It's not your baby, it's our baby
With expectant mothers pressured not to drink any alcohol at all and a proposed test to identify pregnant smokers, do-gooder and governmental meddling in pregnancy is out of control.
Harsh but unfair.
With expectant mothers pressured not to drink any alcohol at all and a proposed test to identify pregnant smokers, do-gooder and governmental meddling in pregnancy is out of control.
"The Navy could probably stop it, but there are all kinds of consequences that would have to be considered," he said.
"You could stop that well, but what else might you do that might upset the ecostructure of the Gulf?"
He says the Navy would not need to use a nuclear weapon, explaining that the Navy could simply "blow up the well and cover the leak with piles and piles and piles of rock and debris".
Mr Clinton expressed concern there was little else the government could do if BP's experts failed.
"Unless we're going to do all that, we're dependent on the technical expertise of these people at BP," he said.
As if blowing up the well and burying it in a mountain of rubble would make any difference. And doesn't Clinton think that maybe BP has consulted with outside experts on possible solutions? The man's a fool.
The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) today warned of rising hunger and malnutrition among Palestinians living in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip – a situation the agency blamed largely on Israeli policies and practices.
“The total blockade of the West Bank and Gaza Strip has paralyzed the Palestinian economy, which is so vulnerably dependent on Israel and already severely weakened by frequent border closures, to such an extent that it is now in a deep recession, with millions of people severely impoverished and extremely food insecure,” FAO said in a special alert, which was issued in Rome.
That 2002 prediction proved wrong with The Economist's obesity rankings – for the latest year available,1999 - 2003 – showing 23.9 percent of West Bank and Gaza males and 42.5 percent of women as obese. The starvation non-crisis is confirmed by 2008 WHO figures for "Palestine" showing 7.3 percent of newborns with low birth weights and 5.5 percent of children underweight – by comparison, the low birth weight figure for Egypt is 12.1 percent and underweight children is 7.5 percent.
A new video responds to continuing claims of an impending humanitarian disaster in Gaza:
Hamas forces seized $16,000 on Sunday from a Gaza bank that had frozen the funds as part of an anti-money laundering campaign launched by the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority.
A senior official at the Palestine Islamic Bank (PIB) said Hamas police took the cash from tellers at gunpoint.
And more democratically elected Hamas governing:
Israel’s blockade of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip has been a bonanza for Palestine Food Industries Co., the only functioning juice maker in the Gaza Strip, with sales increasing ten-fold as the embargo kept out competition.
Now, as Israel relaxes its restrictions, the company has joined fellow manufacturers including Pepsi-Cola bottlers Yazegi Group in demanding that Hamas protect local industries and refuse imports of juice, soda and snack foods. Officials of the Islamic movement have heeded the calls and are barring entry of such items as Israeli grapefruit juice and potato chips.
It's all in the people's best interests.
Addressing the first national conference as Labor leader Kevin Rudd introduced himself to the faithful: "My name is Kevin, I'm from Queensland and I'm here to help.'' Thus our soon-to-be Prime Minister echoed the "most terrifying words in the English language... 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'" It goes without saying that government can best "help" most Australians by staying the hell out of their lives.
The sometimes prescient Rudd continued:
One thing we know for certain is that the history of nations is made up of those who understand, anticipate and act on the challenges of the future. And those who do not. Those who instead bury their heads in the sand. Those who hope it will all just go away.
Rudd bit the dust precisely because he failed to "understand, anticipate and act on the" failings of his government and did not grasp the extent of dissatisfaction with his leadership.
Australian blogger Harry Clarke could read the handwriting on the wall, however, predicting on 14 June that "the inept Rudd has no future as Prime Minister of Australia" and would "fairly soon" be replaced by Julia Gillard. Good call Harry.
Unable to assert coherent policy on climate change, asylum seekers and the other "great moral challenges" confronting Australians, the government embraces the fashion industry with regulatory tentacles:
In a world first, the Federal Government is trying to tackle the issue of body image so that ordinary Australians do not feel pressure to attain unrealistic cultural ideals of beauty.
Proposed measures include:
Refraining from using models who are very thin or male models who are excessively muscular.
Disclosing when images have been retouched and refraining from enhancing photographs in a way that changes a person's body shape, for example, lengthening their legs or trimming their waist, or removing freckles, lines and other distinguishing marks.
What, no disclosure of store-bought boobs, whitened teeth and pancake makeup?
The speed with which the Gillardtine chopped Kevin Rudd's neck took the punditocracy largely by surprise. Political analyst Mark Bahnisch, proprietor of Leftist political blog Larvatus Prodeo and pretender to the title of the "country’s best read political blog", was no exception, even as the spill was taking place refusing to accept reality, repeatedly referring to the obvious turmoil as an "unchallenge".
It's truly amazing that Bahnisch, a PhD with supposedly superb political insticts, didn't realize Rudd was a goner. His PhD thesis, The phenomenology of utopia: reimagining the political is, afterall, a masterful display of political insight:
This thesis argues that the end of Soviet Marxism and a bipolar global political imaginary at the dissolution of the short Twentieth Century poses an obstacle for anti-systemic political action. Such a blockage of alternate political imaginaries can be discerned by reading the work of Francis Fukuyama and "Endism" as performative invocations of the closure of political alternatives, and thus as an ideological proclamation which enables and constrains forms of social action. It is contended that the search through dialectical thought for a competing universal to posit against "liberal democracy" is a fruitless one, because it reinscribes the terms of teleological theories of history which work to effect closure. Rather, constructing a phenomenological analytic of the political conjuncture, the thesis suggests that the figure of messianism without a Messiah is central to a deconstructive reframing of the possibilities of political action - a reframing attentive to the rhetorical tone of texts. The project of recovering the political is viewed through a phenomenological lens. An agonistic political distinction must be made so as to memorialise the remainders and ghosts of progress, and thus to gesture towards an indeconstructible justice which would serve as a horizon for the articulation of an empty universal. This project is furthered by a return to a certain phenomenology inspired by Cornelius Castoriadis, Claude Lefort, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Ernesto Laclau. The thesis provides a reading of Jacques Derrida and Walter Benjamin as thinkers of a minor universalism, a non-prescriptive utopia, and places their work in the context of new understandings of religion and the political as quasi-transcendentals which can be utilised to think through the aporias of political time in order to grasp shards of meaning. Derrida and Chantal Mouffe's deconstructive critique and supplement to Carl Schmitt's concept of the political is read as suggestive of a reframing of political thought which would leave the political question open and thus enable the articulation of social imaginary significations able to inscribe meaning in the field of political action. Thus, the thesis gestures towards a form of thought which enables rather than constrains action under the sign of justice.
Back at his blog Bahnisch offers Labor head-rolling advice:
This will be highly damaging, coming as it does just at the point when it appeared that things could be turned around for the government. If I were Julia Gillard, I’d urge Rudd to convene a caucus meeting tomorrow morning, and personally move a confidence motion in his leadership. And heads should roll in the ALP. Soon.
