Lambert's USAID link is even iffier, offering as it does this as proof: "USAID strongly supports spraying as a preventative measure for malaria and will support the use of DDT when it is scientifically sound and warranted." As of that writing USAID might well have been supportive of DDT spraying but had spent US$0 on DDT sparying programs, with its efforts heavily criticized by the Government Accountability Office.

Lambert writes: "The agricultural use of DDT in the US was banned in 1972. Use in public health was not. The Stockholm treaty on Persistent Organic Pollutants permits the use of DDT against malaria. The ban on the agricultural use of DDT has undoubtedly saved lives by slowing the spread of resistance." He's correct in noting that, because DDT is still allowed to be used in the US in the event of a public health emergency, it isn't really banned. On the other hand, as far as I can determine, DDT has not been used in the US since its banning for agricultural use.

Lambert's first link in the paragraph above, to the Malaria Foundation International, is the rare unequivocally correct piece of evidence he offers. But the "saved lives" link is another very iffy one. It leads, of course, to another Lambert post, one dealing with a resurgence in malaria supposedly link to agricultural use of DDT. All well and good but if DDT has hardly been used for IRS, which since the late 1990s has been the case, and is preventing very few malaria infections, what good has it done to preserve DDT lethality? It might well be an important factor in the future but hasn't been a significant life saving factor as yet.

Lambert writes: "As already noted, DDT was not banned. The main causes of the resurgence of malaria was the evolution of resistance to DDT and anti-malaria drugs." Lambert's link is to an earlier post on DDT use in Sri Lanka. He makes the case for agricultural use of DDT causing a resurgence of malaria in Sri Lanka. Even if he is correct it is not appropriate to generalize, based solely on the Sr Lankan experience, that malaria has made a comeback due to agricultural use of DDT.

Finally, in response to this from Posner:
The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (2001) bans DDT but with an exception for its use against malaria, and the puzzle is why the exception is so rarely invoked, South Africa being a notable exception. An even greater puzzle is why the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is the world's largest foundation and has made the eradication of malaria a priority, is spending hundreds of millions of dollars searching for a vaccine against malaria but nothing (as far as I know) to encourage indoor spraying with DDT.
Lambert writes:
Here's the solution to the puzzle: Gates is a smart guy and has studied the problem more carefully than Posner. They had a massive program that tried to eradicate malaria with DDT spraying in the 60s and it failed. DDT is a useful tool against malaria and it is being used for that, but it won't eradicate malaria. Gates is right to fund research into a vaccine and the development of new drugs and insecticides. (We desperately need new drugs and insecticides because the parasites and mosquitoes keep evolving resistance to the ones we have.)
Lambert's being especially dishonest here; he knows Posner isn't talking about using DDT to eradicate malaria carrying mosquitoes: Posner's wants to know why more effort isn't being put into the use of DDT to eradicate malaria as a health problem.

Really, it's pathetic that an academic writes the deliberately dishonest nonsense Lambert cranks out.

Note: Lambert finds my little critiques irksome so he bounces my links to his old blog, thus many of the links above aren't going to work. I suggest you open his Becker and Posner post in a new window and use that to access his older links.

This post is for Ken Miles, who says I'm a "dishonest" writer of "garbage".

Friday, September 29, 2006


Is it reasonable to request that Australian forces in Afghanistan reveal their rules of engagement?
PETER LLOYD: In the case of the Australian military, it's not clear whether the rules of engagement that apply to regular soldiers are the same as that for the SAS and commandos.

And the man in charge of Australian troops in Oruzgan province, Lieutenant Colonel Mick Ryan, made it clear that he was sticking to the rules of secrecy.

MICK RYAN: I can't talk about any of the rules of engagement for operational security reasons.

PETER LLOYD: But will Australians be going out looking for trouble, or will trouble have to find them?

MICK RYAN: We'll be going out looking to help the people of the province, by developing their infrastructure.

PETER LLOYD: Why can't we hear about the ROE (rules of engagement)?

MICK RYAN: We have extensive training in the way we undertake operations. There are certain issues that we just don't discuss for security reasons.

At the end of the day, these kind of rules are what help keep my soldiers safe.
Australian forces looking for trouble? Never.


Peter Garrett reckons the government's attitiude to art requires adjustment:
Labor MP and former Midnight Oil frontman Peter Garrett has branded senior Federal Government ministers as "philistines", whose obsession with sport comes at the expense of the nation's art and culture.

Mr Garrett, federal shadow parliamentary secretary for the arts, singled out Prime Minister John Howard, Treasurer Peter Costello and Health Minister Tony Abbott as examples of the modern-day philistine during a speech today at Monash University in Melbourne.

Mr Abbott's description of Parliament House's art collection as "avant-garde crap" several years ago was but one example of poor attitude demonstrated by the nation's leaders towards the liberal arts, Mr Garrett said.
Much of the stuff being passed off as art is crap.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


The BBC, 30 August:
UN clearance experts had so far found 100,000 unexploded cluster bomblets at 359 separate sites, Jan Egeland said.
The BBC, 26 September:
Up to a million cluster bomblets discharged by Israel in its conflict with Hezbollah remain unexploded in southern Lebanon, the UN has said.

The UN's mine disposal agency says about 40% of the cluster bombs fired or dropped by Israel failed to detonate - three times the UN's previous estimate.
It would be more convincing if a general breakdown of the source of these bomblets – MLRS, artillery and aerial bombs – was provided. I mean if experts know that about 40% of the bombs failed to explode they must know how they were delivered (the 155-mm M395 delivers 63 bomblets, the MLRS M77 carries 644 with the largest aerial bombs carrying around 2,000). That way we'd know how realistic are the unexploded bomblet estimates.


"Proud Jew" Antony Loewenstein celebrates the Jewish holiday season by noting that 72% of US rabbis plan to mention support for Israel at some point in their sermons. Anti-semitism, often cited by Loewenstein as the Jewsh community's obsession, will be mentioned by only 10% of the rabbis polled.

Gee, I wonder what percentage of sermons in mosques will involve both Israel and anti-semitism?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Dick Morris doesn't get much right but if there's one thing he knows, it's Bill Clinton. Morris is none too impressed with Clinton's recent Fox News tirade:
In my frequent phone and personal conversations with both Clintons in 1993, there was never a mention, not one, of the World Trade Center attack. It was never a subject of presidential focus.

Failure to grasp the import of the 1993 attack led to a delay in fingering bin Laden and understanding his danger. This, in turn, led to our failure to seize him when Sudan evicted him and also to our failure to carry through with the plot to kidnap him. And, it was responsible for the failure to “certify” him as the culprit until very late in the Clinton administration.

The former president says, “I worked hard to try to kill him.” If so, why did he notify Pakistan of our cruise-missile strike in time for them to warn Osama and allow him to escape? Why did he refuse to allow us to fire cruise missiles to kill bin Laden when we had the best chance, by far, in 1999? The answer to the first question — incompetence; to the second — he was paralyzed by fear of civilian casualties and by accusations that he was wagging the dog.
But Bubba has such a nice smile...


Former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar poses an interesting question:
"Why do we always have to say sorry and they never do?" Aznar told the Hudson Institute, an American conservative think-tank based in Washington, D.C., Friday, September 22.

"It is interesting to note that while a lot of people in the world are asking the pope to apologize for his speech, I have never heard a Muslim say sorry for having conquered Spain and occupying it for eight centuries."
Ali Al-Raisouni is not impressed:
"The speech brought to the surface the grudges harbored by Aznar towards Islam, which has been a message of peace and love throughout the centuries," he said.