Soon followed with:
I'll repeat what I said before: if the ALP dumps Rudd now, it will be the height of stupidity, and be a demonstration of nothing but craven cowardice in the face of a media/mining industry orchestrated campaign, at a time when the polls indicate, despite a low primary vote, the ALP is still odds on to win the election.
Well, a head did roll courtesy of the Gillardtine. Will Rudd's ousting turn out to be, as Bahnisch predicts, a disaster? Quite likely: the ALP is a disaster just waiting to happen.
With an ongoing shortage of general practitioners, Western Australia, in the short term at least, must recruit foreign doctors. There is a slight problem with this strategy, however: "overseas-trained doctors are over-represented in those people who end up before disciplinary hearings".
The exact problem here is unclear. It could be that imported doctors, many of whom end up in rural areas, are ill equipped to practice medicine without supervision – they could be young and green, for example. Or the problem could be largely cultural. Then again, it could be that at least some of these doctors are not properly trained.
With the number of foreign doctors likely to continue to increase it's a worry no matter what's causing the problem.
A rant from a South Australian leftist – two mitigating factors – who contemplates perhaps taking up teaching or professional writing - yikes, twice.
I’m sick and tired of people – usually self-identifying right-libertarians (or pseudo-libertarians if the association offends “true” libertarians) – claiming that taxation is taking their money. That it’s theft.
It’s not your money. It’s the state’s money. You see that head of state printed on the note or stamped on the coin? Over wondered why it’s a crime to mint our own cash in the same currency? Yeah. Exactly.
It’s the state’s money - it’s been allocated to you in recognition of your productivity.
And this is important to understand, because:
“It’s my money!”, by presenting a subtly extreme anarchist value as an unassailable statement of fact*, ends debate prematurely. Debate which to my mind was cut short in the 1970s – back when “a fair go” wasn’t just a jingoistic slogan – debate that we need to be having today.
Preferably this debate can be re-vivified before matters polarize further – before the debate re-ignites as a clash between bloody-minded ideology and incorrigible self-interest because people didn’t see it in their self interest to discuss the matter sooner. Or because some right-wing radical shouted “it’s my money!” and people just left it at that.
There. Glad to have that out in the open. *Big sigh*
Such delusions would be of little importance except that such thinking is all too typical of educated Australians who can vote. It's actually scary when you think about it.
Currency, in the form of notes and coins, is a physical manifestation of "money", which is itself an abstraction. My "money", other than what's in my pockets, does not physically exist, residing as it does in the value of my various assets, including what's sitting in my bank account, which does not physically exist until I go to the bank and withdraw it as currency or in the form of a cheque. Altenatively, I can transfer my "money" directly to almost anywhere on the planet. Should I transfer my "money" to a Swiss bank account the "money" does not belong to Switzerland, it's still mine.
Whereas I would never describe taxation as "theft", such a description is essentially correct: government's are, as far as I know, unique in their self-granted ability to legally and coercively extract "money" from individuals and businesses.
Bruce, the author of the "money" nonsense above, is a noted leftard who, of course, is consistently wrong.
A teenage male driving at high speed – hard to imagine, I know – is very lucky to be alive:
The cause of the crash was unclear but Insp. Davis said it appeared the local man was speeding down Garling Street about 7.30pm when he hit a kerb at the corner of Bowen Street and became airborne.
The car crashed through a fence before landing upside down on a bank of high voltage [66,000 volt] capacitors.
The luck of the stupid, eh.
Desperate to cut costs the UK government is looking to shut down some of its 820 websites with total yearly operating costs of some £126m (AU$217m, US$190m). Ironically, the government moved some of its services online in an effort to save money. This hasn't exactly worked out as intended:
The UK Trade and Investment website averaged 28,000 users per month but cost over £4m to build said the [Central Office of Information].
Each site visitor cost the government £11.78 according to the figures.
And as the web inexorably grows, so too does the government's online presence:
In 2007 the BBC reported that the government was to axe 551 websites, protecting 26 from closure.
"Only 24 sites have been reported as closed and more sites have since been discovered and so the present total number of government websites is 820," said [Cabinet Minister] Francis Maude.
Governments, like cancer, grow and metastasize. Reversing or even halting this growth and spread requires harsh measures, with it often necessary to resort to the knife. In the sickly UK's case it's easy to imagine the patient dying.
Sheridyn Fisher, 24, is delighted to be staying at the Playboy mansion at the invitation of 83-year-old super-stud Hugh Hefner.
"I feel like I am in a fairytale," Fisher said from her Playmate pink-themed bedroom last night. "I always loved Playboy and dreamt of coming to the mansion, but never thought it was a possibility, it really is a dream come true to be here. I briefly bumped into Hef at breakfast this morning and he told me to enjoy my stay and looked forward to meeting me properly ... I was pretty nervous."
Yes, we all picture Hefner as Prince Charming riding in on a white stallion sweeping young Sheridyn off her feet and into the sunset. Except that Hefner hasn't ridden a horse, or anything else capable of, er, bucking, in probably 20 years.
Sheridyn's spelling-challenged parents are no doubt proud that their daughter has achieved fame – 15 minutes and counting – by hanging out with a man famous for... what, exactly? You go girl.
Unlike some bloggers who regularly copy and paste huge chunks of other's writing, and even whole articles, I try to keep excerpts short. In the case of the following extraordinarily poorly crafted, near pointless-gibberish from the ABC's Patrick Stack, I'm posting the whole article.
See if Stack's Dictators, Troy and Alannah makes any sense:
"I always say in politics the wheel of political opportunity is always in motion" - Troy Buswell, 23/06/2010.
Mr Buswell is yet to confirm whether he is going to establish a fortune teller stall at the Fremantle markets, but this remark at his comeback press conference demonstrated that while he may remain unwanted on the Liberal front bench, he could have a role as the party soothsayer.
Of course the former treasurer wasn't referring to the end of Kevinism, he was actually talking about one of his favourite topics, Troy.
It's been a significant time in State politics but it has been largely glossed over by the fact we have ranga running the country.
Early in the week we had the Premier, Colin Barnett, announcing the WA Government has ticked off the Rio Tinto - BHP joint venture, provided they pay for a hospital. It's a move that brought claims of Bannana Republic politics and had the Government likened to a Venezuelan dictatorship. Que? It's believed Hugo Chavez is livid with being compared to the bloke who wanted to have a canal from the Kimberley to Perth.
Then we had the public sector commissioner clearing both Adele Carles and Mr Buswell over any misuse of taxpayer money, giving weight to the rumour that Mr Buswell may actually be bullet proof.
But Mr Buswell doesn't want to don a cape and save the world, he just wants to get back on the front bench. And all of a sudden in seems in the realms of possibility, surely not in 2010, but maybe in the future. Especially when you consider not only did he not misuse tax payer funds, according to the report he could have claimed more! The former treasurer is so committed to achieving a surplus for the state government he is paying for his own research trips to Sydney.
The thing is, the Government could certainly use him, some of the ministers look about as capable as the French soccer team, even if they are vastly more harmonious.
He cuts an interesting figure during question time, Mr Buswell is used to grappling with the Opposition but in recent weeks he's instead been grappling with sudoku, that Japanese game with the numbers. On Wednesday he abandoned his puzzle for a book, reading 'Murderer No More' the book about how Andrew Mallard was wrongly convicted. Are you seeing the parallels? Well Troy wasn't jailed for more than a decade, but he does look as though he's in his own private prison. No more so than during question time as he is forced to listen to ministers bumble their way through Opposition probing. The member for Vasse pulls what I like to call the "serenity now" face. He sits back, closes his eyes, breaths heavily and tries to remember a happy place, a place and time when Labor yelled abuse at him, not another.
One of those who has spent many hours shouting down Mr Buswell is Alannah MacTiernan. After well over a decade of service the member for Armadale and former Planning and Infastructure has finished her time with State Politics as she pushes for a role in the Federal sphere. If Julia Gillard thought Kevin Rudd was demmanding, then she'll have a different kind of perfectionist on her hands with MacTiernan. Although the federal candidate for Canning has had some ambitious hairstyles. Maybe she can take some tips from the PM's partner.
MacTiernan has been a keen sparing partner for the Coalition and especially the Premier. When Mr Barnett was asked by reporters for a word on her departure he replied with "bye". That's because she does her job well, she makes life difficult for the Government. Reporters too I might add.
There were countless stories being bandied about regarding Ms MacTiernan but by far the best this scribe heard was regarding her first day in Parliament. She rolled into the chamber wearing some particularly racey stockings and a member from the opposing side of politics remarked that you would expect to see that sort of attire in a brothel. Not missing a beat she snapped back "well you're the only one in here that would know what the inside of a brothel looks like."
Was Stack simply very tired after a long day at work or did he perhaps write this at the pub on a laptop?
Julia Gillard is no doubt extremely concerned that she unexpectedly faces a stiff Rudd challenge for the seat of Lalor at the coming election. No, not Kevin Rudd; Van Thanh Rudd the fringe-left artist, who is contesting Lalor as a candidate for the Lenin, Marx, Che, Ho Chi Minh, Castro and Chavez–admiring Revolutionary Socilaist Party. If the unpopularity of Rudd's You Tube channel is any indication of his ability to attract voters, he'll do well to get into triple figures.
The WA Coroner has been told it is possible to find that prominent researcher, Peter Dingle, and a homeopath contributed to the death of a woman from cancer.
The Coroner has been examining the case of Doctor Dingle's wife, Penelope, who used homeothapy and nutritional supplements to treat rectal cancer.
During the inquest, it was alleged Doctor Dingle and the homeopath, Francine Scrayen, had misled Mrs Dingle into believing the therapies could cure her.
In submissions today, counsel assisting the inquest said the evidence suggested Doctor Dingle and Mrs Scrayen had cooperated in their treatment of Mrs Dingle.
Despite the untimely death of his wife from a once treatable cancer, Dr Dingle's faith in alternative therapies is unshaken.
Julia Gillard is grilled live by the ABC's Kerry O'Brien. The new Prime Minister's performance is far less than confidence inspiring. This is understandable considering Australia is now being run by power-brokers lurking in the shadows. The almost inevitable Labor slow-motion train wreck should be very entertaining.
Anonymous models pose for the ultimate in revealing photographs. Now those are some bones worth jumping, or so I imagine.
Even as Gillard mounts her ultimately successful challenge Labor MPs deny reality:
Trust the left at your peril.
The ABC reports on a Labor Party revolt:
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's leadership is under siege tonight from some of the Labor Party's most influential factional warlords.
The ABC has learned that powerful party figures have been secretly canvassing numbers for a move to dump the Prime Minister and replace him with his deputy, Julia Gillard.
The latest: "He is gone."
The Prime Ministership will be decided at a leadership vote at 9:00am tomorrow morning. Even if Rudd survives the vote he'll be gone before the coming election.
Penelope Dingle died in 2005 having rejected conventional cancer treatment in favour of alternative therapies. Here's husband Dr Peter Dingle – an academic; not a medical practitioner – in a TV interview arising from the inquest into wife Penelope's cancer death:
"This isn't Peter Dingle the academic or the researcher, this is Peter Dingle the husband, who just got lost and didn't know what was going on in the end," he says.
“The treatment by the homeopath was a catastrophe, and in hindsight what a stupid thing I did supporting Pene, and what a stupid thing Pene did in going down that line.”
"At the end there was no sleep, caring 24/7 . . . I was starting to believe it . . .I have no doubt I was delusional, in shock, traumatised . . . I was caught up in this nightmare . . . an absolute nightmare”.
Dr Dingle is in fact still delusional, as this November 2009 post from his blog clearly shows:
Psoriasis is an inflammatory disease that begins in the gut and often involves the liver and other organs. Yep not the skin. The skin is only the elimination organ where it manifests. If you go through allopathic medicine (your GP or specialist) they will treat the skin and it might get better then it will come back and get worse each time and the creams get stronger each time. You are only treating the symptom. If your medical professional or advocacy group does not talk about nutrition and lifestyle I suggest you look for better information, one that is not influenced by a drug company.
The primary cause of this problem is dysbiosis in the gut. The probiotic bacteria are disturbed and dysfunctional. This can come about for a lot of reasons such as antibiotics, processed foods, other medications and even stress. Psoriasis is also an inflammatory disease linked with an increased risk of heat attack and some cancers, hence why it is obviously not a skin disease, it is chronic inflammation.
First thing to do is modify your diet to be unprocessed, lots of salad and raw food, no milk, minimal wheat and absolutely no white flour products. Cut down meat (it is pro inflammatory). No vegetable oil or margarines but lots of unprocessed olive oil. Lots of salad, nuts, vegetables, beans, fruit and oily fish. The best formula for eating is outlined in our book “the 6 week healthy eating planner" on our website (www.drdingle.com).
So despite possessing no medical qualifications whatsoever Dr Dingle, an environmental scientist, contradicts the accepted science in stating that psoriasis "begins in the gut and often involves the liver and other organs" when the cause or causes of psoriasis are unknown but it is known for certain that many psoriasis suffers are genetically predisposed to the condition. Note that along with the suspect dietary advice Dr Dingle also suggests that readers consult, that is, buy, one of his books.
None of this is surprising considering that Dr Dingle's second wife Martine is a naturopath who, together with her husband, runs the Children's Healing Centre. Martine Dingle, Naturopath (Advanced Diploma), hypnotist and life balance coach promotes The Six-Week Healthy Eating Planner she and husband Peter co-wrote. Bear in mind that neither Dingle has any formal nutrition qualifications, at least none that are stated, whatsoever.
But as they say in the TV advert pitching low quality products at "bargain prices", there's more. Despite Dr Dingle's apparent lack of nutrition expertise the University Of Western Australia bills him as follows:
Dr Peter Dingle, Health and Nutrition Specialist
Easily 80-90% of the chronic illnesses we suffer from are a result of our diet and lifestyle. The solution is not in any miracle drug, but in healthy eating and digestion. Food is the best medicine, but only if you can digest it. You will learn how good foods can be your lifelong medicine, and also, how to improve your digestion and why digestion begins before you get the food near your mouth. This course will change the way you eat and feel – for the better!