He said Muslims neither invaded nor colonized Spain.

"But the Islamic conquest of Al-Andalus (Spain) had given momentum to human civilization and brought human beings closer as manifested in the historic collections left by the Muslims of Al-Andalus," he explained.
Hmm, someone's confused and it ain't me. Anyway, Muslims did make a big contribution to human progress:
"1001 Inventions: Discover the Muslim Heritage of Our World" exhibition, which opened in London on March 8 and ran through June, uncovered the Islamic civilization's overlooked contribution to science, technology and art during the dark ages in European history.
Yep, and once we're back in the dark ages Islamists will be on the cutting edge of innovation.


Roger Scruton has Noam Chomsky pegged:
Prof. Chomsky is an intelligent man. Not everything he says by way of criticizing his country is wrong. However, he is not valued for his truths but for his rage, which stokes the rage of his admirers. He feeds the self-righteousness of America's enemies, who feed the self-righteousness of Prof. Chomsky. And in the ensuing blaze everything is sacrificed, including the constructive criticism that America so much needs, and that America -- unlike its enemies, Prof. Chomsky included -- is prepared to listen to.
You'd have to be intelligent to appeal to the likes of Hugo Chavez, right?

Sunday, September 24, 2006


Bet you didn't see this coming. If only I were so well informed.


According to nutritional toxicologist Dr Peter Dingle we're in the middle of a health crisis:
He said people should stop feeding children "toxic'' processed food. This included white bread and sugary breakfast cereals -- which "glued up their guts'', made them fat and led to diabetes and heart disease -- and artificially sweetened diet drinks, which were linked to cancer and depression.

Cancer, chronic digestive problems, diabetes, obesity, depression, suiciden and even cardiovascular disease were on the rise among young people, as were rates of ADHD and autism.

"Why, because we've focused on crappy advertising and marketing by companies,'' Prof Dingle said. "Food companies are killing our kids. This generation of kids will not only die at an earlier age, many will die before their parents and from illnesses associated with old age.''
Considering the way many of this generation of kids carry on, early death would not be unwelcome.

Saturday, September 23, 2006


In an effort to make a big deal out of Richard Armitage's alleged threat to bomb Pakistan back to the stone age the BBC is soliciting reader comments:
How should the world react to Musharraf claims?

How will America's relationship with Pakistan be affected?

What do you think about Musharraf claims? What effect will this have on America's relationship with Pakistan? How should America react? Send us your comments.
The comments are mostly from indignant lefties but some of them do make sense:
Pakistan has been a rogue state for so long: it has depended on China and the USA against India, even if the USA threatened them, Talebanism or Wahabbism is the greatest threat to world peace. Muslim nations need to stand up and be counted against terrorism. One word of warning: Pakistan don't trifle with India or one day we will bomb you back to the Stone Age, where you are and belong.

thakur singh, auckland
Bomb them back to the present.


The LA Times enthuses about Richeard Branson's promised multi-billion dollar investment in greenhouse friendly energy sources:
Branson could become the Bono of climate change.
Is it praise to deem someone useless?

Friday, September 22, 2006


Hugo Chavez is still shooting his mouth off in the US; even Bush's opponents have had enough:
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez took his Bush-bashing to Harlem yesterday and earned a stiff rebuke from the New York district's congressman, Rep. Charles B. Rangel, who is no fan of President Bush.

"You don't come into my country, you don't come into my congressional district and criticize my president," Mr. Rangel, a Democrat, told stunned reporters on Capitol Hill.
This could turn into a very entertaining lunatic free-for-all.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Writing in the LA Times, Patt Morrison reckons building a fence along the Mexican border is insanity:
Did I mention the cost? Two million dollars a mile? In their dreams. For what this fence would eventually cost, you could hire enough border patrol officers to hold hands the length of the border and taunt in singsong, "Red Rover, Red Rover, let Pancho come over."
Lets assume the border patrol officers are all six foot tall entry pay level ($43,705) officers standing five feet apart holding hands in three shifts. By my calculations the cost per mile per year would be – not including numerous inevitable extras – US$138,457,440. The proposed 700 mile fence would cost $1.4 billion while hand holding offcers come in at $96,920,208,000. That $95 billion difference would buy lots of land mines.


New York City teachers will soon have the opportunity to voluntarily participate in an Israel-sponsored Israel education program. Participating teachers will earn university credit in a program that should act as a counter to the lefty anti-Israel crapola they were bombarded with while training.

Details of the program are yet to be released but it has been condemned nonetheless:
In all likelihood, this is a not-too-subtle attempt at instilling Zionist values and its narrative, not info about Israel or Judaism.

The [Israel] lobby strikes again.
See, Zionism is bad in and of itself. All of this having something to do with riding horseback, or something:
Indoctrination pure and simple. Part of the backlash caused by the fright Mearsheimer and Walt have given them.

Israel is the rider, America the horse. If you lead horses to water, they normally drink it, even if it tastes like Kool Aid.
Deep thinking from one of the Australian left's keenest minds.


Saudi Arabia prohibits the public screening of movies. This has not stopped Saudis going into the film business:
Investors from six Arab states will put up $200 million to finance the production of more than a dozen big-budget Arabic movies in English, an Arab-American film producer told Reuters on Wednesday.

Malek Akkad said the project is aimed at promoting the nascent Arab film industry to the world and showcasing the region's history and culture.

"They're nothing political. They are not propaganda. They are purely themed stories -- a few of them would be historical films along the lines of 'Lawrence of Arabia,"' said Akkad, referring to the 1962 Academy Award-winning film.
How about great beheadings of history?


President Bush has been getting lots of flak for referring to Muslim terrorists as "Islamic fascists":
Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold called on President Bush to refrain from using the phrase "Islamic fascists," saying it was offensive to Muslims and has nothing to do with terrorists fighting the United States.

"We must avoid using misleading and offensive terms that link Islam with those who subvert this great religion or who distort its teachings to justify terrorist activities," Feingold said Tuesday in a speech to the Arab American Institute on Capitol Hill.
Middle East scholar Martin Kramer comes to Bush's defence, here quoting Middle East scholar Manfred Halpern:
The neo-Islamic totalitarian movements are essentially fascist movements. They concentrate on mobilizing passion and violence to enlarge the power of their charismatic leader and the solidarity of the movement. They view material progress primarily as a means for accumulating strength for political expansion, and entirely deny individual and social freedom. They champion the values and emotions of a heroic past, but repress all free critical analysis of either past roots or present problems.


Like fascism, neo-Islamic totalitarianism represents the institutionalization of struggle, tension, and violence. Unable to solve the basic public issues of modern life—intellectual and technological progress, the reconciliation of freedom and security, and peaceful relations among rival sovereignties—the movement is forced by its own logic and dynamics to pursue its vision through nihilistic terror, cunning, and passion. An efficient state administration is seen only as an additional powerful tool for controlling the community. The locus of power and the focus of devotion rest in the movement itself. Like fascist movements elsewhere, the movement is so organized as to make neo-Islamic totalitarianism the whole life of its members.
Bush is more clued in then his critics realize.

Kramer himself finds fault with hypocrite Juan Cole. Both are well worth reading.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Indonesian Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Bashir says scantily-clad women are more dangerous than bombs. It's a danger I'm willing to live with.


Corporate anthropogenic global warming sceptics should probably expect a dissent crushing letter from the Royal Society.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Victorian police are in strife for alleged prisoner abuse. Video evidence was today produced in court:
The footage was black and white, and blurry around the edges.

It shows an aerial view of an interview room on the 11th floor of the St Kilda Road Police Headquarters, the heart of Victoria Police's specialised crime department.