10311032 Monday 2 Aug 6.30-9.30pm $89
Yet according to Murdoch University, here are Dr Dingle's research interests:
Indoor air quality in homes and office buildings; toxic chemical use; air pollution and health; environmental education; environmental management systems and industry; risk management, environmental leadership.
And Dr Dingle's Murdoch page shows no research demonstrating expertise in either health or nutrition.
Dr Peter Dingle has established a veritable alternative health industry that's probably quite lucrative but that almost certainly offer precious little benefit to his clients and could even, as in his wife's case, prove highly detrimental.
A doctor in South Africa has invented a female condom lined with teeth-like hooks and is handing them out at World Cup venues.
Dr Sonnet Ehlers invented the female condom known as Rape-aXe which will be available after the trial period for about $2 each.
The woman inserts the latex condom like a tampon and the jagged rows of hooks which line its inside attach on a man’s penis during penetration.
Once attached, only a doctor can remove the Rape-aXe and Dr Ehlers hopes this will allow authorities to easily make arrests.
Rapsts will now need to carry power tools as a precautionary measure.
My son's dog, which I often doggy-sit, is something of an escape artist, recently managing to clamber over a five foot high wall, heading straight for the nearest dog beach where he was, being a gregarious mutt, nabbed by the ranger. For this I incurred a $50 impoundment fee plus a $100 fine for failing to leash my dog.
Many cats on the other hand are allowed to roam free killing small animals at will and leaving nasty little cigar-shaped surprises in neighbourhood gardens. Thus this is a move in the right direction:
More than 270 cats found roaming within the City of Swan have been put down since new City bylaws were enacted.
Statistics obtained by the Community Newspaper Group confirm 273 cats have been euthanased [sic] since the City began impounding straying animals in January 2009.
Chief executive Mike Foley said under the City’s law residents are allowed to trap cats that enter their property uninvited.
Don't let the cats go to waste; turn them into dog food.
Israel critics have harped on and on about import restrictions' devastating impact on Gaza's malnourished and stunted children. But despite the ongoing easing of restrictions on foodstuff imports it's claimed Gazans are now no better off:
Since January this year. Israel has added every month or two about 10 items to the list of permitted items. But ketchup, snacks and mayonnaise, for example, which are now permitted, are not essential items that will genuinely change the situation. If construction materials are allowed in, change will be felt quickly. But if the change focuses only on secondary consumer goods, it will have no effect.
Hey, here's a radical idea: Hamas could, rather than spend milions on brainwashing children, divert that money to feeding them. And since Hamas controls the smuggling-tunnels used to bring in everything from cars to electronics, maybe priority could be given to food for children. Unfortunately for kiddies, more money is to be made on luxury items.
The associate editor of News Custom Publishing at Herald & Weekly Times, David Bonnici, lost his job last week after a series of highly inappropriate comments on Twitter were discovered by management.
Having modelled his online persona – Club Wah – on that of the irreverent, cutting-edge Grods Corp crew it's no surprise that Bonnici has gotten himself into trouble. And like Grods, Club Wah has suddenly vanished, perhaps, also like Grods, so that the most embarrassing posts and all of the comments can be removed and the blog later reposted. But given Bonnici's penchant for using f***tard, c**t and the like there'd be precious little to put back online.
A representative screen grab from Google cache:
Unfortunately for Bonnici, some of the f***wits reading his journalistic output were his bosses.
Notoriously inaccurate Crikey blogger Jeremy Sear gets it wrong in a post ironically titled How out of touch can you be?
You might have noticed some talk around the place about a “housing affordability crisis” affecting the country: the fact that house prices in the major cities have rocketed up over the past decade to the point where first home buyers are now pretty much unable to afford a home, and are increasingly stuck renting indefinitely.
With the termination of the first-home buyers grant the number of first-home buyers has declined but firm numbers are not currently available.
In the UK in February, a BBC poll of 1001 people found that just 26 per cent believed human-made climate change was an established scientific fact, down from 41 per cent only three months earlier. And in the US, Republicans hope to kill the "American Power Act", sponsored by Senators John Kerry, a Democrat, and Joe Lieberman, who sits as an independent.
Libertarian columnists have helped turned many British Conservative parliamentarians into climate doubters, and the Conservative prime minister, David Cameron, has installed a Liberal Democrat climate secretary to give his coalition's green policies some protection from his own party's right wing.
Harrabin makes an inadvertent admission, however:
It's impossible to take the politics out of a topic as complex, uncertain and far-reaching as climate change.
The self-admitted uncertainty is the crux of the problem.
The law of unintended consequences in action: millions of Bangladeshis' health is adversely affected by water from wells dug at the encouragement of "[w]ell-meaning development groups", many of the wells contaminated with naturally occurring arsenic. Quick, someone get on the phone to Erin Brockovich, she'll get you billions in compensation. Even better, she looks great in a low-cut top.
Update: A feast for lawyers in the making:
One problem: how do you sue mother nature?
Regular UK visitor Zakir Naik has been denied entry by Home Secretary Theresa May, who cites Naik's "numerous comments" as constituting "unacceptable behaviour". Naik, a presenter for Peace TV and allegedly a medical doctor "renowned as a dynamic international orator on Islam and Comparative Religion" may be highly educated but he's nonetheless a lunatic.
Here Naik accounts for the American – and the even more pork–loving Chinese and European – propensity for marital shenanigans:
The pig is the most shameless animal on the face of the earth. It is the only animal that invites its friends to have sex with its mate. In America, most people consume pork. Many times after dance parties, they have swapping of wives; i.e. many say "you sleep with my wife and I will sleep with your wife." If you eat pigs then you behave like pigs.
Naik also "knows" what really happened on 9/11, having viewed “Loose Change” and “Fahrenheit” [sic]:
So how did the Twin Towers come down? They have given proof. Furthermore, they say that all the proofs given by the government to analyze – they said 19 hijackers, some of them were trained as flyers of the plane, they went to the university, and they interviewed the professors: “Do you think that this person can do such an act?” Impossible! The way the plane took a turn – and I’ve personally spoken to senior pilots, who have flown big Boeings and Airbuses for several years – they say it’s impossible to take such a turn. Imagine if just a new person of a few hundred hours takes a turn... What the experts say is that it has to be a military plane.
And here Naik addresses a question he thinks he facetiously proposes, "Why does Islam degrade women by keeping them behind the veil?"
United States of America is supposed to be one of the most advanced countries of the world. It also has one of the highest rates of rape in any country in the world. According to a FBI report, in the year 1990, every day on an average 1756 cases of rape were committed in U.S.A alone. Later another report said that on an average everyday 1900 cases of rapes are committed in USA. The year was not mentioned. May be it was 1992 or 1993. May be the Americans got ‘bolder’ in the following years.
Consider a scenario where the Islamic hijaab is followed in America. Whenever a man looks at a woman and any brazen or unashamed thought comes to his mind, he lowers his gaze. Every woman wears the Islamic hijaab, that is the complete body is covered except the face and the hands up to the wrist. After this if any man commits rape he is given capital punishment. I ask you, in such a scenario, will the rate of rape in America increase, will it remain the same, or will it decrease?