Very little is clearly visible, apart from a white table, and then bursts of movement around the table's edges. But it's what's said and heard that's most powerful.

This is a re-enactment of what it's alleged a detective in the interview room asked the suspect.

DETECTIVE (read by actor): Are you going to be all friendly and co-operative. You going to do it that way or you going to do it the hard hard hard way?

What are your thoughts?

JOSIE TAYLOR: Then the sound of thuds and a loud bang is clearly audible. And then ...

DETECTIVE (read by actor): Welcome to the armed robbery squad.
Thuds can be very incriminating:
Counsel assisting the hearing Garry Livermore said this section clearly identified Dabb assaulting the suspect.

At this point Detective Dabb collapsed with a loud thud on the witness stand. His colleagues rushed across the court and virtually carried him from the room.
Funny how just being questioned can provoke a spontaneous thud.


According to ultra-leftist Lisa Farrance – she of the recently "emersed" head (huh?) – it's time to embrace terrorism:
What's needed is to see beyond the current framework of the populist debates on international war and terror. To see that those opposing our governments are fighting just causes. To even support some terrorist organisations in so far as they oppose the role of imperialist nations in militarily dominating the globe - while at the same time opposing their methods, even many of their goals.

Only this begins to turn things on its head - our government is no longer our saviour but rightfully recognised as not only the enemy of ‘terrorists', but the enemy of our brothers and sisters, the enemy of us as well. An enemy that has created terrorism wherever our troops have intervened, that has charged into Iraq against opposition, that has introduced GST and IR laws and attacks on civil liberties and cuts to welfare etc. That is not representative of ‘our' interests at all, but of a small minority, a ruling elite that share the boards of the big corporations (also responsible for carving up the globe).

But this is a big leap to make - to begin to show solidarity with those internationally who are fighting our own government, even with some ‘terrorist organisations'. And it's a leap that will take many a long time. Not only because it's now deemed illegal - an act of sedition - but because of the illusions that people have that, at some level, our government represents ‘us'.
If anyone reckons the war on terror is violent just wait for the bloodbath there'll be if Islamists and the "bullet in the brain for anyone who opposes us" lefties start mixing it up. The world's population problem will be solved.

Blair's law applies but needs to be slightly amended: the world's totalitarian ideologies continue to merge into a single violent mass.


It's the solar variability proponents:
The sun might have contributed approximately 50% of the observed global warming since 1900.
Versus the anthropogenesists:
Variation in the brightness of the Sun is not the major factor behind the unusual warming the Earth has experienced over the past few centuries, a new study suggests.
With the latter allowing allocation of blame, it will be much more appealing to the left.


European Commission spokesman Johannes Laitenberger:commission spokesman Johannes Laitenberger:
"And generally speaking, I can also say that reactions which are disproportionate and which are tantamount to rejecting freedom of speech are unacceptable and let me conclude with this: freedom of speech is a cornerstone of the EU's order as is the freedom and respect of all religions and beliefs, be it Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism or laicism."
Unfortunately, many Muslims manifest an insecurity based opposition to freedom of speech. Jews, often accused of having a victim mentality, simply take a state organized assault in their stride:
Consider an example from Denmark. Recently, a paper there published a number of rather tasteless Holocaust cartoons which had been shown in Tehran. The reaction of Copenhagen's rabbi was instructive when considered against the bloody response to the Muhammad cartoons -- outrage which ended up costing lives. When asked if he would call for protests, the rabbi merely said: "You know, I've seen worse."
No one likes cry-babies.

Update: Some poeple don't even have to say the wrong thing, all they need do is be seen talking to the wrong people:
AN Afghan village elder was BEHEADED by the Taliban, who wrongly accused him of being a spy after he was seen talking to British troops.

Monday, September 18, 2006


As noted earlier, Tim Lambert's attempted Andrew Bolt debunking is misleading. A reader suggests I revisit Lambert's post to take a look at some of his links.

In response to this from Bolt:
Gore claims warming is causing new diseases and allowing malarial mosquitoes to move to higher altitudes.

In fact, says Professor Paul Reiter, head of the Pasteur Institute's unit of insects and infectious diseases: "Gore is completely wrong here." Reiter says "the new altitudes of malaria are lower than those recorded 100 years ago" and "none of the 30 so-called new diseases Gore references are attributable to global warming".
Lambert attempts to discredit Reiter with links to this and this, both of which are mathematical model based. Here's Paul Reiter's opinion on that startegy, as if he had Lambert in mind:
In recent years, activist emphasis has shifted to “highland malaria”, particularly in East Africa. Despite carefully researched articles by malaria specialists, there has been a flurry of articles by non-specialists who claim a recent increase in the altitude of malaria transmission attributable to warming, and quote models that “predict” further increase in the next 50 years. Tellingly, they rarely quote the specialists who challenge them. Nor do they mention that maximum altitudes for transmission in the period 1880-1945 were 500-1500m higher than in the areas that are quoted as examples. Moreover, highland above 2000m constitutes a mere 1.3% of the whole continent, an area about the size of Poland that is totally dwarfed by regions of stable and unstable transmission at lower altitudes.

A galling aspect of the debate is that this spurious ‘science’ is endorsed in the public forum by influential panels of “experts.” I refer particularly to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Every five years, this UN-based organization publishes a ‘consensus of the world’s top scientists’ on all aspects of climate change. Quite apart from the dubious process by which these scientists are selected, such consensus is the stuff of politics, not of science. Science proceeds by observation, hypothesis and experiment. The complexity of this process, and the uncertainties involved, are a major obstacle to meaningful understanding of scientific issues by non-scientists. In reality, a genuine concern for mankind and the environment demands the inquiry, accuracy and scepticism that are intrinsic to authentic science. A public that is unaware of this is vulnerable to abuse.
Read Reiters whole piece (it's only two pages) and decide for yourself who's right on this, Lambert or Bolt.


Muslim blogger Irfan Yusuf objects to Andrew Robb's contention that Muslims have a "victim mentality":
What victim mentality? Muslims don’t see themselves as victims. They just want to be treated the same as anyone else.
Yusuf in a post just the day before:
I would like to think that Muslim mobs had learnt from the PR disaster that accompanied protests against the Danish cartoons. On that occasion, corrupt and unelected Muslim leaders manipulated state-owned media and government-employed religious leaders to incite their masses into frenzies of violent futility.

As I type these lines, thousands of Muslims in the Darfur region of Sudan face certain death, whether by disease or starvation or bullets. Lebanese Muslims are struggling to rebuild their homes and their lives.

Muslims in Gaza are facing economic and social collapse. Muslims in Afghanistan face civil war as the Western-backed government struggles to defeat a Taliban militia we were led to believe was defeated years back.

Muslims in Pakistan are still suffering from the effects of the earthquake. Muslims across Asia continue to rebuild after the devastating tsunami. Muslims in Kashmir find themselves caught between fanatical militants and merciless Indian troops.
Nope, no victim mentality here.


The Pope's recent controversial remarks are easily understood once you know who scripted them:
The [Iranian] daily Jomhuri Islami said Israel and the United States -- the Islamic republic's two arch-enemies -- could have dictated the comments to distract attention from the resistance of the Shiite militant group Hezbollah to Israel's offensive on Lebanon.

"The reality is that if we do not consider Pope Benedict XVI to be ignorant of Islam, then his remarks against Islam are a dictat that the Zionists and the Americans have written (for him) and have submitted to him."

"The American and the Zionist aim is to undermine the glorious triumph of Islam's children of Lebanese Hezbollah, which annulled the undefeatable legend of the Israeli army and foiled the Satanic and colonialist American plot," it said.
Such creative use of language.


Cane toads, very poisonous when alive, can still get you even after they're dead:
The makers of a liquid fertiliser made from pulverised cane toads have issued a warning that the "toad juice" bottles could explode.

Northern Territory FrogWatch sold 300 bottles at Darwin's recent Garden Spectacular but says the liquid in the batch is still fermenting.

It has asked customers who have not used their bottle to move the cap half a turn to ease the pressure or risk getting showered by an evil-smelling sticky liquid.
The perfect environmentally friendly gift for a lefty you hate.

Saturday, September 16, 2006


In his latest post, serial misleader Tim Lambert attempts to debunk Andrew Bolt's debunking of An Inconvenient Truth. One thing Lambert finds fault with:
Gore claims the seas have already risen so high that New Zealand has had to take in refugees from drowning Pacific islands.

In fact, the Australian National Tidal Facility at Tuvalu in 2002 reported: "The historical record from 1978 through 199 [sic] indicated a sea level rise of 0.07 mm per year." Or the width of a hair.

Says Auckland University climate scientist Chris de Frietas: "I can assure Mr Gore that no one from the South Pacific islands has fled to New Zealand because of rising seas."
Lambert responds:
This one is wrong. The South Pacific Sea Level and Climate Monitoring Project 2005 report on Tuvalu says:
The sea level trend to date is +5.0 mm/year but the magnitude of the trend continues to vary widely from month to month as the data set grows. Accounting for the precise levelling results and inverted barometric pressure effect, the trend is +4.3 mm/year. A nearby gauge, with a longer record but less precision and datum control, shows a trend of +0.9 mm/year.
And despite de Freitas' denial, people have fled to New Zealand from Tuvalu:
Seeing themselves as climate refuges some Tuvalans are already leaving their islands, moving their communities to higher ground in a new land. ... Fala and Suamalie, along with international environmental activists, argue that Tuvaluans and others in a similar predicament should be treated like refugees and given immigration rights and other refugee benefits. This tiny nation was among the first on the globe to sound the alarm, trekking from forum to forum to try to get the world to listen. New Zealand did agree to take 75 Tuvaluans a year as part of its Pacific Access Category, an agreement made in 2001.
Having not seen An Inconvenient Truth I'll have to assume Bolt accurately characterizes what's in the film. I also assume that both Lambert and Bolt are right with the tide gauge figures but will rely on Lambert's more up-to-date figures in examining whether rising sea level is forcing Tuvaluans to flee their homeland.

The tide gauge Lambert refers to was installed in 1993; with sea level rising at five millimetres a year the total rise over the following ten years – to 2003 – should be approximately five centimetres. According to the accepted wisdom, each one centimetre rise in sea level results in approximately one metre of beach erosion. Thus, Tuvalu should be shrinking, considerably.

According to a recent study of beach erosion in Tuvalu, the uninhabited islands of Funafuti atoll actually increased in area by some 2.8% during the period 1984 - 2003. Here are some observations regarding the most densely populated island, Fongafale:
Significant changes in the position of the lagoon shore of Fongafale was found to have occurred in the period from 1941 to 2003. In 1943 the US military artificially increased Fongafale’s land area (approximately 8.5 % or 5.7 Ha) by the reclamation of the lagoon coastline by 25 to 30 m. As earlier discussed this effort was not undertaken with the view to retain natural shoreline processes and the reclamation and other associated nearshore works, have left a legacy of instability on this coast. Since this poorly reclaimed zone has long since been settled, it is not surprising that the community has the perception of this coast being vulnerable to wave wash over and erosion, especially during westerly gales (see also Xue and Malolonga, 1995). It is apparent that Fongafale’s lagoon-side coast remains unstable and that it is still “recovering” from those works undertaken some 60 years ago. Superimposed over this long-term disturbance are the numerous efforts of shoreline residents to protect and / or further reclaim on their coastal fringe. In many cases such ad hoc coastal engineering can result in increasing vulnerability by further disturbing coastal processes. Also, land restrictions result in new buildings springing up on newly-reclaimed areas, these remain particularly vulnerable since local protection works tend to fail during bad weather.

This study also serves to show that even in the complete absence of human inhabitants and development, soft shorelines naturally fluctuate and move (= dynamic equilibrium). This is not a problem to the environment as it has occurred since long before the first human footprint marked these beaches. It is a problem which concerns the human use of the environment and highlights the great need for extremely careful consideration of planning, monitoring and use of these fragile atoll shores.
The study includes lots of historical photographs for comparison puposes.

There is nothing in this study that gives even the slightest hint that Tuvaluans are under assault by rising sea level. If they're moving to New Zealand they're doing so because they want to, not because they have to.

Update: If you follow Lambert's "fled to New Zealand from Tuvalu" link above hoping to find proof that rising sea level is causing South Pacific islanders to flee, you'll be disappointed:
Over the last decade, the islanders have come here [to New Zealand] for many reasons – better jobs, college, overcrowding on the islands – and to escape what many see as a threat of sea level rise, caused by global warming.
Tuvaluans are leaving, not fleeing, because they want to find a better life.


Lefty computer scientist Tim Lambert has repeatedly claimed the DDT ban is a myth. He is, of course, wrong:
The World Health Organisation has reversed a 30-year policy by endorsing the use of the potent insecticide DDT for malaria control.
Lambert is, like most academics, a self-deceived organism.

Friday, September 15, 2006


Intellectuals Noam Chomsky and evolutionary biologist Robert Trivers know the turth; we are being deceived:
Noam Chomsky: Throughout history it's been mostly the property holders or the educated classes who've tended to support power systems. And that's a large part of what I think education is—it's a form of indoctrination. You have to reconstruct a picture of the world in order to be conducive to the interests and concerns of the educated classes, and this involves a lot of self-deceit.

Robert Trivers: So you're talking about self-deception in at least two contexts. One is intellectuals who, in a sense, go through a process of education which results in a self-deceived organism who is really working to serve the interests of the privileged few without necessarily being conscious of it at all.

The other thing is these massive industries of persuasion and deception, which, one can conceptualize, are also inducing a form of either ignorance or self-deception in listeners, where they come to believe that they know the truth when in fact they're just being manipulated.
Now if these two smug lefty know-it-alls were to think about what they've just said...


Here's a classic example of interventionist government so admired by lefties:
Excessively-thin models have been barred from a major Madrid fashion show later this month for fear they could send the wrong message to young Spanish girls, local media reported last week.
What next, banning the bad-example-setting obese from walking the streets?


The Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research says that successive UK governments have grossly underestimated carbon emissions with a 90% reduction required if catastrophe is to be avoided. Supposedly this target can be painlessly if not easily achieved:
It proposes radical ideas to effect change, predicting that most buildings will have to generate their own electricity, double-decker trains will transport people to work, and planes might not be allowed to take off unless they are nearly full.
Massive restructuring and government intervention will be required; it won't be painless.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


The vegetarian diet is proclaimed to be more healthy than one including meat. Recent research reveals, however, that the development of the human brain was facilitated by access to high energy non-vegetable foods. No wonder vegetarians are addled.


The National Consumer Council is generally unimpressed with the environmental friendliness of Britain's leading supermarket chains:
Waitrose, with one of the most affluent customer bases, is praised for selling Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fish; for employing helpful, informed counter staff and offering a good range of organic foods. But although it has a good variety of in-season vegetables, it also sells the highest proportion of air-freighted fruit, including apricots, strawberries and blueberries from New Zealand. The carbon emissions from air-freighting one small punnet of out-of-season strawberries from New Zealand are equivalent to 11 school runs in the car, the council says.
Get lives you moronic busybodies.