Women are hopelessly lost and helpless without a man – it's either marriage or prostitution for the unattached female:
Even if every man got married to one woman, there would still be more than thirty million females in U.S.A who would not be able to get husbands (considering that America has twenty five million gays). There would be more than four million females in Great Britain, 5 million females in Germany and nine million females in Russia alone who would not be able to find a husband.
Suppose my sister happens to be one of the unmarried women living in USA, or suppose your sister happens to be one of the unmarried women in USA. The only two options remaining for her are that she either marries a man who already has a wife or becomes public property. There is no other option. All those who are modest will opt for the first.
His view on apostates is conventionally Muslim: kill them.
Now it could be argued that Naik's views aren't all that extreme and he shouldn't be banned from speaking in the UK. On the other hand, no possible good can come from allowing Naik to further delude the already deluded.
Update: Is Swedish beauty Malin Nygren wearing her pants low hoping to attract a husband, is she a prostitute or is she simply out for an exciting night on the town? And do Alexandra Falk and Ulrica Corneliusson really want to share a husband?
Hoping to avoid another round of embarrassing mass starvation North Korea is doing the formerly unthinkable:
In recent weeks, according to North Korea observers and defector groups with sources in the country, Kim Jong Il's government admitted its inability to solve the current food shortage and encouraged its people to rely on private markets for the purchase of goods.
The next thing we know hapless North Koreas will be gorging on KFC and burgers and will, like us, be dropping dead from obesity.
The nuclear plan is part of the government's climate programme, which stipulates that by 2020 renewable energy should comprise 50 percent of all energy produced, for the Swedish car fleet to be independent of fossil fuels 10 years later and for the country to be carbon neutral by 2050.
Go green, go nuclear.
Near-legendary footballer Mal Brown has apologised to Aboriginal players for referring to them as "cannibals". To be fair, Brown, noted for his big mouth, probably thought he was being funny but in today's climate of hyper-sensitivity, his remarks have caused a huge uproar.
The ABC's Jonathan Green sees Brown's ill-considered comments as indicative of the entrenched racism permeating Australian society. In Green's fuzzy lefty mind mind Aborigines are like children who are unable to help themselves, perennially falling victim to white exploitation. Now there's an outdated view if ever there was one.
An often inaccurate Australian journalist of sorts – former Asian Correspondent contributor Jeremy Sear, aka An Onymous Lefty, aka Anonymous Lefty, aka Melbourne Lefty, who continues to contribute at Crikey, where "standards are high" – links to a fellow lefty's blog post supposedly damning Israel, the U.S. and head-in-the-sand-media:
Had Sear actually read the linked post he'd know that Israel attacked the USS Liberty but did not sink it. Sear should also know that despite the tremendous advances in military technology over the past 40 years, targeting errors still occur, so it's not at all surprising that in 1970 the USS Liberty might indeed have been attacked in error.
Read lefty bloggers at your peril, they're continually wrong.
It used to be called a "hell hole" but the Curtin detention centre in Australia's remote north-west is open for business again.
Nearly 200 Afghan asylum seekers were transferred to Curtin from Christmas Island at the weekend.
There may be no barbed wire, but it is very much like a natural prison, surrounded by scrub and red dirt - the unforgiving landscape of the west Kimberley.
And the facilities seem to be first class, for a "hell hole", at least.
The only remaining possibly damning factor is the facility's isolation. Heaven forbid would be immigrants are forced to temporarily endure the isolated loneliness of bush life experienced by thousands of Australians on an ongoing basis, without government supplied exercise equipment, table soccer, Internet access and catered meals.
As a long time smoker, and with a relatively young (28) family member recently diagnosed with cancer (Hodgkin's lymphoma), I have taken particular interest in the inquest into the 2005 cancer death of Penelope Dingle, wife of self-proclaimed "environmental toxicologist" Dr Peter Dingle. Mrs Dingle refused traditional medical intervention, relying instead on homeopathic treatment.
Dr Dingle's role, if any, in his wife's treatment choice is unclear but his antipathy to conventional medicine is clear to see in his latest Newsletter:
Perhaps the most dreaded of all diseases is cancer. It will kill around 1/3 of Australians. Unfortunately with our one dimensional health model we have continued to focus on the treatment rather than the prevention and as a result more people die. While cancer is largely untreatable, despite the miracle cures you hear about in the media, it is largely preventable. There is no miracle cure for cancer nor will there ever be. The rates of cancer and death from cancer continue to increase despite the billions of dollars injected into treating the illness. Only a few minor cancers are treated effectively with modern techniques yet we still keep doing it. One cancer however, is showing significant reductions in its occurrence and all future predictions show it reducing even further, lung cancer. The occurrence and the rates of deaths from lung cancer are on the decline, no because of treatment but because of education and prevention.
Despite the claims by specialists that say we don’t know why we are getting so many cancers it is obvious that it relates to our diet, environment, attitude and our lifestyle and there is abundant information to show that changing these parameters can dramatically reduce your risk of cancer.
Such outlandish claims from a self-promoting, non-medical academic are both misleading and irresponsible. In fact, the causes of cancer are well known and understood:
The major avoidable causes of cancer are: 1) smoking, which accounts for 27% of cancer deaths in Canada and 80-90% of lung cancer deaths; 2) dietary imbalances, which account for about another third, e.g., lack of sufficient amounts of dietary fruits and vegetables. 3) chronic infections, mostly in developing countries; and 4) hormonal factors, which are influenced primarily by lifestyle. This list may surprise readers who have come to think that synthetic chemicals like pesticide residues and water pollutants are major causes.
The person most surprised by the list above is likely Dr Dingle, who places great emphasis on synthetic chemicals as a cause of cancer.
Dr Dingle is incorrect in stating that both the "rates of cancer and death from cancer continue to increase" and "only a few minor cancers are treated effectively" when cancer rates are essentially static and many cancer suffererss are living longer than ever due to effect treatments regimes. Thus my 28-year-old family member, while he may not be cured of Hodgkin's, will likely live a near normal life thanks to early, massive medical intervention.
Having experienced his wife's apparently excruciating, essentially untreated demise, one would expect Dr Dingle to keep his head down and his dubious advice to himself. His anti-medical delusions seem to prevent him doing so.
Update II: Dr Dingle is multi-skilled:
Renowned author, juggler, media personality and Murdoch University academic, Dr Peter Dingle PhD, explores the question of how the (mal)nutrition of our children sets the stage for childhood behavioural disorders including autism and ADHD, and how a healthy diet in childhood can provide a good alternative to Ritalin and amphetamine medications. Dr Dingle (http://drdingle.com) is one of the many fine presenters at the Mindd International Forum on Children 2009, a conference and expo for health professionals, educators and parents, to be held at the Australian Jockey Club, Randwick, Sydney Australia from 15-18 May 2009.
There's no ignoring a juggling "environmental toxicologist".
Update III: A Podcast of utter nonsense from Dr Dingle (click My Dog Eats Better than Your Kids).
West Australians can sleep soundly tonight knowing police are enforcing pub dress standards:
A scantily-dressed barmaid has been fined $300 after two police officers sitting at a bar in Perth decided she was showing too much buttock.