NATO commanders' pleas for more troops to fight the Taliban were ignored by "old Europe" but Poland has stepped up:
Poland has announced it will send 1,000 troops to Afghanistan next year as part of the Nato peacekeeping force there.

"Poland understands that Nato will have to be more active in Afghanistan. We are well aware of that, and that is why we decided to increase the size of the force," Mr Laszczak added.
The Poles understand the consequences of appeasing totalitarian nut-jobs.


Macquarie University psychologist Dr Colin Wastell inadvertently confirms what we already know about societies that admire and encourage suicide bombers:
In general, suicide bombers are not any more mentally deranged than members of their society.
Academics get it right once in a while.


An outspoken Dutch conservative, possibly reacting to Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner's speculation on the introduction of Sharia law, demands that the Dutch not surrender to Islamic fundamentalists:
"We should take a look at America. (...) They are harsher and clearer over there. You may rage inside the mosque but not outside. You are free to isolate yourself if you wish, but you will have to reap what you sow."

"If you isolate yourself in the Netherlands, the community is saddled with the financial consequences. You demand the right to apply for a job wearing a burqa and when you fail to get a job you feel you're entitled to an allowance. (...) An Amsterdammer must have the guarantee that Amsterdam will always be Amsterdam, a city (...) where Dutch principles prevail."

"When the Queen did not shake hands with men in the Moubarek Mosque in The Hague, Prime Minister Balkenende said that was fine. Nonsense of course, people shake hands in the Netherlands; that is the custom here. Balkenende is causing a great deal of damage by saying this. The same applies to the cuddling talk of Amsterdam Mayor Job Cohen. It is counterproductive."
The outspoken Dutchman is moderate Muslim Hikmat Mahawat Khan. Khan's no fool, he knows that moderate Muslims, who are doing quite nicely in a secular Holland, would be doomed in a Sharia state.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Should Enoch Powell have made his Rivers of Blood speech?

Read it and judge for yourself.

Via the always-worth-visiting Arts & Letters Daily.


Glenn Condell, one of the Australian left's keenest minds, adds insane Jews to the ever-lenghtening list of immediate threats to humanity:
...the mad rabbis are every bit as dangerous as the mad mullahs.
And what have Jews done to attract Condell's wrath? Simple, they stated the obvious:
Because Hezbollah “puts Israeli men and women at extraordinary risk of life and limb through unconscionably using their own civilians, hospitals, ambulances, mosques… as human shields, cannon fodder, and weapons of asymmetric warfare,” the rabbinical council said in a statement, “we believe that Judaism would neither require nor permit a Jewish soldier to sacrifice himself in order to save deliberately endangered enemy civilians.”
Fighting from amongst civilians is part of the new Arab way of war. Israel should bow to the inevitable and surrender.


A total lack of knowledge doesn't stop the La Times equating alternative interrogation procedures with torture:
The administration characteristically refused to provide details about its methods. But experts on interrogation suspect that these alternative procedures could include subjecting prisoners to extreme temperatures and "waterboarding," in which a prisoner is strapped to a board and put in fear of drowning if he doesn't confess.

Such techniques seem to qualify as "humiliating and degrading treatment" prohibited by Common Article 3 of the Geneva Convention, which protects so-called enemy combatants, at least according to the Supreme Court. That's also the military's view. The new Army field manual, rooted in Article 3, prohibits extreme interrogation tactics such as waterboarding and conducting mock executions.
Lefties are Hell bent on handicapping anti-terror efforts no matter what.


Sure Jonathan Freedland learned a lot about global warming from An Inconvenient Truth but it's the non-envirnomental lessons that are really important. It was, for example, a mistake for Americans to vote for Bush just because he was more likeable than Gore. The British are urged not to make the same mistake:
Perhaps Britons should bear that in mind at our next election. If the choice is between David Cameron and Gordon Brown - and, given the events of last week, that is now a serious if - then polls will show, as they have already, Cameron ahead on the affability index. Brown, like Gore before him, will seem stiff, unnatural, oddly robotic, a creature of 24/7 politics, unable to speak fluent human. Cameron, like Bush, will be charming and easy. He won't make odd grimaces when he speaks.

But we should ask ourselves: is this any basis for choosing a leader? Surely we should choose the man of substance, no matter how he looks in a fleece or how breezily he can talk about his iPod. America made that mistake already and we are all paying the price. Let's not repeat it.
Voters are inclined to pick seemingly real people over oddly robotic snobby bores. Funny that.


Environmentalists have roundly condemned George Bush for choosing to protect the US economy by refusing to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. Well, Bush isn't the only one who thinks Kyoto's cost could be too high:
Asian leaders rebuffed European pleas for tighter curbs on greenhouse gases, refusing to shackle their fast-growing economies to future limits on energy use.

At a summit in Helsinki today, the heads of Asia's main developing economies balked at the European push for new binding targets for air pollution cuts once the Kyoto Protocol runs out in 2012."

Developing countries in Asia are counting on rapid economic growth to lift millions of people out of poverty, making it politically difficult to impose a clampdown on energy use.
European speakers at the Helsinki summit put emissions at the top of their priority list. The Asian representatives weren't buying it:
The two Asian speakers -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung -- left global warming off their list of priorities, focusing on industrial development, trade, fighting terrorism and disease.
Fighting terrorism is more important than limiting emissions?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Those on the left often accuse the US and Israel of engaging in state terrorism while ignoring what going on in Sudan:
Despite a peace deal being signed in May this year, there are dire warnings that millions of people in the Darfur region are facing an imminent threat of genocide from their own government.

Over the last three years, the ethnically driven conflict in Darfur, which the US Government described as genocide, has killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced millions more from their homes.
Now if this could be blamed on Americans or Jews...

Monday, September 11, 2006


As if we don't have enough to worry about:
"This insidious, creeping pandemic of obesity is now engulfing the entire world. It's as big a threat as global warming and bird flu."
Stop worry about terrorists and put down that fork.


Writing in the LA Times Bill Maher asks "when can we finally be funny again?" Rather than confront the fact that he's no Johnny Carson (who never lectured his audience) Maher blames timing rather than self-assumed lefty moral superiority for his failure to draw laughs:
WHENEVER THERE'S a tragedy, comedians are presented with a dilemma: When is the right time to make jokes about it, and what kind of jokes can you make? I vividly remember watching Johnny Carson every year on Lincoln's birthday, doing assassination jokes. (My favorite was about Lincoln's birthday stripper, "Freda Slaves." According to Johnny, "Every guy took a shot at her in the balcony; four scored and seven came close.") When the jokes bombed, he'd comment to Ed McMahon: "Too soon."

I know something about "too soon," because it was only six days after 9/11 when I got into all sorts of trouble with the country and the White House for saying that sticking with a suicide mission, as the terrorists had done, was not, strictly speaking, "cowardly," and that, in fact, "we have been the cowards, lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away." Of course, by "we," I meant American society as a whole, but it was not hard for people who never liked me to begin with to pretend that I was calling the military cowardly. I wasn't.
Maher should try that line again and see how it's received. You see, Bill, you have to be funny in the first place before you can be funny again.


The Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 is now available in Australia. Packing a 6.1 litre hemi V8 cranking out 420hp it flashes from 0 to 100 kph in around five seconds. Add another item to the list of goodies I'm never going to own.


For Simon Jenkins 9/11 evokes memories of shoddy construction and America's failure to exercise self-control. Such things are best forgotten.