Too much buttock from a "skimpy" barmaid? Impossible.
The family of an Aboriginal prisoner who died while being transported in an unair-conditioned vehicle is dissatisfied with the AU$200,000 (US$172,000) received to date:
Don't we all.
It's no secret that America's public education system is in trouble, and has been dysfunctional for years. With lefty truth-manipulating educators like Ed Darrell all too common amongst American teachers this comes as no surprise.
Through his site, Millard Fillmore's Bathtub, Darrell asserts lofty ambitions "to help students, their learning partners (especially parents), teachers and administrators make history sing for the students — and other social studies, too." Darrell is, as confirmed lefties so commonly are, wildly inaccurate, however. Given his obvious bias and frequent errors, intentional and otherwise, Darrell could best help students and their learning partners by closing down his blog.
Just like his truth-manipulating mentor, Scienceblogs.com political blogger Tim Lambert, Darrell idolises Rachel Carson and despises everyone who is pro-DDT. It is therefore no surprise that Darrell, like Lambert, is very critical of pro-DDT advocacy group Africa Fighting Malaria (AFM), economist Roger Bate and malaria expert Donald Roberts – Lambert outrageously claiming that AFM aimed to kill African children.
In its 2009 Annual Report, AFM proudly states “AFM is the only advocacy group that routinely supports IRS [Indoor Residual Spraying] and through its advocacy work defends the use of DDT for malaria control. “ Cleverly, and tellingly, they do not reveal that IRS in integrated vector (pest) management is what Rachel Carson advocated in 1962, nor do they mention that it is also supported by the much larger WHO, several nations in Africa, and the Gates Foundation, all of whom probably do more to fight malaria when they sneeze that AFM does intentionally.
Google and Bing searches turn up no projects the organization actually conducts to provide bed nets, or DDT, or anything else, to anyone working against malaria. I can’t find any place anyone other than AFM describes any activities of the group.
Darrell is, of course, misleading his readers. Carson did not advocate DDT use as part of a program of integrated pest management, and AFM is an advocacy group not a scientific research organisation, a provider of bednets, a funder of insecticide spraying or of any other anti-malaria activities, as clearly stated at its website:
Africa Fighting Malaria is a non-profit health advocacy group founded in 2000 and based in South Africa and the United States. Our mission is to make malaria control more transparent, responsive and effective. We conduct research into the social and economic aspects of malaria and raise the profile of the disease and the issues surrounding its control in the local and international media. AFM strives to hold public institutions accountable for funding and implementing effective, integrated and country-driven malaria control policies and to promote successful private sector initiatives to control the disease.
So, please be careful when cruising the net looking for information about anti-malaria measures, and DDT in particular: Tim Lambert and Ed Darrell are biased sources that provide only wildly inaccurate information concerning DDT's role in the fight against malaria.
Thinking about attending university but unsure of what to study? Become a Gaga specialist:
Pop matters. What we hear in the mall, in our cars, on YouTube, makes the world around us, which is to say that it makes us. I believe Lady Gaga's art pioneers awareness and liberation at such a massive cultural scale that it would be ignorant, and potentially even destructive, not to take it seriously. We needed a pop star who could simultaneously celebrate the spirit of pop -- the spirit that makes everyone, no matter who or where they are in the world, stand up and start dancing when "Billie Jean" comes on the jukebox -- and deconstruct, and ultimately shift, the static notion of the pop star as a figure of blind worship and untouchable-ness. Gaga has put the glitter wand back into the hands of the audience. She's made the audience responsible for what they are viewing. No other pop singers are doing that, at least not on the level that Gaga is. No pop singer has done it on that level, ever, period.
That should convince most people with an ounce of commonsense to take up a trade.
Democracy Now! has aired "previously unseen raw footage" shot on board the Mavi Marmara. The video was smuggled out by an American – filmmaker and activist Iara Lee. The video doesn't really show much and Lee was below decks when the boarding took place so she can't really comment knowledgeably on events as they unfolded. She does have lots to say, however.
AMY GOODMAN: When you show the video of the helicopters above—and we’re showing that now—we see that there is—and we can hear below the sound of an explosion. What was happening there?
IARA LEE: I can’t give you all the technical information about what is rubber bullet sound, what is, you know, live ammunition. But obviously, they came with live ammunition. And minutes afterwards, we had the megaphone in our rooms, in every room on the ship, saying, "Stay quiet and calm. They’re using live ammunition. There is no way we can resist. They are taking over the ship. Just stay calm and don’t resist at all." You know? The other boats, they used rubber bullets and tear gas; they didn’t kill people. But in our ship, they came to kill.
JUAN GONZALEZ: The issue of these explosions, several people have said, have told us, that the explosions occurred, and even some shooting, before any soldier landed on the boat. Is that your recollection, or do you know for sure?
IARA LEE: We didn’t have guns. We were, you know, grabbing chairs. And, you know, the boys were taking like whatever they could get hold of, like broomsticks and so forth. And it was just completely disproportionate. And the injuries and the dead people started happening very quickly, to the point that—you know, you can see here in the footage. They managed to get hold of some Israeli soldiers, but obviously we were so brainwashed about nonviolence as our methodology that we didn’t kill any of the Israeli soldiers. Actually, when they got injured with the commotion, they actually got treated by our passengers. But the megaphone kept saying, "We are civilians. Don’t use violence. And we have extremely injured people. We need medical help," because we were not prepared medically to take care of, like, dead people. But we were ignored, and a lot of people who were injured actually ended up bleeding to death and died.
So according to Lee, Israel's trained killers were intent on killing but only managed to kill nine out of some 600 passengers. Jeez, those screwy Jews can't get anything right.
Or it could be the boarding party fired only after meeting a hostile reception but Lee can't accept this because she has been "brainwashed" into thinking all Israelis are bloodthirsty killers.
Update: Readers will be shocked to learn that the Democracy Now! video was heavily edited to make it more appealing for its target audience. The full video paints quite a different picture to that described by Iara Lee, who claims in a San Francisco Chronicle Op-Ed:
Under attack, some passengers skirmished with the boarding soldiers using broomsticks and other items at hand.
So as the Israelis boarded Mavi Marmara passengers grabbed whatever was weapon-like and defended themselves. Not quite, as Lee's video clearly shows (the timings below show the number of minutes into the video).
16:00 The stage is set for coming events with an unseen person saying that Israeli boarders will be thrown into the sea, adding: "These guys, these guys, these Turks, they're not like us... they're always ready for these things..." When asked if the "Turks" are ready to fight the reponse is, "Whatever happens."
22:50 An unseen high-speed tool – possibly an angle grinder – can be heard cutting metal while the faithful pray nearby. Maybe typical pre-dawn maintenance, or perhaps the ship's fixtures being cut into wieldable lengths.
35:55 Israeli naval hyenas commence their assault, attempting to inflict excruciating death via massive multiple paintball hit trauma. Gee, Iara Lee doesn't say anything about this in her Op-Ed or during the Democracy Now! clip. Regardless, passengers respond by throwing things – possibly not flowers – at the would be boarders.
38:20 Footage of what appears to be a blood spattered bulkhead, the stains described as "blood". Keep watching and you'll discover it's paint-ball splatter, one of the passengers confirming that no live ammunition has yet been fired. (The apparently blood-splattered bulkhead appears at Democracy Now! without elaboration.)
40:00 Israel air-borne hyenas – versatile, ain't they? – begin to descend from a hovering helicopter while taking fire from two peaceniks armed with high-powered slingshots. Despite being clearly visible targets, the pacifist humanitarians draw no fire from the bloodthirsty, supposedly live ammunition-firing killers above.
48:20 A very somber moment as, amidst the chaos, two men pray on deck, one of them pointing skyward. Is he? (a) predicting rain, (b) wanting to ask a question, (c) pointing to where he thinks he will soon meet up with 72 virgins, (d) testing wind direction, or (e) pointing to where those cunning hyenas came from. Regardless, point-to-the-sky-guy soon ends his prayers and gets to his feet but not before grabbing his length of cushiony rubber-handled metal pipe – available at all Bludgeons-R-US outlets and wherever quality blunt implements are sold.
It therefore seems safe to assume that some on board the Mavi Marmara didn't attend the intent-on-peace brainwashing sessions. And one more thing, Israelis should see if maybe Iara Lee and the Democracy Now! crew could give them some spin lessons.
Update II: The teaser image below features the apparently blood-stained bulkhead. The expertly edited video refers to "blood" on the bulkhead but the paintball splatter explanation is missing. Thus the peace-lovers at Cultures of Resistance are outright liars. Are you as shocked as I am?
56 Iraqis were deported this week to Baghad, not by Australia but by Sweden. The UN is most unhappy:
"UNHCR is concerned about the signal that forced returns from Europe could give to other host countries, particularly those neighbouring Iraq," said Melissa Fleming, spokesperson of the refugees agency said on Tuesday in advance of the deportations.
Sort of makes Australia's middle-of-nowhere detention look downright humanitarian, now doesn't it?
Kiwi Palestine Human Rights Campaign activist Janfrie Wakim introduces a "very important" 80 minute talk by the "absolutely marvelous" and "so articulate" Antony Loewenstein and then passes the bucket hoping audience donations will cover the expenses of the best-selling author who has "worked for" both the Sydney Morning Herald and the Melbourne Age.
If anyone can manage to watch Lowenstein's whole presentation – linked here as public service – please let me know if he says anything worth hearing.
When it was introduced by then health minister Tony Abbott in the lead up to the 2007 election, it was projected to cost $377 million over four years.
In 2009, dentists claimed more than AU$484 million [US$408 million].
The blowout is apparently attributable to claiming errors:
Minister for Human Services Chris Bowen says Medicare is working with the Australian Dental Association to educate and inform dentists on the correct use of the scheme.
"Medicare has had ongoing concerns about compliance with the scheme, as it has identified dentists claiming for work they have not provided and claiming when they did not meet the legal requirements of the scheme," Mr Bowen said.
"I understand most dentists try to do the right thing and that the majority of incorrect claiming is accidental."
Nah, dentists would never dip into a pile of money of government money there for the taking. Sure you're almost 60 but that doesn't mean you wouldn't benefit from braces.
Conservative liberal Mark Rutte narrowly won the Dutch general elections on Wednesday (9 June). But the big shock of the night is that 1.5 million people - almost one in five - voted for the islamophobe Geert Wilders.
With 97 percent of the vote counted, Mr Rutte's VVD party won 31 seats and the centre-left Labour Party (PvDA) won 30. Mr Wilders' Freedom Party (PVV) came third with 24, showing up pollsters who had predicted he would win at best 18.
That must mean 1.5 million Dutch are also "Islamophobes". Amazing.
Those wanting to reduce their corpse's envionmental footprint can now opt for freeze-drying or chemical disintegration.
After a number of much publicised suicides at its mainland China factory, Taiwanese company Foxconn will no longer make ex gratia payments to the families of workers who kill themselves:
Foxconn has been paying compensation equivalent to 10 years' wages to the families of suicide victims.
Posters have gone up at the factory site in Shenzhen to explain the move.
They say that to prevent more tragedies Foxconn will not pay compensation beyond its legal obligations.
Ten times the annual wage is quite an incentive.
The mangled wreck of the blue Holden Commodore they had been driving lay scattered in six separate pieces over a 50 metre stretch of verge.
The car had wrapped around a tree before breaking up and bursting into flames.
The crash occurred in a residential area with a 60 kmh speed limit. An apparently meaningful find at the scene, "an issue of Top Gear magazine lay on the grass near the front bumper." This immediately conjures thoughts of a young driver encouraged to drive Stig-like.
Decidely more relevant to these fatalities, however, are the numerous gauntlet-like immovable obstacles lining both sides of the roadway.
Paul McGeough reports on the wounding of Ahmed Luqman Talib, allegedly shot by seagoing Israeli hyenas:
Recounting the moment he was shot, Mr Talib said: "I saw a man who nearly got shot – I could see the red dot of the laser weapon sights on his knee, but he moved in time.
"I felt it slice through my leg – blood was squirting from my right leg and then a second bullet sliced across, just above my knee. I was still standing, but my leg jerked up in the air and froze like that – for a time it was paralysed. With my weight on the good leg I tried to put it down – but it wouldn't move.
"I couldn't believe I had been hit, but that's how it looked – bullets, holes and blood."
He attempted to find his way downstairs to the first-aid post, which by then was chaotic. But he collapsed and when others carried him in for treatment, first his sister and then his wife observed that "he seemed to be OK", tending to others they thought were in greater need.
Luqman Talib's "exclusive" account at the ABC is just slightly different:
Mr Luqman said he was on the back deck of the flotilla flagship the Mavi Marmara, running to get inside, when he saw a laser sight settle on his leg.
Then he was down.
"I obviously knew that I'd been shot when I could see a bullet on the floor and a puddle of blood," he said.
"Blood just pissing out of my leg, from two holes. You put two and two together, and it looks like you've been shot."
The first bullet tore through his leg, partially severing his femoral artery. Another shot hit near his knee.
So in the chaos of the moment, while running for his life, Luqman Talib was not looking at the cover he was running toward, he was looking down at his legs and around at the legs of others. Then there's the bullet that tore through his leg and magically dropped to the deck on the spot – perhaps fired from the Texas School Book Depository. Regardless, his nursing student wife felt he was "OK" and not in need of immediate treatment despite allegedly sustaining a partially severed femoral artery. I'm no medical expert but it seems likely that a badly damaged femoral artery, much less one that has been partially severed, could lead to death through blood loss within minutes if left untreated.
It also worth noting that the photo attached to the ABC "exclusive" shows the forlorn victim and his worried wife whereas the photo with the McGeough article has a rather robust looking Luqman Talib showing off his wounds.
And if Israel's hyenas are really intent in shooting people in the knees they need some target practice.
Update: The ABC no longer describes its story as an "exclusive".
Israel has offered to transfer the aid on board to Gaza by land once it has been checked for any banned items.