He's wrong, of course: the World Trade Center towers were well built; and America hasn't yet lost control - if it does, we'll get a chance to see some of that state terrorism lefties keep harping about. The terrible beauty will be a thing to behold.


Victorian Social Studies teacher Paul Gilby has written a controversial 166 page, $47.20 (cheaper in bulk) book, Power and National Politics, specifically for classroom use. Federal Education Minister Julie Bishop is unhappy that the book is being used by about half of Victoria's 700 secondary politics students:
"It is inconceivable that information is being taught in schools which claims Australia is 'reaping the harvest' of our foreign policies and our 'Western imperialism'," she said.

"Of greatest concern is the claim in the textbook that the Howard Government is deliberately using the threat of terrorism to keep Australians fearful and thus supportive of Government policies and actions.

"The person who wrote this text should talk to the families of those killed in Bali and explain to them that there is no need to be fearful of terrorism."
In Gilby's view we have created the terrorist threat hanging over us but the threat isn't really that great with the Howard government exaggerating the threat for political gain. Kim Beazley on the other hand thinks the government isn't doing enough to protect Australians. Jeez, Howard can't seem to get it quite right.

Gilby isn't totally new to the publishing game having helped with the production of another book aimed at the curriculum market, Love Sex Desire:
The total publishing cost of printing 300 copies of the 110-page paperback, Mr Gilby says, is $2100.

So far, with what he describes as "a few sales" to students, Mr Gilby is hoping to find a curriculum-focused market at other educational institutions."

We sold one to NMIT. Our school is going to use it in health and development. We are hoping schools might pick this up as a resource," he says.

If they choose to copy the idea with their students' work, Mr Gilby will be even happier."
With "writer" Alicia Sometimes assisting the project it's gotta be quite a book – oddly, Sometimes doesn't list the book on her CV. Regardless, with Love Sex Desire costing $7 each to produce, $47.20 for Power and National Politics may be just a bit excessive. Quality education obviously doesn't come cheap.

Editing note: The cost per book of Love Sex Desire was corrected to $7 from the $3 originally shown.

Sunday, September 10, 2006


Al Gore's in Australia to lecture us on global warming:
"I would hope that Australia would put more pressure on the US by adopting this global agreement and then the US would feel enormous pressure to change."
Gore should give equal lecture time to those countries that signed on to Kyoto but aren't meeting their targets – that's pretty much all of the signatories, I believe.


The Observer accuses the US of involvement in illegal covert operations in Somalia:
Dramatic evidence that America is involved in illegal mercenary operations in east Africa has emerged in a string of confidential emails seen by The Observer. The leaked communications between US private military companies suggest the CIA had knowledge of the plans to run covert military operations inside Somalia - against UN rulings - and they hint at involvement of British security firms.
This article suggests the Oberserver's editorial staff are leftist idiots who'll print any old crap, so long as it's anti-American.


At just under 12,000 words Martin Amis's essay on terrorism is no quick read (and his style isn't always to my taste) but it is a must read. So, read it.

Saturday, September 09, 2006


The Sydney Morning Herald online displays the following headline and teaser:
US 'spreading Islamophobia'

Iran's former president has decried a wave of "Islamophobia" being spread in the United States by fear and hatred of Islam.
This plays to the prejudices of the SMH's lefty readers. making it sound like the US is spreading Islamophobia. The article actually readers quite differently:
Iran's former president has decried a wave of "Islamophobia" being spread in the United States by fear and hatred of Islam in response to terror carried out by Muslims.
It's simply cause and effect.


Aboriginal artist Gordon Syron is a tad careless with his highly valued creations, transporting two of them around Sydney on the roof of his car. Unfortunately, Syron forgot to secure the paintings (valued by him at $1.5 million) to the roof racks and they fell off wthout him noticing. The paintings are now missing.
Which is a better guide to the value of Syron's work, his claim that they're worth $1.5 million or the fact that he carts them around town on the roof of his car?

If you're out and about in Sydney and happen to run across Judgement by his Peers or The Immortalisation of David Gulpilil you should expect a really big reward for handing them in.

Update: While on the subject of idiots with vauables, Lindsay Lohan's handbag, taken from her luggage trolley at Heathrow, has been returned. There's no word on the $1 million in jewellery in the bag so it's probably safe to assume it's still missing.

Friday, September 08, 2006


It is often argued that it is understandable that Muslims are reacting violently to perceived injustice. It is understandable that British Muslims enraged by their country's foreign policies react by bombing civilians and that Muslims angered by Danish newspaper cartoons seek to blow up German civilians.

Would it not also be understandable, if such atrocities and near misses continue, that non-Muslims also become enraged and react violently? I mean, this violence justification thing must work both ways.


Al Qaeda in Iraq's new leader Abu Hamza al-Muhajir tries to motivate his extra-brave asymmetrical warriors by threatening coalition forces:
"The fire has not and will not be put out and our swords, which have been colored with your blood are thirsty for more of your rotting heads."
Talk about detached from reality: the Brotherhood of the Bloody Sword is really the Brotherhood of the Bomb Detonated from the Shadows. There was also a warning for non-Sunnis:
Muhajir, also believed to use the name Abu Ayyub al-Masri, told Shi'ite Muslims to 'repent' or face the swords of the mujahideen holy fighters.
It's war seventh century style.


Some people just can't live without a cell phone:
Cell phones, complete with a charger and data chips, were found in the body cavities of four inmates at a maximum-security prison, and they had used the phones to direct criminal activities on the street, officials said Wednesday.
Pardon me, I think your arse is ringing.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


Since everything written about the Earth's future climate is speculation, computer scientist Tim Lambert is right to characterize a recent NRO article as "speculation". That's all Lambert gets right in his post.

Lambert wrongly asserts the article contains only one fact and that the fact is wrong:
But anyway, here's his one fact:
But sea-level data from Tuvalu show basically a flat-line average since 1977 -- talk about an inconvenient truth!
And here's what the South Pacific Sea Level and Climate Monitoring Project 2005 report says about Tuvalu:
The sea level trend to date is +4.5 mm/year but the magnitude of the trend continues to vary widely from month to month as the data set grows. Accounting for the precise levelling results and inverted barometric pressure effect, the trend is +3.4 mm/year. A nearby gauge, with longer records but less precision and datum control, shows a trend of +6.2 mm/year.
The NRO article is not fact laden but coes contain other facts. More importantly, the sea level trend excerpt provided by Lambert does not come from the report he links to. Here's what the report actually says:
The sea level trend to date is +5.0 mm/year but the magnitude of the trend continues to vary widely from month to month as the data set grows. Accounting for the precise levelling results and inverted barometric pressure effect, the trend is +4.3 mm/year. A nearby gauge, with a longer record but less precision and datum control, shows a trend of +0.9 mm/year.
Lambert not only provides an erroneous quote, he fails to note that the SEAFRAME gauge was only installed in 1993, making it inappropriate to draw long term conclusions from the data generated. As always, Lambert is not a reliable source of information.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


David Helvarg, president of the Blue Frontier Campaign, takes the opportunity of Steve Irwin's death to make some dubious points about the need to conserve the oceans. Along the way he says some pretty dumb stuff:
The oceans are a rougher and more difficult wilderness for humans to function in than any encountered by terrestrial or space explorers. The sea pummels us with an unbreathable and corrosive liquid medium...
The oceans are more hostile than outer space? Sea water is corrosive? Opportunistic dumbarse.


Victorinox's 85 tool Swiss Army knife is the world's most versatile tool. It's also one of the world's dumbest tool ideas.