But Hamas, which rules Gaza, has so far refused to allow any of the aid from last week's flotilla into the Palestinian territory.
No sense taking the cargo when there's no place to store it.
Due to overcrowding New Zealand has taken to housing prisoners in converted shipping containers. Prisoner advocates are outraged:
Shipping containers are made to contain freight to place in freight boats to take from A to B. They're not designed for human beings.
Hmm, Dutch students don't seem to mind living in "tin cans". More converted shipping container housing here.
Denialism, a pejorative formerly only applying to those refusing to accept the reality of the Holocaust, is now used to discredit anyone holding contrarian views. A classic example from New Scientist contributor Debora MacKenzie (19 May 2010):
HEARD the latest? The swine flu pandemic was a hoax: scientists, governments and the World Health Organization cooked it up in a vast conspiracy so that vaccine companies could make money.
Never mind that the flu fulfilled every scientific condition for a pandemic, that thousands died, or that declaring a pandemic didn't provide huge scope for profiteering. A group of obscure European politicians concocted this conspiracy theory, and it is now doing the rounds even in educated circles.
This depressing tale is the latest incarnation of denialism, the systematic rejection of a body of science in favour of make-believe. There's a lot of it about, attacking evolution, global warming, tobacco research, HIV, vaccines - and now, it seems, flu. But why does it happen? What motivates people to retreat from the real world into denial?
According to social psychologist Seth Kalichman those who reject the orthodox aren't quite right in the head:
He believes the instigators of denialist movements have more serious psychological problems than most of their followers. "They display all the features of paranoid personality disorder", he says, including anger, intolerance of criticism, and what psychiatrists call a grandiose sense of their own importance. "Ultimately, their denialism is a mental health problem. That is why these movements all have the same features, especially the underlying conspiracy theory."
Neither the ringleaders nor rank-and-file denialists are lying in the conventional sense, Kalichman says: they are trapped in what classic studies of neurosis call "suspicious thinking". "The cognitive style of the denialist represents a warped sense of reality, which is why arguing with them gets you nowhere," he says. "All people fit the world into their own sense of reality, but the suspicious person distorts reality with uncommon rigidity."
The denialist movement was, of course, founded by the most evil of corporate interests: "Big Tobacco started it in the 1970s..." with Exxon later coming on board. Thus all contrarians are bundled into one neat package of corporate shills deluding the weak minded.
What then to make of the 6,200 word article – Coflicts of Interest WHO and the pandemic flu "conspiracies" – in the British Medical Journal? Are its authors paranoid, neurotically suspicious or perhaps simply weak minded? Or maybe they're on the Big Tobacco/Big Oil payroll.
Then again, there just might be something not quite right in the WHO bureaucracy, which refuses to divulge, or even discuss, the behind-closed-doors machinations that led to governments spending billions on unneeded vaccines and on anti-virals of doubtful efficacy. Click the link immediately above and read the whole article; it's a real eye-opener, the article concluding:
The number of victims of H1N1 fell far short of even the more conservative predictions by the WHO. It could, of course, have been far worse.. Planning for the worst while hoping for the best remains a sensible approach. But our investigation has revealed damaging issues. If these are not addressed, H1N1 may yet claim its biggest victim—the credibility of the WHO and the trust in the global public health system.
The WHO boffins need to realise that an apparent conflict of interest, real or not, is just as damaging to credibility as a genuine conflict of interest
Interviewed on the ABC's The Science Show, The Lomborg Deception author Howard Friel engages in some deception of his own in giving a non-answer to a straightforward question on the population status of polar bears:
Robyn Williams: So what's the evidence now in 2010? The Canadians are studying polar bears and any number of biologists and other scientists are doing so. So what's the current state of the polar bear population?
Howard Friel: The condition of the bears has been declining in the regions of the Arctic that have most experienced global warming, and that's still the status of the bears and of the scientific studies, to my knowledge. So the overwhelming body of scientific evidence, including by Ian Stirling, probably the most important polar bear scientist over the last 30 years who read my book and who has endorsed it, clearly demonstrates that the polar bears are threatened as a species in the Arctic due to global warming.
Having failed to provide convincing proof of Lomborg's alleged deceptions, interviewer Williams sets up Friel for concluding innuendo:
Robyn Williams: One thing you don't say in your book is that he's in any way linked to a pressure group, a lobby group or anything like that, and that's the sort of thing that one would want to know, because suddenly this young man comes from nowhere, from Denmark, an economist, talking about environmental science. What's behind the Lomborg phenomenon?
Howard Friel: That's a very good question. I chose not to address it, as you say. Let me say this about that though, I find it very interesting that Lomborg's main plank which he repeats over and over again which has been completely consistent over the course of almost a decade now, that he is opposed to cuts in CO2 emissions. If you look at who that benefits that would be the coal and oil industries. I have no evidence that he's being paid by the coal and oil industries, I don't know one way or the other, but I do know that based on my research that his argument that it would be better for the Earth to forgo cuts in CO2 are ridiculous and absurd and reckless, and one would have to wonder why he is making this claim, especially since over and over again he cannot support the particulars of his claim with his own scholarship, even with his own footnoted sources.
So you raise a very important question, it's one that I'm not really prepared to answer at this point, but I do find it interesting that his one consistent plank...because he's sort of reinvented himself over the years, including now he's somehow this specialist on geo-engineering when he's not a scientist or an engineer, but all of this is designed to protect his claim that we should not cut CO2. For example, now he's claiming that we should engage in these geo-engineering projects instead of cutting CO2. Even assuming that some of these geo-engineering projects would work, and it's not clear that they would at all, that doesn't address the underlying problem, and the underlying problem is the CO2. And his position is that we should absolutely not cut CO2, and that's completely consistent with the interests of the oil and coal industries.
This gives rise to Beck's Law: As an online global warming discussion grows longer, the probability of a warmenist referring to "bogus" oil company-funded climate research approaches 1. Anyone so mentioning automatically loses the argument.
Retired commie dictators don't die; they go senile and talk nonsense:
US NAVY commandos sank a South Korean warship in March in order to blame North Korea, raise tensions and convince Japan to keep US forces in Okinawa, Fidel Castro has claimed.
If anyone on the planet deserves a wish-you-were-dead pre-obiturary it's Castro.
As previously noted, the World Health Organization's swine flu pandemic scare-mongering prompted governments to stockpile flu vaccine, with France alone investing 600m euros ($739m, £515m) on 94 million doses. Unused vaccines aren't the only medications likely to end up sitting on shelves past their use-by dates, however, with various governments holding stockpiles of anti-virals Tamiflu and Relenza.
Key scientists behind World Health Organization advice on stockpiling of pandemic flu drugs had financial ties with companies which stood to profit, an investigation has found.
According to investigators the WHO refuses to divulge conflict of interest information, instead hiding behind a wall of secrecy:
In addition, membership of the "emergency committee" which advised WHO's director general Margaret Chan on declaring an influenza pandemic has been kept secret.
It means the names of the 16 committee members are known only to people within WHO, and as such their possible conflicts of interest with drug companies are unknown.
Unknown persons recommending huge outlays of others peoples' money: UNbelievable.