Writing in the Arab News, Abdul Jalil Mustafa condemns a terrorist act, sort of:
The attack on a group of Western tourists in Jordan on Monday should be condemned by all standards as an act of terrorism, but the blind support to Israel by the United States and other Western powers “should bear the blame” for the expanding extremism in the Middle East...
Thus, extremists are blameless.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


The Sunday Telegraph's Lucy Clark praises (not available online) My Israel Question:
Loewenstein’s quest for broader understanding comes from a very personal place: as a liberal Jew, he was brought up to question the “established historical narrative” and, after much research that has taken him to the Middle East and into conservations with experts on both sides, he now wants to know why it is almost treasonous to advocate a Palestinian state.
Pro-Israel experts? There aren't any – Clark must have read a different book.


The four poll approval average:
President Bush – 38.8%

Congress – 28.5%
I can't work out if this means democracy is great, or if it sucks.


As of next week the European Commission will submit proposed legislation to national parliaments for comment prior to passage. There is but one small catch:
[the European Commission] has made clear that it will not review any of its plans if national deputies dislike them.
Democracy European-style.


Serial quote mangler Antony Loewenstein says the Australian's foreign editor Greg Sheridan falsely claimed, in prepared remarks at the Melbourne Writer's Festival, that Noam Chomsky and John Pilger "blamed the CIA for 9/11". Assuming the unlikely – that Loewenstein is even remotely close to what Sheridan actually said – what have Chomsky and Pilger had to say about 9/11 and the CIA?

Here's Pilger's view:
Saudi Arabia and Pakistan were the bases of the CIA's Operation Cyclone, which, with a treasury of $4bn and the secret approval of the White House, effectively created the Islamicist war party that attacked America.

Chomsky isn't quite so specific but still sees it the same:
Meanwhile, the terrorist forces that the CIA was organizing, arming, and training were pursuing their own agenda, right away. It was no secret. One of the first acts was in 1981 when they assassinated the President of Egypt, who was one of the most enthusiastic of their creators. In 1983, one suicide bomber, who may or may not have been connected, it's pretty shadowy, nobody knows. But one suicide bomber drove the US army-military out of Lebanon.
Now why did they turn against the United States? Well that had to do with what they call the US invasion of Saudi Arabia. In 1990, the US established permanent military bases in Saudi Arabia which from their point of view is comparable to a Russian invasion of Afghanistan except that Saudi Arabia is way more important. That's the home of the holiest sites of Islam. And that is when their activities turned against the Unites States. If you recall, in 1993 they tried to blow up the World Trade Center. Got part of the way, but not the whole way and that was only part of it. The plans were to blow up the UN building, the Holland and Lincoln tunnels, the FBI building. I think there were others on the list. Well, they sort of got part way, but not all the way. One person who is jailed for that, finally, among the people who were jailed, was a Egyptian cleric who had been brought into the United States over the objections of the Immigration Service, thanks to the intervention of the CIA which wanted to help out their friend.
Regardless, Loewenstein has a shocking Sheridan revelation that might just be true: three Zionists were in the festival audience and one of them – shock, horror! – is a "good friend". Speaking of guilt by association, pay any attention to Loewenstein and everyone with a brain will assume you're an idiot.

Monday, September 04, 2006


Canadian forces are in the thick of it in Afghanistan:
Military officials have been vague about the number of Canadian soldiers in the operation, but they say it's their largest mustering of force since the Second World War. And despite the four Canadians killed and as many as seven wounded — it was one of the bloodiest days since Canada sent troops to Afghanistan in 2002 — the soldiers seemed energetic as their armoured vehicles edged deeper into Taliban territory.
They might, however, want to stop giving the opposition a sporting chance:
The Canadians had warned their adversaries about the coming attack with leaflets and radio bulletins. Just before the foreign soldiers arrived, insurgent leaders representing as many as 1,000 Taliban organized a shura (meeting) where by some accounts they urgently debated whether to retreat east into the district of Dand. But they decided that the inevitable showdown with the Canadians would be best fought in the natural defensive terrain of Panjwai's trenches, dry canals and thick mud walls.

“The foreigners will die here,” a Taliban fighter said Saturday, reached by telephone.
Good luck, boys.


A government task force reports that the federal government needs to spend an extra $2.4 billion a year on public education if student performance goals are to be met. There is, however, a sure-fire, no-cost way to get students to learn.


Professor Claude Bouchard, president of the International Association for the Study of Obesity, doesn't want to meddle or anything but does want Australia to ban junk food advertising:
The executive committee of the International Association for the Study of Obesity has approved a position statement which essentially says that we should ban advertising of junk foods and non-nutritious foods to children. We don't want to interfere into your national debate, but it is one that needs to take place.
As a professor Bouchard should know that food is, by definition, nutritious; that's what makes it food.


Tim Lambert's all upset with the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition for supposedly deleting dissenting comments. Lambert's also unhappy with Climate Audit:
Meanwhile, over at Climate Audit, someone tried to post a link to my criticism of a Climate Audit post and discovered that they have blocked any comment that links to my blog. Charming.
Lambert should be flattered the two sites are emulating his behaviour: he won't allow me to comment at his site; has stealthily deleted some of my past comments; and continues to bounce my links to his old blog. Tis better to give than to receive.


Fringe lefty Antony Loewenstein is sceptical of a recent sharp rise in antisemitic incidents as reported by the Age. He links to two Leftwrites posts as proof he is right to have doubts.

In the first linked post Chris Haan casts Jews as the aggressors; at least that's how he remembers it:
There is a growing right-wing Zionist campaign to attack the Left on Australia's campuses for its opposition to the Lebanon war and Zionism generally. The usual suspects must have put together a press release/story about "growing anti-semitism on campus" (read: activity critical of Israel) to get this article in today's Age titled "Jews in fear of hardline groups on campus"


When I was on campus several years ago the zionists who walked past stalls tended to hurl pro-zionist abuse as they went past and, unsurprisngly, the socialists responded. It would go something like this: Zionist yells, "Israel has a right to defend itself against terrorists!", and socialists yell back, "Israel is a state terrorist!" and so it would go.
He also throws in a gratuitous link to our brave Jewish dissenter:
The Left has to be confident to defend itself against spurious claims of anti-semitism from the Right. It's becoming more apparent that books like Antony Lowenstein's My Israel Question are becoming necessary reading in order to instil that confidence.
Jeff Sparrow also weighs in even though he knows nothing about the situation:
I'm completely out of the loop of campus politics, but reading between the lines it sounds much more like the Left is being suppressed by the Right rather than the other way round.


Kamien says activists on socialist stalls regularly shout out comments about 'f–ing Jew[s]'. When I was in the [International Socialist Organization] and [Socialist Alternative], anyone who used such language (or harboured the sentiment behind it) would have been expelled. I cannot believe that matters are any different today.
Lefty Paul Norton is, however, not at all surprised at the upsurge in antisemitism:
As someone who has identified with the left throughout my adult life, I was depressed but not surprised to read the report (4 September) on ultra-leftist hostility towards Jewish students.

I was once involved in self-described “pro-Palestinian” activism. However, after reading and thinking carefully about the issue I moved away from the anti-Zionism of the ultra-left. I became convinced that the destruction of Israel would be a human catastrophe, I remained critical of specific Israeli policies whilst accepting Israel’s right to exist, and I concluded that Palestinian self-determination had to be achieved in parallel with, not at the expense of, Jewish self-determination.

For adopting these views I attracted calumny from the anti-Zionist faithful similar to that heaped on NUS President Rose Jackson for her statements regarding the current campus debates. Eventually I ceased being active on the Israel-Palestine issue because my conscience wouldn’t let me attend meetings and rallies dominated by chants of “Palestine Yes! Israel No!”
I've made a lot of fun of Norton but have to give him credit for taking the stand he's taken on this.

And what about Loewenstein? He shouldn't be surprised antisemitism is on the rise; just the other day he posited a cause and effect link between Israel's actions and antisemitism – a link he had previously denied. As always, the poor guy wouldn't have a clue.

Sunday, September 03, 2006


A Palestinian student learns it's a good idea to pay attention to his teachers:
A mass teachers' strike that is part of a growing Palestinian power struggle erupted in violence when masked militants trying to keep students away from school shot and moderately wounded a 12-year-old boy trying to go to class.
The kid will probably settle scores with an RPG. Cool.


To be honest, I'd look and feel better if I dropped around 20 pounds. I could easily do this by cutting down on the junk foods and spending less time parked on my arse in front of the computer. If my weight is causing me problems, it's up to me do somethng about it.

I started thinking about this while reading yet another article proposing taxes to cut the consumption of fat producing foods. This seems fair but only if the overweight are given carbon credits for the carbon being sequestered in their body fat. America's emission problem solved.


Denis MacShane describes what's cooking in Britain:
... a 'witch's brew' of anti-semitism including the far left and 'ultra-Islamist' extremists who reject Israel's right to exist.
Blair's Law applies.


Great news, if correct:
Iraq's national security adviser, Mowaffaq al-Rubaie, told a news conference the man, Hamad Jama al-Saedi, was detained a few days ago.

"We announce today the arrest of the most important al-Qaeda leader after the criminal Abu Ayyub al-Masri. He's the second man in the organisation," Mr Rubaie said, referring to the man believed to be al-Qaeda's current leader in Iraq.

Mr Saedi was hiding in a building north of Baquba that was being used by families, Mr Rubaie said.

"He wanted to use children and women as human shields as our forces attempted to capture him."


The EU "big three", Germany, France and the UK, are spearheading international nuclear negotiations with Iran. The effort is coordinated by Javier Solana, High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and the Secretary-General of both the Council of the European Union (EU) and the Western European Union (WEU). EU foreign ministers, meeting in Finland, have asked Solana to seek "clarifications" following Tehran's failure to meet a UN uranium enrichment deadline:
The EU's top diplomat will seek clarifications on the secret Iranian document which is "long, repetitive, and sometimes contradictory," according to one EU diplomat.
The nogotiations are seen as a victory for the lots of talk, no action European way of doing business:
The "big three plus Solana" construction used by the EU in the Iran dispute is seen by many experts and diplomats as having produced a rare success story for EU foreign policy.

Not only has the EU so far largely spoken with one voice on Iran – as opposed to for example on the Middle East – but the bloc has also taken up a leading international role on the issue, with UN veto powers, the US, Russia and China, allowing Mr Solana to talk to Tehran on their behalf.
Success? Most Europeans wouldn't have a clue what's going on:
But 22 out of the 25 ministers were not allowed to see a "top secret" 21-page report which Tehran produced last week explaining its position – a document only seen by Mr Solana and the so-called EU-3 countries the UK, France and Germany.
Hmm, what with the first two world wars starting as a result of secret European negotiations, why not the third?

Saturday, September 02, 2006


Mike Tyson, reportedly $30 million in debt, is making ends meet by publicly training at Las Vegas's Aladdin/Planet Hollywood Resort. Tyson says he's preparing for a series of upcoming fights. Actually, he says all sorts of stuff:
"I'm just here getting in shape. I'm not a fighter. I truly hate fighting. I don't really train anymore. I have a bad taste in my mouth from fighting. I just live my life and try to survive out there. I'm always looking to make a buck, like anyone else. I just fight for money. I get a little uncomfortable with crowds of people. It's weird. I'm looked at by people as the (heavyweight champion), but I don't live that life anymore because of the mistakes I made. It's different being that guy among blue-collar people. I can't think or dwell on (the past) because then I can't be the person I want to in life. Just a simple guy. Hell no, I couldn't (fight for the championship again). I have too many bad habits and demons. It's nice seeing and talking to you guys, though."
With the head-shots he's taken he does well to talk at all.


The BBC reports on a young Muslim Frenchman's conversion to terrorism. The great Satan is the great motivater:
Europe has become a hunting ground for al-Qaeda recruits. Largely disillusioned with US foreign policy, several young Muslims are making the journey east, some to become suicide bombers.
Here's the worrying part:
Peter was like any other French teenager.
There's something seriously wrong with Europe.


Homaidan Al-Turki, a Saudi living in the US for 14 years working on his PhD and doing missionary work in prisons, has been sentenced to 20 years to life in prison for abusing the family housekeeper:
Al-Turki was convicted this summer of 12 felony counts of unlawful sexual contact with use of force, one felony count of criminal extortion and one felony count of theft. He also was found guilty of two misdemeanors: false imprisonment and conspiracy to commit false imprisonment.
Al-Turki continues to protest his innocence:
"Your honor, I am not here to apologize, for I cannot apologize for things I did not do and for crimes I did not commit," he told Judge Mark Hannen.

"The state has criminalized these basic Muslim behaviors. Attacking traditional Muslim behaviors was the focal point of the prosecution," he said.
So, what are these traditional behaviours?
Prosecutors and FBI agents said Al Turki and his wife, Sarah Khonaizan, brought the now 24-year-old woman to Colorado to care for their five children and to cook and clean for the family.

An affidavit said she spent four years with the family, sleeping on a mattress on the basement floor and getting paid less than $2 (Dh7.34) a day. Al Turki said he treated the woman the same way any observant Muslim family would treat a daughter.
Turki’s nephew and family spokesman, Fahd Al-Nasar, is keen to shift attention to the former housekeeper:
Nasar claimed that Turki’s defense has learned that the maid has since become a legal US resident after marrying an Egyptian-American and that the husband allegedly tried to get his wife to rescind her false allegations. He said that the husband allegedly e-mailed Turki through his website claiming that his wife wanted to take back her charges. The prosecution allegedly threatened her with jail time for making false charges, so she stuck with her story. Nasar also said that the maid has since separated from the Egyptian-American.
Al-Turki should be happy he has the chance to proselytize, maybe for the rest of his life, from within the prison system. What could be more fulfilling than doing God's work?

Friday, September 01, 2006


A UN demining expert comments on the use of cluster munitions:
“It’s not illegal to use (cluster bombs) against soldiers or your enemy, but according to Geneva Conventions it’s illegal to use them in civilian areas.”
Noam Chomsky justifies Israel's "widespread" use of cluster munitions in Lebanon:
But Hizbullah is so deeply embedded in society that it cannot be eradicated without destroying much of Lebanon as well.
Go Noam.

Update: Chomsky's article is no longer available at the Guardian. Go here instead.


Malaysia's prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badaw bravely hints that corruption is a problem throughout the Muslim world:
"I am deeply saddened to note that Muslim countries, as a group, do not rate very highly when it comes to," he said at the opening of the [Organisation of the Islamic Conference] first forum on graft.

I believe that many of the development challenges that the Muslim Ummah (community) faces have their roots in problems of poverty, poor governance and limited education opportunities," he said."
Turk Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu takes a more populist view:
"I also wish to identify the role of [multinational corporations], who are responsible for spreading the curse of corruption," he said.
Root cause found.

Update: Gerard Baker doesn't buy the Muslims-as-victims nonsense:
Though the West is surely not blameless, either through history or today, in its treatment of Muslims, the idea that responsibility for the woes of the Islamic world these past few hundred years can be laid at somebody else’s door is escapist fantasy.